This blog is here for you to find fun learning activities to do with your children. We share great ideas we find and love on the Internet, as well as ideas we come up with on our own! We also like to share resources we find helpful.

To find ideas for your child, click on the age range blog label or on the theme/topic you are looking for (on the left side of the page). In each post, we try to list optimal age ranges for the activity, but you must judge for yourself if it is appropriate for your child. When you try an activity out, please comment and let us (and everyone else) know how your child liked it!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Easter Basket Sensory Activity

This activity was born out of my need for several things. First of all, I wanted a fun sensory activity for my children for this season of the year. My kids love sensory activities--especially my nearly three year old daughter. Second of all, I had a need to justify the use of another Easter basket. I don't know what it is about these things, but I have a weakness. I love them. My husband wanted me to downsize our collection (I guess since I cam home with two new baskets a couple of weeks ago), so I found myself analyzing the need for each basket.

This is a nice sensory activity for this time of year because, as you can see, the basket can double as a decoration.

18 months and up

  • Easter Basket
  • Easter grass
  • Treasures to put inside. I put bunnies and eggs. For added excitement, you can put things in the eggs
  • Fill your eggs with treasures if you intend to
  • Put your treasures in the basket buried under the grass

Allow your child to dig through the grass to find the treasures. You child will want to do this over and over again. It is as simple as that.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sidewalk Painting

Tired of the mess from painting inside? Or maybe you haven't even gone there yet. :) On your next (or first) nice day of weather, why not try sidewalk painting?

Materials: some paint brushes (I got a few for less than a $1, including the foamy brushes), some type of bowls (I used Tupperware), cornstarch, food coloring, water.
Directions: Mix 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1/4 cup cold water, and the desired amount of food coloring. Add more cornstarch/water to get the consistency that you want.
Have fun painting!! It sprays right off the sidewalk, hasn't stained any of our clothing, and is super easy to clean off their hands...only a hose needed! :)
We even painted a road to drive cars!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Counting With Eggs

This is a fun activity to do in conjunction with Easter to focus on math learning. One skill teachers look for when screening for kindergarten is the ability to touch and count objects, and this activity helps teach that.

You can do this anywhere from two and up. Some children sometime between 18 months and up could do this. You could also do a variation of this with children younger than 18 months to expose the child to counting.

  • Egg carton
  • Plastic Eggs* Note: You can do this activity without eggs if you want to
  • Marker
  • Items to fill eggs
  • Write a number on each egg. The photo above shows a pound sign (#) before the number. That isn't necessary, and I think just the number would be best. Write the numbers 1 through 12. *If you are doing this activity without the eggs, just write a number in each egg spot directly on the carton.
  • Fill the eggs with something. You can use snacks such as raisins, candy, or small toys if you have some that will fit 12 in one egg. Put as many items in each egg as the number on the egg. So if you were doing raisins, you would put one raisin in egg one, seven in egg 7, etc.

For Preschooler
Have your preschooler identify what number is on the outside of the egg. Have your preschooler open each egg and count the items inside. Have him take each item out as he counts it so he will get practice touching and counting items. Many preschoolers can count from 1-12, so it might be more of a challenge to do the numbers out of order.

For Toddler
Work in number order 1-12. Before you open the egg, have your toddler identify the number on the egg. Most won't know; tell you child what the number is if she doesn't know. Then open the egg. The next step will range based on toddler's ability. Younger toddlers will most likly need you to pull the item, count it, and hand it to her. The benefit of this is she will hear counting, feel the counting, see the counting, and if it is a treat/snack, taste the counting :). The older toddler might be able to pull the items out herself and count, and some might pull out, but need some help counting. Complete the activity at your toddler's ability level with offering some challenge to help her grow.

