Fall Week 11

Fall Week 11: November 13-17

Wow! We are already to week 11! I found when I was first creating this year long activity plan, I gravitated toward seasonal activities. So, I have the year broken down into quarters, then by months, then by weeks to make the most sense. So, we have only 2 more new fall plans, and then week 13 will be your and your child’s favorite activities. So, keep track of what we’ve done and you can pick things you would like to retry!

If you are new to these weekly activity plans and don’t quite know what is going on here… I developed my own weekly plan of activities that follows the seasons and holidays throughout the year for my toddlers and preschoolers. It is all developmentally appropriate (not preschool for babies) and mostly focuses on getting one on one time between our young one and ourselves to foster communication, adult interaction, fine motor, sensory, and problem solving! Thanks for stopping by to check it out! For more info you can read about me or about the blog here.

Be sure to find us on Facebook too… @realmeaningfulfamily.

fall week 11

Art

Turkey Roll

img_1430Trace around your child’s hands on construction paper. We used 3 different colors of paper for our wings, so I traced around my son’s hans 3 times, once per sheet of paper. Cut out the hand tracings. While you’re doing this, your child could color their toilet paper roll brown or orange if they want. Now show your child the back of the “turkey” and explain that he can glue the wings onto the back. Let him experiment with the gluing, picking which wings to put on next, and then sticking them on.

Once the wings, or feathers, are stuck on, your child can add the face to the front. Talk about what goes on a face and where it goes, but don’t be discouraged if the turkey’s face ends up a little abstract. Learning how to construct a face will come with time. This is just good practice!

Stuff to Have

1 Empty toilet paper roll

Construction paper (various fall colors)

1 small orange triangle (for beak)

2 precut orange feet

2 craft eyes, or eyes from construction paper (a hole punch works well for this)

Developing Skills

Fine motor, shapes, construction of a body

Fine Motor

Bean Scoop

img_1527Pour 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

IMG_0602Sort 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

Choose a Favorite Fall Treat

I love including chances for your child to get involved picking something to make. It lets them use that budding independence and they will have so much fun getting to watch their choice start from nothing to a tasty treat!


In addition to all of those activities, which we do one per day. I think some of the most important activities we can do are those that get our kids moving, and those that bulk up their language development. So, healthy doses of physical activity, reading, and music and rhymes are hugely beneficial. As it starts to get cooler it is sometimes harder to get our kids moving as much, but there are a lot of fun indoor activities that you will both enjoy. Try toddler yoga, keeping a balloon up in the air, or having a dance party to some fun kids music. Then, when it’s warm enough, take advantage of the outdoor space and get them running, jumping & climbing. Large muscle movement is so beneficial for muscle and brain development!

For reading, 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 fun books about Thanksgiving dinners and silly turkey’s, but mostly just read! With toddlers and preschoolers especially, it isn’t 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… I like to find different Fall themed music and rhymes online, and as we get closer to Thanksgiving add in some songs about turkeys and Thanksgiving dinner. 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!

Happy Playing!

 

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Fall Week 10

Hi All! Thanks for joining us this week! This is our week 10 activity plan. If you’ve been here before thanks for coming back! I hope you find some great ways to add in some fun throughout your day. Unfortunately, my pictures are not very prevalent in this post… sorry. Hopefully we’ll get some documentation accomplished this week! For now, have fun!

If you are new to these weekly activity plans and don’t quite know what is going on here… I developed my own weekly plan of activities that follows the seasons and holidays throughout the year for my toddlers and preschoolers. It is all developmentally appropriate (not preschool for babies) and mostly focuses on getting one on one time between our young one and ourselves to foster communication, adult interaction, fine motor, sensory, and problem solving! Thanks for stopping by to check it out! For more info you can read about me or about the blog here.

Be sure to find us on Facebook too… @realmeaningfulfamily.

Art

Leaf Stamp

Stamping is one variety of arts and crafts for your child that will not only highlight the characteristics of whatever they are stamping, but also develops knowledge of colors and textures, as well as being a great activity for fine motor development. You or your child can paint one side of a leaf the color of their choice. Then let your child press the leaf onto the paper just like a stamp. The imprint of the leaf should show through and your child will have fun making a colorful collage of leaf stamps.

