44 Preschool Learning Activities for the Outdoors

You’ve planned your learning activities for the classroom or homeschool, but it’s just too nice outside to be indoors. What to do? Take learning outdoors! I’ve put together 44 preschool learning activities that are perfect for the outdoors.

Counting.

Measuring.

Letter hunts.

Science with nature.

And more.

Lose the 4 walls and the ceiling and get outdoors with this fun collection!

Outdoor Learning Activities for Kids

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

44 Preschool Learning Activities for the Outdoors

The photo collages beneath each group of activities is shown left to right, starting with the first activity in the group. When you click the title of the activity, you will be taken to the original post with full directions.

 

  • Paint with Bubbles: Whip up a batch of vibrant bubble paint and make prints.
  • Outdoor Canvas Painting: Collect flower petals and add them to a watercolor canvas art activity.
  • Water Spray Alphabet Hunt: Work on letter recognition or letter sounds with water and a spray bottle! (Mom Inspired Life)
  • ABC Excavation Sensory Bin: Fill ice trays with ABC beads and freeze for a fun letter exploration activity. (Parenting Chaos)
  • Garden ABC Hunt: Get outside and enjoy some fresh air while practicing letter recognition. (Fantastic Fun and Learning)
  • Alphabet Ice Boats: Match the letters on the boats as the ice starts to melt. (School time Snippets)

preschool learning outdoors

 

 

preschool outdoor learning

 

 

preschool outdoor learning

 

 

preschool outdoor learning

 

  • Bubble Play: Make your own bubbles and try some fun activities that little kids love. (Red Ted Art)
  • Floating Flowers: Collect flowers from the garden and add to a tub of water. (Twitchetts)
  • Learn with Leaves: 7 math activities that you can do outside! (Crafts on Sea)
  • Exploring Senses in Nature: Make an easy DIY mystery bag and fill with natural materials for a fun tactile sense activity. (Natural Beach Living)
  • Play with Helicopter Seeds: These are fun to use for large motor activities, nature hunts, fine motor, counting, and in crafts! (Lalymom)
  • Outdoor Play Ideas Jar: Use the free printable for activity ideas, place in a jar, and let the kids pick a fun outdoor idea. (Kitchen Counter Chronicles)

 

preschool outdoor learning

 

  • Cutting Lavender: If you have lavender in your yard, invite your child to snip it for some fine motor fun. (Teach Me Mommy)
  • DIY Dice Game: Work on gross motor development while completing the task that the dice lands on. (Days with Grey)
  • Hammering Ice: Fill ice cube trays with water and small plastic bugs, freeze, and take outdoors to hammer! (Beauty Through Imperfection)
  • Sink or Float Science: Fill a tub with water, collect items, and see if they sink or float. Use the free printable to document results. (Buggy and Buddy)
  • Blow Bubbles with Household Objects: Discover which household objects work best to blow bubbles. (Playground Parkbench)
  • Spread Shaving Cream on Blocks: Help your children develop spreading skills with this fun activity. (Happy Hooligans)

preschool outdoor learning

 

  • Safari Small World: Create a safari small world in the sandbox with loose parts, including  natural materials. (Little Worlds Big Adventures)
  • Nature Number Art: Collect items on a walk, roll the dice, and create something with that many of the pieces. (Mosswood Creations)
  • Sand Cast Starfish: Next time you go to the beach, make this fun keepsake! (Crafts by Amanda)
  • Shadow Art: Add some hands-on STEAM to your outdoor time with this fun art and science activity. (Rhythms of Play)

 

preschool outdoor learning

 

  • Stone Faces Craft: Collect rocks on a nature walk and use the free printable to create funny stone faces. (Messy Little Monster)
  • Earth Craft with Rain: Use markers on paper and see what happens when rain falls on it. (To Be a Kid Again)
  • Jackson Pollock Art: Drip paint on a large sheet outdoors! (Learning and Exploring through Play)
  • Nature Paintbrushes: Collect pieces of nature while on a walk and then use them to paint with. (Messy Little Monster)

 

preschool outdoor learning

Looking for a more structured summer camp program for your kids?

preschool summer camp

Let the kids have the best summer ever! They will be busy learning, making and playing active games. Each day Summer Camp at Home offers 3 different activities.

Click here to read more >>>> Summer Camp at Home

Outdoor Learning Activities for Kids

 

 

More ideas for kids:

summer sensory bin      Fun Summer Activities for Toddlers     Fun Summer Activities for Preschoolers

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




15 Fun Water Activities for Preschoolers

Preschoolers love water. Give them a tub of water and a cup and they will fill and pour water over and over again. So why not add on to this with some fun hands-on learning? I’ve put together 15 fun water activities for preschoolers. Activities that allow them to:

  • Feel
  • Squeeze
  • Pour
  • Poke
  • Explore

These activities can be done year round, in the classroom or at home. With one child or many children.

And they are easy. We like that!

 

water activities for preschoolers - teaching 2 and 3 year olds

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

15 Fun Water Activities for Preschoolers

 

Color Sorting: This activity not only builds color recognition skills, but fine motor, too!

