While writing the last post on sidewalk chalk math, I realized that I never posted about our outdoor chalk roads (or at least I can’t find the post!). This was something J did practically every day just after his little brother was born. It allowed for outdoor play, kept him centralized to one place, and kept him well occupied with his love for all things cars!
Overtime his road system became more and more elaborate, adding specific stores, airports, parks, and parking lots to the roads just made it all more fun. He is also becoming more capable of drawing his own roads.
If it’s too hot outside, check out our indoor version of the activity, Homemade Highways!
Simple pouring practice kept my J occupied for 2 hours. He was soaking wet by the end of the two hours but had so much fun (apparently he needs a little more practice before I hand over the milk).
We did this activity inside (it was BRUTALLY hot outside). TIP: I bought a waterproof tablecover to lay down for activities like this. It’s more sturdy than a tarp, so it stays in one place easily. And it does a great job in trapping the water so it doesn’t hit my new wood floors! We also use the tablecover when finger paiting inside and under the pool for our indoor snowbox. It’s more expensive than a towel or simple tarp but worth the expense in my opinion. And we can always use it as it’s intended too! :)
I gave him two trays (found at Target) a bowl of water and some different containers. I asked him to pretend each container was a cup that needed to be filled with the water before setting the table for dinner. I would’ve used real cups, but every single cup in my house was in the dishwasher. Btw, how do 3 people go through every cup in the house in such a short time??? Toy tea sets would work perfectly for this.
My goal was for him to learn when to stop pouring to keep the “cups” from overflowing. He tends to pour until the water hits the very tip of the cup which of course makes spilling guaranteed. I used this to teach him when to stop pouring.
Was this a successful lesson, well yes and no. Yes, he learned how to do it “right” but he didn’t necessarily enjoy doing it right. He would much rather pour until it spills!
After the pouring practice, he just played and played and played. I was so surprised he stayed focus for so long. I just added some new utencils or containers every half hour.
Waterplay utencils that J finds entertaining:
- medicine droppers and dispensers
- measuring cups and spoons
- milk carton with holes poked in the bottom (to create rain showers)
- nasal aspirator
- squirt bottle
- serving tray
- muffin pan
- ice cube tray
- tea kettle
- paint brush
- water wheel
What utencils does your little one like to play with in the water?
I came across this brilliant idea for sunbleached puzzles. They were so easy to create and great entertainment (and practice) for a puzzle-lover. It was also a great little lesson in the sun’s effects.
I set out foam bath letters and numbers on dark construction paper and left them to sunbathe awhile on the deck. J enjoyed watching the process, impressed by the magical results! We then brought it all inside to start putting it all together. You can make this activity more difficult by adding extra foam letters to the choices.
This is great practice at letter recognition. It’s also great way to help them learn how to spell their name, memorize their phone number or address.
The link above used magnetic letters and shape blocks to create their puzzles. You could also cut your own shapes out of colorful foam.
Posted in address, Counting, Early Preschool (3-4 years), Homemade Games, Letters, Life Skills, Name, Phone number, Puzzles, Shapes, Summer, Toddler (2-3 years)
Tagged Letters, Life Skills, Numbers
Back when I was pregnant, I put together a basket of go-to activities that I could quickly pull from to keep J focused when I was busy with his little brother. When I saw the button snake here, I knew I wanted to include it.
It was so easy to make, taking maybe 5 minutes, even with my sad skills using a needle and thread.
You need: colorful felt, scissors, ribbon, a button, needle and thread
What you do:
- Cut the felt into squares (or fun shapes)
- Cut a small slit into each square (to fit your button)
- Sew one felt square near the end of your ribbon
- Sew a button onto the other end of your ribbon
- Your done!
This was great practice for J. He had really never tried button until this. I made a beginner level button snake (using an extra large button) but was surprised at how quickly he caught on.
I recently made another button snake with a smaller button to increase the difficulty. This time I cut the felt pieces into different shapes so that the pieces could also be used to sort or create various patterns as he builds the snake.
We’ve also used this activity in our airplane travel and it works great, lightweight and keeps him occupied.
This week is all about finding multiple uses out of these beads from Melissa and Doug.
Here’s our last activity using Melissa and Doug’s Lacing Beads. This is a quick one, but one that kept J entertained for awhile. Basically I just reused yesterday’s activity, but used dot markers instead. I set out a few of the multi-colored lacing beads for him to create with the dot markers.
J loves dot markers. They are a hit everytime I get them out.
J started just playing around on the yellow, orange and red square and decided to cover the entire thing with red dots :)
I’m always trying to think of different uses of the same old toys. This set of lacing beads from Melissa and Doug has found many uses, all of which have been winners for J. This week I’ll highlight some of the ways we’ve used these beads.
J set the number beads in the correct order and then created a “graph” of sorts by lining up the corresponding number of cars beside each bead. In hindsight, I should have set out cars that were all similar lengths. There was no planning involved in this activity though. I just needed something to hold his attention long enough for me to feed his brother. It worked :)
You may have seen this post I wrote last year about entertaining a toddler with just a paintbrush and bowl of water.
Well, this is still a winning activity with J at 3 years old. The neighbors (age 4 and 5) have even joined in on the fun.
So far it’s been a success at 1, 2 and 3 years old!
Yes, I am rather cheap and I tend to save everything. I’m always contemplating what activity we could do with would-be trash.
As J finishes sticker sheets, I often peel the remaining border and stick it on a sheet of paper. It’s saved for some random rainy day… or days spent inside with a colicky (but adorable) baby.
I gave J some dot markers and a border sheet of what had been a set of smiley face stickers. Each empty circle was bordered with a different color. I simply asked J to use the dot markers to fill in each circle with the corresponding color. Simple, yet effective in entertaining while I fed his little brother.