Monday August 24th /Nature Walk / Rocks

Toddler and Preschooler
You need: to take a walk outside

Today you can find Rocks.

As you walk collect rocks.
Discuss their size, shape, color, textures, and if they are pretty.

Bring your rocks home and paint them to be pet rocks!
You can give your rocks hair, googly eyes, nose, and mouth.
You can let your toddler paint the rock and after it is dry, you can put the face on it for them.

Tuesday August 25th / Family and Friends Photo Album


Buy a small 99cent photo album.
Take pictures of everyone in your family, friends, and pets.
Print and label each picture with the person's name.
Put the pictures in the album.

Sit down with your toddler and read the book.
Talk about each person and tell your toddler stories about each person or animal.

Next time you read the book have your toddler name the people and tell you about them.

Do they sit and read the book to themselves?

Tuesday August 25th / Feelings Photo Album


This is basically the same thing as the toddler idea, except instead of naming people you are talking about feelings.

This week I read a book called Touch Point: Three to Six, which described the preschool years as learning and becoming more aware of feelings. It is a time of frustration because they have feelings they never even recognized before such as; anger, jealousy, guilt, and more.

To help your child recognize and talk about these feelings, take pictures of yourself, them, and others with different facial expressions and put them in your album with labels. Sit down and "read" the book with your child and discuss these feelings. Make up stories about the emotional and why the person feels this way. Ask your preschooler if they have felt that way. Ask them to "tell me more about that." Be sure to use open ended questions that can be answered with yes or no.

What does it feel like to be angry?
What makes you angry?
What does it mean to be guilty?
Have you ever felt that way?
sad, mad, happy, loved, embarrassed, proud, joyful, silly etc etc.

Wednesday August 26th / Prism

You need:
sunny day or flashlight

1. Hang a prism in the window where you have direct sunlight and watch the rainbows.

2. Direct rainbows on other objects and talk about it. "Look, there is a rainbow on your pillow."

3. Give the prism to your toddler (with supervision!!!) and let them direct rainbows on objects from sunlight.

4. You can also use a flashlight to make rainbows in any of these ways.

Wednesday August 26th / Counting Cards
This is another preschool activity.

Make a few index cards with pictures of objecects in a room such as; windows, doors, books, shoes, dolls etc.

1. Have preschooler pick a room of your house, go there
2. Pick a card
3. Count how many of the object there is in the room.
If you draw a picture of a window, count the windows in that room.
4. Preschoolers choice. Go to a new room, pick another card or stay with that same object.
5. Remember zero can be an answer too.
6. Compare the numbers of objects between objects.

Thursday August 27th / Making Music Bags
Toddler and Preschooler

Make your own maracas.
You need:
Brown paper lunch bags
Small objects
beans and rice
small wiffle balls
use your imagination
twist tie, tape, or hair binder

1. Take out paper bags and decorate them as fancy as you like
2. Walk around and find things to fill them with. I gave each kids two bags.
Preschooler: wanted to fill them with small balls
Toddler: filled one with littlest pet shop accessories
me: rice and beans
Anything will work
3. Fill bags, not very full
4. Twist tie teh bag shut
5. Shake bags
6. Sing a song, march along, be silly with your musical instruments

7. Shake bags one at a time. DO they sound the SAME or DIFFERENT??
Which one do you like best?

Monday August 10th /Nature Walk / Matching

Toddler and Preschooler
You need: to take a walk outside

Today you can finding matching things.
You find a car and ask your child to find another car.
Then tell them they have found a match!
You find a BIG house and they find a BIG car.
You find a pink flower and they find pink curtains.

Objects: cars, flowers, trees, basketball hoops, birds, street signs, etc

Discuss: same, different, alike, matching
You match objects, size, shapes, or colors. Find something else that is blue...
Find something else that is BIG, or small etc

Tuesday August 11th/ That's My Voice!

Toddlers love to see themselves in the mirror. (Some adults too)

Now let them HEAR themselves.

Your cellphone has a recording option, a cassette player, your computer, or the best option is the video camera.

Try to get lots of different sounds that your toddler makes: crying, laughing, singing, talking, babbling, kissing noise, and clapping.

Let them listen to themselves right away. Are they excited?

Ask them what they are doing or how they are feeling. Tell them laughing means you are happy and crying means you are sad. Repeat what words they say and have a conversation about their noises.

Tuesday August 11th / Static Electricity


You need:
tiny bits of paper

This activities objective is to introduce your preschooler to static electricity

1. Tear paper and put it on the table.
2. Put sugar on the table with paper.
3. Blow up balloon.
4. Rub balloon on your sleeve or shirt.
The effect is best if you are wearing wool.
5. Ask your preschooler what they think wil happen next.
Why are we rubbing the balloon?
What are we going to do with the paper and sugar?
This is a hypothesis and ANY thinking is GREAT, not just correct thinking.
YOur praise will encourage them to think and guess, put downs will do the opposite.
6. Hold balloon over paper and sugar.

Ext: Draw a picture and/or write about your experiment.
Wednesday August 12th / My Shoes At Night

This is a rhyme to say before bed with your child. Make sure to do the actions.
Highlight this section and print it our for yourself to remember.

Before I jump into bed at night   Jump
Before I dim the light                  switch off the light
I put my shoes together              put shoes together or move hands together

So they can talk at night               make hands or shoes talk
I'm sure they'd get lonesome        shake head like yes
If I left them here and there          toss hands or shoes

So I put them close together          put shoes or hands together
For they're a friendly pair              

Wednesday August 12th / Chair Maze
This is another preschool activity.

You need:
lots of space

I suggest making the maze while they are not in the room and then make a big deal about coming into the room and showing them the new game of the day!

Place a bunch of chairs around the room for your preschooler to climb and crawl over and under. If your up for demonstrating this activity, go for it! Clear other furniture from the room. You can number the chairs or let it be a free for all. This is a great rainy day pent up energy idea. I do not recommend this for toddlers because they are not coordinated enough yet.

Once they are bored with the maze, take the same chairs and make a train. Add stuffed animals and dolls.

Thursday August 13th / Kitchen Chores
Toddler and Preschooler

Are your kids always wanting to cook with you and "help"?
Have them clean vegetables and shine apples today.

You need:
two large towels
large bowl
veggies or apples

Place a large towel on the floor and put your bowl with water on top of it.
Show you child how to dip the veggie or apple in the water and scrub it clean.
Take the veggie or apple out and dry it with the other towel.
Place it on the towel or another plate.
If you are using apples, show the how to "polish" the apple with the towel.

I was skeptical of this one, they loved it!

What To Do After You Turn Off The Tv
Frances Moore Lappe and Family

Book Review
As This book and it's title was an easy sell for me. While my children do occasionally watch channel 2 (Sid the Science Kid and Super Why) we do not generally watch TV at all. The ideas in this book for preschoolers and toddlers were pretty limited but I am recommending it for any one with elementary aged kids. There is a national TV Turn Off Week in April every year. You could use this book as a catalyst to try your own TV Turn Off Week at home.

The book is a collection of one families activity ideas. I liked the idea of keeping a collection of our ideas, which first turned into an accordian folder of index cards, and secondly turned into the website It is my personal collection of games, ideas, and activities I do and want to do with my children. I still keep each activity on a separate index card so I can easily thumb through them and figure out what to do when we need something to do.

Friday August 14th / Sensory Table

Toddler and Preschooler:
You need:
Sensory Table
(or two bins, look in previous sensory table post)

Idea #1
beads and string
I use empty thread spools, actually string beads, buttons, and string. My toddler needs help to string the beads still. I hold the string and she puts the beads on. My preschooler can do this by himself.

