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Simple Activity Plans to Engage Your Preschooler

by Jamie Reimer H A N D S O N A S W E G R O W . C O M

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ENGAGE: Hands on Weekly Activity Plans for Preschoolers © All Contents Copyright 2016 Oak Avenue Media, LLC. All rights reserved. Disclaimer This is a planner including activities that have been done with my own kids, or the kids of contributors to Hands On As We Grow. By doing any of the activities mentioned in this eBook, you are taking sole responsibility of how the activities are done. Oak Avenue Media, LLC, Hands On As We Grow, or their contributors, assume no responsibility. Sharing this Document This document may not be copied or distributed without prior written permission — if you have this file (or a printout) and didn’t pay for it, you are depriving the author and publisher of their rightful royalties. Please pay for your copy by purchasing it at http:// handsonaswegrow.com/shop/ If you have a friend who you think would find this valuable, they should purchase their own at http://handsonaswegrow.com/shop/ You cannot post this document or the information it contains on any electronic bulletin board, Web site, FTP site, newsgroup, etc. The only place from which this document should be available is on the Hands On As We Grow site. If you want an original copy, visit the following address: http:///handsonaswegrow.com/shop/

A brainy person does not abuse copyright; instead they respect it and uphold it. - Maximillian Degenerez

Thank you. Jamie Reimer Hands On As We Grow Owner of Oak Avenue Media, LLC

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page 4

Who’s Jamie?

page 5

What’s the Plan?

page 6

Tips for Success Set up an Activity Binder How to Do the Activities Tips for Multiple Kids Supply Substitutes

page 15

Activity Plans Full Supply List Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5

page 23

Activities

page 55

Blank Activity Planner

page 63

Go-To Activity Lists Fine Motor Gross Motor Crafts & Art Projects Sensory Family

page 71

Bonus! More Activity Plans DISCOVER: 1 Year Olds PLAY: 2 Year Olds LEARN: Preschoolers

page 77

Additional Resources

page 79

Index

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Contents

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Who’s Jamie?

Hi! You may already know a little about me and Hands On As We Grow, but here’s a peek behind the scenes. I’m Jamie. I’m not a teacher. I’m a mom, a stay at home mom, who made it a New Year’s Resolution for 2011 to do hands on activities with my kids. I have three boys, Henry, George and Louis. They’re all very active kids, and that’s reflected in the type of activities we do. As a way to stay accountable and keep motivated, I began sharing our activities on a blog that became Hands On As We Grow. This accountability is the secret behind why I’ve continued to do activities with my kids (along with choosing very easy to do activities). That secret is what I want to share with you. A simple way for you to plan, track and keep motivated to do activities with your kids. That’s how these activity plans were born. I hope you find this time doing activities enjoyable as you make wonderful memories with your kids. Jamie Reimer handsonaswegrow.com

Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them. - Richard L. Evans

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What’s the Plan?

What’s the Plan with these Plans? These activity plans are general ideas for activities to fill your weekly planner. After these intitial weeks of doing these pre-planned activities with your kids every day, you’ll have a knack to do this yourself. The chosen activities are not geared towards learning (because learning is very dependent on each child during the early years) and are basic enough that most preschoolers can do them. These activities are also hand-selected to be used at any time; they’re not holiday crafts or anything seasonal. (For learning and holiday related activities, see Resources.)

Allow children to be happy in their own way, for what better way will they find? - Samuel Johnson

If, after these initial weeks you don’t feel creative or comfortable enough to go on your own, just repeat them! Kids love to do activities over and over again, and repetition is great for learning. Once you do feel comfortable to plan your own weeks, use the blank planner (that I’ve included) to plan each week. I know you can do it! These ideas will help you get started, to give you that little push you may need. You will learn to find ways to add to the activities or change them up for your child’s interests. I’m excited to hear about your ideas! Just know that you can do it. I believe in you.

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Success: Storing Ideas

Set up your very own activities binder. To help with accountability, it helps to have a place to store all the ideas you find. You’ll want to determine if having a hard copy of the ideas works best for you, or if a digital storage place does its job.

Physical Activity Storage

Digital Activity Storage

Use a basic 3-ring binder. Print off these activity plans and store them in the front of the binder.

I find Pinterest just works the best for storing activities on the computer! It’s easily and readily available, and free!

Behind the activity plans, use folders with pockets to store activity ideas. Each folder can have its own category: fine motor, gross motor, craft, art project, outdoor, etc. Make it as detailed or as broad as you’d like.

Be sure to have a few different boards for the different categories of activities (and maybe even start them all with “Kids”) to easily find them. For example:

Print off the activity details found in this eBook and store them in the folder pockets. As you find activities you’d like to try, print them out and store them too! Or just use the ‘activity details’ planning page to jot down the idea. Make sure to print off several of them to have on hand for these moments. Printing off in black and white (and in draft quality) at home usually suffices. But if you’d like, send this packet to your local printer to get a higher quality print in color. Also be sure to print off several of the weekly planners to plan upcoming weeks, as well as many of the activity planning page.

Kids - Gross Motor Ideas Kids - Fine Motor Ideas Kids - Craft Ideas and so on. When you pin an activity you like, it also helps to describe it in a way that you’ll find it again. For instance, write the materials used in the description, so you can easily find pom pom ideas in a flash!

Either way... You’ll want to print out the weekly plans to stick on your refrigerator for easy access and a daily reminder to do the activities.

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Success: Finding Time

How to Find the Time to Do Activities. Can you provide a schedule of your day that shows when you fit activities into your day? Simple question. A not-so-easy answer. Especially since I share an activity planner that helps you fit those activities in your day, but yet I can’t tell you how to schedule them into your day. You see, my days are very rarely the same. I am not a scheduled person. I roll with the flow most days. I find this works best for us. It takes a lot of pressure off me that I would put on if I had a schedule to follow. That doesn’t mean that I don’t gather ideas for the week or have plans. I do have those. A little more about how my home works. I’m primarily a stay at home mom. So I’m at home with my kids and work when I can. My husband works nights, so he’s home during the days with us as well (in the morning he’s sleeping). He is there to help me during activities if I want it. Your home might be a little different in that you work out of the home all day, or you’re at home by yourself until the late hours of the night. I urge you to jot down 7 of your own times that you can squeeze in activities into your daily, or weekly, routine. As long as activities are kept simple they can be squeezed into any part of the day!

If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him. If, however, we are careful not to push a child beyond the limit of his courage, he is almost sure to get braver. - John Holt

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Success: Finding Time

7 Times We Squeeze Activities in: In the Morning. Activities are most often slipped into the mornings when the kids don’t have preschool or daycare. Sometimes even on mornings before they go to school! If they’re up super early some days (because it happens!) we’ll sometimes squeeze an activity in after we’re ready to go and have a little bit of time to spare. If I can, I make this a gross motor activity. I find if I get them moving early in the day, they’re able to focus better through the day. Before heading out for the day. We have one day of the week that I usually reserve for errands or going to Grandma’s house. There have been countless times that we squeeze an activity in before we head out. I find this to be a perfect time to connect with them (and give them that one-on-one time) before heading out and doing things that are all about me. Or at Grandma’s, it’s all about Grandma and not a time for me to connect with them. During the toddler’s nap time. Nap time has always been a life saver for me and activities. It’s when I have been able to focus on my preschooler and do more advanced activities that my toddler might disrupt or get in the way of. After nap time. This is hit or miss for us because after nap times my kids can often be very grumpy (are mine the only ones?). If I’m not just sitting and holding them to keep them from a meltdown, we’ll sneak in a quick activity before my oldest gets home from school.

After school. When we’re stuck inside and the kids aren’t able to just run off their energy outdoors, I find this to be a great time to add in a gross motor activity. Before Dinner. This is always a crazy time of day when I’m trying to get dinner on the table. Which makes it the perfect time of day to get them settled in a busy activity (many fine motor activities work well for this). I get them started and it’s an activity that they can keep going on their own while I get dinner ready and supervise from afar. Weekends. I often leave Sundays open to family, but Saturdays are fair game! It’s also often the perfect time for a walk around town that leads to the playground. Yes, that counts as an activity, too! Bonus Time: The Witching Hour. Between dinner and bedtime. This is the perfect time if time allows. Often our dinner runs into our bedtime routine so there’s not always time. This is a time that I wouldn’t do a gross motor activity or messy art project, and instead opt for a quieter craft or simple fine motor activity.

Please take note that we do not always do activities during every single one of these times. They vary! We’re not activity-making machines!

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Success: Finding Time

7 Times I Can Do Activities with My Kids Jot down 7 different times of the day, or times during the week, that you can squeeze in an activity. Whether it’s before you head out for the day or after dinner. Remember that activities usually only take 15 minutes (give or take depending on the age of your child). Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have huge chunks of times. They literally can be squeezed in small spots!

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Success: How

How to be successful! While most of the activities I do are no or low prep, there are still a few simple steps I take before starting an activity. They’re pretty effortless and don’t take much time. If you find that doing activities is rarely successful for you and your child, sometimes simply adjusting the approach of an activity can make it more successful. I have three questions I ask myself when I’m about to embark on an activity: What can my child do for this activity? What will my child do for this activity? What will I be doing during the activity? When asking these three questions, I think about the materials that are being used and how they will be used. Is my child able to use the material required for this activity? For instance, scissors, is he able to cut? Is that the sole purpose of the activity? Or is that something that I could do alongside him doing something else?

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun. - Mary Lou Cook

Is my child able to use a glue bottle, but not able to strategically place dots of glue? Does the activity require precision or does it really not matter? And again, is that something I could do alongside him? And if I’m gluing and cutting... will I be able to help him if he needs it?

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Success: Multiple Kids

What if I have Multiple Kids? What are some activities that I can do with both my toddler and my preschooler?

When we do an activity, I realized I ask those same three questions.

I think the answer is limitless!

What can my youngest do for this activity? What will my youngest do for this activity? How will I handle both (or all) kids during the activity?

It usually just takes a little tweaking of an activity to make it work. It’s learning how to tweak the activity to fit both ages that takes a bit of experience. My standard answer to these questions is usually along the lines of:

Sometimes the answers are harder to find. But I assure you, by asking these three questions every time you are about to do an activity you will find yourself more often successful than not.

“Try out activities for the younger child. The older child will usually love to join in as is. And if needed, you can build up from that activity to add in learning elements or more difficult tasks.” I find that rule mostly true, but it can be limiting as well. Many of the activities geared towards preschoolers can also be great for toddlers, just in a simpler form. How have I handled this for the last four years, balancing two or more kids while doing our activities?

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Success: Multiple Kids

Doing Activities When You Have a Toddler Too Parenting guru, Alissa of Creative with Kids has graciously shared her secret tips for doing activities with toddlers while you also have to help the big kids (whether it’s while doing activities, or during homework). Activities with toddlers and big kids still require quite a lot of energy from us, as the parent. If we’re not “on” toddlers are quick to take off to write on the bathroom walls, but with a little preparation things do go much more smoothly. Good Luck! Make a spot for the toddler away from messables and breakables. Move the permanent markers, liquid paint and glass of water out of reach, unless you’re in an easy to clean space and you really want to keep replacing spilled supplies.

If you’re making a toilet paper (cardboard tube) animal, your toddler might enjoy drawing on a cardboard tube with washable markers, or stringing the tube onto ribbon. Before you get started, grab a couple of easy to hand over toys for the toddler. Have a list of “sit by me activities” to do with toddlers that don’t need a lot of parental attention. Watch for the toys and activities your toddler loves that aren’t too messy and put aside about 5 of those as your go-to independent play activities.

This might mean the toddler is in a high chair or at the opposite end of the table. You can do complex projects with the older kids if you give your toddler similar materials to play with. If you’re sewing with the big kids, maybe your toddler would like a lacing card. If you’re painting you can bet your toddler wants to paint too – a younger toddler can finger paint on his high chair tray. An older toddler can be given a brush and a bit of paint – they will want their own and they probably don’t need quite so many colors as their older sibling.

Tip for Success: This is about having fun and spending time with the kids, or giving them something fun to do. If it becomes anything other than fun, just stop and try another time.

