This is an activity we’ve done on an airplane that works really well.
Prep: I printed out pictures of a road, the water and the sky. You could definitely just draw these as part of the activity on the plane. I then cut out stickers of things that were found in each location. I placed the stickers in a zip-up pencil bag. J pulled out one sticker at a time and decided which setting it should be placed in. This worked really well and kept him occupied for awhile (he had a lot of stickers to place).
We’ve also done a similar activity in a hotel room. I drew a train track, road and lake on some paper and he found stickers to place on each. He was then quite content to drive his cars around the tiny road for quite awhile!
Finally we’ve done something similar at a restaurant. I have a random assortment of items in my purse at any given moment. In this case stickers and index cards. We drew a setting on each one and he sorted the stickers.
These type of activities would also work well for long doctor appointments and car rides.
We do lots of sticker sorting around here since it is a great way for J to practice categories and also helps him with fine motor skills (getting the stickers off really works those pincher muscles). It also requires little prep on my part and the only supplies necessary are paper and stickers!
Here are a couple other examples I’ve posted on in the past:
Sorting Colors with Stickers
Counting with Stickers
We’ve also done shapes, seasons, letters and animal homes. The possibilities are limited only by your sticker collection.
I saw these pilgrim hat cookies and thought they were adorable and something even a toddler could accomplish. I did make a few quick changes from the original I saw here. Their cookies were more accurate and cuter, but a few changes meant J could be that much more involved (and truth be told, I don’t think I could’ve iced a buckle so small).
We used yellow Reeces Pieces for the buckle instead of the yellow icing and I went with a chocolate covered cookie instead of the ginger snaps (because I don’t like ginger snaps so much!). I did try cutting a marshmallow for the white band around the middle, thinking J could create every part. I couldn’t get the marshmallow to look right, so I scrapped that. Maybe someone else has good luck with it though.
- small brown cookies (I used Archer Farms “Dark Chocolate & Caramel indulgent cookies from Target, just 8 in the box, so good for a small group)
- Small Reeces Peanut Butter Cups
- Yellow Reeces Pieces (or M&Ms)
- White icing
What you do:
- Squeeze a drop of icing onto the center of the cookie. Stack the Reeces Peanut Butter Cup on top (upside down). Line the base of the RPC with white icing. Use the icing to “glue” the yellow Reeces Pieces on as a buckle.
These cookies were really good and REALLY rich (dark chocolate caramel cookie with Reeces Pieces AND Reeces peanut butter cup…. not really part of any diet). I had some friends try them and they loved them too. I’m thinking I’ll get the kids working on these the morning of Thanksgiving so they can have a part in preparing the meal (the best part of the meal… dessert!).
They have the side benefit of providing the opportunity talk about the origin of Thanksgiving. I used it as a review of who the pilgrims were.
Age attempted: 31 months
Posted in Age Range, Autumn, Childhood (5+ years), Early Preschool (3-4 years), Fall, Holidays and Seasons, Life Skills, My Little Chef, Preschool (4-5 years), Thanksgiving, Toddler (2-3 years)
We dropped off our shoeboxes today. Look at the excitement on J’s face when we were ready to load them in the car and give them away!
You have until Monday, November 22th to drop off your box. No worries, you have plenty of time! You can find a drop off location near you by typing in your zip code here. If you haven’t started but would like to get your little ones involved, you have time! It really doesn’t take long to put them together, even on toddler time.
If you haven’t heard about this great opportunity to teach your little one the blessing of giving, check out my other posts here and here. Or check out Operation Christmas Child’s website.
Posted in Age Range, Childhood (5+ years), Christmas, Early Preschool (3-4 years), Early Toddler (18-24 months), Heart of Giving, Holidays and Seasons, Life Skills, Pre-Toddler (12-18 months), Preschool (4-5 years), Toddler (2-3 years)
I thought I’d share something that I’m giving my 4 year old nephew for his birthday busy box. He loves to cook, so I thought we’d start helping him work through simple (VERY simple) recipes on his own. Many of the recipes involve no actual cooking, focusing on just the basic skills of working in a kitchen (ingredients, measurements, and following steps). They are recipes that preschoolers would enjoy eating as much as they enjoy “cooking”. I included pictures to go along with most steps to help a non-reader out.
I’m going to try to do one of the easier ones with J pretty soon. I already have some modifications in mind to make it even easier for younger ones, but I do think these will work well in their current state.
Here’s the entire set of cards. My First Recipe Cards
To prepare them, I printed them on cardstock. I then cut along the horizontal line and folded along the vertical one to create a front and back for each card. I then hole punched along the left side of the cards (the open side) and used two small binder rings to combine the cards together.
Add some measuring spoons, cups, mixing spoons, a hat and apron and laminate these great toddler/preschool food charts as a placemat and you have an easy gift for birthday or Christmas. If their interest continues, you could easily add a few recipes to their collection each year.
If you try it out, I’d love to hear how it goes!
Posted in Age Range, Birthday, Christmas, Counting, Early Preschool (3-4 years), Holidays and Seasons, Homemade Games, Life Skills, Math, Measuring, My Little Chef, Preschool (4-5 years), Science, Subject
Tagged Cooking, Homemade Games
I think everyone should go apple picking in the autumn. It’s a perfect activity for little ones. Our trip kept getting pushed back for one reason or another throughout the whole month of October. In that interim, I made this pretend apple picking sheet for J to work on. He uses his magnetic pompom balls (on a cookie sheet) to complete his apple picking. I just set out a basket of “apples” for him to choose from, but I think it would be fun to add a hunt around the house for them too. I originally saw the idea here and just adapted it a little. After he was finished we counted the number or red, green and yellow “apples” and discussed which color had the most/least apples.
