Monthly Archives: July 2017

Nature Scavenger Hunt

For Try Something New Thursday, I wanted to do a nature scavenger hunt. I loved scavenger hunts as a kid, and I thought Buddy would enjoy them too. There is an amazing free printable on Life With My Little’s blog (get it here). I printed it and laminated it during Buddy’s nap. Once I found a small dry erase marker, we were all ready to go.

Buddy saw the scavenger hunt sheet, and he immediately understood what to do. He “read” the list on his own. We needed to find a stick, a dandelion, a clover, a bug, and a cool rock. I love this particular scavenger hunt because it is short, has nice pictures, and everything is easy to find.

Buddy got into his push car, and we went to the park near our house. There is a walking path around a small pond, which I knew would be perfect for our hunt. Buddy studied our scavenger hunt list as I pushed him to the park.

Once we reached the park, Buddy got out of the car to find the items. As we found each item, he crossed out the picture with the dry erase marker. Buddy loved using the marker and carrying our scavenger hunt list!

We found a clover!

Crossing out pictures on the card.

Since we took our time finding the items, we were able to see many amazing things not on our list. We saw a rabbit, a squirrel, a heron, and several huge dragonflies! Buddy loves animals, and they made our walk extra fun. After we walked for a while, Buddy wanted to push the car on his own. It slowed us down a bit, but we saw many fun things as a result. 

This was such a fun and easy activity! We both loved it, and I’m sure we’ll do it again soon.



Duplo Busy Bag

This July, my family is taking two different plane trips. Buddy has flown many times before (read about some of our activities here and here). However, he’s changed a lot since our last flight at Christmas. I wanted some new travel activities to keep him busy.

Since Buddy loves Duplos, I wanted to make a small Duplo busy bag to take on the plane. I looked around for something on Pinterest, but I didn’t find many options that I liked. Buddy has just started making small designs from pictures, but he can only do ones with a few blocks. I decided to make some simple figures, take pictures, and laminate them. Then I put them together on a ring. Buddy can pick out a picture and then make the figure. Most of the blocks are from this kit and this kit (affiliate links), but a few pieces are from other Lego sets.

Buddy was so excited to see his Legos on the airplane! The whole set was too big for our travel bag, so I chose a smaller set of cards and blocks. He loved picking out the pictures and making them. The only problem is that he wanted to make the bus from this set (affiliate link), and I didn’t have all the blocks. Other than that, it was great.

I’ve included a link to my PDF below for anyone else that is interested in making a Duplo busy bag. Please let me know if you have any comments or questions!

Duplo Busy Bag

Pouring Water Sensory Play

This week’s Water Wednesday was the rainiest day of the summer. It poured all day! Fortunately, I had planned a water activity that worked inside or outside. I originally got the idea of a water pouring station from Busy Toddler’s blog. Buddy loves to pour water, and his favorite bath toy is a cup for dumping water. I knew Buddy would love a pouring water activity.

First, I pulled out our sensory bin and a bunch of different cups. I also grabbed a funnel and an empty water bottle. Our two pitchers were both from the dollar store. The blue one was the water bottle that we used for the Bubbling Colors activity without the top. The other one I think was supposed to be for salad dressing. Both were perfect for toddler hands to lift and pour.

Buddy was so excited when I told him we were going to practice pouring water. He couldn’t wait to start!

He quickly poured out both pitchers into cups. I had hoped that he would pour the cups into other cups but he preferred to pour the cups into the open bin. He also poured into the funnel into the open bin. (Silly me thought he’d use the funnel to go into the water bottle or another cup!)Buddy had a lot of fun pouring water from the pitchers into other cups. He didn’t stop when a cup was overflowing, he just kept pouring all the water. When he wanted more water, I’d refill the pitchers. After awhile, the water on the bottom started to get a little deep, so I poured it out. (I didn’t want the bin to get too heavy for me to pick up and pour out.)

This was such a simple activity, but it was a lot of fun for Buddy. And it was a great real life skill that he got to practice too. I’d like to build up to Buddy using a small pitcher to pour a drink for himself. (A lot more work than just me getting it for him, but I know he’d love it.) I know we’ll be using the pitchers again this summer to practice pouring.



