Excite and Explore

One mom, one toddler and a passion for learning and adventure.


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10 Boredom Busters Using Things You Already Have At Home

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I’m going to be honest, we have been in a bit of a rut at our house. I seem to find myself stuck with a bored toddler and not a clue what to do next, which is a bit unusual for me, there always seems to be something new to try. Keeping your child occupied isn’t always easy, and you don’t always have time to run out to the store and pick up materials to put together an activity, so with some help from my fellow bloggers I have compiled a short list of fun activities that you can do with your child, using things you (probably) already have lying around or stored in the back of the cupboard, that will keep your little one entertained!

1. Soap Bubbles on Water – Simple Fun For Kids

Kids love water, it is a fact, and nothing pleases them more than splashing around, especially on a hot day, so why not add some bubbles to the mix? Trust me, the simple things are often the most beloved! Find out how at the link!

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2. Homemade Bubble Blowers – Happy Hooligans

If you didn’t notice my enthusiasm for bubbles in the first post let me re state this, kids LOVE bubbles, and they are easy entertainment, so why not try making your own Homemade Bubble Blower! This looks like so much fun, and is super simple, we will be trying this later this afternoon, as we are big bubble fans in our house and these look really easy for a small child.

Image3. Make a Fort – Excite and Explore (Us)

Yesterday we were in the midst of wandering around our living room aimlessly, still stuck in the aforesaid rut, when I thought back to what I liked to do as a child, and topping that list was making a fort. Forts don’t need to be complicated, or fancy and you don’t need any special fort making kits or materials, it can be as simple as two chairs and a blanket. We happen to have the perfect fort making chairs, they have very tall backs that are just begging to have a blanket draped over them, sometimes secured with an elastic over the tip of the knobs. I am a bit ashamed to admit that since having my son, who recently turned two we have not actually made one until the inspiration hit yesterday, and soon he was running in and out of his “fot” (yes, it sounded like fart) waving his arms in the air and giggling.

Image4.  Sensory Play With Ice – The Realistic Mama

But what about babies I’m sure you’re asking, well fear not, we have some simple fun for them as well! We love this idea from The Realistic Mama about using ice as a sensory experience, check it out!

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5. DIY Airplane and Train – Your Modern Family

What kid doesn’t love plains and trains, because mine sure does! This craft looks so cute, and it uses toilet paper rolls and egg cartons, which I stockpile in the house like a kid stockpiles broken crayons, because there is always some cool use for them! Follow the link to find out how to make your own cool craft!

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6. Water Play At Home – Excite and Explore

Water, water, water. You may feel like I am being a bit repetitive but water is easy to access and easy to clean up after, so check out this fun set up using things you can find around your house (except maybe the water beads) that will pass the time away a fill it with big smiles. Plus, it is summer and some days you need some water play in order to cool them down.

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7. Painting With Cars – Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Cars are like currency to children, they treasure them as we treasure that no fat, extra foam latte. Okay, maybe not but it is something found in pretty well every house hold. This fun activity uses them as an art medium, bringing new fun to the table (and possibly all over your walls) and we will be doing this tomorrow when he gets a bit restless.

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8. Pattern Towers With Spaghetti – Mamas Like Me

Pasta is a staple in a lot of households, but it is for more than cooking! Check out the fun they had over at Mamas Like Me with their spaghetti!

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9. Stacking Cups – Adventures Of Adam

Sometimes simple really is better, and kids will find a way to play with just about anything. (Trust me on this) Check out the fun this little cutie had with some simple plastic cups and his imagination

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10. Non-Shape Sorter – Mama Smiles

Need to keep the baby brother or sister occupied while your toddler tries out that Homemade Bubble Blower? This activity is perfect for the young baby who hasn’t quite grasped the concept of the shape sorter, and it is something you can easily put together, check it out!

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Well I don’t know about you but I’m feeling pretty inspired right now, and I’ve already pulled out some stacking cups for when the toddler wakes up from his nap. I hope this might help you find some fun activities for you and your kids, thank you for joining us at Excite and Explore!



