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Utilize many different everyday objects at home and create a gross motor course the whole family will love. There are no rules, use cook books as stepping stones so you don't touch the lava, organize couch cushions in such a way where kiddos have to army crawl underneath them to get to the next objective! Our favorite is stringing streamers through a hallway so they have to maneuver their body just so to make their way around the strips without touching them to get to the other side.
If you want to make this activity a bit more challenging for older siblings or build on this tradition and core memory; you can add additional brain teaser activities. Start with putting a puzzle together before advancing and then, maybe, have kiddos spell a word or complete a riddle in between physical activity to catch their breath as they get older!
Family togetherness & bonding
Physical activity & movement
Understanding one's body
Bath Sensory & Learning Activity
Turn bath time into a fun sensory activity for your child - again, if your child may have certain concerns about sensory struggles you can find alternatives to this activity based on your child's likes and dislikes, alter the idea and activity to fit the needs of your child, or allergies. You can opt out of bath color tabs and keep it typical bath water.
Instead of usual bath time you can use an orange, green or purple bath dye tabs to alter the color of the water to fit the theme of Halloween. Then add in plastic spiders, "eyeball toys" and mini plastic pumpkins and other items associated with this holiday for children to explore! (Clean first!) This creates a fun environment, easy sensory activity to clean up later and makes bath time a bit easier! And who knows, you may have a way to create bath fun and engaging as well as display eagerness rather than frustration during this daily, weekly routine for every season!
Have fun getting them out of the bath now! (Idea isn't ours, check out where we found it!)
Daily/ weekly routines
Involvement in the holiday traditions
Fun hygiene and healthy habits
Seeing as most of us are doing this already as we get prepared for trick or treaters come Monday evening October 31, 2022, or any time your neighborhood or community celebrates Halloween, you and your little can find alternative ways to decorate pumpkins other than carving!
Or course this activity of parents cutting a fun design into a pumpkin that you worked together on creating a silly or scary face for as you "de-gut" the insides (removing the seeds and pulp) and conduct a sensory expiration activity , however, if you do not want to carve every pumpkin, running low on time or have littles at home where you would prefer another activities in order to decorate , keep reading!
You may prefer to paint a pumpkin (maybe teal? See blog post and resource this week) or have your child color mix and apply paint with different tools! Try stickers or clue items to make a unique art project! Even puncture the skin of the pumpkin with golf tees and other relatively sharp but not too-sharp objects to add another learning activity to this project! You don't always have to carve, especially if your child may have sensory struggles and would prefer to keep their hands as clean and dry as possible!
Art & Creativity
Family and friends involvement
Involvement in the holiday traditions
Family Photo Fun
Some ideas to incorporate family photos into your child's life can be creating a personal scrapbook for them to decorate of your amazing moments together, let them get crafty! Or, create your own family photos using your phone! Have an impromptu family photoshoot where you do fun, exciting and silly things as a family by setting your phone to either utilize timer feature so everyone can get in or create videos for a digital scrapbook! Another fun way to bring family photos into learning is to print a large picture of a wonderful moment and cut it into shapes and jagged edges! Make your own puzzle based on your child(ren)'s ages!
Art & Creativity
Family, friends and self recognition
Family, friends & self involvement
Understanding of past and present
We all get busy in our own routine and world but have you ever explored your own neighborhood or town - or recently? There are fun things to do for free! Look up your hometown for kid-approved scavenger hunts (there are tons of parent and child resources out there for your neighborhood just a quick internet search), go geocaching, visit the playground! Is there an event you can access? Don't forget to take lots of photos to document your adventure and utilize them in the family photo fun activity!
Friendship, Family involvement
Memory & recognition
A Jar of Me
Find an empty mason jar (or use a search engine picture of a large empty jar to glue items on.) Work with your child to fill the jar with items that make them different than others. Place a family photo in the jar to indicate you share a different family than your friends. Add a crayon of their favorite color, maybe an image of a flag if your country is very much a part of your life - or symbol to represent a religion. Even a hospital bracelet from a trip to the ER if there is an ongoing health struggle.
You can get creative as you want but make sure to not fill it to the brim quite yet during this activity. Leave space for additional visual representations as your child grows and leave in their room for them to look at periodically. If things change in their life they can swap them out for what they are feeling in that moment. Everyone's jar will look very different and if you have siblings (or a family friend's child does this activity as well) The child can see the differences themselves, maybe a few things are the same but each aspect is what makes them unique, different and amazing! No ones jar will be exactly like theirs!
A Mason Jar
Items that depict your unique child - this can be forever changing.
Talk about the items one by one while adding to the jar and leave a little space to continue to add as they grow.
have this on their bookshelf or someplace special in their room to remind them that although they are different from others thats what makes them special.
