Going on vacation is wonderful–you escape from the everyday stresses of ringing phones and errand running. You can keep learning with your kids, though, even if you are on vacation. Kids love learning and most will see these activities as fun rather than work.
One of the simplest and easiest things you can do is collect sea shells.
Don’t just pick them up, though, observe them. Talk about different sizes and colors. You might try sorting them into different piles. I sorted these sea shells into piles based on their shape in front of Charlie. Then we guided him through counting the different piles. If your child can speak, have them count out loud with you–we counted out loud for Charlie since he’s non verbal.
Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.
This game was a big hit with my 3 year old son. It evolved into so many things. I love activities like that. When your kids can take it in any direction they would like and they are still learning while playing, that is my kind of fun.
My neighbor sells jewelry in her spare time. She gives me the jewelry boxes after she hosts a party. Now if you do not have a neighbor that gives you jewelry boxes (which most of you don’t) you can always use different sized shoe boxes or even food storage containers from your kitchen. Anything that has a detachable lid.
Place your different size boxes out on the table. Put the lids near them, but make sure to not have them in the same positions as the boxes.
Have your child put the lids on the boxes. This is great for shape learning, deductive reasoning, and just plain out fun.
My son asked if we could put things inside the boxes. So I got items that were all different from each other. I grabbed a crayon, craft poms, a decorative marble, and a crumbled piece of paper.
I had him close his eyes while I put these items in different boxes. After he opened his eyes I asked him to figure out which item was in each box. I even drew a little sketch of the different items on a scratch piece of paper so he could remember what he trying to figure out. It worked great because he crossed through the items when he figured them out. It was fun to watch his techniques for figuring out which items were in which box. He would shake, he would tilt from side to side, and he would put one in each hand to compare the weight. I was really impressed. I told him to do whatever he needed to do to figure it out, but he couldn’t open the boxes.
After that fun, this turned into a building activity. The boxes were a city and the craft poms became tress and bushes, while the crayon was a man. I love a preschooler’s imagination!
Now don’t think this was just for preschoolers. My 21 month old got in on the action, too. She matched up the lids.
She shook the boxes to learn the difference between the sounds the different items made. I opened the boxes with her before and after she shook them. I had to be very careful about the poms and the marble. Those items required this activity to be a closely monitored one for her age.
Her learning also evolved. The boxes got stacked and made into a bed for her doll. Soon all of the boxes made there way into the backs of various dump trucks where they continued to be played with in many ways.
So start looking around your house for boxes and containers with lids. Watch and see where your kids take this activity. Then come back and let us know. I know I would love to read about it.
Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself.
Sensory activities are always a huge hit around here. My son loves exploring , squishing and the pretend play that always seems to accompany play dough play. Adding scents to your play dough simply makes something every day a little more novel and exciting.He played with this play dough forever. I originally only gave him half of each scent/color so we’d have some reserved for later, but then gave in. He was pretending to make and ice a cake on his own youtube video. It was hilarious and great pretend play.
- Gather your materials. Today we made Bisquick Playdough ( click for the recipe) , I like this one because the playdough is very white and is easy to color. To make the play dough scented we used flavorings ( Banana, Strawberry and Cherry) and food coloring. You can also use Kool-aid. Also grab a few zip locks for adding the flavor and color to avoid stained hands.
- After kneading the dough per the recipe , separate the dough into one bag per scent/color.
- Add the coloring , close the bag and have your helper come help. He mixed it some but I did the majority of mixing, it takes some time.
- Chill the dough until cold. This makes it less sticky.
- Gather some fun tools to play with – I love cookie cutters and popscicle sticks.
- Smell see if your child can identify the scents.
- One big happy smelly mess .
Books About Fruit
Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert is an alphabet book extraordinaire! Wonderful paintings of fruits and vegetables seem ultra simple and it is but somehow the way the author has pieced this simple book together is brilliant. Maybe it’s that children learn about food at the table multiple times a day and feel proud being able to identify not only some of the letters but some of the pictures too! From a teaching standpoint I love that there are both upper and lower case letters on each page! This book will grow with your child, and beware it will also make you
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey and Ron Wood is a fantastic book that children adore! The story not only unique in that the narrator speaks directly to the mouse , it’s illustrations will enchant your child’s imagination and make the most overtired parent smile. The little mouse is trying to keep the strawberry away from the bear, and his adorable attempts to hide it make my son laugh every time! Great book!
There are so many opportunities for playing with textures with every day art supplies but rough is one that doesn’t come as easy, but it’s not impossible. Sandpaper is really fun to use for all sorts of things. Just remember that when you do a sensory art project that you need to be prepared for mess since the whole point is to touch and feel! My son had so much fun ( by fun I mean made a huge mess)with this that we ended up in the bath immediately after.
- Gather your materials. You will need 2 sheets of sandpaper, some yellow and/or orange paint, a marker, a paint brush , scissors and glue.
- Draw a circle on one of the sheets.
- Cut the circle out, leave the other sheet whole, you will cut the rays into triangles later.
- Start by letting your child feel the sand paper, some kids will recoil from it, some will love the texture and explore it with their finger tips and nails for a long time.
- Next get the paint ready we wanted to use both colors since we were looking at pictures of the sun and I quote ” It’s not all yellow like I thought mommy!” so both colors were poured into a container for this project.
- Start painting the circle. We started with a brush and the sound the bristles made were really interesting. However I didn’t even have time to get a photo of him using a brush on the circle, he went straight for finger painting.
- Next he compared the rough paper to his smooth hands.
- Pass them the full sheet when they are ready.
- Remember that when you encourage finger painting, often a mess will follow, this is why you always use washable paint. These were not the only two hand prints on my table or his body, just the prettiest.
- Set the circle and other sheet up to dry and get in the bath.
- When dry ( ours took forever cause we had globs). Cut out the rays. If your child is willing have them cut, my son wanted NO part of cutting the sandpaper and I admit , I don’t enjoy cutting it either. I had shivers the whole time.
- Add glue to the back of the circle.
- Add your rays and let dry.
Other Activities About Texture: