Shape Toss – A Game for Learning Shapes

Shape Games for Kids - Learning4kids
We had so much fun with this one!  We made our very own Shape Clown with a cardboard box that had an opening for a mouth for eating yummy shape bean bags.
Shape Toss is a fun way to introduce and play with shapes.  It also gets children up and active while learning about shapes and also some very important Fundamental Movement Skills.
What you will need?
Invaitation to Play with Shapes - learning4kids
You will need, a large box, paint, paint brushes, PVA craft glue, sticky tape, card stock, black marker pen, shape bean bags and scissors.
To make our Shapes Clown we used an old cardboard box and cut out a circle for the mouth.  We used a round dinner plate as a stencil to get a large circle shape.  My children and I then painting the box white all over, waited for it to dry and gave it a seconded coat of paint.  Once this was dry we painted the large yellow face and glued on two bottle tops for checks on either side of the mouth.  We then cut out green card for the triangle hat and blue diamond eyes and glued these onto the cardboard box.  Next we added a pompom to the hat and one for the nose. Finally, with a black marker pen we neatened up the yellow circle face and added a smile to the mouth of the clown.  To add some final touches, we then added a bow tie to the clown.
Let’s Play
Shape Games for Toddlers - Learning4kids
The aim of the game Shape Toss is to pick up one bean bag at a time, name the shape of the bean bag and then try and throw it into the mouth of the Shape Clown.
Some Ideas:
  • It doesn’t matter how close the child gets to the clown’s mouth to throw the bean bag, the idea is to have fun, play and feel the success of getting the shape bean bag into the clown’s mouth.
  • Talk with your child about swinging the arm (under arm) and looking at where they would like the bean bag to go.  Also standing up is best for throwing under arm.
Let’s Learn
Gross Motor Activities for Kids
Learning Opportunities
  • Gross Motor Development and Fundamental Movement Skills
  • Hand-Eye Coordination and Control
  • Cause and Effect
  • Concentration
  • Spatial awareness – experimenting with shape and space
  • Language development – shape names
  • Pride and sense of achievement.
For more Shape Activities and Ideas <CLICK HERE>
Shapes activities for kids
Learning 4 kids

DIY Skittles & Games

How to make homemade skittles
Our Homemade Skittles would have to be one of the most played with toys in our house.  My girls are continuously finding new and fun things to do with them.  I have seen them become pretend food and drink in imaginative play games, used to create barriers or goals in ball games and they have also become music shakers.  With these in mind there are two main games we love to play with our Homemade Skittles, Skittles Bowling and Hide & Seek Skittles.
What you will need?
You will need 10 clear empty plastic bottles, rice, colour labels (optional), food colouring and a ball.
We placed half a cup of rice into each plastic bottle and added a few drops of food colouring, placed on the lid and gave the bottle a good shake until all the rice was covered.
We also placed colour labels on each of the bottles as a way to encourage reading and visual awareness of these words.  I wanted my kids to label and name the bottles by colour and be repetitively exposed to the written word.
Skittle Bowling is much like a game of 10 Pin Bowling but using our own homemade bottles. 
Arrange the bottles into a triangular shape and mark a line from where kids are to roll the ball.  The aim is to knock over as many skittle bottles as possible.  It is up to you if you would like to keep score but this did not seem important to my kids as their total aim was to knock over as many as possible and beat their own personal best.
Hide & Seek Skittles is a great game that can be played both indoors and outdoors depending on the weather.  It involves one person hiding all 10 Coloured Skittles and another person finding them.  You will often hear conversations between my kids, “I have only found 8 which means there are 2 more hiding” or “the Red and Green ones are not found yet”.
Games are so important for kids to play as they learn so many important skills by playing them. 
  • Turn taking and sharing
  • Getting along skills and problem solving
  • Negotiation and language skills
  • Team player and sportsmanship
  • Mathematics through score counting
  • Self-esteem
  • Physical and emotion development
  • Gross motor, fine motor, coordination and balance
For more Colour Activities click here EXPLORING COLOURS
For more Active Play Activities click here: ACTIVE PLAY
Learning 4 kids