For Baby
As soon as baby is old enough to eat finger foods, you can put your favorite finger food in the eggs. Work in number order 1-12. Show baby the egg. Point to the number and say what it is. Then open the egg. Count each item as you take it out. Give it to baby as you count and let her eat it. You aren't going to have your baby start counting one day as a baby, but this will expose her to counting. Don't underestimate the power of simple exposure. Children are eager to learn and learn from all they experience.

If you are eager to do something with a baby who is unable to eat finger foods yet, you can still do something. You can put items in the eggs, pull them out, and count them. Keep these items out of reach of baby because they will be too small to be safe for her.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Car Game: Wallets

A favorite activity for both of my girls in the car (ages 2.5 and 13 months) are personal wallets. You can use an old wallet/purse you have around the house, or get a cheap one from a bargain store. This has helped preserve the afternoon nap at ages where if they slept for even 15 minutes in the car, that's just enough to ensure they wouldn't take an afternoon nap (like Sunday after church). Both girls love taking the items in and out of the wallet, looking at the pictures, snapping the wallet, and unzipping the change pouch. It's provided a good 20-30 minutes of entertainment on more than one occasion. I actually keep them in the compartment in the car. That way they are never left at home.

Some items to put in your wallet:
  • small flash cards of numbers, letters, or shapes
  • pretend dollars (for counting)
  • fake credit cards that come in the mail (I wouldn't recommend expired ones, just in case)
  • library card, if your child has their own personal one
  • pictures of family
  • pictures of things they love (like animals, princesses, trucks)
  • a small sheet of stickers
  • if the wallet fits one (like in a check holder) put a small pad of paper and crayon for drawing
  • key chains attached to it
  • I have a mini measuring tape on one. My oldest loves to try to measure things, like her hands and feet.
  • On mytoddler's wallet, I attached a mini stuffed animal on a key chain.
  • A mini flashlight/light up device
Have fun... and enjoy some nice quiet time in the car!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Weather Relay

If your house is anything like mine, you may spend a lot of time explaining clothing choices for certain seasons. As much fun as it is to wear a bathing suit, wearing it to the grocery store in January probably isn't a great idea. And my hat lovin' daughter has yet to be concerned with the 80+ degree weather, even while wearing a fleece lined hat and coat.
So I went to Google Images, typed in Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall (individually) and printed off pictures of stereotypical images from each season. Next, I gathered clothing/items to represent each season (summer: shorts, bathing suit, beach towel).
How you play the rest is up to you! Here are 2 options:
1) Call out a season, showing the picture to your child(ren). Have them run to the pile, dig through and find (or dress in) the appropriate clothing. Then double check...do you wear a toboggan in the winter? Mittens? Flip flops?
2) Lay out the 4 season pictures and have them go through and sort into piles which items belong in each season. Set a timer to make it more fun!

At the end, pick a season and have a seasonal snack while dressed up, like drink hot chocolate w/ marshmallows while wearing coats and hats, or snack on a Popsicle while wearing a bathing suit and sunglasses on a beach towel!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Self-Portrait Puppets

This is a fun activity to do to get some insight into the way your child views himself. My mother-in-law did this with my children. They were so excited about it and showed my husband and I over and over their creations.

I would say this would best be done with two and up. You could possibly do it with 18 months and up, depending on the child.

  • Paper bag
  • Construction paper
  • Crayons
  • Glue
  • *you could also use any other art medium you want to
  1. Tell your child he is going to make a puppet of himself.
  2. Ask him how he wants to create himself. What color of hair should we do? What color of shirt do you want to wear? How long should we make your hair? Help your child create the items as needed.
  3. Cut out items.
  4. Glue it together.
You could make one, too, and then practice role playing with your respective puppets. You could even trade and show your child the appropriate way to act, as well as see how your child views the way you give instructions ;)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring Collections

This weekend marks the first weekend of Spring! With weather this week in the mid-60's and low 70's, I feel like it's quickly making its appearance in our area.

Our introduction to Spring was quick and uncomplicated. I wanted a chance just to talk, look, and discover.

