12 Walk Ideas for Toddlers

I have one toddler climbing on the couch and the other is dragging a roll of toilet paper around the house. I am running out of patience. We need to get out of the house, but where?

Have you been there?

The children’s museum is fun, but you went there on Monday.

The library is great, but you are going there tomorrow for storytime.

If you go to the park you will probably spend the whole time trying to talk them out of sitting on a swing the whole time.

Where can you go? What can you do? The answer is more simple than you might think.

When my twins were toddlers they were the extraordinarily busy kind. They loved to paint but there are only so many times in one day that I am willing to bath my paint covered child. The only way that would sit still was if I read to them. I loved to share books, but eventually my voice would start to go hoarse and we needed another option.

We lived in a small town with very few options for little kids. What did we do?

We went for walks. Lots of walks. Neighborhood walks. Walks around downtown. Walks in the State Park near our house. Over and over again. Every time they would find something new. Something interesting. Something to explore. They learned so much just by going for a walk.

Some of our walks were more themed or related to what we were learning and these were often our most fun. Below are 12 of our most favorite theme walks, one for every month.

12 Walk Ideas for Toddlers

1. Flashlight Walk : Fall. or Winter.

2. Listening Walk : Anytime of year.

3. Bird Watching Walk : Spring. Summer. or Fall.

4. Counting WalkSpring. Summer. Fall.

5. Car Colors Walk : any time of year

6. Fire Hydrant Walk : Spring. Summer. Fall

7. Flower Color Walk : Spring or Summer

8. Rainy Day Walk : Spring or Summer

9. Puddle Walk : Spring. Summer. or Fall.

10. Looking for Signs of Fall : Fall

11. Thankful Walk : Fall – or any time

12. Winter Lights Walk : Winter.

Little Walks Big Adventures. 50+ Ideas for Exploring with Toddlers

For more walk ideas and other adventures for toddlers, check out my book Little Walks Big Adventures!

Colors Unit for Preschoolers

Colors are all around us and offer so many delicious ideas for exploration, adventure and learning.

Today’s unit is perfect for preschoolers and children a little younger and older with a few simplifications or additions.

Let’s dive in!

Color Unit Ideas for Preschool

Our units often start with a book and a field trip – here are two ideas for field trips to get the wheels spinning about possibilities.

2 Color Field Trip Ideas

A field trip is always a great way to bring a topic to life – to draw connections between what you’re learning at home or in the classroom.

These two field trip ideas are ways to draw attention to the colors all around us.

Car Colors Walk

1. Color car hunt

This is a fun idea to do any time of the year with kids who are excited about or learning about transportation.

Before the Field Trip

Prepare color swatches (paint chips work great!) or color cards for each kid to reference on the walk.

Read a book about colors or talk about different color names and then introduce the idea of hunting for colored cars. Show them the color swatches or color cards they will be using during the field trip.

During the Field Trip

Head outside with our color cards in hand and a plan to look for cars. My toddlers each picked a color to look for first.

From there we alternated between looking for that color and labeling the color of cars we saw. For the most part, we searched for the color Red.

We also talked about shades. Our color cards have different shades for many of the colors which gave us the opportunity to discuss shades of colors.

after the field trip
  • Tie your colors into play back at home in the classroom. Add your color swatches to your block area in a basket next to a collection of toy cars. Don’t force the idea of matching, but have them available and support your kids if they are interested in using them with the toy cars.

Flower Color Hunt

2. Flower colors walk

Spring is the perfect time for a Flower themed color hunt around the neighborhood to further deepen the early interest in flowers.

Before the Field Trip

Introduce the idea before you go.

We read Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert and then went back through the book reviewing the different colors we saw. As we identified each color, I drew a corresponding circle of the color on a piece of paper for each of them.

During the Field Trip

*Papers in hand, we headed out into the neighborhood to see what we could spot.

*Consider taking a photo of each flower you find or inviting your child to take a photo.

after the field trip
  • Print photos of the flowers and arrange an invitation to draw at the table.
  • Talk about planting your own plants or flowers.
  • Sort your flowers by color

Color Unit Field Trips and Activity Ideas for Toddlers and Preschool

Color Activity Ideas

Learning colors is a learning goal for preschoolers. Field trips like the ones described below and activities like the ones below are some fun ways to explore color.

One of our favorites was color week. It was a week of color and fun that got my preschoolers excited about color and led to other explorations afterwards.

Color Week Resources

Rainbow Colors Week Ideas for Preschool

More Color Themed Activities

Literacy Activities

  • Rainbow Journal Start a Rainbow journal and use for the entire Color Week or throughout the year.To make ours I simply stapled together several pieces of paper that were folded in half. On the front, each of my kids wrote “Rainbow Book” following the example I wrote out for them on a piece of paper.Next, they turned to the first page and wrote RED. Then they used a collection of Red art materials to draw on the other page whatever they wanted.The following day we provided Orange materials and so on.
    (Literacy)
  • Read Books about Colors Here are my favorite picture books for each color of the rainbow.

