Play Activities

Play & Learn for Kindergarten Readiness: Nature Play

Learn and play everyday, for brain connections, kindergarten readiness and healthy development. Are you familiar with the book called Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv? Louv talks about nature-deficit disorder and the huge impact this is having on kids today.  He links the lack of a connection to nature to some of the pretty disturbing childhood trends, such as rises in obesity, attention disorders, and depression. Exposure to nature is crucial to healthy early childhood development

The solution to this lack of a connection is very simple: some nature  play. For families in rural and less-developed areas this is much easier than for families in cities. And that’s where most families these days live. Incorporating some nature time is much more doable in the summer than in the winter.

nature-flowerJust going for a walk around the block with your child is a good start. Are there any trees to see? Maybe someone has plants growing in their yard or in pots by the door. Check for rocks. Sometimes turning over a rock can reveal bugs and other crawly critters. There might be some nature sounds like birds, or wind. Can we see the wind? Feel it? Does a tongue just peeking out a little bit taste the wind? What does the sky look like? Look up at the clouds; clouds are always changing. That same walk around the block can be very different in the rain. Mud and puddles seem to have a magnetic attraction to kids. Thank heavens for muddy buddies and rain pants. These make life easier for having fun.Clip 2 paper rolls together to make binoculars to see what things have changed. Kids will notice changes as the weather and the seasons change. That’s been a lot of connecting to nature with simply going for walks outside.
Don’t forget your own yard. A tub of water or a tub of sand are natural toys. A big bowl of water will keep a young toddler content and there’s no worries with putting clean water in an exploring mouth. Mixed together with spoons and fingers, and plopped and measured into cups, mud can keep children busy for a long time, but remind kids that mud pies are not for eating. Using paper muffin cups, let kids make mud cupcakes and collect bits of nature around the yard to decorate them. Find an old pail for mixing in grass, pine cones, twigs, leaves and rocks to make troll soup. Kids can lie down in the grass to see if there are any bugs or worms.
Parks and playgrounds are also fun places to explore nature. Check out if all the trees are the same. Trees are fun just to run round and round and can be hideouts, forts, and other special places. Birds and animals might have  homes in the trees. Babies can feel the texture of tree bark with their hands. With grown-ups to watch older kids can go for a walk to find different things to touch. And collect. Sticks, rocks, pinecones and leaves all seem to follow kids home. With these nature treasures, kids might want to make their own fairy houses or nature forts. These same treasures can also be used for sorting, or making potions.

Do you remember the comic strip with Hi and Lois? The baby talked to the sunbeams that came thru the window just like they were a special friend.
Is nature a special friend for you and your child?

Play & Learn for Kindergarten Readiness: in the Living Room

The living room seems to transform once kids arrive from a place to relax at the end of the day, to a sort of floor storage for toys, but it’s still a space for play activities and kindergarten readiness fun and learning.


Crawlers seem to like to thread themselves thru the legs and later play “see the marks my teeth can leave” on the coffee table.


Action figures can dive off the edge and do twists and turns like the athletes off the 10 metre board. A blue towel makes a soft landing pool.

The living room couch can be turned into a fort or tent or used to line up all the stuffies and play 10 in the bed and the little one said roll over, roll over. (As you fall asleep at night your head will still be singing that song.)

Pop some fast music on for dancing around, or some soft music for a gentle wind waving and sinking down.


It sure is tempting to turn on the TV but the brain shifts out of learning and shifts into idle when it’s on. The living room has enough space for constructing with blocks and usually a big, soft chair for sharing storybooks.

What kind of fun and learning play activities happen in the living room at your house?

Play & Learn for Kindergarten Readiness: in the Hallway

Learning and play can happen anywhere in the house, even in the hallway, and help kids develop kindergarten readiness and much,much more. The hallway doesn’t classify as a room but if you have enough space in your hallway, here are some play ideas for small bodies:

  • It’s fun to hop along the hall, or creep, or tip toe, or walk stiff like a robot. Bunnies can hop down the hallway while fish need to swim.
  • brothersLittle ones love to play peek a boo around the corners and in doorways.
  • Kids can roll balls or small hoops down the hall.
  • Cars and trucks can travel along roadways made out of blocks or books. I saw a super idea of roads made with green painting tape because it doesn’t leave sticky stuff on the floor or even worse, take off the finish. But like an experienced parent, test it first!!
  • Green painting tape can also make a hopscotch if it’s too rainy to do outside.
  • A beach ball can bowl over some empty shampoo bottles.
  • A few chairs set in the hall can be a pretend bus or waiting room for playing doctor’s or dentist’s office before an appointment. This prepatory play can help reassure a child about a new or scary situation.
  • Put some books on chairs and make your own library.
  • Is there room to roll out a yoga mat for some tumbling and rolling or jumping or dancing?

Usually a hallway doesn’t have furniture or lamps that can get bumped into or knocked over, which is quite an advantage. Would you agree that these play ideas give new meaning to “Kids in the Hall”? Are there some for fun at your house?

Play & Learn for Kindergarten Readiness: in the Kitchen

As children play, they are creating brain connections, learning many important skills and developing kindergarten readiness. Did you know that every room in your house has special opportunities for play? Here’s some ways that your child can learn and play in the kitchen: A low drawer dedicated to unbreakable plastic containers can be used by a kneeling … Continue reading Play & Learn for Kindergarten Readiness: in the Kitchen