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Play and Learn Ideas

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Play and Learn Ideas for Children and Family! (scroll down)

NEVER Be At A loss Of Things To Do!!
     A great way to bond with your child, experience your child growing, and raise them with the best learning experience possible is to be a stay at home mom (or dad). Despite differences in income and support many parents from all over  have made stay at home work for their family. Though it's not an option for all it is a wonderful opportunity to have. (most 2 income families can afford to live on one, if you are considering being a SAHM here is a good budget plan, if you don't know if you can afford it here is a salary calculator  to help determine how much money you really currently earn after all the costs and lost tax breaks, and here are some great money saving tips  useful for all families!)
     By being a SAHM You get a chance to experience "firsts" with your child, be there to support them whenever they need it, help them learn and grow at their own individual pace, recieve the individual stimulation they require, and learn the values you wish to instil. And for stay at home parents, not only does the child have the optimal chance to learn, but so does the parent. The time spent together increase a parents understanding of the childs needs as well interpreting their feelings and moods, with increased time for communication.  The un-founded concern of "not getting interaction with other children" is easily remedied by getting interaction with children their own age but also people of all ages. By going to local play groups, playgrounds, puppet shows, library/bookstores, group reading times, getting together with other parents, enrolling your child into parent/child classes and more, your child can experience and learn from different people.
some wonderful classes that benifit boys and girls of any age as well as encourage friendiness, imagination, and coordination include:
Sign language
Mommy & Me yoga
Nature programs
Art class
A forgien language (spanish, french, japanese, german. etc. Children are never to young to learn a second language. if they can learn a word in english they can in another language, and young children are more apt to learning 2 languages.)
Older children can also join
scouting groups,
the sca,
martial arts,
and more.
     That said, staying at home somedays can be a challange to find exciting, interesting, and different things to do day after day. I have complied a list of ideas of things to do for children of all ages. These ideas are great for all parents, if you're not a sahm try them on the weekend. They are great for homeschoolers too!! For more homeschooling info: pagan homeschooling, links, lessons, and supplies see 'resources'. For online activities for children and homeschoolers, as well as great learning books, software, and other media see the 'resources' page as well.
     These activities help children learn about where things come from, nature, the enviroment, culture, art, self-expression, respect, science, history, physical fitness, responsibility, and so much more. They encourage children to ask questions in peaceful, respectful, friendly ways that incorperate pagan beliefs and imagination.
     These activities are listed by general age because children are ready for things at different levels. Also many of these activites can be simplified for younger children or built upon to be more complex for older children. 
Remember: children often absorb more then they can express in words. If  you are unsure if an activity is to old for your child go ahead and give it a try and test it, they may surprise you. Even if they cannot fully understand something, help them and demonstrate so they can still learn about it. And remember to have fun, let the child make mistakes.


Put on the sunscreen and a sun hat and head outdoors. Or put on some long slevesand head into the woods. (see resoures for kid friendly sunscreen and bug repellant) Is it raining or snowing?? no matter, there are ideas for every season.
  • Go to the park and have a picnic
  • Go to a playground and let them run.
  • hula-hoop
  • Go to a park, creek or other area in the neighboorhood and clean up litter. (invite some friends, bring some snacks and make it an earth party)
  • go to the park or waterside and feed the ducks and geese bread or seeds.
  • Play in a sand box (At home or in the park)
  • Go swimming (indoors or out)
  • rain?? Splash in the puddle, try and catch raindrops in your mouth,
  • raining: sit on the porch to watch the storm and clouds
  • Rain: put drops of food coloring on a large piece of white paper board and let your child carry it carefully along in the rain. take it inside and see what patterns it made while it dries.
  • raining: go out for a walk and watch rivers rising, or watch worms.
  • raining: let your child take some toys (that wont rust out and play with them in the rain or give them a bath in the rain (dont use real soap as it will wash into the ground)
  • take a walk on the beach
  • go for a walk in the neighboorhood
  • go out at night. younger children talk about what stars are and name constelations. older children have them map them out.
  • ride in a row boat, go canoeing, or take a tour on a steam boat.
  • Play hopscotch
  • jump rope
  • Take a nature walk and:
  •  gather herbs/plants for drying/ future rituals,
  • Take books to identify flowers or insects.
  • Have children gather leaves and make a collage or press them in a book, labeling the leaf parts and tree species.
  • respect begins with the smallest creatures: Have children draw insect they saw and make a book labeling parts and species.
  • Go bird watching and name different birds and things crucial to their habitiat (bugs, hallowed trees, flowers, ect)
  • Go for a walk and record all the different animal homes seen
  • Catch frogs or minnows in the creek, identify their species and parts, then let them go.
  • Collect rocks, ttake them home to label them and learn how they are formed.
  • Take a walking tour of a natural area in the neighbourhood (eg. a park or back yard.).  Together make notes on the ‘treasures’ it contains - interesting things such as a big tree, a bird’s nest, flowers, or unusual rocks. Once back at home develop a map of the area showing its ‘treasures’, then pass it on to another family member or a friend to try and find them.
  • plant a garden.
  • Autumn: rake leaves in a pile. let your child play in them and then rake them uo again (do not let them play in the leaves when they are in the streets, using rakes is safer then leaf blowers for children and the enviroment)
  • Build a snowman,
  • go sleding,
  • go ice skating
  • let a child freeze ice cubes outside during winter.
