Summer Week 9: July 31-August 4

This week is a mix of fruits and veggies and some old favorites from earlier this summer. Get creative and tailor each of these activities to make it interesting for your child. We will try and post our experience with each of the activities as we do them!

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Art

Fruit & Veggie Stamps

Adult Prep: First, you need to get the fruits and vegetables into a “stamplike” shape. Cut carrots in half for a circle “stamp,” cut apples in half lengthwise or widthwise, or leave them whole and use the bottom  “feet” of the apple as a stamp. The “stamps” need to be big enough to hold onto, but they also need to work to dip in a blob of paint and put on the paper. Get creative with the fruits and veggies that you use. Pick things that are familiar and also pick new types of fruits and veggies!

Have fun with your little one! There’s no right or wrong way to do this activity. Think about where your child is at, what they are learning, and what they are interested in. The littlest ones are forming the foundation of what they know about these foods, the paper, the paint, and the whole process… With any age you can talk about colors, shapes, and size. You can talk about the insides of the fruits and veggies. They are learning how they feel, the texture, the temperature… Their fingers and hands are learning how to hold them. What happens when they dip it in the paint? What happens when they put it on the paper? Each step of the way, they are forming concepts for what they are doing. Demonstrate a couple of times, or work alongside them giving them ideas for what they could do, but let them experiment with the fruits and veggies, paint, and paper. For older children you could even talk about what the shapes look like.

Stuff to Have

-Assorted fruits and veggies, choose fruits and veggies of different shapes and sizes, be creative!

-Non-toxic paint (in a size easy for dipping fruits and veggies, ie. a paper plate, pie plate, plastic container or lid, etc.)

Developing Skills

Colors, shapes, texture/temperature, fruit and vegetable names, painting, stamping, art

Fine Motor

Ping Pong Ball Drop

IMG_1698Set out your jar and ping pong balls (or similar small ball) and ask your child how to put the balls in the jar. Let your child try dropping the balls in. If your child is young or not interested, demonstrate to them how to drop the balls in. Can they get it out? If it’s too easy for your child, make it more difficult by trying to drop the ball in from a higher point. Or, try something different by dropping a smaller object into a container with a smaller opening.

Stuff to Have

-Ping pong balls, or ball similar in size

-Jar or plastic container with opening wide enough to fit ball

-Craft balls (smaller than ping pong balls), optional

-Jar or container with smaller opening, optional

Developing Skills

Fine motor, hand eye coordination, problem solving

Problem Solving

Find The Star

IMG_0024Play a game of hide and seek, only in this version hide a construction paper star for your child to find. For younger children keep it pretty easy, at their eye level and not too hidden. Also keep their level of mobility in mind. For older children, make it a little tougher, but not so much that they get frustrated. Children will love getting to use their problem solving skills to find the star. They will also love getting to take some turns hiding it from you!

Stuff to Have

-1 medium size star (cut from construction paper or stiff fabric like felt)

Developing Skills

Problem solving, follow through

Early Science & Math

Float or Sink?

IMG_0133Collect items from around the house that will sink and float. If your child is older they can help you collect objects and you can talk about what you each think will happen. Once you have collected the objects fill a tub or container with water to test each of the objects. One by one let your child put them in. Be descriptive about what is happening and ask a lot of questions, especially to your older child. Remember, even if they aren’t answering doesn’t mean they aren’t learning!

Stuff to Have

-Various objects that will sink in water

-Various objects that will float in water

-Tub or large plastic container of water

Developing Skills

Early math, early science

Cooking and Baking

Veggie Pizza

Unroll crescent roll dough into a 9×13 pan (seal seams). Bake at 375 for 11-13 minutes. Cool completely. Mix greek yogurt and ranch dressing mix together. Spread over cooled crust. Sprinkle with cut vegetables. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

This is a great cooking activity for kids. A fun way to get some veggies in their diet, plus they can help patting the dough, pouring, mixing, spreading the sauce, and sprinkling on the vegetables.

