Olympic Playday

With the summer olympics coming in August it might be fun to have your own olympic playday. I did this a number of years ago when I did family day care and also when I was a preschool teacher.

What is an olympic playday? It is a day or afternoon/morning where you plan some activities for the children to do. You can do it with your family or invite some friends over with their children to join in the fun.

Decide on a day that you want to do it. Do you want to have it at your house or go to a park? Decide what activities you want the children to do – ball throw, jump(see how far they can jump), bean bag toss, running, make an obstacle course, and anything else you and the children can think of. Let them practice the week before.

Talk with the children about the olympics coming up and what kind of events are in it. Plan on watching an event or two. Talk about the difference between the summer and winter olympics.

Make ribbons/medals for the different events. What other events can you add for an olympics playday?

Home Made Sand

Are you looking for a different sensory material to make? Do you love coffee? This recipe has a great feel to it and it uses dried coffee grounds. If you don’t drink coffee or have access to anyone who does drink it, check with Starbucks or a local coffee shop to get some of their used coffee grounds.


4 cups dried used coffee grounds

2 cups cornmeal

1 cup flour

1/2 cup salt


Mix ingredients together. Put in sand or water table for scooping, pouring, measuring, feeling, and smelling. Keep in Ziploc bag or covered plastic container.

To dry coffee grounds: 

Place in shallow tray or box and let air dry. You can also leave it out in the sun for several hours to dry.


Yogurt and Orange Juice Popsicles

In my book Summertime Sanity for You & the Kids(A variety of activities for preschoolers thru elementary) I share 15 almost healthy snacks for children.

Another favorite snack that I like to make, especially in the summer is a yogurt and orange juice popsicle. It remids me of the creamsicles I use to have when I was little.

Ingredients: frozen orange juice, vanilla yogurt

Procedure: Mix several tablespoons of frozen orange juice into the vanilla yogurt. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

If you don’t have popsicle molds, you can put some in  paper cups and freeze( add popsicle sticks after about an hour).

This also taste great without freezing.


“Creation Station”

Last month our church had a Kid’s Camp for three days, where I had a class for them called “Creation Station”. The children were able to come in during their free time and create whatever they wanted to. Sometimes there would be between 15 and 20 1st and 2nd graders. During that time I didn’t have any behavior problems.

What is the “Creation Station”? It was a room with a variety of materials(mostly recycled things) where they can create things. We provided tape, glue, scissors, markers, crayons,  and magnets. We didn’t provide any paint or glitter but the children didn’t seem to mind.

Prior to Kid’s Camp, for the past three months we had people save boxes, egg cartons, material, paper, paper towel tubes, foam pieces, and anything else we thought would be good for creating. We also had metal washers, coffee cans, toothpicks, straws, pipecleaners, cottonballs, and q-tips.

If the child wasn’t done with their project they could keep it in the room and work on it the next day. The children made robots, tanks, a solar system, lollipop garden, and a blanket for their stuffed animal to name just a few. I was quite impressed of things that the children created.

You too can have your own “Creation Station”. Start saving a variety of things and pick a couple of days when you want your child to create. Just provide the materials and let them go at it. For younger children they may need more help or some ideas of what to make.

What recycled things do you like to use?

Playdough – What Can You Do With it?

There’s so many great recipes that you can try of different kinds of playdough. There is cooked, gluten free, scented, textured, just to name a few. You can look on the internet to find the recipes.

When my grandchildren play with playdough they have the usual rollers, plastic pizza cutters, cookie cutters, or just their hands for rolling, making snakes, and flattening out. Some times I like to give them other things to use like saftey plugs with googly eyes on it, or little plastic bugs.

When I was over my daughter’s house last week, the older boys were playing with playdough. Besides the usual things that they were using, my daughter gave them some pieces from Mr. Potato Head. They definitely got creative and made some silly faces.

Just by giving them something different to use with the playdough to get their creative juices flowing, they stayed at it longer than usual.