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Success: Multiple Kids

Don’t put out more supplies than you want to clean up. You’re likely to get distracted by the other kids. As soon as your back is turned your toddler will be pouring her water into her paint tray and across the entire pad of paper. Or she’ll take all three play dough blobs and crumble them onto the floor. Eliminate a lot of frustration by starting with a more limited amount of supplies in reach of the toddler. You can always add more. Start simple for the toddler’s activity and then extend the activity as they lose interest. Your older child may be content to work away at a project, while your toddler is ready to move on 2 minutes into it. You can extend the original activity to keep him occupied. This is when you start adding supplies. Go with tried and true activities that your toddler loves. Maybe they’re happy to put stickers on anything. If your child has recently discovered cutting with kid scissors – hand over the scissors and let them cut up their art. Does he love his toy cars? Grab one and ask if he can paint with it/draw around it/ roll it over his art. Nothing wrong with a little destruction when it comes to toddler art – your toddler might enjoy ripping or tearing the paper. Recap:

Just be a lap. If you can get the other kids going by giving them their own supplies and teaching them how to use them, you can sit with your toddler when she gets restless. My kids sometimes like if I read a story while they color, or we might put on kid music. Both are perfect for toddler snuggle time. Finally: always remember the value of snack time. This can be so entertaining for small folk who’ve gotten bored with the activity at hand. H A N D S O N A S W E G R O W . C O M

7 Tips to Try When You Have a Toddler Too: Make a spot for toddler Give similar matierals Easy-to-hand-over toys Keep supplies minimal Start simple, then extend Be a lap Snack time

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Success: Supply Substitutes

What if I don’t have the right supplies? While I usually keep the supplies to ones that are pretty common in most homes, there are always going to be times when you won’t have something. What should you do? Try to think of the purpose of the activity and see if you can replace it with something that you do have. Common replacements: painter’s tape butcher paper contact paper pom poms abc mat

> > > > >

string or ribbon, sidewalk chalk, or any kind of tape regular paper (just make it smaller) or do it on the sidewalk wax paper and glue cotton balls or buttons paper with letters written on them (tape to surface if needed)

If you can’t come up with a replacement, don’t fret! I’ve included extra activities towards the end of the book (see Go-To Lists) for you to substitute any activities that you can’t do (or just don’t feel like doing) that day.

STOCK UP ON OUR MUST HAVE SUPPLIES

Whatever happens, don’t let not having the right supplies be the reason you don’t enjoy some time with your child. If nothing else, repeat yesterday’s activity, or the last one you really enjoyed together! Just have some fun.

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activity plans Simple Activity Plans for Preschoolers

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Activity Plans

The Activity Plans! This section is the goldmine of fun for your preschooler! There are seven weeks of planned activities. Simply print these off every Sunday and hang them on your fridge for the week. Use the planned activities as inspiration each day, or you can substitute with activities from the Go-To Lists. Or wing it with one of your own ideas and save that activity for another day coming up!

Types of Activities: In the five activity plans, you’ll come across the following icons. These will tell you what type of activity it is.

Gross Motor

Even if you don’t follow the planners to a tee, they are there for your inspiration to find something fun to do with the kids. To help hold you accountable (always my struggle), check off the box by the day when you’ve done that activity with the kids! Now go have some fun!

Five Weeks of Fun Planned for Preschoolers:

Fine Motor

Craft

Art Project

Experiment

Week 1 Week 2 Outdoor

Week 3 Week 4 Week 5

Family

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Activity Plans: Supply List

Full Supply List In each week of activities, there’s a supply list. You can quickly scan the list to see what you need for the week. Most items are supplies from the home (office, kitchen, kids toys, etc). Below is a list of supplies to do every activity in the five weeks.

Kitchen Items:

Pantry Items:

Other:

straws water tub, bucket, or basket spoons food coloring shallow dish whole milk dish soap large sponge eye droppers, turkey baster baking sheet or tray gallon size baggie paper plates

canned food vinegar baking soda o-shaped cereal oil (vegetable or other clear) rice, oatmeal, corn starch misc items (spices, etc)

paint paintbrushes ribbons, yarn or string scissors sidewalk chalk painter’s tape pom poms or cotton balls paper white crayon cotton swab (q-tip) rubber bands clear contact (sticky) paper glitter (optional) butcher paper drawing utensils alka seltzer tablets school glue colored craft sticks

Recycling Items: clear jars empty juice box newspaper tin cans

Around the House: nature’s sticks pruners or loppers real (house) paintbrushes sidewalk or pavement mud or dirt baby gate, railing or basket washers and nuts hammer flashlight waterproof toys misc objects

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Preschooler Activity Plan: Week One

Monday: Find a great walking stick and clip off any sprouts. Decorate it with paint to their desire. (page 24)

nature’s sticks paint paintbrushes pruners or loppers

Tuesday: Snip straws into one inch sections and thread a necklace using shoestring or yarn. (page 25)

ribbon, yarn, or string straws scissors

Wednesday: Draw squiggly lines of chalk on the sidewalk, paint them with water to erase them.

sidewalk chalk house paintbrushes sidewalk (pavement) water

Thursday: Tape lines of tape on the floor equal distances apart and challenge the kids to a jumping game. Measure how far they can jump. (page 27)

painter’s tape

(page 26)

Friday: Go on a scavenger hunt around the yard to explore textures. Can you find something that’s bumpy? (page 28)

Saturday: Using items from the pantry, do an experiment to see what dissolves in water. (page 29)

bucket or basket (optional)

clear jars water spoons pantry items

Sunday: Go on a family bike ride to the park to play.

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Preschooler Activity Plan: Week Two

Monday: Go on a spy hunt! Tape diagonally between walls down a hallway, stick pom poms to it randomly. Have the kids crawl through, over and under, to collect the pom poms. (page 30)

painter’s tape pom poms or cotton balls

Tuesday: Write a secret note in white crayon! Have kids paint over with colored water. It magically appears! (page 31)

paper white crayon food coloring & water or watercolors paintbrushes

Wednesday: Float a boat! Stick the straw in the side of a juice box, add a sail with paper. Float it in a tub of water. (page 32)

empty juice box scissors scrap paper

Thursday: Keep kids busy with rubber bands, or hair bands. Slide them on and off a can of food, one at a time. (page 33)

canned food rubber bands

Friday: Draw a target on the driveway or sidewalk in chalk. Make, or gather, mud to throw at the target. (page 34)

Saturday: Experiment with milk. Pour whole milk into a shallow dish. Drop in food coloring. Dip a cotton swab in dish soap and hold it in the milk. Watch it swirl! (page 35)

sidewalk or pavement sidewalk chalk mud or dirt and water

shallow dish whole milk food coloring cotton swab (q-tip) dish soap

Sunday: Play a new-to-you game together as a family.

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Preschooler Activity Plan: Week Three

Monday: Make a collage on clear contact paper using scrap pieces of tissue paper, ribbon, etc. Cover with another piece of contact paper. Cut into shapes and hang in the window. (page 36)

clear contact paper scrap pieces of paper scissors

Tuesday: Rainbow painting! Paint a sponge in rainbow colors for the kids to paint a rainbow with one swipe! (page 37)

paint (rainbow colors) large kitchen sponge paper

Wednesday: Have kids walk along straight, curvy and zig zag lines of tape on the floor, or blow pom poms along them. (page 38)

painter’s tape pom poms (optional) straws (optional)

Thursday: Draw a large maze on the driveway in sidewalk chalk for kids to find their way through.

sidewalk chalk

(page 39)

Friday: Weave something with ribbon! What can the kids weave? Baby gate, stair railing, clothes basket, cooling rack. (page 40)

ribbon or string something to weave

Saturday: Fizzy experiment! Drop colored vinegar into a tray of baking soda using eye droppers. (page 41)

vinegar baking soda food coloring eye droppers baking sheet or tray

Sunday: Cuddle up and read books together.

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Preschooler Activity Plan: Week Four

Monday: Make a bird feeder by threading o-shaped cereal onto a pipe cleaner and tie the ends together. Hang outside for the birds! (page 42)

o-shaped cereal pipe cleaner string or yarn

Tuesday: Create a sticky spider web with tape across an open doorway. Throw balled-up newspapers to stick to it! (page 43)

painter’s tape newspaper

Wednesday: Make homemade wind chimes! Paint tin cans and punch a hole in the bottoms. Thread nuts and washers on the inside using yarn to hang them.

tin cans paint and glitter string or yarn washers and nuts hammer

Thursday: Draw in an odd spot. Tape butcher paper to the back of a chair, or the floor, or under the table... (page 45)

butcher paper drawing utensils

Friday: Hunt for nature. Use colors and shapes as clues. (page 46)

basket or bucket (optional)

Saturday: Make a lava lamp. Fill a glass bottle 1/3 with water and 2/3 with oil. Add food coloring. Drop in an Alka Selzer tablet and watch it bubble up!

clear jar water vegetable oil alka seltzer tablets food coloring

(page 44)

(page 47)

Sunday: Watch a movie together as a family.

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Preschooler Activity Plan: Week Five

Monday: I spy baggy! Write letters, words, shapes or notes on a piece of paper and put in a large baggy. Add rice on top of the paper. Let the kids ‘spy’ the letters through the rice. (page 48)

paper marker or pen gallon-size baggy rice or oatmeal

Tuesday: Night time fun! Shut off the lights and go on a flashlight scavenger hunt to find pre-hidden objects! (page 49)

objects to hide flashlight

Wednesday: Make a nature suncatcher. Cut the centers out of paper plates. Cover with clear contact paper. Fill with found objects from nature. (page 50)

paper plates clear contact paper objects from nature

Thursday: Build and create with crafts sticks and glue. (page 51)

colored crafts sticks school glue

Friday: Make window paint using dish soap, corn starch and food coloring. Paint the window with brushes and sponges. (page 52)

dish soap corn starch food coloring paintbrushes sponges

Saturday: What floats? Fill a tub with water. Have the kids collect toys, or nature, to see what floats and what sinks. (page 53)

clear tub or bucket toys or nature

Sunday: Go for a drive and let the kids navigate the way.

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activities Quick & Easy Activities for Preschoolers

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Preschooler Activity

Find a great walking stick and clip off any sprouts. Decorate it with paint to their desire.

Make a Walking Stick

1

Go on a hunt to find the perfect walking stick.

2

Clip off stray twigs and sprouts from the main part of the stick to make it as smooth as you can.

3

Paint the walking sticks to your desire. Let dry. Go for a walk with your new walking sticks!

Supplies: nature’s sticks paint paintbrushes pruners or loppers

CLICK FOR MORE DETAILS

Tips: The perfect walking stick is sturdy enough to add pressure to when walking (1/2” to an inch thick in diameter).

Pruning trees is the perfect time to find a walking stick!

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If you use washable paint, be sure to store walking sticks inside in case it rains.

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Preschooler Activity

Snip straws into one inch sections and thread a necklace using shoestring or yarn.

Thread a Straw Necklace

1

Set out whole straws and a pair of scissors.

2

Snip straws into about one inch sections.

3

Thread pieces of straw onto a shoelace or yarn to make a necklace.

Supplies: yarn, ribbon or other string straws scissors

CLICK FOR MORE DETAILS

Tips: Longer pieces of straws are harder to thread all the way through.

Shorter pieces of straws are harder for little fingers to hold.

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Tape the end of the string onto a surface to hold in place (and to keep straws from coming off).

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Preschooler Activity

Draw squiggly lines of chalk on the sidewalk, paint them with water to erase them.

Trace Squiggly Lines

1

Draw a bunch of lines on the sidewalk in sidewalk chalk. Criss-cross them, squiggle them all over!

2

Gather a tub of water and real paintbrushes.

3

Paint over the lines to trace them (and erase them)!

Supplies: sidewalk chalk house paintbrushes sidewalk (pavement) water

CLICK FOR MORE DETAILS

Tips: For multiple kids, use a different color for each child.

Draw shorter lines for younger kids so they will finish and feel confident.

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Have an older kid help draw the lines!

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Preschooler Activity

Tape lines of tape on the floor equal distances apart and challenge the kids to a jumping game. Measure how far they can jump.

Tape Jumping Game

1

Tape 6 lines of tape on the floor, approximately a foot apart (no need to be precise).

2

Start at the first line and see how far they can jump, how many lines?

3

Hop from one line to the next, lay down and measure how many lines long your child is, see how far they can stretch their legs apart, and so on!

Supplies: painter’s tape

CLICK FOR MORE DETAILS

Tips: Take this outside with sidewalk chalk on the sidewalk or driveway too!

Socks and slippery floors don’t mix, so test before jumping too far!

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Let them wear shoes for this if it’s a problem.

