Tag Archives: Activities for kids

Activity ideas for preschoolers

preschooler activities

Ever been stuck for activity ideas for preschoolers?

Have you attended a community event that has really captured your child’s interests? It may have been a day at the local show, an aquarium visit, a bush-walk or even something so simple as a bus ride. We are constantly exposing our children to different experiences. Why not build upon these experiences using simple activities to encourage deeper learning?

We scored tickets to the NASA exhibition in Brisbane.

Foil space boots

Homemade foil space boots

home made astronaut suit

When your mum is super crafty.. or you could use an ice bucket on your head.

Mr 3 was most excited to attend with his cousin. In the lead up, I presented a range of activities to identify the boys’ prior knowledge, stimulate their curiosity and get them excited for the big outing.  I borrowed a range of fiction and non-fiction books from our local library. We watched the moon landing which the boys recreated using dress-ups I had made (an ice-cream container helmet and foil boots will do the trick). They used play dough to represent what they thought the moon looked like (purchase here – also check out their freebies too). Bath time was fun with planet bath bombs. The night was topped off by star gazing using the SkyView Lite App and some astronaut freeze-dried ice-cream. We use the outing as inspiration for all our activity ideas for preschoolers.

activity ideas preschoolers

Using the play dough boards to create moon landing scenes (with our Australian Alphabet play mat below)

The boys had been exposed to lovely rich language and terminology through each of these activities and therefore, developed questions that were answered during the visit to the exhibition. Furthermore, the NASA exhibition had so much more relevance for them now. They had a blast!

After the NASA visit, the boys created their own spacecrafts for their toys using a range of recyclable materials we had collected. Only minimal adult input was required as interest levels were high. Discussions related to Space continued for weeks.

You can use everyday experiences as rich learning opportunities. The possibilities are limitless. Just keep it simple and let your child run with it. Child-led learning at its best!

Looking for some adventure to get you started?

Check out your local councils events page to stay on top of free events in your area. If you’ve already exhausted your local museums and exhibitions, here are some other ideas for outings in your nearest city: Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth

Even the smallest idea can create lots of activities and play inspo for the coming weeks….

box construction space ship

The boys made a space ship but you could make a bus, train or boat depending on your little ones interest.

Farm visit- Create a pig washing station using toothbrushes and soap. Bake using items from a farm, learn about where different produce comes from. Make a farm using blocks and items found in nature.

Bus ride– Design your own bus (why not a flying bus?). Furthermore, you could make up a story about the day in the life of a bus, make a bus from a box for your toys.

Aquarium visit– Make your own aquarium out of boxes. Also try water play, hide sea creatures in the bath (add a little blue food colouring and bubbles), imaginative play under the sea, collage.

Bush-walk– Use items from nature to create a collage. Also hunt for items in nature or create a list of things to spot. Pack a backpack to take on a bush walk, research animals you might see in the area. There may even be some guided walks in your area such as this one from Brisbane City Council.

Beach visit– Sing songs about the ocean. Sand and water play, create a jellyfish using a shower cap and cellophane tentacles. Finally, discuss the importance of sun safety and dress a toy accordingly, discuss beach safety and role play where it is safe to swim.

 

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Toddler Sorting Activities – 5 Quick and Easy Activities to try

toddler sorting activity lego

5 Quick toddler sorting activities to keep your little one busy

Toddler sorting activities give us so many opportunities. As children grow they start to explore and try to make sense of the world. Part of that is trying to organise and control the things around them. Sorting activities allow children to match and categorise objects to show what they know and understand. Identifying colours, shapes and even textures helps children recognise similarities and differences between objects. These early skills form the basis of organisation and reasoning essential to early Maths, Science and Musical understanding.

So enough about the why, lets dive in with 5 Easy toddler sorting activities that don’t require any special equipment… and only take 30 seconds to set up. We use these when PJ is napping so I’m trying to keep the noise down, or while I’m cooking dinner to keep Freddy busy and once I started looking for sorting activities I realised they are everywhere.

