Hands-on, ooey-gooey, activities were something I used to avoid. I would do my obligatory messy craft here and there but didn’t look forward to it. But that changed when I saw my children get excited— and learn at the same time. I embraced the fact that God created young children to explore their surrounding with their senses and looked for ways to encourage this behavior in a way that was acceptable and fun. Here are a couple of my go-to sites that inspire me and challenge me to try different types of hands-on activities with my children. There are really messy projects, and pretty clean and orderly hands-on activities. There are loud and noisy fun projects, and quiet game ideas. Here are 10 hands-on toddler and preschool activity sites (in no particular order) to get you inspired:
1. Teach Preschool: Deborah is a big advocate for hands-on learning activities in preschool. Her site is full of age-appropriate learning ideas. Who wouldn’t love a teacher who lets them play with shaving cream! Her outdoor classroom inspired me to think of ways to set up different centers around my own home (and outside).
2. Quirky Momma: Kids Activities Blog: There are ideas here for all ages! How about Fizzy Dino Tracks? Hello–what kid wouldn’t love to see that! I loved how pretend play was paired with a science experiment. Fun!
3. Teacher Tom: Yes, he is a preschool teacher— and if I were a kid I’d love to be in his classroom. He looks for ways to get kids exploring their surroundings. I remember first reading his blog and coming across a post where he let his class use hot glue guns. I mean these are preschoolers right? Aren’t glue guns dangerous? When I read his post, it hit me that sometimes I need to trust my kids. I tend to shield them from all possible dangers. He saw how creative his children were able to be because they had the right tool.
4. Counting Coconuts: Mari-Ann is so creative! It was through her blog that I was introduced to the Montessori method. I love how she shares her treasure baskets for babies, and she has the most creative sensory tubs!
5. Walking by the Way: Ami is also the person behind Homeschool Share–another site I love! Ami’s sites aren’t just for preschoolers but all ages. She’s the one who first introduced me to the concept of lapbooking. Love her learning with Legos series.
6. Delightful Learning: Michelle challenged me to look for hands-on ways to extend the learning through the books we read. She’s almost making me wish I still scrapbooked too! I love how she is using Project Life to document her school days.
7. Hands On: As We Grow Jamie has so many creative hands-on activities. On my summer to-do list is making my own edible finger paints and creating a tape resist piece of art. Love this idea!
8. Pink and Green Mama: Oh my goodness, MaryLea inspires me to do real artwork with my young children– to go beyond the craft and let my kids learn the process. I’m still working on implementing this at home, but I am so inspired!
9. Totally Tots: Ok, so I’m a little biased since I write for this site 🙂 Totally Tots is a team blog with a ton of activity ideas for all types of topics and themes. There are quiet activity ideas, printable activities, Bible activities and more.
10. Living Montessori Now: Deb’s blog was another site that introduced me to Montessori activities. She showcases so many different hands-on Montessori activities. Check out her Montessori-Inspired Butterfly unit.
Of course there are many more sites that inspire me greatly! What hands-on activity sites for preschoolers do you recommend?
The photo of your daughter in the ice cream box is absolutely adorable! Your list of favorites makes me wish I had a preschooler again! The Learning with Legos link looks very interesting–I’m organizing a week-long learning camp for our homeschool group, I just might find some fun ideas with Legos! Hope all is well.
Michelle, she has Lego stuff for elementary kids too– I think I linked to the Kindergarten stuff. http://www.walkingbytheway.com/blog/?page_id=715958
You piqued my interest with the egg carton smash. Could you please point me to the blog post where you explain it a little more? Thank so much!
Oh and I also wanted to say that I loved the sermon you gave about mothering. What a refreshing perspective to listen to. You did awesome! (I listened to it online…one of my favorite bloggers had a link for it.)
Thank you Jennifer! 🙂 Here’s the link to the Egg Carton Smash game: https://spelloutloud.com/2011/11/egg-carton-smash-game-for-toddlers/
Nicole - Mama to 4 Blessings says
I do too! 🙂 Lots of them!
Deb @ Living Montessori Now says
Awesome list, Maureen! Thanks so much for including Living Montessori Now … I’m honored to be included among some of my favorite blogs! 🙂
Lindsey Whitney says
Great list!! I now have 13 tabs open across my browser and can’t wait to check out some of these fun activities!
As a science teacher, I often find great ideas on http://www.experiland.com for my students. They have some really fun science experiments for kids to do at home as well and come highly recommended by other homeschooling sites! Their experiments are well laid out and easy to follow…Enjoy!