Stuff to Have

1 Sheet construction paper

Various leaves collected from outside

Non-toxic paint

Paint brushes

Developing Skills

Art processes, creative expression, color recognition, fine motor

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 colr 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

Leaf Sugar Cookies

Mix up your favorite sugar cookie dough recipe, and if your favorite recipe comes out of a tube from the grocery store there is no judgement here! I love a good homemade cookie, but sometimes when it doesn’t matter go for the easier route and save some time! Roll out your choice of sugar cookie dough to between 1/4-1/8 of an inch and help your child cut them out with a leaf cookie cutter. Set aside on parchment paper.

To make color glaze for dough: Combine 1 egg yolk with 1 t water. Divide the egg mixture into an empty ice tray or muffin tin (each compartment will be for a different color.) Color the individual compartments with your child’s choice of food colors. Maybe ask them what color the leaves are turning, and use those colors. Green, red, orange, yellow, purple, etc. Now, you and your child can brush colors onto the cut out leaf dough. Bake on parchment paper or baking mat at 350 for about 8-10 minutes (or follow your dough’s specific instructions) or until edges are just beginning to become golden. Enjoy your beautifully painted leaf sugar cookies!

Stuff to Have

Sugar cookie dough, homemade or store bought

1 egg yolk

1t. water

Various liquid food colors

Pastry brush

Developing Skills

Fine motor, color recognition, early science, early math


Each day try an add on these important elements too… large motor, reading books, and singing songs. All play an important role in many areas of development! One of the most important things 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!

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!

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!

Happy Playing!

Fall Week 9

Hi All! Thanks for joining us this week! This is our week 9 activity plan! If you’ve been here before thanks for coming back! I hope you find some great ways to add in some fun throughout your day! Be on the lookout in the next weeks for some fun new activities as we welcome in November.

If you are new to these weekly activity plans and don’t quite know what is going on here… I developed my own weekly plan of activities that follows the seasons and holidays throughout the year for my toddlers and preschoolers. It is all developmentally appropriate (not preschool for babies) and mostly focuses on getting one on one time between our young one and ourselves to foster communication, adult interaction, fine motor, sensory, and problem solving! Thanks for stopping by to check it out! For more info you can read about me or about the blog here.

Be sure to find us on Facebook too… @realmeaningfulfamily.

Fall Week 9: October 30-November 3

Fall Week 9 17

Art

Form a Pumpkin

I try to include a play dough activity in each section. It is such a great opportunity for kids to work on all of those important fine motor muscles in their arms and hands, as well as develop creativity and planning in creating something from nothing. Younger children may not get the concept to make a pumpkin out of the dough, but that’s ok. Demonstrate for them and let them try it out. They’ll still get all of the benefits. As children get older, they may try to make something closer to a pumpkin.

Stuff to Have

Playdough, store bought or homemade

Developing Skills

Fine motor

Shaping

Textures

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_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

IMG_0602Sort 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

Pumpkin Pie Muffins

2 1/4 c. flour

1 pkg. (3.4 oz) pumpkin spice pudding

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. butter, softened

1/2 c. packed brown sugar

1 c. pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!)

1 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

1 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375. Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Cream together butter and brown sugar and then add pumpkin puree and vanilla. Once well combined add eggs to wet mixture and mix well.

Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Combine well, but don’t over mix. Finally, fold in chocolate chips.

Drop batter into muffin tins and bake for 10 minutes for mini muffins and 12-15 minutes for larger muffins.


Each day try an add on these important elements too… large motor, reading books, and singing songs. All play an important role in many areas of development! One of the most important things 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!

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!

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!

Happy Playing!

 

 

Fall Week 8

Week 8: October 23-27

Hi All! Thanks for joining us this week! This is our week 8 activity plan… and if you just had to double take when you saw “Fall week 8” don’t worry I did too! How is that even possible!? If you’ve been here before thanks for coming back! I hope you find some great ways to add in some fun throughout your day!

If you are new to these weekly activity plans and don’t quite know what is going on here… I developed my own weekly plan of activities that follows the seasons and holidays throughout the year for my toddlers and preschoolers. It is all developmentally appropriate (not preschool for babies) and mostly focuses on getting one on one time between our young one and ourselves to foster communication, adult interaction, fine motor, sensory, and problem solving! Thanks for stopping by to check it out! For more info you can read about me or about the blog here.

Be sure to find us on Facebook too… @realmeaningfulfamily.

Art

Decorate a Pumpkin

By now those perfect and cute little craft pumpkins at the craft store should be on sale. We have painted a pumpkin, we’ve made our own pumpkin, our carved pumpkins are out on the step… we have some super cute and decorated pumpkins. A couple of years ago we decorated craft pumpkins with stickers that matched my kids interests. For some reason, that fun activity stuck with us and we have done it ever since. So, I thought I’d share this simple idea with you to add to your own pumpkin collection! Use a craft pumpkin, a real pumpkin, or just decorate a print out of a pumpkin. Then gather stickers that match your child’s interest, along with other craft supplies if they would like and let them decorate to their hearts desire. What a great way to practice their independence, creativity, and get a great fine motor workout!