1.Sorting cutlery

Cutlery sorting for toddlers

Freddy’s efforts at sorting the party cutlery…

I have a confession. I have a party draw full of all the leftovers from different parties over the years… plates, napkins, disposable cutlery. It’s not environmentally friendly which is why I’m hanging on to them, so I never need to buy again. What it does mean is I have a big mixed bag of different knives, forks, spoons, in a variety of sizes and colours. So, this one was simple to set up… I emptied the bag on to the dining room table so Freddy could see them all and we talked about what we noticed. He could already identify knives, forks and spoons so we started off with sorting to this. Once we had this sorted, we started to divide the spoons into different types etc… All in all this one took about 30 seconds to set up and kept Freddy busy for a long time as he happily chatted about what he saw.

2. Toddler sorting activities: Lego sort

toddler sorting activity lego

Sorting Lego on coloured plates on his alphabet and blue play mat.

I knew all my Ikea plates would come in handy. All those colours have so much potential. Another 30 second set up with no prep or organisation needed. I handed Freddy his box of lego and surrounded him with the plates. We then looked at what colours the plates came in. I asked him to find one piece of lego to match each plate. Once I saw he could do this I left him to it.  When I came back, I noticed when it came to the people he has a little more challenged. Some he sorted by hair colour and others by shirt colour. It came down to what stood out most with each piece, so consistency is now something we are talking about. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of this earlier. It’s the perfect toddler sorting activity to get you started.

 

3. Sorting  mixed vegetables – Carrot, corn and peas.

This one came up when I was late to serve dinner. I could tell Freddy was getting restless and hungry so I gave him his Vegies in a bowl and handed him Orange, Yellow and Green cups – again, thank you Ikea… We talked about the lego sorting we had done a few days earlier and he cottoned on how to sort them very quickly and was very keen to eat his handywork at the end.

 

4. Toddler Sorting Activities: a deck of cards (either by colour or suit)

Toddler sorting activity deck of cards

Freddy was pumped after he sorted out the cards on his round road and grey play mat.

For this one all you need is a set of cards. It doesn’t even have to be a full deck so the old one with cards missing is perfect. I sat with Freddy and looked at the cards and talked about them first as this was the first time he had seen them. Then we talked about what they had in common. Initially we sorted them in to Red and Black. Then we looked closely and noticed there was two shapes for red : Heart and Diamond. Also Club and Spades in black. Freddy then sorted these out. I also removed the K,Q, J cards from the deck as well because the images all had both black and red. Though, next time I’ll probably leave them in to see what he does with them.

5. Food sort…. fruit loops.

I haven’t tried this one yet with the fruit loops but I’m planning to give it a go this weekend after we do the weekly grocery shop. Instead I was inspired by a post  I saw on Pinterest. Not only can you sort by colour but also thread them on to a pipe cleaner. Sorting and motor control skills in one. Winning!! A more simplified version of this could also be done with other foods like mixed dried lentils, coloured dry pasta if you have it, or even just mixed varieties of pasta. Any little leftover dried foods you have sitting in your pantry can be all put into a container to become a sorting activity.

So there you have it, here are 5 easy sorting activities that require no prep or organisation to help you keep your toddler entertained.

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Free the Babies – When should babies start floor time? It’s important babies start floor time from an early age. Babies are raised in a world full of capsules, prams, swings, bouncers, hammocks, docks… the list is endless. More and more parents look for items to support, hold, and comfort children that it is preventing […]

Read more

Getting your play mat to settle

How to get your play mat to settle? When your play mat first arrives you may find that you unroll it, and it re curls at the ends. This is totally normal as our play mats are stored in the rolled position in their boxes throughout the warehouse and shipping process. Play mats can take […]

Read more

Preparing for childcare

It’s in the preparation… preparing for Childcare Is your child about to start childcare? Babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers, it doesn’t matter the age starting daycare or type of childcare, the first time can be hard on both kids and parents. Preparing for childcare can help you and your little one make a smooth transition. Preparing […]

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7 crafty uses for your toilet paper rolls.

Unicorn toilet roll craft

7 crafty uses for your toilet paper rolls

So here is why we needed some toilet paper roll craft ideas…  Toilet training toddlers is a really super fun time – said no parent ever! Thankfully Freddy was pretty quick with his training and accidents were minimal. But with his new found toileting independence has come the desire to go it alone when it comes to using the bathroom.