  • go for a bike ride
  • roller skate/roller blade
  • sit in the grass and identify cloud types..and the shapes you see in them :)
  • Go to a low car traffic train crossing and watch trains, go to an observation area and watch airplanes (most are outdoors now) talk about transportation, pollution and the best modes of travel and shipment.
  • Visit a local farm. (most small farms don't mind people dropping by) to see how animals are raised and the work that is done by farmers. Discuse the enviromental and ethical impacts of different typs of farming and the process of how food arives on our table.
  • Play ball outside, rolling and throwing.
  • Take a large old white sheet out side and using either fabric paints or tempra and let your child (or children) paint it.
  • Find a close tree, rock or focus point. Tell the child it will turn them into an animal and thet have to pretend to be that animal on their way back from it. Watch, them crawl, slither and more as you name fun animals and discuss them. 
  • older children: if you dont mind digging up a part of your yard-break up some old clay/pottery/stonewear dishes and burry them. have an arcealogical dig. let them dig them out and try to peice them together. (warning never use glass or corning wear dishes)
  • older children: Go to a local river daily or creak daily. record water acidity and water level for 1 week-1 month. record data and look for trends (ie: does acidity rise after a rainfall)
  • do letter boxing in your area or go for a day outting to a park not so close by.
  • Go for a neighboorhood walk and have your child make a list of all the art they see all different forms. (ie: archetecture, landscaping, murals, signs, statues, gravestones ect.) and discuss them each. Let the child sketch their favorite one.
  • Go out at night in the country and identify constellations and planets.
  • go for a drive in the country.(take a camera, you'd be surprised at all the differnt things you will find)
  • a game to build trust: let children blind fold one another and lead them around your home premisis (supervised)
  • Make craft sailboats and race them down a local river or in a large tub of water.
  • Make a solar water purifier. Mix some salt and food coloring into a big bowl of warm water until the salt is disolved (or use pop but most other liquids prbably won't work...experiment)  place a cup in the center of the bowl. (the cup will need to be shorter then the bowl but taller then the water in the bowl. you may need to put something in the cup to weigh it down that you wont mind in what you drink.) cover the bowl with normal plastic wrap, and seal it to the bowl with tape or a rubber band. place a small heavy object in the center of the plastic wrap right above where the cup would be. Place it out into the sun for min. 5 hours. (it works better if oyu do it all day, and be sure its outside, not just in a window as you need the heat) check back and see whats in your cup, and taste it. does it taste salty? do you see the food coloring?
  • Go to a cemetary and do grave rubbings (be sure the cemetary allows this first)
  • take an archetecture walk downtown or in a historic neighboorhood.  view/discuss old and new buildings/churches/offices/monuments ect. the years they were made and the differences between eras.
  • go to the zoo (great for any season)
  • visit a wildlife preserve or sanctuary.
  • take a trip to the recycling center, drop off recycleables and see how they work (often city municiple centers take a wide variety of things that should be recycled but they dont pick up such as oil, batteries {big and small} monitors, radios, tires, cardboard, #3+ plastics, ect)
  • draw with chalk
  • blow bubbles
  • Catch fireflies at night (and let them go) talk of how they grow/hibernate/become fireflies and why they blink.
  • go for a walk and make a map of your neighboorhood together. for younger children only do around a few blocks or to the park. let older children do furthur. Besure to mark places that stand out such as parks, schools, library, friends house, mail box, a big old tree, a yard with a water fountain, ect.
  • Get a bucket or can of water. Give your child a clean paint brush. Then let them "paint" the house, sidewalk, fence, etc. with the water.
  • play in the water sprinkler
  • fly a kite
  • play frisby
  • Buy or make a pinwheel
  • put rocks in the sun, go out later and show your child how hot they are. discuss how the sun heated them up and how all things have energy and how it flows in a circle. younger children tell them of how plants eat the sun and animals eat the plants, older children speak more of photosynthesis.
  • Use black construction paper and put objects on it, let it sit in the direct sun a few hours and come back to see the shapes the sun painted.
  • Sit in the woods and look for fearies or have the child draw the scene they see. be sure to stay for an hour or many hours so they can notice changes and details.
  • walk in the woods (or park) have the child choose a tree, sit under it and write a story about what it has seen/experienced as it has grown.
  • cut out squares of cardboard and put them together around the garden. Then ask your child if he can walk across the 'stones' without falling into the 'sea'.
  • put out a large washing-up bowl of bubbly water and let your child wash his teddy's clothes and hang them on a mini washing line.
  • Visit a colonial village. (some cities have re-enactment villages which offer a fun look into the past. Often based with real buildingd that were donated, people dress, speak and demonstrate living of the past, from old schools, candle making, glassblowing, making yarn, apple cider, maple syrup and more.
  • Visit a train museum (these are primarilly outdoor museums where you can learn history of the railroad as well as ride old trains and cable cars.)
  • *with a group of 4 or more games*
  • play bat and moth: set peremiters for the children to stay inside of (only as far as that tree and that tree) tie a blindfold on the one child whose "bat", all the others are moths. bat says "BAT" and everytime bat says 'bat' all the moths "Moth" (loud enoug to be heard, no whispering)have the bat try and tag a moth, who then becomes 'bat' discuse how bats can't see well but use sonar, sound bouncing off of objects to tell where they are.
  • Duck, duck, goose.