Water Squeezing: Have you ever used turkey basters in your water table? This is a favorite with our preschoolers! (Our toddlers love it, too.)

Transferring Water: Once young children can master turkey basters, they are ready for pipettes. This fine motor activity is also nice for calming down energetic children.

Washing with Water: Add small sponges to soapy water, along with some favorite toys to wash. In this particular activity, we used our collection of rubber ducks.

water activities for preschoolers

Kitchen Water Xylophone: Fill jars with various amounts of water and notice how different they sound. (Sugar, Spice and Glitter)

Leak-Proof Bag: Stick pencils through a plastic bag filled with water and it won’t leak! (Paging Fun Mums)

Keeping Paper Dry Science Activity: This water science idea will be like magic to preschoolers! (Pleasantest Thing)

Soapy Sea Foam Sensory Play: The colors in this activity are beautiful! Just add shells and ocean animals and pretend you are at the ocean. (Two-Daloo)

water activities for preschoolers

Pool Noodle Boat Fun: What a fun idea to use cut pieces of pool noodles as boats for the water table! (FSPDT)

Floating Chalk Prints: Wonder what happens when you shave colored chalk and add it to a pan of water? And then place a piece of paper on top? Try this activity and find out! (Picklebums)

Water Wall: You can make a homemade water wall for the backyard that your children will love! (Little Bins for Little Hands)

water activities for preschoolers

Bottle Caps and Water: Fill caps with water using pipettes. Another fun way to work on those fine motor skills! (Fantastic Fun and Learning)

Sink or Float: Collect items from nature and see which ones sink and float. (Laughing Kids Learn)

Experiment with the Changing Shape of Water: Find out what happens when water is poured into different shaped containers. (Stir the Wonder)

How Many Drops of Water Fit on One Penny: This activity will add some fun STEM into your day! (Our Whimsical Days)

water activities for preschoolers

What are your preschooler’s favorite water activities?

 

Water activities for preschoolers - fun ways to explore! Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

More fun ideas to try:

Gardening Ideas for Kids - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds      preschool color activities     learning games for preschoolers

 

Learn with Play post footer

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




How to Develop Fine Motor Skills with Toddlers and Preschoolers

Inside this post: How to Develop Fine Motor Skills with Toddlers and Preschoolers

You are a parent wondering why your child isn’t writing his name yet. Or you are a teacher who is looking for ways to strengthen your young students’ hands and fingers in the classroom.

I understand your concern, because I’ve been there. And over the years I’ve found age-appropriate activities that help develop fine motor skills. These can be done in a classroom or at home.

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite toddler and preschool fine motor activities.

how to strengthen fine motor skills toddlers preschoolers

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

How to Develop Fine Motor Skills with Toddlers and Preschoolers

Here are 6 of our favorite ways to work on fine motor skills:

Play Dough

Playdough is one of the easiest fine motor activities to put together, even for young toddlers. We use playdough with every age group in our preschool, as those little hands and fingers are continuing to develop at every stage.

If you don’t already have a favorite recipe, you can find ours in this post.

fine motor strengthening with play dough

More to read: Fine Motor Squeezing Activity Using Play dough

 

Basters

Squeezing works the smaller muscles in the palm of the hand, as well and the thumb and fingers. We use basters with our toddlers who have less control than our preschoolers.

Looking for a fun way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills? Here's a fun water activity using basters!

More to read: Toddler Fine Motor Water Activity

 

Pipettes and Eye Droppers

As our toddlers transition to preschoolers, their fine motor control is a bit stronger. Most can begin using pipettes or eye droppers with water or watercolors. A lot of concentration is needed while using these tools, and it can be a nice calming activity for busy children.

Preschool Fine Motor Activity

More to read: Preschool Fine Motor Transferring Activity

fine motor art in preschool

More to read: Fine Motor Watercolor Activity

 

Tongs and Tweezers

Using tongs and tweezers is another wonderful way to work those hands and fingers! We start with tongs because they are easier to squeeze open. As those little hands and fingers get stronger, we switch to tweezers.

Fine Motor with Sunflowers

More to read: Fine Motor Tweezing Activity

 

Threading

Threading beads and using lacing cards also strengthen fine motor development. We start with large stringing beads and eventually switch to cut straws and then pony beads.

Fine Motor Rainbow Craft for Preschoolers

More to read:  Motor Rainbow Craft

 

The Basics of Fine Motor Skills

Because I know how important it is to strengthen those hands and fingers, I’ve partnered with Heather from Growing Hands-On Kids as she launches her brand new book called Basics of Fine Motor Skills.

In Basics of Fine Motor Skills, you’ll learn which skills are important for fine motor development. You will also learn what fine motor development looks in children at all age levels.

 

Preschool Fine Motor Development

This is the perfect resource for parents, teachers, and therapists.

A 70 page PDF/digital download or 90 page paperback option is available. The paperback version is available on Amazon, so if you choose this option you will be redirected to Amazon to purchase.

 

 Click here for more information!


 

how to strengthen fine motor skills toddlers preschoolers

 

More fine motor activities:

Fine Motor Activities That Can Be Done at Home      fine motor activities all year long      preschool writing

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Fine Motor Rainbow Craft for Preschoolers

I love building multiple skills with one activity. This fine motor rainbow craft for preschoolers does just that. We have not only fine motor building taking place, but also color recognition AND math!