Idea #2
poker chips
They make a great sound when you pour them or drop them out of your hands. You can also talk about colors! They stack and tip over too. It will be more fun than you think, I promise!

Idea #3
stretchy bugs, tiny bugs, plastic spiders etc.
Hey, if your up for the real thing give it a try too! :-)
I was not up for the real thing, but we did use lots of plastic bugs. We named them(spider, roach, fly, ant), made them talk to each other, poured them, touched them, and them named them again (Bob, Sam, Jill).

Idea #4Worms and Dirt
Put a thin layer of black dirt in your bin and then add worms. You can get worms at a bait shop or by laying a board on the grass and running the hose over it for 5 minutes, then lift the board. This is how my grandma and I used to get worms for fishing when I was little. be sure to teach your child about being gentle with nature. They will try to pull the worm in two pieces. Also teach them about nature by returning the worms to outside soil when they are finished exploring them.

Saturday August 15th / Fruit Smoothie

Toddler and Preschooler

1/2 cup fresh or  frozen berries
1 banana
1 cup milk
1 tbs sugar
1 8oz plain yogurt

1. Wash or drain berries
2. slice banana
3. put fruit in blender, add milk, sugar and yogurt
4. blend until smooth
5. Pour and drink

I have added crushed ice or ice cream too.

We froze our left overs and had popsicles the next day.

Sunday August 16th / Shape Slap

Oh how appealing!
Slapping things!

Today play the slap the shape game. You ask your child to "Slap a circle!" Then they have to find a thing that is a circle and slap it. This worked with my toddler too. I modified it a little for her turns. I said we are going to slap a circle and then I helped her or showed her what to slap. Both enjoyed slapping things and thought it was hilarious!

Circle: clock, plate (tea set), ball
Rectangle: tiles, window, dresser
Square: fan, TV,

      Remember to READ 15 minutes a day to your child!

The essence of childhood, of course, is play, which my friends and I did endlessly on streets that we reluctantly shared with traffic. Bill Cosby quotes

Monday July 27th / Bug Collecting

You need:
Glass jar with holes in lid
magnifying glass

I suggest collecting pill bugs, ants, spiders, caterpillars, or beetles

You can let them look at the bug and tell them about them. Toddlers may be afraid of bugs and shouldn't be pushed to hold or touch bugs if they are afraid.

Put them in your jar and ask your child to notice what was around the bug when you found it.
What do you think the bug needs to feel at home? Offer silly suggestions like seaweed, TV's, or palm trees!
You can teach them the word Habitat and discuss different habitats such as; where do fish and whales live?, lions?, elephants?, penguins?, moles and ground hogs?, etc.

What do bugs do? You may have to look up the particular bug you found. Some bugs aerate the dirt, pollinate flowers, or eat other harmful bugs.

Have your preschooler look at the bug through a magnifying glass. How many legs does the bug have? What kind of eyes? What else do you notice about the bug?

Teach respect for Nature and have your child let the bugs go when you are finished playing with them.

Tuesday July 28th/ Toddlers and Music

Toddlers love banging things to make music!

Hang a bunch of spoons on different strings around inside one room or outside. We hung them from shelves around our play room. Then we took spoons and banged the hanging spoons. It makes a sort of bell like sound. At first we hung the spoons close together but they kept getting tangled up, so we moved them apart. They liked this because they could run around the room and make music all over the place.

Warning: Noisy, do not do this on a day you have a headache! :-)

Tuesday July 28th / Preschool Letter Recognition

You need:
magnetic or plastic alphabet letters
a bag

Show your preschooler 3-4 letters
Name them and feel them together
Now place the 3-4 letters in the bag and see if your preschooler can find the letter you ask for.

You want your preschooler to feel successful. Start with letters that are not very similar in feel such as; A T and C.
Do not use things like N and M together or lowercase d and p.

Wednesday July 29th / Finger Plays

Toddlers love to sing. No worries about you not being able to carry a tune, they could care less.

Little Robin Redbreast

Little Robin Redbreast
Make thumb and small pinky finger into a small bird
Sat upon a rail
Sit your "bird" on your other hand
Niddle Noodle went his head
Shake your thumb
Wiggle Waggle went his tail
wiggle your little pinky finger

Once I Caught A Fish Alive

One, Two, Three, Four, Five
Count on your fingers

Once I caught a fish alive
Wiggle hand like a fish

Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten
Count on your fingers

Then I let him go again
Pretend to throw fish back

Why did you let him go?
Because he bit my finger so.
Shake hand vigerously

Which one did he bite?
The little finger on the right.
Hold up little pinky finger

Wednesday July 29th /Young (Mad?) Scientist / Invisible Ink
This is another preschool activity about science.

You need
2 tbsp lemon juice
cotton swabs

1. Put lemon juice in container
2. Soak cotton swabs
3. Draw picture or write words
4. Hold the paper up to a light
-the heat will "reveal" the picture or words by turning the lemon juice brown


Thursday July 30th / Build Your Own Mini Golf Course
The number one way to get your kids interested in an activity is: get on the floor too, at least in the beginning, and then let them take over and play by themselves.

Toddler and Preschooler

You need:
golf clubs real or platsic
gold balls real or plastic

Keep in mind your child's age and ability when designing your course.
You can build ramps, tunnels, and buildings. You can use toys, chairs, books, or anything you can think of.
Outside courses can include digging holes, wood ramps, fairy twig houses, etc.

If you make a great game, take pictures and post them on Play is Essential's Facebook Fan Page!

Friday July 31st / Leaping Lizards, Krazy Kangaroos, or Fearless Frogs

Toddler and Preschooler:
Rearrange your furniture. Place all couch cushions on the floor. Make tunnels. Stack Pillows.

Pick the title of the game.
Leaping Lizards must leap and not touch the floor. Kangaroos jump, and frogs hop from lily pad to lily pad. Use imagination and get moving inside on a rainy day!

Saturday July August 2nd / Sensory Table

Toddler and Preschooler
Here are more ideas of what can go into a sensory table.

Fill it up with an edible squishy food like applesauce!

Make a few batches of noodles or spaghetti and put it in our sensory table. It will feel fabulous for your kids to run there hands in, squish, and stir it around. Make sure to let them at it while it is still warm! and then again when it is cold. Ask them about the difference. If it becomes sticky and icky, add a little olive oil.

If you want an idea that is a little less messy, put in rocks. We have agates from a nature walk, and colored stones we bought at a store, plus regular rocks from outside. They are interesting to look at and to touch with many textures, colors, and shapes.

Sunday August 3rd / Your name in GLUE!

Write your child's name on a paper.

Outline or trace there name in glue and let it dry.

Now give them the paper and show them how they can trace and feel their name.

When they are done with feeling there name they can take markers and draw over the glue, it is a different texture than just drawing with markers.

Lastly, peel their name off the paper and look at it in just glue!

For added fun use glitter in your glue or colored glue.

Bonus Idea

Krispy Kale / Veggie Snack

You need:
Sea Salt
Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Get a plate and put olive oil on it.
Dip and rub Kale in olive oil for a single coat.
Lay Kale out on cookie sheet
Place in oven for 5-15 minutes, depending on your oven
Kale should be Krispy but not dark brown.
Add Sea Salt (regular salt is ok but sea salt is much better)

-Note- My kids did not like the texture the first time. The third time they tried it they were hooked. They love it and ask for it because it is a rather fun feeling as it crunches and falls apart in your mouth.

    Remember to READ 15 minutes a day to your child!

"It's never to late to have a happy childhood"
-Anita Stackhouse, Celebrate the Child Within Inc.


Monday July 20th / Jewel and Gem Goop

Toddler and Preschooler
Warning: Not for toddlers who still put everything in their mouths.

