Excite and Explore

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


Learning Letter | E is for Elephant Small World

 Learning letter is a huge part of a toddlers development and this week we learned about the letter E with some fun activities for my little toddler. We started off with our Letter E tin, which he has grown accustomed to and is usually pretty eager to examine. The letter E bin featured our Letter E book, and egg, the number eight, an excavator, big and little E’s and an elk.

Letter E Bin


   We examined each object and talked about them a bit while emphasizing that they start with the letter E. Then we moved onto our activity, an Elephant small world! This was ridiculously simple and easy to throw together in a couple minutes (which is exactly what happened) and was a big hit. I used a really small bin since my guy is pretty small and doesn’t need a huge one, feel free to use any size you wish! I headed outside and lined it with some fresh grass and sand to which smelled wonderful! Then I used some blue rice I had left over from a previous bin for the watering hole and threw in some rocks. You can make your own dyed rice by checking out Learn Play Imagines post about how to make vibrant, colourful rice of your own! Like I said, this bin is really a small, simple project but it is big with the little ones! I added some plastic trees and elephants, and it was all ready for my wee man.


   He spent some time making the elephants drink from the watering hole, then in typical toddler fashion started running his hands through the sensory materials and giggling. It no longer resembles a little elephant world, but hey, that just means he had fun!

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Learning Letters | The Letter C

   Today we worked on learning the alphabet, and today we learned about the letter C. We started off with our usual pie tin bin full of things that start with the letter C. We had a cow, a cricket, corn on the cob, cucumbers, a caterpillar, a car, a carrot and a cookie to explore, as well as our Letter C book.


I really love these little bins, they really go over well with the little man. He always dutifully explores the different objects as I chat away about the letter we are learning about, and playing with the toys. As you all know I do the majority of my prep while he naps, and today was no different. We did a caterpillar craft, using some simple materials and a bit of imagination. You will need some construction paper, tape, a pencil, contact paper, scissors, a small plate and a pipe cleaner, all in the colours of your choice. This is a great craft for young toddlers because all they have to do is stick on the pieces, it is a bit off a collage, and my little one isn’t interested in much more than this at his age. Take your plate and use it as a stencil, tracing a circle onto each piece of construction paper, this will be making up the caterpillars body, use as many as you like, we used four.
I then used the inside rim of the plate to trace a smaller circle on the inside and cut it out so it looked like a zero. Then use your plate to cut out as many circles of contact paper as you have body pieces.
You still with me? Peel off the protective side of the contact paper circle and stick it onto the circle made out of construction paper, sticky side facing up. If you are confused here is your caterpillars body.
Do this for all of your caterpillar so you have as many sticky surfaces as you have pieces of body. Stick them all together with tape or glue and add some legs with your scraps. Thread the pipe cleaner through the top of the head, I curled the antennae by wrapping them around a pencil and your caterpillar is ready to be decorated! What you use to do this is completely up to you! I put some ripped up tissue paper, tiny pom poms and snipped up pieces of colourful yarn in a bowl and simply placed it on the floor beside the caterpillar. Once the little man came down he wandered over after some cuddles and I showed him that he could stick the colourful scraps to the caterpillar and he dove right in, taking whole fistfuls and mashing them into the sticky contact paper. I’m afraid my camera took a tumble at this point in the process (yikes! Any one know how to fix a lens error? ) and is out of commission but later in the day I pulled out an old one and took a picture of his finished product.
Next week we will be moving on to the letter D, we would love to hear your ideas and thank you 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.


   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!


   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.



   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.


   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!



   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!



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.


   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.


   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.


   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.


   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.


   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!