Recently I shared our rainbow color sorting sensory bin. Our preschoolers were so excited to learn the order of the colors that I put together a 3-dimensional rainbow craft. We then used this as a prop while reading the book “Planting a Rainbow“.

Fine Motor Rainbow Craft for Preschoolers

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Fine Motor Rainbow Craft for Preschoolers

What we used:

  • Rainbow printable (scroll down for the link to download)
  • Beads in rainbow colors
  • Pipe cleaners in rainbow colors
  • Small clear or white plastic cups
  • Cotton balls
  • White glue



Putting it together:

I sorted the beads and placed them in matching bowls. (Not a requirement. I just happened to have some on hand.) I made 4 copies of the rainbow sheet and put them in clear plastic pockets. (Can I just say how much I love having these pockets? No laminator needed and I can reuse them with other activities!)

Fine Motor Rainbow Craft for Preschoolers

I first invited the preschoolers to place one bead on the matching color on the printable. (1:1 correspondence is another important math skill for preschoolers!)

Fine Motor Rainbow Craft for Preschoolers

The beads were then threaded in rainbow order onto the pipe cleaner. (I bent the end of one side of the pipe cleaner to keep the beads from falling off.)

Fine Motor Rainbow Craft for Preschoolers

 

Fine Motor Rainbow Craft for Preschoolers

Once those were finished, I got the white cups ready. Each rainbow needs 2 cups, 1 for each end.

Fine Motor Rainbow Craft for Preschoolers

I poked a hole in the bottom of each cup and pushed the ends of the pipe cleaners into them and then twisted the ends inside the cup so they wouldn’t pull through.

Fine Motor Rainbow Craft for Preschoolers

The next step was brushing the glue on the cups.

Fine Motor Rainbow Craft for Preschoolers

And then sticking the cotton balls on the glue for clouds.

Fine Motor Rainbow Craft for Preschoolers

When they were dry, we used them during circle time while reading Planting a Rainbow. As we came to each color in the book, we touched that color bead on our rainbow.

Free download: Rainbow Color Sorting Sheet

Fine Motor Rainbow Craft for Preschoolers

More ideas to try:

15 Rainbow Science Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers      Fun Rainbow Sensory Bin     Rainbow Crayons - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




15 Quiet Time Activities for Preschoolers

You need some calm, quiet time to get a few things done around the house. You have a younger child who is taking a nap. You are trying to get dinner on the table. Or you are a teacher who needs to calm an extra-energetic classroom. (Don’t I know those days!) You need something to hand them that will give you those more peaceful moments. You need one of these 15 quiet time activities for preschoolers.

Turn on some soft classical music.

Take some deep breaths.

You’ll be happy to have these materials when you need them!

 

15 Quiet Time Activities for Preschoolers

 

 This post contains affiliate links for  your convenience.

 

15 Quiet Time Activities for Preschoolers

15 Quiet Time Activities for Preschoolers

Related posts:

Preschool Name Recognition - Ideas for Preschool Early Literacy - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds      how to make math fun for preschoolers      Shape Activities for Preschoolers

 

Learn: Hands-On Learning Plans for Your Preschooler

These are 35 hands on learning activities that you will actually do with your preschooler that make it fun to learn. You’ll be guided on how to find that extra 15 minutes (that you don’t have) to make time for the most important part of your life: your family.

Buy it now.

hands-on learning activities


 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 




Valentine’s Counting and Color Sorting Activity

We love simple activities that build skills! This Valentine’s counting and color sorting activity is perfect for small groups or independent work. It can be done in the classroom setting or in the home. All you need to do is download the free printable that is shown at the end of this post (scroll down), add objects that are the same colors, and it’s ready to go! You will see how I also turned this into a counting activity by creating a number line, and also an easy art activity.

I’m excited to announce that this activity is part of my book Learn with Play. Check it out here!

Preschool Valentines Activity - free printable! Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

Preschool Valentines Activity - free printable! Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Valentine’s Counting and Color Sorting Activity

 Valentine's counting activity with free printable!

What you will need:

 

  • Foam hearts (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple) or any desired shapes

  • White glue

  • Paper plate or other paper, cut into a heart shape

  • Colored hearts printable (offered at the end of this post)

  • Number line 1-6, written in the same colors as the hearts

preschool valentines activity

 

 

 

Color matching activity:

 

preschool valentines activity

 

Place at least 5 of each color of the foam hearts into a container, mixed up. Invite the children to remove the hearts from the container and sort them by color. Then place the hearts on the matching color on the printable.

 

preschool valentines activity

 

 

1:1 correspondence:

 

preschool valentines activity

 

Once again, mix all the hearts together so that the children need to sort them by color. Have them place one foam heart on the matching paper heart.

 

Counting the hearts:

 

preschool valentines activity

 

For this activity, I drew a simple number line by hand, using the same 6 colors as the hearts. I invited the children to place one heart on each number, making sure the foam heart and the number were the same color.

