15 Play & Learning Ideas: Science Exploration Activities

15 Play & Learning Ideas: Science Exploration Activities

Inspire your kids to explore science with these play & learning ideas and activities!

If you've ever watch children play, you can see how much fun they have pretending. 

Sometimes they are building social skills or practicing their communication and launguage skills. And other times, they are exploring new areas of the world such as science.

Quite a few pretend play activities also lead to science exploration and discovery.  You'll notice kids asking questions such as "why?" and "how?" as they engage in various activities. 

Many times, children don't realize that they are learning about chemistry and physics while they have fun.  And play like this will continue to enhance a child's curiosity as they explore new things.

And don't think pretend play is JUST for preschool kids -- children ages 2 - 12 LOVE to engage in various play activities like these!

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Free Days at National Parks in 2017

Free Days at National Parks in 2017

Woohoo!  The U.S. National Park Service has announced their FREE entrance days for all National Parks in 2017!

One of the big family travel trends for this coming year is nature-focused vacations -- unplug, recharge and enjoy being together.  We are HUGE fans of the National Park system and try to visit at least one park or historic site every year (most years, we hit 2 or 3 of them).

They are amazing places, perfect for weekend outings or family vacations and a great way for families unplug get re-connected with nature.

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12 Days of Christmas Activities {with printables!}

12 Days of Christmas Activities {with printables!}

Is life too busy for the holiday traditions you love?
 

I know, December can just get SO crazy so fast and before you know it, the month will be gone. 

But if you're like me, enjoying those special moments and activities with family is what MAKES the season so special. 

Especially those small holiday moments the kids love so much!

So if all you want for Christmas is some time to relax with your family – we've got just what you need this year.  And the best part -- you can do the activities before or AFTER Christmas! 

No trying to squeeze in MORE stuff before the holiday if life is already too busy -- because spending time with your kids should be enjoyable and not stressful, right?!

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Thanksgiving Photo Scavenger Hunt {w/free printable game!}

Thanksgiving Photo Scavenger Hunt {w/free printable game!}

Print this free Thanksgiving Photo Scavenger Hunt game and get the whole family involved in showing why they are thankful this year!

Thankfulness is a hard concept for kids to grasp -- even older kids!

We all have so much in our life that we tend to take for granted -- health, a warm house, a hug from our kids -- so I wanted something that we could do this Thanksgiving that highlights why we should be grateful. 

I was thinking a new game would be fun for all ages -- we love to have printable Thanksgiving games around the table or those fun minute-to-win-it games at Christmas.

And I knew it needed to involve photos because when you think about it, every time you snap a picture, you're actually capturing a memory of something you appreciate, something you are thankful for in your life.

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Tree Activities for Kids: Animal Habitats, Tree Types & Nature Facts

Tree Activities for Kids: Animal Habitats, Tree Types & Nature Facts

I know that Fall inspires some popular tree activities for kids -- creating leaf rubbings, watching the leaves change color and heading out on a leaf hunt.

But if we look a little deeper, we'll also find that trees play a crucial role to many of our neighborhood animal friends.  So today, let's head outside and be nature detectives as we look at the lives of trees!

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Halloween Mystery Touch & Feel Game

Halloween Mystery Touch & Feel Game

Kids (and adults!) will love this fun Halloween game -- create your own DIY touch & feel mystery box or bags!

I wanted to create something easy but fun for the holiday with a little spooky but not to scary.  Mystery touch & feel boxes or bags are just the ticket!

I promise they are not so creepy (even though you could easily make it spookier if you'd like) -- it's always the anticipation that gets kids as they slooowwwly put their hand in the bag wondering what it will feel like.

This is so simple to do and such a fun activity for parties, trick or treaters or even as a Hallowen science experiment. 

And I bet you have what you need right in your house (just add the free printable tags we have for you below ;)

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20+ Fall & Halloween Games for Kids

20+ Fall & Halloween Games for Kids

Seasonal games are a big hit in our house! 

Playing charades, BINGO, outdoor challenges or heading out on a scavenger hunt is always a lot of fun -- but ramp it up a notch this year with these Fall & Halloween themed games.

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10 New Kids' Books about Fall

10 New Kids' Books about Fall

Enjoy these new kids' books about Fall & Autumn!

I love creating book lists and I think that some of my favorite are our Kids Books about the Fall & Autumn season!

There's just something about the gorgeous colors, seasonal changes and cozy text that make me want to cuddle up and keep reading (usually with a cup of tea for me a cocoa for the kids :)

Today's book list covers some of the newest reads you'll find out this season for your kids!  Fall colors, animal friends and inspiration for outdoor adventures await in the pages of a book ...

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30+ Hands-on STEM Activities for Creative Kids

30+ Hands-on STEM Activities for Creative Kids

More than 30+ Science, Engineering, Math and Art Activities for creative kids!

I'm very excited about today's post! 

But I always get excited when we're sharing awesome ideas that will help parents & educators infuse some fun and easy STEM into their child's life :)

Our newest collaborative book, Up! is now available - yeah!

It's a wonderful resource for parents & teachers with more than 30+ multisensory activities for children aged 4 to 10 that inspire them to explore all things Up!

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Kids Books about Life in the Forest

Kids Books about Life in the Forest

Gorgeous children's books about the forest and woodland animals!

Fall is the perfect time to read these books about life in the forest & get out to explore! 

You don't need a large area at all -- even a small wooded area will do -- in order to experience a whole new world hidden among the trees. 

I especially love to introduce kids to the forest in the Fall because of the changing leaf colors and animal activity.  So many of our woodland friends are preparing for winter at this time of the year.

So grab a few of these gorgeous books & let's go for a walk in the woods!

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DIY Cleaning Caddy for Household Cleaning

DIY Cleaning Caddy for Household Cleaning

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FallIntoClean #CollectiveBias

 

Every summer, we have an odd sort of tradition in our family – our kids learn a new skill with regards to home keeping and it's been a tradition in our house for over 15 years. 

In addition to swimming, traveling and having lots of other fun, we also think it’s very important to teach our kids life skills and summer is the perfect time for this to happen. And I've learned that one thing that goes a long way to making it easy for kids to help around the house with adult supervision is for them to have their own cleaning caddy and weekly jobs that they can learn to master.

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40 Outdoor Scavenger Hunts for Kids {w/free printables!}

40 Outdoor Scavenger Hunts for Kids {w/free printables!}

Inspire your kids with these awesome outdoor scavenger hunts (many with free printables!) and time outside will soon be something that happens on a regular basis!

It's those long school days that always get me thinking about how much time our kids are stuck indoors.

Even with recess (which has so many caveats these days - too hot, too rainy, etc), the majority of their seven hour school day is in the classroom.  So once they walk in the door, I love to have some outdoor activities ready to go!

And scavenger hunts are some of our favorites (as you may have guessed :)  They can be done together, as an independent activity, with a group of friends and are so darn easy :)  Just grab a list & go!

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The Ultimate Back to School Checklist {with free printable!}

The Ultimate Back to School Checklist {with free printable!}

A FREE back to school checklist for parents to help cover all the obvious and obscure things that need to be done before your kids head back to class!

There are always SO MANY things to get done before school begins, aren't there?!

Shopping for school supplies just seems second nature to us but all those other little things --

like do I have the latest school phone numbers on my phone? 

Which app is the school using to track grades this year? 

Not to mention the whole "you can't wear flip flops all year so which shoes still fit" discussion.

So today we have not one but TWO awesome free printable checklists to help you get organized and start the school year off right along with organizing tips & affiliate links to some of our favorite items!

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Books that Inspire Kids to Learn

Books that Inspire Kids to Learn

Many thanks to Hallmark for sponsoring this post and helping to create communities where all children have the chance to grow up as healthy, productive & caring persons.  All book choices and thoughts are mine alone.

 

Today's book list was inspired by a young lady who fights for quality education for all children around the world.

Malala Yousafzai was 15 when she was shot by the Taliban for attending school in Pakistan.  It was against the law for girls to go to school and yet, every morning Malala would get up and not only get herself to school but encourage other girls in her village to attend as well.  She survived the attack and has since become the youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient who now travels the world with her father to share their story.

In honor of both Malala & Ziauddin Yousafzai, I wanted to share a book list that will inspire kids to speak up for what they believe, to change the world and to appreciate the opportunity to get an education.

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36 Summer Sensory Experiences

36 Summer Sensory Experiences

Explore some of these summer sensory activities this year with your kids no matter what their age!

My kids are "touchers" -- as in, they always put their hands on things.

 

When they were young, I can't tell you how many times I said "Don't touch that one!" -- barbed wire, live animals, dog poop!

Yes, dog poop -- who knew it was such a kid magnet?!

But I did know that letting them touch as many things as they safely could would allow for wonderful learning opportunities!  They've always learned best when they can have a hands-on experience which is a very familiar thing for so many kids.

So when we plan out our summer activities, I love being able to give them lots of sensory experiences! It's the perfect time to get wet, sticky and try new things -- to paint, walk barefoot and explore the night.

It's the time of year when I initiate some of our creative family projects and plan some out-of-the-ordinary day trips.

So come explore with us as we share 36 Summer Sensory Experiences: fun ways to inspire kids, tweens & teens to touch, taste, smell, feel and hear the beauty of summertime!

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