By Danielle Waite
As we have now officially arrived at summer weather and triple digits on a daily basis, I want to provide you with activities for indoors and outdoors.
With it being strawberry season, save those green plastic baskets for the next activities.
Strawberry Basket Weaving: Grab a basket, give your child pieces of ribbon, string and yarn and let the weaving and decorating begin. If you have spare buttons or beads, you can add them to this activity (as long as your child no longer puts small items in the mouth). These baskets also can be sewn and tied together to make new creations.
Bubble Making: Using a pot or dishpan with water and soap, have your child use the strawberry basket as a tool to make bubbles. You can also give your child a manual hand mixer (non-electric) and a whisk for them to make mountains of bubble foam. Don’t forget a sponge and towel to mop up messes if you do this indoors.
During your next run to a home improvement store, grab paint color sample cards and sandpaper for these next activities.
Color Sorting: There are so many shades of color and this will be a fun activity for your child. Have your child sort the paint samples into different color groups. Pick up some of the brightest to the lightest (almost white) to challenge your child. This works best with the color sample cards that are one color per piece of paper.
Color Matching: This activity works best with paint sample cards that have multiple shades on one card. Provide the sample cards with a variety of objects in a basket or box – small toys, fruits, buttons, crayons, flowers, leaves, rocks and other small, colorful objects. The child can then try to find a color-card match for each of the items.
Sticky Sandpaper: This activity is simple. Provide your child with a sheet of sandpaper and some lengths of string or yarn. The sandpaper will grip the yarn to allow your child to lay the string/yard in interesting patterns and they won’t move much. See what your child comes up with.
From the kitchen ...
Edible Slime: Here’s a sensory experience that also is edible. Parents will be needed to help make the slime.
Paper Plate Frisbees: If you have leftover paper plates from a party or event, here’s an activity that will use some of your stash. Paper plates make incredible Frisbees. Allow your child to first customize the Frisbee by coloring or adding stickers. Your child will be introduced to a different way of throwing. This may be an activity best for outdoors.
Puzzle activities ...
Puzzle Hunt: This can be done with infants through older children. Take a favorite puzzle and “hide” the pieces around a room or area. Your child needs to hunt for the pieces in order to complete the puzzle. For young children, the hiding places can be fairly easy to spot. For older children, let them know that inside books, under cushions or on window sills all are fair game.
Puzzle Jumble: If your child has mastered the puzzles you have at home, here’s a simple way to make them more challenging. Place all of the puzzle pieces in a box or basket. Start with just two pieces, then add more when your child has mastered that. This is for sorting and completing the puzzle.
Homemade Puzzles/Lacing Board: Print out a few photos or use your child’s art to make a puzzle or lacing board. You can use tongue depressors (old popsicle sticks), pieces of cardboard or construction paper to make a custom puzzle. Glue on the photo/art, then cut apart. For the lacing board, cardboard works best. Once your art is secure and dry, put holes in assorted areas, attach string/yarn with a tape needle and let your child lace and re-lace.
Keep safe and healthy!
Danielle Waite is executive director of the Early Childhood Education Center at UC Merced.