Art Activities

  • Collaborative Rainbow This art project will last you the entire Preschool Color Week or over the course of a few days. Start by drawing a rainbow outline on a large piece of paper. Hang this on a wall in your art area or classroom.Each day present art materials for that day’s color of the day. Monday, we added Red Gummed Art Tape to the first stripe.
    (Creativity + Social Skills)

STEM Activities

  • Play PRESS HERE: The Game. This is such a fun game for exploring the way colors and patterns work together. It is great for building color awareness and reasoning skills, as well as imagination.

More ideas!

Z is for Zoo Animals: Learning Activities for All Ages

My kids still sleep with a mound of stuffed animals around them. When I peek in on them before I go to bed I find they both stretched out on their backs dozing peacefully. Tucked under their arms and all around them are monkeys and giraffes and bears and bunnies with well worn ears and noses. An entire zoo right there in their bed.

Animals have been a huge part of their childhood so far. Most little kids seem fascinated by the world of animals.

We read endless imagination filled books about zoo animals and we tromp around the zoo in search of animals.

Since this is an interest that seems to follow children through childhood below are zoo animal ideas for every age baby through early elementary school.

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Zoo Animal Learning Activities by Age

Scroll down for zoo animal activities that are perfect for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and school aged kids!

Zoo Animal Activities for Babies

For Babies: Zoo Animal Peekaboo

 

easy diy zoo peekaboo

How to Make a Zoo Peekaboo Game

Materials:

  • Laundry Basket / Table Top / Empty Wall
  • Animal Picture Pairs (Make your own or order these – note the ones linked are not identical to the ones I used when they were babies. I wish I had saved them but hindsight…the ones linked are instead the ones I made and have used since they were toddlers.)
  • Contact Paper
  • Tape

How to Make:

Select a surface at your child’s height to place the game. I did mine on the bottom of a flipped over laundry basket, but a short table, shelf, or low wall space would work well.

  1. Tape the full animal pictures onto the surface and cover in contact paper.
  2. Laminate the closer animal pictures.
  3. Tape one end of each closer animal picture on top of the matching pair.

That’s it! So easy, right?

Even better, this activity help develop the following skills:

  • Interesting reason to practice standing.
  • Fine motor practice as they work on lifting the flaps
  • Practice with cognitive and language skills as they recognize, name, and even make the noise of the animal they find.

Extension Ideas:

Make another version with something else that interests your child. Some ideas include;

  • Family members
  • Household items
  • Vehicles

4 More Zoo Animal Ideas for Babies

  1. Make a Song Cube like this one with Animal Pictures
  2. Read some awesome Zoo Animal Picture Books
  3. Sensory Zoo Activity: Exploring Animal Textures
  4. How to make a Sock Monkey (Craft for Mama, but what baby wouldn’t love playing with this?)

8+ Zoo Animal Activities perfect for Toddlers

For Toddlers: Zoo Animal Photo Cards

Toddler Zoo Animal Picture Cards for Matching

Toddlers are OBSESSED with learning new words. “What’s that?” or just “That?” was one of the most common phrases in our house at this age. This is the age for books of real images that they can look to and point at all day – and also for photo cards.

More ideas for matching games and other extensions are below but start with just the cards.

Materials:

How to Make:

Use contact paper to cover the photos and make them more durable with all the inevitable drooling, mouthing, bending and general love that toddlers give all things

Toddler Zoo Animal Matching Cards

THEN place these cards in a basket or on a low table for your child to discover. When they do, let them explore. If they look to you or ask what something is, use simple words to talk to them about the cards. “You are looking at a giraffe” or “What do you see?”

This activity help develop the following skills:

  • new vocabulary
  • finger isolation when they point which helps later fine motor skills
  • social skills as they engage you in talking about the pictures

Extension Ideas:

  • Tell a story using your photo cards. Put them in a pile face down and flip over one at a time. “Once upon a time there was a lion and he went for a walk and ran into…flip over another card” It doesn’t really matter what your story is about. Keep it simple and just have fun.
  • Matching game. Use the close up and far away cards to match. Make it hard and play as a memory card game.
  • Match the card to a toy version of the animals. This picture to object matching is an important pre-literacy skill
  • Make a book or photo cards of a trip you take to a farm, the store, anywhere that interests them.