First, we read Mouse's First Spring by Lauren Thompson. It's a cute story about a mouse and his mommy going for a walk and discovering all the new things Spring has delivered.

Then I put up a poster. We then went in the front and back yard to see what Spring items we could collect. Green grass, a new flower, green leaves, and a bud were some of the discoveries. The taped/glued them to our poster to proudly show daddy when he gets home from work. We also talked about the changes...wearing shorts or short sleeves, no winter coats, people out cutting grass and working in their yards, baby birds, a few new insects, and (ugh) some early mosquitoes.
So take a walk...read a good book...enjoy this weather as soon as it graces you...we even pulled out the sprinkler! No, it wasn't really that warm. My daughter was just that excited.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Up and Down

Age Range: 18 months-3 years

  • crayons
  • paper
  • cardboard
  • scissors
  1. Draw a skinny rectangle on the cardboard
  2. Cut out the rectangle (I found that a sharp knife helped me get started, then scissors did the rest)
  3. This creates a stencil of sorts that is fat enough for crayons to be used

Place the stencil on the blank paper and grab a crayon. Trace up and down inside the stencil, saying/singing "Up and down, up and down" with the appropriate motions of the crayon. Let your child choose a crayon. If your child will allow, put the crayon in his hand and guide his hand going up and down just as you demonstrated before. Use less guidance as you see your child ready to do it independently. Show him the line he made using the stencil and crayon.

If his interest holds, try this going from side to side as well, saying "left and right, left and right" to work on directions.

  • fine motor
  • pre-writing
  • position/direction

I took this last one because at the time my son was holding the crayon perfectly, just as you would grip a pencil to write. Of course he moved his hand a bit right as I took the picture, but you can see that he's not holding the crayon in his first and is putting sufficient pressure on the crayon even if the angle is slightly off. Using enough pressure is something he's had to work into, I've had to explicitly encourage and demonstrate that since he began coloring at 12 months. If you do this activity with an 18-24 month old they may or may not have good pressure on the crayon yet. That's fine, it's one of the benefits of letting kids color actually.

As for the hand position, there is no need to force correct hand positioning at 2 years old, but just look at your own hand as you naturally hold the crayon. Keep it in mind and when your child seems open to it try to gently guide your child to holding the crayon similarly. Bad grip habits are annoying to overcome in kindergarten and first grade. Somehow my son has always had a pretty accurate grip at least 50% of the time with little explicit instruction on my part. It may be because I tend to color with him (yes, I know that may not be cool but hey, coloring is fun!) :) Sometimes an accurate example to model is all a child needs. Most kids need some sort of real practice and instruction at some point. In fact, I hold my pencil incorrectly to this day because of my kindergarten instruction (or lack thereof)! As you can see in the photo below Tobias is doing something similar, angling his hand down towards him, which makes it hard to write neatly. So for him I'll need to work on fixing that asap, mostly by trying to correct my own grip.


Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE Brayden's preschool teacher? She is the best. I have zero complaints about her, which is kind of rare for me. I usually see room for improvement somewhere. With her, nothing. Love her. She is the perfect teacher.

Okay, so this cute leprechaun is something Brayden brought home from preschool, hence the "ode to teacher" by me.

With this activity, you can talk about colors and shapes. It is also a fun art activity, and of course, a fun way to celebrate a holiday.

This is another one of those activities where young toddlers can even do it because it is easily assembled.

  • Small paper plate (but you could use a white piece of paper. You probably want it to be stiff, so if you need to use paper, stiffen it with some cardboard behind it--like cardboard from a cereal box or something).
  • Curly noodles--they colored theirs orangy/red, but you could leave it the original color if you like.
  • Crayons
  • Green construction paper
  • Black construction paper
  • Yellow construction paper
  • Glue
  • For the toddlers, cut out the shapes to make the hat. You will need a green square, a green rectangle, a black rectangle, and a yellow square.
  • For the preschoolers, draw the shapes for the hat, but let them cut it out.
  • For the older children, have them draw and cut out the shapes for the hat.
  • Gather supplies.
  1. Have older children draw and/or cut out shapes for hat
  2. Have all children draw and color the face for the leprechan
  3. Glue the hat together
  4. Glue the hat on the plate
  5. Glue noodles on hat for whiskers
  6. Let dry, then display!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Nice to Meet You!