  • Capture the flag
  • what time is it mr. fox
  • tag
  • Roaring lion: have the children sit in aling and 1 as the lion sit about 10 feet away with his back to the other children and his eyes closed. put a stuffed animal about 2 feet away from the lion between him and the other kids. each child gets to try and sneak up and steal the stuffed animal. If the lion hears them he can turn around and roar to "protect" his cub. The peson who can get the cub first is then the lion
  • King: kind of like oppostite hide and seek. all the kids close their eyes and count to 50. then the "king" or "queen" goes and hides. then all the children look for him. when they find him they hid with him. (or near him if their isnt enough room) until theres only 1 kid looking. the first one to find him gets to be king.
  • red rover
  • Hide and seek. try it at night time with flashlights for a different twist. (be sure the kids who are ginding turn off their flashlight when hidden)
  • Get a big sheet or other lightweight fabric. let each child hold a corner and move it up and down together like a parachutte, catching the air as it balloons up when going down. ltake turns letting some children move it and some children sit or run around under it.
    Treasured Tree: Take the kids out into a wooded area. Find a clearing (any size) as your starting point. Pair all the kids up. Blindfold one child of each pair. One kid will lead the other to a tree. The blindfolded child will need to feel the tree, way up high, way down low, leafs and knobs, and roots. Then they are lead back to the clearing and unblindfolded. Then they must try and find the same tree. Afterwards the other child is blindfolded and gets a chance to try and guess their tree.


Indoors: away from home.
No matter the weather outside, going somehwere different can be a fun adventure. The places are comfortably heated/airconditioned, smoke free, peaceful enviroments and are a nice change of pace.
  • Visit a museum: there are soo many kinds, big and small, each neighboors hood has different thing to offer. Many museums also offer classes and family activities with a theme. some may be:
  • Art museum
  • Private art museum or art gallery.
  • Natural history museum. depending on the size of your city they may include: rocks, astrology, animals, cave men, other cultures, dinosaurs, and more.
  • Vehicle/invention museums: these may include old toys, cars, airplanes, pianos, instruments, clothing, washing machines, or other modern inventions.
  • Science museum: these are great hands on fun learning museums
  • Childrens museum: also great hands on museums though are often geared for slightly younger children.
  • Victorian/colonial house. (some cities have a houses and belongings of famailies that were donated and turned into small museums)
  • African American museum
  • Holicost musum
  • Health museum

or try...

  • An aquarium
  • A planitarium
  • The library
  • a visit to the fire department
  • A historical landmark (many are open to the public and  some even offer tours)
  • Horticultural center/botanical gardens
  • The ballet
  • An opera
  • A theatrical production or classical music concert (older kids will enjoy profesional shows, younger children, toddlers, and infants can benifit by going to local school or community productions while supporting the community orginization)
  • Visit a nursing home
  • A rock climbing gym
  • An indoor pool
  • An indoor ice skating rink
  • Take up a local class
  • Join a club
  • Go to a book discusion group
  • Go to the mall. (yes its not to much of a learning experience but it can be good talk time/bonding time especially when one on one and not rushed)
  • Volunteer with your child somewhere like an animal shelter.


INDOORS: at home
Being stuck indoors can be trying at times, to often children are stuck in front of the tv, or little infants in playpens or swings out of bordem on both the parent and the childrens part. Turn on some classical music or music from different cultures around the world and try some of these ideas to get things going. (see the resources page for great learning toy, books and more)
  • All Ages
  • cook together: toddlers love to open packages, poor the messuring cups, crack eggs, roll dough and stir things. Older kids can learn cooking healthy (insead of microwave meals) as well as math from addition to fractions, science {tempertures, boiling/melting/freezing points, chemicals and vitamins} and about the enviroment. Its a good time to disciuss why we wash the fruits, buy the foods we do, where food comes from. Discuss food groups for young children or why a food is healthy for slightly older childeren (ie: this contains protein which helps build muscles)
  • Try cooking fruit or bran muffins instead of cakes and cupcakes, add applesauce to cookies, use honey or molassas instead of sugar, yogurt instead of mayonaise. Make a salad and name veggies, vitamins, colors. When cooking there are many opportunities.
  • Paint: fingerpaints for younger childen, paintbrushes for older children. Let the learn about mixing colors for younger children, older children can learn about different paints (oil, water, acrilics) paint pictures of seasonal scenes, sabbat,s or what their imagination loves. Experiment by painting with different objects, wheat, flowers, leafs, roll apine cone in paint, dip a rock, or use cookie cutters. As well as you can buy premade figures of animals, bugs, trains, planes, stained glass windows ect. to paint.
  • color with craysons, or chalk or draw.
  • Play a board game: memory cards, tic-tac-toe, hi-ho cherry, I spy, blokus, shapes up, or other games for small children. Older children will benifit from learning games such as  DaVinchis Challenge, Bank Account, grammer mania, vocabulary builder, Impressionist Art Game, math magic (1&2) quizmo geometry, integer chess. Even popular games such as operation, chess, chinese checkers, monopoly or labyrinth are good learning games and good to share family time together.
  • Read books.
  • put a word of the day on the refrigerator and try and use it with your child all day (it can be any language you wish)
  • use tin cans or paper cups and string and play telephone.
  • Make and play with puppets.
  • Sing songs, try singing in rounds or in different languages.
  • sew: older children -sew a costume, knit a scarf (or hat ect.). this is fun and creative. sewing requires a lot of math and both improve eye/hand coordination. If you can't do either let them take a class. For toddles/infants try sewing/lacing toys.
  • dance together
  • pull out some work books. (avaliable in ages 12 months and up, never ending)
  • spend time on the computer together. for infants and toddlers you can buy little keyboards, a mouse and programs, or just let them hit letters on a blank screen to see what it does. Learning games can be bought for older children as well as be taught basics like how to make their own webpage (which can be personally creative for them)
  • Build with blocks or legos. infants may like word or picture blocks, older children may like erector sets or knex which have motors, screws and more complicated parts.
  • make a game of cleaning up (who can do it fastest or put items away by color or characteristics {ie: everything with wheels})
  • Do Puzzles- these are good for all ages. themes for toddlers can be colors, shapes, vegetables/fruits, letters, numbers as well as shape sorters. Older children enjoy jiggsaws with themes like their favorite animal or mystical scenes as well as 3d puzzles of famous buildings around the world or puzzle cubes.
  • excersise together
  • Buy a few packets of glow in the dark ceiling stars and lay out constellations on the childs ceiling.
  • Get a pet. lots of animals make good pets, not just dogs and cats-though they are fun. Also consider hermit crabs, a small lizard or gecko, fish, a bird, a frog/toad, a rabbit (they are wonderful and litter box trainable) hampsters, chinchillas, turtles, and more. (rthis is a great way to teach responsability but no matter the age of your child do not expect them to care for it 100% by themselves.)
  • Children And Teens
  • make pencil holders out of cans or jars.
  • Make a family tree. Let your children go through old photos as well as talk to many relatives near and far. Make this a month long project and If you use acid free paper and art supplies (found at your local craft store) it can be one you frame or put into a frame box if 3d.
  • get different craft items and make and decorate pentacles.
  • Multiplication: use paper cups (or jars,cans or whatever you have a lot of) and dried beans. write some equasions each on a different pieice of paper (or use flash cards) let your child figure out the equasion by filling the cups with beans (ie: 3X5= 3 cups with 5 beans in each=15 beans. also show them how 3X5=5X3 ect.)
  • Play with toy food
  • Learn all about roots by planting your own avacado plant. Use an organic avocado seed (these are more likely to sprout roots and more likely to grow fruit if properly cared for) and wash it off. Take a glass cup or jar (clear preferable so you can see through it) and fill it with room temp water. Stick 3 tooth picks into its sides around the middle. Balance it on the top of the cup, the wide end of the seed should be down, into the water. About 1 inch of the seed should be covered with water. Put in a warm place out of direct sunlight. Roots will take 2-6 weeks to sprout (you will notice the seed cracking) and are great fun to wach as they grow.
  • Make your own little native american totem poles out of consturction paper, glue, and toilet paper rolls you color and stack with a flat square of construction paper in between
  • Make Bacteria crafts: you need multiple sizes of Styrofoam balls, toothpicks or glue, Rick rack trim (zig zag trim) Popsicle sticks, Markers paints or glitter, multiple assortment of beads, yarn, rubber bands: decorate one Styrofoam ball and learn 'coccus formation' which is round in shape. Bacteria 2: Hook two Styrofoam balls together with toothpicks or glue and learn ‘diplococcus formation’ which is two round objects found together. Bacteria 3: Create a string of beads with yarn representing ‘streptococcus’ also glue together clusters of small Styrofoam balls for ‘staphylococcus.’ Bacteria 4: Decorate popsicle sticks representing rod shaped ‘bacillus formation.’ Bacteria 5: Twist together three 3" pieces of rick rack and rubber band them at one end allowing the pieces to spiral down creating the spiral ‘spirilla formation.’
  • make your own play dough or use modeling clay. If you make your own play dough add a few drops of essential oil for added fun.
  • make a rocket bottle boat. take a small plastic pop bottle, put a few rocks or marbles in it so that its lid is a just under water when laying horizontal in a filled tub. Poke a small hole (thumb tack size) in the bottle lid, fill the bottle 1/3 of the way up with vinegar. Take 3 squares of toilet paper, cover them with baking soda and roll them up and slip them into the pop bottle, put on the lid and put it in the water.
  • model kits are available of trains, bird houses, doll houses, dinosaurs and more. They are fun to put together, make, and put to use.
  • Have your child make their own magazine on any subject they want. Have them research and write a the articles, desgin games, editorials, illustrations ect. Have them even make the advertisments, thinking about what kind of people and products would be advertised in their magazine-target marketing.
  • Make your own ink blot pictures with ink or black paint on folded paper and imagine what they look like.
  • make your food dance: fill a cup with a very carbonated drink like seltzer water, drop in a raisin, popcorn kernel, ect. it will start to sink but the air bubbles will cling to it bringing it back up and down making it dance. try with different small objects, see if the bubbles can make heavier things float.
  • Make a collage. cut and glue with construction paper, yarn or other household items. Nature scenes of the current season are always fun and help identify changes, you can also make animals (make a horse and glue yarn on as hair ect.) or make greating cards for upcoming holidays.
  • Record different sounds (dog barking, door creaking, water running) on a cassette then play them and have the child geuss what they are.
  • do the laundry together, sort clothes colors, and help fold.
  • wash the dishes together (little kids love to play in the sink)
  • sort and recycle your paper, bottles and cans.
  • Make big flash cards of words and make scentances, or words in different languages. Try numbers and math symbols (+ - X) and make equasions.