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Preschooler Activity

Go on a scavenger hunt around the yard to explore textures. Can you find something that’s bumpy?

Texture Scavenger Hunt

1

Explore what’s in your own backyard!

2

Find something rough? smooth? pokey? prickly? and so on.

3

Once an object is found, describe it!

Supplies: bucket or basket (optional)

CLICK FOR MORE DETAILS

Tips: For multiple kids, an older kid can take charge of describing a texture.

Younger kids? Show an example when you describe the texture. See this rock? It’s smooth. Can you find something else that’s smooth?

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No backyard? No worries! Try it at the playground, or even indoors!

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Preschooler Activity

Using items from the pantry, do an experiment to see what dissolves in water.

See What Dissolves

1

Fill a bunch of clear jars half full with water (peanut butter jars work great, but glasses would work too!). Gather random items from the pantry.

2

One at a time, dump a spoonful of each pantry item into a jar.

3

Stir each item in the water to see if it dissolves or changes in the water.

Supplies: clear jars water spoons pantry items (spices, etc)

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Tips: Items that work great: rice, oatmeal, sugar, salt, colored sprinkles, cereal, spices, popcorn.

Ask your child what they see happening? They may not understand what ‘dissolve’ means. But they can describe what they see.

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Try this outside with items in nature too. Leaves? Dirt? Rocks?

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Preschooler Activity

Go on a spy hunt! Tape diagonally between walls down a hallway, stick pom poms to it randomly. Have the kids crawl through, over and under, to collect the pom poms.

Go on a Spy Hunt

1

Stick several strips of painter’s tape diagonally between the walls along a hallway.

2

Stick pom poms to the tape in random places.

3

Crawl under, over, or through, the tape to collect the pom poms.

Supplies: painter’s tape pom poms or cotton balls

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Tips: The tape may need reinforcing to stick to the walls. Tape across it with another piece of tape.

With multiple kids, you can make it a race to see who can collect the most pom poms.

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Or only use one color per child to find their own color of pom pom as they sneak through the hallway.

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Preschooler Activity

Write a secret note in white crayon! Have kids paint over with colored water. It magically appears!

Secret Note Painting

1

Write a note with white crayon on a white piece of paper.

2

Mix watercolors by adding food coloring to a small amount of water.

3

Paint the paper to see what the secret note is!

Supplies: paper white crayon food coloring & water or watercolors paintbrushes

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Tips: This is a perfect opportunity to add in fun learning! Is your child working on the alphabet, numbers, or sight words? Try them!

Write thickly, or go over it a couple of times to make sure it shows up.

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Regular watercolors from the store work great for this too if you have them on hand.

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Preschooler Activity

Float a boat! Stick the straw in the side of a juice box, add a sail with paper. Float it in a tub of water.

Make a Floating Boat

1

Punch a hole in the middle of the side of an empty juice box with a knife or scissors. Stick the straw into it.

2

Cut a triangle from paper to make a sail. Tape the sail onto the straw. The bend in the straw is the peak of the sail.

3

Float the boat in a tub of water.

Supplies: empty juice box with straw scissors scrap paper tape

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Tips: An adult may have to do most of the boat construction, such as punching the hole and taping the sail in place.

More than likely, kids will enjoy floating their new boat more than making it.

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This is great to take outside on a hot day to play in the water.

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Preschooler Activity

Keep kids busy with rubber bands, or hair bands. Slide them on and off a can of food, one at a time.

Busy with Rubber Bands

1

Set out a can of food with a handful of rubber bands.

2

Wrap the rubber bands around the can of food. Over and over again.

3

Remove each rubber band, one by one.

Supplies: canned food rubber bands

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Tips: If you don’t want your child to use rubber bands, try hair ties instead.

This is amazing for fine motor strength and is difficult for little hands to stretch.

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Older kid? With colored rubber bands, make a pattern as they put them on. Remove only a certain color at a time.

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Preschooler Activity

Draw a target on the driveway or sidewalk in chalk. Make, or gather, mud to throw at the target.

Mud Target Practice

1

Draw a target on the sidewalk with sidewalk chalk. Write numbers in each circle, if desired.

2

Make mud! Gather some dirt and mix in some water to make a bucket of mud.

3

Scoop up a handful of mud and throw is at the target to score!

Supplies: sidewalk or pavement sidewalk chalk mud or dirt and water

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Tips: Yes, let the kids get dirty! Making the mud is half the fun!

The numbers of the target can be completely arbitrary, but still fun for younger kids.

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Older kids can add up their points, or ‘aim’ to get a certain number. Can they make 50 points with 5 throws?

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Preschooler Activity

Experiment with milk. Pour whole milk into a shallow dish. Drop in food coloring. Dip a cotton swab in dish soap and hold it in the milk. Watch it swirl!

Magic Milk Experiment

1

Pour whole milk into a shallow dish to generously cover the bottom.

2

Drop several drops of different colors of food coloring in the milk.

3

Dip a cotton swab in dish soap and stick it in the milk to watch it swirl around.

Supplies: shallow dish whole milk food coloring cotton swab (q-tip) dish soap

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Tips: The thicker the ‘cream’ the better. If you have cream, that works even better than whole milk. Skim millk won’t work as good.

Try only two primary colors of food coloring to see what color it makes when they swirl together.

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No Q-tip? Use anything with a small end (craft stick, pipe cleaner, pencil) or just drop a single drop of dish soap from the bottle.

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Preschooler Activity

Make a collage on clear contact paper using scrap pieces of tissue paper, ribbon, etc. Cover with another piece of contact paper. Cut into shapes and hang in the window.

Make a Collage Suncatcher

1

Remove the backing of a large piece of clear contact paper and tape, sticky side up onto a table.

2

Stick scrap pieces of tissue paper, ribbon, and other small and flat random pieces that are in the craft cupboard.

3

Cover with another piece of clear contact paper (the same size) and cut into shapes for the season. Hang it in the window!

Supplies: clear contact paper scrap pieces of paper scissors tape

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Tips: After cutting into shapes, you may need to tape around the edge to hold it together.

This is great for holidays and seasons. Decorate with red and cut hearts. Decorate with green and cut shamrocks. Decorate with orange and cut pumpkins. And so on.

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Glitter adds a fun touch to this craft. When done, take a piece of contact paper and use it to ‘pick up’ stray glitter.

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Preschooler Activity

Rainbow painting! Paint a sponge in rainbow colors for the kids to paint a rainbow with one swipe!

Rainbow Sponge Painting

1

Paint a sponge with stripes of paint in the colors of the rainbow.

2

Swipe the rainbow-painted sponge onto a piece of paper to make a rainbow.

3

Re-paint the sponge and swipe again!

Supplies: paint (rainbow colors) paintbrush large kitchen sponge paper

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Tips: An adult will likely have to paint, and reapply, the stripes of paint onto the sponge.

Don’t get discouraged when your child swipes over the paper several times and turns the paint brown. Remember its about the process.

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Not in the mood for a rainbow? Just do two primary colors to see what they mix into!

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Preschooler Activity

Have kids walk along straight, curvy and zig zag lines of tape on the floor, or blow pom poms along them.

Walk the Line

1

Tape several lines of tape on the floor with painter’s tape. Make one zig zag, one straight, one curvy if you can!

2

Walk forwards, sideways, backwards along each line of tape, trying not to fall off!

3

Add pom poms! Blow a pom pom along the line, gently trying to keep it on the line of tape.

Supplies: painter’s tape pom poms (optional) straws (optional)

CLICK FOR MORE DETAILS

Tips: Young kids and old, love this activity. Its great for balance and coordination.

Start simple, slide along the straight line and work up to walking sideways and backwards on the zig zag.

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Blowing a pom pom and keeping it on the line is nearly impossible, but tons of fun. Let kids figure it out through trial and error.

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Preschooler Activity

Draw a large maze on the driveway in sidewalk chalk for kids to find their way through.

Sidewalk Maze

1

Draw a large maze on the sidewalk or driveway. Add an arrow in to start and an arrow out at the end.

2

Drive cars and trucks through the maze, or simply walk through it!

3

Can they go through it forward and backward?

Supplies: sidewalk chalk

CLICK FOR MORE DETAILS

Tips: Drawing a maze doesn’t have to be fancy. Draw a large square with 2 openings (start & finish) and draw the path first and then fill in around it.

Make the path large enough for your child’s feet to walk through as well as the toy to drive through (Hot Wheels car or big truck?)

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Do this inside with painter’s tape on the floor!

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Preschooler Activity

Weave something with ribbon! What can the kids weave? Baby gate, stair railing, clothes basket, cooling rack.

Ribbon Weaving

1

Find something that has multiple holes to weave in and out of. This could be a stair or porch railing, baby gate, or even a clothes basket.

2

Start the weaving process with a ribbon to show how to do it.

3

Complete the weaving to the end and come back!

Supplies: ribbon or string something to weave

CLICK FOR MORE DETAILS

Tips: It may help to tie an end of a ribbon onto the side of whatever it is you’re weaving.

Too simple? Make it more advanced by creating patterns with your weave, two in and two out.

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Too difficult? Don’t worry about the weaving, just let your child push the ribbon back and forth how they please.

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Preschooler Activity

Fizzy experiment! Drop colored vinegar into a tray of baking soda using eye droppers.

Fizzy Color Experiment

1

Spread a layer of baking soda on a tray.

2

Add food coloring to a dish of vinegar. Mix several different colors in separate dishes, if desired.

3

Suck up the colored vinegar using an eye dropper and squirt it onto the tray of baking soda. Watch it fizz.

Supplies: vinegar baking soda food coloring eye droppers baking sheet or tray

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Tips: Keep the colors to two primary colors (otherwise it will turn brown) and you can see what color it makes!

Even after all the vinegar is used, they can suck it up out of the tray and squirt it back in. It may or may not fizz at this point.

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You can also use a spoon to scoop and pour vinegar. The eye droppers are great for strengthening little fingers.

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Preschooler Activity

Make a bird feeder by threading o-shaped cereal onto a pipe cleaner and tie the ends together. Hang outside for the birds!

Thread a Bird Feeder

1

Set out a bowl of o-shaped cereal and a pipe cleaner.

2

Thread the cereal onto the pipe cleaner. Leave about an inch on each end to twist ends together to make a circle.

3

Hang with a string from a tree or porch for the birds to eat!

Supplies: o-shaped cereal pipe cleaner string or yarn

CLICK FOR MORE DETAILS

Tips: No pipe cleaner? Just thread it onto string instead. Tape it to a surface.

Do this during snack time, because the kids are sure to sneak a few to eat.

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Different kinds of o-shaped cereal could provide an opportunity for patterning with colors. Try it!

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Preschooler Activity

Create a sticky spider web with tape across an open doorway. Throw balled-up newspapers to stick to it!

Sticky Spider Web

1

Criss-cross tape across an open doorway to make a spider web.

2

Scrunch up newspaper into balls.

3

Throw the newspaper balls into the spider web to stick to it.

Supplies: painter’s tape newspaper

CLICK FOR MORE DETAILS

Tips: Not all painter’s tapes are created equal and it won’t all stick the best. Masking tape sticks better, just be careful of your woodwork.

Instead of newspaper, try cotton balls or pom poms, or even yarn!

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For younger kids, tape the spider web low enough so they can touch it to stick the newspaper to it instead of throwing it.

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Preschooler Activity

Make homemade wind chimes! Paint tin cans and punch a hole in the bottoms. Thread nuts and washers on the inside using yarn to hang them.

Tin Can Wind Chimes

1

Save and clean used tin cans. Tape the cut edge if sharp. Decorate tin cans to your desire.

2

Punch a hole in the bottom of each tin can using a hammer and nail.

3

Thread a string through the hole and tie a washer, or nut, onto the string, inside the tin can. Hang together.

Supplies: tin cans paint and glitter string or yarn washers and nuts hammer nail CLICK FOR MORE DETAILS

Tips: If using acrylic or washable paint, hang these inside or under a roof, away from the elements.

An adult will likely have to punch the hole in the tin can, but let the child try with your real tools.

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Don’t have a washer or nut? This is just used to hold the string onto the can, a button would work, or anything else with a hole to thread through.

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Preschooler Activity

Draw in an odd spot. Tape butcher paper to the back of a chair, or the floor, or under the table...

Draw in an Odd Spot

1

Pick an odd spot to color or draw! Under the table, cover the entire table, on the floor, outside.

