Tag Archives: toddler activities

PPDChlidrensBooks

Preschool Playdate: Children’s Books

We held this playdaye on April 2, which also happened to be Children’s Books Day.  It was hard to plan for any specific theme since we invited our guests to bring theire favorite book to share.

Getting the morning off to our regular start:
— Welcome song in English (emphasizes printed name recognition as Sweet Peas find their card in a line-up and place it on our Name Ledge)
— Welcome song in Spanish (reinforces names as Sweet Peas sing to their peers)
— Discussion of theme
— Storytime
— Unsquiggle activity
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers

STORY TIME
Here are the books our guests brought to share:

  • Opposites by Sandra Boynton
  • The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • The Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle, illustrated by Jill McElmurray

We alternated sharing books with unsquiggle games.

LITERACY CENTER
You can read the instructions for this center in the photo below.  I wrote the child’s name on an envelope, then put their “carrot” letters inside the envelope. They had to find their name, and then sort their letters to spell their name.

We added another component to this center by having the children separate the stuffed animals into two groups: carrot eaters and non-carrot eaters.

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MATH CENTER
This was a simple sorting center since I didn’t have a theme to guide me.  We used buttons and egg cartons for this activity.  The kiddos could sort by color and/or by shape on this one.  Another idea was for the parents to start a pattern and have the children finish the pattern.

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DISCOVERY TABLE
Another improvisation since the there was not a particular specific book/theme.  I chose containers with different size holes so that the kiddos could experiement and see what kind of “rain” would fall on the boats.

They could talk about small and large, fast and slow, sink and float.  They could also talk about the different kinds of rain: drizzle, sprinkle, rain, storm, hurricane.

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ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
This idea and pattern came from the Toddler Calendar.  I printed the duck on white and yellow cardstock, and cut out the umbrellas from some fun Spring paper we have in our stash.  Kiddos used glue to put it all together, and then the cotton swabs to paint the rain.

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We finish our Preschool Playdate with a sharing time: each child that wants to share gets to say what (s)he enjoyed the most about the morning.  We close with a good-bye song where children are welcome to give hugs.  It helps to set a formal end to the time together so that parents have a clear reason to insist that it’s time to go if they have somewhere to be afterwards.  Otherwise, the kiddos and parents are welcome to stay and play until the music teacher for our older Sweet Peas arrives.

 

 

Preschool Playdate: Truck Day

We have several little boys that attend our playdates.  I thought it would be fun to incorporate a theme that really spoke to them.  It was equal opportunity play: the little girls enjoyed this playdate as much as the boys!

Our day started as usual:

— Welcome song in English (emphasizes printed name recognition as Sweet Peas find their card in a line-up and place it on our Name Ledge)
— Welcome song in Spanish (reinforces names as Sweet Peas sing to their peers)
— Discussion of theme
— Storytime
— Unsquiggle activity
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers

STORYTIME
TRUCKS by .The fact we have been collecting toys for ten years proved helpful in bringing this book to life.  For every vehicle pictured in the book, we had an example for the Sweet Peas to experience with their eyes and their hands.  Otter and Charger enjoyed taking turns passing them around to our guests.

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LITERACY
Inspired by an idea in The Mailbox SuperBook to use a plane and a cloud to talk about position words, I worked with an idea to make that activity fit Truck Day.  I found line drawings of a dump truck and boulders online, added eyes to the truck to animate it a little, and printed out a list of direction and position words for parents to use with their Sweet Peas as they did this activity.  You can read the instructions in the photo.  I added the section about switching roles with your Sweet Pea because I find that our own kiddos have so much fun being in the teacher role.  Added bonus: on top of their enjoyment, it reinforces the concept they just learned!

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MATH
This was an activity of my own creation.  I wanted to incorporate play with the trucks, so I came up with a shape sorting station.  I used Microsoft Word to create pages of shapes; then we laminated them and cut them out.