  • buy a variety of musical instruments to experiment with.
  • Science kits can be bought or you can read insturctions online to make your own mini volcano, (that really erupts) get electricity from a potato, grow crystals and more.
  • Play less then/greater then card game: 2 players. shuffle a deck of cards and put it between you both. each player picks the top card and flips it. Each player takes turns stating who has the high numbered card (if one child is playing with an adult let the child do it each time) the person with the higher number gets both cards. go through the whole deck, the one with the most cards at the end win. (for younger children take out the royal cards or write on them which number they represent)
  • older children-take paper and fold oragami (books are avalible at the library or online) and discuse the culture it comes from or use old newspapers to make paper hats, airplanes, boats ect.
  • Plants drinking water: Mix about a teaspoon of red food coloring in water and cut a leafy peice of celery about 1 inch off the bottom and put it in the red water. Let sit about 2 hours, when the leaves are red. cut across the bottom and abosourve the red circles of where the water flows through
  • Make macaroni necklaces (color dry macaroni and other pasta with markers and string it on yarns) Or buy some beads and make a bead necklace.
  • Play everyday objects: play with one kid or pass object around in a group. take everyday objects and let them think of another use you could use it for aside from what is supposed to be used for.
  • Get an ant farm or raise monarch butterflies from eggs (these are purchasable at science/nature stores or online)
  • Car freshener: Use a cookie cutter or other stencil to draw a shape on the cardboard and two felt pieces. Cut out the cardboard and felt and glue the felt pieces to both sides of the cardboard. Make a hole in the top and use string to make a hanger. Drop about 10 drops of an essential oil on to the felt. Or sew 2 pieces of felt together with some herbs inside and drop the oil on the outside.
  • Make stepping stones. You can buy premade kits or mix up cement according to instructions on package. Get round plastic drip pans for plants. Fill with cement. let dry a little bit. Have children put their hand print, pentacles or phases of the moon in them. (Have them wash their hands right away.)
  • Show your child or let them research masks from different cultures then make your own at home using paper plates or paper bags.
    Gather large rocks and paint them like different animals.
  • Disect an owl pellet
  • Draw faces on paper plates of faces of people from each contenent or country with different aspects like glasses, hair color, ect. If you put them on popsicle sticks they can be used for a puppet show on a country.
  • Make fraction flash cards (on notecards is easiest) write the fraction and draw an example (like a square split in 4 and color in 3/4ths of it) do this in an even number so ever 2 cards adds up to 1 and play memory with it having the child try and match which ones equal 1. (ie: 3/6 + 1/3 = 1) Or have them try and match equivelents (ie: 4/8=1/2)
  • Clean the house together. Put on some music, add herbs and oils to cleaning products. sprinkle sea salt in the kitchen and sweep it up, let the child use a duster or polish furniture or the floor or help mop. (Be sure the house is well ventilated if using strong scented agents around children)
  • Let your child draw 5 jars or so on paperboad. spread glue on them and sprinkle with different herbs in each, smell and label.
  • Air takes up space: get a cup and stuff a paper towel in the bottom so it wont fall out. without tilting it dip it in a large container of water until its all the way under and then slowly lift it out. show how the paper towel is still dry and discuss how air takes up space. (opaque cups and contaier work best so you can see the air bubble)
  • Play with little people, puppets, or paper dolls and pose different situations that they may experience in real life.
  • Aboriginal art: this is a messy one. cover art area with newspaper and be sure your child isn't going to a photo shoot or big party withing the next 24 hours lol. Do a little research together about the Austalian Aboriginies and their cave paontings. Play some Digerieedoo music and get a large piece of white poster board. Mix up 3 cups of colored water with food coloring. Make these strong and dark (red, orange, and 1 of your choice) Let your child pick some objects (cookie cutters, hard washable toys, their hand) and lay them on the paper. then they take a mouth full of colored water and spray/spit it over the objects all over the paper until its covered. remove the objects and let it dry.
  • plant indoor plants
  • Clean those old pennies: take a few old pennies, fill a few different cups up with different ingredients such as coca-cola, orange juice, or what ever you want. fill one cup with pure lemon juice. Drop a penny in each and let them sit a few minutes. take them out and wipe them with a paper towel. see which one cleaned the pennies better.
  • Put a jar of water out on a windowsill. Mark the level of the water with either a permanent marker or a pice of tape. Write the date. Check every other day, and mark the water level each time you check it. The child will be able to see the evaporation of the water.
  • Fill glasses or bottles with different levels of water. Let your child use a spoon to "play" the bottles or glasses.
  • fold a box closed (this can be almost any size just not tiny) and flip it upside down. Cut a slot in one side. (decorate it if your child wishes) and pretend its the mail box. Use stickers as stamps and write letters with your child (or draw pictures) to mail off to friends. Older children pick out addresses around the state or even country and let the child plot the points on a map and sort and create a path of where the mail should go.
  • Make a paper rocket/space ship out of constuction paper, some glue, and a paper towel tube.
  • Movement of molecules: get 3 cups of water (1 room temp, 1 cold, 1 hot) drop a few drops of food coloring in the room temp cup and record how long it takes for the water to change color. have the child predict how long the cold and hot water will take and then put drops of coloring in them and record the time. Discuse your observations how the warm molecules were moving around faster and mixed up the color.
  • Start a fire in your fireplace and sit around and have everyone tell a story or start a story and go around having everyone add a scentance.
