Category Archives: Activities

Dinosaur Play Plate

Buddy has been interested in dinosaurs lately, so I’ve been looking for fun and easy dinosaur activities. I first saw the idea for a dinosaur play plate on Picklebum’s blog. They used an oval paper plate, which I didn’t have. But I did like the idea of making a small dinosaur scene for Buddy.

Earlier this summer, I’d printed and laminated this free dinosaur playmat from Free Time Frolics. However, Buddy and I never got around to playing with it. I decided to cut it down to fit a shoe box lid. Then I added a few small dinosaurs and the souvenir rocks Buddy bought on our recent trip to Jackson Hole.

Buddy was really excited when he saw his dinosaur scene. He hadn’t played with the rocks since our trip, and that was a lot of fun for him. Buddy put the rocks on the dinosaurs’ backs and walked them around. He also fed the rocks to the dinosaurs.

Then, Buddy decided to shake the rocks in the box and pour them out. He thought this was a lot of fun as well. 

Eventually, the dinosaurs and the rocks traveled around Buddy’s room. He saw some of his cars, and he decided to include one in the play scene. Buddy enjoyed driving his car through all of the rocks.

Overall, Buddy enjoyed his dinosaur play plate. I have it set up still, so I’m sure we’ll play with it again soon. I’m looking for more ideas to do with those rocks, so if you have ideas, please share in the comments!

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25 Fun and Free Printables for Toddlers

I love when I find easy activities to print and use with Buddy. There are so many mom blogs with awesome activities ready to use! This week, I wanted to feature my favorite printables that I’ve tried with Buddy, as well as some that I’m looking forward to using. Almost all of the ones I’ve used have been laminated with my Scotch laminator (affiliate link), which I love! It makes it easy to save these activities to use again and again.

Matching Activities

Buddy loves matching activities! We tried this truck one from Royal Baloo’s blog, and Buddy loved it! There were a lot of cards and many similar ones (several different police cars, fire trucks, etc.), so the second time through I edited it down to one of each type of car. He’s so into cars right now, so this was perfect for him.

Other matching printables:

 

Scavenger Hunts

 

I blogged about our nature scavenger hunt earlier this summer (read about it here.) The printable we used was from Life With My Little’s blog. Her pictures made it really easy for Buddy to know exactly what we were looking for. And we both had so much fun finding the things on this list.

Other scavenger hunt printables:

 

Games

I loved this shape board game from Simple Fun for Kids’ blog. Buddy and I tried it out on one of our Time to Read Tuesdays after reading a shape book. We used shape buttons to be our markers. The shape die got a little crumpled, but the game was a lot of fun. This was Buddy’s first board game, and he really liked it.

Other toddler game printables:

 

Movement Activities

These construction movement cards are another amazing printable from Royal Baloo. Buddy had a lot of fun picking up one card at a time and moving like that construction vehicle. It was a great way for Buddy to work on his gross motor skills in a fun way.

Other movement printables:

 

Book Activities

Since I’m a teacher, I get really happy when I find great activities that go along with a book. It’s so important to read, and the activities make it extra fun. 1+1+1=1’s blog has so many great book related printables, including these ones that we used with the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (affiliate link)

Other book printables:

 

Duplo Activities

Buddy loves Duplos, so I put together a Duplo Busy Bag for our summer plane trips. I took pictures of many different small Duplo scenes that could be made from the blocks in the bag. He really loved picking out a picture to make, and then putting it together himself.

Other Duplo activities:

After looking back through my Pinterest boards to find these printables, I’m reminded of a lot of new fun ideas to try with Buddy. Hopefully you found something that was helpful for you too! Please comment if you have any other great printable links for toddlers.

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Shapes Collage

One of the projects I wanted to try this summer was a collage with Buddy. I saw the idea for a glue bin on Busy Toddler’s blog, and I knew Buddy would love it. He hadn’t used glue before, but I knew he’d enjoy trying it.

I decided to make this a shapes and colors activity as well as an introduction to using a glue stick. We’ve been working on shapes and colors a lot, and Buddy loves it. I cut out a bunch of different shapes in different colors of construction paper and put them in a bag. Then I pulled out a black piece of construction paper and a glue stick.

At first, Buddy just wanted to keep the shapes in the bag. He was very excited about putting glue on the shapes. It was a little challenging for him, though.

Buddy loved how sticky the glue was! He kept putting his fingers in it! We talked about the different colors and shapes as he glued on the shapes. Buddy wanted to use the glue as a crayon, so that was a little challenging for him. I tried to get him to put the shapes on his lines of glue, but he didn’t want to. Eventually, he decided it was easier to put the glue on the shape and then put it down. Buddy liked putting glue on both sides of the paper, which made it a lot easier to put the sticky side on the paper. 

