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Authentic Home Learning Experiences

Summer Learning Experiences:
29 Dollar-Store Finds That Will Keep You Kids Busy All Summer Long!

Beat boredom on a budget.

Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

1. Tie a dollar-store basket to the front of your kid's bike.

Find out how here.

2. Dollar-store baskets are also great for organizing outdoor summer fun.

Learn more here.

3. Make one of these awesome hideouts using a hula hoop and a bedsheet.

Since you'll be putting this outside, you could use a shower curtain instead of a bedsheet. Find the how-to here.
alannageorge.com

Since you'll be putting this outside, you could use a shower curtain instead of a bedsheet. Find the how-to here.

4. Turn pool noodles into a backyard obstacle course.

Learn more here.

5. You can also DIY a pool noodle into a sprinkler.

Your kids will have a blast (but skip this one if you live in California). Learn more here.
ziggityzoom.com

Your kids will have a blast (but skip this one if you live in California). Learn more here.

6. Make an unforgettable ice cream bar by putting sprinkles and crushed cookies in shaker jars.

Learn more about this and other summer food ideas here.
hisugarplumsblog.com

Learn more about this and other summer food ideas here.

7. DIY this backyard tic-tac-toe game with a shower curtain, tape, and Frisbees.

This game is harder than you think! Learn more here.
aturtleslifeforme.com

This game is harder than you think! Learn more here.

8. Make sure your kids pull their weight by turning these dollar-store staples into chore baskets.

Even good kids need a nudge in the summer. Learn more here.
thefox1049.com

Even good kids need a nudge in the summer. Learn more here.

9. Freeze dollar-store toys and trinkets in water to make “ice eggs.”

Kids will love chipping away at the ice with a spoon to free the toys. Learn more here.
alittlelearningfortwo.blogspot.com

Kids will love chipping away at the ice with a spoon to free the toys. Learn more here.

10. Transform a stackable bin into a doll swing.

American Girl dolls need to enjoy the summer, too. Find the DIY here.
karenmomofthreescraft.blogspot.ca

American Girl dolls need to enjoy the summer, too. Find the DIY here.

11. Dollar-store sponges and chalk are all you need to turn your driveway into a bull’s-eye target game.

Read more about this and other fun outdoor games here.
mamaslikeme.com

Read more about this and other fun outdoor games here.

12. Dollar-store sponges can also be used to keep your kids cool as they play.

Find the tutorial for these "cool-off necklaces" here.

13. Attach a dollar-store colander to a bike helmet and challenge your kids to see how many water balloons they can catch.

Find the game instructions — plus other game ideas — here.
parties4me.com

Find the game instructions — plus other game ideas — here.

14. Make a super-bubble station using a hula hoop and dish soap from the dollar store.

Find the tutorial here.
dollarstorecrafts.com

Find the tutorial here.

15. Hula hoops can also be used to make this kid-friendly croquet game.

Find the DIY here.

16. Make a play garden in the backyard using items entirely found at the dollar store.

You can plant seeds or hide dollar-store toys in the soil and let your kid dig for them. Learn more here.
growingajeweledrose.com

You can plant seeds or hide dollar-store toys in the soil and let your kid dig for them. Learn more here.

17. A serving tray and bowl make a charming birdbath.

Perfect for your budding birdwatcher. Find the DIY here.
dollarstoremom.com

Perfect for your budding birdwatcher. Find the DIY here.

18. Set up carnival games in your backyard using nothing but dollar-store finds.

Find the how-to for five carnival games here.
morenascorner.com

Find the how-to for five carnival games here.

19. Dollar-store stuff can also be used to make your own backyard (or beach) Olympics.

Learn more here.

20. DIY a table lantern using glowsticks, dish detergent, and a jar.

Your kids will not only have fun putting together this DIY, but will be able to enjoy the outdoors longer. Learn more here.
creativegreenliving.com

Your kids will not only have fun putting together this DIY, but will be able to enjoy the outdoors longer. Learn more here.