My daughter, who tends to be on the shy side, was having trouble speaking to people when introduced or when prompted. I don't mean talking to strangers. I mean the people you'll encounter more regularly (at church, neighbors, family that comes to visit every few months, etc). At 2 I don't expect her to carry on a full conversation, but we are teaching her to say hello and answer brief questions (How are you _____? I like your dress! Aren't your sparkly shoes pretty!!) when asked.
So we tried playing what I call the Nice to Meet You game.
Materials: dress up clothes (any will do!)

Activity: I dressed up and tell her that we are at church/store/etc and she's will her mommy. I then say hello and compliment her. The conversation goes something like this:
Elderly lady at church: Hello! How are you this morning?
Daughter: Good! How are you?
Lady: Fine, thank you. I like your pretty dress!
Daughter: Thank you!

Then I change clothes, and we try it again! It's that simple! Sometimes I close her door to her room and knock, or we use her grocery cart and pretend we're at church. We've talked about how when someone says "I like your ____" it's a compliment and she's to say thank you.

For older children, this is a good way to role play encounters with strangers/semi-strangers. It's a good time to talk about a code word for your family and things to do and never to do.
At 2 we haven't gone there yet because of lack of understanding. At her age, however, she is not out of my sight except when I specifically drop her off at her Sunday school class with her teacher. For your particular situation, be aware of the situations your child will be in and use your discernment.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Learning Colors

You don't always need to do an official "activity" to teach about colors. I think a fun and simple thing to do is to incorporate it into your day. I started this with Kaitlyn when she was about 18 months old, and I was shocked at how quickly she grasped it and how well she understood what I was teaching her. Doing these things are great for the little pre-toddlers, and it is still fun for the older preschoolers.

Color Hunt
Start the day off with a color hunt. As I type this, St. Patrick's Day is approaching, so let's use green as our sample color. You tell your child, "Today, we are learning about the color green." Then hold up something green, "This is green. Can you see anything else in the room that is green?"

Then go on a hunt through the house looking for green items. You might have pictures, pillows, paint, plants...you will be surprised at how much you have. You can take your hunt outside...if you live somewhere with green outside right now. Boo.

Color Fashion
I always have the whole family wear our color we are learning about that day if possible. Wear green shirts, socks, underwear...be sure to point out as your child is getting dressed everything with green on it.

Color Food
I also like to try to eat food that is the color of the day. So for green, we might have broccoli, a salad, or celery. If you like to dye food, you could have pancakes colored green. You could make cupcakes and dye them green and/or dye the frosting. Dye your milk green and make green cookies. Have green Jell-O and green pudding.

The point here is to point out to your child that the color of the day/week is all around her. Show lots of excitement about it, and she will to!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Animal Toss

My girls are about 19 months apart, so it's really nice to find activities that they can do together. This idea is from The Sibling Busy Book and was really fun for both girls (2 and 11 months when we first started playing).

  • laundry basket (or some sort of large basket)
  • crib or bed, depending on what is safe for your kids
  • stuffed animals


  1. Put child(ren) in the crib or bed (or couch, etc).
  2. Show them how to toss the animal and try to get it in the basket.
  3. Start the basket close to the bed/couch/crib and gradually move the basket farther away.

I filled the crib with stuffed animals. They had a blast doing this! (And I got the added benefit of contained, happy children while I put laundry away). This activity eventually ended with both of them rolling around giggling hysterically. Love it!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Shamrock Potato Print

Kids love paint. It is fun to paint in various mediums. I was thinking about St. Patrick's Day, which led me to think about potatoes, which led me to decide to do a potato print picture with Kaitlyn for St Patrick's Day.

I would say 18 months and up. 18 month old children can have fun with this, but don't expect them to make an actual picture. Just let them have fun with the paint and potato. Prints are an easy art project.


  • Green Paint

  • Potato--washed and cut in half

  • Construction paper

  • Plate for paint

  1. Have your child dip the potato in the paint

  2. Have your child press the potato on the paper. Have them press lightly
Take note that I just had Kaitlyn (2.5) have fun doing art. I didn't have her make a Shamrock. She giggled. She laughed. She exclaimed, "This is fun!"

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Texture Bags

Super easy and fun! Great for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.
Double zipper sandwich bag
Hair gel, pudding, applesauce, yogurt, washable paint....basically anything gooey. :)
Glitter (optional)

Put 1/4 - 1/2 cup of gel/pudding in a sandwich bag and zip tightly, removing most of the air. Flatten bag so that it's a drawing surface.
Let your child play!

Babies will enjoy just squishing. I have to keep an eye on my baby because she's a fan of chewing on these bags.
Toddlers: Play guess the shape/letter, let them try to draw with their fingers, decorate the bag, make dots and have them count them. Hand prints were a winner with my girls. She even figured out how to do a face print. :)
Preschoolers: Great for practice writing letters and drawing shapes. Bigger bags seemed to be more fun...larger drawing/writing surface. You can also make a letter sound and have them draw the appropriate letter, call out a word and they can try to write the beginning consonant, etc. Be creative!
You can also mix colors of paint for a swirl effect in the bag. It's also a good change to talk about what happens when you mix colors like blue and yellow!
If using pudding, yogurt, applesauce or some kind of food, I would really recommend hanging on to the bag for long. If you choose paint or gel, the bags are good for some time! I keep a few bags stored in my activity cabinet.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Let's Cut Paper!

Not everything we do around here is something we put together ourselves--either from my head or from a book. Sometimes, I pull out a workbook. I love this Kumon Workbook for fun activities to build up paper cutting skills. It is for ages 2 and up. It is full of paper cutting activities designed to slowly build up your child's muscles, coordination, and cutting abilitly. It starts with simple, one-stroke cuts and works its way up to zig-zags and curves.

But you don't need to have the Kumon Workbook (or any other workbook) to do cutting activities. You can simply draw lines on paper for your child to cut. All you need are some child-safe scissors, a marker, and a piece of paper. Start with short, straight lines. Gradually make them longer. Move on to diagonal lines, zigs, zags, and curves.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Marshmallow Sculptures

Looking for something do do with all those leftover marshmallows besides make 100 cups of hot chocolate or rice crispy treats?


Marshmallows (large and/or small) OR gumdrops

Toothpicks and/or straws

I think the gumdrops work better for tall structures. For ease of use, marshmallows are good.

Activity: See what kind of structures you both can build together using the materials you chose. Can you build something tall, like a castle? Letters? Numbers? Shapes?

This is a fun way to let them be creative and let their imaginations run wild. It's also fun to knock over. :)

*Helpful hint for those with children that will eat themselves sick (Raises hand!): Fill a small bowl up with the amount of treats they are allowed to eat while they build. It's not so much fun if you know you can't sample! We call ours the "Tasting Bowl." (Genius, I know.)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Egg Carton Caterpillar

Ages: 18 months +

  • styrofoam or cardboard egg carton
  • finger paints
  • paint brush
  • newspaper/roll of paper for drop cloth
  • pipe cleaners
  • sharpie
  • art apron
  1. Cut egg carton in half (top and bottom).
  2. Prep child with art apron/smock. We love this one from IKEA, it's $2.99, which honestly can't be beat, and it covers all the way down the arms. (*warning, does not keep curious toddlers from putting paint in their mouths, see below picture for example)
  3. Lay out newspaper or a roll of plain paper as a drop cloth. We have this from IKEA, which comes on this holder, perfect for table-top cabinets. Normally I like to make due with stuff already at home, but these art supplies were a worthwhile investment and make a great, inexpensive gift set.
  1. Squeeze paint out onto paper. I chose to limit us to 2 colors, one of which was our color for this week--yellow. For moms who value 'pretty' projects, this is a simple way to keep an art project from turning into a brown and black mess of colors.
  2. Help your child paint the egg carton (to be the caterpillar body) with the paintbrushes. Have fun, stop when your child loses interest or begins eating the paint, whichever comes first.
  3. Set egg carton aside to dry.
  4. Carry child with arms out away from your body to the nearest bathtub and run water. Rinse and repeat ;) (for ease of clean up I rinsed the art smock in the bathtub with Tobias and hung it over the shower head. When he was back to his normal color his clothes were still clean because of the smock, hooray!
  5. After a nap (or the next day) cut the egg carton in half long-wise and take a sharpie to draw eyes and a mouth for the caterpillar.
  6. Poke small holes in each division for legs on either side of the body. Cut pipe cleaners in half and thread each one through the body so there is a little leg sticking out on both ends. Repeat this for the antennae on the head. Allow your child to choose the color or ask them to find a particular color for you. This is a good way to informally test your child's color knowledge.

and later when we were all cleaned up and the caterpillar was ready for some legs and antennae. Notice that look of concentration :) He's such a firstborn.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cleaning Coins

When I first read this idea in The Preschooler's Busy Book, I thought it would be fun. As the time drew closer to do it, however, I started to have my doubts. Cleaning coins? Wa-hoo.

Never-the-less, I pressed forward with the idea, and it was a hit! Both Brayden (4.5) and Kaitlyn (2.5) loved it and talked about how fun it was. I loved it because it was a great activity to do while I made dinner that didn't require more than my voice to control the situation.

We did this activity in honor of President's Day (Presidents are on coins you see). You could do it as a fine motor activity, a lesson on money values, or even a science lesson if you put salt and vinegar in the water to remove tarnish.

Old enough to not put the coin in the mouth (but supervise all ages). I would say 18 months and older can do this.

  • Coins
  • Toothbrush
  • Towel for drying
  • Dish with water and soap
  • Gather supplies
Simply have your child clean the coins. As we did this, we talked about the President on the coin. I don't know why, but the kids loved it :)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


This was a fun way to teach names, recognition of family and friends to my daughter. We have quite a bit of family we don't see often, as well as people at church I wanted my daughters to start to recognize. It helped with my oldest daughter's shyness when seeing people at church and at family gatherings.
I took family/friend photos, as well as photos from our church directory, and laminated them with packing tape. I then stuck a large magnet (using magnetic tape) on the back. That way I didn't worry about a choking hazard as much. :)
We practiced sorting by children and adults, boys/girls men/women, church friends and family friends, members of the family and people that are not members of the family, hair color, daddy's family and mommy's family, etc. There's unlimited ways you can sort them. It also helped us when we got presents or cards in the mail. I could tell them, "This is from aunt ____" and then show them the picture or have them find that person's picture.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Nutter Butter Snow Man

My mother-in-law randomly gave us some Nutter Butter cookies. As I looked at them, I thought, "snowman!" So we took our best shot at creating a snowman out of our Nutter Butters. I think they kind of ended up looking more like ghosts than snowmen...but we had fun and the kids enjoyed eating them.

Old enough to be able to decorate the snowman. Kaitlyn is 2.5 and spread the frosting and decorated herself. If your child is too young for spreading frosting, you could spread for her and let her decorate.

  • Nutter Butter cookies
  • Chocolate chips or other candy for eyes and buttons (like raisins--thanks Kristy!)
  • Pretzels, Tootsie rolls, or some other candy for the arms
  • White frosting
  • Knife for spreading frosting
  1. Spread or have your child spread frosting on the Nutter Butter.
  2. Decorate as desired.
  3. Eat!


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