Buttons and plastic eggs are all you need for a fun and engaging Easter activity. There are so many ways to play with these two materials and set up couldn’t be easier. Just pour the buttons and eggs onto a tray, into a shallow container, or even right on the floor and let your preschoolers go at it!
I set this up for my son and his friend (both 3) at our play table in February, not even thinking of it as an Easter activity. We actually have plastic eggs in rotation throughout the year because the kids love them.
The kiddos went straight for the buttons. After feeling them and spreading them around the table a bit they began filling the eggs. They had a blast pouring buttons back and forth between egg halves.
Then of course they closed the eggs and made musical shakers!
For this post in my ongoingDiscovering the Natural Worldseries, I wanted to share photos from our excursions to look for tadpoles and frogs last spring. We were fortunate to be able to observe almost the entire life cycle of a frog right in our own neighbourhood!
There has been a fair amount of construction in our subdivision over the last year or two. Land is being cleared for new development and we make regular trips to watch the construction vehicles at work (raise your hand if loitering around construction sites is a normal past time now that you’re a parent. Please tell me I’m not the only one! )
Because we live in a boggy, forested area with a number of streams running through it, there are always plenty of water-filled pits and ditches left behind after excavators have been digging up the earth. To the absolute delight of my son and daycare kids, we discovered that some of these muddy mini-ponds were home to frogs!
First we noticed frogspawn. A lot of frogspawn! Female frogs lay a huge number of eggs to ensure that at least some will survive. Fortunately for our amphibian friends, the construction happening in our neighbourhood is occurring at a snails pace!
After almost daily walks to see the frogspawn, we were excited to one day see tadpoles! Around this time we noticed an unpleasant smell in the area (from dirty, standing water, I assume) and one of the kids decided that it “smelled like tadpoles”. From that point on one or all of them would announce that it smelled like tadpoles every time we visited the construction area. They thought that was hilarious.
Although we missed the metamorphosis stage (when the tadpole changes shape and becomes a frog), we did see a few frogs here and there throughout the summer. Alas, none were to be seen at the site where we observed the frogspawn and tadpoles.
Can you see the little guy in the photo above? We found him in a stream near the side of a road. He gave me a good opportunity to talk to the kids about natural camouflage.
I’m looking forward to our outdoor explorations this spring. Who knows what we’ll find this year!
Online Resources for Learning About the Life Cycle of a Frog and for Frog-Themed Fun:
Head outdoors to look for frogs, toads, and newts with this Amphibian Hunt checklist from Nature Detectives.
I am thrilled to be guest-posting today at my friend Mary Catherine’s fantastic blog, Fun-A-Day. My post is all about nature play at home and in the classroom. I’m sharing easy ways to use natural materials for play and learning.
I hope you’ll click over to Fun-A-Dayto read the full post and to share how you incorporate nature into the activities you do with your children or students.
More Ideas for Nature Play at Home or in the Classroom:
What to do with all those interesting bits of nature that the kids pick up outside? How about displaying them on a nature table? A nature table, shelf, or tray can be a wonderful way to help children develop an appreciation of the natural world.
I’m excited to be partnering with four fantastic bloggers today on a nature table blog hop. You’ll get to see a total of five nature tables, each as unique as the family that created them. That’s what I love about nature tables. There are no rules as to how one should be put together. Anything goes. The idea is simply to designate a space within the home or classroom to showcase items from and/or representing the natural world.
Some nature tables are strictly displays of natural finds. Others include small toys, books, or art materials that enable children to build on their understanding of the natural materials included. They can be included in a formal nature study or incorporated into a child’s play area to be explored casually and at the whim of the child.
Today I’m sharing our winter nature table, which is currently set up at our play table. We also use the play table for sensory activities and small worlds, so our nature finds will remain there until interest wanes, at which point I’ll save what I can and bring the rest back outside. To see a nature table that is not season specific please click here: Our Nature Table.
Our nature table includes things we’ve found while playing outside this winter: spruce and pine needles, dead and faded leaves and ferns, cedar, birch bark, wildflower seeds, and lichen. To this collection I added a cardinal, woodpecker, and snowy owl – all birds that can be seen in our part of the world in winter. I also added a painted pinecone from oursnowy pinecones craft session and a favourite winter children’s book, The Snow Tree (I’ve included the link to this beautiful book on Amazon. If you purchase it I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you).
Despite (or maybe because of?) the fact that my son (age 3.5) collected many of the items on the tray himself, he still really enjoyed playing with them at the table. He touched everything and pulled at the fuzzy lichen, which we refer to as “moose beard”. He tickled me with the pine needles and flew the owl around, making owl sounds as he did so. Then he carefully arranged all the nature finds around the perimeter of the play table.
As I mentioned above, our nature table is one of five being shared today. I can’t wait to see what my nature-loving friends and their families have come up with! Please click the links below to visit their blogs and read about their nature tables.
Making and playing with salt dough Olympic Rings is a fun way to learn about the Olympics, practice basic math concepts and get creative. Please visitCBC Parents to find out how we made these and what we’ve been doing with them.
If my Pinterest feed is any indication, people are thinking spring. In our neck of the woods however, spring is still a long way off. We had back-to-back snow storms this weekend. Winter isn’t going anywhere!
And so, to remind myself and my fellow cold climate friends that although winter is long, it is fun, I’ve sorted through my photos from the last few months to put together this post of Winter Outdoor Play Ideas for Preschoolers.
We Race up and down the driveway (above) This is a great way to burn off excess energy and to stay warm.
We shovel. My son would happily do this all day. And he does a good job of it (expect when he shovels snow from the lawn onto the driveway. ).
We climb snow banks. This is great exercise and a test of balance and coordination for little ones.
We make snow slides on snow banks.
Wepaint the house with water. This is one of my son’s all-time favourite *summertime activities. We recently discovered that it’s just as much fun to do in winter. It was cold enough on the day I took this photo that the water froze as soon as Peanut painted it on the siding – fascinating for a 3 year-old to observe.
Use your judgement with this activity. If your child is apt to stick his/her hand in the bucket of water you may want to wait for warmer weather to try this.
We tinker with odds and ends from the shed (in this case, the broken top rack from our dishwasher. No, we are not hoarders. Borderline hoarders possibly. ).
We read and have snacks outside. After all the effort of piling on winter gear, why not stay out as long as possible? There’s no need to head back inside for snack time or lunch if you’ve packed a picnic or a few easy munchies.
We go snowshoeing and for long walks in the woods…
…and fall asleep on the way home.
Find more winter outdoor play ideas for preschoolers in these posts: