Toddler Activity: Safari Animal Hunt

With rainy days ahead, there’s a ton of fun, indoor activities you can do with your toddler. Since Mila loves zoo animals right now and hide and seek, I’ve combined the two to a Safari Animal Hunt!

You can easily do this activity too! It’s a great way for toddlers to learn about different animals, find hidden objects, and be creative in hiding too.

Here’s what you’ll need:

I made this printable for Mila and she used it as a matching sheet for the animals she found. You’re more than welcome to download and print to use. We used a full sheet of paper, but they can easily be made into half sheets.

I make sure to challenge Mila in saying all of the animals full names. Her favorite to say is hippopotamus and it’s just as cute to hear her say it too.

Next time, I’ll have to make a water animal hunt. It could be a really cool sensory bin!

All you have to do for this activity is have your toddler cover their eyes or go into another room. Then hide all the animals around a single room or your house. We did just one room to make it a little easier for Mila. You can hide at whatever difficulty rating you think would be best for your toddler.

Then, have your toddler put the printable in the middle of the room. Instruct them to find the different animals and match them to the paper.

After they find everything, have them tell you what animal is which.

At this point, they may want to hide their animals for you. Mila had a blast at hiding her animals for me. It was fun watching her try to keep her hiding places a secret.

This is an activity that can last for a while.

It might be good to find out your toddler’s hiding spots. Especially if you’re missing markets, crayons, and scissors! You learn as much about your toddler as they do about safari animals.

If you do this activity, let me know in the comments!

Before you go, check out these other indoor activities you can do with your kids.

Toddler Activity: Identifying Parts of Flowers

If your toddler is anything like Mila, they love flowers. Spring is the perfect time to not only go and pick flowers, but to learn and identify parts of flowers too!

After learning about the water cycle, it was an easy transition to learning about flowers. While reading the Little Raindrop Book, Mila noticed that flowers and plants were a part of a raindrops journey. Since I have a ton of plants, she connected how our houseplants get thirsty and that they needed water to live.

So, we reread the book, talked about what makes a flower, a flower, and made a fun craft too.

To do this activity with your child, you only need a few supplies.

Before beginning this activity, there’s a little prep to do.

First, cut out pieces to make a stem, flower, leaves, sun, and dirt. I did basic shapes, but you can be as creative as you want. For the flower, I left it white so Mila could paint and personalize it.

Then, cut squares for your child to actually label the flower. There should be six squares. Label them with these: sun, flower, stem, leaves, dirt, and roots.

There are a few ways to introduce this activity to your child. Mila interacts with flowers and plants everyday at our home and through the book I mentioned. Your child might enjoy going outside and actually seeing flowers before doing this.

After you talk to your child about flowers, it’s time to set up the activity.

I first had Mila paint her flower with watercolors. Since we’ve been in a creative mood, she loved this part!

After that was finished. I had Mila tell me what she remembered about flowers.

To get to the main part of the activity, I asked her a few leading questions. The first was where do flowers live. She instantly said dirt, so on our paper we laid down where dirt would be. Then I asked her what part of the flowers lived under the dirt. Roots! This is a difficult question and I think she only knew this through my plant propagations.

We glued down half of the ‘dirt’ and then drew roots underneath the other half. This makes this project interactive.

With the dirt and roots set, it’s a little easier for them to figure out what comes next.

Mila ended up putting the stem, leaves, and flowers on by herself. She helped me glue the pieces of paper and placed them where she wanted them to go. For the sun, I asked her what gives the plant life. the sun and water. She placed the sun in the top corner and said that was in the sky.

We used the little pompoms to talk about seeds. Since seeds are in the middle of the flower, we put them there. Although we didn’t talk about seeds, I did extend her learning and told her seeds go in the ground. Then I told her they sprout roots and flowers from that one little seed. She seemed pretty amazed by that.

After it was all laid out, I made her go through all the parts to label them.

As she stated what part of the plant was what, I glued down the appropriate label so she could see the words by them.

Overall, it was a fun activity that she’s really proud of. She’s showed everyone who’s came over.

Make sure to check out these seven spring books that can help you talk to your toddler about flowers and spring. They all have beautiful illustrations and I know toddlers and young children will LOVE them.

If you tried this activity, let me know in the comments. I’d love for you to tag me on Instagram at @greyskies.rainbowhighs so I can see everyone’s creations!

