Excite and Explore

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


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Mini Worlds – Bugs

We have been collecting things lately. We go outside every  day and wander around the neighbourhood with Grays wagon and he picks things he finds up and puts them in his wagon and brings them home. (Think pinecones, sticks, leaves, things like that.) So we ended up with this big pile of assorted mish mash in the garage and for the last couple weeks I’ve been a bit unsure of what to do with it, wondering if he would be upset if I threw it out. The weather forecast for later tonight and tomorrow isn’t looking great (think rain) so I decided to bring a bit of mother nature indoors and use up some of the pile of nature sitting around. About a month ago I made a bug sensory bin for the little man and it is still his favourite on to date, this was it.

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I figured I could change it up a bit and make a mini world for him to play with his bugs in, and it would be perfect for a rainy day. I used split peas as my base, since real grass is till scarce due to the time of the year.

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Next I picked some sticks, branches, rocks, seedlings, flowers, leaves, vines and pinecones out of our little collection. All of these materials were scavenged from the ground, nothing was picked out of a garden or cut off of a tree, so no worries.

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Arrange your greenery however you like and lastly add some bugs. I got a 12 pack of mine from Party City for $1.50, so this is a really frugal bin to make and doesn’t hurt your wallet.

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   I added a magnifying glass into it last minute for some added fun and voila, rainy day entertainment for tomorrow and lots of fun, imaginative play to be had. I hope you enjoyed this post on Excite and Explore and get to build your own little bug worlds, please join us again!

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Peek-A-Puzzle

Yesterday we were outside playing and having a great time when Gray spotted a bumble bee in the garden. He was fascinated and pointed to it while looking at me, a sure sign that he wants to know what it is and wants me to name it. I told him it was a bumble bee and he looked confused. He has a game, it is a bug catching game with bugs that have bits of metal attached and you use a wooden bug catching net with a magnet attached to lift (catch) the bugs from the wooden puzzle. He has had it for about a month and a half and absolutely loves it! It is still one of his favourite toys and he loves to name the bugs and if I ask him to pick a certain one he always knows exactly which one I’m talking about. So it didn’t really make sense to me that he didn’t know what it was when he always names it when we play with the puzzle.
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I wanted to help him make the connection between the cartoony bugs on his puzzle and what they look like in real life so while he napped (sometimes I think that is what I should have called this blog) I looked up pictures of the bugs featured on the puzzle on line. I sized them up and printed them off, trying to find bugs in that looked fairly similar to the ones on the puzzle in species and colour, and taped them to the inside of the board, so that they would be visible when he pulled the corresponding piece out.
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It turned out wonderfully and later in the evening when he wandered over the game he was delighted to find the pictures underneath the bugs! It also helped him figure out which piece fit back where when he put them back in so he could play again. Here is what it looked like when I was done.
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Now he is in bed and I am looking forward to sitting back and enjoying some chocolate drizzled apple chips, I hope this gives you some fun ideas for play and learning at home, and that you will join us again at Excite and Explore!