Nature Cuttings – Outdoor Scissor Skills Activity

scissor practice One of the great things about the summer is to take plain old activities like cutting and finding fresh ways of doing them outside. This scissor skills activity was inspired by a pin I saw from Raise A Boy and I re-worked it for our yard and my daughter’s love of picking flowers and plants out of our garden. Scissor skills develop differently with all kids. My daughter loves to cut things and we are trying very hard to get her to hold the scissors correctly- but it’s a challenge. In the photos below she is NOT holding the scissors in the proper way. Her index finger should not be in the handle of the scissors. Offer kids lots of practice with activities like this so you can work on issues like these gently with lots of time before they develop bad habits that are harder to break. Scissor skills work on building the muscles and coordination needed for writing so don’t shy away from cutting practice!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some kid safe scissors, a bucket, a bin or water table ( without the water) and a yard to gather things to cut. The goggles are completely optional though very fashionable. cutting practice
  2. Start by exploring your yard. cutting nature - scissor skills for toddlers and kidsThis step took a long time, we went all around our yard talking about the flowers that were blooming, the flowers that were dying, grass etc… take as long as you can with this step. Also if they aren’t into the exploring no biggie, there is nothing wrong with our kids not loving every idea we have. I have had many that never got blogged about because they didn’t get finished. It happens to all of us sometimes. cutting nature gathering the flowers
  3. Bring your spoils back to your water table or bin and dump them out. cutting into nature flowers and leaves
  4. Start cutting ( with your goggles on if you have them) . I like providing a few different pairs of scissors in an attempt to find the one that feels good in the proper grip. My daughter would hold them correctly at first then pop all three fingers back in the handle. It’s just going to take time and persistence which is always fun with a stubborn child…no clue where she got that trait!cutting into nature outdoor scissor skillsWhile you cut together talk about what you are cutting, explore with your senses. I invited my daughter smell many of the items ( especially the herbs)  and crush some in her hands and smell her hands. We talked about which things were easy to cut ( petals) and which were harder to cut like the stem of a dead daffodil. cutting flowers in the gardenI playfully asked her how her “pointer” finger sneaked back in that handle and she pretended to be shocked. cutting nature scissor skills with outdoor activity
  5. Leave the scissors and cuttings out and return to it later. My son joined in and they pretended to be in herbology class at Hogwarts. My daughter had no clue what that was all about but happily went along with her brother who could use some scissor practice too. scissor practice outside
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Summer Activities For Kids

summer reading Happy first day of summer! I had a completely different post planned but when I went to schedule it I realized today is the first day of summer and we must celebrate. Below are my favorite active games, messy art, sensory play and other summer shenanigans for kids.  I hope a few grab your attention and get added to your family’s summer bucket list.

Outside In The Sun

Build and Play Obstacle Course
Water Table Painting
Flag Hunt
Squeeze Bottle Side Walk Chalk
Hiking With Kids
Backyard Target Practice
Arctic Ice Sensory Tub
Fly Swatter Painting
Boot Camp Bombers
Melt In The Sun Crayons
Water Balloon Math
Smartphone Photo Safari Color Hunt
Angry Birds Water Balloon Game
Beach Themed Sensory Tub
Backyard Photo Scavenger Hunt

Inside On A Rainy Day

DIY Action Figure Parachute
Bubble Wand Painting
3D Word Search
Indoor Bug Hunt
Ice Cream Taste Testing
Tabletop Loose Parts
Salt Art Jar
Make Your Own Balance Beam
Pretend Play Vet’s Office
Bug Painting
Secret Code Math
Move & Groove Alphabet Game
Cork & Button Builders
Giant Sunflower Craft
Mad Scientist Lab

Don’t Forget About Summer Reading

Summer Reading Challenge – Join Us!
Summer Reading Bucket List
Books That Make Kids Laugh
Book Hunt
Books About The Beach
30 Books That Are Also Movies
Books About Monsters
50 Ways To Teach Your Child To Read
Books About Princesses
Summer Reading A-List ; 50 Must Read Picture Books
Books About Dinosaurs
5 Books For Early Readers
Books That Rhyme
Books About Cars and Trucks
Books About Friendship

For even more ideas make sure you follow our Summer Fun For Kids Pinterest board.

