Tag: activities for kids

Red, White, and Blue Busy Box for Kids

Red, White, and Blue Busy Box for Kids

Are you looking for quiet activities for your toddler or preschooler this summer? Our red, white, and blue busy box might be just the thing for your family!

If you’ve been around the Rolling Prairie Readers community for any length of time, you know I’m a big fan of learning through play. I also talk a lot about creating invitations to play for our little ones.

Open-ended play is important for children because it builds independence, creativity, executive function skills, and — most importantly — attention spans. It’s easy for kids to focus on the things they want to do, and putting together a busy box gives children a buffet of options to choose from.

Red, White, and Blue Busy Box for Kids

How to make a red, white, and blue busy box:

  • First, grab a shoe box or small container.
  • Walk around the house and grab red and blue objects.
  • Set the box in a place where your kiddo is likely to find it.

Everyone’s busy box will look different, based on what toys you have available at home. Personally, I like to choose objects that mix and match nicely and build fine motor skills.


See our must-have toys for learning at home!


 

For this red, white, and blue busy box, I grabbed:

  • pom poms
  • tweezers
  • silicone cupcake liners
  • Velcro craft sticks
  • one-inch foam cubes
  • straw pieces and a Parmesan cheese container
  • dyed noodles and a shoelace
  • red and blue UNO cards (0-9 only)
  • Unifix cubes
  • linking rings

My tactile learner has been very active with this busy box already. I’ve found her stringing noodles, putting the UNO cards in numerical order, and dropping straw pieces in the cheese container. She often plays with the items during read-aloud time because having something small in her hands helps her listen better.

The red, white, and blue busy box also came with us when we traveled to visit with family a few weeks ago. I don’t typically like to bring a lot of toys with us when we stay in a hotel, but this box fit easily in our trunk and kept her occupied when we needed it.


See 100 more tactile ideas for kids.


If you try a busy box for your kids, I would love to see it! Snap a picture and send it to me on Instagram. For more summer fun, be sure to check out our list of patriotic books and learning activities.

You can also grab our Summer Survival Kit, which features more than 200 hands-on learning activities and our sensational summer schedule template!

Family Adventures: Real-World Learning

Family Adventures: Real-World Learning

Are you thinking about a family road trip this summer? Our family believes in real-world learning, and travel is a great way to experience new things and build background knowledge with your kids. Family adventures don’t need to be expensive or complicated, either. Read on for our best budget-friendly tips for traveling with kids.

When you begin taking family adventures, you might want to start small with a day trip or overnight stay. Our kids are great travelers, but it’s taken years to build their stamina. (When they were very young, we would would drive overnight or during their nap time to make things easy on ourselves.)

Do your best to make the trip part of the adventure!

  • Pick out new activity books to do in the car.
  • Leave time in your schedule for short stops when the mood strikes.
  • Try geocaching for even more fun.

Want to read more tips about family adventures?


Budget-Friendly Family Adventures

You’ll be amazed how many free and cheap activities are available for families. Whenever we travel, we search for “things to do in — with kids” and pick two or three things that sound interesting. (Just last month, we found a fascinating airpower museum near the American Gothic House in Eldon, Iowa.)

In the last few years, we’ve toured the Nebraska Capitol Building, explored Fonferek’s Glen in Wisconsin, and marveled at the Sergeant Floyd Monument in South Dakota–all for free!

We also like to stop by the Chamber of Commerce or Visitor’s Center whenever we travel to a larger city. The staff usually have great recommendations, maps, and (sometimes) free items like posters or activity books.

Some of our favorite family adventures have happened by happy accident when we’ve followed intriguing road signs like Ship Rock (Wisconsin) and the Jolly Green Giant statue (Minnesota).


Free and cheap family adventures! {travel tips for parents}

Recently, we traveled to Omaha to meet up with some of our family members. Of course, Omaha is famous for the Henry Doorly Zoo, but we wanted to explore the city a bit more. We searched for the best kids’ activities in the area and got quite a few good recommendations!

Every one of these family adventures was FREE!

  • First, we visited the Lewis & Clark Landing near the banks of the Missouri River. We walked out on the Bob Kerrey Bridge and snapped a picture on the state line. We explored the exhibits in the Visitor Center, located within the National Park Service Midwest Regional Office. And then we walked out to find a geocache under a bench by the river’s edge.
  • We traveled out to Kenefick Park to learn more about the history of the Transcontinental Railroad and see two Union Pacific locomotives.
  • Finally, we stopped at Gene Leahy Mall to go down the big slides.

Every family adventure needs supplies! See what we keep in our adventure backpack.


Join the Parent Resource Room!Tell me about your favorite family adventures in the comments below!

 

Earth Day Activities and Books for Kids

Earth Day Activities and Books for Kids

Spring is here! What a fun time to teach our children about science in a creative, hands-on way. Whether you go on a nature walk, pick up trash at a local park, or start a garden, children can learn to care for the environment with these fun Earth Day activities and books!

Join our FREE Resource Library! resourcelibrary.club

Click here to join our Resource Library, filled with FREE hands-on learning activities and parenting resources!


Simple Earth Day Activities for Kids

Simple Earth Day Activities for Kids

(Just a reminder that Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links, at no additional cost to you. You can read our full disclosure policy here.)

  • We celebrate the beginning of spring with weekly walks around our neighborhood. We look for budding trees, nesting birds, and the arrival of daffodils and tulips in neighbors’ yards. This year, we’ll be starting a family nature journal to document all the changes we see.
  • We’ll also be working in our vegetable garden in our yard. We have a raised garden bed on our back deck, right off the kitchen, which makes it easy for the kids to prune and harvest each day.
  • Visiting the botanical gardens every year is a fun family field trip to celebrate the changes that spring brings!
  • Now that the snow is melting, our family is excited to get back to geocaching, one of our favorite ways to explore nature near and far. We use the Geocaching app to find hidden treasures wherever our travels take us: from the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Headquarters and Visitor Center in Omaha, Nebraska to Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin to Lighthouse Ann Arbor Park in Menominee, Michigan!
  • This year, we’ll also be watching our Extraordinary Earth DVD from Rachel and the Treeschoolers. You can watch a clip of it below:

 


Earth Day Busy Box

Our Earth Day busy box is filled with green and blue toys found around the house! You can watch the video to see what I included or scroll down for a full list:

 


Earth Day books for kids

9 Earth Day Books for Kids

Picking up seasonal books from the library and placing them in a basket by the couch is another fun way to introduce a holiday like Earth Day to your kids! Here are some that we found at our library:

  • Earth Day by Emma Carlson Berne

  • Earth Day by Clara Cella

  • We are Extremely Very Good Recyclers by Lauren Child

  • The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle : A Story about Recycling by Alison Inches

  • Our House is Round by Yolanda Kondonassis

  • Katie Saves the Earth by Fran Manushkin

  • Why Should I Recycle? by Susan Meredith

  • Earth Day – Hooray! by Stuart J. Murphy

  • The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Click here to see more of our favorite spring books for kids.


Earth Day Family Activity Guide

Want even more Earth Day activities for kids?

Check out our Earth Day Family Activity Guide, now available in The Play School Club!