21. Whip up the ultimate summer treat using Nutella, Cool Whip, and a dollar-store ice-pop mold.

Find the recipe here.
52kitchenadventures.com

Find the recipe here.

22. Dip suction-cup arrows in paint to take backyard archery to the next level.

Learn more here.

23. Pre-pack "busy bags" with dollar-store items to give your kids when they say they're bored.

Find ideas for different busy bags here.
dollarstorehouse.com

Find ideas for different busy bags here.

24. Put together an art box by filling a tub with art supplies found at the dollar store.

Find the how-to here.

25. DIY a color-mixing station using a dollar-store vegetable tray.

This is a fun learning activity for younger kids. Learn more here.
notwiddletwaddle.com

This is a fun learning activity for younger kids. Learn more here.

The same tray can also be used to mold flowers out of dirt or sand.

Learn more here.
hometalk.com

Learn more here.

26. Make road trips more tolerable by filling a hanging shoe organizer with things to entertain your kids.

27. One more for road trips — paint a baking sheet with chalkboard paint to make a chalk and magnetic activity board.

Find the how-to here.

28. Spray-paint a roasting pan to make the ultimate low-budget Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costume.

29. Use a clear shower curtain liner to make a dry-erase sheet your kid can draw all over.

The best part about this is that the markers wipe off, so your kid can start over again the next day! Find out more here.
May Learning Experience:

Simple Activities Backyard Learning (& Fun!)

Backyard learning is easy, cost effective and SO much fun!!! In fact your children will benefit more from backyard learning than sitting at a desk with a paper and pencil. Promote numeracy, addition, subtraction, multiplication, geometry, and symmetry using these kids activities. Great for play-based learning. Learning through play. Early childhood education. Parenting from the Heart. Play-based learning

 Promote Literacy (Reading)

  • Collect a number of rocks. Using paint or a chalk marker, spell out sight words and names.
  • Get out on local trails and encourage kids to read signs or identify symbols. Even toddlers can guess what basic signs say!
  • Create a variation on hopscotch. Write down different instructions for your kids using chalk. For pre-literate children, accompany the words with symbols that correspond to actions. For instance, draw a spring where you’d like them to jump along with the word, “jump.”
Backyard learning is easy, cost effective and SO much fun!!! In fact your children will benefit more from backyard learning than sitting at a desk with a paper and pencil. Promote early literacy, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and more using these kids activities. Great for play-based learning. Learning through play. Early childhood education.
  • Set up a game of Say and Spray. All you need is chalk and a spray bottle. This can be used for sight words or, for younger kids, letters of the alphabet.
  • Using sand or a small pile of dirt, practice fine motor and hand-eye coordination. Draw out shapes or letters and have your child copy your example. Or, simply give them ideas of what to do and then let them explore through play!
  • Encourage your children to create a nature journal. They can collect and paste items they’ve found outdoors, draw pictures, and even write what they experience.
  • Collect pine needles, branches and leaves to create nature paint brushes. These are great for fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
  • Paint pebbles and arrange them in the shapes of letters.

 

Work on Numeracy (Math)

  • Draw Xs and Os on rocks, use some chalk on the ground, and play Tic Tac Toe. Keeping score of multiple games is a great way to work on math.
  • Keep score of a game of soccer, T-ball, football, or street hockey game to work on simple addition.
  • Head out on a scavenger hunt and examine symmetry in leaves, flowers, and other items.
  • Create patterns using items from a scavenger hunt.
  • Write out a huge number grid with either math questions or numbers. Then play using these instructions.
  • Teach fractions by grabbing several equally sized sticks. Break each stick in halves, thirds, or quarters, keeping one stick whole. Then compare and contrast.
  • Collect pebbles and grab chalk to work out different math equations.

 

Develop Scientific Discovery

Backyard learning is easy, cost effective and SO much fun!!! In fact your children will benefit more from backyard learning than sitting at a desk with a paper and pencil. Promote early literacy, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and more using these kids activities. Great for play-based learning. Learning through play. Early childhood education.

  • Throw rocks in water. Not only does this teach cause and effect, it also is a great way for kids to learn basic physics (gravity).
  • Set a hypothesis and explore life that exists in your garden. Planting and caring for flowers or vegetables can be a great way to learn about botany. Digging for insects can be fascinating. See a brilliant how-to here.
  • Using silicon baking trays (can be found at the dollar store), unwrap old, broken crayons. Set them outside on a particularly hot day and wait as the sun melts the crayons. This is a physical reaction or change. Then bring them inside to let them set!
  • Learn about the solar system with free printables and this sensory bin.
  • Grab a baking sheet, a box of baking soda and fill a spray bottle or water gun with vinegar. Adding little drops of food colouring to the baking soda acts as a nice target. This teaches chemical reactions and is a whole lot of fun!
  • Hatch dinosaur eggs and teach your kids about endothermic reactions. All that you need is baking soda, citric acid, and water. Throw them into you kiddie pool and watch the reaction unfold!
  • Work on basic engineering by building a fort. This how-to will make the process so much easier!
Create Invitations to Play For Play-Based Backyard Learning
  • Play berry picking with younger kids by hiding toy balls. Then, encourage your kids to collect them using a basket or pail.
  • Turn your kiddie pool into an amazing sensory experience with these five simple ideas.
  • Teach your kids about the Olympics by setting up skee ball, making a torch craft and more!
https://parentingfromtheheartblog.com/backyard-learning/

April Learning Experience:
FUN KID PROJECT: TURN CANDY INTO PLAY DOUGH!  {This dough has such a fun texture!  Good luck putting it down} #playdough #playdoughrecipe #peepsplaydough #eastercraftsforkids
http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2015/02/peeps-play-dough-recipe.html 

Peeps Play Dough

Recipe (per color)
Method
  • Combine the above ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the Peeps expand (roughly 30 seconds)
FUN KID PROJECT: TURN CANDY INTO PLAY DOUGH!  {This dough has such a fun texture!  Good luck putting it down} #playdough #playdoughrecipe #peepsplaydough #eastercraftsforkids
  • Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave, and begin mixing the ingredients with a spoon.
FUN KID PROJECT: TURN CANDY INTO PLAY DOUGH!  {This dough has such a fun texture!  Good luck putting it down} #playdough #playdoughrecipe #peepsplaydough #eastercraftsforkids
  • You can add additional food coloring at this time if more vibrant coloring is desired.
  • Once cool enough finish kneading and mixing the dough with your hands.  Add more corn starch as needed until the desired consistency is reached.
FUN KID PROJECT: TURN CANDY INTO PLAY DOUGH!  {This dough has such a fun texture!  Good luck putting it down} #playdough #playdoughrecipe #peepsplaydough #eastercraftsforkids
  • Repeat the above steps using different colors of Peeps candy, and you can easily make an entire rainbow of play dough!
FUN KID PROJECT: TURN CANDY INTO PLAY DOUGH!  {This dough has such a fun texture!  Good luck putting it down} #playdough #playdoughrecipe #peepsplaydough #eastercraftsforkids

That's it!  This play dough takes seconds to make and has such a fun texture!   
FUN KID PROJECT: TURN CANDY INTO PLAY DOUGH!  {This dough has such a fun texture!  Good luck putting it down} #playdough #playdoughrecipe #peepsplaydough #eastercraftsforkids
Give kids cookie cutters and other play tools, and they will surely have a blast! 
FUN KID PROJECT: TURN CANDY INTO PLAY DOUGH!  {This dough has such a fun texture!  Good luck putting it down} #playdough #playdoughrecipe #peepsplaydough #eastercraftsforkids
Oh, and one other thing to love about this play dough is that it is TASTE-SAFE, making it fun for kids of all ages!

Tips & Resources:  
  • If you don't have Peeps candy in your country you can make the same type of play dough using marshmallows.  Check out our marshmallow dough recipe for full details.
  • We purchased our Peeps candy in a variety of colors from Amazon here.
  • If the dough is at all sticky just knead in more corn starch.  I used quite a bit of corn starch throughout the mixing process to get the desired consistency.
  • I recommend using neon food coloring if you are adding extra coloring to your Peeps play dough.  The colors are super vibrant and perfect for Spring!
  • We used coconut oil to make our play dough, but other cooking oils can also be used.  The coconut oil we used can be found here.
  • Peeps play dough is meant for one-time use and should be discarded after play.   


March Learning Experience:

Read Across America Day on March 2nd is often recognized in schools with a whole lot of literacy fanfare and Dr. Seuss love, it’s also important for families to have a little background on the event as well so the celebration can continue on at home.

Read Across America Day is celebrated on the birthday of the beloved author and illustrator, Dr. Seuss.  Dr. Seuss, officially known as Dr. Theodor Geisel, was born on March 2, so most Read Across America Day celebrations take place on or around that day.

Schools often mark the day with read-a-thons, read-alouds, reading workshops, speakers, or reading marathons, and many teachers and school employees come to school with a large, floppy, red and white hat on their heads, mirroring the famous Cat in the Hat’s hat.  Some teachers go as far as serving their students green eggs and ham (like Dr. Seuss’s book by the same name), which always gets giggles from kids.

What does this mean for families? How can parents bring the Read Across America excitement home?  Consider these five ways:

  1. Bring home Dr. Seuss books! Hit the library and borrow a handful of Dr. Seuss classics: The Cat in the HatGreen Eggs and HamOne Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue FishThe Lorax, and Fox in Socks just to get you going.   Set them up around your house—and then read, read, read!
  2. Start your kids’ days with green eggs and ham.  Really.  Have a super-silly hot breakfast waiting for them on Read Across America Day and see what they do!  Will they notice their green eggs? Will they rhyme as they eat their ham?
  3. Talk like the Cat.  Do a whole lot of rhyming—silly rhyming!—throughout the day.   Instead of giving your kiddos the same instructions that you always do (Get dressed, make your bed, and brush your teeth, please.) add a little rhyme to the mix: Brush that bed head instead of playing—I’m just saying! And put on your shirt and pants—do a quick ants-in-your-pants dance!—and then clean those pearly whites just right.
  4. Dress like the Cat.  Wear a super-tall top hat, complete with white and red stripes (get crafty with construction paper), or just wear a lot of red, white, and black.
  5. Really READ across America.  Call a loved one, a grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or friend, and either have your child read to that person or ask that person to read to your child.  Of course it should be a Dr. Seuss book, but sharing this meaningful time, celebrating a work from the birthday boy himself, is really what this day is all about. 
(http://www.scholastic.com/parents/blogs/scholastic-parents-raise-reader/5-ways-to-ring-read-across-america-day-home)

February Learning Experience:

 

 

1. Practice jumping. How high and how far can you jump? Bend your knees, reach for the sky, and land softly.

 

2. Work on kicking skills. Kick a balled up pair of socks from room to room.

 

3. Go for a walk, indoors or out. Practice other movements as you go--skip, gallop, slide, leap. 

 

4. Find items around the house that make noise. Uses your intruments as you march in a parade

 

5. Work on cutting skills and make paper snowflakes. Then make a trail through the home and move around only stepping on the paper snowflakes. 

 

6. Practice volleying a balloon with different parts of your body. Can you keep the balloon in the air using your hand, thumb, or elbow?

 

7. Go on an ABC treasure hunt. Search for items that begin with each letter of the alphabet. As you find each letter do a fun movement such as jumping jacks, donkey kicks, or log rolls. 

 

8. One person starts by doing a movement, the next person does the movement and adds a new one. Keep adding new movements to create a movement sentace.

 

9. Turn on relaxing music. Stretch your body in different ways. Between each stretch, relax and breath.

 

10. Clear out some space in a room and roll from one end to the other. First keep your body straight, then try it with your body bent.