2

Cover the entire area with butcher paper.

3

Draw! Leave it up for days to add to it.

Supplies: butcher paper drawing utensils

CLICK FOR MORE DETAILS

Tips: Set out different drawing utensils at different times. Some kids don’t like crayons, but do markers or colored pencils.

Don’t be afraid to join in with your child! Seeing you enjoy coloring and drawing will encourage their creativity.

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Just doing this in a room you normally wouldn’t makes it new and interesting.

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Preschooler Activity

Hunt for nature. Use colors and shapes as clues.

Go on a Nature Hunt

1

Head outside with a basket to hunt for nature.

2

Give them clues to find certain colors, or shapes, or textures.

3

Collect your findings in a basket, if desired.

Supplies: basket or bucket (optional)

CLICK FOR MORE DETAILS

Tips: Clues can be simple, such as: Can you find something blue? Can you find something pokey? Can you find a purple flower?

Young kids can be asked to find an object (flower) where older kids can find something that’s more descriptive (pokey).

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Collect your findings and stick them to contact paper to make a suncatcher!

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Preschooler Activity

Make a lava lamp. Fill a glass bottle 1/3 with water and 2/3 with oil. Add food coloring. Drop in an Alka Seltzer tablet and watch it bubble up!

Make a Lava Lamp

1

Fill a clear bottle 1/3 with water and 2/3 with oil.

2

Add food coloring.

3

Drop in Alka Seltzer tablets to watch it bubble up.

Supplies: clear jar water vegetable oil alka selzer tablets food coloring

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Tips: Use small jars, mason jars, or tall glasses work great!

Don’t be afraid to let them use the whole pack of Alka Seltzer tablets!

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No Alka Seltzer? This can be done with just salt too. Just reverse the water/oil ratios (mostly water) and dump salt in instead!

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Preschooler Activity

I spy baggy! Write letters, words, shapes or notes on a piece of paper and put in a large baggy. Add rice on top of the paper. Let the kids ‘spy’ the letters through the rice.

I Spy Baggy

1

Write letters, words, shapes or notes on a piece of paper. Write the same on a paper as a list to find (a legend).

2

Slip the piece of paper into a clear baggy. Add rice to the baggy (on top of the paper).

3

Spy the notes through the rice. Cross off each item on the list as you find it.

Supplies: paper marker or pen gallon-size baggy rice or oatmeal

CLICK FOR MORE DETAILS

Tips: Rice too easy to move around? Add shaving cream to a second baggy and slip inside the other baggy. Slip the paper behind the baggy, inside.

Younger kids can simply match a shape to a shape, or a sticker to a sticker.

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Older kids can match equations to their answers, upper to lowercase letters, or numbers to their corresponding number of dots.

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Preschooler Activity

Night time fun! Shut off the lights and go on a flashlight scavenger hunt to find pre-hidden objects!

Flashlight Scavenger Hunt

1

Hide several of the same object throughout the area (Christmas bows, Easter eggs, Lego figures, etc).

2

Wait until dusk, close the curtains, or do this in the basement where it’s dark.

3

Equip your child with a flashlight to hunt for the pre-hidden objects!

Supplies: objects to hide flashlight

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Tips: Make it seasonal or about something they’re learning, like letters.

You could do it on a whim without hiding anything and just have them bring you something ‘blue’ or something ‘round’.

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If it’s too late to stay up, try the basement and close the curtains. Close to dark is good enough!

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Preschooler Activity

Make a nature suncatcher. Cut the centers out of paper plates. Cover with clear contact paper. Fill with found objects from nature.

Nature Suncatcher

1

Cut the center out of a paper plate. Follow along the ‘rim’ of the base of the plate.

2

Cut a piece of contact paper to cover the hole. Remove backing and stick contact paper to the back side of the paper plate (so that the sticky side is up when the plate is set on a table).

3

Cover the sticky contact paper with pieces of nature. Hang in the window to display!

Supplies: paper plates clear contact paper objects from nature

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Tips: If you don’t have contact paper, you can use wax paper and glue.

Sometimes nature just doesn’t cooperate with us, so feel free to cut shapes out of paper or tissue paper (could even make your own leaves and flowers!)

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When they’re done, staple a ribbon or string to it and hang in your favorite window!

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Preschooler Activity

Build and create with crafts sticks and glue.

Craft Sticks Art

1

Set out colored craft sticks and glue for your child.

2

Add dabs of glue on the end of the craft sticks to attach to another. Keep adding to your desire.

3

Let dry completely and find a place to proudly display it!

Supplies: colored craft sticks school glue

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Tips: This is all about the child’s creativity. Let them create what they want.

When your child is done, you may need to go back and add glue to spots to make sure everything stays together.

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A hot glue gun works awesome for this. Kids can do this with supervision. Just be sure to point out the hot parts not to touch.

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Preschooler Activity

Make window paint using dish soap, corn starch and food coloring. Paint the window with brushes and sponges.

Window Paint

1

Pour paint into a small dish and add a squirt of dish soap.

2

Use sponges or paintbrushes to paint the outside of a window.

3

Wash off with a hose or a bucket of water and a rag.

Supplies: dish soap paint paintbrushes sponges

CLICK FOR MORE DETAILS

Tips: Make the paint without paint! Add food coloring and a tad bit of corn starch to water. Make it thin, the corn starch will thicken.

Fun factor! Have a hose ready for clean up! This will continue the activity on longer!

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Maybe obvious, but need to say this. Paint on the outside of the window.

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Preschooler Activity

What floats? Fill a tub with water. Have the kids collect toys, or nature, to see what floats and what sinks.

What Floats Experiment

1

Fill a shallow tub 3/4 full of water.

2

Collect toys that are waterproof, or even pieces of nature.

3

Make a guess if each object will sink or float and then test to see!

Supplies: clear tub or bucket toys or nature

CLICK FOR MORE DETAILS

Tips: Collecting the toys can be part of the fun. Go on a hunt for just the right ones.

Be sure to collect some toys that will sink. Many waterproof toys are meant to float. So add in a sponge, a rock, or a spoon to make sure something sinks.

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Older kids can chart their findings! On a paper, make a chart with two columns for sink and float and draw pictures of (or write) the objects under their corresponding column.

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planner

Printable Blank Planner to Continue Planning Weeks of Activities

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Planner: How to Plan

How to Plan Each Week Every weekend try to make a plan of activities for the coming week to start on Monday. Start with the ‘My Child’ sheet. Fill one out for each of your kids and what they’re into at the moment. Use this as a guide to plan your activities accordingly. With each of your kids’ interests, brainstorm 7 activities to do that week. Jot them down on the simple ‘Activity Idea List’ and transfer it to the ‘Activities To Do This Week’. For preschoolers, try to include the following in each week: - gross motor activity - fine motor activity - craft - art project - outdoor activity - family activity for Sunday I always try to keep in mind what’s on our calendar. I don’t want to overextend myself or my kids with a big activity that takes too much time to prepare or execute on a day that we already have plans. Having the supply list filled out ahead of time makes it easier to get the activity ready. Though I usually do activities with supplies on hand, this way I know, at a glance, what materials I need for today’s activity. I can quickly set up before I invite the boys to join the activity! (When I announce an activity, they’re excited and at my feet within seconds!) That’s it. Hang your Activities To Do This Week on the refrigerator. As you do the activities each day, check them off!

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Family Time Tip: Leave Saturday and Sunday open for things to do as a family (like a movie night or game night).

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Activity Idea List

Gross Motor / Movement:

Fine Motor:

Crafts:

Sensory:

Arts Projects:

Just for Fun:

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My Child

My Child is Playing with:

My Child is Learning:

How My Child is Playing:

My Child is Asking About:

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Activities To to Do This Week Activities

Monday: Supplies:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

Friday:

Saturday:

Sunday:

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engage Activity:

Activity Idea

Supplies Needed:

Description:

Type of Activity: (gross or fine motor, craft, etc.)

Sketch Idea:

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go-to lists Printable Lists of Ideas for Each Type of Activity

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Go-To Activity Lists

How to use these Go-To Lists These Go-To Lists are exactly what they say they are. Print them off and use them as a go-to whenever you’re looking for something to do! If you’re in the middle of one of the 5 weeks of activities and you realize you don’t have the right supply (that should be pretty rare) or just aren’t in the mood for that activity that day, substitute it with one of the activities on a corresponding go-to list! Use these Go-To Lists when you begin planning your own weeks of activities using the blank activity planner.

Go-To Lists for Type of Activity: Fine Motor Gross Motor

Helpful Tip:

Crafts & Art Projects Sensory Family

The activities in the Go-To Lists are for all ages of kids in their early years. More beginner activities are found in the left-hand column and they get more advanced through the other columns.

CLICK ANY ACTIVITY IN GO-TO LISTS FOR MORE DETAILS OR SEARCH HANDSONASWEGROW.COM

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fine motor Poke pipe cleaners through holes in a colander. Push ribbons into a narrow-neck bottle and pull out again. Thread o-shaped cereal onto dry spaghetti noodles. Cut apart and punch holes in the sides of egg carton cups and thread pipe cleaners through to connect them. Snip straws into pieces. Cut pipe cleaners in 1” sections and push them through the holes of a large spice bottle. Poke them in, shake them out and repeat! Make a ‘rattle’ with a bottle. Set out snack items (Goldfish, raisins, etc.) and a bottle to stick them in and close the lid. Shake! Stick craft sticks into a narrow neck bottle and shake them out again. Repeat! Sort pom poms by color or size in a muffin tin, or just transfer them back and forth. Add tweezers for some fun! Practice pouring water from a pitcher into cups. Take it outside! Make a paper clip chain! See how long you can go. Clip clothespins (slotted style is easier for younger) onto the edge of a bucket. Play with blocks. When you’re done, hand over kitchen tongs for clean up time. Hang a bucket from a ‘clothesline’ made with yarn. Clip ribbons around the line to remove and put in the bucket.

Go-To List

Stick tape onto a surface. Criss cross over each other. Peel the tape off, one by one.

Set a cup on the floor and stand over a couch or railing and try to aim a piece of yarn into the cup.

Tape cardboard tubes (toilet paper, paper towels) to a wall or the fridge. Drop pom poms through to fall into a tub at the bottom.

Draw squiggly lines of chalk on the sidewalk, paint them with water to erase them.

Draw letters or shapes on a chalkboard or whiteboard. Trace over them with water to erase them away. Roll out a tube of play dough and pound golf tees into it using a toy hammer. Weave something with ribbon! What can the kids weave? Baby gate, stair railing, clothes basket, cooling rack. Keep kids busy with rubber bands, or hair bands. Slide them on and off a can of food, one at a time. Draw several dots in several colors on a piece of paper to make a simple connect the dots. Draw lines to connect the same colored dots. Make a bird feeder by threading o-shaped cereal onto yarn and tie the ends together. Hang outside for the birds! I spy baggy! Write letters, words, shapes or notes on a piece of paper and put in a large baggy. Add rice on top of the paper. Let the kids ‘spy’ the letters through the rice. Snip straws into one inch sections and thread a necklace using shoestring or yarn.

Tape a target on the floor and blow pom poms to hit the bullseye. Pretend to be the “Claw Grabbing Machine” with pom poms in a bowl and grab them with a clothespin. Cut paper snowflakes. Wrap a rubber band around your fingers and pass objects back and forth. Staple construction paper together to make a pouch that becomes a mailbox. Set out paper and a pencil to ‘write’ letters and mail them. Cut an object out of paper. Write in the middle “S is for Snake” or “T is for Tree” in regards to the object. Write various letters around the edge of the object. Find the letter that the object starts with and clip each with a paper clip. Find various pairs of leaves in nature. Tape one of each leaf on the back of a piece of paper. Rub crayons over front side of the paper to show the leaf! Match the remaining leaf to the crayon rubbings. Write their name on a piece of paper in highlighter. Then trace over it with pencil. Trace over that with glue. Trace over that with yarn!