8 More Zoo Animal Ideas for Toddlers

  1. Learn this Hey Elephant Song (with printable visuals)
  2. Sensory Zoo Activity: Exploring Animal Textures
  3. Read some awesome Zoo Animal Picture Books
  4. Dear Zoo Story Spoons
  5. Zoo Animals Small World Play
  6. Easy Zebra Slime
  7. Animal Charades with Printable
  8. Paper Plate Bear Craft

12+ Zoo Animal Activities for Preschoolers

For Preschoolers: Zoo Animal Tracing

Zoo Animal Cards for Tracing with Preschoolers

Drawing and tracing lines is a pre-literacy skill that works on building the fine motor skills needed to write letters and words. Bonus – kids seem to find dry erase markers fascinating and fun.

Materials:

How to Make:

Simply cover the zoo animal photos with contact paper.

Put the cards with the dry erase markers and wash cloth on a low table.

When your child is interested, invite them to use the dry erase marker to trace the animal.

Note: depending on the age of your preschooler “tracing” may look less like tracing and more like coloring on the animal. Go with it. 

Demonstrate tracing the edges of an animal of your own and then show them how to erase the marker with their wash cloth.

This activity help develop the following skills:

  • Fine Motor grip
  • Hand-eye coordination

Extension Ideas:

  • Add more details to the animal picture. Can they draw some food for the animal? What does the animal play with?
  • Play hide and seek with the animal cards. Hide the full photos around the room and give your preschoolers the zoomed in photos as clues / visual reminders of what to look for.

12 More Zoo Animal Ideas for Preschoolers

  1. Host a Safari Themed Playdate
  2. Animal Fashion Show
  3. Bears Picture Books + Big and Small Animals Sort
  4. Learn about Polar Bears with this awesome booklist
  5. Zoo Animals Theme with Sensory Play and Printables
  6. Zoo Animal Counting Mats
  7. Zoo Animal Books for Children and even more Zoo Animal Picture Books
  8. Zoo Centers and Activities
  9. Edible Zoo Animals Sensory Bin
  10. Zoo Themed Counting Clip Cards 1-10
  11. Dear Zoo Story Stones

Note: Many of the toddler and school age activities above and below may also work well for your child!

8+ Zoo Animal Learning Activities for Kindergarten and First Grade School Agers

For K & First Grade: Writing with Zoo Animal Cards

Zoo Animals Photo Cards Writing Prompt

I love finding ways to make writing more meaningful for my kids and we did this as part of their animal study.

They each had an animal that they love and wanted to learn more about. We took cameras to the Zoo. They took pictures and I took pictures of their favorite animals. We also talked about some of the things we observed their favorite animals doing.

Back at home I set this up as a writing invitation using our photo cards and also included a photo they had taken at the zoo of their favorite animal.

Materials:

  • Zoo Animal Printable Photo Cards (use your photos or get these)
  • Contact Paper
  • Paper
  • Pencils and coloring tools

How to Make:

Laminate the cards and place on the table with the other materials.

THEN after your child has had some time to look at the cards and talk about them, as them to write about one or more of the animals.

Depending on your goals this activity will vary.

Kindergarteners might just draw a picture of the animal and work on using their best handwriting to label it with the animal’s name.

For slightly older elementary schoolers: If you are working on non-fiction, have them write a fact about the animal. If you’re working on just writing, have them write a story about the animal.

For my first graders doing an animal study, I asked them to write something they had learned and a question they still had. We used this question to go forward with their study.

This activity help develop the following skills:

  • Communicating using words and pictures.
  • Understanding the difference between fiction and non-fiction.
  • Adding details, capitalization and punctuation to their writing.

Extension Ideas:

  • Work on story telling. Give each child a card – or you take half and your child takes half – and go around the circle adding to a story using your photo as a prompt.
  • Draw or build a habitat for your chosen animal. Where do they live? What do they eat? What do they need to survive?

8 More Zoo Animal Activities for School Aged Kids

  1. Join Suzi’s FREE Wild Animal Passport Club for Kids
  2. Make Chocolate Strawberry Zebras for Snack
  3. Elephant Craft with Newspaper
  4. Going to the Zoo Interactive Book for Emergent Readers
  5. Jungle Animals Playset from Toilet Paper Rolls
  6. Complete the Animals Kids Craft Activity
  7. A-Z Animal Hunt
  8. Zoo Scavenger Hunt

Note: Many of the preschool activities above may also work for your child!

Zoo Animal Printable Photo Cards

Get Zoo Animals Photo Cards

Z is for…

Looking for more ideas? Here are some more Z ideas from the A-Z Play at Home series.

31 Days of ABC 2017 | Alldonemonkey.com

We’re nearing the end of a fantastic month of alphabet fun with the 31 Days of ABC! All this month activities, crafts, books, apps, and more, all dedicated to teaching young children the alphabet have been shared.

Find more great resources in our series from past years: 31 Days of ABCs 2013, 2014, and 2016!

Don’t forget to follow our 31 Days of ABCs Pinterest board for even more great ABC ideas!