 

11. Practice throwing with rolled up socks--turn, step, throw, follow through.

 

12. Practice hopping skills. Hop once on each foot, then twice on each foot. Keep hopping and counting.

 

13. Pretend to skate on paper plates. Add some style and tricks.

 

14. Puzzle relay! Put puzzle pieces on the far side of the room and run to get each piece to complete the puzzle.

 

15. Create an obstacle course with pillows, blankets, and chairs. Practice going under, over, and around.

 

16. Sort toys as your excersize. Hop to get a toy, then hop to put it in a pile by color, size, etc. Then get the next toy. Try different movement for each toy--gallop, leap, skip. 

 

17. Movement charades. Act out something that has to do with winter. Can anyone guess what you are?

 

18. Indoor snowball fight. Have fun throwing paper balls. See how high, how far, and how low you can throw. Pick them up and do it again.

 

19. Transportation fun! Pretend to be riding different forms of transportation--skateboard, bike, roller blades, train, bus, airplane, etc.

 

20. Scatter socks through the house. Pretend to walk on a tight rope between them. When you get to a sock, stand on one foot, bend down to pick it up. Keep your balance.

 

21. Pretend to float through the house like a snowflake falling from the sky. Float high, float low, float fast, float slow.

 

22. Build a tower of pillows and practice under hand throwing to knock it down. 

 

23. Pretend to be animals who like the snow. Walk like a walrus, polar bear, penguin, seal.

 

24. Put mittens on your feet and "skate" aross the floor.

 

25. Make a hopscotch pattern on the floor with painters tape. Work on your hopping and jumping skills. 

 

26. Have a winter dance party. Turn on some upbeat music and dance until you feel your heart beating fast. 

 

27. Read a book and act out the story.

 

28. Using a laundry basket and recycled paper, make a bunch of paper balls and practice throwing into the basket from various distances. 

 

29. Make a tunnel using blankets and chairs. Have fun crawling through it and running around it.

 

30. Make believe you are painting the house. Stretch high, stretch low, paint fast, paint slow. 

 

31. Put balled up socks in a beach towel, hold on to the corners of the towel, and bounce the socks into the air. 

 

32. Play follow the leader around the house, taking turns doing different movements from room to room--skip, gallop, twirl, tiptoe, flap like a bird.

 

33. Make shapes on the floor with painters tape--square, circle, triangle, rhombus, heart. Take turns calling on the name of a shape and moving to jump on it.

 

34. Play "Copy Me." Toss a mitten into the air and do a trick before catching it. Can someone copy you? Now you copy them!

 

35. Sit on a t-shirt and move around the room, using your arms and legs to push and pull.

 

36. Practice galloping. Use your arms to do other things--such as clap, wave, or snap--while you gallop.

 

37. Go on an imaginary walking trip. Walk over a bridge, crawl under a tunnel, slog through the mud, jump in puddles.

 

38. Find two different songs--one fast, one slow. Do a fast dance then a slow, relaxing stretch.

 

39. Practice rhyming say a word that rhymes with a movement, then practice that movement. Say "fun" and then run. Say "lump" then jump. Say "hip" then skip. 

 

40. Do a silly walk around your house. Walk around while acting out different emotions--happy, sad, shy, mad.

 

41. Play a mirror game. Face each other and copy what the other person does.

 

42. Explore speed. Practice different movements fast and then snow. Slow walk, fast walk. Slow skip, fast skip. Slow gallop, fast gallop.

 

43. Turn on some music and run in place to the beat. Feel your heart when the song is over. Now lay down and feel your heart again. 

 

44. Move like things you find around the house. Pretend to be a vacuum, washing machine, or blender. 

 

45. Pretend you are floating around the house in a bubble. Move though out the house without touching anything. Try to get close and then bounce off without touching.

