Fall Week 7

Fall Week 7: October 16-20

Art

Paint a Pumpkin

Pull out your paint, brushes, and any other object that would be good for painting. Be creative! Your child can use these things to paint their pumpkin.

If you are using different mediums to paint the pumpkin, how do they appear differently than the others?

Stuff to Have

1 Pumpkin (small to medium size)

Finger paint or other non-toxic children’s paint

Paint brushes or other objects good for painting

Developing Skills

Colors, shapes, textures, fine motor

Fine Motor

Bean ScoopIMG_0551

Pour 1 or 2 bags of dry beans into a large container. Provide spoons, bowls, cups, tongs, or anything else your child would enjoy digging through beans.

*Variation: Provide a separate bowl to scoop beans into with the utensils. Or for older children provide a muffin tin or ice tray to sort beans by shape and color.

*Variation: Add a problem solving element by putting small toys or objects in the bean container for children to find.

Stuff to Have

-1 or 2 bags of dry beans

-Large open container

-Cups, bowls, spoons, strainers, etc. (Be creative and change it up each time you do this!)

Developing Skills

Fine motor, sensory

Problem Solving

Flashlight Find

IMG_0700Darken a room that is familiar to your child and has familiar objects in it. Sit down somewhere comfortable and let your child use the flashlight to find various objects. Older children will love having you name some of their favorite toys or special objects and using the flashlight to find them. While younger children might not grasp the concept of finding things with the flashlight you can demonstrate and begin that problem solving concept. If they are only interested in playing with the flashlight that is fine too- they are still always learning and building new concepts. Just take care to help them avoid looking directly at the light.

Stuff to Have

-1 Flashlight

-Darkened, familiar room

Developing Skills

Problem Solving, follow through

Early Science & Math

Carve a Pumpkin

img_1334Draw a circle on the top of the pumpkin large enough that once it is cut you can fit a spoon and hand through to scoop out the inside. Optionally, draw a design or face to your child’s liking on the side of the pumpkin that you would like to be the front. Mom’s and dad’s, use the serrated knife to cut around the circle on the top of the pumpkin. Let children use spoons and other utensils to scoop out the insides, taking care to separate the gooey stuff into one bowl, and the seeds into a different bowl. Once the inside of the pumpkin is completely scooped out, and if you have chosen to put in a design or a face, cut along the lines of your design. Once the design is complete put the top back on and enjoy your carved pumpkin. (Rinse pumpkin seeds clean and bake… our pumpkin seed recipe is coming soon!).

Stuff to Have

Pencil

1 medium to large sized pumpkin

Serrated knife

Large spoon

2 large bowls

Developing Skills

Science of growth, fine motor, problem solving, sensory

Cooking & Baking

Bake Pumpkin Seeds

img_1383Rinse and drain pumpkin seeds well. Dry with a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth. Toss dry (or nearly dry) seeds with melted butter and sprinkle with desired seasoning. Bake at 350o for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally. You may sprinkle on more seasoning to taste. Seasonings can be as simple as salt, or add flavor with various herbs and spices. Our preference is a little sweet with a dusting of cinnamon and sugar baked into the seeds!

Stuff to Have

Raw Pumpkin Seeds (from your carved pumpkin)

1-2t butter, melted

Desired seasonings

Developing Skills

Early science, sensory, fine motor


Each day we try to also include large muscle movement, lot’s of book reading, and music and rhymes. These three things are some of the more important things, in my opinion, to include. Large muscle movement builds your child’s coordination, balance, and movement ability (ie. practice makes perfect), but it also is busy building brain connections, and without a doubt I believe my kids are better behaved when they get their whole body moving! Try things like, running, jumping, climbing, throwing & kicking a ball, tossing leaves that have fallen, going for a walk, riding a trike, or creative fun like a bear crawl or a crab walk.

Reading books is essential for language development. Mix up the books you have by picking up some seasonal books from the library. And if you’re sick of reading the same book over and over, change it up every now and then. You don’t have to stick to the written words. With toddlers especially, it isn’t necessarily about reading all of the words, it’s more about letting them experience the book, point out what you see in pictures, connect it to their life, ask questions, and let them take the lead!

