Top 7 Fall Sensory Bins Toddlers and Preschoolers Love

Inside: Top 7 Fall Sensory Bins Toddlers and Preschoolers Love -These are our favorites with our 2 and 3 year olds!

After teaching for as long as I have (almost 2 decades as I write this), I’ve done a lot of observing toddlers and preschoolers at the sensory bin. No matter how we set that bin up, no matter how many hours we’ve thought of ways to add on to it, no matter all the little details we are so excited to add, there is one must.

There must be tools and materials that allow scooping and pouring.

That is what they love most about the sensory bin.

And so, I’m going to share our top 7 fall sensory bins toddlers and preschoolers love.

That all involve scooping and pouring.

That work perfectly with your fall theme.

 

Top 7 Fall Sensory Bins Toddlers and Preschoolers Love

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Top 7 Fall Sensory Bins Toddlers and Preschoolers Love

Our favorites, in no particular order.

1. Quick and Easy Fall Sensory Bin

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

Once you add the dyed rice, fill the bin with whatever fall materials you have!

LINK: Here’s a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

2. Apple Literacy Sensory Bin

Easy Apple Sensory Bin for Fall

Add some alphabet pebbles to your apple sensory bin for some letter recognition.

LINK: Easy Apple Sensory Bin for Fall

 

3. Fun Fall Farm Sensory Bin

Here's an Easy Farm Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

Have fun scooping and pouring corn kernels while also playing with the farm animals.

LINK: Fun Fall Farm Sensory Bin

4. Fall Pom Poms and Leaves Sensory Bin

Fine Motor Sensory Bin for Fall

Sort fall colored pom poms and scoop them into the matching-colored containers!

LINK: Fun Fall Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

 

5. Apple Cinnamon Sensory Bin

This fragrant sensory bin can be adapted for toddlers and preschoolers!

LINK: Fall Apple Sensory Bin for Toddlers and Preschoolers

 

6. Sunflower Sensory Bin

In early fall, while sunflowers are being harvested, invite your toddlers and preschoolers to have fun with this sensory bin.

LINK: Preschool Sensory Bin with Sunflowers

 

7. Halloween Sensory Play

Pumpkins and orange tea lights are part of this fun Halloween sensory bin.

LINK: Halloween Sensory Play for Preschoolers

 

Top 7 Fall Sensory Bins Toddlers and Preschoolers Love

 

I am proud to be a co-author of this awesome book, Learn with Play!

A giant collection of hands-on activities!

The perfect book to have on hand for inspiring you on holidays, weekends, or anytime the kids just need something to do!

More information: Learn with Play

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Here’s an Easy Farm Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

Inside: Here’s an easy farm sensory bin for preschoolers that involves lots of scooping and pouring – a perfect fall fine motor activity!

Whatever they find, they want to dump.

This is what young children do, but I admit it can be a challenge. Just after I set something up, it gets knocked down, carried away, dumped on the floor.

And while it can be frustrating, I know better. Having taught this age group for so long, after reading so many different articles about why they insist on dumping, I know they are not doing this to make life harder on adults.

And so, my friends, I have discovered how to redirect these busy little humans to a place where it is okay to dump. To pour. To spill.

What I’m going to share with you today is part of our farm theme, but it can be used with any theme, with many different types of materials.

Click here to pin!

Here's an Easy Farm Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Here’s an Easy Farm Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

Notice I have included the word easy. That’s because I like easy. I need easy. And I suspect I’m not alone.

And I’ve found over the years that toddlers and preschoolers like simple sensory bin ideas. While they might enjoy the different props we put into the sensory bin, what they really love is the filler – the main ingredient – and what we’ve provided for them to scoop and pour those ingredients.

They want to scoop. They want to pour.

Here's an Easy Farm Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

What you will need for this easy farm sensory bin:

  • Corn kernels
  • Farm animals
  • Any other small farm toys you might have (although not necessary)
  • Scoops
  • Cups

Here's an Easy Farm Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

How to set up this farm sensory bin:

  • Pour the corn kernels into the bin.
  • Add farm animals and other materials.

I know – that sounds a bit too easy, right? Exactly.

Here's an Easy Farm Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

Before introducing your preschoolers to this farm sensory bin, get them acquainted with farm animals. We love to sing Old MacDonald Had a Farm while also reading some fun farm books.


 

Here's an Easy Farm Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

You also might want to have some farm painting going on at the art table.

Oh, and you simply must let your preschoolers experience painting muddy pigs. In plastic bags! (Seriously, this was SO much fun!)

Here's an Easy Farm Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

Once you invite your preschoolers to explore this farm sensory bin, stand back and observe. And if they start dumping stuff in other areas of the classroom, redirect them to this bin.

“The puzzle pieces need to stay on the table, but you are welcome to pour corn kernels in the sensory bin.”

You’ve offered them a way to continue dumping, in an area that is more contained.

Here's an Easy Farm Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

How do you handle dumping materials in your preschool classroom? Make sure to join our Facebook community where lots of ideas are shared!

 

Planning a farm theme? We’ve done the work for you!

Preschool Farm Lesson Plans

Get ready for fun and learning with preschool unit lesson plans for the farm!

24 interactive thematic lesson plans for young children that cover:

  • Literacy
  • Math
  • Science
  • Fine Motor
  • Sensory
  • Gross Motor
  • Art
  • Social Studies
  • Music
  • Circle Time
  • Social/Emotional

 

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers (Free Printable)

Inside: You must try this awesome muddy pig sensory art for toddlers! Well, preschoolers, too! And everything is contained in the bag during the process. How cool is that?

My toddlers have been obsessed with farm books this year. Have you found that to happen with your little ones? They get so hooked on one type of book that they want you to read it over and over again?

And it’s not just farm books. Finger plays and songs, too!

So, I came up with what I had hoped would be a fun sensory art activity.

Muddy pigs.

I was inspired by my no-mess pumpkin art that is going crazy right now. I decided to try a similar method, this time using a pig printable (provided for you at the end of this post), paint, and shaving cream.

Huge hit!

Click here to pin.

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

I am always looking for activities that expose our toddlers to different textures. Even better if it gets their little fingers moving. I had already introduced them to pressing tissue paper squares on sticky paper.

 

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

What You Will Need to Make Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

How to Make Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art

I printed the pig on light pink paper and then cut it out.

I had 1 plastic bag for each child, ready to go with names on the bags.

See the details in this video:

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

I then squirted some of the brown tempera paint as well as the shaving cream into the bag.

I sealed each bag after adding the paint and shaving cream.

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

Pat, Pat, Pat!

The room was filled with patting noises as our toddlers patted and mixed the shaving cream on top of their pigs, inside the bag.

Those little hands were so busy!

They just kept on patting the tops of their bags until they decided they were finished and wanted to move on to something else.

Related: Freezer Bag Painting

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

Let Them Dry

As our toddlers finished patting their bags, I tossed them on the counter. I knew I could deal with the next process after I said goodbye to my little friends that day.

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

Once the last child had departed, I opened each bag and pulled the painted pigs out, placing them on trays to dry.

I then rinsed out each bag so that it could be used for another project. Why add to the waste if we can reuse them? (And I already have another activity in mind using the same bags. My mind never stops, I tell you!)

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

One Last Step (Optional)

I decided to place the muddy pigs onto green paper using a glue stick. This made them a bit sturdier for displaying in our classroom, plus the pigs were more visible against the colored paper.

 

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

And there you go! Process art that combines fine motor and sensory – at the art table! We love our awesome muddy pigs!

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

Don’t forget to download your free pig printable!

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

 

Need some tips for toddler art? Check this out:

Easy Art Tips for Toddlers

PLAY: Playful Activity Plans for Your Busy Toddler

Parents, do you have a busy 2 year old that is getting into just about everything?

You’ve decided to try to do a craft, but what what will it be? And do you have time to get to the store and gather all the ingredients?

We’ve got the perfect solution!

Toddler Play Activities

PLAY: Playful Activity Plans for Your Busy Toddler

These are 35 hand-chosen activities that you can do with your toddler. A simple 15 minutes worth of time that will keep your toddler busy while you are both connecting to each other.

More information: PLAY: Playful Activity Plans for Your Busy Toddler

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Here’s a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

Inside: Here’s a quick way to put together a fall sensory bin so that you aren’t running around at the last minute trying to find all the materials. You will feel much more organized!

Sometimes we have this great idea for the classroom, but end up exhausting ourselves as we rush around trying to gather materials.

You have this idea in your head. You might have thought about it while drinking coffee from your to-go cup as you headed to work. You might have thought about it days before, but forgot to gather everything together beforehand. Or maybe the idea you had in your head simply wasn’t coming together as you had planned.

