Boot Camp Bombers – Gross Motor Activity

army party ideas Even on nice days sometimes it’s hard to get your kids really moving and if your kids are anything like mine the harder they play the harder they sleep which is good for everyone! My son is all into military things right now so when I saw these loot bag parachute toys at the store I grabbed a pack and created this easy gross motor activity . Working on gross motor skills isn’t just about an easy bedtime for everyone, it’s about building confidence, coordination , balance and more.  You could adapt this a million ways by simply changing what is on the parachutes.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some parachute toys ( or make one !) , a permanent marker and an eager kiddo.army party ideas
  2. My toys did not come assembled so I had to tie the wee little parachutes on to my brave plastic soldiers. If your child can tie them have them do it, it was amazing fine motor practice for me and will be for them too. If like my son they are still not quite there yet do NOT push them it will frustrate them and may end the activity before it even begins.
  3. Ok time to write some physical tasks. Keep the writing simple enough for them to read if they are starting to and use numbers to sneak in some math too.army  birthday party ideas
  4. Take them outside. My daughter threw one and it didn’t get past the bushes but her bother didn’t care.
  5. He read the message and did jumping jacks on the spot.
  6. Then we took them down to the lawn and I threw them and he caught them after screaming ” Bombs Away!!” And got a great boot camp style work out, did a little reading and some counting too!

 

Gross Motor Reading Game – Pizza Delivery

I didn’t know what to call this game because it uses so many skills . The player needs to recognize sizes , sound out words for the street names as well as recognize numbers for the house addresses. Also it incorporates gross motor and balance as they push the car along the streets. Of course I wouldn’t be posting an activity like this without making adaptations easy. The street names could be turned to letters  such as  A Street. B Street etc… and the houses could be colors instead of numbers!  My son who is almost 5 loves this game, we have played with with friends and alone over the past week. The best part is that new street names and house numbers can be added so easily!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a patch of floor, painter’s tape, some construction paper ( I used black, brown , orange and yellow), a glue stick, a marker , white paper and some sicssors. Oh and a toy car , my son wanted one with space to actually put the pizza in it so ours is huge. Use your favorite.
  2. Start by choosing the words you want to make into the street names.  The player will have to find the right address to deliver the pizza and will have to read all the streets they drive on. I chose to do all sm , sn and sp blends but any words will do. For us my son needed to work on sounding out so I chose words he wouldn’t be as apt to read by sight. Write them on white paper.
  3. Glue them on black construction paper and cut out.
  4. Next up make the houses. As you can see my goal is not perfection , it’s fun so as long as my son can tell it’s a house , I am happy. 
  5. Pop some numbers on the houses. Try to make some that are “easy” for your child, ones they will recognize immediately and some that are a challenge.
  6. Time for pizza. If your child is gaga for crafts have them make the pizza while you do the previous steps. We made 6 total – 2 large, 2 medium and 2 small.
  7. Don’t forget the pizzeria – ours is elaborate ;)
  8. Now create the road way with tape on your floor.
  9. Place the streets and houses with numbers on the roadway.
  10. Invite your player to come and deliver the pizzas! How to play:   Pretend to call the pizza place asking for any combo of the pizza sizes such as one large and two smalls.  Give them your address ( which of course is determined by the house on the street… so ours was #77 Smoke street ), then as they deliver the pizza they have to read the streets they use to get there.
  11. Keep going until all the pizzas are delivered!
  12. Switch up where each road is and move the houses around for the next round! This was such a hit we played for a long time.

Books About Pizza !

The Princess and the Pizza by Mary Jane and Herb Auch is really a cute re telling of the classic Princess and the Pea. They have modernized it and made it a little more feminist in the process, exactly my kind of book. The text is a little long for toddlers but my son sat through about half before wanting to go back and look at the illustration of the horse on the first page. The message is sweet, saying that a woman doesn’t need a man or marriage to attain her goals! Beware though it will make you crave pizza!

The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza) by Philomen Sturges is a great retelling of the classic story. Kids will be able to relate to this hen not getting any help for all her hard work. Luckily her friends realize their mistake and do the dishes after she shares her yummy pizza. Since originally recommending this book it’s made a move from the bookshelf to the dresser pile of books that are in rotation for before nap and bedtime reading. A sure sign it’s kid approved!

Pizza at Sally’s is another great look at a small business owner , and how she does her work everyday and feeds the masses with her yummy pizza! I like how it not only explains how to make pizza but it also looks at the ingredients and how they are grown and processed.  Of course it’s not explained in depth but it is explained enough to start a dialogue with interested preschoolers for further investigation.  My son loves the cat in this book, the same cat is in many of the other books but for some reason he particularly loves it’s presence in this one. It’s inspired me to make the dough from scratch with my son next time we have pizza!  A lovely book!