Continue to add and swap items and photographs as your child continues to grow, show them that some of the very important things stay the same such as family but favorite colors, books, and so on can continue to change and grow throughout the years and that is okay.
Art & Creativity
Understanding of Self and characteristics as well as self- confidence
Around the World
Utilize a map or globe and have your child point to an aspect on the world view that sparks their interest. Talk about what the name of the country is and what the flag looks like; the colors and symbols. Then, from there dedicate an evening to cooking a meal that is popular, stems from, or fits your family's health and pallet originated from that particular country. As your family helps cook the meal together talk about things within that culture or region to get to know that part of the world a bit better. The things covered can include holidays, community involvement, food, schooling, art and entertainment and other topics interesting to your family and child(ren).
World Map (print one out, use an atlas or globe)
Prepare to research a bit about the country and community in question and find a recipe that fits your family's dietary restrictions or personal taste.
Understand you may have to answer some tough questions. Keep them age appropriate, you can tough briefly upon certain things without getting into the unpleasant details such as girls may not go to school in the particular country but bring up positives along with the kid - appropriate negative.
Also, if you get asked a question - it is okay to say you "do not know" but you will look into it to best answer their questions. Don't forget to conduct more research and answer their question at a later date.
Think of activities that can stem off learning that country. A few words in that language, recreate the flag, participate in traditions and honor them. Locate books on them and extend the activity over a course of a couple days if your child is interested and taking a liking to what they are learning and experiencing.
Family and Friend involvement (togetherness)
Questions and understanding/ answers
Exploring with a Pumpkin
Place a baking sheet or newspaper on a flat surface. Pre-cut a small area around the stem and a larger area beneath that. Talk about the parts of the pumpkin that you see on the outside and talk to your child about what the pumpkin might look like on the inside. Open the pumpkin from the first cut made and let your child look inside. Were their predictions right? Ask them if they think the rest of the inside will look the same. Open the larger hole that you made and let your child explore using their senses.
Small pie pumpkin
Deep baking sheet (optional)
Art & Creativity
Place object coated with paint (ie. golf balls, culinary whisks, toy car wheels etc.) on paper and have the paper on a tray or in bin large enough to hold the (future) art work.
Each child has their own set color utilized for their own art work - pre-set stations help with more than two friends at work.
Shake or maneuver the items so that the paint is applied to the page in a fun and creative way. Each color represents each friend and their role within the art. If the children involved like the same color create different shades to differentiate between them. When paintings are dry have parents write their names, the year and what color belonged to which friend, place them somewhere in the house to show them off and for your child to look at frequently and remember the experience.
2 large pieces of paper (or how many kids are participating for them to have their own art work when done)
Different color paints (one color for every friend participating)
Fun objects to help apply paint to the paper
Trays or bins while working to avoid too much mess
Art & Creativity
Memory & recognition
Fine Motor Sort (ages 2.5+)
Utilize objects around your house, a pop it, ice cube trays or egg cartons are perfect for this activity! Place the sorting item (ie. beads, beans, poms, M & Ms and so on, age appropriate) next to the sorting object and have your child work with tongs to place each smaller items into the spaces however they like.
Additional or alternative idea: Use an eye dropper and move water (color using food dye for a little fun!) into the object!
As your learners grow add other layers, sort by pattern, rows of colors etc! Get creative!)
Make it for toddlers: Use muffin tins and scoop balls into the tins.
A pop it, ice tray or egg cartons; anything with groves for sorting and holding items
Tongs or eye droppers for manipulating smaller objects
Poms, color dyed water or water based paint, beans, beads (any small object to fit into the groves)
Notice the neighborhood around you!
Point out 3 Animals, 3 different Flowers, 2 trees changing colors, 2 insects/ bugs – example bumble bee or ants.
Collect one nature item you found on your walk to show to your class, or collect a bunch of (safe) items to add to a nature art collage!
Parent or adult
closed toe shoes
A bag for collecting items
Gross Motor & Movement
Watch it Freeze - Make it Melt
Drop toys in a cup with water or ice cube tray
Leave in freezer for a few days/ hours depending - until frozen
Cut off the plastic cup or pop cubes out of tray
Some items are at the bottom and others at the top!
Watch it melt, make it melt with your hands and enjoy the toys again.
Waterproof small toys, or letter fridge magnets
See through plastic cup or Ice cube tray
My Name is "Brave"
Help your child, or children write their own name(s) largely on a sheet of paper sticking to capital letters. Let your young learner add colors, stickers and other art enhancements to make the sign their own. Under each letter write a positive adjective that describes them utilizing that letter. Stick to age appropriate words for them to easily remember, understand and say on their own. Hang the masterpiece in the kitchen, their bedroom or a space they spend most of their time. Use that mantra throughout your daily life - when they are feeling sad, have a long day ahead of them, or to reenforce positive feeling of accomplishment and happiness within them!