What else does your child like to use when playing with playdough?

Frozen Yogurt Sandwiches

In my book Summertime Sanity for You & the Kids(A variety of activities for preschoolers thru elementary) I share 15 almost healthy snacks for children.

One of my favorite snacks is to make the frozen yogurt sandwich. Not only do my grandchildren love it but also my husband.

To make them you need a carton of flavored yogurt(small or large, depending on how much you are making) or you can get vanilla or plain yogurt and add fresh fruit or frozen orange juice to it, and graham crackers or a healthier version of cookies.

I like to shop around for yogurt and graham crackers that have the least amount of sugar.

To make the frozen yogurt sandwiches have your child spread the yogurt on half of a cracker and then top it with the other half. Wrap in wax paper and freeze for several hours or overnight. You can also place the yogurt graham crackers on wax paper and place on a plate or tray and freeze. Once it is frozen you can put the yogurt sandwiches in a ziploc bag. When ready to eat, take out and enjoy!

What kind of yogurt do you like to use?

Bracelets/Necklaces – What to use?

In my book Summertime Sanity for You & the Kids(A variety of activities for preschoolers thru elementary) I list several craft projects that you can do with your child. One of the things I like to do with children is for them to make bracelets or necklaces using different material.

There are a variety of ways to do this – pipe cleaners and pony beads, Cheerios or Fruit Loops and yarn(tape one end for ease in getting it through the hole and tie a knot at the other end using the Cheerios or Fruit Loops), cut up colorful drinking straws to make a necklace, slice up flower shape foam pool noodles(you can get these at the Dollar Store in the Spring and Summer), large beads, buttons, or empty thread spools.

Please remember that the small pieces are not recommended for children under 3. You have many choices of materials that can be used to make a bracelet or necklace, adapt it to the age/ability of your child.

What do you like to use to make a bracelet or necklace?

Paper Mosaics

In my book Summertime Sanity for You & the Kids(A variety of activities for preschoolers thru elementary) I have a section on paper crafts.

One of the the activities is paper mosaics. The materials needed are cardboard, cardstock, or paper plate, construction paper(scrap pieces work great) or tissue paper, glue or glue sticks, and scissors.

Have your child tear or cut small pieces of construction paper or tissue paper. Have them glue the paper onto the cardboard, cardstock, or paper plate.

The children can make a design or do it randomly. This can also be done as a group project by doing something like a rainbow, and having each child put some red on, some blue on, and so on.

You can do this activity with just one color, if you want your child working on a particular color. Your child can also do their initial. On cardstock they or you(if they need some help) squeeze glue on in the shape of their initial and then cover with construction paper or tissue paper or both.

What kind of design does your child like to make?

Outside Play – Chalk and Mud

A few weeks ago my grandchildren had a chance to go to something called Adventure Playground. It was a free event held at an elementary school that had access to mud, water, painting, cardboard building, as well as other things that they could play with. The brochure said to wear clothes that you can get messy and that’s what they did. My granchildren had fun doing the different things. The boys especially liked playing and digging in the mud.

K digging in the mud.

K digging in the mud.

My daughter lets the children play in the mud at home, but not that often because there is a lot of clean up especially in the cooler months where it would be harder to hose them off. She let them play in the mud to their hearts content because when they were done she could hose them off leaving the water and mud at the playground instead of her backyard.

C making plans of what he is going to do next with the mud.

C making plans of what he is going to do next with the mud.

Children should have the opportunity to play in the mud during their childhood. If you are not one for messes, try to find events that have that available or set something up on a smaller scale. Fill a dishpan with some mud and let them go at it. Have an old tablecloth or tarp underneath and do it outside. Hose your child and tarp off when done.

The girls enjoyed coloring with chalk. They like to get messy like their brothers but chose not to dig in the mud. The youngest one N who is 22 months old thought it was fun to color her foot with chalk. What’s nice about that you just hose them off before you leave.

H & N coloring with chalk.

H & N coloring with chalk.