When this happens, you end up feeling defeated before you’ve even opened your classroom door to greet your toddlers and preschoolers.

After having this happen to me countless times, I decided I needed a plan. And I was going to start this plan with a fall sensory bin that I just knew our children would love.

And it started with dyed rice.

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Here’s a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

Toddlers and preschoolers love to scoop and pour, so I first think about what the base of our sensory bin will be. I love using rice because we can easily color it to match the theme or season, and we can save it for another use. Since our preschool consists of 4 different classrooms, we share what we use. We have a dedicated shelf in our storage room that contains gallon-size Zip-Lock bags that are filled with different colors of rice. It really makes it easy to plan ahead when the rice is already dyed and ready to go.

But How to Dye Rice?

It’s easy!

  • Grab a gallon sized plastic baggie that can be sealed.
  • Pour about a cup of rice inside the bag.
  • Add about a teaspoon of white vinegar.
  • Add as much coloring as desired. (I love using Wilton icing color!)
  • Seal the bag and shake until the rice is coated well.
  • Open the bag and dump the rice onto a paper towel, spreading it out so it’s a very thin layer.
  • Allow to dry thoroughly.

If you want to have different colors of rice, do the above procedure for each color and then, when dry, mix the colors.

Once you have your main ingredient ready to go, it’s easy to gather whatever other items you want to add.

For this fall sensory bin, I added:

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

When I arrived that morning, all I had to do was dump the dyed rice into the sensory bin and add the other materials.

No racing around at the last minute.

I had time to put a few other activities together before greeting the children.

That’s exactly how I like my mornings to start!

How This Fall Sensory Bin is Used

Toddlers will really be into the scooping and pouring. This is always one of their favorite things to do, and it’s a great way to develop those fine motor muscles.

Related: Fine Motor Squeezing Activities

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

At first they will want to use their hands. The feeling of the rice slipping between their fingers is a great sensory experience.

 

You can see that in this video I took in the classroom:

 

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

We talked about how the rice falling into the container sounded like rain.

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

As their hands and fingers strengthen, they will start wanting to use the tools that are provided. In this case, it was small scoops. We also provided tweezers for our preschoolers.

We talked about how the rice falling into the container sounded like rain.

Preschoolers will start noticing the other materials in the bin.

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

I wanted to add some color sorting, so I found some colored plastic containers at the dollar store that were the same color as the felt apples.

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

How to Alter this Activity for Other Themes and Seasons

Once we pack up this sensory bin, the rice can be used for other themes and seasons. For example, this red and green rice can be used again at Christmas along with some big jingle bells and tongs. Brown rice can be used in a gardening sensory bin and also a forest sensory bin. Yellow rice can be used in a sunflower sensory bin as well as a summer weather sensory bin. See what I’m getting at? Make it easy on yourself!

Related: 15 Quiet Time Activities

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

Discover the magic of glorious, calm, and peaceful days with kids!

quiet bins for preschoolers

A Year of Educational Quiet Bins: TELL ME MORE ABOUT THEM!

 

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

 

 


Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 




Here’s a Quick Way to Strengthen Toddler Fine Motor Skills

Inside: Here’s a quick way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills – and it’s fun and easy, too!

I love those moments when you already have an activity planned, not realizing just how much you’d need it.

Yesterday morning our toddlers were a combination of teary, tired and energetic.

I’m sure anyone with toddlers knows how this combination plays out. It can make for a long 3 hours.

But somehow I had foreseen this (okay, perhaps I just got lucky), because I had put together one of our favorite calming activities that just so happens to tap into the fine motor area.

An activity that saved our last 30 minutes of class.

An activity that is one of my favorite ways to strengthen fine motor skills.

Win-win!

 

Here's a Quick Way to Strengthen Toddler Fine Motor Skills

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Here’s a Quick Way to Strengthen Toddler Fine Motor Skills

Contact Paper and tissue paper shapes.

That’s all you need for this easy toddler fine motor skills activity.

Here's a Quick Way to Strengthen Toddler Fine Motor Skills

Setting it up:

I needed an activity that could be set up in seconds, because this was happening as soon as we returned from being outside. Since we are only on week 3 in our toddler classroom, we are still working on the waiting part. (Let’s be realistic – this will be the case for the entire school year. Toddlers aren’t wired to wait.)

So, I had like maybe 2 minutes max where I rolled out the Contact Paper, sticky side up, and taped the edges to the table. I grabbed the tissue paper squares and set them beside the Contact paper.