2 cups rock salt
1/2 cup white glue
6 drops food coloring

1. Mix rock salt and food coloring
2. Add glue, mix 2-3 minutes
3. Mold and sculpt with your hands
4. Place on cardboard to dry

5. You can use these to make necklaces, bracelets, or secret pirate treasures!

Tuesday July 21st/ Ribbon Ball

Toddlers love to experiment with cause and effect.

In the winter we hung a beach ball on a string from the ceiling. They hit it over and over again to watch it spin and fly around.

During the summer we hung the ball from a tree. Same excitement level, just different location.

Tuesday July 21st / Preschool Chalk Outlines

You need:
body outline

This activities objective is to introduce your preschooler to measuring. Measuring as a concept should be introduced using objects, not a ruler.

1. Have your child lay on the ground and draw their outline with chalk.
2. Bring your blocks outside and only use blocks that are the same size.
3. Ask your child how many blocks long they think their arm is (hypothesis).
4. Lay out the blocks first and them count them.
Tip: Do not use only one block and move it, they will not have the same depth of understanding as they will if they can visually see the blocks lined up along the arm.

5. Tell them "Your arm is ________ blocks long!"
6. Now ask, "How many blocks do you think your leg is?"
7. Repeat all steps! Move on to their head, hands, etc.

Wednesday July 22nd / One Little Baby Went Out to Play

Toddlers love to sing. No worries about you not being able to carry a tune, they could care less.

Today try One Little Baby Went Out to Play.
I had to look up what the tune was...and now I am laughing because they say this song is to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb, well I kind of sing it that way, sort of...oops!)

One Little baby went out to play
On a bright and sunny day
They had such enormous fun
They called for another baby to come
I sing this in a lullaby sweet voice and then change to deep silly voice for:

"Hey Baby"

Two Little babies went out to play
on a bright and sunny day
They had such enormous fun
They called for another baby to come

"Hey baby"

This is actually my daughters comfort song. If she is very upset this is what we sing in many variations. We sometimes use people's names instead of baby. Or we sing one little kid, two little kids etc and name our friends in the line we called for "Jill" to come out and play "Hey Jill" etc. We learned this song at mommy and me class with One little elephant went out to play, so occasionally we sing it using animals. It is simple and catchy.

Wednesday July 22nd / Variety of Tag Games
This is another preschool activity.

You need:
three or more people

Easy version:
One person is "it" and chases everyone else. The person who is "it" tags another person and runs away. Now the person who was tagged is "it".

Players can crouch down for 5 sec. at a time and avoid being tagged. The person who is "it" must stay away until they are up and running again.

Tree Tag:
The tree is the "safe zone".

Flashlight Tag:
Must be played inside or outside when it is dark and you can see teh light of a flashlight. You shine light on others to tag them.

Shadow Tag:
(My favorite) You must step on the person's shadow to tag them instead of touching them!

Thursday July 23rd / Riding the Rails
Another sidewalk chalk activity.

Make a road or rail road tracks for your kids to ride the bikes or puch the push cars on.

We park our cars on the drive way and make a figure eight road around them. The kids push their cars forever around and around. You can also make a raceway, highway, or circus ring.

How do you decide who is first??

As kids get older, suddenly who is FIRST matters.
Here is a short list of ideas for picking who is first.
Have any to add?

Coin toss
Which hand is holding the coin?
Rock, Paper, Scissors
Draw the High Card
Draw the Low Card
Count off
Pick a Number
Dice Toss High / Low
Draw Straws

Friday July 24th / Sensory Table

Toddler and Preschooler:
You need:
Sensory Table
(or two bins, look in previous sensory table post)

Idea #1
water and bubbles
I use Dawn soap and then water.  The bubbles get HUGE. Then I put in scoops, funnels, and cups, etc. Anything you can use in the tub.

Idea #2
We have a large sandbox too, but the sensory table put things at a level where the kids can stand and play with the materials. This is a different experience than sitting in the sand. I don't think they prefer one over the other.

Idea #3
What a fun material to put your hands in and play with! You can let them eat it too!

Idea #4
Our grandma and grandpa go to Florida every year and bring us back seashells. This activity needed a lot of "preteaching", to show them how to play with shells without breaking them. I layed a towel in the bottom of the sensory table and laid the shells on top. I told them they had to be careful because the shells are breakable. The kids discovered on their own the different textures, how a big shell can be filled with small shells and "poured" and which are the same and which are different. I thought the shells were great for language and discovery.

Saturday July 25th / Hospital Center

Toddler and Preschooler

With or without your childrens' help find an area in your house to make in to a doctors office or vet's office. One small table in the corner will work.

All play doctor equipment from all corners of the house
Stuffed animals or dolls
Add in some bandaids and other things from your first aid kit that they can use
Add dress up clothes for a doctor / Dad's button up shirt?

Make this area into the doctors office and sit down with your kids for about 5 minutes. Start to play and think outloud about what happens in a doctors office. Can they check the doll or animals heart? Ask dolly to take deep breaths and tell her that her lungs sound good! Now sit back and listen to your kids play. What do they remember about the doctors office?

You could also make a waiting room for the extra dolls and animals complete with music and what ever is in your doctors waiting room. Ours has a fishtank.

Sunday July 26th / Cork Bath

We got a bag of wine corks from a friend this week. I asked for them!

The first thing we did with them was add them to our bath. There were A LOT of corks. They thought this was awesome! They caught the corks in the nets, read the side of each one, looked at the pictures on them, and built cork towers on the side of the tub. It was hilarious! I also gave them straws and we had a "cork race" in the tub. This was not fair because the preschooler can blow through the straw much easier than the toddler, but it was fun. We actually have done this three days last week because they always want the corks at bath time now! :-)

      Remember to READ 15 minutes a day to your child!

Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars.
-Henry Van Dyke


Monday July 13th / Parade

We have seen quite a few parades because of July 4th and local fairs.
This gave me the ideas of having our very own parade!

Our toddler loves to pull things behind her. We gathered all her pull along toys and tied them together. Then we dressed her up like a princess with a gown, tiara, and a little make-up. She was super excited.

With him we gathered different instruments. He started with the drum that goes around his neck and drum sticks. We put maracas in our pockets, just in case. Then he put on clown make-up and mismatched clothes!  He had obviously been watching marching bands because he even tried to spin the drum sticks and made all these funny poses!

Get outside! March down the street. You can push a stroller or wagon with the extra instruments and any stuffed animals that would like to join in. Feel silly? Call some neighbors and make it a big deal! (Too much for you? This can be done in the basement or backyard as well)

Tuesday July 14th/ Toddlers and Maracas

Toddlers love shaking things and rhythm. Try making your own maracas and shaking them to a song or twelve!

You can use:
empty bottles
empty spice containers
any container will do...

Start with only three sizes. Small, medium and large of the object. Show your toddler how they fit inside each other and come apart again. See how long it takes them to try it on their own. Let your toddler play with this idea for awhile and master it before introducing more sizes. Once they have it add a few more of the measuring cups, spoons, or what ever object you are working with.

Tuesday July 14th / Preschool Pinata

You need:
old newspaper

Balance the balloon in the bucket.
Cut strips of newspaper, make some long for yourself and some very short for your children.
Add flour to a bread pan or small bin
Dip strips of newspaper, remove excess water
lay strips on balloon
repeat on all sides of balloon but leave an opening to add things inside.
Let each layer dry over night and repeat the next day
Pop the balloon after the first layer or before you close the opening.

We did this for three days and had three layers.

NEXT, I did this part while the kids were sleeping. I looked through their toys and found small lizards, frogs, and dinosaurs. I put them in the pinata and added a few layers over the opening. Then I let it dry over night.

