If your three year old is like mine, and thinks summer will never end, you too are trying to get outdoors as much as possible this tail end of summer and appreciate the fresh air before winter. When you live in the Midwest, winter can stretch on and beyond 4, 5, 6 months. We stock up on our vitamin D and sunlight while we can!
On days your child isn’t at preschool, or if he stays home all day, a few new games and activities in your tool box will be fun! Most children this age are very interested in learning through all their senses: touch, taste, smell, feel, and sound. The world is their classroom and it’s our job as parents to help them find ways to creatively learn.
This little activity takes only a few materials and yields lots of fun.
Materials: 2-4 skeins of a chunky yarn, a roll of sturdy tape like packaging tape, a table with chairs
Cut three long (12-14 inches) pieces of yarn, knot them all together. Leave a long tail after the knot where you can tape it down to a edge of a table. Pull up a few chairs and teach your child how to braid. Knot off the end, and hang it on your porch as a festive fall decoration. If braiding is difficult, teach sliding knots.
This hands-on experience offers hunting, research, patience, and all sorts of other life lessons.
Materials: a dozen or more leaves from your neighborhood, wax paper, a thick book, a notebook, tape or glue
Collect leafs of different shapes, colors, and sizes on your walk about. Press the leaves between two pieces of wax in a large book like the dictionary. After one week, retrieve the leaves and paste or tape into a notebook. Research the leaves and write their names down under each leaf. If your child takes to it, write down more facts about the trees, the bark, the shapes of the branches. Build on this notebook over time and your child will have a beautiful leaf book!
Be sure to bring something to carry those leaves in, perhaps a wooden dump truck like this one offered by KPTCO?
A note for any occasion comes better from your artist child. Cut these and keep them in a place you can easily grab them for birthdays, thank yous, and holidays.
Materials: paint of your choice (finger, brush, watercolor), a large roll of paper, tape, scissors, a blank permanent marker
Roll out a large scroll of paper onto the ground and tape around the outer edge such that your child can easily paint without the paper moving. Encourage them to cover the whole paper with color, shapes, and movement. Get their hands and feet into it, too! Experience paint with their whole bodies! After it dries, cut heart shaped cards that fold open out of the paper, and voila! Greeting cards for every occasion. Have your child write, or you help them write, their name on the front. Instant mailable art.
After you’re done with your painting, work on your child’s scissor skills with this wonderful Montessori Preschooler Paper from Liveable Learning here.
Use the child’s sense of smell and even taste with this next activity. Start opening their taste buds early!
Materials: 6-12 different dried spices from your pantry, small dishes to accompany the number, lined notebook, glue, pen or pencil
Present your child with an array of dried spices in small dishes, encouraging them to smell and taste as they desire. Don’t tell them what they are, but ask for guesses. Have them select which ones they want to adhere to their spice book. Dedicate a page to each spice, drop a generous dollop of glue on the page and press the spice into it, allowing it to dry thoroughly. Write down adjectives the child selects for the spice, and then talk about which food it goes well with. Consult the spice book next time your little one is helping you cook!
Enjoy these last days of summer and encourage your child to learn with all their senses—it will be joyful for both of you!