For example: BELLA (Brave, Excellent, Loving, Leader, Adventurous)
You can even get into the habit of saying these terms with them every day: as they look in the mirror, on their way to school or eating dinner together. This constant reiteration helps build confidence and a positive self view to help conquer anything!
You can start by saying: "Bella is Brave, Excellent, Loving, A Leader, and Adventurous!" (insert you child's name and traits here) Or have them start, "I am -----".
Writing utensils & Art Supplies
Positive Self - Identity & Confidence
Sense of Competence
Bravery Badges (Trophies or Ribbons)
Cut out badges, award ribbons or trophy templates for your child to decorate with crayons, markers and other art mediums. Help them write "bravery" on the awards and talk about what makes a person brave or courageous. From there ask if they know how to demonstrate bravery in everyday life. Read a book or two to help reenforce this concept. Start with the obvious, Police Officers, Fire Fighters and other community helpers within your area. Then, have your child give out these awards to who they believe should get them. Start at the firehouse, maybe a cousin who just learned how to potty train, a friend who stood up to a bully. However many your child creates and passes out make sure you save one for them. Explain, it took bravery to interact with everyone one, or any thing in their world recently they were brave for. Spoke to a teacher if they are non verbal, ate most of their lunch if they have struggles with food, learned how to ride a bike and so on. Anything can qualify but make sure you point our they are brave too!
scissors (parent supervised)
Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
Positive relationships with others
Create a Colorful Lunch
Let's make our own lunch for school tomorrow! Follow these simple steps to create a unique, colorful, healthy and delicious meal that is kid & parent approved! Hunt around your kitchen for what what you like and what can help give you energy for tomorrows play and learning!
1-2 Vegetables (green, orange) / Or Dairy
Blue or Yellow Fruit
Sandwich with your favorite protein (crackers work too in place of bread)
a snack where you use a spoon (don't forget the spoon!)
Fill your favorite water bottle, add ice!
Additional snack or sweet (optional)
Alter as needed for your child.
Color, Shape, Number recognition
Healthy/ Dietary Hygiene
House to School Scavenger Hunt
Go through your home and locate items that you would find in your classroom such as the typical pencils, paper, puzzles, books, backpack but even chairs, water bottles, paper towels and so on. Point out things you do not see as well, like candles, a TV, and your pets! Gather all the items (that you can carry) together and swap roles. Parent becomes the student and Student takes on the role of their teacher. (Classroom schedule can add an additional layer to pretend play for older students) Have the Teacher read the book they found, draw/ write together, utilize what you find as you initiate imaginative (dramatic) play but allow your child to expand and express themselves through their new role.
Imagination/ Dramatic Play
Social Emotional Learning
Plant a Garden
Go to a gardening center and pick out plants, seeds, soil and other items needed for their garden at an affordable price for you. Pick out an area of lawn/ garden for your child to work with and get their hands messy!
With the weather getting nicer outside, take a trip to a garden center or purchase seeds at your local grocery store.
Have your child pick out plants, seeds, soil and so forth that your child shows interest and excitement in.
Plan out where they can create a space in their front or back lawn that they can call their own - you may want to do this either first or after your child picks out items to plan accordingly i.e. need sunlight, shady area? What grows best here so they can see progress!
Get to work and make it your own - even personalize it by adding a sign they can decorate with their name (Use foam stickers that can take weather changes and if you want an easy way to “laminate” something get clear contact paper from the dollar store and enclose the paper on both sides sticky side in and glue it to a popsicle stick.
Help your child keep up with their creation when needed and remind them periodically what helps their specific plants to grow by making science and nature personal to them.
Basket or bag, blanket and tupperware for the food dishes.
Have your child be a part of the decision making when it comes to their food choices - although help guide healthier options allow them to pick the menu a little.
Help family members prep the meals. Things that are easy to pack up and transport from your kitchen to the picnic blanket.
Bring your lunch or dinner to the park, your own back yard or if the weather is not the best outside on the day you decide to have a picnic, lay down a blanket on the family room floor and pretend!
Enjoy your meal and help do the dishes and clean up your mess when done.
Upside Down Day
Experience the day with your family upside down! Start off with brushing your teeth then eating dinner and go through your normal day in reverse! You are not finished until you’ve eaten breakfast at dinner time, brushed your teeth and went to bed at night; have fun!
We’re Going on a Color Hunt
Colored paper or Colorful tape strips and items around your home
Lay the color sheets on the floor in your house.
Next, find items throughout the house that correspond to each color and sort them by placing them on their color sheet - pick as many items as you want!
Take a picture of you with your findings!