Thursday, February 9, 2012

Nature Activity for Toddlers in the City

     My son loves to go on a walk… We try to get out in the stroller every day. The same old streets and houses never get old to him. For me though, I like to come up with things to make them a little more interesting!

     Here’s a fun nature-ish activity I did with my son and his cousin: Leaf Hunt!  

     You can work on learning colors, shapes, textures, sizes, smells and more in a hands-on, multi-sensory way.

     First you need a “leaf bag.” You could probably do better than our plastic one ;-)

     This activity would work really well with older children, make an “I spy” game out of it when you spot a leaf. For the toddlers, I just narrated a lot:

     “See that tall tree with the thick, white trunk? It has bluish-green leaves. The leaves are special because they’re in the shape of a circle! Look at those neat circle leaves! Let’s pick one and put it in our leaf bag!”

     I picked two leaves and gave one to each boy to feel and look at. Putting them in the bag was fun!

     Don’t forget to look for leaves of different sizes, shapes, textures, and colors. If you find pine needles, basil leaves, or rosemary make sure and smell them! Once you go around the neighborhood and have a good assortment of leaves in your bag, head home.

     When you get the collection home, you can talk about what you found. I made a “Leaf Hunt” book to go along with the walk!

     Make crayon-rubbings of the leaves on each of the pages. Really fat crayons work the best for this; we used some giant, homemade crayons. My two-year-old struggled with crayon-rubbing, but it was good fine motor practice anyway! You will end up helping a lot. Make sure and label the leaves. 

     Here I saved the actual leaves we found and made a puzzle for T to match the leaves with the colored rubbings on the page:

He did pretty good!

     Staple the pages together and now you have a cool book that your child made! They can use it to practice reading and learn to identify shapes, colors, textures, and sizes!