The Sweet Peas would take a handful of shapes out of the bucket, sort them with their parents, and then put them in the truck and deliver them to the right station.  Puma and I taped up extra shapes onto the front of our Name Ledge with the idea of making them look like buildings along a city skyline.  I don’t know if the Sweet Peas made that connection; whether they did or not, we had fun creating this math activity to fit our theme.

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DISCOVERY
A variation on the always popular Sink/Float activity.  This time, we used plastic boats and all manner of wheeled vehicles to see which ones would sink or float.

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ARTS&CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
This was an activity out of The Mailbox SuperBook that I have been wanting to do since Puma was a preschooler.  For whatever reason (mostly because I couldn’t justify the mess!) it took designating a Truck Day to make it happen.  The kiddos used different color paints and textures on the wheels to “drive” an artwork onto their paper.

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IMAGINATIVE PLAY
This play station incorporated lots of different ideas: literacy in sign identification, math in counting and sorting, and lots of play and imagination as the Sweet Peas laid out the road way, used the “car wash” and learned how to cooperate with their peers so that they could all play with the city scene together.  It was such a big hit that we kept bringing out the “City Box” in subsequent play dates.

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SOS: Help! It’s HOT! Going crazy inside!!

Posted by Krystyna Bowman

This was originally posted last July, but as many of you are probably finding yourself at the end of your patience with these high temps & lack of indoor activities we thought it would be helpful to revisit a few ideas!

July August is here, and the heat of Arizona is officially upon us!! Even if you are not living in AZ, you may also be in need of indoor play ideas in your part of the world. Since the temperature is only going up, I want to share some ideas to enjoy the summer with your family and not get overheated.

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Do you like to be outdoors?  The Phoenix Zoo and the Desert Botanical Gardens offer earlier open times – maybe the one in your area does, too.  We have always enjoyed going early in the day when the mornings are under the 100F mark.  The city parks are opening their splash pads – check out your city’s website and find out locations and hours.

If you have a little room in your budget, you can sign up for classes in your child’s age group.  Here are some ideas: music, gymnastics, swimming lessons, summer camps held at churches or dance schools.

Are there any museums in your area?  You can see if they offer special programming for children, and ask if they offer group discounts.  Maybe you can get some friends together for a discount while having a museum playdate!!  In addition, check your local museums for Family Free Days over the summer months.  We have found that arriving right at opening time, or going a couple of hours before closing helps to avoid the crowds.   Museums let us enjoy some time out of the house and out of the sun while allowing our little explorers all kinds of growth opportunities.

If you are on a tight budget, pick some different places to go out every day.  You can still find plenty of ways to learn and grow – you just have to get a little more creative!  Here is a money-saving idea:  Let your destination pay for air conditioning!  Make it a point to leave the house while your kiddo and you are fresh and rested.  Here are some free places that you can go for a walkabout:

  • Shopping malls – be brave and drive a little farther. Go to one that isn’t in your neighborhood and you get A/C time coming and going as well!  While you are there, explore the children’s stores that have toys out for the kiddos to sample.  Our favorite place is Pottery Barn Kids.  I don’t like having the big playsets in our home, however, it’s great to have the kids go there and enjoy them, and then get to leave them behind!  Many shopping centers open early for mall walkers – it’s a great time to go to the children’s play areas before the stores open and the mall gets more crowded.  The story times/ mall activities listed in this month’s newsletters (activities in the Chandler, AZ area) all start between 10:00 am and 10:30 pm – depending on how your child naps, you might be able to do both, and then head home and get some chores done while your tired baby sleeps.
  • Big super-stores like PetSmart, Walmart and Target.  I like PetSmart and Walmart because they have lots of fish tanks+ with live fish to explore.  Here are the kiddos and Bruss playing with the fishing poles at Walmart – all the fun, none of the clutter :)Blog4 1375
  • Bass Pro Shop – they have a fish pond where the kiddos can learn to fish, plus lots of other things to see and explore.  Kiddos can enjoy some of the displays – Bruss says some of them are climbable!
  • Bookstore – Barnes & Noble has a great kids area with a reading area plus a different selection of books than you might find at the library.  You can look over on the “meetings and groups” list to find the monthly listing for their story times.
  • Grocery Store – instead of making a mad dash through the place with your list, go with the time and the intention of walking up and down all the aisles.  There are lots of foods to explore in the produce section, you can take your time and look in all the display cases, you can touch the doors in the frozen food section, and take in all the colors as you talk about how things are sorted, grouped and why your family makes the food choices that they make.  There are lots of smells to identify, with the added bonus of sensory items to touch in the pet aisle.
  • Office Buildings – does coach, or another family member or friend work in a high rise?  How about going to visit them?  While you are there, ride the elevator and look at some of the artwork along the different floors of the building.  You can get off at the different floors and observe the different views that you see at different heights.  You can check your local listings to see if there is a top deck restaurant that offers a 360 degree view of your city while you are dining.

You can also take advantage of the public libraries.  Pack yourself plenty of water, a couple of portable snacks, and head over to the stacks to hang out for a while before and/or after library activities.

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Need a day at home?  How about doing some sensory play?  One of our best investments was a sand and water table we bought when our oldest was a toddler.  We lost the lid a long time ago, however the base is still sturdy and usable.  You can do all water, or a mix of sand and water, or all sand.  Get out the stackable cups and measuring spoons you already have around the house and let your kids measure and pour to their hearts content!  You can hide toys in the sand.

We have also set up a water station in the kitchen.  We lay out a few towels first, and then fill different size pots with varying amounts of water.  If you are so inclined, you can set out some rice, beans, or pastas for the kiddos to “cook” with.  Let them spoon, measure and pour and get nice and wet.  As an added bonus, you can get a chore done by breaking out your mop when it’s time to clean up!

Do you have a “safe” place for your kiddos to play in the kitchen?  Maybe you can set up a drawer, a cabinet and a pantry shelf that are “safe” for them.  Ask them to look in the different places for different things – maybe a mini-scavenger hunt for all the items they will use at their water station!

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How about a fort?  Here is a fort we made using a kit the kiddos got for Christmas.  However, there is nothing wrong with taking a sheet and hanging it over a table, or taking some chairs into the middle of a room and hanging a sheet over those.  It’s great fun to play peek-a-boo, or create a temporary reading nook with a new twist.

HERE is a list of other sensory ideas that you can easily set up at home when your kiddos are tired of playing with their regular toys and walking through the house has become an exercise in futility.  My favorite on this list is freezing toys into a block of ice and then letting the kiddos carve them out with spoons.  That would feel really great when it’s 117F outside!

Send us your pictures of indoor fun!  What is your family’s favorite indoor, beat the heat idea?

Disclaimer:
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.

morning reads.

Family Fun: August 10-11, 2013

Looking for something to do with your family this weekend?  Cassandra and I are going to start posting events and classes in our respective geographic areas…look for us…maybe we will see you there!!

Do you have an event that you would like to add to our upcoming events calendar?  Please email me at krystynabowman {at} gmail {dot} com.  Any event that is in line with our family philosophy and/or parenting styles will be considered for listing.  Disclaimer: Inclusion in our listing does not imply endorsement by Sweet Pea Families.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 10, 2013
ARIZONA
Gilbert Farmer’s Market
7:00 am – 11:00 am
222 N. Ash St
Gilbert 85234
480-583-0101

Roadrunner Farmer’s Market
8:00 am – 1:00 pm
3502 E Cactus Rd
Phoenix 85032
623-848-1234

Payson Farmer’s Market
8:00 am – 12:00 pm
816 S. Beeline Highway
Payson 85541
602-524-0352