Stuff to have

1 pumpkin (craft pumpkin, real pumpkin, or print out)

Stickers

Other craft supplies/decorations, optional

Developing skills

Independence, creativity, art, fine motor

Fine Motor

Pumpkin Seed Transport

img_1355Let your child experiment and get creative moving pumpkin seeds from different containers with various utensils. Try and make it interesting by giving them containers with different sized openings. For instance, give them a bottle with a small opening to work on getting the seeds into. Can they get it back out? Also change up the utensils they use. Try giving them tweezers, tongs, clothespins, etc. to make it interesting and further fine motor movement.

Stuff to Have

Pumpkin seeds, cleaned and dried from pumpkin carving

Utensils: spoons, ladles, serving spoons, bowls, etc.

Developing Skills

Fine motor, Problem solving

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)

Butcher paper (optional)

Developing Skills

Early math, color recognition, fine motor

Cooking & Baking

img_1268Mummy Pizzas

This is about as “spooky” as things get at our house around Halloween. I’ll do cute costumes and go for candy, but I’m not a big fan of the scary stuff. Even if you’re not at all into Halloween festivities, still do this fun activity in the kitchen. It is one that allows so many opportunities for independence, sensory, and fine motor!

To get started, preheat your oven to 375. Then, let your child have fun creating their own pizza, using their independence to choose what toppings to use. Finish off with strands of string cheese laid across the pizzas and the finished product will make it look like a mummy (or not if you’re not into that kind of thing). It might be a little messier, but try and let your child take charge, practicing their fine motor movements, making their own decisions, and learning from everything they are doing. They will love it!

Stuff to Have

English Muffins

Pizza sauce

String cheese

Favorite Pizza toppings: pepperoni, sausage, vegetables… whatever you and your child choose!

Developing Skills

Cooking/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 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 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 1

Fall Week 1: September 4-8

Fall 17 week 1 heading

Art

Finger Painting

Start the week off with this kid approved classic! Provide paper and a selection of paint that your child picks out. Let them get messy and make their own creation!

Stuff to Have

Non-toxic finger paint

Construction paper

Ample wet cloths for cleaning up!

Newspaper to cover table/counters

Developing Skills

Creative expression, colors, sensory, 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_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

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

Apple Slices and Peanut Butter

Parent prep: Cut up an apple into thin slices.

Let your child dip apple slices in the nut butter and enjoy a tasty and healthy treat!

Stuff to Have

1 Apple, sliced

1 T nut butter of choice

Developing Skills

Fine motor, sensory


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!

Find us on Facebook @realmeaningfulfamily

Spring Week 13: Spring Favorites

I cannot believe it… with this post we officially have a YEAR’S WORTH of weekly activity plans! Woooooohoooooo!

Be sure to check out and like our Facebook page… @realmeaningfulfamily next week for our first blog and Facebook anniversary! I will have previews for summer activities, tips for playing with young children, quotes, and games to have some fun! 


At the end of each season I always like to wrap up with some of our favorites or some of the big activities that we maybe weren’t able to do originally. Here are the activities we are doing this week… you pick your favorites or some of the ones that you missed throughout Spring!

Golf Ball Paint

IMG_1671This will be a fun, abstract piece of art for your child to enjoy! Lay construction paper in a container about the size of the paper. Then, let them choose paints they want to use and squirt blobs onto the paper. Drop in one or two golf balls and let your child roll the balls around in the container. This is a nice activity to combine some fine motor movements, some large motor movements, and the stimulation of colors moving and mixing. They can also have total control of what they are doing and be proud of their final product.

Stuff to Have

Construction paper

Paint

Golf balls

Plastic container, large enough to lay construction paper flat

Developing Skills

Fine motor, colors, art

Fine Motor

Button Flower

IMG_1468Lay out buttons and pipe cleaners. Demonstrate to children how the pipe cleaner can go through the button-holes. Let your child try to put pipe cleaners through the button-holes and make a button “flower.” If it starts to get frustrating for your child help them out. The point is to have fun and try something new. If you do help, try to find the balance between letting them experiment, and assisting them.

Stuff to Have

Buttons- various shapes, sizes, and colors

Pipe cleaners

Developing Skills

Fine motor, colors

Early Science & Math

Seeds on a Sponge

This is something I did ages ago when I was a lead teacher of one year olds. We had a lot of fun! Start by letting your child wet the sponge, more than just a little wet, but not dripping and place the sponge in a plastic container (or we used cute miniature pots). Then, they can sprinkle on the grass seed with a plastic spoon or small cup, just until it is covered with a layer of seeds. Place the seeds in an area where they will get sunlight and check daily to make sure the sponge stays moist as well as to see if the grass is making any progress. This activity is great because it continues over time! Talk about what you see changing and happening, what the grass looks like, what color it is, etc.

Stuff to Have

Sponge

Grass seed

Container to fit sponge into

Developing Skills

Science, observation

Cooking & Baking

Dirt Cake & Worms

With lots of supervision and helping hands, this is a kid activity that they can be very involved with. Let your child dump in the pudding mix, and the 2 c milk (insert helping hands here for sure!). Then, they can whisk it together until it is smooth. Let the pudding sit for 5 minutes. This would be a good time to put the chocolate cookies into a gallon bag and let your child crush them with a heavy spoon or other semi-heavy object. Next, mix in cool whip with the pudding. Then, add about a half-cup of the crushed chocolate cookies into the pudding mixture. Now, place the pudding mixture into individual cups or bowls (approx. 10), or into a larger bowl or container. Put the rest of the chocolate cookies on top of the pudding and refrigerate for 1 hour. Top with gummy worms and enjoy this Spring treat!

Stuff to Have

1-3.9oz package instant chocolate pudding

2 c milk

Cool whip

15 chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed

Gummy worms

Developing Skills

Cooking and baking, fine motor


Our weeks always go better when we spend a lot of time getting those big muscle groups working too! Things like jumping, running, riding a trike, climbing! This is so important for building their strength, balance, coordination, and brain development. I strongly believe that my kids are way better behaved when they have had some exercise!

Reading should also be a big part of your day! Go to the library and pick out some of your child’s favorite characters, read about spring and the change of the season, try some new books and add to your favorites. Reading is extremely multi-dimensional and is a must do every day!

Similar to reading are music and rhymes. These are so fun and so beneficial for language development and future reading skills. Do an internet search for Spring songs for kids. You will find a lot of great little rhymes and songs to add throughout the day. You don’t need to have a set “music time” that you sit down and sing, just sing them as you go about the day!

Happy Playing!

Spring Week 1: March 6-10

I’m trying, I’m really trying to get my act together and get back on schedule with my activity plans, I promise! My intention has always been to get new plans out on the Thursday before the next week so that you have time to plan and gather supplies if necessary. For the most part my goal is to keep activities easy enough to just do on the spot, but for planners like me I like to have it out ahead of time. I could go into detail about all of the stuff going on the past 3 months keeping our family extra busy, but everyone is busy! So, it’s time for me to get back on track!

And, hello, Spring! Yes you read that right, we have moved into Spring! There’s just something about that word, Spring, that makes me want to sing it or say it extra loud, or hold the “i” obnoxiously long. And this is coming from someone who actually loves winter! I do believe I love the change of the seasons equally as much though, and maybe this is why my activities center so much around the seasons, because I looooove what the different seasons have to offer in learning and activities! Weather, tons of changes in nature, colors, and experiences, & holidays to name a few. Lots of opportunity for fresh activities and learning together. Now, I realize Spring doesn’t technically start until March 20th, but march to the beat of my own drum. Really it’s just to make activities and the weeks fit together nicely- so from March through May we are in Spring!

Here is the first plan of this season. I’m excited because this is the only season that we haven’t done yet! We launched last Summer and have almost completed a full year of fun and playing with our kids! I am so looking forward to that landmark and the possibility of adding to this information current research for parents and their kids! Join us on Facebook @realmeaningfulfamily to keep up with new posts, quotes, inspiration in parenting, research and news about the site that I don’t always get posted here.

Before I keep rambling about everything that is not the activity plan for the week, I should stop myself and share the new activities!

Art

Spring Collage

There are a couple of options with this activity. If it’s warm enough and you feel like making this an outside activity, head on out and collect some of the Springy things you are seeing (obviously without harming new growth). Maybe a green leaf, green grass, etc. Then, use what you find to glue onto a page and create a spring collage.