 

preschool valentines activity

 

 

preschool valentines activity

 

 

You could extend this so that they place 1 heart under the number 1, 2 hearts under the number 2, etc.

 

Simple art:

 

preschool valentines activity

preschool valentines activity

 

With the hearts still on the number line, squeeze 6 puddles of glue on a piece of heart-shaped paper. The children can then remove each heart from the number line and place on the glue. (1:1 correspondence)

 

preschool valentines activity

 

 

 

 Click here for free download: Colored Hearts Printable

 

 

Here are other fun Valentines activities to try:

Foil Valentines Hearts      Valentines Art      Easy Kids Valentines Craft

And make sure to pop over to our Valentine’s Day pin board!

 

 

 


 

Join us in having a kind classroom

Kind Classroom

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




55+ Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine motor development is an important part of the toddler and early childhood years. In order to learn how to draw and write, the hands must be strong enough to hold writing tools. Fine motor is also necessary for independence. Think about zipping a coat, buttoning pants, opening a door, getting a glass of water. These all require fine muscle control. And yet, according to some studies, children are entering kindergarten lacking fine motor skills. And then the question is asked how? How can we help our young children build strong hands? I hear this question often from my own preschool parents. And so I thought I’d put together a list of 55+ fine motor activities for home.

Yep, over 55 easy ways to help your young children strengthen their break from school skills. Simple ideas your children can do at the kitchen table, in the bathtub, or outside. 50+ fine motor ideas that use simple materials, many of which you already have in your home. Activities that are perfect when your children are on break from school, the weekend, a rainy day, any time!

Fine Motor Activities That Can Be Done at Home

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

This collection of fine motor activities is geared for children ages 2-5. Some will be more suitable for younger children, some for older. Choose the activities you feel are best for your children and build on them as they are ready.

 

55+ Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine Motor Activities for Home

Bonus! Grab your copy of this fun scissor practice packet:

Preschool Scissor practice activities

32 pages total of scissor practice activities in a age appropriate and developmental sequence. For preschool through 1st graders.  For only $2.99 download your PDF digital product now!

 

 

Join me over at Melissa & Doug’s blog to find more fine motor activities that can be done at home!

Related posts:

Preschool Name Recognition - Ideas for Preschool Early Literacy - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds      how to make math fun for preschoolers      Shape Activities for PreschoolersFine Motor Activities That Can Be Done at Home

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 




Easy Yarn Wrapped Christmas Tree Activity

 

We have a lot going on in our preschool during December, so we wanted an easy yarn wrapped Christmas tree activity at our fine motor table for our preschoolers. I’ve seen very similar activities all over the internet, so I won’t take credit for it. In fact, it was my wonderful co-teacher who thought to add it to our fine motor table. On this particular day, we had a birthday treat being prepared at one table and the start of a new ornament going on at another table. Adding this calm, quiet activity to the fine motor table was just what we needed. So, if you are looking for something similar, you will want to try this. It requires 2 materials. Yep, that is it.

 

easy christmas activity for preschoolers

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Easy Yarn Wrapped Christmas Tree Activity

All you will need for this easy yarn wrapped Christmas tree activity is some yarn and some paint swatches. We used white yarn and red yarn and let the preschoolers decide what color they wanted. We had red and green paint swatches, but after taking the photo we decided to just use the green for this particular activity. I am saving the red for some candy canes or stockings later.

 

easy christmas activity for preschoolers

 

 

I cut the green paint swatches into triangles and then used scissors to create fringe up and down.

 

easy christmas activity for preschoolers

 

I then cut yarn and pushed it through the first cut in the triangle and showed the preschoolers how to wrap the yarn from one side to the other.

 

easy christmas activity for preschoolers

 

It took great concentration.

 

easy christmas activity for preschoolers

 

easy christmas activity for preschoolers

 

When they were finished, I made sure the end of the yarn was tucked into the last slot. A wonderful fine motor activity for preschoolers that is simple to put together.

 

easy christmas activity for preschoolers

easy christmas activity for preschoolers

 

More Christmas activities:

christmas yarn-wrapped trees


 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Simple Halloween Sorting Activity

You know when you see something that you just have to have for a preschool activity? And you purchase it and are so excited when it arrives in the mail that your family rolls their eyes as you excitedly tear open the package? Yeah, that happened to me recently. And I think you teachers will get it. I found the perfect thing for a simple Halloween sorting activity.

Pumpkin jingle bells!

Seriously, you guys, these are the cutest things ever! You might recall my love for using magnet wands with jingle bells in December. Oh, and we also painted with jingle bells. Well, now we can have fun with these cute pumpkin jingle bells in October!

Giddy, I tell you!

Simple Halloween Sorting Activity

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Simple Halloween Sorting Activity

By now you must want to know where I found these, right? Well, I’m a little addicted to Amazon. It’s my go to when I am looking for materials because I love how it comes right to my doorstep. I found the orange wand there, too. Because I just had to be color-coordinated!

We read a couple of fun pumpkin books and had pumpkins in most areas of the classroom. Very fun!

 


Simple Halloween Sorting Activity

I took an empty egg carton and colored the bottoms of each cup the same colors as the pumpkins.

Simple Halloween Sorting Activity

The goal was to transfer the bells from the dish to the egg carton using the magnetic wand, releasing the bell in the matching cup.

Simple Halloween Sorting Activity

Simple Halloween Sorting Activity

We love using magnet wands with our activities. They are not only fun for our preschoolers, but they also build hand-eye coordination and strengthen fine motor skills.

Simple Halloween Sorting Activity

And see how nicely they fit in those small hands? The perfect size!

Simple Halloween Sorting Activity

These independent activities can be done easily at home, too. Just store everything in a gallon-size plastic storage bag and it’s ready to go!

Simple Halloween Sorting Activity

Simple Halloween Sorting Activity

Bonus! Grab this fall literacy collection for your preschoolers! Over 66 pages of learning activities to go with your fall theme. Buy it now for only $4!

Fall Literacy Activities for Preschoolers

More fall ideas for preschoolers:

Preschool Science Ideas for Fall - 5 hands-on activities from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds      Preschool Apple Theme Ideas - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds     20 Free Fall Printables for Preschoolers

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 




Building Fine Motor Skills with Lego Bricks

Preschoolers with weak fine motor skills can be frustrated when they try to use tools such as paint brushes and markers. In fact, they might stay away from them altogether. It’s important to find playful activities that not only strengthen those fine motor muscles, but also build the child’s confidence. Building fine motor skills with Lego bricks has been very successful. Young children love building with them, and yet they are also strengthening those hands and fingers.

learning with lego - 100+ activities for kids

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. I was given a free copy of The Official Guide to Learning with Lego. The activities I am sharing today are from that book, and all opinions are my own.

Building Fine Motor Skills with Lego

We’ve used Lego bricks for many playful learning activities, but today I would like to share 2 that I used with one of our students who has weak fine motor skills. I chose these because they allowed building, which this student loves, and she could use various parts of her body, including her core.

Duplo Ring Toss

For this activity we used pipe cleaners and Lego Duplo bricks. Miss N twisted the ends of the pipe cleaners to make rings. This was a bit challenging for her, since it required using the tips of her thumb and fingers.

learning with lego - 100+ activities for kids

She then stacked a few rows of Duplo bricks to make towers.

learning with lego - 100+ activities for kids

It was then ring toss time! The goal was to aim the ring so that it would wrap around one of the towers.

learning with lego - 100+ activities for kids

This was also a great way to work on hand-eye coordination as she aimed for the ring. Miss N tried this sitting in front of the towers, and then standing over them.

learning with lego - 100+ activities for kids

Fine Motor Bowling

We took the Duplo towers we had made for the ring toss activity and used them for bowling. Miss N rolled a golf ball towards the towers, trying to aim at a particular one so she could knock it over. Once again, she had to really focus and aim towards the tower. It took a few tries but because she was having so much fun, she did not give up in frustration as she tends to do with other fine motor activities.

learning with lego - 100+ activities for kids

learning with lego - 100+ activities for kids

When she finally successfully knocked a tower over, she was elated! She crawled towards the fallen tower and picked it back up again.

learning with lego - 100+ activities for kids

Miss N’s therapist encourages us to have her use her core muscles whenever we can. The more steady her core is, the easier it will be for her to use her hands and fingers. So I had her lie on her tummy and roll the ball. This was more of a challenge, but she accepted it!

Learning with Legos

Now, I wish I had come up with these 2 ideas on my own, but I didn’t. I found them a new book called The Unofficial Guide to Learning with Lego®. This book, written by some of my talented kid blogging friends, has over 100 totally awesome Lego learning ideas that children LOVE!

 

100+ Totally Awesome Lego Learning Ideas

 

We love Lego® in our toddler and preschool classrooms. In fact, as I write this, our theme this week in summer camp is all about Lego®! You might recall our Lego® camp last year when we played this fun color sorting game.  So, when the authors of this new book asked if I would try it out, how could I say no?

The unofficial guide to learning with Lego

The Unofficial Guide to Learning with Lego®  brings you over 100 awesome Lego®-based ideas that are perfect for educating in the classroom and at home. The book starts with the basics like learning colors and counting, all the way up to engineering and other STEM topics. (You might recall how we used our Duplo bricks in a STEM construction activity last year.)

learning with lego

 

 

This book includes projects that are adaptable to all ages, skill levels and cognitive abilities. It includes projects that use Lego bricks and projects that use Duplo. They’ve included math, reading, writing, science, social studies, and even emotional education.

You can get the book as an ebook, kindle, and print format for your convenience.

How do you use Lego for learning? Please leave a comment! If you post on social media, you can use the hashtag #learningwithlego so we can easily spot the fun you’ve had!

Fine motor strength - learning with Lego


 

More fine motor ideas:

Preschool Fine Motor Activity Transferring Water      Fine Motor with Sunflowers     fine motor art in preschool

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

We love preschool name recognition ideas because names are often the first word a young child learns how to read. I’ve shared how we include literacy activities in all areas of the classroom, and our students’ names included. If you were to walk into our classroom, you’d see names on the wall, on furniture, on cards, on photos, even hanging from the ceiling. Halfway through our school year, many of our 3 year olds are pointing out letters from their names or recognizing their entire names.

