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8 Spring Activities for Preschoolers

Need something new to do with your little ones as the weather warms up? Welcome spring together with these creative and sensory outdoor activities.

By Skyanne Fisher

After a long winter, preschoolers will perk up when you introduce them to new spring activities. Head outside in the sunshine, and celebrate the arrival of spring!

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Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk

Sidewalk chalk was a childhood favorite of mine, and it seems to be a timeless pastime, as every child I know loves it. Instead of just grabbing a box of chalk at the local store, create a new family memory by making your own.

To create chalk: Cut a paper towel tube into 3- or 5-inch pieces, and use waxed paper to line the inside and cover one of the ends. (Hold the paper it in place with masking tape.) Mix 2 to 3 tablespoons of tempera paint, ¾ cup of plaster of Paris, and ½ cup of water. Pour the mixture inside the tubes and let sit for a few hours, until solidified. Peel off the waxed paper and cardboard tube, and you have your own homemade chalk for hours of decorating your sidewalk.

toddler finger paintingDabble in Finger Paints

I’ve yet to meet a child who doesn’t love finger painting, and rarely do I meet a child who doesn’t “accidentally” get a little paint in their mouth. Most finger paints are labeled “nontoxic,” but I still like to make my own paint because I know exactly what is in it. Plus, helping you make the paint can be a fun activity for a child.

To make finger paint: Use a ratio of 1 part flour to 2 parts water. For one child and a few colors, I typically start with ½ cup of flour and 1 cup of cold water. Combine the ingredients in a saucepan and heat it on the stove, stirring until it becomes a smooth mixture and the lumps are gone. Then remove the flour mixture from the heat and divide it into bowls, one for each color you’d like to make. Slowly add cold water until the paint is at the desired consistency, and stir in food coloring. Add a pinch of salt, which helps to stop the paint from spoiling, and you can store it in the fridge indefinitely.

Whip Up Some Homemade Bubble Mix

Bubbles are another springtime favorite. While it’s easy to run to the store to grab a bottle of bubbles, making your own is super easy. And witnessing a child’s excitement when they see the bubbles they’ve made themselves is far better than grabbing a bottle at the store. However, I do recommend picking up some bubble wands to get the most fun out of this activity.

To make bubbles: Combine 12 cups of water, 1 cup of dish soap, 1 cup of cornstarch, and 2 tablespoons of baking powder. You can also add 1 tablespoon of glycerin, but the recipe works fine without it. Combine all ingredients, taking care not to create bubbles as you stir. Let sit for 1 hour, then enjoy an afternoon of bubble fun!

OutdoorPlay-300x226Go on a Scavenger Hunt

Take a walk with your child and enjoy all that nature has to offer. Head through your neighborhood to the local park or, if you’re lucky enough to have access, walk along a creek bed. Encourage your child to explore and search for butterflies, salamanders, worms, frogs, birds, and other small animals. Ask them to count how many different types of flowers they see. Seeing nature “waking up” is the perfect introduction to spring.

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Fill Up a Spring-Themed Sensory Bin

Sensory bins are a great thing to have around throughout the year. Essentially they are plastic bins, boxes, or similar containers filled with objects of various sizes, shapes, and textures. They are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers who are fascinated simply by the way things feel, and they are a great way to introduce children to new things. Sensory bins are particularly helpful during rainy days when the kids can’t get outside to play.

To create a spring sensory bin: Fill a plastic bin about halfway with dirt, sand, or pebbles. Then add things like flowers from the yard, miniature flower pots, kid-safe indoor gardening tools, plastic bugs or worms, and any other fun additions that you find around the house.

Craft a Few Bird Feeders

Making bird feeders each spring was a favorite tradition of mine and something I love doing with my children. All you need is a toilet paper roll and some peanut butter, birdseed, and string.

To create a bird feeder: First, put the string through the center of the toilet paper roll and leave at least 6 inches of string on either side of the roll before tying the ends together in a knot. This is how you will hang the feeder in a tree. Next, cover the outside of the toilet paper roll with peanut butter and roll it in birdseed. Make sure to cover the entire surface. Head out to your yard, select a tree, and hang it up. It’s fun to choose a tree that’s visible from the house so you and your kids can watch as the birds come to eat.

Mix Up Some Spring Goo

“Goo” is another great sensory activity — especially since this fun substance acts like a liquid and a solid.

