## Water Balloon Game { Learning After School}

My 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.
2. Start by making the 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.
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.
4. Set up your targets. I added bean bags inside the page protectors to weight them down.
6. Go! Read the equations, find the answer on one of the targets and throw!
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.
8. After the game – play more! We ended up using all the extra balloons and running through the sprinkler before retreating to the house.

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.

## 10 Outdoor Activities For Toddlers

We have been living outside lately and unless it starts really raining I am not sure the playroom will getting many visitors. Here are some of our old favorite toddler activities that my 2 year old and I have been re-visiting over the last few weeks. I hope you find something on this list to turn into an old favorite !

## Sensory Tub Painting

If you read my post Monday you may have heard my dear daughter is trying to give up her nap. If she refuses to sleep we go outside if possible. This art activity was so much fun. We use our water table as big sensory tub and with this activity we also turned it into an open ended art activity. The results were awesome.  This super simple sensory tub painting will be done over and over all summer I promise you!

1. Gather your materials. You will need a water table ( we love ours and use it daily) but a large shallow Rubbermaid type bin would work perfectly too. Paint, some brushes and plain paper.  You may also want a hose ready for clean up.
2. Start by letting your child choose some paint colors .
3. Paint the inside of the tub. Explore. She made squiggles with both ends of the paint brushes, added more paint,  pretended to drive the cap all around the paint , and mixed with her hands.
4. Next grab some paper and print! I was amazed at how well these turned out. They were all different and totally rad.
5. Hang up to dry. Finally I had a use for this trellis that has been bare since I killed the plant that was on it. I am good with kids, not so much with plants.
6. Now clean out the tub with the hose. Arguably the best part even though the painting was super fun. Who can compete with this?
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## iPhone Photo Safari {Color Hunt}

This is the 2nd post in our new series Unplanned and On The Go.  My daughter is starting to refuse nap ( pray for me) and if she doesn’t go to sleep we go outside if at all possible for a calm walk. On our walk she decided she wanted to look for colors and I suggested she take pictures with my iPhone. She is a whiz at handling my iPhone so with it’s ugly but kid friendly cover on it we set out to find some colors! It was a huge hit.

What we were doing : Going for a walk in an attempt to clam down and chill out before trying to nap again. I don’t give up easily and naps are my me time!

What I did to spark the activity : Handed my daughter my iPhone and said “Take pictures of the colors you see.”

What it turned into : A fun colorful photo safari!  As we walked I had her find a color and then I handed her my phone to take a picture. I didn’t want her walking and looking down at the phone at the same time. Not a safe option for her or the phone.  I was fascinated by which colors stood out for her in the photos she took.   We also found that when given the chance to be very careful with my phone she was. It was a lesson in trust and responsibility. I was super impressed with her pictures – she took each herself and while I re sized them for the post I only edited a few a tiny bit for clarity.

## Sidewalk Chalk – 4 Letter Activities

by Allison McDonald This post wasn’t planned at all but the series I am going to create with it is . This is going to be the first in a series of posts that are unplanned and on the go. The pictures might not be as good because they will all be taken with my iPhone but the fun will be ! I don’t know if there will be 2 or 50 posts in this series but I hope that they will be useful to you and your kids. This one shows you how to do simple letter activities with sidewalk chalk and a spray bottle or two.

What we were doing when inspiration struck :

My son was shooting hoops and my daughter was drawing with sidewalk chalk. I was trying to play with both of them and like always one of them was not happy with how much ( or how little) attention I was paying them compared to their sibling . You can’t see my daughter because she is on my leg asking me to draw her a bulldozer with the chalk.

What I did :

Took the sidewalk chalk and wrote out some letters.

What it turned into :

1. Find The Letter / Letter Sound

Simple game of me calling out a letter and my daughter would run to it. After she found them all easily I turned it to letter sounds which was much more challenging . I only did a few letter sounds not expecting her to know them but introducing them playfully.

2. Letter Action Words

This continues the find the letter with a little more movement. I called out the letter and asked her to perform an action that starts with that letter . So I would say ” Can you jump on the j? ” and ” Now wiggle on the w ! ”  as you can see she had a blast with this one. I will be repeating this for sure!

3. Walk and Spell

Now it was time to get the big guy over. The object of this activity was to spell out simple words by walking to each letter. I called out simple words like hat, bat, cap, tap, jam, Sam … I chose to always call out one word then after he was successful a 2nd changing only the first letter . This set him up for success while still offering a challenge. He loved it and as you can see he had a shadow .