Finding 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.
- 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.
- Spread your colors out on a flat surface like the floor or table.
- Hide your bugs. Can you see any in this picture ?
- 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.
- Start finding those bugs! They were so quick it was hard for me to catch any pictures.
- My daughter loved sorting them and every now and then I would sneak one into the wrong color and she’d fix it.
- When we found them all I asked them to count. My daughter counted all the bugs in each color and my son counted all the bugs in every color. He also told me which color had the most, which had the least .
- After that he went off to play Lego but my daughter and I played two more times.
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.
My 6 year old was home from school this week and I tried to cram in as much fun as we could including a little early St.Patrick’s Day craft. Between a visit from the grandparents, watching The Princess Bride twice , 2 ferry rides and a trip to the aquarium we did a ton of activities. This was his favorite . Salad spinner art is a ton of fun and it’s not a bad work out either. You can find a cheap salad spinner like this one at Ikea for under $4!
- Gather your materials. You will need some paper plates or other sturdy paper , paint ( water it down just a little) and a salad spinner.
- Start by drawing your shamrock or rainbow on the plate. Draw them on both sides so you have a good guide for cutting later after it’s dry.
- Cut the extra off the plate . Fitting in cutting curves is something I am trying to do more for my son who is still working hard at that skill.
- Pour! We poured a little too much but if there is too much just scoop some off.
- Next up rainbow colors. It gets a little messy but all fun things do !
- Next we thought we’d do some color mixing. So we got out our thinner Melissa & Doug Poster Paints and poured them in.
- Carefully watched as it spattered while it spun.
- It turned sorta grey so we added some other green paint and spun it again. I love this picture because it shows out painting experiment which is what my son was calling it. I just liked seeing him so engaged even though he has done more than his fair share of art projects over the last 5 years. I am thankful he is still curious.
- Let everything dry and cut out.
Playdough is one of our favorite materials and as you will see I rarely use homemade stuff. I love real Play-Doh especially the smell. So we bought the real stuff ( although homemade would work just as easily) and made a simple multi-sensory color sorting activity. This activity works on color and shape recognition, fine motor skills and counting. It’s also easy to set up and fun.
- Gather your materials. You will need play-doh in various colors. We did the rainbow but any combination of colors would work. You will also need some buttons, wood shapes, pony beads, or other small items in the same or very similar colors.
- Set up your play-doh. I used half a canister for each color.
- Invite your little genius to come match up some colors. My daughter was into it immediately. She loves pushing small things into play-doh so I knew she would be into this. I was still happy she was enjoying herself.
- Adding the small items works on color matching , shape recognition and of course fine motor skills too. While they add the items try narrating their actions saying things like “You found the blue circle!” and ” You added the red star to the red play-doh.” if you are new to narrating it can feel a little odd but it really helps toddlers and preschool aged kids with vocabulary and it prompts conversation. Older kids will let you know when it’s no longer welcome , trust me .
- When she was done with adding the buttons and beads she counted each color. When we were one she helped me take the items out and put the play-doh away.
Books To Check Out
These Books About Colors are my very favorite and all go so well with this activity whether you choose to match up one color or the whole rainbow.
We needed some extra happy cheer in our playroom after a week of cold, gloomy weather. My kids had fun making something cheerful for their playroom while working on fine motor skills, color recognition and counting. Oh and cooperative projects like these were always the very first thing I’d set up for my class ( and now my kids) when bickering started popping up. Working together has a great way of allowing them to work out their differences and feel like a team again.
- Gather your materials. You will need some contact paper ( or craft paper with double stick tape ) , many sheets of all different color paper, a heart punch, and markers in every color of the rainbow.
- Start by pinning the contact paper to the wall sticky side out. I prefer contact paper because it allows kids to change where they put a heart if they don’t like their original placement. I pop the paper on with the backing still on then peel. I find it way easier than putting in on with the sticky already exposed.
- Next punch out a whole bunch of hearts. My kids helped with some but I did most of the punching .
- Draw the rainbow with markers directly on the contact paper.
- Set up a heart station ( ours was a plate and a stool) by the contact paper.
- Let them at it.My daughter liked taking her time finding the exact right spot for each heart. My son liked gathering a handful of one color and adding them on in a bunch. Clearly they weren’t having any fun at all.
- My daughter fizzled out about half way through, if I was making this for just toddlers I’d make a much much smaller rainbow and maybe larger hearts as well. My son and I had a race to see which colors could be filled in first. I was reminded how much I love just working on something like this with my kids. It really does make you feel more like a team and is by far the number one reason we do projects together. He counted each color to see which won and noticed that of course the first few colors would have more than the last few. I love it when learning like that comes so naturally in a self directed way.
- All done. Now our gloomy winter weather can’t bring us down.
Rainbows make people happy even if they don’t look exactly like a rainbow. This simple art project was easy to set up and my daughter and I had fun painting rainbows using combs instead of paint brushes. It was the perfect short little craft to reconnect with her after returning home from a weekend away. When I suggested we paint rainbows she went running for the playroom and pointing out that she was already wearing a rainbow shirt. Clearly it was meant to be.
- Gather your materials. You will need paint in rainbow colors , a dish , combs ( bought at the dollar store) andpaper.
- Pour the paint into the dish making sure it’s in the right order. Red , orange, yellow, green , blue and purple.
- Dip in the comb.
- Spread! I just let her explore using the teeth and the back of the comb.
- I think the end result was awfully awesome.
- The others were made by my bigger hands , going back and forth a few times using both sides of the combs. It was fascinating to watch the colors spread and when I made one she was enthralled. ” Make ‘nother rainbow Mama!” so I did.
Want some more rainbow ideas? We have a bunch more rainbow projects for you here !