Rainy Day Physical Activity

We live outside Seattle and even for us this spring has been rainy. This activity is a perfect example of simple being wonderful. As soon as I told my son about my idea he was eager to start, so this wasn’t our most polished project, but trust me we had a ball. I don’t know about the kids in your house but in ours we need to work up a sweat inside or out to ensure a smooth bedtime and great sleep. So rain or shine we need to move our bodies!

  1. Gather your materials – all you need are some card stock ( index cards would be awesome) , a marker, and scissors if you need to cut the card stock.
  2. Write out different actions, exercises, and physical feats twice.
  3. Cut and make two piles.
  4. To play you need two players ( I played as well- trust me you don’t need to see me do karate kicks in my Pjs…not a pretty sight). Each player gets a pile.  The premise is simple both players put their pile of cards face down,  count out loud to 3 and flip .
  5. Then do the action on the card.
  6. Keep flipping and moving!
  7. Exercise will make you strong!

Book

Like all the books this week this one Strong Stickfiggy is one of the ebooks available on the  free MeMeTales’ Mobile Reader App . We read it on my iPod , under the covers pretending it was the Batcave ( do not tell me that shocks you…).  You don’t have to read it in a Batcave or even at home , you can read it anywhere which is my favorite part of this app.

Strong Stickfiggy
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Strong Stickfiggy

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Jar Lid Letter Game

baby food jar lid letter match

When my son started eating solids I made all his food… you can guess that is not the case with my daughter as I have this many baby food jar lids waiting to be made into something. I am just happy we made something useful and fun with them since they can’t be recycled like the jars can. This took me 5 minutes to make and $1 for the foam letter stickers. Frugal, Educational, Earth Friendly-ish ( foam letters are probably not eh?) and fun! Oh and super simple for the uncrafty or crazy busy .Oh and if your child is not ready for letters yet do colors, if they are way past letters try sight words. This idea can be adapted to any ability.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some foam letter stickers and  many jar lids (or milk jug caps would work too). You may want to do the whole alphabet but I didn’t bother letters work in all different combinations and you don’t need the whole alphabet each time you do activities with letters. You may also want a wet cloth to wipe any lids that didn’t get washed as well as you’d hoped.
  2. Peel and stick letters into the insides of the lids.
  3. Add them for each lid.
  4. Play. For beginners play with the letters facing up saying only “Can you find…” giving hints using the color and what letters it’s next to.
  5. For more experienced kids play face down. My 4.5 year old needed more help than I thought he would, not naming the letters but understanding he needed to remember where letters were. He also had a hard time flipping the lids with Grandma’s gloves Batman gloves on.
  6. Yay a match!

Alphabet Books

Quilt Alphabetby Lesa Cline- Ransome is a really pretty alphabet book that makes me think of autumn afternoons, my husband’s grandma ( she quilts) and crave caramel apples even though it’s not a strictly autumn book. Every page is devoted to a letter and the short poem that accompanies it never tells readers exactly what the letter represents, instead readers must figure it out. It’s not too hard though because the stunning illustrations in bright warm colors wonderfully give it away for every letter. My kids both liked it although my son was hoping that S would be for Superman explaining that he grew up on a farm in Kansas.

A Was an Apple Pie by Eitienne Deslessert takes the classic nursery rhyme and adds odd dinosaurish aardvarky  creatures to it. I personally thought the creatures were odd to the point of distraction but my son gobbled up this book and loved the creatures . Yet another reason I don’t just read the books themselves , just cause I think something is odd doesn’t mean kids will. I really like the text to this because it’s simplicity is as brilliant as how it uses both all the upper and lowercase letters of the alphabet easily. Also because it’s such an old rhyme there are words we don’t often see in children’s contemporary literature and offers some new additions to your child’s vocabulary too.

“A” Was Once An Apple Pie by Edward Lear and Suse MacDonald is an adaptation of the classic Edward Lear poem that had both my children transfixed. The bold bright colors kept my daughter who is 10 months old wide eyed the whole time and the playful way Suse MacDonald adapted the text had my son listening from A-Z as well. It was incredibly fun to read allowed tongue tying me at times which resulted in us all giggling hysterically in a heap. A book that can do that is a must have in my opinion.

Recycling Think and Sort Game

easrth day activities for kids

There is no way I would have ever expected this game to be half as popular as it is with my son. He has always loved garbage and recycling, but he took what I thought would be a fun activity and made it something he uses with this other toys. Calling it his recycling depot he has plopped it down on our family room floor all weekend next to the lego fire station and ferry dock. Oh and he continues to sort and re sort the items too! He’s using his imagination, pre math skills and problem solving too!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2-3 containers, some card stock, magazines , scissors, and double stick tape.
  2. Start by cutting out different recyclable and non recyclable  items. This is where they need to really stop and think . If you are doing this with a younger or easily frustrated kiddo do this step yourself and have the game ready for them to figure out. My son was reading when I did this step , it would have been too much for him to make and play the game.
  3. Tape them onto the card stock. I am using some of the 250 plus business cards that read notimeforflashcards,com  <— did you catch the comma? I digress. 
  4. Make simple recycle and garbage signs on some card stock and place in the containers.
  5. Ok time to play.
  6. Something I loved about this was how hard he thought about each picture. With the kleenex he said ” Well we throw away the tissue with boogers but recycle the box…” then thought for a while before deciding. After this super simple activity he has been asking ” Is this recyclable Mama? “About everything in our house!

Books

The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle: A Story About Recycling by Alison Inches is awesome! I only wish that my son was old enough to enjoy it as much as I did. It’s not aimed at 2 year olds at all, but he did like to open it to the page with the recycling truck and point out all the parts to me. The book itself takes the reader through the complete process from crude oil, to bottle and then to synthetic fleece. I am not too proud to admit I learned s a few new things and had a few good laughs along the way with the books little bits of humor too. I think most 5 year olds would enjoy this book, and it’s easy to break it down for those unable to sit for this much text. Also the book was printed on 100% post consumer waste paper.

Little Pirate: Why Do We Recycle? by Innovative Kids is a really fun book about recycling with a pirate theme. Yes a pirate theme. Readers learn about recycling, composting and garbage along with two young pirates who need to clean up their ship. The pirates ask questions about different waste and the wise parrot fills them into the facts like the best bag to use while shopping is a cloth one, and what happens to the metal, glass and paper after we put them in the recycle bin.

Trash And Recycling by Stephanie Turnball is a great book ! I learned more about garbage and the recycling process reading this to my son over lunch than I ever knew! He loved it and despite being a pretty sophisticated book for a 3 year old immediately asked to read it again as soon as I closed it. It explains the whole process from curbside pick up, land fills, incineration and recycling. The idea for today’s activity came from the sorting of  recyclable garbage from this book!

Character Memory Game

I tried to keep characters, TV and movies away from my son for as long as I could. That lasted about a year, now he recognizes most characters even ones he’s never seen anywhere but the store like Spider man .  Seeing all the merchandise in the store is tempting for kids and the last thing I need in my house is another plastic toy that offers few learning opportunities, so instead I made this.  I spent one dollar on these Toy Story stickers and we have been having fun playing and learning since. It’s a great compromise.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some character stickers ( 2 sheets of matching), some card stock, scissors or a paper cutter, and some family members to play.
  2. Start by cutting your card stock into squares.
  3. Pop the stickers on
  4. Make sure the stickers on on the same colors, I made it a little tricky for my 3 year old by having multiple characters , but used different colored card stock to help act as a hint.
  5. Gather some grandparents to play with your child !

This was one of the games we took with us on our road trip to the beach, it’s small, packs easily and fits into our Travel Craft Box !

Preschool Math Game

I use what I have to teach my son and for this game I used tea bags. I love tea and these bags were so colorful that they were the perfect available manipulative. Have you ever seen how expensive math manipulatives are?  You can use legos for this, fun colorful cut outs or even marbles ( provided your child is past the “I’ll pop that in my mouth” stage).

  1. Gather your materials.  We are using 5 different colors of tea bag packages, berry cartons ( 5) a bowl to hold all of the tea bags to start with and I made number cards 2-6 for the berry cartons.
  2. Start by talking about how some of the tea bags match and how you have to group the matching ones together.
  3. Count the matching tea bags.
  4. Find the correct carton with the number .  And pop them in !
  5. Keep going!  If your child is frustrated by too many steps, scale it back. Simply group the colors. Ditch the numbers and matching them up, if they are still game after that count the piles. The next time you play see if they are ready to take it to the next level and match the counted number with the written number in the carton. If not don’t push. Make this fun, they will get there when they are ready. In the mean time even if all they do is match up colors they are still practicing math skills, matching and color recognition so do not stress.
  6. For really reluctant mathematicians try using something they love like matchbox cars, Polly pockets, legos… be creative and you will be shocked at how receptive they may be.

Need more math activities? What about math books?

Math Activities

Math Books