Bubbling Colors: A Science Activity for Toddlers

For Try Something New Thursday, I wanted to do a science activity. I’d seen several different activities with baking soda and vinegar on Pinterest. Since I had both of those ingredients on hand, it seemed like a good activity to try. I especially loved the hidden colors activity on Busy Toddler’s blog, so I decided to try it.

To start, I put two old muffin tins into my sensory bin. Then, I put several drops of food coloring in each cup of two muffin tins. Some of the cups had just one color, and some of them had two different colors. Then, I poured some baking soda in each cup. I put the vinegar in a water bottle from the dollar store. With the cap open, the vinegar dribbled out slowly. It was perfect for Buddy to pour the vinegar on the baking soda. 

I set out the materials for Buddy to explore. Buddy initially wanted to explore them with his hands. But once I showed Buddy the water bottle of vinegar, he was excited to pour it into the cups. He loved the bubbles that came up! It took a little while before we could see any color, but that was extra exciting once they showed up.

Buddy was happy to keep pouring the vinegar into the baking soda. The longer we did it, the better we could see the colors. He kept walking around the container making sure that he got into all of the muffin tin cups. 

Once most of our bubbles were gone, I shook out the top of each tin into the bin. After I did that, it exposed the extra baking soda that was still dry. Then we were able to continue our experiment. 

This was a fun and easy activity. Buddy really had a lot of fun, and it was easy to clean up. I love that Buddy had a chance to do a science experiment. Hopefully, we will be able to do another experiment sometime this summer.



Repurposed for Fun: Duplo Drop

We had an extra couple of boxes at our house last week. Immediately,  I knew I wanted to use the larger one for some cardboard box coloring. However, it took a few days for me to figure out an activity for the smaller one. Eventually, I decided to make a Duplo color sorting activity for Buddy. I originally saw this idea on Toddler Approved’s blog, and I knew Buddy would love it.

First, I used a box cutter to cut five holes in the box. Then I used some paint to outline a different color outside the edge of each hole. Since I only needed a little of each color, I used a q-tip instead of a paint brush to make clean up easy. 

I let the box dry for a couple of hours. Then I showed it to Buddy. He immediately knew what to do with it. Buddy was very excited to put each Duplo into the matching hole for its color. We’ve been working on colors, and he’s pretty confident with them. 

After he played with it for a while, Buddy decided to be silly. He would attempt to put the block in the wrong color and laugh about it. “Red in blue?” Buddy thought this was the funniest thing ever!

Our box wasn’t the strongest, and I was afraid it was going to break. Every time Buddy reached across the box, he put all of his weight on it. Eventually, I decided to put it vertically, and it fixed the problem. Plus, it was a whole new way to play, which made it more fun. 

Overall, this was a fun and easy way to repurpose a box. Buddy loves his Duplo drop and plays with it often. We will probably keep this out for a while and then fold it flat to save for later. If you have any other ideas for a cardboard box, please let me know. I’m always looking for new ways to play with the ones at my house.




DIY Rock Box

I am always looking for new, fun play spaces for Buddy. After seeing many great outdoor play areas on Pinterest, I wanted to make something similar. There is a small, unused garden bed next to our deck that seemed perfect. Originally, I wanted to make a sand box. However, I couldn’t find a way to cover it that seemed appealing. I didn’t want to look at a tarp, and a custom wood lid is too much work. Then I came across the idea of a rock box on Two Twenty One’s blog. I knew a rock box would be perfect. 

Hubby, Buddy, and I went to Home Depot together to buy rocks. I had planned to buy pea gravel and large river rocks. However, Hubby pointed out that it would be hard to pick the pea gravel out of the grass. When he mows the lawn, he needs to know it’s rock free. We ended up buying white marble chips and Mexican beach stones. Both of these are easy to see in the grass.

I scooped out the mulch and relocated it to another flower bed. Then, I got rid of the weeds. After I did that, it looked like this. I had a pretty butterfly that stopped to visit my flower bed. 

Next, I dug down a bit to get rid of the last mulch shards. It also gave me more space for the rocks. I laid down some landscaping fabric on the bed to block weeds. Then I poured the rocks on top. I sprayed the rocks with the hose to get rid of the dust.  I’m really happy with how the rock box turned out. To make it extra fun, I set out some construction trucks and sand toys in the rocks. Buddy was so excited when he saw it. After spending a week playing with his construction site sensory bin, he could finally play with real rocks! We’ve played with it several times since I made it, and it’s so much fun!