Stuff to Have

1 package crescent rolls

8 oz greek yogurt

ranch dressing mix

various vegetables

Developing Skills

Fine motor, cooking, science

If you’ve been following along you know I always end with talking about the importance of large muscle movement, reading, and singing! Maybe someday soon I’ll get around to writing specifically about these and their importance. You know… when I’m not busy…

To get large muscle groups working you can do things like jumping, kicking or throwing a ball, dancing, twirling, running through a sprinkler… get creative and have fun doing this together.

Get lot’s of reading in too. I’m sure you have a lot of favorite books, we do too! We also like to go to the library and pick up books that relate to what we are doing, and offer us something fresh and new from the books we have at home. Read the books, talk about the pictures, the colors, and what things are similar to your child’s world.

And don’t forget music and rhymes! Even if you don’t consider yourself musical try to have fun and include music and rhymes in your day, your kids aren’t judging you and there’s no one else listening! The sing songy-ness of music and rhymes is instrumental in literacy and language development (think future reading), plus it’s fun, it gets kids moving, and it can be a great way to change a rough day into a happy one!

Happy Playing!

 

 

 

Time for Art: Paint the Ocean

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Today’s art activity was kind of momentous for us… almost six years ago I started putting together all of these activities in this planned, cohesive sort of way for my oldest when she was about 18 months old. And… today… I started doing the activities with my youngest, my third, and probably last, little guy.

How is this craziness possible?!?

Now, while we’re on this topic… can I just say that I knew kids grew up fast- I mean doesn’t every mom with older kids stop you and tell you how fast it goes? If I had a dime for all those times…

Well, I had enough well-intentioned, experienced, and wise moms tell me how fast it went, that I actually tried to take heed, I tried to learn from them! And, yet I’m constantly blown away by how fast the time flies. Maybe there is some sort of psychological block in our little brains that we literally can’t process how fast it goes. I don’t know… it’s something for someone out there to study some day!

Ok, I promise my wild mom hypothesizing is done for now!

Since I was distracted by my littlest one finger painting for the first time, I did a terrible job documenting the activity with photos! Full disclosure I ended up just taking different angle shots of the final product! Hey… REAL. meaningful. family. Right? Some days we’re just happy we got any activities done at all!

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I got the activity started by just squirting some dots of dark blue along the bottom third of the paper, light blue through the middle, and some dots of white along the top third. Then, when my little guy got going he smeared all of the colors together and it turned into a pretty cool variegated blue “ocean” swirl on the paper! Definitely frame worthy.

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I love this activity because it gives kids total freedom to do what they want. Classic finger painting is a great sensory activity (and for that reason some kids may want nothing to do with it… that’s OK just give them a brush instead!), it is a great fine motor activity, it’s a great natural way to talk about colors and what happens when colors blend, and it’s a great way for your child to just experiment with their creativity and independence! So, pull out these materials and have fun together! I even pulled out a brush and painted along, it was pretty fun!

Happy Painting!

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Summer Week 8: July 24-28

I can’t believe we are so far into summer! The weeks are flying by. Here is next week’s plan of activities. Last week we had a lot of camping activities, this week there are several ocean themed activities!

Week 8 heading

Art

Paint the Ocean

Give your child the freedom to experiment with finger paint. With this activity they can mix colors and completely explore painting with their hands and experience what happens on the paper. They can mix colors, they can smear it all over the paper, whatever they feel like. Guide them along the way. It’s our job to talk about what they are doing and describe what the real ocean looks like… maybe even looking at some pictures. If you want you can cut out fish from magazines or pictures to glue on after the paint had dried.

Stuff to Have

-Construction paper

-Blue, green, and white non-toxic finger paint

Developing Skills

Colors, fine motor, sensory, art, painting

Fine Motor

Balance a Golf Ball

Hold a spoon with one hand. Place the golf ball on the large part of the spoon and demonstrate to your little one how it can balance if you keep it steady. Now, show them what happens with you tip it. It falls off. Let them try balancing the golf ball while walking around. Too easy for your older toddler? Let them try holding the golf ball on a smaller spoon or between a large pair of tongs.

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Stuff to Have

-Cereal or soup spoon

-Golf balls (or similar size ball)

Developing Skills

Fine motor, hand-eye coordination

Problem Solving

Go Fishing

Adult prep:

Fishing pole: Make a small hole in one end of the paper towel role. Then, to attach the pipe cleaner, stick about an inch through the hole, bend the pipe cleaner over and tape the piece inside of the towel roll.  On the other end of the pipe cleaner attach a strong magnet, or glue the tip of the pipe cleaner between two magnets.IMG_0099

Fish: On construction paper draw about a 3-inch circle or oval then add a triangle to one side to make the tail of the fish. Cut it out and add an eye and a line for the mouth. On the back of the fish glue a magnet.

Set-up: Set the fish out, magnet side up, on the floor, on a table, or in a shallow plastic container. Then your child can sit nearby and “fish” with their magnet fishing pole. This is a problem solving activity so you might start by asking how they can pick up the fish with their new pole. Let them experiment some and see if it works to pick up a fish. This might require a little help from you if they aren’t catching any, but once they start to pull up  fish they will be excited to catch more!

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Stuff to Have

-1 empty paper towel roll

-1 pipe cleaner

-Tape/glue

-6 magnets

-Construction paper fish

Developing Skills

Problem solving, follow through, fine motor

Science & Math

Fruits and Veggies

IMG_0223Comparing and classifying objects is an early math and science concept. For this activity collect various fruits and veggies of different sizes, shapes, textures, and colors. Let your child feel them smell them, and if they’re up to it they can even taste them! This is an activity to use all of their senses to discover how these fruits and veggies are the same and how they are different. For younger children this can be a type of sensory activity with lots of description from you about the sizes, shapes, and colors that they see.

Stuff to Have

Various fruits and vegetables

Developing Skills

Early science and math, fine motor, sensory

Cooking & Baking

Sand Pudding

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Here is a fun beachy themed snack to make this week! Start by blending graham crackers and chocolate cracker in a food processor until it resembles sand. In a different bowl, whisk together pudding and milk until it begins to thicken, set aside. Combine butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Now, combine the pudding mixture with cream cheese & butter mixture. Finally, fold in cool whip to pudding mixture. Now to assemble, cover the bottom of dish with a layer of pudding mixture, then a layer of “sand.” Repeat layers until it is all used up. It can be assembled in individual dishes or in a large dish.

Stuff to Have

1 small box vanilla pudding

1 1/2 c milk

1 container cool whip

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/4 c butter, softened

9 graham crackers

1 chocolate graham cracker

Developing Skills

Cooking & baking, fine motor, early science and math


Along with these different activities make sure there is plenty of opportunity for large muscle movement, reading books, singing and rhyming every day.

To get large muscle groups working you can do things like jumping, kicking or throwing a ball, dancing, twirling, running through a sprinkler… get creative and have fun doing this together. Maybe you could walk like a crab and then have some sand pudding for a treat!

Get lot’s of reading in too. I’m sure you have a lot of favorite books, we do too! We also like to go to the library and pick up books that relate to what we are doing, and offer us something fresh and new from the books we have at home. Maybe this week you could pick stories about friends who go to the ocean or play at the beach! Read the books, talk about the pictures, the colors, and what things are similar to your child’s world.

And don’t forget music and rhymes! Even if you don’t consider yourself musical try to have fun and include music and rhymes in your day, your kids aren’t judging you and there’s no one else listening! The sing songy-ness of music and rhymes is instrumental in literacy and language development (think future reading), plus it’s fun, it gets kids moving, and it can be a great way to change a rough day into a happy one!

Happy Playing!

Summer Week 7: July 17-21

This week we have a little bit of a camping theme going! Making an art campfire, a scavenger hunt (with little ones in mind of course!), S’mores, building a tent… all such fun things to do together, getting all kinds of development and learning going!

summer Week 7

Art

IMG_0051Make a Campfire

This is almost as much a pretend play activity as it is an art activity. The point is for your child to have fun pretending to build up the logs inside the shoe box  (glue together if needed) then glue in the red and orange tissue paper around the logs to look like the flames.