Finally, music and rhymes is also an important and fun element to add to your day to build language development. It’s as easy as looking up some different fall themed songs and rhymes to add to your day. Or if you want to keep it simple, try songs to transition from toy to toy, use a clean up song, or a song during bath time.

Happy Playing!

 

 

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Fall Week 6

Fall Week 6: October 9-13

Phew… well last week was a doozy! I’m feeling pretty good to be getting this week’s plan out on time! We’ve had an early dose of illness in our house… I hope it’s not a sign of things to come! We are a family that is very rarely sick, so when we are sick I’m always a bit of a novice, and definitely feel the struggle! We’ve had everything from an ear infection, to tummy troubles, and plenty of middle of the night calm down sessions for little ones with stuffy noses and sore throats. But we made it! And here is this week’s plan…

I love pumpkin time and my kids do to. They look forward to all of these signs of fall almost as much as I do. It’s finally starting to feel like fall where we live, so these activities will be extra fun this week.

If you haven’t done it yet, come over and find us on Facebook. Sometimes when weeks are like last week it’s easier to post a quick facebook post rather than an entire blog post… look for @realmeaningfulfamily… see you there!

fall week 6 2017

Art

Make a Pumpkin

I couldn’t decide what exactly I wanted this one to be, so I have a couple variations to choose from. Either offers great opportunities for play for your child!

Variation 1: Cut out a plain white construction paper pumpkin. Then, cut up orange tissue paper into 1-inch squares. Your child can glue on the orange tissue paper pieces and fill in the pumpkin. If they crumple up the pieces it would give their pumpkin a cute puffy quality too.

Variation 2: Child’s choice. Let your child choose how they want to fill in their pumpkin. Paint, crayons, markers, or maybe they just want to draw their own pumpkin creation.

Variation 3: you pick… make a pumpkin in a way that makes sense to you and your child!

Stuff to Have

White construction paper

Orange tissue paper, optional

Art supplies: Paint, markers, crayons, etc., optional

Developing Skills

Shapes, colors, gluing, fine motor

Fine Motor

Bean ScoopIMG_0551

Yep… remember I said this one would get repeated. My kids have never cared, in fact they are usually really excited to see these repeated activities show up again! Change it up this time. if you used big spoons last time, use small spoons… if you used bowls last time, use a muffin tin this time. My kids could play for hours on this one, it’s a great combo of sensory and fine motor. Repetition let’s our kids experiment with what they did last time, as well as add on, or take their play to a new level, especially when we play alongside them. Repetition also makes it easy on us, we have the materials already, WIN

Pour 1 or 2 bags of dry beans into a large container. Provide spoons, bowls, cups, tongs, or anything else your child would enjoy digging through beans.

*Variation: Provide a separate bowl to scoop beans into with the utensils. Or for older children provide a muffin tin or ice tray to sort beans by shape and color.

*Variation: Add a problem solving element by putting small toys or objects in the bean container for children to find.

Stuff to Have

-1 or 2 bags of dry beans

-Large open container

-Cups, bowls, spoons, strainers, etc. (Be creative and change it up each time you do this!)

Developing Skills

Fine motor, sensory

Problem Solving

Flashlight Find

Darken a room that is familiar to your child and has familiar objects in it. Sit down somewhere comfortable and let your child use the flashlight to find various objects. Older children will love having you name some of their favorite toys or special objects and using the flashlight to find them. While younger children might not grasp the concept of finding things with the flashlight you can demonstrate and begin that problem solving concept. If they are only interested in playing with the flashlight that is fine too- they are still always learning and building new concepts. Just take care to help them avoid looking directly at the light.

Stuff to Have

-1 Flashlight

-Darkened, familiar room

Developing Skills

Problem Solving, follow through

Early Science & Math

Nature Walk

Since this season is one of constant changes I like to include 2 or 3 nature walks just to take in all the changes. It is such a simple way to talk about change, observe colors, feel different temperatures, and compare what is different from the last nature walk. So, head outside and enjoy the changing weather, trees, flowers, grass, etc. Talk a lot about colors and the changes you see- even with the youngest children. Walks are simple but great opportunities to enhance vocabulary and learning about the environment around us.

Developing Skills

Science (observation), colors, temperatures, large motor

Cooking & Baking

Pumpkin Pie Poptarts

Combine pumpkin, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Allow to chill while you prepare the crust. Roll out one half of the pie crust. Trim edges to make a rectangle. Cut out smaller rectangles that are about 3 in. by 4 in. Repeat with second half of dough. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of filling into each of the bottom halves of your pop-tarts. Brush edges with water and place the pop-tart “tops” on. Press the edges all the way around with a fork to seal shut. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes or until golden.

Stuff to Have

1/2 c pumpkin

2 T brown sugar

½ t pumpkin pie spice

1 package refrigerated pie crust

Developing Skills

Cooking and baking, fine motor, science, math


Each day we try to also include large muscle movement, lot’s of book reading, and music and rhymes. These three things are some of the more important things, in my opinion, to include. Large muscle movement builds your child’s coordination, balance, and movement ability (ie. practice makes perfect), but it also is busy building brain connections, and without a doubt I believe my kids are better behaved when they get their whole body moving! Try things like, running, jumping, climbing, throwing & kicking a ball, tossing leaves that have fallen, going for a walk, riding a trike, or creative fun like a bear crawl or a crab walk.

Reading books is essential for language development. Mix up the books you have by picking up some seasonal books from the library. And if you’re sick of reading the same book over and over, change it up every now and then. You don’t have to stick to the written words. With toddlers especially, it isn’t necessarily about reading all of the words, it’s more about letting them experience the book, point out what you see in pictures, connect it to their life, ask questions, and let them take the lead!

Finally, music and rhymes is also an important and fun element to add to your day to build language development. It’s as easy as looking up some different fall themed songs and rhymes to add to your day. Or if you want to keep it simple, try songs to transition from toy to toy, use a clean up song, or a song during bath time.

Happy Playing!

 

 

Fall Week 5

Fall Week 5: October 2-6

Art

Torn Paper Apple

img_0992Cut out an apple shape from white construction paper. Just freehand it the best you can. You can make it small or big, but just remember a bigger space to fill in can seem overwhelming to a toddler or a preschooler. I would recommend a medium sized apple.

Collect either red or green construction paper, whichever your child prefers, and bottle of glue or glue stick and you are ready to go.

Your child can tear up the colored paper into small pieces. Once they get the hang of it, tearing paper is really fun for kids, but it does take a lot of fine motor strength. If your child is having trouble ripping the paper, get some spots started for them to make it a little easier. Show your child how to use the glue then to stick on the colored construction paper pieces to “color” their apple. This is a good activity combo of different fine motor work and artistic expression.

Stuff to Have

White and red/green construction paper

Glue or glue stick

Developing Skills

Artistic expression, fine motor, colors, gluing

Fine Motor

Pipe Cleaner Colander

img_1001Pull out your kitchen colander and some pipe cleaners. Let your child poke the pipe cleaners through the holes of the colander giving them a great fine motor workout!

Stuff to Have

Colander

Pipe cleaners

Developing Skills

Fine motor

Problem Solving

IMG_0657Fall Puzzle

I find it fun to include activities that for the most part fall within the season we are in. We don’t have a fall puzzle, so I decided it should be easy enough to make one. If you don’t want to make a puzzle, no problem. Just do some of the puzzles that you have together. To make our puzzle I freehanded 4 different colored and different shaped pumpkins (you could also do leaves or apples if you want to keep it in the fall theme). I cut out the 1st 4 pumpkins and traced each of them on the same color paper. So, my result was 2 of each color of mathcing pumpkin. Then, I glued one of each color onto a sheet of paper, and the other 4 pumpkins are left to match up for the puzzle. Whether you are doing your own puzzle or this fall puzzle be interactive and encouraging. If your child becomes frustrated give them some hints- this isn’t a test!

Stuff to Have

8 pumpkins (4 different shapes/sizes, 4 different colors)

1 Piece construction paper

Glue

Developing Skills

Problem solving, follow through

Early Science & Math

Pumpkin Patch Match

Prep your paper pumpkins in various shapes and sizes. Have between 3 and 5 of each color and several different sizes. You can lay out the pumpkins and your child can match pumpkins based on size and/or color.

Stuff to Have

Paper pumpkins, various sizes and colors (I free hand my pumpkins and cut out)

Developing Skills

Early math, color recognition, fine motor

Cooking & Baking

Donut Hole Acorns

img_1055To make about 10 donut hole acorns, melt about 1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chips in the microwave. Do 30 second increments at half power and stir in between. Once those are melted, grind about 1/4 cup peanuts in a food processor (if you don’t have a food processor you could just chop the nuts finely).

Now your child can dip the top of the donut holes into the chocolate first and then in the chopped peanuts.. I tell my kids to just put a hat on the donut hole. Set the “acorns” on parchment paper, and then in the refrigerator to completely cool. And that is it! You have cute little, edible, donut hole acorns!

Stuff to Have

Donut holes

1/4-1/2 c. Chocolate chips

1/4 c. Peanuts

Developing Skills

Fine motor, sensory, early science, early math, communication


Each day we try to also include large muscle movement, lot’s of book reading, and music and rhymes. These three things are some of the more important things, in my opinion, to include. Large muscle movement builds your child’s coordination, balance, and movement ability (ie. practice makes perfect), but it also is busy building brain connections, and without a doubt I believe my kids are better behaved when they get their whole body moving! Try things like, running, jumping, climbing, throwing & kicking a ball, tossing leaves that have fallen, going for a walk, riding a trike, or creative fun like a bear crawl or a crab walk.

Reading books is essential for language development. Mix up the books you have by picking up some seasonal books from the library. And if you’re sick of reading the same book over and over, change it up every now and then. You don’t have to stick to the written words. With toddlers especially, it isn’t necessarily about reading all of the words, it’s more about letting them experience the book, point out what you see in pictures, connect it to their life, ask questions, and let them take the lead!

Finally, music and rhymes is also an important and fun element to add to your day to build language development. It’s as easy as looking up some different fall themed songs and rhymes to add to your day. Or if you want to keep it simple, try songs to transition from toy to toy, use a clean up song, or a song during bath time.

Happy Playing!

Fall Week 4

Fall Week 4: September 25-29

Happy week 4! I can’t believe we are already heading into October next week! It’s been so hot it still feels like the middle of Summer here. I am so ready for windows open, cool breezes, sweatshirts and cozy blankets, hot chocolate, stews in the crock pot… I love fall! And I’m excited for this week’s activities!

While you’re at it, make sure to head over to Facebook and like the Real. Meaningful. Family. Page! Blog updates are posted there, as well as other ideas, research, inspiration, etc. @realmeaningfulfamily… hope to see you there!

Fall week 4.jpg

Art

Leaf Rubbing

IMG_0389One of the first signs of fall, in my opinion, are the first falling leaves! Head outside and collect some of those freshly fallen, but not to crunchy, leaves. I find it easiest for a rubbing like this to tape the leaves to the back of white construction or computer paper so that there is less to keep in place. Then, show your child how to use the side of the crayon to lightly color on top of the paper and the leaf. Show them how the shape and texture of the leaf shows through. Allow them to experiment and try on their own.

Stuff to Have

Leaves collected from the nature walk

Construction paper

Crayons

Developing Skills

Art, colors, fine motor, science

Fine Motor

IMG_4505Bean Scoop

Pour 1 or 2 bags of dry beans into a large container. Provide spoons, bowls, cups, tongs, or anything else your child would enjoy digging through beans. If you don’t have beans, another great option is a small pasta (pictured right), colorful adds an extra touch of fun!

*Variation: Provide a separate bowl to scoop beans into with the utensils. Or for older children provide a muffin tin or ice tray to sort beans by shape and color.

*Variation: Add a problem solving element by putting small toys or objects in the bean container for children to find.

Stuff to Have

-1 or 2 bags of dry beans

-Large open container

-Cups, bowls, spoons, strainers, etc. (Be creative and change it up each time you do this!)

Developing Skills

Fine motor, sensory

Problem Solving

IMG_0690Flashlight Find

Darken a room that is familiar to your child and has familiar objects in it. Sit down somewhere comfortable and let your child use the flashlight to find various objects. Older children will love having you name some of their favorite toys or special objects and using the flashlight to find them. While younger children might not grasp the concept of finding things with the flashlight you can demonstrate and begin that problem solving concept. If they are only interested in playing with the flashlight that is fine too- they are still always learning and building new concepts. Just take care to help them avoid looking directly at the light.

Stuff to Have

-1 Flashlight

-Darkened, familiar room

Developing Skills

Problem Solving, follow through

Early Science & Math

IMG_0646Pumpkin Patch Match

Prep your paper pumpkins in various shapes and sizes. Have between 3 and 5 of each color and several different sizes. You can lay out the pumpkins and your child can match pumpkins based on size and/or color.

Stuff to Have

Paper pumpkins, various sizes and colors (I free hand my pumpkins and cut out)

Butcher paper (optional)

Developing Skills

Early math, color recognition, fine motor

Cooking & Baking

Free… pick a favorite or take a break!


Have fun with all of those planned activities, but remember to find time for large motor, music and rhymes, and reading. One of the most important thing we can do for our kids is getting them to use their large muscles! Running, jumping, climbing, throwing & kicking a ball, tossing leaves that have fallen, going for a walk, riding a trike… Large muscle movement is beneficial for muscle and brain development!

For music, I like to find different Fall themed music and rhymes online. There are a lot of fun resources with great familiar rhymes and tunes to incorporate in your day. But keep in mind it isn’t necessary to have a sit down and sing time (this isn’t preschool or kindergarten!) Just incorporate singing, music, and dancing throughout your day!

Finally, reading should be a big part of our day too. I find it is easiest to head to the library and pick out some fall themed books. Find your child’s favorite character as they experience fall, find books about fall in your area, but mostly just read! With toddlers especially it isn’t about necessarily reading all of the words, it’s more about letting them experience the book, point out what you see in pictures, connect it to their life, ask questions, and let them take the lead!

Happy Playing!

 

 

Fall Week 3

Fall Week 3: September 18-22

fall week 3 heading.jpg

Art

IMG_0952Leaf Collage

I think it’s nice to start a new season by exploring outside and then making a little art with what they find! Start by going on a nature walk, or just collecting things in the backyard. When they are ready they can create a collage with the things they found, by using their imagination and gluing the objects on construction paper. It is truly their own creation!

Stuff to Have

Construction paper

Leaves, bark, grasses, fall flowers, etc.

Glue or glue stick

Developing Skills

Creative expression, fine motor

Fine Motor

Bean ScoopIMG_0551

Pour 1 or 2 bags of dry beans into a large container. Provide spoons, bowls, cups, tongs, or anything else your child would enjoy digging through beans.

*Variation: Provide a separate bowl to scoop beans into with the utensils. Or for older children provide a muffin tin or ice tray to sort beans by shape and color.

*Variation: Add a problem solving element by putting small toys or objects in the bean container for children to find.

Stuff to Have

-1 or 2 bags of dry beans

-Large open container

-Cups, bowls, spoons, strainers, etc. (Be creative and change it up each time you do this!)

Developing Skills

Fine motor, sensory

Problem Solving

IMG_0657Puzzle

I find it fun to include activities that for the most part fall within the season we are in. We don’t have a fall puzzle, so I decided it should be easy enough to make one. If you don’t want to make a puzzle, no problem. Just do some of the puzzles that you have together. To make our puzzle I freehanded 4 different colored and different shaped pumpkins (you could also do leaves or apples if you want to keep it in the fall theme). I cut out the 1st 4 pumpkins and traced each of them on the same color paper. So, my result was 2 of each color of mathcing pumpkin. Then, I glued one of each color onto a sheet of paper, and the other 4 pumpkins are left to match up for the puzzle. Whether you are doing your own puzzle or this fall puzzle be interactive and encouraging. If your child becomes frustrated give them some hints- this isn’t a test!

Stuff to Have

8 pumpkins (4 different shapes/sizes, 4 different colors)

1 Piece construction paper

Glue

Developing Skills

Problem solving, follow through

Early Science & Math

IMG_1106Nature Walk

Take a walk outside and enjoy the changing weather, trees, flowers, grass, etc. Talk a lot about colors and the changes you see- even with the youngest children! Walks are a simple but great opportunity to enhance vocabulary and learning about the environment around us.

Developing Skills

Science (observation), colors, temperatures, large motor

Cooking & Baking

IMG_1062Applesauce

Start by cutting the apples into chunks (I’ll leave the decision to peel them up to you), throw those into a saucepan and then let your child sprinkle in the cinnamon, squeeze in the honey, and toss together before it is on the heat (the amount of honey you use will depend on the tartness of your apples, we use a sweeter apple so we don’t need much extra sweetness).

Now, you can add the water and begin to heat the apples on medium heat. It will take them between 15-20 minutes, so while your child is watching nearby talk about what is going on while the apples cook. “It is really hot, and it is making the apples soft and yummy for our applesauce!”

Once the apples are soft remove from heat and allow them to cool. When they are cool enough your child can help mash them up with a potato masher or the back of a large spoon.

Stuff to Have

4 Apples

2T Honey

1/2 t. Ground Cinnamon

1/4c. Water


Have fun with all of those planned activities, but remember to find time for large motor, music and rhymes, and reading. One of the most important thing we can do for our kids is getting them to use their large muscles! Running, jumping, climbing, throwing & kicking a ball, tossing leaves that have fallen, going for a walk, riding a trike… Large muscle movement is beneficial for muscle and brain development!

For music, I like to find different Fall themed music and rhymes online. There are a lot of fun resources with great familiar rhymes and tunes to incorporate in your day. But keep in mind it isn’t necessary to have a sit down and sing time (this isn’t preschool or kindergarten!) Just incorporate singing, music, and dancing throughout your day!

Finally, reading should be a big part of our day too. I find it is easiest to head to the library and pick out some fall themed books. Find your child’s favorite character as they experience fall, find books about fall in your area, but mostly just read! With toddlers especially it isn’t about necessarily reading all of the words, it’s more about letting them experience the book, point out what you see in pictures, connect it to their life, ask questions, and let them take the lead!

Happy Playing!

Fall Week 2

Fall Week 2: September 11-15

Here we go with week 2 of Fall! I am excited to kick off this week full of apples and fun new activities! First, though I want to acknowledge all of the difficult national crises happening right now! Of course we are thinking of Floridians who have been displaced or are living through Irma as the storm passes through. Definitely hoping and praying for safety through that. As a Midwesterner who has not experienced anything like that, my husband and I have watched the live coverage all day part in awe of the power of a storm like that and part just sad and concerned for all involved. We also haven’t forgotten all those that are cleaning up after Hurricane Harvey, as well as everyone in the northwest affected by the fires. We pray for safety, strength, patience, a little humor, and wisdom as you help your children through.

“…’Look for the Helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” -Mr. Rogers

fall week 2 heading

Art

Apple Stamp

When we think of art, especially painting, it’s easy to get stuck in the rut of finger painting or painting with a brush. There’s no problem with those, but it’s important to think outside of the box every now and then. This activity is a version of stamping. It is stamping with interesting parts of an apple. To get going, cut an apple across the width of the middle (from side to side not top to bottom). You should be able to see the seeds forming a star shape. Set out various colors to dip the apple. If you have an older child (3 or 4ish), let them try to figure out what to do with some help and verbal direction from you. With younger kids you’ll need to be a little more hands on to hold on to the apple, dip it into paint, and use as a stamp on construction paper. Encourage your child to change colors if they want and demonstrate or help them wipe the apple on a wet cloth when they are ready for a new color. Talk about what happens when the colors mix, what shapes do they see as they are stamping, how does the inside of the apple look different than the outside?

Stuff to Have

-1 or 2 Apples (could add pears too)

-Non-toxic finger paint or other children’s paint

-Construction paper

Developing Skills

Color recognition, fine motor, sensory, early science

Fine Motor

Bean ScoopIMG_0551

Pour 1 or 2 bags of dry beans into a large container. Provide spoons, bowls, cups, tongs, or anything else your child would enjoy digging through beans.

*Variation: Provide a separate bowl to scoop beans into with the utensils. Or for older children provide a muffin tin or ice tray to sort beans by shape and color.

*Variation: Add a problem solving element by putting small toys or objects in the bean container for children to find.

Stuff to Have

-1 or 2 bags of dry beans

-Large open container

-Cups, bowls, spoons, strainers, etc. (Be creative and change it up each time you do this!)

Developing Skills

Fine motor, sensory

Problem Solving

Flashlight Find

Here is a fun little twist on hide and seek or other activities that we have like Find the Star. It’s up to us to add the problem solving element by asking where objects are (preferably familiar objects to make it more interesting for your child). To do this activity, darken a room that is familiar to your child and has familiar objects in it. Sit down somewhere comfortable and let your child use the flashlight to find various objects. Older children will love having you name some of their favorite toys or special objects and using the flashlight to find them. While younger children might not grasp the concept of finding things with the flashlight you can demonstrate and begin that problem solving concept. If they are only interested in playing with the flashlight that is fine too- they are still always learning and building new concepts. Just take care to help them avoid looking directly at the light.