Then, we painted the pinata to look like an egg. We read a few stories about eggs and watched the reading rainbow movie about eggs.

Lastly, but certainly not least. I gave them the egg to break open. My preschooler had a great time trying to figure out how to open it! He hit it with a stick threw it on the ground, both the grass and sidewalk. The sidewalk finally worked for a hole and then he used his hands. he played with the animals for quite awhile and wanted to put them back in the egg to "sleep" for the night.

Wednesday July 15th /
Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush

Toddlers love to sing. No worries about you not being able to carry a tune, they could care less. Today try Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush

Here we go ‘round the mulberry bush
The mulberry bush, the mulberry bush
Here we go ‘round the mulberry bush
So early in the morning

This is the way we wash our face
Wash our face, wash our face
This is the way we wash our face
So early in the morning

This is the way we comb our hair
Comb our hair, comb our hair
This is the way we comb our hair
So early in the morning

This is the way we brush our teeth
Brush our teeth, brush our teeth
This is the way we brush our teeth
So early in the morning

This is the way we put on our clothes
Put on our clothes, put on our clothes
This is the way we put on our clothes
So early in the morning…

This song is meant to be acted out.
Add any lyrics you like:
iron our clothes
wash our hair
mop the floor
mend our clothes
sweep the floor

Wednesday July 15th /Young (Mad?) Scientist / Volcano
This is another preschool activity about science.

You need
2 small paper cups
1/4 c baking soda
1/4 c vinegar
4 drops red food coloring

1. Fill bottom cup with baking soda
2. Add food coloring
3. Poke dime size hole in second cup
4. Set second cup on top of first cup
5. Pour vinegar in hole
6. Watch the eruption

Try different colors and glitter
Decorate the cups
Name your volcano

Book Review

Ei Einstein Never Used Flashcards:
How are children REALLY learn and why they need to PLAY more and memorize less!

 I LOVE IT! I had previously found a book with explanations for market research but it was very dry.
This book talks about the same researched based ideas that modern parents "buy" into and how it all began.
Although I have many favorite parts, one is when the author discusses the term "enriched environment" and the study done with rats to prove why a child benefits from an enriched environment....conclusion: You're still basing your parenting philosophy on rats! That is light hearted but there is a lot of great factual information on how your child's brain develops in subject areas such as math (number sense).

Thursday July 16th / Beyond Basic Blocks
The number one way to get your kids interested in an activity is: get on the floor too, at least in the beginning, and then let them take over and play by themselves.

Toddler and Preschooler

You need:
Blocks all shapes, sizes, and colors
Imagination is a must!

Stacking blocks is a major accomplishment.
How many blocks can your toddler stack before they knock it down??
Build them a big tower to smash! (build quick!) lol

Challenge your preschooler to expand their imagination and dramatic play.

How high of a tower can they build?

Can they build cages for our their animals and call it a zoo? Grab some people and have them visit the zoo.

Can they build a house for their small dolls, include beds, kitchen, house walls, chairs, etc.

Can they build a garage for their match box cars?

Can they build a fire station?

How long can they sit and be engaged with this activity? Preschool years are also about building attention spans.
What else can they think of to build with blocks?

Friday July 17th / Move Like the Animals

Toddler and Preschooler:
Play this game like follow the leader and call response

One person yells the animal "Kangaroo" every one else yells "Hop" and then they hop!
While the kids make the noises be sure to remind them to move like the animal too!

Continue through all animals you can think of!
Snake -Slither
Turtle- Crawl
Monkey -Swing, Jump, Act Crazy
Lizard- Slither
Fish -Swim
Spider- Crawl
Cat -Pounce, Jump, Walk
Bird -Fly
Elephant -Stomp
Frog -Hop
Meerkat -Stand on Hind legs arms tucked in "Peek"
Lion -Run, Sleep, Walk
Rabbit -Hop
Chicken -Chicken Strut
Dog - Run, Walk, Run in circles

Saturday July 18th / Read! Read! Read!

Toddler and Preschooler
You need:
a place to cuddle up

Tips for reading to kids
Read Slow
Change your voice
Look at the pictures
Have your child turn the pages
Point to the words as you read

If you have read the story many times, pause, and let your child fill in the word thank them for "helping you read"

Let toddlers and preschoolers talk through out the book by naming objects, telling personal connections (I have a dog too), and asking questions

THINK OUT LOUD ... "I wonder what will happen next, I guess I will turn the page and see." or "Wow, she is really a nice girl to share with her brother" or "Oh no, he is in trouble, I think he should ..." You are modeling reading is thinking!

After the story is over, talk about it. Ask your child what happened or to retell you the story. Your child will be asked to do this in Kindergarten frequently. Then ask them what their favorite part was.

Sunday July 19th / Raid the Kitchen / Lazy Susan

You need a lazy susan.

Clear your Lazy Susan of all spices, cans etc.

I do not suggest just handing this object to your child.
Sit down with them and have a few toys with you such as; little people, cars, small toys.

Show them it can be used like a merry go round.

Show them if you spin it slow everything stays on, but if you spin it fast everything flies off! :-)

After you demonstrate what is can do and how you you want them to play with it, let them explore this new toy.

I did not think this one would be as GREAT as it was for the kids. I couldn't get over how long they were entertained by it and they did not want me to put it away!

      Remember to READ 15 minutes a day to your child!

There is work that is work and there is play that is play; there is play that is work and work that is play. And in only one of these lies happiness. -Gelett Burgess


Monday July 6th / Hallway Letter Hop

Do you have a foam letter mat? This is a letter recognition activity that requires a Full Body Response. This is much better than sitting at a desk and trying to memorize letters. Get 'em moving!

Lay out the foam letters on the floor. Don't have foam letters? Make a set of the alphabet using stencils. (laminate them) Start with your child's name. What is the first letter of their name? This is a great letter to start with. Ask them where it is. Now show them several times. Ask them again and see if they can do it on their own. Another trick I used to teach my toddler the ABC's is that we always change her diaper on the foam letters. (Before you say that is gross.. I do not let anything touch the letters because I put the new diaper under her before taking the other one off AND it is cleaned after each change.) Anyways, I ask her what letter she wants to change her diaper on. This appeals to the toddlers need for control as well. If she says "A" and lays down on a different letter I just tell her the correct letter. Then while she is laying there I tell her the letters all around her head.

Be prepared to demonstrate! Preschoolers need you to model what you want them to do. Then do the activity WITH them. Lastly, let them do it on their own. This is a great formula for every thing you want them to do! Don't have foam letters? Make a Hopscotch type board outside with chalk, but put the alphabet in the squares.

Lay out the foam letter down the hallway.
You jump on the letters like hopscotch and say what letter you jumped on.
You and your preschooler jump down the Hallway Letter Hop together several times.
Now let them do it on their own.

Tuesday July 7th/ Toddlers and Nesting Activities

Toddlers love nesting activities. This means putting things inside each other. Try things that require a particular order.

You can use:
measuring cups
measuring spoons
cardboard boxes of different sizes
pots and pans of different sizes
nesting cups you buy for toddlers
anything will work!

Start with only three sizes. Small, medium and large of the object. Show your toddler how they fit inside each other and come apart again. See how long it takes them to try it on their own. Let your toddler play with this idea for awhile and master it before introducing more sizes. Once they have it add a few more of the measuring cups, spoons, or what ever object you are working with.

Tuesday July 7th / Slap Jack Card Game

You need:
One deck of Cards
Show your child which cards are jacks.

Deal the cards evenly.

Pick up your piles and flip them over one at a time.

While you turn over each card look for the jack.
If you see it, SLAP IT!

If you slap a non-jack, you owe the other person a card.