 

31 Days of ABC

Teaching the ABCs – October 1

All Done Monkey: Early Literacy – Getting Started Teaching the Alphabet

A – October 2

Creative World of Varya: A Is for Aromatherapy for Kids

B – October 3

Hispanic Mama: B Is For Bilingual Baby Books

C – October 4

Witty Hoots: C Is for Cool Fingerprint Castle Keyrings Tutorial

D – October 5

Teach Me Mommy: D Is for Dinosaurs DIY Sensory Bin

E – October 6

E Is for Environmental Print to Develop Literacy

F – October 7

Look! We’re Learning! F Is for Printable Farm Paper Bag Puppets

G – October 8

All Done Monkey: G Is for Go

H – October 9

All Done Monkey: H Is for Hello/Hola

I – October 10

Jeddah Mom: I Is for Ice Cream Craft and Sorting Activity

J – October 11

All Done Monkey: J is for Jirafa (Giraffe) – Spanish Coloring Page

K – October 12

Pennies of Time: K Is for Kindness

L – October 13

Schooling Active Monkeys: L Is for Lion Craft

M – October 14

Sugar, Spice & Glitter: M Is for Madeline Craft

N – October 15

All Done Monkey: N Is for Nature Crafts

O – October 16

Kitchen Counter Chronicles: O Is for Owl Bookmark Printable

P – October 17

Creative World of Varya: P Is for Phonological Awareness in Toddlers

Q – October 18

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: Q Is for Quito’s Middle of the World Monument Kids Craft

R – October 19

JDaniel4’sMom: R Is for Decorating Robots in Sensory Bags

S – October 20

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: S Is for Spanish Resources for Kids

T – October 21

Sand In My Toes: T Is for DIY Truck Puzzle

U – October 22

The Educators’ Spin On it: U Is for Unicorn

V – October 23

CrArty: V Is for Van Gogh

W – October 24

My Story Time Corner: W Is for Wheels on the Bus

X – October 25

The Mommies Reviews: X

Y – October 26

Teach Me Mommy: Y Is for Yarn Letters

Z – October 27

Bambini Travel: Z Is for Zoo Animals

123’s – October 28

Creative World of Varya: Montessori Inspired Printable

Prewriting – October 29

Witty Hoots

Books, Songs, & Apps – October 30

Witty Hoots: Top 5 List

Printables – October 31

Royal Baloo and Logi-Bear Too

35+ Zoo Animal Unit Learning Activity Ideas for All Ages including Babies, Toddlers, Preschoolers and Early Elementary School Kindergarten and First Graders

How to Go on a City Bus Field Trip

City Bus Field Trip

“Look! A Bus!” When my twins were toddlers it seemed like everywhere we went they found buses, trucks and trains to watch. These big machines are endlessly fascinating to most toddlers.

As parents and toddler teachers, we fill our play spaces with trucks and cars and encourage our toddlers to vroom them across the floor. We read great picture books, label vehicles we see, and sing “Wheels on the Bus” more times than we can count. But do these experiences teach our toddlers about these vehicles they find so fascinating?

They do, but the real deal is much more meaningful.

Going on an actual bus field trip allows them to see how massive these vehicles are up close. A field trip shows them the process of riding the bus. A field trip answers some of their questions and gives them new ones to ponder with their toy trucks back at home or school.

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Friday Field Trip on a City Bus

I have done this type of field trip a couple of times. I did it will a class of 3-5 year olds in Minnesota and also twice with my own twins when they were 20 months old and again when they were 2. Below are my top tips from what I learned from these experiences, along with the many things they learned from these fun and easy busy field trips.

related curriculum or projects

*Transportation

*City or Community

Before the Field Trip

Before our field trip my toddlers were very familiar with two things;

  1. “Wheels on the Bus song” which we had sung more times than I could count.
  2. Wheels on the Bus stories. We did a whole story study inspired by their love of the song.

 

6 Tips for a successful City Bus Field trip

1. Plan Your Trip Ahead of Time

Bus schedules and maps are online – just search online for your city’s transit system.

Consider how long your child can sit when planning the length of your trip. We were on the bus for about 30m both ways.

2. Avoid Rush Hour

An over-crowded bus will distract from the adventure and potentially overwhelm your toddlers.

3. Talk about Expectations Beforehand

Talk to your toddler about expectations before you get on the bus – for example, you must sit while the bus is moving. Walk through the whole experience so they know what to expect.

4. Have Bus Fare Ready

Have your bus fare ready to go before you get on the bus. Your toddler or preschooler is probably free (another thing to double check online beforehand!) but you will need to pay the fare. Have that handy so you don’t have to dig around for it when the bus arrives and your toddler is super excited.