Train and Carousel Rides
Come out for a day of old-fashioned fun at the railroad park.  Enjoy the shade provided by the park’s many large trees  Kids can play at various play area including a covered playground with water sprays.  Train and Carousel Rides $2.00/each; free for kids under 3 with paying adult.
McCormick-Stillman Railroad park (http://www.therailroadpark.com/) @ 9:00 am to 9:00 pm
7301 E Indian Bend Rd
Scottsdale 85250
480-312-2312

Splash Pad Fun
Kids can cool off at this fun spray pad
Jaycee Park @10:00 am – 7:00 pm
817 W 5th St
Tempe 85282
80-350-8625

Dad & Toddler Storytime
Dads can enjoy stories with their favorite toddler
Mustang Library @10:30 am – 11:00 am
10101 N. 90th St.
Scottsdale, 85258
480-321-7323

Make and Take: Dusty
Bring your kids to Lowe’s for some high flying fun this weekend! Your child will love building Dusty from Disney’s Planes-In Theaters in 3D August 9th.
Your Local Lowe’s Store @ 10:00 am
Find your store HERE http://lowesbuildandgrow.com/pages/default.aspx

Water Park Fun in Chandler
Enjoy the zero-depth pool area with interactive play area, water vortex, current river and two water slides.  Cost is $2.25 for adults and $1 for children ages 2-17
Hamilton Aquatic Center @ 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm
3838 S Arizona Ave
Chandler 85248
480-782-2630

Free Crafts for Kids
Lakeshore Learning Store @ 11:00am – 3:00pm
Pet Fish Puppet
Ocean adventures await…with this colorful, kid-crafted puppet!
Find your store HERE

Family Swim at Nozomi Aquatic Center
Cost is $2.25 for adults; $1.00 for children 2-17
Nozomi Aquatic Center @ 11:am to 6:00 pm
250 S Kyrene Rd
Chandler 85226
480-783-8621

Back-to-School Beauty Bash & Bella Thorne Celebrity Appearance
Beauty Bash
Join us for Arizona’s must attend back to school shopping experience.
Featuring fashion, music, beauty, food, giveaways and BASH-tastic special offers.
Location: Macy’s Court @ 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Meet Bella Thorne from Disney’s TV Show Shake It Up
Sears Court @ 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Chandler Fashion Center
3111 W Chandler Blvd
Chandler, AZ 85226
(480) 812-8488

Fish Feeding
Come see an 18,500 gallon freshwater aquarium that offers an up-close view of trophy-sized catfish, bass, striper and blue gill.  Feeding includes an informative presentation about the fish.  Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00pm and Tuesdays at 6:00pm.  Also, everyday kids can help us feed the trout in our Trout Stream at 1:30pm.
Bass Pro Shop Trout Stream @ 1:30 pm
Bass Pro Shop Aquarium @ 2:00 pm
1133 N Dobson Rd
Mesa 85201
602-606-5600

Prowl and Play at the Phoenix Zoo
https://www.facebook.com/events/632218363460515/
The Phoenix Zoo’s summer evening event, Prowl & Play, will let guests experience the Zoo in a whole new light…or dark! This event offers unique and exciting activities which allow guests to explore, see and hear the Zoo differently than a daytime visit. Join us for magic, music and fun during the evening hours at the Zoo.
Animal viewing is limited during Prowl & Play.
Visit link for more information and ticket prices.
Phoenix Zoo @ 6:00 pm – 9:30pm
455 N. Galvin Parkway
Phoenix 85008

Free Outdoor Concert
Bring the family out to enjoy great live music performed by a variety of musicians.  Choose from two stages of entertainment
Tempe Marketplace @ 7:00 pm
2000 E Rio Salado Pkwy
Tempe 85281
480-966-9338

Free Outdoor Concert
Bring the family out to enjoy great live music performed by a variety of musicians.  Choose from two stages of entertainment
Desert Ridge Marketplace @ 7:00 – 9:00 pm
21001 N Tatum Blvd
Phoenix 85050
480-513-7586