  • Have a 'talking stick' during story time or group discusion to help everyone take turns and not interupt.
  • Research Egyptian Canopic Jars (coil pots) together then make one out of clay. Form clay into a snake and evenly apply pressure when rolling. Coil the snakes. When adding a new snake slip and score, smooth out ridges and blend snakes together. (look at pictures of original ones) Form the pot by coiling. Smooth the top lip. Make a lid for the pot. Make sure that the lid fits the pot. If its the drying type of clay then paint when dried.
  • give your child a 6" circle cut out of yellow poster board. Make
    a paste of water and flour not too thick or watery. Let them use their fingers to make craters, hills and flat moon surfaces.
  • Have children pick flowers and arrange them on the paper. Cover with clear plastic such as lamminating film. Hit flowers with hammer (Adult Supervision). Color from the flowers will make prints on the paper.
  • Use glue and make a picture, sprinkle with colored sand or gliter to make different pictures. (shake off the extras back into the jar) or buy a kit or different colors of sand and some empty bottles with lids and fill the bottles in layers.
  • energy transfer: on a flat surface like desk or floor get a medium, solid ball and roll it into another smaller ball, a larger ball and different objects. what happens to the ball/objects when they hit. see how the energy leaves one object and goes to the next. then try a line of dominoes also!
    get out a deck of cards and play some games
  • "adopt" an animal through a program. (there are different programs through local zoos, nature concervacies and online, -such as whales) discuss the animal, its habitat, food and life in the wild and where the money is going.
    Buy whole fruits (lots of varieties) and draw a book of their seeds, from bananas-avacados.
  • Buy whole seasonings (such as nutmeg and cinimmon) and smell them and learn about their natural form. then grind them up and jar them for future use, small their aroma now.
  • Show the importance of helmets. Lay newspaper on the floor (it makes clean up easier)  take raw eggs. The shell is the head, the yolk our briains and make them "helmets" make each helmet different use different materials such as syraphoam and cardboard egg cartons, tissue, ect. Make it nice and padded, Padding both ends of the egg works best as they could land on either side. drop a raw egg onto the floor with no helmet and discuss what happened. then drop each egg from the same ehingt. discuss the results. ie: raw egg splatered, this one cracked, this one didnt break at all, this helmet worked good/bad ect.
  • buy a sheet of presticky googley craft eyes and put them on everyday objects in the house and make funny charecters (ie:lamp man-hes very bright)
  • Make soap carvings: buy a bar of soap (put newspaper down to catch scrapings) and give your child a utensil to carve with. Please choose carfully so they dont hurt themselves, younger children used a PLASTIC knife older children let use a nail file (the long, reusable kind witht he pointed tip) Let them carve pictures into it or if they are good try and make an animal.
  • Collect political cartoons and examine them with children. Point out exagerated faetures or what the person/thing is doing.
  • Start a savings bank of money to donate to charity.
  • Draw a starfish on paper, fill it with glue and sprinkle with corn meal. when dry shake off excess corn meal.
  • Make a jelly fish.Take a coffee filter and color with crayons or watercolor markers. Glue or staple long streamers around the edges of coffee filter.
  • Find a wood stick about 12" or smaller, let the child gently sand it and draw pentacles, sun, moon ect. on it as their own wand.
  • probability: Get a die and let your child pick their fav number on it and predict how many times it will come up. roll the die 10 times and record each nuber you roll. repeat 3 more time each time letting them predict. Make a bar graph to represent results and discuse.
  • Buy a kit or soak small wood branches to make a dream catcher or a wheel of the year.
  • Make fossil foot prints. Mix 1/2 cup of each: flour, corn meal, and water. Pour onto a paper plate and spread smooth. Get your hand wet and make a print. Make 5 different plates with carring amounts of flour, corn meal and water. Put a little label by each so you know which had more water, flour ect. Let them all dry (will take around 4 days) and see which turned out best and discuss why and dino footprints discovered in mud.
  • Science: Make models of Neurons and the human brain out of pipe cleaners and more here: Neuroscience for kids
  • Water fun: play with measuring cups and funnels. count how many cups go into the other ones. Have different sized rocks to put in the cups. see the amount of volume the rocks take as they make the water rise.
  • Play charades.
  • Make a paper mache globe. color it and label the countries, seas, and islands (make it into a pinata for more fun at the end)
  • Learn about and discuss Bouyancy: take a bowl of water. take a peice of clay and break it into 2 equal halves. roll one into a ball, make the other flat. put both into the water. which one sinks? why does one float when they are the same size?
  • Glue seshells together to make things like a trinket dish, soap dish, wreath, or different shapes.
  • Use cardboard, paints, dried noodles, glitter and other items to make your own picture frames.
  • make a tetrahedron: Using a ruler draw a LARGE triangle on colored paper making sure each side is equal length and the tips are centered. Basically try and make the most perfect triangle you can. flip it upside down and in the center of it draw another evenly spaced triangle. This should leave you with 4 small equal sized triangle which make one large triangle. Choose one of the 3 outside triangles and draw 2 tabs. These tabs should be on the 2 outer sides, make them kind of semi-circle shaped and only as long as the small triangles side. now choose 1 other outermost triangle and give it 1 tab. This tab should be on the opposite side from the other 2. so you should have 3 tabs, 2 touching at a corner point on one triangle and one touching none on a different triangle. Cut it out. decorate the other side. fold it along the lines and put glue on the tabs. Glue the tabs one side at a time on the inside of the next triangle.