Stuff to Have

-1 Flashlight

-Darkened, familiar room

Developing Skills

Problem Solving, follow through

Early Science & Math

Pumpkin Patch Match

Math and science concepts in these early ages consist of things like color recognition, sorting, and matching. So this activity is one that will capitalize on all of these depending on your child’s age. Prep your paper pumpkins in various shapes and sizes and in different colors. For a really young child you could lay out for instance, 2 green pumpkins and 1 red pumpkin and ask which pumpkins match. Or you could do it by size and lay out 2 big pumpkins and 1 small pumpkin and ask which ones match. The older your child is the more pumpkins you could put out to either match, or sort by color or size. You be the judge of what will be fun for your child. That’s the key word here too… this is not a test, it is not school, nor is it something to teach your young child. This is supposed to be a fun game to do together and enjoy time with one another! Keep it fun, talk about colors, and size, and be encouraging.

Stuff to Have

Paper pumpkins, various sizes and colors (I free hand my pumpkins and cut out)

Developing Skills

Early math, color recognition, fine motor, sorting, matching

Cooking & Baking

Apple Pie Pockets

Cooking and baking is just a fun way to incorporate fine motor, science, math, sensory… it basically packs in most areas of development in one activity! As you go through this baking process try to get your child involved in as much as you can. Have them scoop and dump the sugar and cinnamon into the apples, help them cut the dough, they can run their finger around the dough with water, fold it, and crimp the edges with a little help from you! You can ask questions about what they think is going on, describe what you are doing when they really can’t help (ie. cutting apples and using the hot oven), help them taste the cinnamon and sugar, turn the oven light on so they can watch the change, and continue the discussion when you finally get to eat your treat! Doing all of this, and making it their cooking activity will make it so fun and special for them, all the while they are learning so much!

To get started with this treat… preheat your oven to 400. Then roll out your pie crust and your child can get involved (with your help) cutting out the tops and bottoms of the pockets. I assist my child with a butter knife- nothing sharp and we cut 3×3 squares. You could cut any shape you want though, circles, squares, rectangles, or using an apple cookie cutter to make an apple shaped pocket would be so cute! Using cookie cutters might actually be easier for your child as they can just set it and press down to cut, rather than cutting straight lines with a knife.

Now, combine the apple chunks, sugar, and cinnamon together. Spoon about a tablespoon of the apple chunk mixture onto one half of the dough square and run a finger wet with water around the edge of the square. Fold over from corner to corner (your final product will be a triangle shaped pocket if you chose to cut out the square shapes) and crimp the edges of the dough to make sure it stays closed.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Stuff to have

Pie crust (refrigerated, frozen, or homemade)

2 Apples, cut into small chunks (approx. 1/2″)

1/4c sugar

1/2t cinnamon


Have fun with all of those planned activities, but remember to find time for large motor, music and rhymes, and reading. One of the most important thing we can do for our kids is getting them to use their large muscles! Running, jumping, climbing, throwing & kicking a ball, tossing leaves that have fallen, going for a walk, riding a trike… Large muscle movement is beneficial for muscle and brain development!

For music, I like to find different Fall themed music and rhymes online. There are a lot of fun resources with great familiar rhymes and tunes to incorporate in your day. But keep in mind it isn’t necessary to have a sit down and sing time (this isn’t preschool or kindergarten!) Just incorporate singing, music, and dancing throughout your day!

Finally, reading should be a big part of our day too. I find it is easiest to head to the library and pick out some fall themed books. Find your child’s favorite character as they experience fall, find books about fall in your area, but mostly just read! With toddlers especially it isn’t about necessarily reading all of the words, it’s more about letting them experience the book, point out what you see in pictures, connect it to their life, ask questions, and let them take the lead!

Happy Playing!

 

Fine Motor: Bean Scoop

FINE MOTOR

Today we did our Fine Motor activity, bean scoop. I love this fine motor activity because there are so many ways to tweak it and make it new each time we do it. That is one reason why you will see this activity popping up quite a bit throughout the Fall months. No reason to reinvent the wheel each week!

