Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Nature Hunt and Sort {+ Learning Resources Giveaway}

This post is sponsored by Learning Resources.

As part of our Back to School Basics series we are working on simple preschool activities. One of our favorite activities for preschoolers and toddlers is going on hunts! We also love sorting things.

This Nature Hunt and Sort activity combines both hunting and sorting and we are also sharing a cool new tool from Learning Resources! Make sure to scroll down for our ViewScope giveaway!

If we have free time my kids like to be outside in our backyard or headed to the park. They love to be outdoors and they really enjoy exploring nature!

They were really excited when Learning Resources sent us the Primary Science ViewScope to check out!

We took the ViewScope outside immediately and the kids used it to look closer at some of their favorite things in nature. Since they were really interested in finding objects and then exploring them more with the ViewScope, I set up a simple hunt and sort activity to help them collect things to look at.

Materials Needed:

  • paper
  • markers
  • items from nature

How to play:

I wrote out the names of the objects we were hunting for on a piece of paper and then I drew a quick picture of each one. 

Next my preschooler (3.5) and toddler (22 months) roamed around our yard to find the objects we wrote down and then when they found one they placed it on the paper! Then they went and found another one. This activity was SO EASY, but rewarding since the kids experienced success quickly.

After the kids hunted for the different objects, then they used the ViewScope to look at the objects a little deeper.

The Learning Resources Primary Science ViewScope is for kids 3+ so while my toddler loved it and absolutely HAD to carry it around with him, I am not sure if he could see anything.

He didn't care though... he just thought it was cool to try and look through the ViewScope and try and be like his big sister.

A few things we loved about the ViewScope...

  • It was chunky and easy to hold
  • It was built tough! It was dropped several times on our cement outside and held up well!
  • The colors and shape are very appealing to kids! Mine wanted to hold it the second they saw it.
  • It came with a plastic specimen container that the kids could put items inside to look at (like bugs! :))
  • The base was easily detachable from the viewer so it could be used at a table or taken apart and carried around outside!
  • It has 20x magnification and a focus knob and it is so easy to use!

We think this Primary Science ViewScope is so awesome, which is why we are excited to be giving away ONE to a lucky Toddler Approved reader today.


Enter to win your own Primary Science ViewScope.

Giveaway Entry Requirements:

  • Make sure to fill in the rafflecopter giveaway entry below and complete the mandatory email entry.
  • You can get up to twelve entries by completing all tasks mentioned in the rafflecopter form below. Some earn you more entries than others.

Entry Guidelines:

  • This giveaway is open for entry from Tuesday, August 26th to Tuesday, September 2nd at 12:00am (PST)
  • The winning entry will be drawn on Tuesday, September 2nd. I will notify the winner via email.
  • The winner will need to reply to me within 72 hours of my email. If there is no response, a new winner will be drawn.
  • See our Official Giveaway Rules for complete guidelines. US Residents only.

Do you love science? Check out these two other favorite Toddler Approved science activities...

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Learning Resources. All opinions are my own.

Friday, August 22, 2014

15+ Simple Toddler Activities

We are really enjoying our Simple Toddler Play challenge! My toddler and I are having fun doing at least one simple toddler play activity each day and sharing it with you on Instagram (I'm @kristinatoddlerapproved). We are loving the ideas that some of the other participants are also sharing using the hashtag #simpletoddlerplay!

We just got back from a weeklong trip so we'll have even more ideas for you now that we are home and not constantly stuck in our car or hotel! This post shares just a few favorites we've enjoyed.

Here are 15 of our favorite toddler activities that we've tried over the last little while!

1. Cardboard box rides! My toddler hops in and my big kids pull him forward and backwards and give him a ride. It is hysterical and he loves it!

2. Stop and Go in the car! Make little red and green lights using paper and craft sticks. While you are driving have the kids hold up red when you are at a red light or need to stop and green when the light says go!

3. Painting with Do-A-Dot markers. This is always a highlight! Sometimes we even make cool things with our creations too, like these butterflies.

4. Drawing on a chalk table!! Grab a chalkboard table at IKEA or make your own and then let your kiddos draw on it!

5. Fizzy Cookie Cutters. It is so fun to squeeze and drop colored vinegar onto the baking soda! This activity is best with toddlers who aren't still trying to eat everything.

6. Flour play!! Jamie at Hands On: As We Grow introduced us to this activity and my toddler loves it!

7. Build a photo garden. This is super easy to put together and is a fun way to help your toddler learn their name and the names of their family!

8. Deliver the mail and make a paper plate mailbox! Toddlers will love to decorate these AND then deliver mail to their friends and family.

9. Pom pom or marble run using paper towel rolls and painter's tape. My toddler isn't interested in eating marbles or pom poms because he'd prefer to watch them roll. If your toddler likes to eat them, hold off on this activity and pin it for later:

10. Muffin tin liner sticky wall! Add some contact paper to your wall (sticky side out) and then add on some muffin tin liners. My kids liked to pull these off and rearrange them again and again. Their favorite part was pullin them all off.

11. Tape collages! Hand your toddler some pieces of plastic or paper tape and let them decorate the top of a paper plate. Older kids can even turn them into shields or frisbees!

12. Pipe cleaner and straw drop!! Add a small dime sized hole to the top of your puffs container, cut pipe cleaners and straws to fit the container and then pass your child one piece at a time to drop them in! Open the top, dump them out, and try again. We loved this activity on our recent road trip.

13. Create a tape roadway or runway on your floor, add some cars, trucks, airplanes, and trains and you have an activity that will keep little ones occupied and creating for awhile!

14. Make a telephone using 2 big plastic cups and a string. Time them together to create a telephone. My toddler loves to "talk" to all of our family members on his new phone. 

15. Pom pom drop. Drop pom poms or other small objects through a paper towel roll. Older kids will have fun making pom pom shooters as well.

A few more ideas...

Roll out playdough with a giant rolling pin!

Add food coloring and shaving cream to large ziploc bags and let kids mix and explore the textures.

Build towers with spice jars!

Go on a texture trip! You can use any items you have around your house for this!

Find the nearest airport and go watch the planes land. We could've done this FOR HOURS.

Draw on a chalkboard with chalk and then give your toddler a sponge or paintbrush and water to use to make the chalkboard drawings disappear!

Now we'd love for you to share your favorite #simpletoddlerplay activity with us!! Please tell us in the comments or pop over to Facebook and join in the conversation.

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