5. Have a Plan for Wait Times

Plan a few waiting games. We had to wait for a while to get back on the bus and this was the hardest part of our trip. We survived with singing songs and playing ISpy.

6. Dress for the Weather

If possible, plan your adventure for a day with pleasant weather. If it ends up less desirable, make sure you are dressed appropriately for waiting outside.

 

after the field trip
  • Continue reading and singing The Wheels on the Bus
  • Set up a pretend area to play bus. For older toddlers and preschoolers ask them what they would need to pretend to be on a bus. They will often have some very creative ideas. All you really need are a row of chairs and some pretend wheels. Paper plates and markers can easily be used to make as many steering wheels as you want.

How to Take a City Bus Field Trip with Toddlers

 

what do toddlers learn on a bus field trip?

Are field trips with toddlers actually meaningful? Aren’t they too young to remember anything? I get asked this all the time and I understand.

Your toddler is probably not going to remember this bus field trip when they’re 10 or 50. They will remember it next week. They might remember it 6 months from now.

The point is that it is meaningful right now.

  • It answers their questions. Even ones they can’t quite verbalize yet.
  • It deepens their understanding.
  • It gives them more things and experiences to think about and build on. It affirms that their interests are valuable.

At the end of the day the things we take for granted as common knowledge are often brand new information to young kids. Real life and hands on experiences offer a wealth of knowledge that is learned more quickly and integrated in their minds with deeper purpose than reading that same knowledge in a book or having it just explained to them.

Here’s what my toddlers learned on our Bus Field Trip Adventure:

1. That people get on and off a lot! My kids were fascinated by all the different people they saw.

2. That you have to pull the cord to tell the bus driver you want to get off. (Self Help)

3. Where your money or bus pass goes and that you have to pay money to get on a bus. (Math)

4. That buses have to stop at red lights, just like cars. (Cognitive)

5. That the bus does actually bump (like in Wheels on the Bus). (Sensory)

6. You have to look for the right bus number or letter by reading the sign at the bus stop and on the front of the bus (Literacy)

City Bus Field Trip Guide

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How to Celebrate a Yellow Themed Day with Preschoolers

The color yellow is one of the happiest – in my opinion. Is the color of light and sunshine. My kids would want me to tell you that it is also the color of bananas.

We celebrated Yellow Day with books, smoothies, and lots of yellow. Below are our books, snacks, and activities for a Preschool day full of yellow.

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Celebrate Preschool Yellow Day!

 

3 Picture Books to Read About Yellow

Yellow Ball by Molly Bang
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A little yellow ball gets left at the seashore and goes on an incredible adventure. We loved the illustrations in this one.

Yellow Square by David A. Carter
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This is an incredicble pop-up book. It is a beautiful feat of paper design that will amaze you.

The Little Yellow Chicken by Joy Cowley
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A twist on the tale of the little red hen. In this tale, the yellow chick is throwing a party but none of his friends are inclined to help.

7 Yellow Themed Activities & Snack Ideas

1. Wear Yellow

Part of the fun of a color week is finding an item of clothing or two to wear for the day. We decked out in Yellow and then snapped some selfies before we headed out for the morning. (Cognitive)

2. Lemonade Sensory Bin

Gather: A sensory bin, a towel, water, ice cubes, lemons, small bowls, wooden spoons.

Set Up: Slice the lemons into slices (not wedges) and let them float in the water.

Activity: This is a sensory bin that engages all of the senses, at least in our case. There was an abundance of ice cube and lemon eating. If you aren’t okay with this, make sure you are clear with your expectations. My preschoolers also poured and scooped, put things and out of the bowls, stirred, and generally enjoyed pretending to cook.

3. Yellow Art Invitation

Create a basket of Yellow art materials. Place this on your art table with some blank paper as an invitation to create. (Fine Motor + Creativity)

My basket included;

  • yellow markers
  • yellow colored pencils
  • yellow crayons
  • yellow stampers
  • yellow gummed art tape
  • yellow tissue paper.

4. Yellow Smoothie

Cooking with kids is a great opportunity to develop self help skills. In this case it was also a science lesson in color mixing. We discovered that orange + white = yellow. (Self Help + Fine Motor)

Ingredients:
1 Frozen Banana
1/2 Cup Frozen Mango
2 Oranges – Juiced
1 Cup Soy Milk
2 TBSP Peanut Butter

(Makes one serving)

Directions:
Put the banana, mango, orange juice, soy milk and peanut butter in the blender. Blend until creamy. We have this FANTASTIC blender that makes creating smoothies super simple. The ingredients are poured in, blended with a push of a button, and then poured in a cup. We make an assembly line of sorts and quickly create a simple breakfast. If you are using a large blender, simple add the above ingredients x the number of people. If the smoothie is too thick, simply add more orange juice and soy milk in equal parts.

5. Yellow Shake Snack 

This is another fun snack idea and super quick as well, but involves a bit more fine motor development.

Materials:

Yellow Fruits (we used pineapples and bananas, but there are a variety of options)
Mixing Bowl
Cutting Board
Sharp Knife (for adult use)
Butter Knife or Child Sized Knife (for child to use)
Mixing Spoon
Bowls or Plates to serve the snack

Set Up:
Back at home, prepare your area and wash you hands. For us this meant our kids ran to the bathroom to wash their hands, I quickly washed mine in the kitchen, and then laid out a cutting board and knives.

Activity:
After cutting a slit across the bananas near the tip, our children worked on peeling the bananas and putting the peels in the trash.

Meanwhile, I sliced the banana. At the time, I used a knife, although since then my husband got this nifty pineapple cutter at we highly recommend it.

Then they moved the pineapple from the cutting board to the bowl while I discarded the peel.

Then together we sliced the bananas. This is optional and depends on your comfort level, but with help (and close supervision), our toddlers were able to slice the bananas. Then these got added to the bowl and they took turns mixing.

Scoop the snack into bowls and go enjoy.

6. Yellow Duplo Challenge

Another activity for yellow day, and probably the favorite, was the Yellow Duplo Challenge. It sounds exciting and possibly complicated, but all I did was put our Yellow Duplos in a basket on the shelf and challenged them to see what they could build with just Yellow.

 

Color Week Projects

Rainbow Journal : Yellow Page

Continue the Rainbow journal today that you are using for the entire Preschool Color Week. You can find directions for starting one on our Red Day page. For yellow day, turn to the next blank page and have your preschooler copy the word YELLOW. Then have them use the basic of Yellow art materials to draw whatever they want on the facing page. (Literacy)

Collaborative Rainbow

This is the other project that will last you the entire Preschool Color Week. Today add to the Rainbow in the yellow space. Gummed Art Tape is hugely popular in our house right now so we added some Yellow today. (Creativity + Social Skills)

How to Celebrate Preschool Yellow Day with Book recommendations, snack ideas and activities. All yellow themed!

Want More Simple Play at Home Ideas?

Complete A-Z Ideas for Play at Home

 

 

Super Fun and Super Simple Up and Down Obstacle Course for Toddlers

Up and Down Obstacle Course for Toddlers

A rainy Tuesday afternoon can feel like an eternity with active toddlers. We had already played every game I could think of, read every book on their shelf, held a marathon painting session, and taken an extra bath to recover from the painting session.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it to bedtime when one of my kids started pushing around their climbing box.  Inspiration struck and our up and down indoor obstacle course was born.

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Up + Down Obstacle Course

This activity works on understanding the concepts of up and down, while practicing the gross motor skill of stepping up and down. It is also brilliant for surviving toddler energy.

Materials

Items for stepping up and down, such as;

Set Up

Position your boxes and stools around a room to create a course.

Activity

Tell your toddler(s) you’re going to do a fun obstacle course.

Have them line up behind you and demonstrate the course for them with energetic “up!” and “down!” as you go over the obstacles.

From there encourage them to do it again and again.

Variations

  • Try doing it backwards
  • Go the opposite way
  • Have their stuffed animals try the obstacle course
  • For older kids: Time them to see how fast they can go.

Clean Up

Put all the obstacles back in their usual places – with the help of your toddlers of course.

 

Up and Down Obstacle Course for Toddlers

A-Z Play at Home Ideas

This post is part of the A-Z Play at Home Series hosted by Teach Me Mommy. Here are more fun, easy ideas for the letter U.

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DIY Foam Trains for Easy Bathtime Fun and Learning

Foam Name Train

My twins were were obsessed with all things trains when they were toddlers. They built tracks and choo chooed the length of the house. They donned little engine hats and tooted whistles.

We also read Freight Train by Donald Crews about a million times. This classic is the perfect blend of simplicity and detail that is soaked up by the reader and it fit well with their interest in all things trains.

This inspired the foam train.

affiliate links are included.

 

How to Make DIY Foam Train

Do you know about the magic of foam is that, when wet, it will stick to your bathtub.

We have used this to our advantage in several ways, but most recently to create a tub train for counting.

Materials

*Foam

*Scissors

*Sharpie

How to Make a Counting Train

1. Draw a rough train shape onto the foam. I free handed this and honestly it does not have to be perfect. Just the general shape.

2. Cut out the train engine and train cars.

3. Write numbers and dots for counting directly onto the foam with a sharpie.

Or the Name Train Alternative

1. Cut train shapes out of your foam. I did this free hand while looking at a Thomas train for inspiration. Don’t worry about this being perfect. The general shape is great.

2. Write the letters of your child’s name on the cars. I put the first letter of each of their names on an engine and then the letters of their names on cars alternating orange and white.

