Candy Color Sort

With lots of leftover Easter candy still in the pantry, I decided to sneak in a little learning (colors and mathematical sorting) while Veronika nibbled on a sweet snack!

I poured candy out onto a paper plate, making sure we had every color of the rainbow thanks to a mix of Giggles chewy candies and chocolate candies from Unreal.

I then set out a muffin tray, and put a few of each color in the muffin cups to get her started. “Where should this blue one go?” I asked, and she dropped it in with the blue.

Of course there was much snacking amidst the sorting, but she enjoyed the process! Every once in a while, I would trick her by deliberately putting a candy in the wrong cup. She very quickly spotted a yellow lurking among the green, and moved it to the correct place. Talk about a sweet way to taste the rainbow!

Earth Day Art: Caterpillars, Snakes, and Worms

 

Earth Day is just around the corner, and I wanted the kids to engage with the Earth using land art to mark the holiday. We needed an activity that would be simple enough for Veronika as a toddler to follow along, and what could be easier than lines in the dirt? We set off on a walk looking for ways to turn items into nature’s creatures that also come in long linear form: think caterpillars, snakes, and worms.

The game is great because kids can make long lines out of almost anything. First we tried pine cones. Veronika loved helping gather and arrange these.

Big brother Travis pitched in, too!

Next up we made a snake, and for this one we gathered sticks. We left it on a rock to greet the next family that wandered by!

Rocks looked a bit like a cute caterpillar, with a furry tail made from pine needles.

Sometimes, we found elements of nature that already looked like snakes or caterpillars, as with this root. We simply decorated it with some pine needles!

What will your kids use to make earth art this holiday? Please share your in the comments, and happy Earth Day!

Red, Red, Red

Do you ever have to coax your little ones into getting started on a nature walk? My kids love the woods once we’re in them, but sometimes getting going can feel like a slog. Here’s a fun game (based on an idea from the Toddler’s Busy Book) that gets those feet moving!

The concept is a bit like Simon Says, in that children get to move only if you give them the correct cue. If you say a word three times (“red, red, red”), players advance. If you trick them (“red, red, blue” or “mouse, mouse, cat”), everyone stays frozen. Ready, set… “Red, red, red!” I called out.

And they were off!

Instead of regular words, we also like to play this game with silly ones. “Kablooie kablooie… ice cream!” I said next. They stayed frozen and cracked up.

“Kablooie, kablooie, kablooie!” Three times was the charm, and they were off and running!

Shout out freeze and then repeat as many times as your kids want to play. By the time they tire of the game, we’re usually deep in the woods for exploration. Note: If you’re playing the game in a backyard instead, have kids race to a specific point (like a fence or tree) and then back again every time you say the three words correctly.

Sparkly Spring Tree

Our neighborhood is resplendent right now with the pink trees of spring, dogwoods and magnolias in full bloom. Veronika and I came home from a walk to make our own, thanks to this idea originally spotted at Hands on as We Grow.

First, I drew a brown tree trunk on white paper. Alternatively, you could cut the trunk from brown construction paper and glue down.

Next, Veronika helped tear pieces of pink construction paper to the flower blossoms. You can encourage preschoolers to cut these out with safety scissors, too!

She loved being in charge of the glue for the next step; everywhere she dotted down, we placed a pink “flower”.

We then added a few strands of pink thread for additional flowers.

Of course what’s a spring tree without some glitter? Add a little glue and tap glitter onto it (or in Veronika’s case, dump glitter onto it), then shake off the excess and let dry.

This tree was definitely blooming!