To create Spring Goo: Mix 1 part water with 2 parts cornstarch. Stir in flowers, glitter, or anything else you think might be a good addition. Goo can also be turned into a fun science experiment: It’s a solid when cupped in your hands or resting in a bowl, but it behaves like a liquid when you pour it from your hand.

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toddler in the gardenSpend Time in the Garden

Spring is planting season. Why not allow your child the chance to have his or her own kid-size garden? If you already have a garden, dedicate a small corner to your child. If not, choose a sunny spot and create a new garden bed together. Allow your child to choose the seeds, help plant them, and then tend the garden as one of their daily responsibilities. It’s an educational experience that also gives children an opportunity to connect with nature … while getting a little dirty!


Pet Shop Activities for Kids

Pet Shop Activities

Every mom, dad, and grandma needs a few activities that are always at the ready. Our pet shop scavenger hunt and math games are easy enough to pull out quickly when you are dying for a new idea, and can work well together or individually. Whether you use our pet shop activities for a rainy day, an afternoon outing when you are all stir crazy at home, or a fun activity to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon, we can guarantee that kiddos of all ages will love it. We bet that you never knew that a trip to your local pet store could fill an entire afternoon full of activities and learning opportunities. Don’t believe us? Keep on reading.

Scavenger Hunt

While heading to your local pet shop can be a nice break in a day on its own, adding a bit of excitement by whipping up a scavenger hunt can make a fun trip seem extraordinary. You can adapt your scavenger hunt to your child’s abilities, or what they are working on. Check out this one that I jotted down for my four year old son (don’t judge the drawing – this Mama isn’t an artist!). He can’t quite read yet, but looking for just “orange things” or “blue things” would be a combination of boring and overwhelming for him. Instead, I focused on specific animals. Before we headed out, I asked him if he knew what my drawings were of. He did (hooray!), and we were off. He thought it was hilarious that I had listed “Rudolph” as the final item, and was genuinely curious if we would see a shark.2015-01-19 09.44.59.jpg

You can adapt your scavenger hunt any way you please. I have done plenty of pet shop hunts where my son got to mark off items as he found them. However, today I wanted him to count how many he found so that we could use those numbers for math problems back at home. Armed with a pencil and his sheet, we headed to the pet shop to look for people, fish aquarium castles, snails, snakes and everything in between.

Your scavenger hunt might look like mine, or you might choose to write down letters and have your child find something that starts with each letter (B is for Beta Fish, T is for tadpole). This is a great adaptation for kids working on phonics skills. Older kids can ditch the pictures and read your list of things to find, and younger kids can look for colors. Our pet shop knows us by now and always wants to see the scavenger hunt we are working on when we walk in the door. Have some fun experimenting with what to include on your child’s hunt, and don’t worry if you’re an awful artist (like me).

Math Word Problems

Once we filled out our scavenger hunt, and got into a serious talk about turtles with one of the pet shop employees, we were ready to head home. After lunch, my son and I took out his scavenger hunt page and started to work on math. My guy is working on learning what (+) means, as well as (=). I decided to put those into practice with some scavenger hunt math problems.

Using the same, highly professional, drawings from his hunt sheet, I started making symbol math problems.

Orange fish + Crabs = People + Rudolphs =

My little guy loved it, and he was able to fill in the numbers. If the counts got too high for his fingers, we drew it out and he was able to count up the sum that way. I liked that we (surprise, gasp!) didn’t find any Rudolphs, as that was a wonderful way to introduce adding with zeros.

Depending on your little one, you can switch your symbol word problems to include subtraction, division, and multiplication. Or, for younger kids, simply counting to the number is excellent practice that teaches foundational math skills.

Other Follow Up

Once you are able to complete your scavenger hunt, be sure to talk about your experience together on the way home, and then again when you are at home. Ask your child’s favorite animal, something interesting that he learned, something that he was surprised about. Even better, have him recount your trip to someone else (give grandma a call). This way, you are able to hear him tell the story which gives you a unique perspective on what he remembers and enjoyed the most.

As for my guy, turtles were the highlight of the trip. Thanks to some certain amphibians of the teenage and ninja variety, turtles are a hot topic over here. After Daddy got home from work, we pulled up some information on Galapagos tortoises to read together. It didn’t take too many fun facts for us to all learn something new together. Letting our son sit on our lap while we googled images and information about the tortoises was teaching him skills for internet literacy, and letting him know that even mom and dad don’t know the answers to everything. Our quick search and reading time was a wonderful way to cap off our pet shop day. Then, it was off to bath time where the little guy insisted on two guests – turtles, of course.