Thankfully I did this as we were headed outside.

Because when we returned to the classroom, I almost lost everyone. That last 30 minutes can be difficult, as the children are getting tired.

Here's a Quick Way to Strengthen Toddler Fine Motor Skills

When we entered the classroom, I invited the children to join us at the sticky paper table. And I held my breath for just a moment, hoping I could pull our toddlers out of what could have been a downward spiral.

Here's a Quick Way to Strengthen Toddler Fine Motor Skills

It worked! Worked like a charm.

Once they realized the paper was sticky, I could not hand them the tissue paper shapes fast enough.

Their little fingers had to pinch the tissue paper, transport it, and then drop and press it onto the sticky Contact paper.

This fine motor activity was such a hit that some of the children stayed at the table for a good 20 minutes. That’s pretty amazing for this age group!

Here's a Quick Way to Strengthen Toddler Fine Motor Skills

Oh, and this fine motor activity has a nice result, too!

After we were finished placing the tissue paper onto the sticky paper, I removed the entire piece from the table, carried it over to our dramatic play area, and pressed the sticky side onto the glass of our window. No additional tape needed. And it’s easy to remove!

Here's a Quick Way to Strengthen Toddler Fine Motor Skills

 

Here's a Quick Way to Strengthen Toddler Fine Motor Skills

I think it adds some fun color to the area!

Here's a Quick Way to Strengthen Toddler Fine Motor Skills

And there you have it. A quick way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills. Easy peasy fun!

 

Watch the video on You Tube:

Here's a Quick Way to Strengthen Toddler Fine Motor Skills

More toddler activities to try:

Easy Art Tips for Toddlers

The Best Books for Busy Toddlers

Playful Toddler Alphabet Activities

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Easy Apple Sensory Bin for Fall

Inside: Add some fine motor strengthening with this easy apple sensory bin for fall!

Our first fall theme is apples. We make applesauce, we sort and count apples, and, of course, we fill our sensory bins with apples, too.

Well, not real apples. We happened to have some we borrowed from an apple attribute game. Since part of the goal for this apple sensory bin is to strengthen those hands, we added our favorite tongs.

And because I love activities with multi-skills working, we threw in some alphabet pebbles for some early literacy.

Sounds fun, right? Our preschoolers would agree!

Easy Apple Sensory Bin for Fall

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Easy Apple Sensory Bin for Fall

First, you will need a filler. We used uncooked rice that was dyed brown. If you’d like to try this but have never dyed  your own rice before, you can see how we do so in our sunflower sensory bin post.

Easy Apple Sensory Bin for Fall

Then, we added the apples. Any type pretend apples will work.

We also tossed in the alphabet pebbles for some literacy fun.

Easy Apple Sensory Bin for Fall

Add tweezers for some additional fine motor practice.

Easy Apple Sensory Bin for Fall

At first the children used both hands to squeeze the tweezers open and closed.

Easy Apple Sensory Bin for Fall

Once I modeled how to use them a few times, most of the children were able to switch from using the entire hand (or both hands) to just using the fingers and thumbs. They used the tweezers to pick up the small grains of rice and the alphabet pebbles.

They used their hands to pick up and transfer the apples, putting them inside various containers.

Easy Apple Sensory Bin for Fall

For younger children who cannot yet master the tweezers, small shovels and/or scoops can be used.

Watch this easy apple sensory bin in action on You Tube:

Easy Apple Sensory Bin for Fall

 

More fall activities:

Apple Graph Activity with Free Printable Cards

Preschool Counting Activity with Apples

Apple Stand Dramatic Play

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 




20 Learning Activities for Toddlers

Inside: 20 learning activities for toddlers that are hands-on and easy to set up!

You are a teacher who is putting together a curriculum for your toddler classroom. Or you are a parent that wants to add some learning to your toddler’s day.

But how?

It’s really much easier than you probably think. You don’t need flashcards. You don’t need fancy materials.

I’ve put together a collection of learning activities that your toddlers will love! And they are learning at the same time!

Activities that are age-appropriate and engage as many senses as possible. These learning activities involve concepts such as shapes, colors, numbers and letters in a fun, playful way. They can be done at home or in a classroom environment, with one child or a group of children.

Easy hands-on fun.

20 Learning Activities for Toddlers

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

20 Learning Activities for Toddlers

20 Learning Activities for Toddlers

 

More fun for toddlers:

Toddler Play Activities

Play: Playful Activity Plans for Your Busy Toddler

These are 35 hand-chosen activities that you can actually do with your toddler. 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.

Order Now




Preschool Fine Motor Art: Colored Waterfalls

We love to use our pipettes for preschool fine motor art! Using pipettes strengthens the pincer grasp, important for future writing skills. In this activity, we set the paper vertically so that the paint could drip down the paper, creating a waterfall effect. It was a huge hit with our preschoolers!

Preschool Fine Motor Art

 

This post contains affiliate links.

Preschool Fine Motor Art

Watch the video:

What you will need:

There are many different ways you could attach the paper horizontally. We use acrylic sign holders.

 

Preschool Fine Motor Art

 

The process:

  • Pour the tempera paint into the containers and thin with a bit of water.
  • Add the pipettes to the containers.
  • Place the acrylic stand(s) on the table.
  • Attach a sheet of paper to each acrylic stand with some sort of clip.

Note: We placed a tray under the acrylic stand and then a paper towel on top of the tray to catch all the drips.

 

Preschool Fine Motor Art

 

Each and every time we use pipettes, the children are fascinated how they can suction the paint in and out.

 

Preschool Fine Motor Art

 

It takes a bit of practice using the pipettes, but once it’s mastered, the children love it!

Preschool Fine Motor Art

 

Working on a vertical surface puts the wrist into an extended position. (You can read more about the benefits of working on a vertical surface here.)

 

Preschool Fine Motor Art

 

 

Preschool Fine Motor Art

Preschool Fine Motor Art

 

What is fun about this activity is how the paint travels down the paper. You can see here why we place paper towel under the acrylic sign holder!

Preschool Fine Motor Art

 

The colors merge as they flow down the paper.

 

Preschool Fine Motor Art

Colorful waterfalls!

Preschool Fine Motor Art

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!

Looking for more fine motor ideas?

Preschool Fine Motor Art


 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Fine Motor Squeezing Activities for Preschoolers

Parents are concerned if their preschoolers cannot write.  Their preschoolers might get frustrated when given writing tools. Hold on! Their little hands and fingers need to be strengthened. Good news! I have a collection of fine motor squeezing activities for preschoolers that can do just that.

We start working on strengthening fine motor skills in with our toddlers. You know those puzzles with the knobs? And play dough? Yep, that’s a start! But even as they transition from a toddler to a preschooler, their hands and fingers continue to need strengthening.

We work on fine motor activities every day, in playful ways. Our children have no idea the reason behind it, of course. They just know it’s fun!

 Ready to introduce some squeezing activities into your children’s day?

17 squeezing activities to strengthen hands

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Fine Motor Squeezing Activities for Preschoolers

 

 

  1. Preschoolers (toddlers, too) love to transfer water with turkey basters.

  2. Squeeze playdough using a citrus squeezer.

  3. As fingers get stronger, squeeze water using pipettes.

  4. Squeeze and release paint on top of pine cones.

  5. Drip watercolors down a vertical surface.

  6. Press Do-a-Dots with palms of hands on a dry erase board.

  7. Set up a tongs and pom poms activity. (B-Inspired Mama)

  8. Squeeze glitter glue to make calming bottles. (Mess for Less)

  9. Use paint with sponges. (No Time for Flash Cards)

  10. Transfer foam blocks in bowls of water. (Mummy Musings and Mayhem)

  11. Squeeze lemons and make lemonade. (Two-daloo)

  12. Use a sponge to clean the table. (An Everyday Story)

  13. Drop watercolors on coffee filters.

  14. Grab some clothespins to make these dinosaurs. (Teaching Mama)

  15. Squeeze play dough. (Fun at Home With Kids)

  16. Using icing gel pens to decorate cookies. (Craftulate)

  17. Invite your child to wash windows. (Montessori Life as We Know It)

 

17 Squeezing Activities for Strengthening Hands



More hand-strengthening ideas for young children:

Looking for a fun way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills? Here's a fun water activity using basters!      Fine Motor with Sunflowers      Fine Motor Threading Activity

 

And here’s more ways to build fine motor skills!

fine motor for preschoolers

Your go-to-guide for everything fine motor related, it’s the perfect resource for parents, teachers, and therapists.

More information: Basics of Fine Motor Skills

 

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




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

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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!

 

 

 


 

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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