CALIFORNIA
Pacific Grove Prenatal Yoga
http://www.seasideyogasanctuary.com/OurSite/prenatal-yoga
Seaside Yoga Sanctuary @ 10:30-11:45
170 Central Ave
Pacific Grove, CA

Organic Strawberry U-Pick
(https://www.facebook.com/events/547374708633186/)
Come on out and pick your fill of delicious organic berries! The strawberry patch is full of ripe fruit. Make amazing desserts, jam or just freeze a bunch for smoothies.
Cost: $1.75/lb. Bring your own containers if you can. We’ll have empty flats available too.
Redman House Farmstand @ 11 AM to 5 PM.
200 Lee Rd.
Watsonville, CA

SUNDAY, AUGUST 11, 2013
ARIZONA
Ahwatukee Farmers Market
9:00 am – 1:00 pm
4700 E Warner Rd
Phoenix, 85004
602-919-0914

Train and Carousel Rides
Come out for a day of old-fashioned fun at the railroad park.  Enjoy the shade provided by the park’s many large trees. Kids can play at various play area including a covered playground with water sprays.  Train and Carousel Rides $2.00/each; free for kids under 3 with paying adult.
(http://www.therailroadpark.com/)
McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park @ 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
7301 E Indian Bend Rd
Scottsdale 85250
480-312-2312

Family Swim at Desert Oasis Aquatic Center
Zero-depth pool area with kiddie slide, rain drop and spray whale, 112 ft. figure 8 water slide, shade ramadas, concession stand and sand volleyball court.  Cost is $2.25 for adults, $1.00 for children ages 2-17
Desert Oasis Aquatic Center @ 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
1400 W Summit Place
Chandler, AZ 85224
480-732-1061

Water Park Fun in Chandler
Enjoy the zero-depth pool area with interactive play area, water vortex, current river and two water slides.  Cost is $2.25 for adults and $1 for children ages 2-17
Hamilton Aquatic Center @ 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm
3838 S Arizona Ave
Chandler 85248
480-782-2630

Fish Feeding
Come see an 18,500 gallon freshwater aquarium that offers an up-close view of trophy-sized catfish, bass, striper and blue gill.  Feeding includes an informative presentation about the fish.  Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00pm and Tuesdays at 6:00pm.  Also, everyday kids can help us feed the trout in our Trout Stream at 1:30pm.
Bass Pro Shop Trout Stream @ 1:30 pm
Bass Pro Shop Aquarium @ 2:00 pm
1133 N Dobson Rd
Mesa 85201
602-606-5600

Make and Take: Dusty
Bring your kids to Lowe’s for some high flying fun this weekend! Your child will love building Dusty from Disney’s Planes-In Theaters in 3D August 9th.
Your local Lowe’s store @ 2:00 pm
Find your store HERE: http://lowesbuildandgrow.com/pages/default.aspx

CALIFORNIA EVENTS
Sunday Blues & Art in the Park
Celebrate a Seaside tradition of Blues and Art in the Park with free Sunday concerts during in July and August. Bring the whole family (but leave the dogs at home…they are not permitted in the park!). Bring a picnic and enjoy performances by Fry-Wright Band and Mingo Fishtrap’s Blues Band. For more information, click here or call (831) 899-6800
http://www.mbaykids.com/happenings.asp
Laguna Grande Park @ 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Canyon Del Rey Boulevard
Seaside, CA

Organic Strawberry U-Pick
(https://www.facebook.com/events/547374708633186/)
Come on out and pick your fill of delicious organic berries! The strawberry patch is full of ripe fruit. Make amazing desserts, jam or just freeze a bunch for smoothies.
Cost: $1.75/lb. Bring your own containers if you can. We’ll have empty flats available too.
Redman House Farmstand @ 11 AM to 5 PM.
200 Lee Rd.
Watsonville, CA