Back Yard Water Park

Kids absolutely love water parks, so with the beautiful warm spring weather in full swing here in Australia I thought we would set up our very own Back Yard Water Park.  They are a lot of fun for kids, it gets them outdoors and active and also secretly encourages many opportunities for learning. 
We set a range of different theme stations for the kids to play and explore, some were more sensory play based and others were imaginative play based.  Altogether we had seven water play stations in our Back Yard Water Park. 
We were very mindful of not wasting water in our park, so we planned and set up activities that did not require a lot of water.  Once we had filled the mini pools and buckets, we did not need any more water.  We also kept the water quite shallow in the pools for Miss 2 and once we had finished playing, we watered our gardens and lawn with the left over water.
*Like all activities shared on learning4kids – supervision is required at ALL times*
Water Balloon Pool
back yard summer fun ideas
One of the pools we set up was a Water Balloon Pool, a sensory play pool which included about 35 balloons filled with water.  We did not use the traditional smaller water balloons but instead we used party balloons as they were stronger, less likely to break and lasted longer when being handled.  We had a few paddling pools that we had put away from last summer and reused them for our water park.  We also purchased 2 cheap pools from our local shop for about $5.  
Water Squirters
Water Squirters
We also had a bucket set up filled with water for my girls to fill their water squirters. 
Soapy Slippery Dip
We utilised our backyard slide and placed a small paddling pool underneath filled with water, small amount of bubbles (bubble bath) and some small plastic balls.
Wash a Cubby House
Another water–play based station we had set up in our Back Yard Water Park was to wash the cubby house.  We had a bucket of soapy water and giant sponges nearby for the activity. Kids get all soapy, slippery and wet as they wash the cubby house and enjoy the pretend play.  The bonus is that the cubby house gets a good clean too. 
Shaving Cream Pit
More sensory play but this time with shaving cream!  We set up a shaving cream pit in one of our inflatable larger pools and my girls had so much fun slipping and sliding around getting all messy.  You do not require a lot of shaving cream for this activity as I have only used one 250 ml bottle, with the wet clothing my girls were wearing help make the shaving cream go further.  
Clean Up Pool
Our mini clean up pool was great for washing off most of the shaving cream before jumping into the Water Balloon Pool or Soapy Slippery Slide.  It did not keep these pools completely clean but it help to make the water last a lot longer without needing to replace it. 
Washing Toys
water play ideas for at home
Bringing more imaginative play into our water park with our water and soap play based station that involves washing toy dolls.  You could alternatively make this washing up pretend kitchen toy dishes.  Kids get all soapy, slippery and wet as they wash their toys and enjoy pretend play.
water fun ideas for summer
A quick photo of our Back Yard Water Park before it was open for some serious play.  Towards the back we have our Wash a Cubby House, then the Washing Toys station, followed by the Soapy Slippery Dip, Shaving Cream Pit, Clean-Up Pool, Water Squirters Tub and Water Balloon Pool. 
You can make your own very special back yard water park by finding and using things that you have around the home.  I hope our homemade water park inspires you with some ideas to create your own this summer.  Have fun!! :)
Learning benefits of a Back Yard Water Park
  • Lots of gross motor skills – crawling, sliding, pulling, wriggling and navigating objects.
  • Sensory exploration – touching, feeling and looking for a way through.
  • Developing movement and coordination
  • Building strong bodies: muscles, bones and hearts
  • Language development – using repetitive words and descriptive language.
  • Loads of fun and laughter! 
Learning 4 kids

Pompom Hockey

Keep the kids entertained with Pompom Hockey.  It is a super simple activity you can set up at home for the kids, that is fun, challenging and exciting.  It also gets little bodies moving! 
What you will need?
You will need, pompoms, any size will do, masking tape, paper plates and cardboard tubes. 
To make the scoops we just cut the paper plate with 3 straight edges and stuck it onto the end of the cardboard tube with masking tape.  We also made square shape boxes on the floor with the masking tape as the goals for the pompoms.
Let’s Play:
The challenge of Pompom Hockey is to get as many pompoms into your square!  The rules of the game are to not use your hands, that only the scoop can be used to move the pompoms around the floor and into the squares.
The Pompom Hockey then developed into sorting the pompoms into groups according to colour.  It was fun to watch as they concentrated really hard to separate the coloured pompoms from the mixed coloured group in the centre of the floor. 
As my girls were playing and sorting the pompoms into groups according to colour, I thought that this would be a great and fun way to encourage learning about numbers.  I placed a number card into each square and the challenge was to put that number of pompoms to match into the square.  Depending on the age of the child, you will use smaller numbers and higher numbers for older kids and school age children.
There are many leaning benefits for kids with Pompom Hockey:
  • Gross motor skills – scooping, navigating, gliding
  • Developing movement, coordination and control
  • Eye & hand coordination, focus and concentration
  • Developing an understanding about number and collections of how many
  • Developing an understanding of colour and the challenge of separating them into groups.
  • Building strong bodies: muscles, bones and hearts
  • Loads of fun and laughter!
Eye Spy with my Little Eye………other AWESOME pompom activities I have ‘spotted’ around the web!
Learning 4 kids 