This is great in theory but has on many occasions ended in giant messes. I’m not talking the disgusting bodily fluid type. I’m talking rolls and rolls of toilet paper spread over the room, usually when I’m feeding PJ his lunch or putting him down for a nap. Yes, I try to move them and put them down but he isn’t the only one in the house using the bathroom and they often get put back on the holder by people trying to be helpful… Needless to say, I have plenty of extra toilet rolls coming my way and am on the hunt to find crafty uses for them.

Just to recap I am not naturally arty or crafty at all. In fact I rely heavily on family members and friends to make sure my kids are getting their artistic fixes in life. But, in my defence I’m trying to up my game. Yesterday Freddy came out of the bathroom with two toilet rolls in hand. He placed them up to his eyes and told me he had to go outside to do some bird watching (WTF! where did he learn this??). So I put my trusty (read rusty) skills to work, got out the sticky tape and made a very quick and easy set of binoculars for him to play with. And so the hunt for toilet paper roll craft continues.

Binocular toilet roll craft:

Our binoculars consisted of toilet rolls and sticky tape, but if you want to get fancy check out these instructions… Love the suggestion from kinder art for adding a coat of paint. We might do this tomorrow to up our game.

binocular toilet roll craft

The boys using their binoculars at our local cafe… kept them busy long enough for us to have a coffee.

Toilet roll snake:

We live next to the bush, so snakes feature pretty heavily in our discussions. We know there are plenty of carpet pythons around as we spot them regularly. As Freddy is a play outside kind of kid and he loves digging through the gardens and exploring we have had to talk to him about what to do when he sees a snake (get Mum – not Dad).  

So here is a nice and fun and friendly snake that we are going to make (and maybe even scare Daddy with).  

Easy Peasy and Fun toilet roll craft:

toilet roll craft pencil organiser

Toilet roll pencil organiser – cannot wait to try it. From Easy Peasy and Fun.

We haven’t tried any of these yet but we are obsessed with the activities we found on Easy, Peasy and Fun’s website. Cannot recommend it enough and we will be checking in regularly. First on the list for us to try is the caterpillar pencil organiser. I’m going to save the unicorn craft for our next play date. The wind sock idea also sounds great. We often discuss the weather in the mornings and this can become part of our discussion. We can use it to talk about wind speed and direction but mostly it’s fun and looks pretty.  Finally, the flower craft is a great opener for some free creative art. I like the idea of showing Freddy how to bend the circles to create other shapes. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with.

Colouring toilet roll templates for bowling:

colour in toilet craft

More animals to colour to make our bowling alley

Finally some colouring in craft. This one looks like the easiest of the lot and we are working our way through it as we speak. We decided to choose 6 animals to colour in (this means it will take us a week or so to finish). By choosing six animals we will then be able to play bowling with our finished creations. Yep, what a great use for toilet rolls… to play bowling. This is right up Freddy’s alley. We are going to turn our play mat in to a bowling alley for a quick game.

colouring in for toilet roll craft

He couldn’t leave the parrot alone long enough to colour the other animals playing on our blue geo play mat

If you have any other suggestions of activities, we would love to hear them. We are always looking for fun and easy craft activities that we can do.

When should babies start floor time?

Free the Babies – When should babies start floor time? It’s important babies start floor time from an early age. Babies are raised in a world full of capsules, prams, swings, bouncers, hammocks, docks… the list is endless. More and more parents look for items to support, hold, and comfort children that it is preventing […]

Read more

Getting your play mat to settle

How to get your play mat to settle? When your play mat first arrives you may find that you unroll it, and it re curls at the ends. This is totally normal as our play mats are stored in the rolled position in their boxes throughout the warehouse and shipping process. Play mats can take […]

Read more

Preparing for childcare

It’s in the preparation… preparing for Childcare Is your child about to start childcare? Babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers, it doesn’t matter the age starting daycare or type of childcare, the first time can be hard on both kids and parents. Preparing for childcare can help you and your little one make a smooth transition. Preparing […]

Read more