Check out the link below to see how we did it, as well as different ideas to change it up in the weeks to come and how to make it fun for different ages.

Bean Scoop

And if you haven’t seen this week’s plan you can check it out here!

Happy Playing!

Fall Week 13: November 28-December 2

Here is one final week of fall before we move onto new winter activities next week! 

Art

Free

I don’t have a planned art activity this week. Catch up on something you missed or pick something that is your child’s favorite!

Fine Motor

Pipe Cleaner Colander

img_1001Pull out your kitchen colander and some pipe cleaners. Let your child poke the pipe cleaners through the holes of the colander giving them a great fine motor workout!

Stuff to Have

Colander

Pipe cleaners

Developing Skills

Fine motor

Problem Solving

IMG_0657Fall Puzzle

I find it fun to include activities that for the most part fall within the season we are in. We don’t have a fall puzzle, so I decided it should be easy enough to make one. If you don’t want to make a puzzle, no problem. Just do some of the puzzles that you have together. To make our puzzle I freehanded 4 different colored and different shaped pumpkins (you could also do leaves or apples if you want to keep it in the fall theme). I cut out the 1st 4 pumpkins and traced each of them on the same color paper. So, my result was 2 of each color of matching pumpkin. Then, I glued one of each color onto a sheet of paper, and the other 4 pumpkins are left to match up for the puzzle. Whether you are doing your own puzzle or this fall puzzle be interactive and encouraging. If your child becomes frustrated give them some hints- this isn’t a test!

Stuff to Have

8 pumpkins (4 different shapes/sizes, 4 different colors)

1 Piece construction paper

Glue

Developing Skills

Problem solving, follow through

Early Science & Math

IMG_0599Sort Leaves

You can either collect fall leaves while on a nature walk or you can purchase craft fall leaves. Allow your child to sort through the leaves making piles by size, shape, and color. The younger the child is the less we are interested in them doing it “right.” For all ages let them explore the textures and the colors.

Stuff to Have

Fall leaves collected from nature or fall craft leaves

Developing Skills

Colors, size, shape, problem solving

Cooking & Baking

Poppyseed Tea Cakes

This is a recipe from my own family archives. Something that we made each year as Christmastime rolled around. This is an old recipe, and sadly I do not know where it originated from.

Mix together ingredients in a large bowl. Grease and flour either 4 small loaf pans or 6 baby loaf pans and pour the mixture evenly into pans, about 1/2 to 3/4 full. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Cool for 5 minutes and pour icing over while still in the pans. Let loaves stand for 5 minutes and remove from the pans.

Stuff to Have

For the cakes:

3 c. Flour

1 1/2 t. Salt

1 1/2 t. Baking powder

2 1/4 c. sugar

1 1/2 T. poppyseed

3 Eggs

1 1/2 c. Milk

1 1/8 c. Oil

1 1/2 t. Vanilla

1 1/2 t. Butter flavor

1 1/2t. Almond flavor

For the Icing:

1/4 c. Orange juice

3/4 c. Sugar

1/2 t. Vanilla

1/2 t. Butter flavor

1/2 t. Almond flavor

Developing Skills

Fine motor, early science, early math, communication

Add on Activities

Large Motor: One of the most important thing we can do for our kids is getting them to use their large muscles! Running, jumping, climbing, throwing & kicking a ball, tossing leaves that have fallen, going for a walk, riding a trike… Large muscle movement is beneficial for muscle and brain development!

Music and Rhymes: I like to find different Fall themed music and rhymes online. There are a lot of fun resources with great familiar rhymes and tunes to incorporate in your day. But keep in mind it isn’t necessary to have a sit down and sing time (this isn’t preschool or kindergarten!) Just incorporate singing, music, and dancing throughout your day!

Books: I find it is easiest to head to the library and pick out some fall themed books. Find your child’s favorite character as they experience fall, find books about fall in your area, but mostly just read! With toddlers especially it isn’t about necessarily reading all of the words, it’s more about letting them experience the book, point out what you see in pictures, connect it to their life, ask questions, and let them take the lead!

We are also now on Facebook! For more tips about play, these activities, large motor, music and rhymes, and book ideas check out the Real. Meaningful. Family. Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/realmeaningfulfamily/

Mostly enjoy your child and happy playing!