If you have more than two players and one person runs out of cards they can still play and slap a jack to get back in the game.

--You could call out what cards you flip to practice numbers.--

Wednesday July 8th / Twinkle Twinkle Song and Star Project

Toddlers love to sing. No worries about you not being able to carry a tune, they could care less. Today try Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!

Up above the world so high,

Like a diamond in the sky!

When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,

Then you show your little light,

Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

Then the traveler in the dark,
Thanks you for your tiny spark,

He could not see which way to go,

If you did not twinkle so.

In the dark blue sky you keep,

And often through my curtains peep,

For you never shut your eye,

Till the sun is in the sky.

As your bright and tiny spark,
Lights the traveler in the dark,
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.

You can cut out stars of construction paper and hang them from the ceiling in your toddlers room. Add a little glitter to each one. When it is bedtime and dark, lay down and shine a flashlight on the stars. The glitter will "twinkle" as you sing together!

Wednesday July 8th / Young (Mad?) Scientist / Pulley's
This is another preschool activity about simple machines. It goes with the lever and ramp, if your child loved those.

You need to purchase a pulley and rope.
We actually have one inside and one outside.
The one inside is small and hard to work with.
The one outside is much bigger and better made.

We hung it from a tree and attached a bucket. Let the fun begin!
Show your child the pulley before you hang it. Show them how it works.
Tell them it helps lift heavy things.
Attach it to a tree or swing set.
Attach a bucket to one end.
Let them put numerous things inside the bucket and try to lift it.
We used balls, sticks, and water. My son was surprised how heavy the water was!

The rope sometimes ends up at the top of the pulley and I have to get it down...

Other questions:
What happens when you pull the string hand over hand? (One side goes up , while one side goes down.)
Can you hold the string and back up?
How do you make the bucket come down fast? slow?
What else can you lift?
Why would you need a pulley?

If you have a tree house this would be GREAT!!

Thursday July 9th / Feed the Birds

Toddler or Preschooler

You need:
Pine Cone
Peanut Butter
String or Cord

1. Tie your string around the pine cone first, before it is too sticky. Leave enough string to tie it a tree or outside your window.

2. Spread Peanut Butter all over pine cone and into the grooves.

3. Lay bird seed out on a plate and roll pine cone in it. Gently press extra birdseed onto pine cone.

4. Hang your new feeder in a spot your child can see it and watch the birds.
Consider that your child will have an easier time seeing the birds from inside if it is hung near a window.

Friday July 10th / Nature Walk  / Shape Hunt

Toddler and Preschooler:
You need, just to go outside and take a walk!

Look for different shapes today.

What can you find that is a circle?

What can you find that is a square?

What can you find that is a rectangle?

What can you find that is a triangle?
We have a neighbor with a triangular window!!

Hey, did you know a stop sign is a octagon? (8 sides) Stop at the stop sign and count all the sides!

Be sure to look at: windows, street signs, plants, flowers, doors, house shapes, etc.

EXT: Read a few books about shapes before and after your walk. We read Bob the Builder: Shapes. Bob finds shapes in what he builds and that helped us in our shape searching.

Saturday July 11th / At the Car Wash!
We know the kids love to play in water, let's put them to work! lol

Toddler and Preschooler
You need:
Soap or Bubbles
Wash clothes

You can let your kids wash your car. Keep in mind you will obviously need to finish this and they won't really be that helpful. :-)

You can use your outside play cars or get a bunch of their play plastic cars from inside. Line them up and have a pretend car wash!

Ext: Take your kids to a drive through car wash or go to a  car wash fundraiser and see a real live car wash!
I think playing "Carwash" by Rose Royce is a must too!

Sunday July 12th / Sign the ABC's

Have you ever considered learning the ASL alphabet? Watch the video and teach yourself first. Then teach your kids.

When you first learn the ASL alphabet you probably can't sign the alphabet and sing it because the ABC song goes too fast. This is actually good for toddlers. You need to slow down and say each letter and think about the sign. It gives your toddler something to watch and they hear each letter and associate it with the sign.

The ABC song also confuses many toddlers and preschoolers into thinking LMNO is one letter or word!

They have the ability to learn the ABC's in sign. It will not happen over night but is a great way to learn letters. Once my son could sign the alphabet he wanted me to finger spell words for him. I am much better at finger spelling thanks to him! He can tell me what word I spelled if I do a short word like mom or cat. We have had a lot of fun with this but it took time to develop.

      Remember to READ 15 minutes a day to your child!

If you aren't playing well, the game isn't as much fun. When that happens I tell myself just to go out and play as I did when I was a kid. -Thomas J. Watson, Sr.


Sunday June 21th /  Dedicated to Daddy!
Today is daddy's day! Here a list of activities to do with and for good old dad. Remember to treat daddy well and take lots of pictures!

Let's all shave like daddy!
You need whip cream in a bottle like rediwhip.
Craft Sticks

This is best done outside! or try it at the sink looking in the mirror right next to daddy shaving! Daddy can really shave or pretend too. Toddlers may or maynot like to have the whip cream on their face but try it. Then they mimic daddy with the craft stick and "shave" too. I suggest whip cream and not shaving cream but toddlers will for sure get it in their mouths! This is also a great photo oppurtunity!!


Sit your preschooler down and ask them questions about Daddy. Record their answers or video it.
Where does daddy work?
What does he do there?
What is daddy's favorite thing to do?
When did mommy and daddy meet?
What is your favorite thing to do with daddy?
How old is daddy?
What does daddy like to say?
What makes daddy happy?
What makes daddy sad?

Toddler and Preschooler

Cut paper the size of a wallet photo. Have your kids color a picture for daddy that can fit in his wallet and he can have where ever he goes! Draw pictures or even write a poem!

What other ideas did you do to make today special?

Monday June 22nd / Teddy Bear Picnic
If you go out in the woods today
You're sure of a big surprise.
If you go out in the woods today
You'd better go in disguise.

For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic.
-Teddy Bear Picnic Song(not the whole song)

You need:
One Blanket
Teddy Bears
Tea Party Set
Water, Tea, or Juice

I suggest setting up the scene without the little ones and then inviting them out to the party. If that is not possible have them help you set up the party!

Lay out the blanket, set up the bears, and put out snacks. If you happen to own the CD "Teddy Bears Picnic" be sure to play it in the background.

Sit down, pour yourself some tea and chat about the day. Ask you children to help the bears eat. Give each bear a name. Have the bears talk to your kids and ask them all about themselves. Have the bears talk to each other.

Teach them the song "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear" and do the actions.

Tuesday June  23rd / Toddler Peek-A-Boo

Parental Note: Object Permanence is established between 8-10 months of age. This is when babies start to look for objects that have disappeared or gone out of view. They will continue to test or play with this new idea all through their toddler years.

There are many ways to play peek-a-boo

-Simply hide behind your hands
-Put a blanket over your head
-Hide toys under the blanket
-Even flip books are a peek-a-boo game
-Make your own flips with a post it notes and a book
-Hide under the covers

Tuesday June 23rd / Solid or Liquid AKA Gloop AKA OObleck


You need:
plastic bowl
OR cookie sheet

This mix is about 2 parts cornstarch to 1 part water. But that is not exact. Watch the video! The substance is very entertaining to play with, and very messy for little ones. I suggest outside.

Questions to ask:
Can you stir it fast? Can you stir it slow? What happens when you go fast? What happens when you go slow? Try to make it into a ball (go fast). Tap your fingers very hard and fast on top, what happens? Tap your fingersslow and gently on top, what happens?

This substance acts like both a liquid and a solid.

Wednesday June 24th / Don't Throw Out Those Scratched CD's

Do you have a bunch of old CD's laying around? How about a spindle? Try giving them to your toddler.

