Color Sorting Sensory Tub

Halloween Sensory Activity with color sortingUsually when we do a sensory tub I don’t have a clear goal for it but with this mini one I did. This was a simple sorting activity that while focused on color sorting also naturally led to counting and comparing amounts. You don’t need to put this into a sensory tub but by adding the split peas I added sensory  and surprise elements that my daughter loved. When it was all done everything fit into a ziploc and can be taken back out for less structured play from now on.

Gather your materials. You will need some black and orange paper, black and orange creepy crawlies ( we used various spiders, ants, frogs, snakes etc… ) some split peas, and a container. I just grabbed the cheapest split peas at the store and didn’t notice until days later that there was a flavor packing with it. Just discard that if you have one unless you can think of a crafty way of using ham flavoring. If you do I am curious to hear it! creepy crawly color sorting

Pour the split peas in the container and hide the bugs etc… in it. creepy crawly sensory play

Place the paper on either side. creepy crawly color sorting halloween activity for kids

Invite your kiddo to come investigate. I didn’t have to tell her what to do , it was all right there and she naturally placed them on the matching color. As she did I did ask ” What are you discovering?” which started a discussion about that there were way more orange creepy crawlies than black. creepy crawly sensory play for halloween

Then she counted.creepy crawly halloween counting

Much time was also spent on just exploring the split peas. How they sounded when dropped back into the container from various heights and how some stuck to her hand if she squeezed them in her fist for a moment or two. creepy crawly sensory color sorting

Simple activities like these are my go to for short structured lessons. They still leave many doors open to let my daughter explore but include tid bits of more pointed learning. The vast majority of what we do is open child directed play and we fit in little activities like this 2-3 times a week. Kids don’t need giant blocks of structured learning at this age but if they like it and you want to work it in try playful ideas like this.

Books About Creepy Crawlies

All of our book titles are linked to Amazon with affiliate links.
 

spider

The Very Busy Spider was a favorite of my son’s from the get go. We have the board book edition and what I love about it, is that the spider web in it is raised and offers a sensory element to reading the story. This is a story of hard work, persistence and also helps reinforce animal sounds. Perfect for toddlers !

two bad ants

Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg is a very interesting story of two ants who decide not to return to the colony and hang out in a sugar bowl eating instead. Of course nothing is as it seems and they have quite an adventure trying to avoid all the dangers of a kitchen, realizing in the end that being a part of a colony isn’t so bad! This is a cute book for preschoolers who will love trying to guess what each new adventure the ants face really are- they include a toaster, hot coffee and an electrical outlet.

i love bugs

 

I Love Bugs!by Phileomon Sturges is a rare find. It is listed as fiction but I would consider it as non fiction, as it really is a great factual book about bugs for older toddlers/ young preschoolers. It is really hard to find simple, short books that include facts and this one is perfect. It doesn’t go into the life cycles of butterflies or how lightning bugs light up, but it does use descriptive words with bright and charming illustrations. Great for the under 3 crowd, and useful for older kids too!

 

 

 

Coffee Filter Crafts – Snail Suncatchers

coffee filter snail suncatcher craft for kidsThe flowers are starting to bloom on our apple trees and bugs are everywhere so it’s the perfect time to make a few not so slimy versions of the bugs we see outside. I had planned for her to just make one snail but when I gave her the pile of construction paper she asked to make a whole family so we did.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some construction paper, coffee filters , markers, glue, double stick tape , googly eyes, some water and an eye dropper. If you want glitter  (she REALLY wanted glitter ) grab some glitter glue. We love these little tubes of glitter craftprojectideas.com sent us.Coffee Filter Snail Craft For Kids 1
  2. Start by coloring your coffee filters. While she colored we chatted about colors and the different marks she was making . Dots were her favorite. coffee filters coloring the coffee filters
  3. Add the water! coffee filter adding the waterShe started with the eye dropper but quickly asked if she could pour. If you are going to let your child pour you will want to have two small cups on hand so you can give them small amounts of water to pour and then refill.coffee filter watching the colors run
  4. Let the filters dry and go play outside or in my daughter’s case raid your brother’s closet and get dressed in his clothes.  If you need to speed up drying time use a hair dryer on low.
  5. Cut out the snail frames. Use a coffee filter as a guide for the center circle. Make sure it’s smaller than the coffee filter so you can tape it in.coffee filter snail craft
  6. Using double stick tape tape the coffee filters on the back.coffee filter snail
  7. Time to add eyes. I love the 3 eyed snail . I was shocked when she insisted on doing all the eyes. I was prepared to do most of them. coffee filter snails adding eyes
  8. Add glitter if you wish. One thing I can say about my little girl is she is determined and she was determined not to let me help after I showed her how to add the glitter. She eventually got it out ( this color was almost all used up… when they are full they are super easy to squeeze). coffee filter snail glitter
  9. While she did that I cut out easy antennas from the scrap paper and taped them on.
  10. A family of glittery snails !family of snails
  11. Add it to a window and see all the colors shine! snail sun catcher craft

 

Books About Bugs !

