Playing is a wonderful way to encourage learning and development in little ones. It’s hands on learning at its best, and your little learner might not even realize that they are gaining new vocabulary and practicing their skills. We’ve put together a list of ten games, crafts, and activities from Super Simple that you can make at home (or even make with your child or students!) to encourage learning through play. There are a bunch of wonderful activities to introduce to your schooling schedule, or just as fun and educational activities to try. Next time you don’t know what to do with your little ones, reach for this list – we got you covered!
Make A Volcano
Making a volcano is a classic science experiment with a ton of excitement involved. Our volcano is made entirely from items you might already have in your recycle bin and you can include your little ones in the process of making it. When little ones are involved in the activity from the start, you might find that they are more invested and encouraged to interact with the learning aspect of the activity. This activity is great for a simple science experiment involving what happens with baking soda and vinegar, or for exploring the five senses which is the angle we take on this activity. It’s also just really fun to see it explode over and over again!
Dinosaur Shapes & Number Pegs
Get your preschoolers involved with a Dinosaur Shape & Number Peg activity! Using wooden clothes pegs, pre-cut foam stickers and cut out dinosaurs, you can create a wonderfully easy and simple learning task for your toddlers. It will help them practice numbers, colors and shapes in a fun and enjoyable way. Not only will they have the opportunity to practice learning in a light hearted way, but the use of clothes pegs simultaneously helps practice fine motor skills. They will have to work their pincer grasp as they attempt to open and clip the peg onto the dinosaur.
Painting With Magnets
Our painting with magnets activity is a great arts and crafts project, and also a bit of a science experiment. Try putting a number of objects in front of your learner, some of them being magnets and some that aren’t. Let them experiment with a magnet wand to see which things stick and which ones don’t. Then use the magnets you find to make a painting! While painting you can practice color vocabulary with all the colors you use to create your magnet masterpiece!
Lily Pads & Leaping Frog Counting Activity
This leaping frog activity is a super simple and fun way to practice counting with little ones. It’s straightforward to make, and offers a few variations of counting practice to keep little ones engaged. Hopping and counting, fun and learning!
Sponge Stamp Train
Choo choo! All aboard the learning train! This is a super simple activity that even the littlest of learners can get involved in to practice colors, numbers and patterns. Work on color vocabulary as your stamp different colors and count the number of cars you make for your train. You can also make a pattern to follow and ask your little ones what comes next, or encourage them to make their own pattern.
Create your own alphabet tiles with rocks! Search for smooth rocks with your little one to have them be a part of the project from the beginning. Then you can make your alphabet rocks as fancy as you like! You can paint the letters on, or use stickers like we did. Or have your little one paint the rocks and you can write the letters on with a permanent marker once they are dry! Now you have letter tiles that you made together to put in order of the alphabet, or to make simple words. Try hiding the rocks in a bin filled with sensory material and have your little one search for the letters, discovering each one! See if you little learner can find an object in the room that starts with each letter and place that letter rock beside it. Use a few letters to make a simple word, but leave one letter out and encourage your little one to find the missing letter. There are lots of ways to foster learning and fun with these alphabet rocks!
Make Your Own Snakes & Ladders Game
A classic snakes and ladders game is lots of fun and a great way to practice counting as the game pieces climb up to 100! Now you can make your very own personalized game board for snakes and ladders with your little one! The best part of making your own is you can switch up the ladders and snakes each time you play, so it’s a new counting adventure each time. Counting to 100 has never been so exciting!
Pizza Box Bean Bag Toss Game
This bean bag toss game is not just a game – there is a lot of learning potential hiding in this old pizza box! We use shapes, colors and numbers to make three distinctly different holes in the box to aim for which gives little ones the opportunity to use and practice their vocabulary in those areas. For slightly older learners, they can add up their score for some simple addition practice. Not to mention practicing hand eye coordination, gross motor skills, and reusing something that would otherwise end up in the garbage. This game is a win-win all around!
Captain Monsterica & The Purple Protector Straw Rockets
Use our straw rockets to make Captain Monsterica and The Purple Protector fly to all the planets in the solar system! This activity is a super fun way to learn about the planets and the solar system. Little ones can practice on their own, or it can be made into a game with a friend – Captain Monsterica VS The Purple Protector! Who can visit all the planets first?
Magnet Fishing Game
This is a super classic activity with a ton of learning potential. Not to mention, it’s a ton of fun for kids. You can do this within a tub of water, or simply place the fish on the floor and go fishing! Make each fish a different color to practice colors, and count how many fish you were able to catch. Try adding letters to the fish and ask your little one to try and catch a specific letter. Once they are all caught, see if the letters make a word! Try spelling a simple word that is related to the activity, like fish or water. There are lots of ways to mix up this game to keep it fresh and to keep little ones learning!
We hope this list is helpful for all the teachers and at home learners out there. There are usually lots of creative ways to add learning into play – think of how you might be able to put a little learning into one of your child’s favorite activities. Learning shapes, colors, numbers, letters and vocabulary can be lots of fun for little ones. Let’s encourage it any way we can while having fun!
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