Monday, May 18, 2009

Mother Nature knows (the Best) Fun!

Don't you just love it when that perfect activity you read about actually happens just as planned ... or even better?! I do! Because, let's face it, often times we read these great fun fabulous activities to do with our kids and they often times turn out to be a big ol' flop. You prepare, purchase and/or gather all the materials and envision just how perfect your toddler is going to be and WOW, what a wonderful learning experience they are going to have and boy oh boy how darn cute is the finished project going to be and on and on (well, if you are anything like me your vision of the perfect afternoon goes on and on into the late afternoon) then, you begin as planned and about 30 seconds into the activity your smart, curious sponge, who has such a thirst for knowledge turns to you and says, "I don't want to do this. Let's do something else Mommy." Bust.

So, when it goes just as you hoped and even better it is one that keeps you smiling and repeating for several weeks, am I right? :-)

Recently we have stumbled upon many activities that fall into this category. Including sorting our coins from their piggy banks into multi-colored bowls, talking about the value of each coin, bringing it to the bank, talking about interest earned, counting them, etc. We have also been playing with different colored water (add food coloring for this) in ice trays and using a small dropper (practicing fine motor skills) to mix colors together and experimenting with different combinations to make different colors (IE yellow + blue = green). Big hit with DS.

And most recently, making our nature box and our many nature walks. The idea came from Coastalgirl via Flipflops & Applesauce (Flipflops & Applesauce is a site I visit often and worth a bookmark!). If you thought ahead like me, you have plenty of egg cartons left over from dying Easter eggs. I had tucked mine away in the cupboard in anticipation of them coming in handy for a fun craft activity so I was happy when I stumbled upon this activity. If you did not save them, Spring is always a good time to make some yummy egg salad sandwiches for the weekend!

We painted our egg carton earlier in the week - making it a fun activity all on it's own. We had fun (once again) mixing colors together to make new colors and even though I encouraged him to paint one of the sections white he was having too much fun using white to mix in with other colors & didn't take my advice (although after our nature walk he realized just how many beautiful white flowers there are and that a white section would have been good ... and said to me, "next time I am going to paint one white and one brown." (another color he just didn't want to paint the first go around but certainly noticed was a common color in nature). We set it in the sun to dry and continued to paint pictures on large pieces construction paper (no reason to get out all the paints and put smocks on just for that!). It was a fun day

A few days later we set off on our nature walk collecting fun treasures to match up to a painted section of the egg carton. DS found this activity quite interesting and would even discuss how some leaves had multiple colors (red, yellow, green) so where should we put them? It was a great activity outdoors that had multiple learning opportunities making it a HUGE SUCCESS in my book. DD loved being outdoors with us, going on a slow walk and picking up leaves & flowers (I gave her a small bag to put her nature treasures in). When we got home DS wanted to dump out all his nature treasures on the table and sort them all over again! We have since gone on several nature walks making our daily walks around the neighborhood much more interesting for all.


Rudy said...

Great activity,.. I am going to try this with Big K next week. Thanks for the idea!

RK said...

It is pretty amazing how much more aware he is of his environment since you started these.

When are you going to collect Bugs!