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gross motor Make a homemade balance beam using old boards. Then walk along it! Can you do it backwards? Tape a runway of contact (sticky) paper to the floor, sticky side up. Run across, crawl over, or lay on it! Set up a very simple obstacle course with cushions (line then up, stack them, make small ramps and tunnels) and have objects to crawl across to find. Tape a bubble wrap runway to the floor and run along it! Drive trucks across it to hear it pop! Lay pillows and cushions on the floor in a line. Attempt to walk across them! Make an activity course to crawl over, under and run through. Use dining room chairs, ABC mat (or books) as stepping stones, and add balloons to move through the course! Wad newspapers into ‘basketballs’. Aim and shoot them into a basket! Tape a few different large shapes on the floor (circle, rectangle, square, etc). Sit on opposite ends of the shapes and roll a ball back and forth and shout out what shape the ball crosses or lands on. Line up plastic bottles to go bowling! Roll a strike! Tape two lines as the sides of the roads around the house! Create intersections and curves! Tape lines of tape on the floor equal distances apart and challenge the kids to a jumping game. Measure how far they can jump. Draw a large maze on the driveway in sidewalk chalk for kids to find their way through.

Hunt for nature. Use colors and shapes as clues. Go on a scavenger hunt around the yard to explore textures. Can you find something that’s bumpy? Head to your local appliance store and grab a large box! Fill it with newspapers and add little trinkets and treasures to dive in and find. Night time fun! Shut off the lights and go on a flashlight scavenger hunt to find pre-hidden objects! Create a sticky spider web with tape across an open doorway. Throw balled-up newspapers to stick to it! Have kids walk along straight, curvy and zig zag lines of tape on the floor, or blow pom poms along them. Go on a spy hunt! Tape diagonally between walls down a hallway, stick pom poms to it randomly. Have the kids crawl through, over and under, to collect the pom poms. Trace favorite toys on butcher paper. Put them away. Search for the toy that matches the outline! Play balloon badminton. Make ‘racquets’ from paper plates and cardboard tubes and swat a balloon back and forth. Go on an ‘I Love You’ scavenger hunt. Hide hearts (or just hide one a day) with words of how you love your child all over. Draw a target on the driveway or sidewalk in chalk. Make, or gather, mud to throw at the target. Make a homemade kite using a plastic bag and string. Run around the yard ‘flying’ it behind.

Go-To List

Make a ‘catch the ball’ toy by cutting the bottom out of a bottle and tying a ball to it. Try to catch the ball in the bottle! Run and spin with homemade streamers. Tie fabric straps or ribbons to a ring (those ring toys work great). “Blow” tissue paper into a goal (under a chair works) by fanning paper plates. Make a ring toss! Cut the centers out of paper plates to make rings. Write the letters of their name on the bottoms of cups to ring the letters of their name. Draw a large rainbow on butcher paper. Go on a hunt to find toys in the matching colors to place on the corresponding color of the rainbow! Snap photos of objects around the house (look for shapes) with your iPad or camera. Go on a hunt to find the shapes in the photos! Play catch with a ball and say the ABCs with each pass back and forth. Cut various shapes (two or three of each) from paper. Hang just high enough out of reach in a doorway using yarn and tape. Jump and grab the matching shapes. String one long yarn around a room. Clip the letters of their name onto the string in order from start to finish. Follow the string to find the letters to make your name! Write letters on sticky notes and place them around the house (under and on top of the dining room table and chairs works great). Name a letter then stomp it! Repeat!

Balance boards between chair rails, or on pails, to create an advanced balance beam to walk across.

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arts & crafts Make a necklace by threading o-shaped cereal on a string. Tape the string to a surface to secure it for threading. When complete, knot the ends together.

Dip ribbon in paint and throw it on pieces of paper to create an abstract painting.

Blend fresh fruits to make homemade edible finger paint. Paint paper with fingers or paintbrushes!

Make a collage on clear contact paper using scrap pieces of tissue paper, ribbon, etc. Cover with another piece of contact paper. Cut into shapes and hang in the window.

Cut a sponge into a desired shape (such as a heart). Dip into paint and make prints on a piece of paper.

Make a telescope from a plastic bottle. Cut off the bottom of the bottle. Decorate the sides with markers or colorful tape.

Paint with water! Whether its on a chalkboard filled with chalk, or the sidewalk outside. Or even on contruction paper!

Make beautiful flowers with coffee filters. Paint or dip them in colored water. Let dry. Twist centers to form a flower and wrap a pipe cleaner around the center for a stem.

Shake your way to beautiful art! Cut paper into desired shapes and lay flat in a box. Add paint blobs around the paper on the box. Add toys to the box, close it up and shake! Use Q-tips, instead of a paintbrush, to paint a masterpiece. Make a paper bag mask by cutting two holes around the eyes. Decorate with paper and glue! Dip balls in paint and roll across pieces of paper. Float a boat! Stick the straw in the side of a juice box, add a sail with paper. Float it in a tub of water. Use unusual objects to paint! Make textures with combs, roll on the paint with a rolling pin, and try tape resist! Paint a piece of paper with the wheels of their favorite cars and trucks. Paint with cookie cutters! Pour paint into a dish and dip cookie cutters to cover and stamp onto paper.

Make flowers with dried painted paper, cut circles of different sizes and crumple them up. Layer them together to make flowers with a button glued on the center. Combine art and sensory with contact (sticky) paper taped to the floor, sticky side up. Decorate with small decorative items such as buttons and sequins. Build and create with craft sticks and glue. Write a secret note in white crayon! Have kids paint over with colored water. It magically appears! Rainbow painting! Paint a sponge in rainbow colors for the kids to paint a rainbow with one swipe! Find a great walking stick and clip off any sprouts. Decorate it with paint to their desire. Paint and decorate cereal boxes to make buildings. Can you make your town? Trace child’s body on butcher paper. Color it in to create a self portrait.

Go-To List

Make a nature suncatcher. Cut the centers out of paper plates. Cover with clear contact paper. Fill with found objects from nature. Make homemade wind chimes! Paint tin cans and punch a hole in the bottoms. Thread nuts and washers on the inside using yarn to hang them. Draw in an odd spot. Tape butcher paper to cover a table, or the back of a chair, or the floor... Make window paint using dish soap, corn starch and food coloring. Paint the window with brushes and sponges. Freeze paint in an ice cube tray. Add a small amount of water to make it go further. Stick craft sticks in while they’re freezing. Take out and paint while they’re melting. Create paint swatches with two colors of paint (or one color plus black and white). Splatter paint with a toothbrush! Hold it up vertically for drip painting too. Mix glue with Epsom Salt and paint an icy scene. Paint the inside (or outside) of clear glass jars with glue (or Mod Podge) mixed with food coloring. Drip excess off. Bake at low temp to seal. Mix food coloring with shaving cream. Press paper onto marbled mixture and remove. Scrape off excess shaving cream to leave a marble print! Cut living and non-living things out of magazines. Glue onto two separate pieces of paper to classify them and make a collage.

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sensory Spread flour on a baking sheet (or tray) to explore with toys or kitchen utensils. Paint with baby food on paper. Just use fingers to paint and enjoy a snack. Shake together rice, a few drops of food coloring and scent (optional), a squirt of hand sanitizer and mix to make scented and colored rice! Make a super simple edible indoor sandbox in a tub with dry oatmeal! Bring out the sandbox toys! Get rid of all your old lotions. Squeeze them out in a bowl and mix them up with utensils or just your hands. Play with newspapers. Rip them up. Wad them up. Dip them in water for a squishy sensory. Fill plastic jars 2/3 with water and some dish soap. Add food coloring and glitter! Seal the lid on with glue and shake, shake, shake! Make a ‘rattle’ with a bottle. Set out snack items (goldfish, raisins, etc) and a bottle to stick them in and close the lid. Shake! Spray a gob (or two!) of shaving cream on a tray for sensory play! Make writing marks, or build ‘towers’. Banging on pots and pans is a favorite! Grab some spatulas and spoons and make music! Play with play dough and drive trucks in it.

Go-To List

Mix 2 cups flour with 2/3 cup oil to make cloud dough! Play with it like wet sand, mold it any way they like! Tape sticky contact paper to the floor, sticky side up. Let your toddler run, crawl, or lay on it! Use a tub of soapy water to wash favorite toys. Pour dry pasta into a tub to explore with measuring cups and spoons. Include an empty bottle or two to fill and pour between. Shake it to listen to the sounds. Create a sensory bag with hair gel in a baggy. Add other small objects, such as googly eyes or sequins, if desired. Tape it to the window to explore in the sunlight. Make sensory foam with dish soap and a little bit of water and food coloring in a food processor. Put on a tray to explore! Mix up a batch of bubbles in a bucket with dish soap and water! Add kitchen tools to play with! Attach contact (sticky) paper to a wall with tape, sticky side out. Set out a basket of goodies, including paper, ribbons and even photos, to stick to it! Blend fruits for a surprise taste test. Look at it, smell it, taste it. What fruit is it? Make an ocean in a bottle. Fill 2/3 with water. Add food coloring. Fill rest with clear oil and seal the lid on with glue. Create waves!

Spread corn meal onto a baking sheet or other tray to explore with measuring cups and spoons. Play with ice! Put it in a bowl and pick it up, try to eat them. This is great for a hot day! Have a water play day! Set out tubs of water with some scoops to transfer water back and forth. Add color to the water if you’d like. Add food coloring and oil to leftover cooked spaghetti. Put in a tub for little hands to explore. Add kitchen utensils to “cook”. Combine art and sensory with contact (sticky) paper taped to the floor, sticky side up. Decorate with small decorative items such as buttons and sequins. I spy baggy! Write letters, words, shapes or notes on a piece of paper and put in a large baggy. Add rice on top of the paper. Let the kids ‘spy’ the letters through the rice. Write any number on a piece of paper. Trace the number with a paintbrush and glue. Play with sand on the paper and shake it off! It’ll stick to the number to create a texture! Squirt shaving cream on a baking sheet. Write letters and numbers or make shapes with your fingers. Make three sensory bags in the primary colors using finger paint in baggies (or clear hair gel with food coloring). Tape them to a window. Explore. Overlap them to mix colors to see what colors you can make.

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family Look through photo albums (print or digital) together and name people you know.

Go-To List

Make homemade ice cream. Attend a local school game, baseball, basketball, football.

Have a camp out, indoors or out! See a fireworks display! Head to the library together and everyone check out a new book. Attend a town festival and play the games! Play a game of ball as a family, roll it back and forth or toss it gently. Everyone take a nap together in one big bed.

Bake your favorite dessert or snack together. Go for a drive and let the kids navigate the way. Watch a movie together. Lay out on a blanket and look at the stars.

Do a family craft or art project. Stack your handprints on top of one another for a keepsake. Learn what every family member’s favorite color is today. Go on a field trip to somewhere sentimental to Mom & Dad and tell the kids about it. Conduct a family interview of each other. Record it with a video camera for a timeless keepsake. Learn every family member’s favorite meal and make one together.

Learn to fly kites together. Plant something together, inside in a pot or outside in the ground. Run errands together and ask for help whenever you can.

Create a new family tradition! Cuddle up and read books. Have a campfire cookout! Play a new-to-you game.

Have lunch on the living room floor as a picnic today.

Crank up the music and pretend to be an air band! Play a game of baseball, or basketball, together as a family.

Visit the local fire station. Have a family photo shoot.

Be a tourist in your own town, pick a place to visit.

Try Geocaching as a family.

Go to the park for a picnic.

Go to a local orchard to pick fresh fruits and veggies for dinner.

Draw your family portrait with sidewalk chalk on the sidewalk or driveway.

Go on a family scavenger hunt around the neighborhood.

Go on a family bike ride to the park to play.

Make a day of washing your vehicles by hand.

Build a fort and read with flashlights inside it in the dark!

Learn about family favorites and play a favorite game.

Play dress up with the kids!

Make homemade pizzas together and grill them.

Go fishing in a nearby river or pond.

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bonus

Three Bonus Weeks of Activities for Toddlers & Preschoolers

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Bonus: Activity Plans

More More More Activity Plans! You want more? You got it! Be set for all of your child’s early years with a weekly activity plan for every stage! In the next section, I’ve included an activity plan from each of the other eBooks you can find in our shop: http:// handsonaswegrow.com/shop/ Whether you’re looking for more ideas to do with your child, or you have other young kids, I have more activities for you to do!

Bonus Weekly Activity Plans DISCOVER: 1 Year Olds PLAY: 2 Year Olds LEARN: Preschoolers

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Activity Plan for One Year Olds1 Preschooler Activity Plan: Week

Monday: Play with play dough and drive trucks in it.

play dough toy trucks or other toys

Tuesday: Sort pom poms by color or size in a muffin tin, or just transfer them back and forth. Add tongs for some fun!

muffin pan pom poms kitchen tongs

Wednesday: Blend fresh fruits to make homemade edible finger paint. Paint paper with fingers or paintbrushes!

fresh fruit food processor / blender bowls or other dishes paintbrushes (optional) paper

Thursday: Make a ‘rattle’ with a bottle. Set out snack items (Goldfish, raisins, etc.) and a bottle to stick them in and close the lid. Shake!

small bottle with lid snack items

Friday: Attach contact (sticky) paper to a wall with tape, sticky side out. Set out a basket of goodies, including paper, ribbons and even photos, to stick to it!

contact (sticky) paper tape paper, photos, ribbons

Saturday: Tape a bubble wrap runway to the floor and run along it! Drive trucks across it to hear it pop!

bubble wrap toy trucks or other toys

Sunday: Head to the library as a family and check out new books for everyone.

CLICK ANY ACTIVITY FOR DETAILS OR SEARCH HANDSONASWEGROW.COM

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Activity Plan for Two Year Olds1 Preschooler Activity Plan: Week

Monday: Paint a piece of paper with the wheels of their favorite cars and trucks.

paint paper trucks or other toys

Tuesday: Add food coloring and oil to leftover cooked spaghetti. Put in a tub for little hands to explore. Add kitchen utensils to “cook”.

cooked spaghetti food coloring oil (vegetable) tub or bucket kitchen utensils

Wednesday: Open up the Tupperware drawer. Find the matching lids to the bottoms. Or nest them in one another.

tupperware with lids

Thursday: Tape a few different large shapes on the floor (circle, rectangle, square, etc). Sit on opposite ends of the shapes and roll a ball back and forth and shout out what shape the ball crosses or lands on.

painter’s tape ball

Friday: Play with blocks. When you’re done, hand over kitchen tongs for clean up time.

kitchen tongs blocks

Saturday: Make beautiful flowers with coffee filters. Paint or dip them in colored water. Let dry. Twist centers to form a flower and wrap a pipe cleaner around the center for a stem.

coffee filters water food coloring dishes paintbrushes pipe cleaners

Sunday: Have lunch on the living room floor as a picnic today.

CLICK ANY ACTIVITY FOR DETAILS OR SEARCH HANDSONASWEGROW.COM

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Weekly Activity Plan: Learning Preschooler Activity Plan: Week 1 Learning Plan for Preschoolers

Monday: Cut an object out of paper. Write in the middle “S is for Snake” or “T is for Tree” in regards to the object. Write various letters around the edge of the object. Find the letter that the object starts with and clip each with a paper clip.

paper or card stock scissors marker paper clips / clothespins

Tuesday: Tape big numbers on the floor (not on carpet). Trace with washable (important!) markers. Wipe off with wipes. Repeat!

painter’s tape washable markers wipes or wet rag

Wednesday: Trace favorite toys on butcher paper. Put them away. Search for the toy that matches the outline!

toys marker butcher or art paper

Thursday: Make a ring toss! Cut the centers out of paper plates to make rings. Write the letters of their name on the bottoms of cups. Toss the plates to ring the letters of their name.

paper cups markers paper plates scissors

Friday: Draw a large rainbow on butcher paper. Go on a hunt to find toys in the matching colors to place on the corresponding color of the rainbow!

markers butcher paper toys

Saturday: Write any number on a piece of paper. Trace the number with a paintbrush and glue. Play with sand on the paper and shake it off! It’ll stick to the number to create a texture!

paper or card stock pencil paintbrush school glue sand or pantry item

Sunday: Learn about family favorites and play a favorite game.

CLICK ANY ACTIVITY FOR DETAILS OR SEARCH HANDSONASWEGROW.COM

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resources Additional Resources to Find Even More Activities to Do

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Resources

Below are Activities By Topic: Click the topics you’re interested in to find more activities to do on handsonaswegrow.com!

More: 100s of Indoor Activities Simplest Activities Activities for 2 under 4 Babies: Edible Sensory Baby Week Toddlers: Toddler Activities Physical Activities Rainy Day Activities Learning Activities Learning Shapes Beginner Letters Science Activities Fine Motor Activities Indoor Activities Sensory Ideas Quick With No Setup Craft & Art Projects Toddler Pinterest Boards Preschoolers: Alphabet Activities Active Letter Learning Learning Numbers Name Activities Counting Activities Mazes Move & Learn Gross Motor Science Experiments Art Projects Quiet Activities

Gross Motor: Excess Energy Kids on the Move Scavenger Hunts Big Art Projects Fun Activities Indoor Activities Fine Motor: Fine Motor Activities Strengthening Objects Busy Play Ideas Play Dough Activities Sensory: Toddler Sensory Edible Sensory Sensory Activities

Spring: Spring Crafts Spring Art Projects Shamrock Crafts St. Patrick’s Day Rainbow Activities Easter Hunts Easter Egg Ideas Toddler Easter Crafts Flower Crafts Mother’s Day Crafts Summer: Summer Crafts Family Activities Beat the Heat Father’s Day Back to School Art Back to School Week

Crafts & Art: Big Art Projects Painting Techniques Recycled Art Tin Can Crafts Crayon Crafts Balloon Crafts Pinterest Crafts Craft Supplies

Fall: Fall Crafts Fall Activities Fall Toddler Activities Fall Gross Motor Apple Crafts Apple Activities Pumpkin Activities Spider Web Crafts Googly Eye Crafts Ghost Crafts Monster Crafts Delight in October Halloween Activities Toddler Activities Turkey Crafts Non-Turkey Crafts Winter: Winter Crafts Toddler Activities Snowman Crafts Snowflake Crafts Snow Theme Snow Day Ideas Christmas Crafts Christmas Activities Christmas Cards Homemade Ornaments Valentine Crafts School Valentines

CLICK ANY TOPIC FOR ACTIVITIES OR SEARCH HANDSONASWEGROW.COM

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INDEX

Find What You Need, When You Need It

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engage ABC mat 14, 66 activities binder 6 activity plans 18-22, 73-75 alka seltzer tablets 21, 47 alphabet 31, 48, 49, 57, 65, 66, 68, 75 art projects 18-22, 24, 26, 31, 37, 45, 51, 58, 67, 73, 78 baby food badminton bag, sensory baking soda balance beam balloons bike ride binder, activities bird feeder blocks boats bowling bubble wrap bubbles butcher paper

68 66 22, 48, 68 20, 41 66 66 18, 69 6 42 65, 74 32 66 66, 73 68 14, 45, 66

cans cardboard tubes cereal, o-shaped chalk, sidewalk

19, 33, 44 12, 65 21, 29, 42, 65, 67 18-20, 26, 27, 34, 39, 65, 66, 67, 69 clothespins 65 coffee filters 67, 74 colander 65 collage suncatcher 20, 22, 36, 50 contact paper 14, 20, 22, 36, 50, 67, 68 corn meal 68 corn starch 22. 52 craft sticks 35, 51, 65 crafts 18-22, 24, 25, 32, 36, 42, 44, 50, 51, 58, 67, 73, 74, 78 dish soap dissolving experiment experiments eye droppers

19, 22, 35, 52, 68 18, 29

18-22, 29, 35, 41, 47, 53 20, 41

Index

gross motor 18-22, 26-28, 30, 34, 38, 39, 43, 46, 49, 58, 66, 73, 74, 78 hammer 44, 65 handprints 69 hunt, scavenger 18, 19, 22, 28, 49, 66, 69 I spy baggy ice juice box jumping game

32 18, 27

kites

66, 69

lava lamp leaves letters library

47 29, 50, 65 see alphabet 69, 73

magic milk mask maze milk, magic mud muffin tin multiple kids

19, 35 67 39 19, 35 19, 34 65, 73 11-13, 26, 28, 30

nature hunt nature suncatcher necklace newspaper numbers

46 22, 50 25, 67 21, 43, 66, 68 31, 34, 48, 68, 75

oatmeal 29, 48, 68 obstacle course 66 ocean 68 one year olds 12, 73 o-shaped cereal 21, 29, 42, 65, 67 outdoor activities 18-22, 28, 34, 39, 46, 52 paint painter’s tape

family activities 69 fine motor 18-22, 25, 33, 40, 42, 45, 48, 58, 65, 73, 74, 78 fizzy color 41 flashlight scavenger hunt 22, 49 floating boat 19, 32 floating experiment 19, 53 flowers 46, 50, 67, 74 food coloring 19-22, 31, 35, 41, 47, 52, 67, 68, 74 fruit 67, 68, 69, 73

pantry paper bag paper clips paper plates photo albums picnic Pinterest pipe cleaners play dough pom poms poster, alphabet pouring water printables

glitter glue golf tees

Q-Tips

21, 36, 44, 68 22, 51, 65, 67, 68, 75 65

48 68

18-22, 24, 31, 37, 44, 52, 67, 68, 73, 74 14, 18-21, 27, 30, 38, 39, 43, 75 18, 29, 75 67 65, 75 22, 50, 66, 75 69 69 66 21, 35, 42, 65 65, 73 20, 30, 38, 43, 65, 73 57 65 9, 57-61 19, 35, 67

rainbow rattle resources ribbon ribbon weaving ring toss rubber bands

20, 37, 66 65 78 20, 25, 36, 40, 65 20, 40 66 19, 33, 65

scavenger hunt 18, 19, 22, 28, 49, 66, 69 scheduling activities 7, 8, 56 science activities see experiments scissors 10, 13, 17-20, 25, 32, 36, 75 secret note 31 sensory activities 18, 20, 22, 28, 32, 36, 53, 58, 68, 73, 74, 78 sensory bag 22, 48, 68 shapes 46, 48, 65 shaving cream 48, 67, 68 sidewalk chalk 18-20, 26, 27, 34, 39, 65, 66, 67, 69 sidewalk maze 39 snowflakes 65 spaghetti noodles 68, 74 sponges 20, 37, 52, 53, 67 spy hunt 19, 30 squiggly lines 26 sticks, nature’s 24 sticky spider web 43 straw necklace 25 straws 18, 20, 25, 32, 38, 65 string 21, 25, 40, 42, 44, 67 suncatcher 36, 46, 50 supplies 14, 17 tape jumping target practice telescope threading tin can wind chimes toddlers tongs toothbrush trucks Tupperware two year olds vegetable oil vinegar

18, 27 19, 34 67 25, 42, 65 21, 44 12-13, 68, 73-74 65, 73, 74 67 39, 73, 74 74 12-13, 68, 74 21, 47, 74 20, 41

walk the line 38 walking stick 18, 24 water 12, 13, 17-19, 21, 22, 26, 29, 31, 32, 34, 47, 65, 67, 68, 74 weaving 40 web, spider 43 weekly planner 60 wind chimes 44 window painting 52 yarn

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18, 21, 25, 42, 43, 44, 65, 66

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Thank You So Much! I hope you’ve enjoyed these activities as much as I loved doing them with my kids and sharing them with you. I can’t thank you enough for your continued support of Hands On As We Grow and the adventures it takes me on. I appreciate you for taking time to read this, and if you have an extra second, I would love to hear what you think about it. Please shoot me an email at [email protected] I read each and every single email, so don’t be afraid to say hi! If you haven’t already, you can join in on the conversations in The Huddle Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ handsonhuddle/ And lastly, I want to give you a thank you from your kids. Thanks for taking the time to fill their days with fun and laughter, creating memories and feelings that they’ll always treasure. This is a time that flies by and you’ll never regret spending more time with them. Thank you. Jamie Reimer Hands On As We Grow Owner of Oak Avenue Media, LLC

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Thank you for the good times, the days you filled with pleasure. Thank you for fond memories, and for feelings I’ll always treasure. - Karl Fuchs

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Success: Finding Time

7 Times I Can Do Activities with My Kids Jot down 7 different times of the day, or times during the week, that you can squeeze in an activity. Whether it’s before you head out for the day or after dinner. Remember that activities usually only take 15 minutes (give or take depending on the age of your child). Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have huge chunks of times. They literally can be squeezed in small spots!