 

 

 Preschool Name Recognition - Ideas for Preschool Early Literacy - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

 

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Displaying names:

 

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Coat hooks:

 

Assigning them to their own hooks gives the preschoolers a sense of ownership. When they arrive in the morning, they find their names to hang their own hooks, placed at their level.

 

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Cubbies:

We have cubbies in the hallway for each of our students in our 2 and 3 year old classes. We also have cubbies inside the classroom for our 3 year olds. Any work they do that doesn’t need to dry immediately goes into their classroom cubbies. They learn quickly where to find their cubbies by looking for their names.

 

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Memory Books:

Names are displayed on the spines of our memory books and stored in our classroom all year.
(Read more about our memory books.)

 

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Artwork:

We display names beside the children’s work on our bulletin boards.

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Small groups:

At the end of each morning in our 3’s class, we have about 10 minutes of small groups. The children are separated into 4 groups, each group being a different color. As we call the children to their tables, they look for their name cards. We do the same for snack as well.
(Read more about our small groups.)
Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Circle Time:

In our 3’s class, the children have their own personalized stools to sit on. We teachers set the stools out before circle time. As the children are invited to come to circle time, they look for their names.

(Read more about our circle time.)

 

preschool classroom design

 

classroom birthday bulletin board

 

Birthday wall:

At the start of the school year there is a crown above each child’s labeled name. As we celebrate a birthday, the crown is removed. The children are always checking to see whose birthday is next.

 

Activities using our names:

 

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Sign-in sheet:

When our 3 year olds arrive each morning, they find their name on a clipboard and draw a line from left to right. Eventually some will start writing some letters or their entire names.
Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Name puzzles:

Our 3 year olds love this simple name puzzle activity that we do during our small groups.

(Read more about our name puzzles.)

Preschool Name Recognition

 

Name discovery bottles:

The children placed letter beads into a bottle along with colored rice for a fun letter recognition activity.

(Read more about how we made our name discovery bottles.)

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Do-a-Dots on letters:

The children press Do-a-Dots on the first letters of their names. We also will glue small pieces on letters as well as macaroni, or press stickers on them.

 

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Stamping letters:

We offer upper and lower case letters for children to stamp letters that are in their names.

 

Other activities:

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Cooking activities:

 

We will write their names on individual mixing cups or bowls and serving plates. As they arrive to the table, they find their names and get started.

 

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

 

Items brought from home:

Every so often, we will ask the children to contribute something to an activity. In this case, we were comparing apples before making applesauce. The children found their apples by looking for their names.

(Read more about how we make applesauce.)
Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Valentine’s bags:

After the children make their own bags, we hang them in alphabetical order. With their parents’ help, they deliver their Valentine’s cards to each of their classmates’ bags.

 

Bonus! If your preschooler is ready to practice writing letters, here is a 245 page packet you can download. This packet includes printables for all 26 letters of the alphabet! Click on the photo below for details.

 

Preschool Alphabet Packet

 

More teaching ideas:

 

Learning-Activities-for-Preschoolers      preschool transitions while waiting      Creating a Preschool Circle Time

preschool science      Back to school activities for preschool - a collection of activities, books and songs for the first weeks of school.      preschool literacy


Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

 




Rainbow Threading Activity for Preschoolers

 

Making a necklace is a great fine motor rainbow threading activity for preschoolers. Each year we do some version of this, such as last year when we made a necklace with cut straws. I did this particular activity during small groups. I showed them a picture of a rainbow and they sorted the colored macaroni so that they had one of each color. Then, we worked on fine motor skills by threading them with plastic needles. They were so excited to wear their necklaces!

 

Rainbow Activity for Preschoolers

 

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Rainbow Threading Activity for Preschoolers

 

I love planning rainbow activities. You’ve seen how we’ve made a huge color wheel, and how we made rainbows with dyed rope. So, by the time we make our rainbow necklaces, our preschoolers have a pretty good idea of what colors they will be using.

 

What you will need for this rainbow necklace activity:

Rainbow Activity for Preschoolers

 

Preparing this activity:

  • Dye your macaroni the colors of the rainbow. I use the same method for macaroni as when we dyed our rice for our sunflower sensory bin.
  • Cut the yarn so that it will fit around a preschooler’s neck. (You can be generous and then cut the yarn later if it’s too large.)
  • Tie the yarn to the plastic needle and place the dyed macaroni in separate containers.

 

Rainbow Activity for Preschoolers

Making these rainbow necklaces:

Show your children how to hold the needle (attached to the yarn) with their “worker hand” (dominant hand). Then, with their “helper hand” (non-dominant hand), slip the macaroni through the needle and thread. (Note: You can take one of the macaroni pieces and tie it on the end of the yarn so the other macaroni pieces don’t slide off the yarn. Then, when the necklace is finished, untie that piece and let it join the others.)

 

Rainbow Activity for Preschoolers

Rainbow Activity for Preschoolers

Rainbow Activity for Preschoolers

Rainbow Activity for Preschoolers

When the threading is completed:

Remove the plastic needle and connect the necklace by tying it.

 

Rainbow Activity for Preschoolers

 

 

More ideas your preschoolers will like:

butterfly craft for preschoolers      Fine Motor Activities for Preschoolers     spring activities for preschoolers

 

 


 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

 




Toddler Fine Motor Water Activity

Long before children can start writing, they need to first develop their pre-writing skills. This means strengthening those muscles that will help them have the ability to hold a writing tool. One of my favorites is this toddler fine motor water activity. We introduce basters in our toddler class because the bulb fits nicely in their hands. We demonstrate how to squeeze and release the bulb, moving the water in and out of the baster. This takes great concentration but is such a great (and fun!) way to build those fine motor skills.

Looking for a fun way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills? Here's a fun water activity using basters!

 

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Toddler Fine Motor Water Activity

Looking for a fun way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills? Here's a fun water activity using basters!

 

What we used:

Mini basters (we also used the small squeeze toy from this fine motor set)

Pouring utensils

Water in some sort of bin (we tinted our water with some blue watercolors so it was more visible)

 


Introducing this activity:

 

Let them explore the water with the pouring utensils.

 

Fine Motor Activity Using Basters

 

Fine Motor Activity Using Basters

After modeling how to squeeze the bulb to suck in the water and then release the water, let them give it a try.

Fine Motor Activity Using Basters

Once they get the hang of it, they want to do it over and over again. Another plus to this activity is that it is very soothing, like all of our water table activities. If you are a parent with a toddler, you can easily set this activity up in the bathtub.

Fine Motor Activity Using Basters

 

Fine Motor Activity Using Basters

While these types of activities are building strength for future writing, toddlers are simply having fun exploring how water moves using basters.

Looking for a fun way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills? Here's a fun water activity using basters!

 

You will find even more ideas on my fine motor pinboard!

Looking for a fun way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills? Here's a fun water activity using basters!

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More fun fine motor activities:

Preschool Fine Motor Activity Transferring Water     fine motor art in preschool    17 Squeezing Activities for Strengthening Hands

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




20 Fun and Easy Toddler Activities for Home

Toddlers love to be busy, don’t they? Well, you will love these 20 fun and easy toddler activities for home! These can be done independently, or during a play date. You might want to leave them out for awhile, because toddlers have short attention spans and often want to return to the activity several times. If your toddler isn’t interested, no worries! Save it until he or she is a little older.

Make sure to check out my amazing collection of toddler activities on Pinterest, too!

20 Fun and Easy Toddler Activities for Home

Toddler Play Activities

 

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

20 Fun and Easy Toddler Activities for Home

20 Fun and Easy Toddler Activities for Home

 

 

 

 

    • Grab your cookie cutters, add a small tray of paint, and invite your toddler to stamp onto paper.
    • Introduce your toddler’s name with an easy tape-resist name art activity. (Learn with Play at Home)
    • Toddlers love to pour! Create a pouring station that is especially fun outdoors. (Busy Toddler)
    • The refrigerator makes a great magnetic board. Make your own pom pom magnets that can be stuck on the fridge, and removed, and stuck on again … and again … and again! (Powerful Mothering)


20 Fun and Easy Toddler Activities for Home

 

  • If you have a toddler who doesn’t like to get paint on the hands, try this no-touch art activity.
  • You can whip up some flour paint with ingredients you probably already have from your kitchen. (Simple Fun for Kids)
  • Put sticky paper on your window and add tissue paper pieces. This is a favorite of ours! (Mess for Less)
  • Find someone who sews and ask for their empty thread spools. Stamping with spools is so much fun for toddlers!

 

20 Fun and Easy Toddler Activities for Home

  • Fill a water tub with warm soapy water. Our toddlers loved it when we filled our table with rubber ducks!
  • Another tub idea is to clean rocks with shaving cream and warm water. (Learn with Play at Home)
  • Young toddlers would love playing with a tugging box. A great way to use that empty box sitting in your garage. (Laughing Kids Learn)
  • Draw colored shapes on large pieces of paper taped to the floor. Play a simple shape game to build shape recognition. (Toddler Approved)

 

Looking for ideas your toddlers can do at home? Check out this collection from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds!

  • Toddlers love to be helpful in the kitchen. You can add some simple counting while making vegetable soup.
  • If you have some bubble wrap leftover from a package, you can make a bubble wrap runway. Toddlers love to run and jump on this stuff! (Hands On As We Grow)
  • If your toddler loves cars, this car parking lot numbers game will be a hit. All you need is a shallow box and some cars, and the fun will begin. (B-Inspired Mama)
  • Paint with balls! We used small nubby balls for extra texture, but any small balls will work.

20 Fun and Easy Toddler Activities for Home

 

 

 

PLAY: Playful Activity Plans for Your Busy Toddler

35 hand-chosen activities that you can do with your toddler!

More information: Play: Playful Activity Plans

 

 

 More ideas for toddlers:

Color Sorting Water Bin      25 activities for busy toddlers     Toddler Alphabet Ideas

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Easy Playdough Snowman Building Activity

Winter is here! And that means adding lots of snow activities to your winter theme. That also means making playdough snowmen. You might remember our love for snowmen, like when we stamped them with bubble wrap, and when we made “snow” covered snowmen. Well, now we’ve made them out of playdough, too! Our toddlers and preschoolers loved this easy playdough snowman building activity!

This year we happened to get a bit of snow right before we put together this activity. As you know, it’s always much more meaningful when children have experienced it in real life. So, when they arrived after experiencing some snow, they were so excited to build snowmen!

This is a super easy and fun winter activity.

Playdough Snowmen - Fun for toddlers and preschoolers! Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Playdough Snowmen - Fun for toddlers and preschoolers! Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Easy Playdough Snowman Building Activity

 

 

First, you need the playdough.

This is our favorite play dough recipe, but we double this since we have 10-16 children.

2 cups flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cream of tartar (we buy ours in bulk at our local grocery store)

1/2 cup salt
1 1/2 cups water

Place the water in a pot and bring it to a boil and then add the rest of the ingredients. Cook until the dough thickens and separates from the sides of the pot.

Place the dough on a flat surface and knead with a bit more flour until it is no longer sticky. Place in an airtight container.


 

Setting up this activity:

We set up our playdough table with the white playdough, rolling pins, snowman stampers, and small pieces to embellish the snowmen. (We used googly eyes, buttons, and colored matchsticks.)

 

Playdough Snowmen - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Making the snowmen:

We learned how to roll the playdough in the palms of our hands to make balls and long thin pieces.

At first they looked like this:

Playdough Snowmen - Fun for toddlers and preschoolers! Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

And then like this:

Playdough Snowmen - Fun for toddlers and preschoolers! Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

And then, they started forming smaller balls to make more defined snowmen.

Playdough Snowmen - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Playdough Snowmen - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Playdough Snowmen - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

They were very proud to show off their snowmen!

Playdough Snowmen - Fun for toddlers and preschoolers! Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Playdough Snowmen - Fun for toddlers and preschoolers! Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

As we were getting ready to clean everything up, I noticed that one little guy had made a series of snowmen. He said they were a family.

Playdough Snowmen - Fun for toddlers and preschoolers! Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds


Looking for more winter ideas?

Winter Math Ideas for Preschoolers - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds      Keep kids busy during winter break with these fun activities! - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds     Kids Winter Ice Activities

Playdough Snowmen - Fun for toddlers and preschoolers! Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

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Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Gingerbread Suncatcher Ornament

We welcome December each year with a gingerbread theme that always includes an ornament. We’ve made play dough gingerbread ornaments and rich brown clay gingerbread ornaments. This year I tried something completely different: a gingerbread suncatcher ornament. I wanted something colorful that could be either added to a Christmas tree, or hung in the window to brighten those dreary winter days. I also wanted an ornament that the preschoolers could reposition the pieces. I am quite pleased with how they turned out and so are the children!

Gingerbread Suncatcher Ornament for Kids

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Gingerbread Suncatcher Ornament

 

What you will need:

 

  • White flimsy paper plates or white card stock
  • Sticky (Contact) paper
  • Tissue paper squares in various colors
  • Buttons
  • Wiggle eyes
  • Assorted colors of yarn
  • Double-sided clear tape

 

Preparing the gingerbread suncatcher ornament:

Use some sort of gingerbread template to trace on the paper. (I used one of our large gingerbread cookie cutters.) Cut the shape from the center, so that you have negative space. (I used an X-acto knife.)

 

Cut the contact paper so that it covers the negative gingerbread space. Place it sticky side down on one side of the paper.

 

Gingerbread Suncatcher Ornament for Kids

 

 

Creating the gingerbread suncatcher:

Press the tissue paper squares on top of the sticky side of the contact paper.

Gingerbread Suncatcher Ornament for Kids

Gingerbread Suncatcher Ornament for Kids

 

Shaping the ornaments into gingerbread shapes:

After tissue paper squares are stuck on the paper, cut another piece of contact paper to cover the open side. Now both sticky sides are touching each other, so the tissue paper is secure. Cut around the gingerbread shape so that you leave white trim around the entire shape. Punch a hole near the top of the gingerbread ornament.

Gingerbread Suncatcher Ornament for Kids

Adding details to the gingerbread suncatcher ornament:

Tie a piece of yarn through hole near the top of the ornament to create a loop for hanging. Place double-sided tape on the areas where the features will be placed.

Gingerbread Suncatcher Ornament for Kids

What’s fun is that even once the materials are placed on the tape, they can be moved. The children loved repositioning the pieces until they were satisfied with the placement.

Gingerbread Suncatcher Ornament for Kids

Of course, what I love is that they have added their own touches. The gingerbread man pictured below was made by 3 year old Finley. “He has a mustache!” Oh, and that is also a mustache on the left foot.

Gingerbread Suncatcher Ornament for Kids

When finished, the gingerbread suncatcher ornament can be hung in the window or on the Christmas tree.

Gingerbread Suncatcher Ornament for Kids

Gingerbread Suncatcher Ornament for Kids - Add some fine motor fun! Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Gingerbread Suncatcher Ornament for Kids - Add some fine motor fun! Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

More Christmas ideas for young children:

 

Easy Christmas Ideas for Little Kids     Christmas Painting Activities      Christmas Sensory Play Activities

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds