Excite and Explore

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


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DIY Farm Play Mat and Mini World

   This is a fun project that you can make for your kids out of some pretty basic materials, that will give them hours of entertainment and spur their imaginations.  I started with a big cardboard box, it has been sitting in my garage for about a month and I finally decided that it was time for it to be used. I cut it in half and trimmed off the edges. In hindsight green felt would probably have worked better for the grass than my choice, green wrapping paper but this has been an extra thrifty month for us and this was what I had on hand, however if you are looking for a more durable option go with the felt. I was initially going to use construction paper for the dirt, (I vetoed using real dirt since this is an indoor play area) but I didn’t have enough, but what I did have quite a bit of was burlap, and I figured as an added bonus it would add a bit of sensory exploration to the mat. I made a pond out of blue construction paper and my base was put together.

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   Then I started adding little details. In the fields I glued down little puffs of tissue paper as crops (though not to many, feel free to add more than I did, I had a limited amount of time) and added some rocks, a farm dog, some tractors and a tree.

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    The pond gained some trees, small rocks, a few sticks as logs, and some farm animals getting a drink.

 

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   I placed in a toy barn with some more animals, trees and what not. I even picked a few small flowers and placed them around the area.

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   And so our farm play mat was born and ready for the little one to do some serious playing.

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   The little man was quite excited, though anything involving tractors excites him at this point in time, and he dove right in, like a tiny Godzilla tearing through a farm. I thought it held up pretty well, the paper I used as grass ripped in one corner, which is why if I do it again I will make it out of felt. Here are some action shots of the wee man busy plowing the soil.

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   That is what we have been up to today, thank you for joining us at Excite and Explore, we hope you enjoyed this post!

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Exploring Shapes

Today was not a nice day out. It snowed, a lot. It was also cold and windy (Is April aware that it is April?) So while the little man slept I threw together an activity for him to do when he woke up. Now he has been really into shapes lately. He has this book that names all the shapes and he points to them until I say them out loud. I had been to the dollar store recently and picked up a bunch of Bristol board and these small Velcro dots, I didn’t specifically have this activity in mind when I bought them but I figured I could do something with them and it was really a whim. This is a really simple and inexpensive activity to do with your little one, my guy is 22 months but it would work for an older toddler or even a younger one. I drew an outline of the shapes I decided to use and labeled them on my Bristol board.

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I added the Velcro dots under each heading, the amount depending on how many I planned on cutting out of each shape. I traced or freehanded the shapes on some construction paper (For a more durable activity piece laminate the construction paper first) and added the opposing Velcro dot.Image

The idea is for them to sort the shapes into the correct column, sticking it on with the Velcro. Long story short it was a success! Image

I taped it to a window, because lets face it there isn’t a lot of wall room in our house. He picked up the idea pretty quickly, and spent about 20 minutes focused on the task at hand. He needed a bit of help distinguishing the squares from the rectangles, but hey, they are pretty similar! Image

Well, I hope you enjoyed our first blog post, be sure to stay tuned for more fun to be had with little ones!

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Exploring Shapes

So it was pretty miserable out today. It was snowing, and cold, and wet (Does April know it is April?) so while my little guy was asleep I took some time to whip up a fun activity for him to do when he woke up. He has been really into shapes lately ( not in the same way he is into cars but really they aren’t nearly as exciting to a toddler) and he has a book with shapes in it. He likes to sit with me and point to them and I will name them out loud, or I will ask him where the oval (star, square, ect…) is and he likes to point it out to me. I was at the dollar store near my place last week and I picked up some Bristol board and Velcro dots. I bought them on a whim and as I figured they turned out to be useful. This is a simple activity for toddlers to learn their shapes, I did it with my 22 month old but it would work for an older or even younger child. I traced or freehanded some shape outlines onto a big piece of Bristol board and labeled them. DSC02460 I then added the Velcro dots, depending on how many of that particular shape I planned to make. I cut out shapes from construction paper. (for a more durable piece laminate the shapes.) I added the opposing Velcro dot to the shapes.

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The idea is for them to sort the shapes into their proper column and stick it on. Well it was a success. Once he got the idea he spent almost half and hour figuring out which shape went where and sticking it on. I ended up sticking it on the window because lets face it, there isn’t a lot of wall space in our house, there seems to be stuff everywhere!

DSC02454(1)He had a bit of trouble telling apart the rectangles from the squares, but hey, that is the whole point of the activity. An added bonus was the fun he had ripping them off once he finished. (he really seemed to like the noise.)

DSC02459I hope you have enjoyed this post and find it useful! We certainty hope you will join us again for some more at Excite and Explore and that the weather gets better soon.<