Stuff to have

-3 or 4 empty paper towel rolls

-Toilet paper rolls

-Orange, red, and yellow tissue paper

-Small shoe box, or other small box

Developing Skills

Fine motor, pretend play

Fine Motor

Balance a Golf Ball

Hold a spoon with one hand. Place the golf ball on the large part of the spoon and demonstrate to your little one how it can balance if you keep it steady. Now, show them what happens with you tip it. It falls off. Let them try balancing the golf ball while walking around. Too easy for your older toddler? Let them try holding the golf ball on a smaller spoon or between a large pair of tongs.IMG_0082

Stuff to Have

-Cereal or soup spoon

-Golf balls (or similar size ball)

Developing Skills

Fine motor, hand-eye coordination

Problem Solving

Build a Tent

IMG_0439What kids doesn’t love a tent. And tents are a big part of summer for some families. Why not set up a tent, inside or outside, but let you little one put their mind to work and figure out how to do it along with your occasional help. Ask questions that make them think, and offer suggestions to help them learn new ways of doing something. For younger children, you might have to do most of the work, but as the child gets older they will be more eager to have control over the tent building. Once it’s built spend some time in there, read some books or play with favorite toys.

Stuff to Have

-Sheet or light blankets

-Furniture, chairs (something sturdy to hold up the blankets)

-Clothespins

Developing Skills

Problem solving, planning, follow through

Early Science & Math

Scavenger Hunt

IMG_1467Use my scavenger hunt list to find things on a nature walk or in the back yard! This is a good, natural time to talk about colors, numbers of objects, textures, shapes, and all the other characteristics of things we find outside.

Stuff to Have

-Scavenger hunt list

Developing Skills

Science, problem solving, follow through

Cooking & Baking

S’mores

IMG_0088S’mores for a treat rounds out the “camping” focus of this week! Find a way to make s’mores that works for you and your family. If you have a way to build a fire to roast marshmallows, and you feel comfortable with your little one under close supervision roasting their own marshmallow, go for it. Otherwise you can roast marshmallows over a grill, in an oven, or even for a couple seconds in the microwave. (If you aren’t going to roast them over a fire, you can pretend roast marshmallows over their art campfire to get the feel of camping). Once the marshmallow is roasted or heated through sandwich the chocolate and marshmallow into two haves of the graham cracker, give it a little squeeze and enjoy the chocolatey gooiness!

Stuff to Have

-1 graham cracker

-1 large marshmallow

-1/4 full size chocolate bar

Developing Skills

Fine motor, cooking


Along with these different activities make sure there is plenty of opportunity for large muscle movement, reading books, singing and rhyming every day.

To get large muscle groups working you can do things like jumping, kicking or throwing a ball, dancing, twirling, running through a sprinkler… get creative and have fun doing this together.

Get lot’s of reading in too. I’m sure you have a lot of favorite books, we do too! We also like to go to the library and pick up books that relate to what we are doing, and offer us something fresh and new from the books we have at home. Maybe this week since there are so many camping activities you could find some books where a favorite character goes camping. You could even get a big stack of books and read it in that cozy tent you are going to make! Read the books, talk about the pictures, the colors, and what things are similar to your child’s world.

And don’t forget music and rhymes! Don’t worry, you don’t have to be particularly musical to include music and rhymes in your day, your kids aren’t judging you and there’s no one else listening! The sing songy-ness of music and rhymes is instrumental in literacy and language development (think future reading), plus it’s fun, it gets kids moving, and it can be a great way to change a rough day into a happy one!

Happy Playing!

 

 

Summer Week 6: July 10-14

Art

Choose a Craft

If you’re like me you get distracted by all of the adorable themed arts and crafts activities and forget about regular coloring and painting. Take this opportunity to let your child do whatever they want whether it is painting, drawing, coloring, molding with dough… see what they choose.

Developing Skills

Creativity, fine motor, planning, follow through

Fine Motor

Balance a Golf Ball

Hold a spoon with one hand. Place the golf ball on the large part of the spoon and demonstrate to your little one how it can balance if you keep it steady. Now, show them what happens with you tip it. It falls off. Let them try balancing the golf ball while walking around. Too easy for your older toddler? Let them try holding the golf ball on a smaller spoon or between a large pair of tongs.

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Stuff to Have

-Cereal or soup spoon

-Golf balls (or similar size ball)

Developing Skills

Fine motor, hand-eye coordination

Problem Solving

Who’s My Mommy: Fish Match

Make 5 large fish in different colors of construction paper, and make 5 small fish to correspond to the colors of the large fish. This is an activity of matching. Matching the mommy fish to the baby fish based on color. Let your child play with how to match the fish together, all along describe what they are doing and what you are doing. If they enjoy matching, they can also sort by size, putting all of the big fish together and all of the little fish together.

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Stuff to Have

-Mommy fish: 5 large construction paper fish (all different colors)

-Baby fish: 5 smaller construction paper fish (corresponding to the mommy colors)

Developing Skills

Early math (matching and sorting), fine motor, problem solving

Early Science & Math

Dye Celery

Let your child choose 3 colors of food coloring. Talk about the names of the colors that they choose. Help your child squirt drops of food coloring into the cups of water- a color per cup- unless you are feeling really artistic and want to mix colors. (Adding these colors to the water cups is an activity in itself!) Use this opportunity to describe to them what is happening when the color goes into the water. Then give it a little swish with a spoon so that the color blends evenly. Now let your child (or help younger children) set 1 stalk of celery into each of the colored waters. Ask what they think is going to happen. Now, go play for a little while but periodically check back to see if any changes are happening. Each time have your child think or talk about what changes are going on in the celery. You should over time start to see the water being drawn up into the celery causing parts of it to take on the color that it is in.

Stuff to Have

3 stalks of celery

3 colors of food coloring

3 cups of water, divided

Developing Skills

Colors, early science (water properties and plant growth, observation, fine motor

Cooking & Baking

Zoo Animals on Grass

Work together to blend the food coloring into the cream cheese. This will be the “grass” for the animals. Spread the green cream cheese on the graham cracker and let your child play with the animals on the “grass.” If they eat it right away, that’s ok too.

Stuff to Have

1 Graham cracker

1-2T cream cheese, dyed green with green food color

5 or 6 animal crackers

Makes 1 serving.

Developing Skills

Early math, early science, fine motor


Along with these different activities make sure there is plenty of opportunity for large muscle movement, reading books, singing and rhyming every day.

To get large muscle groups working you can do things like jumping, kicking or throwing a ball, dancing, twirling, running through a sprinkler… get creative and have fun doing this together. One fun activity is to pretend to be zoo animals, hop like a kangaroo, run like a cheetah, waddle like a penguin… then, go inside for a snack of Animals on grass!

Get lot’s of reading in too. I’m sure you have a lot of favorite books, we do too. We also like to go to the library and pick up books that relate to what we are doing. Look for books with stories about summer, swimming, camping, going to the beach, flying in an airplane, driving in a car, going to the zoo… whatever relates to your family’s summer. Read the books, talk about the pictures, the colors, and what things are similar to your child’s world.

And don’t forget music and rhymes! Don’t worry, you don’t have to be particularly musical to include music and rhymes in your day, your kids aren’t judging you and there’s no one else listening! The sing songy-ness of music and rhymes is instrumental in literacy and language development (think future reading), plus it’s fun, it gets kids moving, and it can be a great way to change a rough day into a happy one!

Happy Playing!

 

 

 

July Materials List

Get ready for the month of July! Here are the materials broken down by week. Be sure to look at each week for more specific materials information!

My printables are not loading the way I want them to, so for now here are the color and black and white versions until I can fix them!

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July Materials B&W

Summer Week 5: July 3-7

4th of july graphic

Art

IMG_0236Make an American Flag

Your child is going to make an American Flag with the pieces you have precut. You may set up a picture of a flag for them to try and copy, or you may be very hands on with your younger child. Keep in mind your children are practicing their artistic abilities at their level. So, if it’s not exactly an American Flag, they still learned a lot! Start by drawing a rectangle in the upper left hand corner of the half sheet of blue construction paper. This will be the area that the stars go. Then add the stripes (starting and ending with red). Talk about the colors and talk about the patterning of the two colors of stripes. Once those are glued down, your child can add stars to the open blue section. 50 is a lot, so this is definitely a good opportunity for an adult to help out, or just get as many on as you can. Finally, trim the stripes that are too long to fit the edge of the flag.

Stuff to Have

7- 1/2” x 9” Red stripes

6- ½” x 9” White stripes

1/2 sheet blue construction paper, (cut width-wise)

Glue

Small sticker stars

Developing Skills

Fine motor, patterning, arts and crafts

Fine Motor

Tear Stripes

Tearing… an amazingly simple concept that is actually quite difficult for our little ones. Now, it’s ok if you really don’t end up with stripes, but give this fine motor activity a try with your child. They will find it fun when they get their fingers to work at tearing apart the paper. It really is a good fine motor workout for their little forearm and hand muscles. You may need to help your younger toddler get their tears started, but once they go it will be fun to see what they can do.

If your child is on the older end of the toddler/preschool years and seems ready to try cutting, pull out a pair of safety scissors to give cutting a try. If it gets to frustrating, don’t force it. Trust me, they won’t go to college without the ability to cut with scissors. It will come! There’s no use forcing these types of things on our kids, they’ll just learn to not like it!

Stuff to Have

-Red and white construction paper

-Children’s safety scissors (optional)

Developing Skills

Fine motor, sensory

Problem Solving

Find the Star

Play a game of hide and seek, only in this version hide a construction paper star for your child to find. For younger children keep it pretty easy, at their eye level and not too hidden. Also keep their level of mobility in mind. For older children, make it a little tougher, but not so much that they get frustrated. Children will love getting to use their problem solving skills to find the star. They will also love getting to take some turns hiding it from you!

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Stuff to Have

-1 medium size star (cut from construction paper or stiff fabric like felt)

Developing Skills

Problem solving, follow through

Early Science & Math

Melt an Ice Cube

Take your child outside, preferably a hot one to see the change happen quickly. Set your ice cubes in various locations and see how they melt. One could be on the sidewalk in the direct sun, one could be in the shade, and one could be left inside… be creative! Your older child may be able to describe the differences in the melting ice cube. Younger children might enjoy playing with the ice as it melts. Either way, ask questions, describe what you see, give your child a chance to make their own observations, and let them experience the changing ice cube by touching, splashing, maybe even tasting the melting ice.

Stuff to Have

Ice cubes

Developing Skills

Early science, sensory, fine motor

Cooking & Baking

Red, White and Blue CupcakesIMG_0295

With your child bake angel food cupcakes according to the package instructions for angel food cupcakes. Dumping and stirring are great jobs for little ones!

Once the cupcakes are cool top with a dollop of whipped topping, strawberries, and blueberries for delicious a red, white, and blue treat!

Optional Variation: Fresh whipped cream is so easy to make and can be a fun job to get some energy out. Take heavy whipping cream and pour about halfway into an empty (and clean) glass baby food jar, or other small plastic container (it just needs to be small enough for their hands and with a lid). Now they can get busy shaking it up! It will take a little time, but that heavy cream will start to turn into yummy whipped cream!

Stuff to Have

-Angel food cake mix

-Whipped topping (or heavy whipping cream)

-Strawberries and blueberries

Developing Skills

Fine motor, early science, following directions


And… don’t forget these fun and important activities this week!

Large Motor: Find ways to use the big muscle groups. Activities could include things like jumping, kicking or throwing a ball, dancing, twirling, running through a sprinkler, or other outside activities. One activity that kids will never turn down is getting out the bubbles! And it’s a great chance to work out energy and strengthen large muscle groups by chasing after the bubbles.

Music and Rhymes: There are many online resources for music and rhymes. Look for some that focus on summertime, maybe going to the beach or camping, Fourth of July, and playing outside.

Books: Take a trip to the library and look for books about summer as well as books that match your child’s interest. Read, read, and read some more! They will love it and it’s prime time to get some snuggles.

Happy Playing!