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Preschooler Activity Plan: Week One

Monday: Find a great walking stick and clip off any sprouts. Decorate it with paint to their desire. (page 24)

nature’s sticks paint paintbrushes pruners or loppers

Tuesday: Snip straws into one inch sections and thread a necklace using shoestring or yarn. (page 25)

ribbon, yarn, or string straws scissors

Wednesday: Draw squiggly lines of chalk on the sidewalk, paint them with water to erase them.

sidewalk chalk house paintbrushes sidewalk (pavement) water

Thursday: Tape lines of tape on the floor equal distances apart and challenge the kids to a jumping game. Measure how far they can jump. (page 27)

painter’s tape

(page 26)

Friday: Go on a scavenger hunt around the yard to explore textures. Can you find something that’s bumpy? (page 28)

Saturday: Using items from the pantry, do an experiment to see what dissolves in water. (page 29)

bucket or basket (optional)

clear jars water spoons pantry items

Sunday: Go on a family bike ride to the park to play.

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Preschooler Activity Plan: Week Two

Monday: Go on a spy hunt! Tape diagonally between walls down a hallway, stick pom poms to it randomly. Have the kids crawl through, over and under, to collect the pom poms. (page 30)

painter’s tape pom poms or cotton balls

Tuesday: Write a secret note in white crayon! Have kids paint over with colored water. It magically appears! (page 31)

paper white crayon food coloring & water or watercolors paintbrushes

Wednesday: Float a boat! Stick the straw in the side of a juice box, add a sail with paper. Float it in a tub of water. (page 32)

empty juice box scissors scrap paper

Thursday: Keep kids busy with rubber bands, or hair bands. Slide them on and off a can of food, one at a time. (page 33)

canned food rubber bands

Friday: Draw a target on the driveway or sidewalk in chalk. Make, or gather, mud to throw at the target. (page 34)

Saturday: Experiment with milk. Pour whole milk into a shallow dish. Drop in food coloring. Dip a cotton swab in dish soap and hold it in the milk. Watch it swirl! (page 35)

sidewalk or pavement sidewalk chalk mud or dirt and water

shallow dish whole milk food coloring cotton swab (q-tip) dish soap

Sunday: Play a new-to-you game together as a family.

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Preschooler Activity Plan: Week Three

Monday: Make a collage on clear contact paper using scrap pieces of tissue paper, ribbon, etc. Cover with another piece of contact paper. Cut into shapes and hang in the window. (page 36)

clear contact paper scrap pieces of paper scissors

Tuesday: Rainbow painting! Paint a sponge in rainbow colors for the kids to paint a rainbow with one swipe! (page 37)

paint (rainbow colors) large kitchen sponge paper

Wednesday: Have kids walk along straight, curvy and zig zag lines of tape on the floor, or blow pom poms along them. (page 38)

painter’s tape pom poms (optional) straws (optional)

Thursday: Draw a large maze on the driveway in sidewalk chalk for kids to find their way through.

sidewalk chalk

(page 39)

Friday: Weave something with ribbon! What can the kids weave? Baby gate, stair railing, clothes basket, cooling rack. (page 40)

ribbon or string something to weave

Saturday: Fizzy experiment! Drop colored vinegar into a tray of baking soda using eye droppers. (page 41)

vinegar baking soda food coloring eye droppers baking sheet or tray

Sunday: Cuddle up and read books together.

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Preschooler Activity Plan: Week Four

Monday: Make a bird feeder by threading o-shaped cereal onto a pipe cleaner and tie the ends together. Hang outside for the birds! (page 42)

o-shaped cereal pipe cleaner string or yarn

Tuesday: Create a sticky spider web with tape across an open doorway. Throw balled-up newspapers to stick to it! (page 43)

painter’s tape newspaper

Wednesday: Make homemade wind chimes! Paint tin cans and punch a hole in the bottoms. Thread nuts and washers on the inside using yarn to hang them.

tin cans paint and glitter string or yarn washers and nuts hammer

Thursday: Draw in an odd spot. Tape butcher paper to the back of a chair, or the floor, or under the table... (page 45)

butcher paper drawing utensils

Friday: Hunt for nature. Use colors and shapes as clues. (page 46)

basket or bucket (optional)

Saturday: Make a lava lamp. Fill a glass bottle 1/3 with water and 2/3 with oil. Add food coloring. Drop in an Alka Selzer tablet and watch it bubble up!

clear jar water vegetable oil alka seltzer tablets food coloring

(page 44)

(page 47)

Sunday: Watch a movie together as a family.

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engage

Preschooler Activity Plan: Week Five

Monday: I spy baggy! Write letters, words, shapes or notes on a piece of paper and put in a large baggy. Add rice on top of the paper. Let the kids ‘spy’ the letters through the rice. (page 48)

paper marker or pen gallon-size baggy rice or oatmeal

Tuesday: Night time fun! Shut off the lights and go on a flashlight scavenger hunt to find pre-hidden objects! (page 49)

objects to hide flashlight

Wednesday: Make a nature suncatcher. Cut the centers out of paper plates. Cover with clear contact paper. Fill with found objects from nature. (page 50)

paper plates clear contact paper objects from nature

Thursday: Build and create with crafts sticks and glue. (page 51)

colored crafts sticks school glue

Friday: Make window paint using dish soap, corn starch and food coloring. Paint the window with brushes and sponges. (page 52)

dish soap corn starch food coloring paintbrushes sponges

Saturday: What floats? Fill a tub with water. Have the kids collect toys, or nature, to see what floats and what sinks. (page 53)

clear tub or bucket toys or nature

Sunday: Go for a drive and let the kids navigate the way.

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H A N D S O N A S W E G R O W . C O M W W W . H A N D S O N A S W E G R O W . C O M

engage

Activity Idea List

Gross Motor / Movement:

Fine Motor:

Crafts:

Sensory:

Arts Projects:

Just for Fun:

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engage

My Child

My Child is Playing with:

My Child is Learning:

How My Child is Playing:

My Child is Asking About:

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engage

Activities To to Do This Week Activities

Monday: Supplies:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

Friday:

Saturday:

Sunday:

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engage Activity:

Activity Idea

Supplies Needed:

Description:

Type of Activity: (gross or fine motor, craft, etc.)

Sketch Idea:

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fine motor Poke pipe cleaners through holes in a colander. Push ribbons into a narrow-neck bottle and pull out again. Thread o-shaped cereal onto dry spaghetti noodles. Cut apart and punch holes in the sides of egg carton cups and thread pipe cleaners through to connect them. Snip straws into pieces. Cut pipe cleaners in 1” sections and push them through the holes of a large spice bottle. Poke them in, shake them out and repeat! Make a ‘rattle’ with a bottle. Set out snack items (Goldfish, raisins, etc.) and a bottle to stick them in and close the lid. Shake! Stick craft sticks into a narrow neck bottle and shake them out again. Repeat! Sort pom poms by color or size in a muffin tin, or just transfer them back and forth. Add tweezers for some fun! Practice pouring water from a pitcher into cups. Take it outside! Make a paper clip chain! See how long you can go. Clip clothespins (slotted style is easier for younger) onto the edge of a bucket. Play with blocks. When you’re done, hand over kitchen tongs for clean up time. Hang a bucket from a ‘clothesline’ made with yarn. Clip ribbons around the line to remove and put in the bucket.

Go-To List

Stick tape onto a surface. Criss cross over each other. Peel the tape off, one by one.

Set a cup on the floor and stand over a couch or railing and try to aim a piece of yarn into the cup.

Tape cardboard tubes (toilet paper, paper towels) to a wall or the fridge. Drop pom poms through to fall into a tub at the bottom.

Draw squiggly lines of chalk on the sidewalk, paint them with water to erase them.

Draw letters or shapes on a chalkboard or whiteboard. Trace over them with water to erase them away. Roll out a tube of play dough and pound golf tees into it using a toy hammer. Weave something with ribbon! What can the kids weave? Baby gate, stair railing, clothes basket, cooling rack. Keep kids busy with rubber bands, or hair bands. Slide them on and off a can of food, one at a time. Draw several dots in several colors on a piece of paper to make a simple connect the dots. Draw lines to connect the same colored dots. Make a bird feeder by threading o-shaped cereal onto yarn and tie the ends together. Hang outside for the birds! I spy baggy! Write letters, words, shapes or notes on a piece of paper and put in a large baggy. Add rice on top of the paper. Let the kids ‘spy’ the letters through the rice. Snip straws into one inch sections and thread a necklace using shoestring or yarn.

Tape a target on the floor and blow pom poms to hit the bullseye. Pretend to be the “Claw Grabbing Machine” with pom poms in a bowl and grab them with a clothespin. Cut paper snowflakes. Wrap a rubber band around your fingers and pass objects back and forth. Staple construction paper together to make a pouch that becomes a mailbox. Set out paper and a pencil to ‘write’ letters and mail them. Cut an object out of paper. Write in the middle “S is for Snake” or “T is for Tree” in regards to the object. Write various letters around the edge of the object. Find the letter that the object starts with and clip each with a paper clip. Find various pairs of leaves in nature. Tape one of each leaf on the back of a piece of paper. Rub crayons over front side of the paper to show the leaf! Match the remaining leaf to the crayon rubbings. Write their name on a piece of paper in highlighter. Then trace over it with pencil. Trace over that with glue. Trace over that with yarn!

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gross motor Make a homemade balance beam using old boards. Then walk along it! Can you do it backwards? Tape a runway of contact (sticky) paper to the floor, sticky side up. Run across, crawl over, or lay on it! Set up a very simple obstacle course with cushions (line then up, stack them, make small ramps and tunnels) and have objects to crawl across to find. Tape a bubble wrap runway to the floor and run along it! Drive trucks across it to hear it pop! Lay pillows and cushions on the floor in a line. Attempt to walk across them! Make an activity course to crawl over, under and run through. Use dining room chairs, ABC mat (or books) as stepping stones, and add balloons to move through the course! Wad newspapers into ‘basketballs’. Aim and shoot them into a basket! Tape a few different large shapes on the floor (circle, rectangle, square, etc). Sit on opposite ends of the shapes and roll a ball back and forth and shout out what shape the ball crosses or lands on. Line up plastic bottles to go bowling! Roll a strike! Tape two lines as the sides of the roads around the house! Create intersections and curves! Tape lines of tape on the floor equal distances apart and challenge the kids to a jumping game. Measure how far they can jump. Draw a large maze on the driveway in sidewalk chalk for kids to find their way through.

Hunt for nature. Use colors and shapes as clues. Go on a scavenger hunt around the yard to explore textures. Can you find something that’s bumpy? Head to your local appliance store and grab a large box! Fill it with newspapers and add little trinkets and treasures to dive in and find. Night time fun! Shut off the lights and go on a flashlight scavenger hunt to find pre-hidden objects! Create a sticky spider web with tape across an open doorway. Throw balled-up newspapers to stick to it! Have kids walk along straight, curvy and zig zag lines of tape on the floor, or blow pom poms along them. Go on a spy hunt! Tape diagonally between walls down a hallway, stick pom poms to it randomly. Have the kids crawl through, over and under, to collect the pom poms. Trace favorite toys on butcher paper. Put them away. Search for the toy that matches the outline! Play balloon badminton. Make ‘racquets’ from paper plates and cardboard tubes and swat a balloon back and forth. Go on an ‘I Love You’ scavenger hunt. Hide hearts (or just hide one a day) with words of how you love your child all over. Draw a target on the driveway or sidewalk in chalk. Make, or gather, mud to throw at the target. Make a homemade kite using a plastic bag and string. Run around the yard ‘flying’ it behind.

Go-To List

Make a ‘catch the ball’ toy by cutting the bottom out of a bottle and tying a ball to it. Try to catch the ball in the bottle! Run and spin with homemade streamers. Tie fabric straps or ribbons to a ring (those ring toys work great). “Blow” tissue paper into a goal (under a chair works) by fanning paper plates. Make a ring toss! Cut the centers out of paper plates to make rings. Write the letters of their name on the bottoms of cups to ring the letters of their name. Draw a large rainbow on butcher paper. Go on a hunt to find toys in the matching colors to place on the corresponding color of the rainbow! Snap photos of objects around the house (look for shapes) with your iPad or camera. Go on a hunt to find the shapes in the photos! Play catch with a ball and say the ABCs with each pass back and forth. Cut various shapes (two or three of each) from paper. Hang just high enough out of reach in a doorway using yarn and tape. Jump and grab the matching shapes. String one long yarn around a room. Clip the letters of their name onto the string in order from start to finish. Follow the string to find the letters to make your name! Write letters on sticky notes and place them around the house (under and on top of the dining room table and chairs works great). Name a letter then stomp it! Repeat!

Balance boards between chair rails, or on pails, to create an advanced balance beam to walk across.

