Bug Hunt – Items you will need - a clip board, a marker, paper, a paper bag. You may want to grab a magnifying glass and or a plastic jar if you want to collect the bugs you find. Make a list of different insect you normally see in the backyard such as bee, spider, ants, lady bugs, etc... (You can even draw a small picture of each insect next to its name). Then go out and hunt for all of the bugs you have on your list as you find them use tally marks to show how many of each you find, when you are done have your child add up the tally marks!

  • Alphabet Hunt – Make a list of all the letters, and hunt for things that either start (or end) with that letter. Write each item you find next to the letter on your list.

  • Color Hunt – use pieces of colored paper or call out a color and have your child look for items of the same color.

  • Nature Scavenger Hunt – Make a list of things to find such as, something round, something hard, something soft, two different types of leaves, seed, a pinecone, a stick, a rock etc... Give your child a bag to put everything in and a pencil to mark them off as they find the items and either go on a walk with your child to find all the items or you can do in your own back yard.

Note: if you laminate your lists you can use dry erase marker and then the list can be reused over and over! You can also add a surprise reward such as a plastic bug for the bug hunt, alphabet stickers for the alphabet hunt, colorful candy or crayons for the color hunt and anything your would like to plant for the scavenger hunt!

Counting Money – You will need a bowl, water, and change, you can include 50 cent coins and 1 dollar coins. Fill your bowl with a small amount of water and add a few coins, put into the freezer once partially frozen add a little more water and coins and put into freezer repeat until you have a large block of ice and coins! Once completely frozen take it outside and let you child dig for coins using a spoon or plastic garden toys while the sun helps to melt it. It will take a while depending on how big you make it! As they get a coin have them tell you what they got dime and how much it is worth 10 cents (make a list of each coin they get) once they have all the coins have them count it all up to see how much money they got! Could also freeze a bunch in an ice cube tray then throw them all into a bigger bowl add water over top and freeze to get a bigger block and avoid having to go add and re-add! Could use small toy objects, fruit or anything you can think of just for fun!

Frozen Paint – Use a washable paint pour into ice cube tray and a little water to each and let freeze (you can add craft sticks to each color for handles to make it a little less messy)! Once frozen take them outside with paper and let your child create a piece of art. Note: this is messy and recommend doing it on the grass in a swimsuit and have a child’s pool or hose to clean up with before going back into the house!! Also can be made using different colored Kool Aides just add a little of the Kool Aid powder into each cube, add water to fill and freeze!


  • Letters/Spelling – Take any size Legos and white stickers (address labels work well) cut pieces to fit and place onto the Legos (you can do this for all sides of the Lego) Write letters onto them, note you can turn them sideways & write the letters sideways so that when put together you are reading across not down)! Have your Child spell out different words by putting the Legos together! (if you have picture cards or want to make them you can have them spell out the different pictures)

    • This can be done with words for sentence building

    • Can be done to help with math skills such as addition/subtraction/great than/less than/equal

    • Days of the Week/ Months/States & Capital Match

  • Use your word Legos to make a rhyming road take a minifigure and hop the minifigure from one end of the LEGO board to the other, landing only on rhyming words. Make sure you have about 8 rhyming words that are placed to make it completely across your board!

  • Build a simple Lego structure, take photos of it, Give the photo to your child and have them reconstruct it!

Mixed Up Words - Write out the words of objects around the house such as table, chair, door, clock, and floor. Then tape them to the wrong object around your house! Let your child have fun discovering the wrong words, and then moving them to the correct object. You can also do this for things outside as well! This activity can help to learn words for objects!

Parking Lot Fun – You will Need – a large piece of paper, marker and play cars. Take a large piece of Paper and draw out a parking lot (you could also do this on the sidewalk with chalk) then write words, or draw shapes, numbers etc... into each parking space then you call out a word and the child drives the car and parks it into that spot!

Rain Art

  • Kool Aid/Food Coloring/Chalk – Sprinkle different Kool aid powder/food coloring/chalk onto a piece of paper/card stock and set it out in the rain watch what happens! Or set a piece of paper in the rain and then sprinkle onto the paper notice the differences! Best to do when just a sprinkle outside!

Secret Code – Take a piece of paper and write out the alphabet and number the letters (you can add a period, explanation point etc.. and put a number with those as well) Then on another piece of paper draw out squares for what you want it to say leave spaces between each word then just below each square put the corresponding number for each letter. Give them both to your child and have them decipher your code! You can also do this using a white crayon to write out what you want it to say on white water color paper (any white paper will work) then take a small bowl of water and food coloring mix and give to your child to paint the pre written code paper!

Shapes Matching Game

  • You will need - At least 20 craft sticks (make sure you have an even number) and Markers. Place two craft sticks directly next to each other. Help your child draw a shape on the two sticks (helps is you put a small piece of tape on the back to hold them together while you draw). Try to split the shape equally between the sticks do this on as many sticks as you would like then have your child mix up the sticks and then rematch the sticks to create shapes.

  • You will need – craft sticks and self-sticking Velcro dots. Place Velcro dots on both sides and ends of the craft sticks. Give to your child to make shapes! To extend it you can make shapes with them snap a photo and then give the photo to your child for them to reconstruct it

Side Walk Chalk

  • Write the letters onto side walk all mixed up!
  • call out a letter and have your child run to it

  • Call out a letter sound and have your child run to the correct letter (can do just a few letters at a time to make it easier)

  • Letter Action – Say hop on the “H”, Now Find your Toes on the “T” etc…

  • Walk and Spell Sight Words – Call out a simple word and have your child walk to each letter while calling out the letter to spell the word you called out! Have them hop, skip, jump between letter to mix it up!

Note to Make Liquid Side Walk Chalk - All you do is mix 1 cup of water with 1 cup of cornstarch. Then pour it into muffin tins or small cups. Next, add food coloring to make the colors you would like. Use Paint Brushes to write onto cement!

Note: You can use Water to paint on cements with sponge paint brushes!

Sort Colors/Shapes/Categories - (animals/people/bugs/vehicles) – You will need a few baskets (labeled for what you are sorting such as if you are sorting colors label the baskets red, blue etc..) and items to sort such as Legos, Blocks, toys etc.. Make it active by dumping out what you have to sort at one end of a play tunnel and put the baskets on the other side. Have your child pick a couple items and then crawl through the play tunnel to put them into the correct basket! You could do this with a slip n slide outside to make it even more fun!

Suggestion – make up grab bags of crafts/games that your child can do on his own when you are busy! Idea’s – puzzles, coloring book and crayons, Matching Games, Tape measure with toy items to measure (can even put is a list of the items and have them write the measurements they got), sorting activities, lacing, Legos/block/potato head with pre taken picture for your child to reconstruct etc…

Water Experiments

  • Place mirrors [aluminum foil would work too!] into a container of water and observe the reflections. Twists before adding the water take the mirrors outside and show your child how it can reflect the sun, once the water is added notice the differences of the reflections when the water settles and when it is shaky. Grab a couple items such as a flower, stick etc. and hold over the mirror to see its reflections!

  • Absorb and Repel - Gather samples of several materials (foil, wax paper, felt, tissue paper, napkins, sponges, coffee filters, rubber erasers, feathers, etc.), a dropper and a cupcake pan. Place the different items into the cupcake pan and discuss the concepts of absorb and repel, have your child select one of your samples and make a prediction as to whether it will absorb or repel water then use the dropper to put some water onto that item and see if you are correct!

  • Sink or Float – Gather all different types of items that can get wet and a container of water (fun to do in a small child’s pool). Before you put each item into the water ask your child do you think this one will sink or float?

  • What Dissolves – Same type of concept as the above! Gather some items from your pantry that might dissolve, along with a few that will not dissolve such as Flour, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Noodles, sprinkles, Oatmeal etc. Fill up containers with water for each of the items you selected. Have your child put the each item into the water and watch and discuss what happened.

Zap It Game - Write high frequency words onto craft sticks or foam sticks and write zap it on a few sticks. The kids pull sticks from a container and read the words. If someone gets Zap It, all of the sticks go back in the bin.