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Saturday Night At The Dinosaur Stomp + Activity

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So we love to read, and spend quite a bit of time doing so every day. In fact my toddler loves to read so much that I get a little…bored of reading the same books over and over again. So last week I picked up a book I found at a garage sale and brought it home, and my little one was engrossed, he loved it! It is a fun toddler book about some very energetic dinosaurs that are having a dance, with lots of fun rhymes and expressive, colourful pictures.  We read Saturday Night At The Dinosaur Stomp many times over the course of the day and later on we did a fun activity to go with it that I think all of you would really enjoy, we made our own dinosaur feet to stomp around with! This is a simple toddler activity that they can help with that will result in a stomping good time! You will need:

cardboard (preferably thicker)

paint

ribbon

Velcro strips

scissors

We started by drawing our version of some dinosaur feet on some old cardboard I found laying around. I cut it out with scissors and it was time to paint. I made them fairly small so that my little guy could easily stomp around in them without tripping all over the place.

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   We painted on some red paint and let it dry before adding another coat to brighten up the colour.

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   Next I brought out some ribbon and cut a two small holes in the sides of the heel area, threading it through the bottom so both ends came out on top.

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   Then I added some Velcro strips to the ribbon to secure it to the foot, putting the scratchy strip facing upwards so it wouldn’t irritate his foot. Then they were ready for play! I secured them to the little mans feet and put on some music. He took a few test steps and soon was stomping all over the living room while giggling away.

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What To Do With A Water Table?

   As always we are always looking for fun new toddler activities to do, and this week I pulled out the water table and (after a good scrubbing with a magic eraser) it was ready for some time to shine! I went searching for some inspiration for some unexpected ways to play with our splash works and thanks to my fellow bloggers I was not disappointed! The weather is getting warmer, so here are some fun ways to cool down while making the most out of your water table!

1. Dinosaur Sensory Bin – Fantastic Fun and Learning

  I thought this was the coolest idea! Make a fun for kids dinosaur mini world right there in your water table!

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2. Water Beads – Excite and Explore

Why not fill it up with these slippery little balls, a neat sensory experience for your little ones, my son loves this! I sounds odd but I myself find running my fingers through these to be so relaxing, I even had a dream that we filled a pool up with them and it was glorious! Keep in mind that they can be a choking hazard so keep them away from small children or those you worry will put them in their mouth. Always supervise when using water beads!

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3. Colourful Foaming Water – Life With Moore Babies

Who didn’t love bubble baths as a kid? So why not bring the foam (and colourful to boot) to the water table!

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4. Sensory Spring Water Table – The Pleasantest Thing

It is spring, the dandelions are plentiful, why not?!

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5. Coloured Ice Play – Excite and Explore

It is getting warm out and it will get warmer! Cool down with some coloured ice play!

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6. Beachcombing in the Water Table – My Nearest And Dearest

 

 

What a great way to bring the fun of the beach home with you!
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7. Colour Sort Water Table – Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails
Want to squeeze in some learning while you are at play? Check this out!
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I hope we have been able to help inspire you today, I know we will be having a lot of fun with our water table this summer, we would love to hear some more ideas or feedback, thanks for joining us at excite and explore!


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Learning Letters: The Letter B

   This weekend we are learning about the letter B in our home! We started of our morning with our letter B Themed Bin (or should I say pie tin!) and explored things that start with the letter B! We explored and read the letter B book, and examined a baseball, a Band-Aid, a bulldozer, a little plastic butterfly, a bunny, a button, a beetle and a play food stick of butter.

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   The little one caught on to the ‘b’ sound pretty quickly, it is an easy one for him to say. When snack time came around he was delighted to see one of his favourite things made out of cheese and blueberries, a bus!

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   After nap we went on a bug hunt! There is a huge field near our house full of dandelions, so naturally it is a haven to bumble bees so we popped on down to observe. I was a bit hesitant at first, since Gray has never been stung and I’m not sure If he is allergic, but we have no family history of it, so I decided it was okay, besides he loves dandelions, so once he saw the field there was no keeping him out! We went on down and saw quite a few flying fuzzies, which I was sure to explain we could not touch.

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   Then we headed down into the gully to hunt for bugs. It is a beautiful little spot with a  stream, lots of plants and some trees and a little field. We found lots of snails, which Gray carried around for the rest of the trip. Of course we talked about how bugs starts with the letter B, and we managed to scoop up some beetles and a June bug as well.

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   After our little nature walk we released our little friends and came back home for one more letter B activity, bulldozer painting! This was inspired by an awesome post I saw on Fun At Home With Kids about using toy cars to paint. Gray loves his bulldozer and it has some pretty cool treads, so I figured, why not? Gray is almost 2, so art activities need to be pretty simple and easy to do or he will have no interest in it, this activity was perfect, it was art and play at the same time!

