The format of our program is set up as follows: 45 minutes of exploring at their own pace the 8-10 activities which are spread out in a park or large activity room. Being outside works the best. These activities are followed by 15 minutes of group time which includes a theme snack and a story, fingerplays, or songs. Our class size is limited to 10 child-adult teams when inside and 15 teams outside.
Fill a large box with snow or cold salt. Use cups, containers, and spoons to fill and dump just like you would in a sandbox. Make a snow castle if you have snow. Skills developed: fine and gross motor, sense of touch, sight.
Use the dough and cookie cutters to cut out animals. Skills developed: fine motor, sense of touch, sight, mathematical (sorting), thinking.
“Who’s In the Forest” Game
Prepare cards with pictures of forest animals before group arrives. Select animals that make noises that are easy to reproduce such as owls, mice, cardinals, and snakes. Make sure that there is at least two of each animal for the group.
Each adult-tot team picks one card. Keeping your animal picture hidden, sit in a circle. One team begins by making the sound of the animal on their card. The others in the circle that have the same animal respond by repeating the same sound. Continue around the circle until everyone has had a chance to hoot, squeak, chirp, whistle, and hiss. Skills developed: social, sense of hearing, thinking.
Forest Friend Foray
Go on a ‘wild woods’ hike. What animals can you see? What animals can you hear? Can you hear the stream? Look for footprints. Who’s been here? Skills developed: gross motor, sense of sight, hearing, touch, smell.
Forest Animals Big and Small
Animals come in all colors and sizes. Using stuffed animals, ask your tot, “Can you sort them by color? By size?” Talk about patterns like stripes and spots. Skills developed: thinking, mathematical, sense of sight, touch.
Forest ‘Night’ Hike
Many animals are only out at night. Place nocturnal animal pictures or stuffed animals in a dark room. Use a flashlight to find our forest animals. Skills developed: thinking, mathematical (sorting), gross motor, sense of sight.
- Blow bubbles. Do they freeze? What happens when they land? Can you catch them? Skills developed: fine and gross motor, sense of sight, touch.
- Make a snow cake. Ice it with bread crumbs, decorate with apples, seeds, corn and twigs for candles. Sing “Happy Birthday.” Skills developed: fine and gross motor, sense of touch, sight.
- Bring pan of snow inside. Give child a pan of warm water. Experiment with melting. Make snowball, put in freezer. Talk about freezing. Skills developed: observation, physical, thinking, language.
- Catch snow on mitten. What shape is it? How big is it? Does each snowflake look alike? Skills developed: mathematical (comparisons, shapes), physical, sense of sight, touch.
- Explore concept of some trees having needles, others having broad (flat) leaves. Skills developed: observation, thinking, language, sense of sight, touch.
- Fill a spray bottle with water and food coloring. Decorate the yard, a snowman, etc. Skills developed: creative, gross and fine motor, sense of sight.
- Look for animal tracks in the snow. Follow them. Who do you think left them? Skills developed: Physical, observation, language, thinking.
- Leave birdseed on ground at night. Inspect the snow the next morning to see who came to lunch last night! Skills developed: physical, observation, language, thinking, sense of sight, touch.
- Have a scavenger hunt in the snow. Use sticks to mark the hidden locations with an “X.” Skills developed: thinking, physical, sense of sight.
Frost a graham cracker with ‘snow’ (white frosting or cream cheese). Make tracks through the snow with teddy bear shaped crackers.
Activities provided by:
Toddling on the Wild Side
E Resources Group
2550 Stagecoach Rd
Webster City, IA 50595
Toddling on the Wild Side was supported by REAP CEP.