You need:

Your toddler will enjoy the challenge of trying to get them back on the spindle. It is like stacking to them. My toddler spent a LONG time putting them on, taking them off, putting them on, and repeat over and over!

Wednesday June 24th / Flour Tag

This is for preschoolers. My toddler had no luck with the socks at all.

This started as a game of tag from my memory of a game we played at camp when I was a camp counselor. My three year old had a hard time with the concept of tag and turns. So, we ended up just running around and hitting things with the flour socks. It makes a fantastic powdered effect. He loved it!

You need:
old socks

Take old socks, they will get stretched out, so don't use good socks! Fill them with flour. I used about a cup. If you play tag, the players tag each other using the socks (GENTLY). It leaves a flour mark like a chalk mark.

Thursday June 25th / Ordinary Item / Kleenex Box

Toddler or Preschooler

You need:
Empty Kleenex Box
Small Toys

Give your toddler the box and put toys in. They will take the objects out and put them back in. Show them two objects such as; rubber duck and small car. Tell your toddler which object you want them to get out. See if they can do it without looking!

Gather a few items that your preschooler plays with and don't show them. Put in one object and have them try to guess just by feeling it (no looking). What it is. Tell your preschooler to put something in the box for you. Close your eyes. When they give you the box back put your hand in and describe the object as you feel it to your child. Use all your descriptive words: smooth, rough, small, has wheels, bumpy, feels like hair, has tiny shoes, etc. Take turns putting objects in the kleenex box and see how long it takes your preschooler to start to describe the objects to you!

Friday June 26th / Odinary Item / Paper

Toddler and Preschooler
Ok, Have you seen the famous YOUTUBE video of baby Ethan ripping paper and falling over laughing? Well, after we played with paper this week I let the kids watch this video. They have asked to see laughing baby Ethan everyday this week.We have 10 ideas for playing with paper...

How many sounds can you make with a piece of paper?
Remember to listen to the sound with each new action.

*roll it up and use it as a megaphone
*rip and tear it
*crumple it
*flick it
*blow under or over it, to get it to flap
*smash it under your feet
*rub it on your head
*fold it
*throw it at something :-)
*smooth it out again

Keep going! How long can you and your child be entertained by a single (or a few) pieces of paper?

Extension: Paper airplanes? Fancy Origami?

Saturday June 27th / Fishing For Letters

This all started with buying those littler nets for the kids. I bought them to take to the cabin so they could catch snails, minnows, and other things in the lake. Then we got home and they wanted to bring them into the tub. Originally I was going to have them fish for our rubber ducks and fish but I decided fishing for letters woud be a better idea.

Toddler and Preschooler

You need:
Foam letters
Small nets (Mine cost 59 cents)
bath tub

Fill the tub, add letters, show your kids how to "fish" for the letters. Now ask them what they caught! Tell them all the letter names. see how many letters they already know. Literacy, water play, learning and fun all rolled into one!

      Remember to READ 15 minutes a day to your child!

We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. -George Bernard Shaw


Sunday June 14th /  Create Your Own Rainbow Crayons
Toddler and Preschooler
This is an activity that your child can't really do alone side of you but can play with after you make it. Hot wax and small children really do not mix!
You need:
broken and old crayons
round tin can or muffin tin
candy molds?

1. Remove all paper from crayons

2. Sort by color or mix 'n' match colors

3. Put muffin tin in oven (about 6 minutes, check often)

4. Place in freezer

5. F
lip over and rub hot water over muffin tin, crayons will fall out.

6. Make pictures!

You will either have a very large crayon with one color or a "rainbow" color crayons.

Now make beautiful art work and hang it up!

Monday June 15th / Young (Mad?) Scientist / Shadows

Toddler and Preschooler:
Ok, Did you know shadows actually fall under science? I was surprised to find shadow play in numerous science books this week.

You need:
a dark room
two or more people

First cut out your shadow puppets. They can be any shape, size, etc. You can make vampires, stars, monsters, ghosts, trees, bears, (it is limitless). Make your own patterns or use one you find online. YOu should use cardboard because it won't flop over.

Attach cardboard to your stick.

Have one person hold the flashlight.

Move your puppets in front of the light.

Science is all about exploring and finding out how things work! Ask your child lots of questions to get them to think about your activity.

How do you move to make it bigger and smaller? Why can you see it on the wall? What is a shadow?
Light rays are straight, so the closer the closer the puppet is to the light, the larger it is on the wall.

Can you make your shadow puppet move? Can you make your shadow puppet dance?

How would it move if it was happy? sad? excited?

Want to get real fancy? Set up the flashlight and have you and your child hold up puppets and have them talk and/ or act out a story. You could cut out characters from a book, read the book, and then have the shadow puppets act the story out!

Tuesday June 16th / Let's Get Movin'

Toddler and Preschooler
How many exercise videos do you own? Do you happen to own any "How to.." dance videos? Country western line dancing maybe? Well, take them off the shelf and dust them off, we're ready to move it!

You need:
Open space!

We watched a few different types of videos this week. I started with the yoga one for fun with them. This wasn't wildly successful with mine, but I would certainly try it before deciding with yours. Then we hit the library and got a selection  of country western line dances. This was a hit!! They had such a good time and I got a great work out too! Lastly they watched break dancing videos. They actually screamed in excitement when the kids spun on their heads! My toddler has been asking to "spin head" "spin head"! (No, she can't actually do that, but we pretend)

Wednesday June 17th / Nature Walk / Stick it!

Toddler and Preschooler
The weather has been so beautiful here! It is time to get outside and enjoy it. Before you go on your next nature hike grab a piece of contact paper.

You need:
One sheet of contact paper
Things you collect on your walk

You have two options. You can collect things and stick them as you go on your walk. Or you can collect different objects and stick them when you get home. I was worried I would drop the contact paper and once if is filled with dirt it won't stick anything else. Things that will stay are small and light objects like flowers, leaves, etc. You may have to discuss and show your child that larger things will fall off, like big rocks.

You can also put these on a piece of construction paper and put the contact paper over it.

Now display it! You can talk about your walk for many days to come and all the things you found.

Thursday June 18th / Coffee Dough Masters

Do you love the small of coffee? Do your kids love to play with play dough? This activity combines these two things!
Toddler and preschooler

You need:
1/4 c instant coffee
3/4 c warm water
2 c flour
1/2 c salt

1. Mix water and coffee in a small bowl
2. Combine Flour and salt in a big bowl
3. Add the water and coffee into the flour and water
4. Instant Dough!


6. Bake finished products sculptures at 300 degrees for 30-45 minutes

7. If you would like to preserve your sculptures, apple shellac

Care Giver Info / Adjectives, Adverbs, & Suffixes

When children perform a "slow" walk or skips "lightly" adjectives and adverbs become more than an abstract concept. When they are given the opportunity to demonstrate physically action words such as; stomp, pounce, stalk, slither or descriptive words such as; smooth, gentle, enormous, word comprehension is immediate and long-lasting. Even suffixes take on a greater relevance when children act out the difference between scared and scary.
-Jump into Literacy: Active Learning for Preschool Children
Rea Pica

Friday June 19th / Odinary Item / Paper

Toddler and Preschooler
Ok, Have you seen the famous YOUTUBE video of baby Ethan ripping paper and falling over laughing? Well, after we played with paper this week I let the kids watch this video. They have asked to see laughing baby Ethan everyday this week.We have 10 ideas for playing with paper...

How many sounds can you make with a piece of paper?
Remember to listen to the sound with each new action.