TIP: If you are doing this activity with one child, considering adding a few extra letters or your name to make it a little more difficult.

Activity

Bring them out at bath time.

Put the foam train engines on the wall of your tub and the other cars in the bath water.

Encourage your preschooler count the trains or identify letters, build their names, and put them in order.

My kids took them down and practiced putting them back in order. Then they drove the trains around the tub.

Clean Up

Leave your trains on the wall of the tub or let them dry on a towel and pack them away for another day.

DIY Foam Train for Easy and Fun Bathtime learning

A-Z Play at Home Ideas

This post is part of the A-Z Play at Home series of awesome, easy play ideas hosted by Nadia on Teach Me Mommy. Here are some more ideas for the letter T.

And some holiday themed T ideas…

 

How to Kick off Preschool Color Week with Rad Red Day

Red Day Activities and Books for Preschool Color Week

Red is the start of the rainbow so naturally it kicked off our Rainbow Preschool  Color Unit.

Below are super rad red ideas for books, activities and more to get your preschool rainbow week started right at home or in your classroom.

affiliate links included below.

Rainbow Colors Week Ideas for Preschool

Red Day Picture Book Suggestions

We love picture books. There are a lot of great children’s books for preschoolers about colors and red in particular. These are our favorites.

Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
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Llama Llama is a modern day classic. It is a darling story about a little llama and his bedtime emotions. 1+

Journey by Aaron Becker
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This award winning wordless book is amazing. It follows the creative and stunning adventures of a little girl and her red crayon. 2+

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood
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This is one of my all time favorite read a loud stories. A little mouse finds a ripe strawberry, but what about the hungry bear?

The Red Book by Barbara Lehman
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This Caldecott Honor Book is a stunning wordless adventure. It tells a powerful story about a red book. 3+

Red Truck by Kersten Hamilton
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Follow a little red tow truck on his wintry adventure. 2+

Very Little Red Riding Hood by Theresa Heapy
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Very little red riding hood puts a whole new twist on this classic story and character. This was one of our favorites during our Little Red Riding Hood story study. 3+

Red Day Themed Activities

Wear Red

Part of the fun of a color week is finding an item of clothing or two to wear for the day. We decked out in red today and then snapped some selfies before we headed out for the morning. (Cognitive)

Red Object Ice Rescue

Do a search (on your own or with kids) for red plastic toys. We made ours together in the morning and then it was ready to be attacked in after snack. This Rescue the Toys Ice Activity is a great example!

Red Apple or Strawberry Snack

If you’re feeling scientific, you could also have an Apple Taste Test. Is there a colored apple you prefer? (Science)

Red Memory Game

This is a great Quiet Time Activity or Table Activity. We have this adorable Ombre Memory Game that features faces of our family members. You could also make your own with construction paper, photos, and contact paper or a laminating machine. (Cognitive)

Red Art Invitation

Create a basket of red art materials. My basket included; red markers, red colored pencils, red crayons, red washi tape, red gummed art tape, and some red stickers. Place this on your art table with some blank paper as an invitation to create. (Fine Motor + Creativity)

More Red Themed Activities:

Rainbow Week Pinterest Board

Color Week Projects

Below are projects that we did throughout our Preschool Color Week. We started them on Red Day and then added to them as the week progressed.

Rainbow Journal : Red Page

Start a Rainbow journal today that you will use for the entire Color Week.

To make ours I simply stapled together several pieces of paper that were folded in half. On the front, each of my kids wrote “Rainbow Book” following the example I wrote out for them on a piece of paper.

Next, they turned to the first page and wrote RED. Then they used a collection of Red art materials to draw on the other page whatever they wanted. (Literacy)

Collaborative Rainbow

This art project will last you the entire Preschool Color Week. Start by drawing a rainbow outline on a large piece of paper. Hang this on a wall in your art area or classroom.

Each day present art materials for that day’s color of the day. Monday, we added Red Gummed Art Tape to the first stripe. (Creativity + Social Skills)

Kick of Preschool Rainbow Week with Rad Red Day Books and Activity Ideas

A-Z Play at Home Series:

This activity is part of the A-Z Play at Home Series hosted by Teach Me Mommy. Pop over for tons of easy, fun ideas.

 

 

Creative Ideas for Celebrating Orange Day in Preschool

orange day

Juicy oranges. Traffic cones. Construction hats. It must be orange day!

Below are some fun ways to bring the color orange alive in your home or classroom for Orange Day!

affiliate links are included below.

