Rainy Day Activity For Kids { Puzzle Hunt }

summer activities for kids insideRainy days at our house always start with happy play but by early afternoon my kids have used up their patience with each other and mine isn’t far behind. This puzzle hunt took 2 minutes to set up and they played 3 times. More importantly the bad attitudes we were all developing were stopped in their tracks. It’s the perfect easy rainy day activity for kids. It’s also a great way to use puzzles. We used wooden puzzles but if you have older kids it would be fun to try a jigsaw puzzle instead. Another thing I love about puzzle hunts is you know if you forgot to find a piece because the puzzle won’t be complete.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some puzzles . <— pretty easy right?rainy day puzzle hunt
  2. Pop all the pieces our and start hiding them. rainy day puzzle hunt activity for kidsI send my kids up to the playroom while I hid them. Hide some in tricky places and some in plain sight if you have younger kids.  hidden pieces
  3. Time to search. rainy day puzzle hunt for kidsThey started out trying to beat each other and I reminded them that they are working as a team to beat me.rainy day gross motor If they find all the pieces then they win , if not I win. That did the trick and they were a team from then on. scavenger hunts for kids
  4. They took breaks every now and then to count how many we had already found and how many were still missing. rainy day puzzle hunt for toddlers
  5. Complete! If anything makes a parent burst with happiness it’s an unprompted hug between siblings that isn’t part of an apology. rainy day cooperative play

Other ways to play include having your kids hide the pieces and you find them , take it outside ( you may want to pop the pieces in a Ziploc or 5 ) , and include words on each to create a secret message .

On long summer days especially if you are stuck inside for whatever reason simple play like this goes so far in improving moods, recharging a bad day and getting kids to work together. For more rainy day ideas ( and sunny day ones too )  check out our Pinterest boards !

Flag Day Activity For Kids

patriotic activity for kidsToday is Flag Day and instead of sitting inside and crafting stars and stripes we are running and searching all over our yard for them. This Flag Day activity for kids is as simple as it gets but fits perfectly with the special day. After playing we talked about the flag, it’s evolution and what flags are for.  I plan on repeating this many times leading up to 4th of July as well.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a container and some flags. We got everything at the dollar spot at Target and as far as I know it’s all still there! We have 8 flags and a tin bucket.flag day game
  2. Hide the flags around your yard. I just pushed mine right into the ground. 4th of july activity
  3. Gather your search party.  flag daya easy activityI explained it was not a race that they are working together against the clock. This turns my super competitive 6 year old into a supportive team player and gives my daughter a chance to participate at a more equal level.
  4. Go! I used my phone to time although really they didn’t care about the time they just liked the hunt. flag day outside activity
  5. I spaced the flags out a lot.flag day race I wanted them to run as much as possible .flag day for preschool
  6. As they returned the flags to the bucket I had them count and my son figure out how many more we needed to find. See what I did there? Throwing in a little bit of math. flag day gross motor
  7. All in all it took three minutes and 43 seconds to find all 8 flags. Clearly I need to hide them better …. or give fewer hints. flag day outside activity for kids

 

If an inside activity is really what you are after check out these  Patriotic Crafts.

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Water Balloon Game { Learning After School}

outside learningMy son’s all time favorite activity we’ve ever done was our  Angry Birds Water Balloon Game.  Warm weather and a half day of school made yesterday the perfect day to get drenched in the front yard and do a little Learning After School.  We did this with math but it would be as simple to make letters , shapes or sight words as targets. Here is what we did .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some water balloons, a sharpie, some number targets , page protectors, bean bags,  and hula hoops. You will also want a laundry type basket to carry the filled balloons. water balloon math
  2. Start by making the targets.water balloon math targets I chose the numbers 7, 9 ,10 ,and 15. All the equations will equal one of these numbers.  I used picmonkey.com to make simple images. Printed them out one per page and slid them into page protectors. water balloon math 2
  3. Fill your balloons . Carefully write equations that equal the numbers on the targets such as 3+4 or 15-5 .  For younger children you could simply write numbers on the balloons and have them match them with the targets.water balloon math 3
  4. Set up your targets. water balloon math activity for kidsI added bean bags inside the page protectors to weight them down. water balloon math 4
  5. Get ready. water balloon math activity for kids 2
  6. Go! Read the equations, find the answer on one of the targets and throw!water balloon math for kids 1
  7. They loved this. My son would read his sister’s equations and tell her where to throw it. I was seriously amazed at how accurate he was. I should have remembered that later when we filled up more to throw at each other. It was kids against Mom and the kids won. water balloon math activity for kids 3
  8. After the game – play more! We ended up using all the extra balloons and running through the sprinkler before retreating to the house. aftergame

Learning After School is our series of simple learning activities for families to do together after school. They are meant to be bite size and engaging . They aren’t meant to replace homework just add a little more learning without making your child feel like they doing any extra work.