*roll it up and use it as a megaphone
*rip and tear it
*crumple it
*flick it
*blow under or over it, to get it to flap
*smash it under your feet
*rub it on your head
*fold it
*throw it at something :-)
*smooth it out again

Keep going! How long can you and your child be entertained by a single (or a few) pieces of paper?

Extension: Paper airplanes? Fancy Origami?

Saturday June 20th / Baby Doll Bath Day

Toddler and Preschooler
This started because I was cleaning out the baby bathtub for a friend who's pregnant and ended a few hours later with a great new activity! Both kids loved it. I loved my son telling the baby doll "Ok, we are going to wash your hair now, ready? 1 (pour water over her head) 2 (repeat) 3 (repeat). Ok baby, we're all done, that wasn't so bad was it?" I laughed really hard, Has he ever heard THAT before??

You need:
Baby bathtub or a plastic bin
PLASTIC baby doll
wash cloths
baby soap
cup for hair washing

Take the tub outside, fill it with water. Tell the kids they have to give the baby a bath! Give them wash cloths, soap, and anything else you use in the tub. You can show them what to do or sit back and watch to see their perception of bathtime! Your choice on the type of doll, I chose our plastic one that could get wet.

My toddler kept telling the doll, "ALL CLEAN!"

BONUS Activity!!

Rotating Toys

Go Have you ever tried to sell your childs old toys? As soon as you take out the toys they haven't seen in a long time, they become interested again. This actually works with toys they see everyday too. Just move them to the middle of the room and talk about them for a few minutes and interest is renewed.

Well, put this to work for yourself. Put a portion of your childs toys away in a closet or in plastic bins and store them out of sight for awhile. Rotate new toys in every few weeks and take some out.

    Remember to READ 15 minutes a day
                       to your child!

"Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do."
-Mark Twain


Sunday June 7th / Cuties Cookin' / Butterfly Sandwich
Toddler and Preschooler

You need:

Cream Cheese or Peanut Butter or Marmite
Banana, Raisens, Pickle, Veggies

1. Cut the bread diagonaly
2. Spread cheese (or other spread)
3. Decorate or have your child decorate the wings
4. Put wings together and add antennae with carrots or green peppers
5. EAT!

Monday June 8th /Teddy Bear Swing

Toddler and Preschooler:

I have to tell you. I laughed at this idea and worried it might look a little too much like we were "hanging" the teddy bear... It was fun, no one cried, the kids laughed, whew.

You need:
Teddy Bear

Drap the rope around a tree limb.
Make a large loop to insert the bear and other stuffed animals.
Place bear in loop.
SWING the bear in their very own Bear Swing.
Try as many other animals and dolls as you like.
You may need to adjust the loop size so they don't fall out.

Tuesday June 9th / Life Size Game Board

Todddler and Preschooler

You need:
Sidwalk chalk
Large Space

Make a game board in your driveway!

First draw the spaces

Now fill in spaces with things you have to do.
Ideas: Jump up and down 4 times, Mooo like a cow, say the ABC's, Sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Give Mommy a kiss, whisper "I Love You" to your sister, Run around the car, Touch your ears, etc.

Decide how you will move forward.
Ideas: Use large dice or draw a card from a deck of cards (I suggest using only 1-10)

Now play the game! You are the game pieces and you need to actually move through the game. You can use a rock to hold your place while the other person takes their turn or you have to run around the car.
Show them how to drop them in. Help them examine each coin. Who is on it? How much is it? What is teh name of this coin? They will love the noise too!

Wednesday June 10th Music / Number Sense / 5 Little Monkeys

Toddler and Preschooler
Sing the song and do the hand motions.
It helps your child with numbers.

5 Little monkeys jumping on a bed (hold up five fingers, bouncing)
one jumped up and bumped his head.
(hold one finger up and tap on head)
Mom called the Doctor and the Doctor said
(hold fist to ear with thumb and pinky out like a phone)

"no more monkeys jumping on a bed."
(shake pointer finger)
 "Five minus One equals Four"
(hold up five fingers and use one beat for each word, taking away one finger leaving four)

4 Little monkeys jumping on a bed

(same hand actions as above for all the rest, but use the correct number of fingers)

one jumped up and bumped his head.

Mom called the Doctor and the Doctor said

"no more monkeys jumping on a bed."

"four minus one equals three"

3 Little monkeys jumping on a bed
one jumped up and bumped his head.

Mom called the Doctor and the Doctor said

"no more monkeys jumping on a bed."

 "three minus one equals two"

2 Little monkeys jumping on a bed
one jumped up and bumped his head.

Mom called the Doctor and the Doctor said

"no more monkeys jumping on a bed."

"Two minus One equals One"

1 Little monkey jumping on a bed
one jumped up and bumped his head.

Mom called the Doctor and the Doctor said

"no more monkeys jumping on a bed."

"One minus One Is None!" (make a "O" with your hand)

Thursday June 11th / Drama / Artsy Fartsy / Create Fairy Houses

True Fact:
There is an island off of Maine called Monhegan Island where visitors build fairy houses and leave them for others to find. This is a link with pictures of some of the houses. You and your child can look at the houses before you go and build your own.

Toddler or Preschooler:
Take your child out for a walk to a woodsy area or look for a spot in your own garden, under a tree, or in some special secret spot. Gather up materials. Build. Make a simple house or spend hours on it, your choice! While you are out in the woods, see if you can find other fairy houses.

You need:
What ever you can find! Creativity is key in this activity!
Leaves, twigs, grass, acorns, rocks, stones, pinecones, etc.

You can also try to find other fairy houses orplaces that look like they might have been fairy houses before.
This is an activity that has no age limit!

Care Giver Info / Songs

When children learn, create, or dance to songs, they experience flow and phrasing. When the songs have lyrics children must ponder the meaning of words. And because those words are important to them, they have much more relevance than vocabulary lists or a spelling test.
-Jump Into Literacy: Active Learning for Preschool Children
Rea Pica

Friday June 12th Let's Get Messy / Body Painting

Toddler and Preschooler

You need:
food coloring

We did this activity in the bathtub this week. We had small baby plastic bowls with different colors and they dipped their whole hands into them and smeared colors all over arms, legs, and tummies. It became a "paint the walls" session as well but I didn't care because it was very fun. At first we just spread it. Then when the intial excitement was over, we painted shapes and pictures.

Here is a second recipe:
2 tbs solid shortening
1 tbs cornstarch
food coloring
make up sponges

Mix, add color, apply
If you want to add glitter, I am sure they would love it!

Saturday June 13th Large Motor / Texture Dances

Idea #1 Bubble Wrap
Line your hallway floor with bubble wrap.
Run across it, stomp it, dance, find as many ways to pop the bubbles as you can!

Idea #2
Roll out a sheet of contact paper with the "sticky side up".
Run, walk, and dance across it with barefeet.
Tape the edges down so it does not roll up.

BONUS Activity!!

Another Free and FUN Field Trip Idea

Go to the pet store!
Some allow you to touch and pet the animals.
Even if they do not, your child will be able to get a very close view of reptiles, birds, fish, cats, dogs and rodents.
It is like the zoo, but cheap, quick, and less lines! :-)

Your local Humane Society is another place to go and see animals.
I can't do this one because I would end up with too many animals!

      Remember to READ 15 minutes a day to your child!

"Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play."


Sunday May 31st/ Let's Play Ball / Practice Golf Balls
15 small balls for under $2.00
Plastic Container (already in your cupboard)
Hours of fun -priceless!
Toddler and Preschooler

Toddler's favorite activity
Put all the balls into one large container
Have the child yell, "Go!"
Pour bucket over childs head
Collect all the balls into the bucket
Repeat 100X
I did not believe the kids would love picking them up too, but they do
- - -
Put balls in container
Empty them out down a hallway with wood / linoleum floors
Watch them bounce and roll the like crazy
collect balls
count balls
repeat 100X
- - -
Fill tub for bath
Remove all other toys except for a container or two
Put children in tub
Pour all the balls into the tub
Watch them float
Try to sink them
Put them under watch and watch them "pop" up
Pour them
- - -
Try to toss these balls into a container
they bounce all over!