Squirt Gun Volcanoes – Science Experiment For Kids

A science experiment for kids should be fun and I don’t think my son could have had more fun than he did with this mash up of two classic summer activities. He is all about squirt guns and backing soda volcanoes are a constant favorite here. Using your child’s interests to make learning fun is such a fun way to make your child eager to learn. If squirt guns are not welcome in your play then you can use eye droppers, turkey basters and even bath toys instead. Make sure after the activity you wash the squirt guns carefully to get all the vinegar out so there are no accidental squirts at someone later.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a pan ( ignore the mini muffin tin, that was our first attempt and well obviously it didn’t work. It was too hard for a 5 year old to get a good aim on such small targets), baking soda, vinegar , food coloring, a large measuring cup or bowl , protective eye wear and squirt guns.
  2. Start by adding food coloring in random dots to your pan. fun science for kids
  3. Cover with baking soda.
  4. Fill your squirt guns with vinegar. The easiest way to do this is to submerge the squirt guns in a bowl or large measuring cup full of vinegar. fun science for kids
  5. Get ready – go outside! Make sure the protective eye wear is on . Ask your child to make a prediction about what will happen.
  6. Shoot !
  7. He loved the colored bubbles – he had no clue there was food coloring under the baking soda.
  8. He stepped closer to get the harder to aim at areas.
  9. It was super fun to see all the colors emerge  and even mix together .
  10. After the guns were empty his sister was invited out to do some pouring too.

Backyard Photo Scavenger Hunt

outside activities for kids

This outside activity is perfect for children who love treasure hunts and can work with multiple ages since there are no words to read ( although you could add them). My goal with this project was to familiarize my son with his new yard and what better way to do that than make it a game. You could build on this activity by returning inside and researching some of the plants, painting with the flowers or even dissecting them.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a camera, printer, self laminating photo pouches, hole punch, binder rings, scissors , a yard and someone eager to go on a hunt!
  2. Pop outside when you are not with your child(ren) and take some pictures of things all around your yard.
  3. Print them out , trim and place in the self laminating pouches. I love these because they are way easier to use than contact paper and are sturdy for outside play. I placed 2 pictures in each pouch so there was one picture on the back and one on the front. I purposely laid out the pictures so my son would have to go from the front yard to the back, to the front etc… this isn’t just about getting to know the yard it’s also gross motor so I wanted to make him move as much as possible.
  4. Punch holes in the corner.  
  5. Add the ring.
  6. Study the pictures .
  7. Go on the hunt! The roses were found right away.
  8. So were the apples.
  9. He knew exactly where the birdhouse was too.
  10. The lily behind him was the tricky one, but we celebrated when he found it.

Please note the sword ( plastic golf club) and Knight’s Shield are completely optional.

Books About Gardens

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 !


Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert  will leave you trying to find all sorts of things like butterflies, chickens and fish in leaf piles. The book is about a leaf man who blows away in the wind and the reader is taken past all sorts of animals like chickens and ducks, past rivers filled with fish and butterflies in the air. All are leaves pieced together to make these awesome images , some are obvious, some take concentration to see the animal among the leaves. Wonderful creative book to welcome the changing seasons.


The Gardener by Sarah Stewart Is a really touching book that I would happily recommend for school age children. It’s a beautiful story about a little girl during the depression who is shipped to the city to work in her uncle’s bakery because both her parents are out of work.  She is obviously nervous but knows that it’s something she has to do.  She takes a little of the country with her in seed packets which she plants in the city while she learns about baking and becomes friends with her uncles employees. This is more a story about making the most of hard times, and would be a great way to talk about the great depression with your child. There are so many little things in the illustrations by David Small to talk about , from a picture of FDR to traveling by train and  the general sense of sadness .  In the end it’s a warm hearted book that I can’t wait to share with my son in a few years.