When we finished, Buddy was very proud of his collage. It was an easy and fun activity, and I’m sure we will do it again soon. 

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Whisking Bubbles

Recently, I needed another inside activity for Water Wednesday. (For several weeks in a row, we’ve had thunderstorms on Wednesdays.) I originally saw the idea for whisking bubbles on Emma Owl’s blog and loved it. Even though she did it outside, I knew it would be perfect for a rainy Wednesday.

To start, I put a little dish soap and warm water in a large bowl. I put it on a large beach towel to help catch any spilled soapy water. Then, I found two whisks and showed them to Buddy. I told him we were going to use the whisks to create bubbles.

Buddy was very excited about the activity. He was happy to stir the water with the whisks, but he needed a little assistance at first. I modeled how to stir the water vigorously enough to create the bubbles. Then we stirred together. 

The more we stirred, the more bubbles we got. Buddy was thrilled! Once we had a few bubbles, he didn’t need any help to get more. He did a neat job of stirring, and he loved it! Once we had some bubble foam, he tried to scoop it up with the whisk. Buddy had the best time! He loved scooping up the foamy bubbles, and then stirring again to make more.

Buddy eventually got brave enough to stick his hands in the bubbles. Then he decided it was “sunscreen” and he started slathering it on his arms, legs, and face. We were both laughing hysterically!Because he had a whisk and not a cup, Buddy didn’t make much of a mess until he starting putting it all over himself. When we were done, it was easy to mop up with the towel. Of course, this would be easy to do outside or in the tub, and then there wouldn’t be any clean up needed. Buddy loved this activity so much, we will definitely do it again soon!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Repurposed for Fun: Bowling with Cups

Last week, I wanted to try a new game for Try Something New Thursday. I grabbed a stack of cups that were leftover from our last party and a medium sized ball. I made a pyramid with the cups, and we were ready to bowl. 

Buddy was excited as soon as he saw the bowling game. He initially tried to throw the ball at the cups. Then I showed him how to roll the ball. Buddy tried to roll it right next to the cups, but I told him you have to go far for bowling. He thought that was really funny, and he now says “go far!” all the time. It didn’t take long, though, for him to understand how to bowl.

Buddy and I took turns bowling. We didn’t keep score; we just tried to knock down as many cups as we could. It was a lot of fun showing him how to take turns to play a game. If we didn’t knock down all of the cups, Buddy kicked over the rest of them. That was a lot of fun too. 

We played for about 15 minutes, then Buddy took a break. He decided to put his trains in a cup and pour them into a box. (Buddy still loves pouring!) Once all the trains were in the box, we got back to bowling.

We both had a lot of fun! I’m happy to have an easy game we can play with a family, and I’m sure we will play it again soon.

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Mighty, Mighty Construction Site Sensory Bin

Buddy is really into construction vehicles right now, so I decided to do another construction sensory bin for this week’s Time To Read Tuesday. (Read about our other construction site sensory bin with shredded paper here.) I checked out the book Mighty, Mighty Construction Site (affiliate link) from our library to go with our sensory bin. Buddy loves Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site (affiliate link), so we were both excited to read the sequel.

I started by reading the book with Buddy. He loved all of the trucks from the other book and all of the new ones too. I loved the themes of friendship and teamwork. It’s a great book and definitely worth checking out or buying.

Then, I pulled out our sensory bin, poured in black beans, and added four mini CAT construction vehicles. I bought mine at the dollar store, but you can also get them here. They are really nice for the price, and all of the parts move the same way they do on the actual construction vehicles. Buddy was with me when we bought them a few months ago, but he hasn’t seen them since then. These new toys made the sensory bin extra exciting. 

I knew we had a bulldozer and a dump truck, but I wasn’t sure what the other two vehicles are. Fortunately, both were new friends added to Mighty, Mighty Construction Site. After looking at the pictures, we decided our other trucks were a backhoe and a front-end loader.

In the book, the front-end loader helps fill up the dump truck. We spent a lot of time doing that as well. Then Buddy tried using the backhoe and the bulldozer to fill up the dump truck. He had the best time filling up the dump truck, driving it around the bin, and dumping it back out. Buddy also loved grabbing handfuls of beans and dropping them.

This was one of my most successful activities in a long time. Buddy played with the trucks for over an hour! When we had to stop for dinner, he was hysterical about me putting it away. We compromised by picking up the beans and leaving them in the bin with the trucks. (Normally I keep my sensory bin fillers in an extra large ziplock bag in a cabinet.) We’ve played with it twice in the last week. It’s a mess, but Buddy loves it so much, it’s worth it. I know we’ll continue to play with our Mighty, Mighty Construction Site sensory bin often.

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