I'm blaming the blur on my iphone!
I know apple season is over but if you want to try this activity yourself, you can print this pdf form for yourself. It also has some apple counting and apple pattern worksheets along with it. Apple picking and patterns
**I’m just noticing that I never posted about the magnetic pompoms, I’ll get back to you on that soon**
Age attempted: 29 months
We did finally make it to the real apple orchard. Lots of fun!
I wish I could blame the blur on my iphone!
Posted in Age Range, Autumn, Counting, Early Toddler (18-24 months), Fall, Holidays and Seasons, Homemade Games, Math, Outside, Patterns, Subject, Toddler (2-3 years)
Each holiday (or season) I make a list of activities I might do with J. I try to include books, videos, crafts, games, printables, field trips, and scripture/Bible stories that apply. I never get all of the activities accomplished. I don’t really intend to do so when I create the list. It’s just nice to have a quick go-to list when I’m planning out our weeks. On the weeks I don’t get around to planning at all, I have a list to quickly pull from when the fancy strikes (or the toddler needs to be put to work!).
I create the lists in powerpoint because, well, it’s my favorite. I include any links to printables or the original idea right there in the list. Any manipulatives that need to be created can be done there in the same file. So when I open up my Autumn activities ppt, I have one page of activities specific to the season itself, one for Halloween and one for Thanksgiving. All the remaining pages have manipulatives I created for the activities, as well as clip art and photos that might come in handy too. Since the planning calendar I have is from I can easily fit that season’s activities into the calendar on the same file.
As we complete an activity I change the color font for quick reference. So far, we’ve completed the orange activities this year.
Here’s my current Thanksgiving list:
2.Pilgrim hat cookies
3.Hand and foot print turkey
4.Popcorn corn craft
5.Operation Christmas Child (Nov. 15-20)- explain, shop, pack, About Me, Christmas Cards
8.Countdown to Thanksgiving
10.Pilgrim hat (styrofoam)
12.Thanksgiving Locational game or memory
13.Post it note turkey
15.Quick story of Thanksgiving video
16.Mayflower Compact cartoon video (from Charlie Brown Thanksgiving)
18. Thanksgiving library books
I save the lists in case we want to reuse activities next year or complete activities we didn’t get to. I can always add to it throughout the year if something extra special comes to mind. I do try to keep the list reasonable and only include activities that are helpful in teaching (and, lets be honest, activities I think are just plain cute!).
You’ll notice that I DO NOT create all the activities myself. Check out the links to some great activities! I might highlight a few later as I complete them, but no need to wait for me! Thanksgiving is coming soon!
This isn’t flashy and I’m even a bit embarassed to show this activity. BUT it’s a good way to incorporate some extra practice into your day. No need to get extravagant to teach a toddler! You really can’t get any easier than this and your little one will love it.
We had some leftover Cheez-it from a Sunday school activity, so I brought it home and put it to good use. I figured it doesn’t provide much nutritional value so I might as well get some education value out of it!
We’ve used it for counting practice. I called out a number and he had to find the cracker with that many dots to eat.
We’ve used it for letter practice. I set up a column of upper case letters and a column of lower case letters and he matched them together. I then called out a letter sound and he got to eat that letter.
You could easily introduce numbers or letters this way or of course practice shapes and size too.
Age attempted: 2 years; can certainly be done earlier
Posted in Age Range, Counting, Early Preschool (3-4 years), Early Toddler (18-24 months), Letters, Math, Reading and Writing, Shapes, Size, Subject, Toddler (2-3 years)
Tagged Letters, Numbers, Shapes, Size
This was an activity J did sometime during the summer when we were talking about how God created the plants. It was simple yet effective and included very little prep work! My favorite :)
During a morning walk, we gathered a group of leaves from a few different trees (or bushes; J was adamant we chose a certain leaf from a bush!). When we got home we examined the different kinds of leaves we chose. How many points do they have? Shape? Color? Smooth or rough?
- Sorry for the dark photo. My normal camera was packed away in a boz so I used my iphone.
Then I mixed all the leaves together, cut out three tree trunks (we used 3 different types of leaves) and J sorted the leaves to replicate the three different trees.
He did this activity on contact paper since I wasn’t sure if glue would hold the leaves in place quickly enough. I imagined a mess honestly and didn’t have time for one this day. :)
Age attempted: between 2 and 2.5 years
In lieu of Christmas soon arriving, I thought I would introduce/reintroduce some of the great homemade toys that we have around our house. Homemade toys are perfect for little ones! Why spend tons of money on things you can make easily?
Remember this Homemade Geoboard post? J still enjoys it today. I recently put one together for his older cousin and included some example patterns with the board. I took example photos of shapes, patterns, letters, numbers and pictures on the geoboard for him to replicate. For even older ones, you could simply include a list of things to create and leave off the pictures. That would add a level of difficulty.
I think this would made a great homemade Christmas gift!
Posted in Age Range, Early Preschool (3-4 years), Early Toddler (18-24 months), Homemade Toys, Math, Motor Skills, Patterns, Preschool (4-5 years), Rainy Day Activities, Shapes, Toddler (2-3 years)
Tagged Homemade Toys, Motor Skills, Patterns, Shapes