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arts & crafts Make a necklace by threading o-shaped cereal on a string. Tape the string to a surface to secure it for threading. When complete, knot the ends together.

Dip ribbon in paint and throw it on pieces of paper to create an abstract painting.

Blend fresh fruits to make homemade edible finger paint. Paint paper with fingers or paintbrushes!

Make a collage on clear contact paper using scrap pieces of tissue paper, ribbon, etc. Cover with another piece of contact paper. Cut into shapes and hang in the window.

Cut a sponge into a desired shape (such as a heart). Dip into paint and make prints on a piece of paper.

Make a telescope from a plastic bottle. Cut off the bottom of the bottle. Decorate the sides with markers or colorful tape.

Paint with water! Whether its on a chalkboard filled with chalk, or the sidewalk outside. Or even on contruction paper!

Make beautiful flowers with coffee filters. Paint or dip them in colored water. Let dry. Twist centers to form a flower and wrap a pipe cleaner around the center for a stem.

Shake your way to beautiful art! Cut paper into desired shapes and lay flat in a box. Add paint blobs around the paper on the box. Add toys to the box, close it up and shake! Use Q-tips, instead of a paintbrush, to paint a masterpiece. Make a paper bag mask by cutting two holes around the eyes. Decorate with paper and glue! Dip balls in paint and roll across pieces of paper. Float a boat! Stick the straw in the side of a juice box, add a sail with paper. Float it in a tub of water. Use unusual objects to paint! Make textures with combs, roll on the paint with a rolling pin, and try tape resist! Paint a piece of paper with the wheels of their favorite cars and trucks. Paint with cookie cutters! Pour paint into a dish and dip cookie cutters to cover and stamp onto paper.

Make flowers with dried painted paper, cut circles of different sizes and crumple them up. Layer them together to make flowers with a button glued on the center. Combine art and sensory with contact (sticky) paper taped to the floor, sticky side up. Decorate with small decorative items such as buttons and sequins. Build and create with craft sticks and glue. Write a secret note in white crayon! Have kids paint over with colored water. It magically appears! Rainbow painting! Paint a sponge in rainbow colors for the kids to paint a rainbow with one swipe! Find a great walking stick and clip off any sprouts. Decorate it with paint to their desire. Paint and decorate cereal boxes to make buildings. Can you make your town? Trace child’s body on butcher paper. Color it in to create a self portrait.

Go-To List

Make a nature suncatcher. Cut the centers out of paper plates. Cover with clear contact paper. Fill with found objects from nature. Make homemade wind chimes! Paint tin cans and punch a hole in the bottoms. Thread nuts and washers on the inside using yarn to hang them. Draw in an odd spot. Tape butcher paper to cover a table, or the back of a chair, or the floor... Make window paint using dish soap, corn starch and food coloring. Paint the window with brushes and sponges. Freeze paint in an ice cube tray. Add a small amount of water to make it go further. Stick craft sticks in while they’re freezing. Take out and paint while they’re melting. Create paint swatches with two colors of paint (or one color plus black and white). Splatter paint with a toothbrush! Hold it up vertically for drip painting too. Mix glue with Epsom Salt and paint an icy scene. Paint the inside (or outside) of clear glass jars with glue (or Mod Podge) mixed with food coloring. Drip excess off. Bake at low temp to seal. Mix food coloring with shaving cream. Press paper onto marbled mixture and remove. Scrape off excess shaving cream to leave a marble print! Cut living and non-living things out of magazines. Glue onto two separate pieces of paper to classify them and make a collage.

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sensory Spread flour on a baking sheet (or tray) to explore with toys or kitchen utensils. Paint with baby food on paper. Just use fingers to paint and enjoy a snack. Shake together rice, a few drops of food coloring and scent (optional), a squirt of hand sanitizer and mix to make scented and colored rice! Make a super simple edible indoor sandbox in a tub with dry oatmeal! Bring out the sandbox toys! Get rid of all your old lotions. Squeeze them out in a bowl and mix them up with utensils or just your hands. Play with newspapers. Rip them up. Wad them up. Dip them in water for a squishy sensory. Fill plastic jars 2/3 with water and some dish soap. Add food coloring and glitter! Seal the lid on with glue and shake, shake, shake! Make a ‘rattle’ with a bottle. Set out snack items (goldfish, raisins, etc) and a bottle to stick them in and close the lid. Shake! Spray a gob (or two!) of shaving cream on a tray for sensory play! Make writing marks, or build ‘towers’. Banging on pots and pans is a favorite! Grab some spatulas and spoons and make music! Play with play dough and drive trucks in it.

Go-To List

Mix 2 cups flour with 2/3 cup oil to make cloud dough! Play with it like wet sand, mold it any way they like! Tape sticky contact paper to the floor, sticky side up. Let your toddler run, crawl, or lay on it! Use a tub of soapy water to wash favorite toys. Pour dry pasta into a tub to explore with measuring cups and spoons. Include an empty bottle or two to fill and pour between. Shake it to listen to the sounds. Create a sensory bag with hair gel in a baggy. Add other small objects, such as googly eyes or sequins, if desired. Tape it to the window to explore in the sunlight. Make sensory foam with dish soap and a little bit of water and food coloring in a food processor. Put on a tray to explore! Mix up a batch of bubbles in a bucket with dish soap and water! Add kitchen tools to play with! Attach contact (sticky) paper to a wall with tape, sticky side out. Set out a basket of goodies, including paper, ribbons and even photos, to stick to it! Blend fruits for a surprise taste test. Look at it, smell it, taste it. What fruit is it? Make an ocean in a bottle. Fill 2/3 with water. Add food coloring. Fill rest with clear oil and seal the lid on with glue. Create waves!

Spread corn meal onto a baking sheet or other tray to explore with measuring cups and spoons. Play with ice! Put it in a bowl and pick it up, try to eat them. This is great for a hot day! Have a water play day! Set out tubs of water with some scoops to transfer water back and forth. Add color to the water if you’d like. Add food coloring and oil to leftover cooked spaghetti. Put in a tub for little hands to explore. Add kitchen utensils to “cook”. Combine art and sensory with contact (sticky) paper taped to the floor, sticky side up. Decorate with small decorative items such as buttons and sequins. I spy baggy! Write letters, words, shapes or notes on a piece of paper and put in a large baggy. Add rice on top of the paper. Let the kids ‘spy’ the letters through the rice. Write any number on a piece of paper. Trace the number with a paintbrush and glue. Play with sand on the paper and shake it off! It’ll stick to the number to create a texture! Squirt shaving cream on a baking sheet. Write letters and numbers or make shapes with your fingers. Make three sensory bags in the primary colors using finger paint in baggies (or clear hair gel with food coloring). Tape them to a window. Explore. Overlap them to mix colors to see what colors you can make.

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family Look through photo albums (print or digital) together and name people you know.

Go-To List

Make homemade ice cream. Attend a local school game, baseball, basketball, football.

Have a camp out, indoors or out! See a fireworks display! Head to the library together and everyone check out a new book. Attend a town festival and play the games! Play a game of ball as a family, roll it back and forth or toss it gently. Everyone take a nap together in one big bed.

Bake your favorite dessert or snack together. Go for a drive and let the kids navigate the way. Watch a movie together. Lay out on a blanket and look at the stars.

Do a family craft or art project. Stack your handprints on top of one another for a keepsake. Learn what every family member’s favorite color is today. Go on a field trip to somewhere sentimental to Mom & Dad and tell the kids about it. Conduct a family interview of each other. Record it with a video camera for a timeless keepsake. Learn every family member’s favorite meal and make one together.

Learn to fly kites together. Plant something together, inside in a pot or outside in the ground. Run errands together and ask for help whenever you can.

Create a new family tradition! Cuddle up and read books. Have a campfire cookout! Play a new-to-you game.

Have lunch on the living room floor as a picnic today.

Crank up the music and pretend to be an air band! Play a game of baseball, or basketball, together as a family.

Visit the local fire station. Have a family photo shoot.

Be a tourist in your own town, pick a place to visit.

Try Geocaching as a family.

Go to the park for a picnic.

Go to a local orchard to pick fresh fruits and veggies for dinner.

Draw your family portrait with sidewalk chalk on the sidewalk or driveway.

Go on a family scavenger hunt around the neighborhood.

Go on a family bike ride to the park to play.

Make a day of washing your vehicles by hand.

Build a fort and read with flashlights inside it in the dark!

Learn about family favorites and play a favorite game.

Play dress up with the kids!

Make homemade pizzas together and grill them.

Go fishing in a nearby river or pond.

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discover engage

Activity Plan for One Year Olds1 Preschooler Activity Plan: Week

Monday: Play with play dough and drive trucks in it.

play dough toy trucks or other toys

Tuesday: Sort pom poms by color or size in a muffin tin, or just transfer them back and forth. Add tongs for some fun!

muffin pan pom poms kitchen tongs

Wednesday: Blend fresh fruits to make homemade edible finger paint. Paint paper with fingers or paintbrushes!

fresh fruit food processor / blender bowls or other dishes paintbrushes (optional) paper

Thursday: Make a ‘rattle’ with a bottle. Set out snack items (Goldfish, raisins, etc.) and a bottle to stick them in and close the lid. Shake!

small bottle with lid snack items

Friday: Attach contact (sticky) paper to a wall with tape, sticky side out. Set out a basket of goodies, including paper, ribbons and even photos, to stick to it!

contact (sticky) paper tape paper, photos, ribbons

Saturday: Tape a bubble wrap runway to the floor and run along it! Drive trucks across it to hear it pop!

bubble wrap toy trucks or other toys

Sunday: Head to the library as a family and check out new books for everyone.

CLICK ANY ACTIVITY FOR DETAILS OR SEARCH HANDSONASWEGROW.COM

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play engage

Activity Plan for Two Year Olds1 Preschooler Activity Plan: Week

Monday: Paint a piece of paper with the wheels of their favorite cars and trucks.

paint paper trucks or other toys

Tuesday: Add food coloring and oil to leftover cooked spaghetti. Put in a tub for little hands to explore. Add kitchen utensils to “cook”.

cooked spaghetti food coloring oil (vegetable) tub or bucket kitchen utensils

Wednesday: Open up the Tupperware drawer. Find the matching lids to the bottoms. Or nest them in one another.

tupperware with lids

Thursday: Tape a few different large shapes on the floor (circle, rectangle, square, etc). Sit on opposite ends of the shapes and roll a ball back and forth and shout out what shape the ball crosses or lands on.

painter’s tape ball

Friday: Play with blocks. When you’re done, hand over kitchen tongs for clean up time.

kitchen tongs blocks

Saturday: Make beautiful flowers with coffee filters. Paint or dip them in colored water. Let dry. Twist centers to form a flower and wrap a pipe cleaner around the center for a stem.

coffee filters water food coloring dishes paintbrushes pipe cleaners

Sunday: Have lunch on the living room floor as a picnic today.

CLICK ANY ACTIVITY FOR DETAILS OR SEARCH HANDSONASWEGROW.COM

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learn engage

Weekly Activity Plan: Learning Preschooler Activity Plan: Week 1 Learning Plan for Preschoolers

Monday: Cut an object out of paper. Write in the middle “S is for Snake” or “T is for Tree” in regards to the object. Write various letters around the edge of the object. Find the letter that the object starts with and clip each with a paper clip.

paper or card stock scissors marker paper clips / clothespins

Tuesday: Tape big numbers on the floor (not on carpet). Trace with washable (important!) markers. Wipe off with wipes. Repeat!

painter’s tape washable markers wipes or wet rag

Wednesday: Trace favorite toys on butcher paper. Put them away. Search for the toy that matches the outline!

toys marker butcher or art paper

Thursday: Make a ring toss! Cut the centers out of paper plates to make rings. Write the letters of their name on the bottoms of cups. Toss the plates to ring the letters of their name.

paper cups markers paper plates scissors

Friday: Draw a large rainbow on butcher paper. Go on a hunt to find toys in the matching colors to place on the corresponding color of the rainbow!

markers butcher paper toys

Saturday: Write any number on a piece of paper. Trace the number with a paintbrush and glue. Play with sand on the paper and shake it off! It’ll stick to the number to create a texture!

paper or card stock pencil paintbrush school glue sand or pantry item

Sunday: Learn about family favorites and play a favorite game.

CLICK ANY ACTIVITY FOR DETAILS OR SEARCH HANDSONASWEGROW.COM

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