Monday June 1st /Sensory Table
watch video above
Toddler and Preschooler:

I have debated about adding this one, because it is not something everyone has at home. I decided to add it because it is hours and hours of fun and it is easy.

You need:
1 large plastic container
1 small plastic container (see pictures)
or a "real" sensory table
white rice
cornmeal/baby oatmeal
scoops, funnels, strainer

Watch Video
I started out with the plastic set up before my preschooler grew way to tall for it. Then a relative made the wooden one you see. They are also avaiable from Lakeshore Learning(no profit for me in this advertisement) or any teacher store.

#1.The first bin has colored white rice. You can color rice by adding rubbing alcohol and food color in a plastic bag or large bowl. Stir it up and let it dry. It has a strong odor as you make it but that does not remain. You do not have to color the rice. This is not edible. I woud suggest bin #2 for small toddler who still puts everything in their mouths.

#2. The second bin has baby oatmeal and cornmeal. We started using cornmeal and oatmeal because our toddler would still put things in her mouth and I didn't want her eating uncooked rice. If she happened to put this in her mouth, icky but no real worries. It has a great texture to it except that it clings to hands and is a little messy.

#3. Shredded paper. I took bright colored paper and ran it through our paper shredder, crumpled it a little and put it in the bin. The I added fireman and knights (the size of army men) and mixed it all up. My sisters boy came over (5years old) and intently dug through until he found all the little men and lined them up on the outside. I was surprised this was still appealing to that age group.

#4. This is a mismatched bin of foam letters, foam colored cubes, and plastic unifix cubes. We buld and chat about colors and letters when we playin this one.

#5 & 6 This is an adapted game from Montessori. These are real glass bowls with rice, and beans and noodles. The kids use metal spoons of different sizes and scoop from a large bowl into the smaller bowls. It takes coordination to do and the sounds of metal on glass
are interesting. They have to learn to be careful when dealing with breakable things.

I change the bins frequently. Myhusband was surprised after we got this because "They will play with ANYTHING you put in there!!" Yep, they will. I have other bins in the closet ready to come out and switch it up!

Tuesday June 2nd / Fine Motor and Money / Number Sense
Todddler and Preschooler

You need:
Piggy Bank
No piggy bank? Use a small box with a slit

You can not leave them unattended with small coins! Show your toddler how to hold the coin with a pincher grasp and put it into the piggy bank. It makes a wonderful sound! It is a great fine motor activity as well.

Have your own coins to drop in as well. Name the coins as you drop them.

Show them how to drop them in. Help them examine each coin. Who is on it? How much is it? What is the name of this coin? They will love the noise too!

If / When they are tired of dropping the coins in, dazzle them by showing them how to SPIN them like tops!

Tip: Have a lot of coins ready, they will enjoy this longer than you think.

Wednesday June 3rd Poster Power/ Artsy Fartsy
You need:
Chart paper, Large paper
old magazines
crayons or markers
color sheet print outs?

My friends daughter actually did this activity with (and for) the kids. She took all the old baby magazines we had in the house and cut out babies. They found tons and tons of babies! Then they glued the babies on a poster. We took it to Kinko's and laminated it. We hung it very low to the ground and they LOVE it! Other babies who come over are very attracted to this poster as well!

Project #1
Is your preschool really "into" something?  What is their favorite animal? My son talked about whales non-stop after seeing them on a Reading Rainbow video. We got tons of books and other whale things. Then we found that the local library gets rid of their old magazine once a year. We got all the National Geographic Kids, what a score! We found numerous whale pictures to cut out and we typed up some fun facts about whales, and glued this all on our own poster. My son shows his poster to all guests! There are aslo coloring sheets for your childs favorite Tv shows or movie characters. Label your pictures with words and fun facts!

Project #2
We read Brown Bear Brown Bear all the time. Then I found a website (I will add the link if I can find it again) with print outs for all the animals. It took us a few days to color all the animals the right color. and then we made another poster about our favorite book! Look up your childs favorite book and see if you can find coloring sheets for it.

Have friends over? Match up by twos and everybody roll!

Thursday June 4th / Snail Mail

Toddler or Preschooler:

You need:

Write letters today!
Fold a piece of paper in half.
Decorate the front with any crafty materials you have.
Inside show your child how a letter is written.
Have them add pictures, letters, and/or words.
Ask the person in your letter to please write back and/ or call you when they receive the letter!

Ask you child what they want to say and write it as they tell you. Read it back to them.

Put the letter in the mail box together or go to the post office.
Try to explain to your preschooler how long it will take to get there.
Send out several letters and see how long it takes to get one back.
You might want to call whoever you are writing to and ask them to respond as soon as they get the letter!!

Care Giver Info / Six Pre-Reading Skills

What you do helps your child get ready to Read!
Narrative Skills
-Being able to describe things and events and tell stories

Print Motivation
-Being intrested in books

-Knowing the names of things

Print Awareness
-Notice print, knowing how to handle a book and knowing how to follow the words on a page.

Letter Knowledge
-Knowing letters are different from each other, knowing their names and sounds and recognizing letters everywhere.

Phological Awareness
-Being able to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words

Friday June 5th Let's Play Ball / BOWLING

Toddler and Preschooler

You need:
Something that rolls
Things that can be knocked down!

If you are looking for a super simple game. This is it!
Grab empty bottles from your recycling bin.
Line them up.
Grab a ball.
Roll it and knock down the bottles.

Get plastic cups and make them into a small pyramid
Roll a ball and knock them over

My son likes to line up the small baby dolls
Roll a large beach ball and kock them over
Repeat only if baby sister is not around!

The possibilities are endless.
Send us a picture of your version of bowling
and I will post it here!

Saturday June 6th Nature Watch / Ants

You need: a sugar packet and an anthill
Magnifying glass

Teach your child to observe nature. Teach them to slow down and WATCH.
Take a walk or look around the backyard  or even the front sidewalk.
Find an anthill
Pour a little of your sugar packet around the opening
Find several anthills and pour sugar around a few of them

Go and play for a few minutes

Come back and sit quietly to watch as the ants come out, pick up the sugar, and carry it back into the anthill.
Explain that when ants find food they go and tell each other.
Soon there should be many ants coming in and out of the anthill.
Tell your child the ants are bringing it back into a tunnel for other ants and the ant babies.(eggs and larvae)
Watch the ants with your magnifying glass, don't start them on fire!!
Can you see that ants have six legs?

You can get books from the library and read about ants now that you have watched them work.

Saturday June 6th / Music

Toddler Action Song

Ring Around the Rosey

(join hands and walk / dance around in a circle)
Ring around the rosey
A pocket full of posies
ashes ashes
we all fall down (fall down)
You can sing the second verse when they are on the ground

the cows are in the meadow
huddled all together (hug your neighbor)
Thunder, Lightning (pound on floor, wave your arms)
We all stand up (stand up)

BONUS Activity!!

Another Free and FUN Field Trip Idea

Bring your toddler or older baby to the fabric store. Let them feel all the fabrics.

1. Wash your hands first.
2. No eating.
3. Bring hand  wipes.
4. Feel ALL the fabrics, be ready for tactile overload!

Talk to your child the whole time about textures, colors, designs, and what it feels like.
We have taken this field trips NUMEROUS times.

      Remember to READ 15 minutes a day to your child!

"Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father."-Roger von Oech