Great Places to Play at Home!

There are so many wonderful places in the home where children can play imaginatively and creatively. 
Kids will create imaginary worlds to explore and play using the most inexpensive and simple things you can find right at home.  Here are a few ideas for you to try!
Play at home using the pillows from your couch, you can make some fabulous obstacle courses for the kids to navigate.  It encourages gross motor development through crawling, climbing, jumping and rolling.  You could try island hopping with some small cushions laid out in a line or make a track with the larger ones connecting up to a tunnel.  We have made tunnels to crawl and navigate through, a pile of pillows which the kids called rocks to climb over.  The ideas and endless!
There are different ways of creating a couch cubby; we have used our base cushions as walls with a blanket thrown over the top for a roof.  So simple and the kids will play in it for hours.  Miss 20 months at the time enjoying a book in her couch cubby!
I love cardboard boxes because the imagination and the things you can do with them are endless.  Here is Miss 21 months’ pretending to drive a bus with her box and a lid  for a steering wheel.  We were singing ‘The Wheels on the Bus go round and round’.  Boxes do not require setting up, just leave them out and the kids will make magic happen in them! 
I am sure we all have memories of doing this when we were kids.  Remove all the dining chair and throw a blanket over the top of your dining table to make an indoor cubby house for the kids to play underneath. 
My kids have made some wonderful imaginative play stories happen in our wardrobes.  One that I remember is a ‘Lift Off’ which is what they called it at the time but it really was an elevator.  Set up a little tea party invitation to play in a wardrobe!
This is Miss 6 back when she was not even 2 years olds, playing in a stack of pillows. 
We just piled pillows up around her leaving an opening in the middle, a bit like a donut.   She would climb in and out giggling and laughing while building up her gross motor skills.
Collect up all the pillows around the house and pile them up and see the fun of play, imagination and learning happen.  With older children you can turn this into a bit of a maths lesson by counting how many pillows are in the house.   Pillows are so much fun to play with!
Make your own ball pit at home with a small blown up swimming pool or fill a kids play tent with them. 
Behind the couch is another fun place to play at home.  Lay blankets on the floor and somehow create a roof with pillows or blankets.  Make a door with more pillows or a tunnel to enter the behind the couch cubby. 
Here is Miss 22months with a bowl of popcorn and her little chair playing behind the couch.
Play at home by making your own blanket swing and ride.  Using a strong blanket or towel, have your child lie in the centre and carefully pull them along the ground for a blanket ride.   A blanket swing is similar but you need two adults to hold one end each of the blanket or towel to carefully swing your child, a bit like the game ‘A Milk Shake’. Sometime my kids have placed a pillow underneath their heads for the added protection.
All my kids have loved this and still do even though my two older girls are getting too heavy to pull around on a blanket or a swing.
We have so many plastics ware at our house and the kids love to play with them.  I have a separate box for the plastic containers and lids that I just pull out for them to explore and play with as they like.
Play at home using your dining chairs and make a car wash tunnel using scarves and stockings for your child to crawl through.  You can read more about this activity here: Car Wash Tunnel
Washing baskets are fabulous much like cardboard boxes, where kids love to climb in and out of them.  They are great for creating games and imaginative stories such as a boat by placing blue towels or blankets around the washing basket and a small broom or stick for a sail. 
Bring a washing basket out into the lounge room with pillows and blankets and see what fun can be made with them!
Have fun creating wonderful play opportunities and memories right in your home!
Learning 4 kids 
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