Tag Archives: Outside fun

Chalk Roads

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!

 

Sidewalk Paint

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!

Pick Your Own Fruit and Vegetables

This is the season to pick your own fruit!  We’ve done this twice now.  Last year we picked apples when J was 2.5 years.  This month we picked strawberries.  This is such a great activity.  For someone like me who can’t manage to grow anything, this is the only way he’ll probably ever see for himself where our food comes from (other than the grocery story!)

He’d much rather sleep in his crib.

 

Of course he loved enjoying the reward of his hard work too! 

I’ve found this website helpful in searching for farms where you can pick your own fruit/vegetables.  They have maps of each state so you can find farms for your specific county.  For those like me who are completely ignorant about which foods are harvested in which season, they also have harvest dates for your region.

Homemade Water Table

This is something I wrote on our family blog from last summer.  It’s a great alternative to spending money on a store-bought water table.  J’s is still just as entertained this year at 3 years old as last!
 
We’re still playing with water almost every time we head outside.  I noticed that they sell water tables at all the stores but thought it was a little ridiculous to spend good money on a glorified bucket!  So we made our own water table with what we had. All it required was pulling out a flat storage box (luckily it was just lying there empty under my bed) and J’s wagon.  It’s a perfect fit!  He loves it.  And when there’s no shade, I just wheel the wagon into the garage.
I found that sand/water wheel last summer on clearance for $2.  He played with it in the tub until this summer’s homemade water table. 
Here he is trying to pour water into a dropper.  Smart boy! Pouring is easier than manipulating the dropper to fill it up.  Too bad the experiment wasn’t so successful.
He loves blowing bubbles
Pouring is much easier with a funnel!
I made some blue ice cubes that he liked scooping into the tub, stirring them, letting them melt in his hand, watching the water turn blue, and then refilling the tray to make more ice.
 

Grow Something!

This is something we did to celebrate J’s birthday last year.  He got to pick out some flowers at the store and then had some fun digging holes in the dirt, planting, filling, watering, getting dirty,… 

He planted flowers both in pots and in our front flower bed.  The potted plants didn’t do so well (I do NOT have a green thumb and had no clue what I was doing, apparently we planted way to many in the tiny pots!).  The flowers he planted in the garden did great!  All season long he could point out the flowers that he planted.  We will definitely do this again this year. 

Let your little ones help you this year as you refill your flower beds!

Age attempted: 24 months

Get Outside!!

Here’s a few outside activities your little one might enjoy!

Fun Ways to Use Sidewalk Chalk (circles, arrows)

Painting with Water

Washing the Car

Color Mixing with Ice

Snow Shoveling Toddler Style

Thess pictures are from last year when J was 21 months.  We dressed him up in his winter gear, gave him a soup ladle and he was entertained “helping” dad shovel the driveway.  Maybe this simple idea will be put to use in light of the blizzard moving across the country!  Even little ones can “help”.

Leaf Sorting Pictures

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

4th of July Activities in action (part 1)

So today we did the first few activities from my 4th of July list.  I thought if we’re gonna celebrate Independence day, he needs to know a little more than red, white, and blue :)  So we started with the country we live in.  My goal was for him to recognize the map of the U.S., know that he lived there (and maybe even pinpoint the location on the map), know our country’s name (shortened to USA since he is a toddler!) and recognize our flag.  Too much?  I figured it doesn’t hurt to try.  There is no test in the end, so we succeed no matter what.  And I’m a former history teacher, so we’re stepping into mommy’s interests!

1. Introduction to U.S. map – I found a dry-erase map of the U.S. in the dollar section at Target and finally put it to use.  I explained that it was a map of the U.S., we traced around the borders with the dry-erase marker (his first time to use one and he thought it was cool!).  I then explained that this was where we lived.  We drew a dot there and I set a small picture of our family next to the dot (I use pics a lot to help him visualize).  I then put a dot where J’s grandparents live and we placed a small picture of them next to the spot.  I  drew dashes to connect the two spots and pulled out J’s toy airplane to show how we fly back and forth to visit.  He connected the dashes (kinda) to create a line between the two spots and then just drew all over the map!  At some point he noticed that the backside had a map too and wanted me to point our home and Grandpa’s home out once again.  When dad got home that night, I brought the map back out and J was excited to show off where everyone lived and how we fly from one place to the other.   

**I’m excited to go back to the map some time in the future and learn where other close family members live, but for now I thought 2 was enough!

2. U.S. poster (letters, flags, and map) – I printed out a simple map of the U.S. and we again labeled where we live as well as J’s grandparents.  I had some USA stickers that he placed on the paper, allowing me to emphasize our country’s name.  Then I let him glue a few printouts of the U.S. flag on the page too.  My goal was for him to start connecting the three (map, name, flag) together. 

3. U.S.A. letter activity – I wrote down USA at the top of the paper and he used that as a model to glue letter printouts in order.  It was the first time I’ve introduced the letters U and S, so it was a lot at one time.  It really became practice in following directions for him more than anything. 

**We taped both #2 and #3 activities on the front door so that there will be lots of opportunities to review.

 

4.  Decorated the flower bed with U.S. flags

5. Decorated the storm door with 4th of July gel stickers

Each rectangle looked something like this

6.  Counting stars and stripes - We’ve been focusing no the number 3 recently, so I included some stars and strips in our counting practice.  We have some sliding doors that have molding throughout to create multiple rectangles in the windows (that’s the best way I can think to explain it, I’m sure lots have something similar).  I taped the number 3 inside one of the rectangles and then had J place 3 stars and 3 stripes inside each rectangle.  We used gel stickers for the stars and I just cut the stripes out of red construction paper prior to the activity.

All the activities combined probably took a grand total of 30 to 40 minutes tops (with the exception of #5 and #6 which were done a few days prior).  They were all spaced out throughout the day rather than all back to back. 

Age: 26 months

Painting the Driveway

I remember when we were little, my sister and I used to spend FOREVER painting the bricks that surrounded the neighborhood pool with water.  Of course by the time we made it around the whole pool, the water had dried so we had to start over.  We had a goal and were determined to accomplish it!  My mom was free to talk with the other moms and we were completely content.  The paintbrushes were a permanent addition to our swimming bag for quite awhile.

So when J got old enough, I capitalized on this activity.  I used to put him on our back deck with a bowl of water and a paintbrush while I cooked dinner on the other side of the glass doors.  He was content (literally 3 feet away) painting the boards in the deck and I was free to cook without my pretoddler under my feet. 

At two years old, J is still entertained with just a paintbrush and water.   Sometimes he paints whatever he wants and sometimes I give him a goal to accomplish (paint all the steps, paint around the car).

This link and this link shows how to capitalize on a paintbrush and water indoors.

Age attempted: originally around 15 months, now 25 months