Best Of 2010

#7

Musical Hearts – Movement Game

As you can see if you click over to the original post,  this video tutorial got quite a few comments but it also got kids moving which in the middle of winter is not always easy. My son loved it and the hearts are still in the drawer of our coffee table ready to play almost a year later. This game can be played anywhere rain or shine, so there is no excuse for kids not getting their whole bodies moving!

What is your favorite way to get your kids moving when they are stuck inside?

Find and Count Bug Hunt

find & count bug hunt nature activity

Math and science all together is my kind of activity, but when it’s fun it’s even better. We have all been a little cranky around here and when that happens one of the best ways to shake off the fuss is to go outside! So I made a quick check list and we were off to find creepy crawlers and tally up what we found!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a clip board, a marker and a piece of paper. If you want grab a magnifying glass and a plastic jar if you want to collect what you find.Find and Count Bug Hunt
  2. Make a simple check list with bugs you normally find in your yard. It’s okay if you don’t find some of the things on your list but if you come up completely empty handed that would be a huge bummer. So take their suggestions but fill in some gaps if all they suggest are lions, and tigers and bears! Unless you have those in your yard. Find and Count Bug Hunt
  3. We drew pictures as well as spelled out the words.
  4. Out you go! Start searching!

    Find and Count Bug Hunt

  5. Make little check marks for the bugs/ creatures you find. We took turns. Find and Count Bug Hunt
  6. Here he is counting and yelling out the number of ants he saw and I tallied them. ( which reminds me I need some Dr.Bronner’s to get rid of said ants). Find and Count Bug Hunt
  7. He’s pointing to the  snake we found! Find and Count Bug Hunt 010
  8. Together count up your discoveries. Find and Count Bug Hunt

The best learning for young children are experiences they can do, and if they are resistant to something at the table, get outside ! You will both be happier and the lesson whatever it is will make a much larger impact than anything you had to force or cajole!Find and Count Bug Hunt

Bug Books!

Ant's Day Off

An Ant’s Day Off by Bonny Becker is an interesting tale about an ant who has lived his whole life never seeing the sky , or anything beyond the tunnels he works in until one day he decides to take the day off. The text was a little long for my son who kept flip flopping on my bed, but he didn’t want me to close the book either. The story was solid though, my favorite part was when he tried to return to his tunnel and the guard he expected to give him heck, was supportive and even shared that he too has taken a day off.

The Very Quiet Cricket

The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle is one of my favorites and I am a little shocked this is the first time I have reviewed it here. The story is all about a little cricket who is trying and trying to chirp like the others to talk to all the bugs talking to him but he can’t!  Whenever I read it to children ( and it was a classroom favorite too) I would wiggle my shoulders like I was trying to rub my wings together just like the cricket. Kids latched on to that and I loved seeing them so engaged by the repetitive but never boring book. I thought seeing 12 little 3 year olds wiggling was precious but one little 3 year old is pretty cute doing it too!  Of course there is a “surprise” at the end that toddlers and preschoolers alike will love.

The Gentleman Bug

The Gentleman Bug by Julian Hector is a story about a bug but not just any bug a proper gentleman one who lives in the Garden, the Garden being a bug version of London. One day a lady bug comes to town and he is smitten. He tries to get her attention but falls flat. As it turns out though they do have something in common, a love of books and that brings them together in the end.  I liked the details of this book, the illustrations were wonderful and the map of the garden in the inside cover was awesome but the story fell a little flat.  I am eager to read the author’s other works though because I think there was potential it just wasn’t quite a home run.

Need more bug themed activities?
Check all of ours out

Musical Hearts Game

musical hearts gross motor game for kidsWe aren’t stuck in a snowstorm but we are stuck waiting for our furnace to be fixed and moving keeps us warm and having fun.  You can write anything on your hearts from numbers they need to identify, to physical tasks like we did to something trickier for older kids. Customize it to your child and have fun.

  1. Gather your materials. I am using foam hearts because they stand up well to being stepped and walked on, but paper would do in a pinch, just dont’ expect it to be used more than once.  You will also need a marker and some music you can pause easily.Preschool Movement Activity
  2. Write out different tasks for your child to do when they come to this heart – mine were mostly physical things: Jump on one foot, crab walk, 5 push ups, break dance etc.. I also included sing the ABCs and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  Preschool Movement Activity
  3. Lay the hearts out face down in a circle. Preschool Movement Game
  4. Start the music and play. It’s just like musical chairs only when the music stops you do the task on the heart that you were standing on when you stopped. We had a blast! He preferred Bon Jovi to kids music so we were rockin’ out!

I would let them walk ( to the music) longer than we did for the video, we were trying to get a good snapshot for the post. After I put the camera down we all played for another full round.  Fun family time !