If it’s too chilly or you don’t have any signs of spring yet round up some magazines and go through and find pictures of spring to make your collage. For instance, find pictures of flowers, grass, the sun and clouds, and activities that we get to enjoy as the weather starts to change. Once you’ve found some pictures, gather the glue and construction paper and make a collage. Talk about the changes in the weather, trees, and grass as well as different animals you might start to see to introduce these activities. Keep in mind the age of your child. Young toddlers aren’t going to be able to go through and find this stuff. Instead use it as an opportunity to look at pictures, describe, point, describe some more, practice ripping for fine motor work. Then, you can help them with the glue and sticking on the pictures. Older children may be more active in picking out pictures and talking about what to expect, as well as tearing out pictures and doing their own gluing. Keep in mind your child’s experiences and what things will be completely new, whether concepts or materials, and tailor your words and descriptions to fit their level of understanding.

Stuff to Have

Spring concepts from magazines

Construction paper

Glue

Developing Skills

Fine motor, colors, textures, science/change

Fine Motor

Seed Sort

There are two main concepts in the seed sort, fine motor and classification, which is an early math concept. This week the focus is the actual movement of sorting seeds. Add spoons, tongs, tweezers, and cups to utilize different fine motor muscles. They can sort them into a muffin tin or ice tray, but focus more on the movement of picking up the seeds, whether by their fingers, tongs, tweezers, or spoons. Younger children may be challenged just using their fingers. As children progress, they may want to try a spoon, then tongs, then tweezers. The smaller the object (ie. Tweezers) the harder they tend to be to hold. Keep talking about colors, shapes, and any other characteristics you notice as your child goes through this. What utensil is easier or do they prefer? What are these seeds for? What do they look like? Take advantage of simple activities, and draw out learning experiences from all areas of development.

Stuff to Have

Various seeds (larger seeds like pumpkin, sunflower, and corn seeds are good for this)

muffin tin or ice tray

Utensils: spoons, cups, tweezers, tongs, etc. (optional)

Developing Skills

Fine motor, math (sorting), sensory

Early Science & Math

Make A Nest

Gather items from around the house and outside to spread around for birds to collect. Birds begin their nesting search well before we see many birds or nests starting to appear. Use the opportunity to talk about what process a bird goes through to make a nest and why they do it. Talk about what your “nest” is like, and how it is the same or different.

Stuff to Have

Yarn, scraps of fabric, grass, other light materials (be sure to use materials that are natural and not harmful to birds)

Developing Skills

Early science, sensory

Cooking & Baking

Free

You might be thinking why on earth does this woman make a plan and include free activities?! Well, it’s because when I am doing these activities, when I’m on top of it and we are doing something every day I need a break. Since cooking and baking activities are more involved than the others, I see this one is a good one to take a break from occasionally. I keep them free so that you can take a break or choose something that you’ve been wanting to try for a while.


Keep in mind we ARE NOT trying to create toddler “school!” Toddlers (1s &2s) and your preschooler (3s and maybe 4s) don’t learn the way school agers learn (actually I would argue that preschoolers and kindergarteners don’t either, but I won’t go there right now). All this is, is an opportunity to spruce up the activities you enjoy together, to add to the toys and fun things you have. For me, it was a way to make sure I was sitting down every day and doing new things with my kids. I want my priority to be playing with my kids, and doing it in the most productive way possible.

With that said, I encourage you to make sure you are doing large motor activities, things that get their big muscle groups firing like jumping, running, riding a trike, climbing. This is so important for building their strength, balance, and coordination, and I strongly believe that my kids are way better behaved when they have had some exercise!

Reading should also be a big part of your day! Go to the library and pick out some of your child’s favorite characters, read about spring and the change of the season, try some new books and add to your favorites. Reading is extremely multi-dimensional and is a must do every day!

Similar to reading are music and rhymes. These are so fun and so beneficial for language development and future reading skills. Do an internet search for Spring songs for kids. You will find a lot of great little rhymes and songs to add throughout the day. You don’t need to have a set “music time” that you sit down and sing, just sing them as you go about the day!

Happy Playing!

Winter Week 13: Our Favorites

Our Spring activity plans are going to start March 6th! So, I thought why not spend next week doing some of our favorite Winter activities. Here’s what our plan is. What will your plan be?

  • For Art we are going to do some more snowpainting! Such a fun, sensory filled art activity! img_3124
  • Then, I think we are going to bring out the snowball “chute” for problem solving.img_1835
  • For Science and Math we picked the mitten match.
  • And, for cooking and baking, maybe we’ll try to make some more warm chocolate pudding one more time!

Sometimes, like through the extra crazy months of December-February I don’t always get every activity up on the blog. So, find us on Facebook, @realmeaningfulfamily, for live posts and updates!