 

46. Make paper airplanes, throw them, then run, skip, hop, or gallop to retrieve them.

 

47. Make a circle on the floor with string or hula hoop. Practice moving in, out, over, beside, and around.

 

48. Spread out washclothes and try to move around stepping only on the washclothes.

 

49. Visit every window in your home and try to jump as high as you can as you reach and stretch.

 

50. Using a ball, such as a beach ball, work on rolling the ball around different parts of your body. Stand up, sit down, kneel, or lay down. Go aroun dteh whole body and different parts.

 

51. BONUS! Pick your favorite and do it again!


http://thinkgreenparentin.wixsite.com/home/single-post/2015/12/15/50-indoor-physical-activities-for-kids 


January Learning Experience:
 
Make play snow with: 3 cups of baking soda mixed with a half a cup of conditioner. 
I would recommend a white conditioner so your snow stays that color.
I found the recipe here and have had the ingredients for awhile. 

This play snow is so much fun! It molds easily, feels cool to the touch and smells like freshly washed hair. 


Plus, the clean up was a breeze. Huzzah! Both products dissolved almost immediately when rinsed under water {bonus: no need for soap!} and it swept up with no problems.


  Also, if you seal your play snow in an airtight container, it will stay good and the fun can continue the next day!


December Learning Experience:
ABCya Games by ABCya.com 




Preschool Skill Games







November Learning Experience:
A little salty, a little sweet, and so, SO easy. Recipe here.
Ingredients
For the Sauce:
  • ¾ cup Butter, melted
  • ¾ cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

For the Mix:
  • 1 box Rice Chex [365g (12 oz)]
  • 1 bag Bugles [213g (7 oz) bag]
  • 4 cups Pretzels
  • 1 heaping cup Candy Corn
  • 1 heaping cup Candy Corn Pumpkins
  • 1 bag Reese's Pieces [230g (8oz)]
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 275°F.
  2. Melt the butter in the microwave in medium bowl or measuring cup.
  3. Add the brown sugar and vanilla extract and whisk well until combined and dissolved.
  4. In a VERY large bowl, add the Chex cereal, pretzels and Bugles.
  5. Pour the sauce over the cereal mixture and toss gently until evenly coated.
  6. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Divide mixture on the two baking sheets and spread in even layers.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool. Then add it to a large bowl, along with the candy corn, pumpkins and Reese's Pieces. Toss to combine.
  10. Store in airtight container.

October Learning Experience:

Trick-or-Treating:




September Learning Activity:
CANDY LAND
Image result for candyland

Skills:
Following Directions: Candy Land has it's own set of rules to follow. While playing games, children are learning how, when, where and why you do certain things- which aid in critical thinking and problem-solving. They will eventually learn the sequence of game play the more often children are exposed to it. In Candy Land, first, you pick up your card, next you count the number of squares to move and see your color, last you move your gingerbread man.

Counting Skills: You count the spaces as you move, count the pieces you have left or the pieces you may need. When you play Candy Land, you can target counting by having children count many things: how many spaces until they reach the castle, how many spaces are they ahead of someone else, or how many spaces do they get to move during their turn. Other math skills to target include: adding points at the end of the game, sorting and matching pictures and game pieces, and sequencing skills. 

Social-interactions: When children are first learning to play games, it is important to have an adult as one of the players. Adults can model good social skills for children and help facilitate the play. As your child gets older, they can play Candy Land on their own with family and friends. Once Candy Land begins and children start talking about the game, there are a variety of social cues they will learn. These social cues they will learn. These social cues include: maintaining eye contact with others, understanding facial expressions, nonverbal gestures, and patience/waiting.

Vocabulary: Children learn a lot about vocabulary by hearing it. They can learn a variety of words specific to each game and are introduced to new words and their meanings when you model use. Candy Land is a great game for helping children learn their colors, but it can also be great to teach descriptive concepts and social-emotional vocabulary. You can teach them to use my turn/your turn during the turns of the game.

Ċ
Jennifer Vincelette,
Mar 21, 2018, 11:02 AM