Orange Day Activity Ideas

Orange Color Day

Books About the Color Orange

It’s an Orange Aardvark! by Michael Hall
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This is a fabulously fun read aloud. Some ants spot an alarmingly bright orange through a hole. What could it be? Their imaginations run wild and ultimately the most wonderful surprise is revealed. 3+

Each Orange Had 8 Slices by Paul Giganti, Jr.
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Since Oranges was our snack, this was a natural choice. It also happens to be illustrated by one of our alltime favorites, Donald Crews. A fun, engaging counting book. 3+

Orange Themed Activities

Wear Orange

Part of the fun of a color week is finding an item of clothing or two to wear for the day. We decked out in Orange today, even creating Orange headbands for ourselves, and then snapped some selfies before we headed out for the morning. (Cognitive)

Orange Object Search

While we were driving around this morning we searched for the color Orange in our town. You could easily do this as part of a walk, commute, or even just a search around your house. Our Orange Hunt led to some interesting conversations about what signs said and where the line is between Orange and Yellow. (Cognitive + Language)

Orange Snack

We made Orange Juice for our snack today. This involved some great fine motor and self help skills in the kitchen as they helped me juice some oranges. (Self Help + Fine Motor)

Orange Puzzle

Make an orange puzzle one of the options for quiet time or centers today.

You could make your own using a photograph of something Orange and a scissors.

I used this gorgeous one: PANTONE: Color Puzzles. I love this whole PANTONE series. We had the small board books when my twins were infants and have enjoyed the larger color book ever since. (Cognitive)

Orange Duplo Challenge

Another invitation on the Quiet Time shelves today, and probably the favorite, was the Orange Duplo Challenge.

It sounds exciting and possibly complicated, but all I did was put our Orange Duplos in a basket on the shelf and challenged them to see what they could build with just Orange. A tower, a truck, and a fox it turns out.

Orange Art Invitation

Create a basket of Orange art materials. My basket included; orange markers, orange colored pencils, orange crayons, orange stampers, orange gummed art tape, and some orange yarn.

Place this on your art table with some blank paper as an invitation to create an Orange Collage. (Fine Motor + Creativity)

Rainbow Colors Week Ideas for Preschool

Color Week Projects

We did our orange day as part of a whole Rainbow Color Week. Here are the on-going projects we did during the week that we added to on Orange Day.

Rainbow Journal : Orange Page

Continue the Rainbow journal today that you are using for the entire Color Week. You can find directions for starting one on our Red Day page.

For orange day, turn to the next blank page and have your preschooler copy the word ORANGE. Then have them use the basic of Orange art materials to draw whatever they want on the facing page. (Literacy)

Collaborative Rainbow

This is the other project that will last you the entire Preschool Color Unit. Today add to the Rainbow in the orange space.

Gummed Art Tape is hugely popular in our house right now so we added some Orange today as well as some orange stamping and orange marker. (Creativity + Social Skills)

A-Z Play At Home Series

This post is part of the A-Z Play at Home series. Here are some more fun ideas for the letter O:

Outside Obstacle Course from Teach Me Mommy

Recipe for Homemade Orange Slime from The Gingerbread House

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Mess-Free Nature Shake Paintings for Toddlers

Nature Shake Paintings with rocks

Nature Shake Paintings are perfect for a lot of kids and situations. They are perfect for…

Kids who are active.

Kids who like to collect rocks.

Times when you are outside.

Times when you are inside.

Times when you don’t have a ton of time.

Times when you don’t want to clean up a big mess.

Nature Walk

You get the idea.

This simple activity works great for different ages, inside or outside, and for active boys and girls (aka pretty much every kid under the age of 5).

This activity combines art and movement – two of our favorite things.

We did this Nature Shake Painting activity twice. Once at home with rocks we had collected on a hike and once while we were camping. Both times the procedure was similar.

How to do Nature Shake Paintings with Toddlers

Materials + Set Up:

Gather materials. You will need:

  • Box (I recommend 1 box for every 1-2 kids so there isn’t much waiting)
  • Construction Paper (cut to fit inside of the box)
  • Rocks (gather – or have your toddler help find some when everything else is ready)
  • Paint
  • Masking TapeMake sure to cut the paper down to fit into the box before hand – again to decrease waiting around (waiting is basically toddler kryptonite).Nature Shake Painting Steps

Activity

Invite your active one to join you for rock painting.

Help them fill a box with a piece of paper, a handful of rocks, and some squirts of paint.

Tape the box shut (very securely) and then hand it back to them for some vigorous shaking.

Encourage them to shake, even run or dance around with their box. When they are done, help them open the box up and discover what their painting looks like.

Easy! So easy you could do it all over again…and again…and again just like your toddlers will probably want.

Clean up:

The rocks are going to need a rinse if you are planning to keep them around. Otherwise, clean up is super simple with this activity.

Hang the paintings, everything else can be put away or tossed.

Nature Shake Paintings

More A-Z Play Ideas

This week we are sharing ideas for the Letter N.

Naming Game from Teach Me Mommy

How to Make a Potato Clock (with nails) from The Gingerbread House