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   I would call our letter B weekend a success, now when he sees the bulldozer he points to it and makes the ‘b’ sound, and for now he seems to be able to identify it by sight. Sorry this post is a bit late going up, we have been putting in a vegetable garden this weekend so we have been pretty busy! We would love to hear some feedback or your ideas for the next letter, thank you for joining us at Excite and Explore!

 


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Letter Of The Week: The Letter A

   Today we started a new series called the Letter of the Week! Gray has recently started showing an interest in learning his letters, when he see’s one he points to it, inquiring what it is called and has started identifying them (admittedly he only knows B, H and R on sight now but hopefully by the end he will know some more) and repeating what they are called when I tell him. So now every weekend we will feature the next letter in the alphabet and share some activities and crafts we did that day. We started off the day with a little display I made in a cake pan full of things that started with the letter A, a book and some small examples of the letter A. Ours had a small plastic apple, a spear of asparagus, a wooden ambulance, an alligator, an ant, and an airplane. As he explored it we discussed the different objects and sounded out the words, emphasizing the A sound.

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   For snack we had chocolate Avocado nibs, a recipe he adores (and so do I) that can be found on this wonderful blog called Cheerfully Imperfect which I made into little Ants using cheese for legs on a pita.

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   After nap we did some stamping with a homemade stamp I made out of an apple. It was really simple to make, I just carved the letter A in half of an apple (I’m pretty sure a potato would also work) with a knife, using the apple seed divet as the hole in the A and stored it in an airtight container overnight so it wouldn’t get all mushy.

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   I poured some paint onto a paper plate and we stamped the apple into the paint and onto a piece of construction paper, Gray really likes stamping so we tend to do this a lot. This was his picture.

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   We finished off our day of observing some ants outdoors and looking at their ant hills while I explained how they make tunnels underground ( I’m fairly certain he didn’t quite understand this but he seemed to be interested.) all the while emphasizing that Ant starts with the letter A.

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   That is all for our day learning about the letter A, feel free to join us again next week as we explore the letter B, and thanks for stopping by Excite and Explore!

 


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Under the Sea Sensory Play

   What a time of the year! The weather is lovely, the flowers are blooming and it isn’t boiling hot out yet! It has been really warm however, so to cool down a bit I whipped up a fun Under The Sea Sensory Bin for the little man to play with out on our back deck, incorporating some water play and imaginative play with a fun sensory experience. This is a really easy bin to make, it took maybe 5 minutes to whip up and has provided hours of entertainment so far. I used the small rock/gravel you put on the bottom of fish tanks that we had left over from my sons fish tank ( Grandma took him to the pet store to ‘look’ at the animals and when they came home they had a small friend. ) some rocks and plastic coral as well as a fake plant also meant for a fish tank. I added some plastic underwater animals such as fish and whales to the bin and it was ready to be filled up.

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   I filled it up with water from the garden hose and it was ready for little hands.

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   As he explored the new bin we chatted about the different animals in the bin and I named them as he held them up for inspection. He really liked the gravel, it was something new for him to dig through and feel and of course there were lots of splashes. I’ve been keeping this bin outside simply because the weather is nice enough for it and that way there is little mess to clean up once he wanders of to do something else.  That is all for today folks, thank you for joining us at Excite and Explore!

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Spring Soup

 Yesterday was a lovely day out and we spent most of it out in the sunshine and fresh air. I was talking to Gray about the different seasons and how excited I was that spring has arrived. ( Honestly here it really has just arrived, the snow is finally gone and I no longer wake up, look out the window and fight the urge to cry at the thought of scraping of the car.) Gray has recently decided that soup isn’t so bad after all, when for the first year and a half of his life he detested the wholesome goodness that is soup, so I thought we would do some pretend play out in the back yard. Best of all this activity is free! (Provided you have something at home you don’t mind using as a pot.) I emptied out a small Tupperware bin and brought it out back with us, and we went around the yard collecting things that reminded us of spring. ( or in Grays case whatever he felt needed to go into the soup pot. ) We placed it all in our soup bowl and added some water from the hose.
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Soon he grabbed a stick and was stirring the soup after every ingredient he added and pretending to drink it with a leaf spoon. The he discovered that rocks make a big splash when added to our delicacy so in went handful after handful of rocks. We had a great time doing this and I am always trying to find new ideas for imaginative play, I find that he struggles a little bit with it sometimes but this activity went off without a hitch. What do you like to do to welcome spring?
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