  • To make a hexahedron: follow the steps above until the point where you have one large triangle broken up into 4 small ones. Now at the tip of the large triangle add another small, upside down triangle on the left of it and one on the right, these should be the same size as the others. You should have 6 triangles now, 4 on the outside, 2 on the inside (which form a split diamond). Add 2 tabs to one outside triangle on both of its sides like before and then 2 more tabs spaced apart, one on each side of the form, not touching another one, so if it was a square it would have a tab on each side. Then decorate, fold and glue your shape. To make an octohedron add one more small triangle to the top right of the last shape and one more small triangle to the bottom left. You'll need 5 tabs. One on the top right triangle side and one one the side below it so they touch. 2 on the 2 sides of the left top most triangle and one on the bottom rightest triangle on its bottom side.
  • Buy blank magnets (avaliable at craft stores in rectangle shapes, one side is sticky like a sticker) cut out beautiful images from magazines, photos of the family or drawings a child made and stick them to the magnets and then put them around the house.
  • Help your child make a map of your house and yard, or your block or to the park, library, ect. if nearby.
  • Analyse childrens tales: this is especially fun for teenagers. have them re read a favorite tale from when they were young and analyse the authors meanings. Books such as winnie the pooh, the little prince, Peter pan (the original,) charlottes web and alice in wonderland are good choices. Ex: would be like in alice when she walks through the flowers and they are talking about different petal colors is refference to prejudice of different skin colors and the the "mad hatter" was an indication of many hatter of the time. Many hatters devloped nurelogical damage from working with mercury used to make hats at the time.
  • Make a dress up box of old clothing and costumes as well as new dress up kits you can buy. Be sure to include different gender items, a wide variety of "job" clothes (fire fighter, photographer, ect.) and accessories like hats and bags.
  • After it rains go outside and find a puddle on a sidewalk, draw a circle line around the puddle with sidewalk chalk. Watch it throughout the day as it dries. Talk about what has happened to the water.
  • Bingo math: 2 or more players. Take some bingo type chips and write number 1-10  on them (older children can have higher numbers) put them in a bag and let each person pull out 3 chips, ad the numbers on the chips together and write it down. do that 3 times, total up all 3 sums, the one with the highest number at the end wins.
  • Take the plastic scoop from laundry detergent (wash it ) and glue on each side the plastic lid off a gallon milk jug or buttons for the wheels. (use as many as needed to get it to stand up) It makes a little wheel barrow. Next add potting soil and let the kids plant seeds in it.
  • Using crayons (only) on white paperboard draw under sea creatures like fish, starfish, sea jellies, an octopus ect. The mix water with a blue watercolor until slightly runny and wash blue over the entire picture to make it look underwater.
  • Play red light/green light
  • Make or buy tanagrams. These geometrical block shape kits with small wooden blocks in shapes like triangles, trapazoids, rectangles ect. with sheets of large shapes. the children need to find which blocks to use to make the shapes. you can make your own tracing blocks you already have at home.)
  • Make your own paper clock. use  a twist tie bent into a t-shape to attack the hands so they can spin
  • Geometric string art: you need needles, thread, mat board, masking tape, scissors, ruler, thumb tack: Take a peice of mat board and evenly space dots along the very edge or the mat board on all 4 sides. Use a humb tack or tiny hole punch to poke a hole in the board at each dot you created. Thread a needle and tape one end of the thread to the back of the board then let them sew any pattern they like from one hole across to another. Tape the end of the thread on the back when done and try a different color.
  • Fossils: mix the fossil recipie (on the bottom of the recipie page) and cut out circles from the dough. Push objects into the dough to make a "fossil" orint and then bake the dough at 350 degrees until hard.
    Babies and Toddlers:
  • use flash cards for shapes and colors and walk around the house and find as many items that match that (ie: orange fruit, orange toy, an orange shirt)
  • make a box into: a car, a house, a bed, ect. color it and play in it. or take many boxes and stack like blocks
  • Hide some toys around a room and ask for help finding them. (help me find all the ducks they ran away. or all the food for my shopping cart)
  • Play with baby dolls and speak of good parenting techniques.
  • Put pillows and cushions on the floor for infants to climb on or children to bounce on.
  • Group items (3 or 4) with one different and have your child pick which is differnent.
  • Play with toy food
  • Draw faces on paper plates with different emotions. Name them or ask your child to name how the person is feeling. Put on a show for your little on with the faces.
  • Hide a toy under a cup, mix them up and let them try and find it.
  • hide an object in the room and have them search.
  • Respond to young infants babbling by talking to the baby as if he understands everything you're saying. These early conversations help expand his vocabulary and help them understand the pattern of language.
  • Hide something that plays a long song or noise and have them listen to find it.
  • Make big flash cards of letters and make words or words and make sentances. Play games with them from memory, making a path on the floor, or lay out 6 or more at a time and have them find you the card (ex: "which is the letter A?")
  • Infant Copycats, slowly stick out your tongue at your baby, or blink your eyes, ect. and see if they copy you (this is great for even newborns)
  • When your baby lies on her back, hold a small brightly coloured toy in front of her. Gradually move it to one side, and she'll follow it with her eyes. By 3 months she'll be able to follow it from one side to the other, then start moving it befind you or behind something else.