Find & Rhyme – Gross Motor Rhyming Game

find and rhyme game for readingGetting my son learning after school isn’t always easy because he’s just been at school all day!  This rhyming  game was originally supposed to be a Frisbee like game with the hula hoops acting as targets but my dollar store plates were too light and even doubled up wouldn’t fly well. So we turned it into a hunt and my daughter came along for the ride and everyone had fun . You could adapt this easily for different levels using upper and lowercase as pairs to match, sight words ( writing out two and finding the match) or word families. Even though my almost 3 year old participated this activity is part of our Learning After School series . This series is filled with ideas for fun active learning after school gets out.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cheap plastic plates ( just don’t expect them to make good Frisbees… ) , a sharpie and some hula hoops.Rhyming Hunt for kindergarten
  2. Start by writing some words on the plates. I chose 4 words that offered lots of rhyming words.  Bake, car, band and hat.rhyming activity for kids with movement
  3. Write out as many rhyming words on the rest of the plates for each as you think will offer your child the right amount of challenge.  You can always have a few extra on hand to hide on the go if your child is into it and you want to extend it.
  4. Place the anchor words ( bake, car, band and hat) in the hula hoops.hunt and rhyme learning after school
  5. Hide the other plates. rhyming word hunt
  6. Get your kids ready – I had my son agree that he’d let his sister find her share and not zoom through and grab them all . He also offered up his reading and rhyming skills to help. I wasn’t sure how it would play out … if you are doing this with a number of children with similar rhyming and reading abilities a great way to do it is to start each child off with a different word and have them search only for words that rhyme with their assigned word. * Whenever I am explaining rules I start with a quick game of Simon Says. It gets them focused. hunt and rhyme learning after school game
  7. It was great. hunt and rhyme early literacy gameHe needed a reminder not to grab all the plates but one reminder was enough. They would find a plate, run over and match the rhymes. She got a few solo ( after we read them of course)gross motor rhyming game and he would do his in his head throwing them down fast. But then when she was stumped he took time to help his sister saying things like ” Do you hear they sound the same? Cake and bake rhyme.” It was still pretty much over her head but he got great practice being patient and teaching her.  You can see him stretching out the words for her as a hint. Best part is the plates store easily and you can add more when you want to play again. sounding out the rhymes - rhyming game for kids

 

Books That Rhyme

 

25 picture books that rhyme

Here are 25 great books that rhyme . When reading these books with your kids take some time to play with the rhymes , not every single on but a few. Be silly and have fun. Do things like use a synonym in the place of a rhyming word  in the familiar text. When your child corrects you explain that the word means the same thing. They will insist it’s still not right . Ask them why. Continue reading. Pretending not to know the answer and letting my kids answer for me always gets a good laugh and the lesson sticks as well.

Indoor Bug Hunt {with counting, sorting and matching}

bug hunt color match sortingFinding activities that both my two year old and her six year old brother enjoy isn’t always easy. More and more he wants to do something she doesn’t have the patience or skill for yet. One thing they both love are hunts. Simple materials, fun game and a ton of learning. This bug hunt has color matching , counting and sorting as well as a ton of fun. This activity was a great way for both of them to play and learn together. As you will see they worked at their own level while working together. Although we used bugs you could use any small items like plastic Easter eggs, simple blocks or even cut out shapes.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need many multi colored small objects to hide, construction paper in the same colors ( we chose a rainbow theme but you could do any colors) and some kids eager to find things.rainbow bug hunt and sorting activity
  2. Spread your colors out on a flat surface like the floor or table.rainbow bug hunt
  3. Hide your bugs. Can you see any in this picture ?rainbow bug hunt for preschool
  4. Explain the rules of the game. Find the bug and sort it in the correct color. For my son I added the following challenges : After he found a bug and put it in the right color I asked him to see which color had the most bugs and which had the least. This made him pause so his sister had a slight chance at finding some of the bugs and gave him a little math lesson too.
  5. Start finding those bugs! bug huntThey were so quick it was hard for me to catch any pictures.bug hunt
  6. My daughter loved sorting them and every now and then I would sneak one into the wrong color and she’d fix it.rainbow bug hunt 7
  7. When we found them all I asked them to count. My daughter counted all the bugs in each color bug hunt countingand my son counted all the bugs in every color. He also told me which color had the most, which had the least .bug hunt and sort
  8. After that he went off to play Lego but my daughter and I played two more times.bug hunt color match

 

Books About Bugs

19 books about bugs

We try to always match up activities with books to reinforce active play with quality reading time. Here are 19 great bug books for you and your little bug hunters to check out.