Moon sand is great fun but with the small containers and big price it is usually not a feasible play time option for us. Today we made homemade moon sand with just 8 cups of flour and 1 cup of baby oil and to give a nice smell to our moon sand a box of berry jello mix. It was a big hit with the explorers and a much more practical option for us.
As a kid I loved making mud pies and the explorers are no different. And when they went out to make a big batch of mud pies in their princess clothes I decided we should get a bit more fancy with our mud pies. I got together some glitter, jewels, and cupcake wrappers and let the explorers make the fanciest mud pies I’ve ever seen.
Finger painting is great fun but can also cause quite a mess. On those days when you are already exhausted the last thing you might want to do is dig out those finger paints and have to clean up the mess. I feel you on that but I also work hard to teach the explorers the art of compromise. So together on a day when all they wanted to do was finger paint and all I wanted was a nap we came up with the idea of finger painting the bathtub. We used Crayola washable finger paints and the little ones went to town painting the bathtub then I handed out towels and soap and they went to town cleaning up the mess. It was truly the best of both worlds. I got to sit and watch and enjoy and not have to worry about the mess. And extra score I ended up with a clean bathtub!
The explorers love math but my hands on learners sometimes get stuck on understanding the concepts behind it. To help them out I found a quick and easy visual way to explain and practice addition. The explorers draw a flash card from the box and then use pom poms from the cup on the top to make up the problem. For example if they draw “2+3=” they put 2 pom poms in the left cup and 3 in the right cup and then count them all up once they fall into the tray at the bottom.
Looking for minimal prep educational activity? I was the other day and the light bulb went off while watching the explorers color on their easel. Here are a few ideas of things you can set up on the easel in under two minutes for good educational practice.
Draw the Shape
Who doesn’t love a slip n slide? I don’t know many people who don’t, however, the home budget sometimes makes it hard to get all those fun toys. But as they say necessity is the mother of invention which caused the explorers and I to come up with our homemade slip n slide. We got some large bubble wrap from the husband’s work and a large can of shaving cream from the Dollar Tree and went from there. The explorers had a great deal of fun spreading out the bubble wrap and then spraying it down with shaving cream and adding a bit of water to it. Then they went to town running around on the bubble wrap and slip n sliding on it. And of course the best part was when they fell they got that wonderful popping sound everyone loves about bubble wrap.
1. Water beads- fill pool with water beads
2. Ocean themed- dye the water blue, add cooked green spaghetti noodles as seaweed, and fish
3. Alphabet Soup- fill the pool with foam letters, cut pool noodles for pasta and water beads for veggies
4. Ice burg themed- add white foam (soap or shaving cream) and a large ice burg (a large block of ice dyed blue)
5. Ice block hunt- freeze small toys in an ice block and give them hammers and water bottles to “save” the toys
6. Quicksand- mix 1 box corn starch, 3 cups of sand and water until a dough consistency is formed
7. Garden pool- fill the pool with soil, plastic flowers, gummy worms, seeds, and shovels.
8. Bubbles- fill with bubble mix and different bubble blowing utensils
9. Ball pit- fill the pool with plastic balls
10. Messy Day- fill with shaving cream, rice, and food coloring and let the kids go to town mixing it up
11. Farm- fill the pool with corn, farm animals and farm vehicles
12. Rainbow bubbles: add a squirt of shampoo or body wash to water and mix until foamy and then add food coloring to bubbles and mix.
Looking for a something cheap, easy and fun to do with the kids today? How about Marble Racing! The explorers and I made a quick trip to the Dollar Tree and picked up a bag of marbles and a pool noodle. Once home we cut the pool noodle in half length wise and set the halves up against the couch with the groove side up. The explorers set to work placing the marbles in the groove and letting them race down. We ended up putting a bucket at the end of our “tracks” to keep the marbles from going under the furniture. It was a great activity that kept the explorers entertained for a long while and taught them a great deal about gravity.
The Hula Hoop Games is a game that gets those little ones moving and thinking. All you need is three to four different color hula hoops and an open space. Set the hula hoops up at varying distances apart from one another. Once the course is set give the children or child instructions on where to go. For example run to the red hula hoop and jump in and out of it 3 times or run past the purple hula hoop to the green hula hoop and jump over it. And of course don’t forget to enjoy learning how to hula hoop together!
I found that as the explorers are getting bigger they are getting more and more into playing games. Here is a short list of some of our favorites.
Hula Hoop Game
Sidewalk chalk drawing Simon Says
Jump the Brook
Mother May I?
Red light, green light
Head, shoulders, knees and toes
Angry Bird balloons
Glow in the dark bowling
Cloud shape game
Follow the leader
Flash light tag
Hide n seek
The rhyming game