Before you go, check out how these other mom incorporated flowers with their kids:

Toddler Activity: Stormy Clouds Experiment

Rain rain, go away, come back another day! Or if you insist on staying, it’s a perfect time to introduce the water cycle to toddlers.

Mila LOVE experimenting. I try to tailor to her learning style as much as I can. She would prefer doing an experiment every day, but that’s not always possible. Thankfully, teaching her about rain and the water cycle gives us an amazing opportunity to get dirty and make what she calls Stormy Clouds.

This experiment is fun for both toddlers and adults. It not only talks about the rain cycle, but you can incorporate color recognition, the Scientific Method, and motor skills too; so much learning packed in one rainy day activity.

Here’s what you’ll need to make stormy clouds:

I’m going to first start off by saying this activity can get messy. Whenever there is food coloring, it somehow gets everywhere. I’d recommend placing a plate, mat, or some sort of paper under your big jar. Of course, food coloring will clean up, but it’s nice to just take some precautions.

Once you get an area where you’ll experiment set up, fill a big clear jar with water. The jar I used had a lip on it. I filled it up to the bottom of the lip so it gave me some room to put the shaving cream.

Next, mix your food coloring with water in little jars and bowls. Your child will be either scooping the colored water with a spoon or using a pipette. I used very small Tupperware containers for this step. For the water/food color combination, I used 8-10 drops of food coloring and eyeballed the water. I wasn’t too scientific about the measurements!

Then, add shaving cream to look like a cloud on top of the BIG jar of water. I did this step after the food coloring because Mila would not have had enough patience to wait for all of the colors.

After you’re set with the cloud, have your toddlers start spooning or dripping the dyed water over the could.

It takes a little bit for the water to penetrate through the cloud, but once it does, it’ll look like rain drops are coming out of it. Mila enjoyed using purple the best since it was easier to see. Although, it was fun to do a huge mix of colors.

Throughout the experiment, we talked about how clouds make the rain and then it goes down to Earth. I’m not a huge science buff, so I turned to Little Raindrop, which is a cute book that talks age appropriately about the water cycle! It has adorable pictures and tells the story about a single raindrop. Mila got this when she was one and it was too advanced for her. At almost three, it’s perfect!

Even if your child is not interested in learning about the water cycle or even into rain, the activity is fun to just make a mess and play with colors. I showed a group of adults this activity and they enjoyed it too. It really is fun watching the shaving cream turn different colors.

Next time it’s raining or anytime you want a hands on activity to do with your child, this Stormy Clouds Experiment is perfect!

If you liked or tried this activity, let me know in the comments!

Check out these rainy day activities from other moms!

Toddler Activity: DIY Letter Crayons

Today is Crayon Day! Did you know there was a day specifically for crayons? Me neither, but I love how these DIY Letter Crayons turned out. I think it’s so fun celebrating different days with Mila, but the activities along with it are even more fun.

Another thing I didn’t know before Mila and I did this activity was that anyone can purchase a ton of unwrapped crayons. It makes this DIY a lot easier!

Here’s what you’ll need if you want to create some of your own:

This can obviously be done without purchasing the unwrapped crayons. You can use broken ones at home or a smaller amount from a store. Just make sure that the wrapping is taken off. That’s most important.

Before you start cutting crayons for the mold, preheat your oven to 250°.

Then, start breaking up crayons to place in the mold. I’m pretty sure this was Mila’s favorite part of the whole DIY. It takes quite a bit of crayons to fill the mold up. One word of advice from me is even if it seems like a lot of crayon in the mold, they melt way down.

Figure out which colors you’d like to put together before hand too. I added a lot of white in between colors to prevent the crayons from getting mixed. Plus, the marble look is cute too.

Anyways, place the mold on a baking sheet then in the oven for about ten minutes or until they’re completely melted.

After they’re melted, let them completely cool before removing them.

That last step is super important. A few of our crayons broke during the removal process. To fix it, I just popped them back in the oven for a little while.

Overall, I think they turned out perfectly! We made sure to do “Mila’s letters” and Jensen’s too. She helped pick out the colors for both. It was the perfect opportunity to talk about letters and colors as well. I love how random activities can hold so much learning opportunities.

One mistake I made through the crayon making process was putting white on the corners. When we make more, I’ll keep away from that. It just made drawing a little harder for Mila and she didn’t understand why she couldn’t see what she was drawing.

Besides that, Mila noticed and loved how one crayon could have so many different colors. I can’t wait to see her future creations!

If you try this DIY out, let me know in the comments. Also, if you’ve done it before, tell me your tips in getting anything out of molds! I feel like it’s all up to patience, but I get too excited.

Before you go, check out what these other moms did to celebrate Crayon Day:

7 Spring Books Your Toddler Will Love

With spring books comes beautiful illustrations that toddlers love. It’s also a perfect time to teach little ones about all the new things that happen in spring.

I can’t even explain the importance of reading to toddlers. That’s how they expand their vocabulary and learn about everything around them. Plus, it’s great time to bond with your little one too.

Here are seven spring books Mila and I are loving.

This is the latest book I’ve purchased for Mila. The covers illustration is beautiful and it carries on throughout the book too. I love how Mila is learning without even realizing it. Plus, it lets her know how important bees are to our world!

“Also an Animal” is a beautiful book about spring babies and the love between mothers and their babies. The book is so informative. I didn’t even know the name of some of the babies. Mila loves mama and baby pairs, so this book is perfect for that.

This classic book is perfect for spring and Easter too! Mila loves all the pictures and I enjoy sharing stories that I read when I was a child too. It’s a perfect book to make an Easter Eve tradition with too!

Everyone knows this classic song! This book version has beautiful illustrations that helps a toddler visualize what’s going on. At the end, it lets you know the hand motions to use too.

I also enjoy this book to explain to Mila that spiders aren’t scary. It seems to help!

Love You More
by Hannah Green

One of my favorite Aldi finds, “Love You More” is a beautiful book about family with bright colors. It lets young kids know that no matter what, they are loved. Mila loves pointing out the colors and we count the flowers on the page too.

If you can find this treasure online, let me know so I can link!

Another classic story, “Play With Me” is perfect for teaching patience and gentleness to little ones. If you have a toddler, you know those two aren’t their strong points. It was a great teaching moment for Mila. Plus, I personally love the illustrations in this book. They’re not as bright, but they’re still beautiful.

I was originally gifted this book and Mila and I fell in love. This is a beautiful story about mothers of all creatures love of their children. Again, the illustrations are beautiful and Mila loved the babies in it.

All of these books are staples in our home. Let me know in the comments what are your favorite spring time books?

Toddler Activity: Easter Bunny Nature Craft

Spring is finally here and we’re gearing up for Easter!

One way to celebrate was making a Easter Bunny Nature Craft. We were able to get outside and create, which is our favorite.

Everything we used, we found in our back yard, besides the paper and glue.

For our craft, I told Mila she was going to make a bunny out of leaves and flowers. Since she had a traumatic experience with the Easter Bunny this year, I wanted to help her see he wasn’t all that bad.

She loved finding leaves for the bunny’s ears and then a flower for his tail. It was a great hunt. I think it’d be awesome to have a scavenger hunt for all the components too.

Since the trees in Ohio still haven’t produced new leaves, a lot of what she found was old.

After we set it all out, I had her tell me what she wanted to use for the bunny’s body parts. She decided about its body, tails, and ears.

Then, I asked her if she thought we should make the bunny a crown. She did!

Once we added grass for the bunny to stay in, mila thought it was complete. As she played, I glued everything down.

It turned out so cute and it was fun watching Mila pick out different things around the yard. She was so creative in making the bunny too.

I can definitely see us doing something similar again! It’d be really challenging with having her find Easter eggs filled with supplies too. Maybe I’ll have a lamination machine by the next time we do an activity with nature. A girl can dream right?

As always, let me know in the comments if you tried to make an Easter Bunny Nature Craft! I know your child will love getting outside and creating too.

Toddler Friendly Spring Bucket List

Happy first day of spring, friends!

The suns out for longer now and the days are finally getting warmer. My indoor plants are growing. Mila and Max are wanting to play outside all the time. Spring is here.

If you can remember back to the summer of 2019, I wanted to start new bucket lists for every seasons. Our summer and Christmas bucket lists were a success and whole bunch of fun. Unfortunately, COVID came and changed everyone’s world, so it didn’t feel like there was a lot to celebrate.

Even though COVID’s still in our lives, we’re excited to do a springtime bucket list this year!

With Jensen and Mila’s birthday, the end of my student teaching, and whatever else this bucket list has in store for us… we’re definitely going to be busy.

Without me going on and on… here’s our spring bucket list:

I’d love to hear what you’re planning this spring. Let me know in the comments.

Starting a Garden with a Toddler!

Fun fact… Earth Day is every April 22.

A few posts ago, I was talking about eco-friendly changes I’ve made and how I wanted to share them. Since it’s techincally “Earth Week,” I thought now would be a great time to start talking about those and some activities Mila and I are up to to thank our world.

Before I start, I am not an expert on this stuff at all. Just thought I’d throw that out there. I do what’s best for my little family and try to imagine what would be interesting for Mila. If anyone ever has suggestions or anything that would help benefit others with anything I talk about, please let me know and I’ll do my best to add it in here! As humans, we’re all doing our best to get by and be happy.

Back to the earthy things.

Last week, I got ambitious. I had been thinking about starting a garden this year or just getting a tomato plant or two. Honestly, I’ve never really had a green thumb, but maybe that’s because I’ve never tried? I just knew I wanted to try it out and see how it went. In my mind, I have this beautiful vision of Mila and me gardening and making a dinner with some vegtables we helped grow. It may sound silly, but I’ve never done it before and there’s no time like the present.

Back to ambition, I saved up some egg shells, egg cartons, and other containers to try and do seed starters. When I saw so many people starting their seeds, I knew I needed to hurry. I walked down to the local hardware store and grabbed some potting soil and seeds. I ended up getting two different types of tomates (I heard they’re the easiest to start), green peppers, and a few different herbs. When I got home, I prepped everything on my kitchen table to start our little garden.

Mila loved playing in the dirt and crushing the excess egg shells that I had. Yes, I was going to use them, but she mashed them up and was having fun; so, I guess I’ll pick my battles. She helped me put the dirt in most of the containers and sat watching me for a while. After about thirty to forty minutes, she was over it. She’d come over while I continued pressing on to make sure I was doing a good job, but she played and did a good job entertaining herself.

I can’t blame her, if I was watching someone put seeds into random egg cartons and old containers, I’d be bored too.

FULL DISCLAIMER. I didn’t realize how much work was all entailed with planting everything and getting it all started. Halfway through planting, I realized that I had purchased entirely too many seeds. I felt like I was planting seeds for seven hours. By the end of it, I was just like throwing seeds into pots because I didn’t save enough egg cartons and containers for everything. Then I was stressing out because I was worried about the watering situation. I’m just being real here. Next year, I’ll be a lot more prepared!

When it was all done, I was super proud of myself and Mila’s patience with the whole ordeal. She likes to check on our little garden throughout the day. It makes me happy that she’s so excited about it, it’s probably because I make it a big deal every morning to see if any have sprouted.

It’s been a week since we started our seeds. I’ve been a little disappointed since nothings sprouted, but it hadn’t even been a week. Well, last night, I checked on them before I went to sleep and there are sprouts! I’m feeling like such a proud plant mom. Hopefully, more will sprout up in the next few days too. I’ll for sure new you guys updated as they grow and we eventually move them outside.

If anyone has any suggestions or tips moving forward about starting a garden, I’m all ears. Seriously, I am going into this blind and just relying on Pinterest and blog posts. I’m really excited though and can’t wait to see Mila’a reaction as our little plants grow.

Later today, I’m going to share either a new eco-friendly project or subscription that’s newly in my life OR Mila and I’s Earth Day craft box, which is a monthly subscription that provides various crafts and activities monthly for kids!

Mila’s Easter Basket 2020

Easter is tomorrow and since Mila is napping (finally today), I decided to put together her Easter basket and share it with everyone! I might have went a little overboard this year… I’m blaming it on her birthday and Easter being so close together AND I went to this new (to me) store in a nearby town that I went overboard in.*

*Although getting Easter/birthday presents for Mila might not ‘seem’ essential, it made me feel better to keep the magic alive. We were safe! Social distancing and lots of hand sanitzer were used!*

Why did I go overboard in this store? They had really cute little wooden toys for not a lot of money. I’ve been into wooden toys instead of plastic the last few months for environmental reasons and I’ve noticed Mila plays for longer amount of times when she plays with simple toys. Wooden toys can be super expensive so just finding these small ones made me happy and it was nice to my debit card. Last year, Mila got a book, stuffed animal, and maybe one or two small things. I don’t really like making gifts a huge deal and she doesn’t need anything, but I think the lockdown has inspired me to get new toys and stuff for her rotation.

ANYWAYS, here’s all the items in her basket laid out.

  • Black and white ‘M’ leotard – Witts End Design
  • Pete the Cat: Big Easter Adventure Amazon
  • Bowling Game – Legacy Learning
  • Chocolate Bunny, Pink Bunny Chocolate Sucker, and Small Chocolate Bunnies – Eiler Candy Shop
  • Other Random Chocolate and My Little Pony Chocolate Egg – Local Grocery Store
  • Bath Bomb, Sticker Sheets, Chalk, Wooden People, Wooden Puzzle/Blocks, Stuffed Animal – New Local Consignment Shop

Honestly, this is everything Mila loves in a basket. The two items I ordered from Etsy and the Pete the Cat book were ordered before the lockdown. Once I realized everything was going to take a long time to get, I just hurried and ordered. I love her leotard and got her another one for her birthday (WHICH IS ON TUESDAY!!!). The material is so nice and I love the fluffy sleeves. I can’t wait for gymnastics to start up again so Mila can wear them, although she’ll probably wear them before then when we do at home practice moves. The toddler bowling game is made so nice. I absolutely love it and Mila’s really been into figuring out how games work, so I know this will be fun for us to play tomorrow. Legacy Learning’s Etsy shop has so many different learning toys and activities. I actually bought her a threading toy for her birthday too. They came in these cute little storage bags that we’ll use to keep everything together. Would so recommend them!

I’m a tiny bit worried about all the chocolate, but she obviously won’t eat it all in one day. She’s obsessed with M&Ms, but I think she’ll be super excited about the little ‘bun buns.’ Can someone come hide all the chocolate in my house so Mila AND I don’t eat it all.

When I find out the name about this local consignment shop, I’ll make sure to add it in here for my local friends. I got the wooden people (and there’s two dragons too), the wooden puzzle/blocks, the bath bomb, the stuffed bunny, and sticker sheets for under $15. I did snag other things for her birthday too, rolling my eyes because I’ve went overboard this year, but I didn’t spend more than $30 for everything I got her.

Tomorrow morning is going to be so magical when she has to hunt for her basket. I think she’ll be so excited when she sees it too. We’re going to be coloring eggs tonight and I have another craft I want to do when she wakes up from her nap. I’ll try to post our craft tonight because it’s definitely Easter appropriate and might be nice to do tomorrow.

If I don’t get to sharing the Easter craft tonight, I hope you all have a happy and peaceful Easter. I know it’s way different than past Easters, but we can do it.

I’d love to see your Easter baskets too. If you’d like to share, feel free to in the comments.

Mila Tries Internet Activities: Easter Egg Sort.

Another day, another toddler activity to try with Mila.

For the last week or so, I’ve seen so many Easter inspired activities. Since we’re going to be quarantined until Easter, I thought I’d tackle one activity a day. A lot of them used the little, plastic eggs that you can put things in. So I got a bag of them for a dollar at the dollar store and thought I’d give it a go.

Turns out, Mila loves the eggs as they come. She will just sit there and open and close all then over and over. We’ve played little games where I have her give me certain colors or we count them. I think an easy, independent activity to do would be a basic color sort.

Since it was so nice out yesterday, I figured we could do something with them out there. I grabbed painters tape, a tub from an organization bin, tongs and a spoon, and her basket of eggs. You’re supposed to make a crazy pattern for your toddler to maneuver around with the tongs, grab the egg, and put it in a basket or even color sort. I got the inspiration from this activity from The Ever Co’s Instagram page (@theeverco).

After I was done getting the tape on there, we went outside. Her and Max ran around for a while and played fetch. When they were over that, they ran to me, but I already had something for her to do.

At first, I just watched to see what she’d do. She stuck her hand in there and got it caught on the tape, which really surprised her. After I told her to use the tongs and put them in the basket, she was on a mission. She played independently for about forty-five minutes with it. When she realized she could put the eggs back in there, she would open them up and try to pick them up that way. To challenge her further, I’d definitely do different colored bowls for her to place the egg into. Maybe next time.

One thing I would have changed if I didn’t throw it together in five minutes… instead of painters tape, I would have used different sizes of yarn and ribbon. Sometimes the eggs or tongs got stuck on the sticky side. She worked around it, but it might have been nicer if that wasn’t in the way.

Hopefully if you get to try this activity, it works a nicely as it did for me. Today, Mila and I are going to try to make salt dough Easter eggs and paint them. Wish us luck!