19 books about bugs

Check out our 19 favorite books about bugs. These aren’t just some good bug books, they are some of our all time favorites!

 

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.

Alphabet Garden – Alphabet For Starters

We love playing with the alphabet. Whether it’s making letter crafts , reading book or creative activities like this we play with and point out letters where ever we go.  This is the 5th installment of our Alphabet For Starters series, posts dedicated to introducing and playing with letters for beginners.  We spent the majority of the day outside pulling weeds and my daughter helped us by pulling flowers too. I decided to piggy back that with this alphabet garden magnetic play. Please be careful whenever you use magnets . I prefer using products like this adhesive magnetic roll vs round magnets that are all too often put in little mouths. If your child is still putting things in their mouth skip the magnets it’s a nice extra but not required.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some fun precut shapes I am using wooden shapes fromCraftprojectideas.com , some permanent markers, scissors, magnetic sheets , some paper and a cookie sheet.letter crafts for kids
  2. Start by writing out the alphabet one letter at a time on the wooden pieces. alphabet activities for kids
  3. Decorate . I used permanent markers because I wanted to play the same day but if you have the time paint would be nice too. letter activities for kids
  4. Trace the shape on the paper side of the adhesive magnetic roll.
  5. Cut and stick.
  6. Make a few scenes on paper ( I made a garden and a vase ), placed them on the cookie sheet and put the letters in a basket.
  7. Play. She started right away.alphabet for starters
  8. Then switched the scene and kept going. As she placed the letters I labeled them and every now and then would ask which letter she liked best, which color she liked best and which was her favorite flower/ butterfly. Anything with polka dots was the verdict every time. 

Alphabet Books

A Gardener’s Alphabet by Mary Azarian is a fresh and so richly illustrated alphabet book you will likely have the same thoughts I did while reading it with my son ” I need to frame these pages!” they are that awesome. What I think the main benefit of this book is , is that the words chosen for each letter are not the same old ones you see over and over in alphabet books. The words used are things like Japanese Garden for J, Lawn Ornaments for L and my favorite was Underground for U with a cool illustrations of worms, root vegetables and roots !

Baby’s Alphabet by Jean Marzollo will appeal to your baby and toddler, we were given it as a gift and my son has loved it since about 9 months on. The photographs of other babies will keep your little one interested and you will be surprised how soon they will anticipate the next page, I know I was. Sadly our copy is now flying the friendly skies , we took it on a flight with us and forgot it on the plane. Hopefully someone with a baby finds it.

Alphabet Books For Kids

The Sleepy Little Alphabet: A Bedtime Story from Alphabet Town by Judy Sierra is a great alphabet book. I couldn’t help myself, I read it to my son to the tune of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom . It is clearly it’s own book though. The alphabet is getting ready for bed and just like your little ones, these lowercase letters are pulling out all their tricks and antics to avoid bedtime. Well almost all of them, z is more than happy to go to bed!  It’s a sweet book that your kids can relate to and I like that it focuses on lowercase letters.

 

Toddler Butterfly Craft

spring craftsMy toddler is in the eating paper phase and the fling the paint phase. We are still having fun with paint but when we do my camera is safely on a shelf since I need two hands to wipe down the playroom walls. Today while her brother was at school we made this mess free butterfly craft with ribbons something she has no desire to eat or fling. If your toddler’s reaction to an activity frustrates you find a way to connect and create with them that doesn’t push your buttons. I say all the time how if we make the challenge too great for our kids they shut down and stop learning well it goes for us too. If I am frustrated I am not connecting with my child and getting angry about exploration serves no one. Don’t give up on the messy stuff (they need it) just try it again when you have the patience to deal with their exuberance.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some sturdy paper , contact paper , ribbons in your choice of colors , scissors and crayons.
  2. Have your child color the paper first. I forgot. For really little guys skipping this like I did is probably best, it’s another step that might make it too long. While they do that cut the ribbon.
  3. Fold your paper and cut out a butterfly shape.
  4. Cut out the middle.butterfly craft
  5. Peel the back off your contact paper and press your butterfly on sticky side up.bug theme for daycare
  6. Trim.
  7. Give the butterfly to your child. She just felt it for a minute or two. I just let her explore.bug craft
  8. Hand them the ribbon. She immediately started adding it to the butterfly.toddler easy crafts
  9. No need to help unless they seek it, every now and then I would say ” That’s a nice red ribbon.” or ” You found a yellow one.” but it wasn’t a constant dialog.
  10. They will let you know when they are done. Activity will slow, items may start finding the floor… just know that toddlers typically won’t spend long on a structured activity like this and don’t feel like you are doing anything wrong . We spent about 5 minutes total. This is her “done” she claps her hands once and says “un!”
  11. Put it up where your little one can see what they made and know you think it’s fantastic!