  • Using a paper grocery bags or paper cut out around 30- 60 big feet (or trace your own as they are bigger then your childs) and write either words or letters on them and tape them to a smooth floor. let them go on a word walk and either tell them the word/letter to walk on or let them read them to you. The more foot prints the more fun this is.
  • Make a touch bag: fill it with items of different textures (smooth, bumpy, silky, fluffy, rough ect.) infants-rub the items on their hands, feet and cheek. toddlers/young children-have them geuss what each item they feel is.
  • make bath time fun with bubbles, toys, strainiers, measuring cups, new coffee filters, or ice cubes (they love the slippery fun, freezing little toys in them is even funner)
  • play repeat the beat: Clap, pat your legs, hit a drum and make simple beats and have your child repeat them.
  • make words out of letter magnets
  • Hold your infant in your lap and put your index finger in your baby’s hand. He probably will grasp your finger, as this is a natural reflex with newborns. Each time he grasps your finger, say positive words like 'that’s my finger,' 'you've got me.'
  • Bounce your baby on your knee while singing songs and rhymes.
  • Go together! collect items that go together like a sock and shoe or a spoon and bowl, lay them out and have the child match the items that go together.
  • Whats wrong, get items like a sock and shoe, and book. put the shoe on then the sock or read the book upsied down. see if they try and fix whats wrong, if not say "is this how this goes?" "wasnt that silly"
  • Play peek-a-boo, use a toy and a scarf for a bit of a change, if your baby is older play by leaving the room and re-apearing, for toddlers play hide and seek.
  • Forgoe the playpen, child proof your house or one room with a gate and let your baby crawl and play on the floor.
  • Let toddler choose their own flavor of juice, get you the diapers, clean up their toys and pick out which shirt to wear to help them feel independant and learn to be ressponsible.
  • Buy a crawl tunnel or cut a large hole in the box to let infants crawl through.
  • Experiment with throwing different objects like balls, crumpled paper, and scarves into a laundry basket.
  • Save different bottle caps and lids (not pop bottles though as they are too small) and draw one face part on each. (a happy mouth, a sad mouth, a small right eye, a Big left eye, a nose with a moustach, ect) and let your child make different faces and talk about how people look different and about feelings.
  • Provide different sized containers and lids  (like tupperware) and let them find which fits where.
  • Play 'I spy with my little eye'
  • infants- love to rip and crinkle paper. lay them on a sheet of wrapping paper to crinkle or let them experiment ripping and crumpling paper (supervise so they dont eat it)
  • take a paper bag and make an "underground" home for one of your childs stuffed animals that would live under ground (a fox, rabbit, groundhog, mole ect.) decorate the bag with crayons and markers making the bottom half look like dirt, worms, ect and the top half like grass and ant hill, ect. glue leaves and sticks to the top half. Discuss how and why animals live  underground.
  • Play simmon says (or mommy says)
  • play "pigs fly" with one or more kids: call out an animal name and have them flap their arms like wings when an animal flies and stop when the animal doesn't.
  • Ask questions to your child.
  • pull out the pots and pans as well as whisks and funnels to experiment with.
  • Using a flashlight shine it slowly around the room on the floor and the walls and watch your infant follow it with her eyes or chase it on the floor.
  • Get mr.yuck stickers (avalible at local posion control center and specific city buildings like health centers) and label with your child all thats poisonus or icky to eat. (be sure to demonstrate emotions of yucky and no-no's)
  • An infant can recognise a tone of voice before they can understand the words. Try singing or reading a story in high voices and in a low voices.
  • play song games or finger games( hokey pokey, itsey bitsey spider, ect.)
  • Tickle Game: hold your baby's palm carefully, trace around the edge of it as you say the first part, then walk your fingers up her arm for the second part "Round and round the garden, like a teddy bear. One step, two steps..." Then tickle her under the arm and say: "Tickly under there!"
  • infants- take them around the house and name everything you are doing (opening a drawer) and everything you see (cat)
  • An infants sense of smell is very highly developed and stronger then an adults. Give your baby an opportunity to experience different smells. Go outside and smell a flower, open up some cinnimon, and smell a freshly cut orange. (avoid air fresheners though as they increase the risk of developing asthma.)
  • Go to your childs toy box and pull everything out. you and your child will both be surprised by the toys you find that havn't been played with in a while. when they pick a few interesting toys put the rest back.
  • Use 2 littler plastic pop bottles as pins and a ball and go bowling.
  • Make a fist with both hands and tuck your thumb under the fingers and say
    "Jack in the box sits so still. Won’t you come out? Yes, I will." On the words “yes I will,” pop up your thumbs
  • Shape assosiation: cut out colorful shapes from construction paper and decorate them to show what they represent or can be in the world around us and spiritually. Examples: circle: It has no beginning or end- the human eye, The Earth, Sun, Moon and planets, water ripples, The rising and setting of the Sun following a circular motion, The seasons, birds nests, trees trunk.
    Star: The senses, elements, the stars above, leafs, flowers,
    square: teeth, 4-directions, physical relm, Ice cubes,
    rectangle: has holding power and acts as a magical binder- door, photo
    Triangle: the triple moon, pyramids, 2 triangles together make a star, pointing downwards (water)  or upwards (fire),  animals ears, mountain, teeth, pie slice, icicles
    oval: eggs,  leaves, animal ears, fish, rocks, fruit, sea shells
    heart: leaves, flower petals,
    Diamond: Crystals, stars,

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