Tag: invitations to play

5 Winter Learning Activities for Kids {FREE Printable}

5 Winter Learning Activities for Kids {FREE Printable}

Hooray, it’s winter!

I know it’s not common, but I LOVE winter. (I actually really love celebrating all the seasons, after living in Texas most of my life.) Winter is such a fun time to observe nature with our kids: watching squirrels and bunnies frolic in the snow, tracking footprints, and watching the days get shorter and then longer again. Whether you are doing preschool at home or just looking for awesome ideas to beat boredom with your toddlers, you’ll love these winter learning activities!

Scroll down for our freebie!

In case you missed the introduction to our invitation to play series (click here), here’s how we structure these fun, simple activities at our house.  

It’s the middle of the afternoon. Mom is trying to help the older child finish up her school work/homework before making dinner. Younger child is spinning around nearby or doing something quietly destructive in the next room. Mom pulls out an invitation to play to keep everyone calm and connected.

An invitation to play is an easy, open-ended activity. It uses just a few materials found around the house, like measuring cups, straws, old magazines, etc. Keeping these activities set aside for special times keeps them interesting and intentionally engaging for when you need 10-15 minutes to get something else done! Best of all, these simple materials can be mixed and matched for countless other activities throughout the year.

This week, I have a freebie for you: a printable with FIVE winter-themed invitations to play!

You also get:

  • a materials list
  • winter book recommendations for snowy days
  • and a coupon code for our winter Family Activity Guides, full of hands-on learning fun for kids ages 2-6!

5 Winter Learning Activities | FREE Download

Click here for your Winter Learning Activities download.

Access this and all our other freebies immediately!

How do YOU feel about winter? Leave a comment below and let me know!

How to Make an Awesome Christmas Busy Box for Kids!

How to Make an Awesome Christmas Busy Box for Kids!

Winter is coming, and you’re looking for simple play ideas to keep your toddlers and preschoolers learning at home. Between cold weather, rainy days, and lots of holidays preparations that keep parents busy, having a few educational activities set aside for your little ones is a smart idea! Read on to learn how to make a Christmas busy box for your kids. How to Make a Christmas Busy Box for Kids

Note: This busy box can be repurposed for a variety of seasons and holidays. The only thing “Christmasy” about it are the colors I chose — but you could easily make a similar quiet time activities using other colors and symbols!

In case you haven’t heard about busy bags or boxes before, they are simple learning activities that are typically self-contained and set aside for travel, waiting rooms, or quiet time. This Christmas busy box is similar, pulling together a group of open-ended materials that can be used in a variety ways. Toddlers and preschoolers can mix and match their toys for hours of creative play!

Best of all, these materials all fit in one small box, so they can easily travel to a relative’s house or holiday party all season long.

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

How to Make a Christmas Busy Box:

Making a busy bag or box doesn’t have to be complicated! Think of learning skills you want to target with your toddler or preschooler and gather related toys.   This Christmas busy box that I put together focuses on fine motor and counting skills. Put all your materials in a small shoe box!

Christmas Busy Box for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Click here to see a short video explaining how to use these materials in a variety of fun activities!

Recommended Materials for Your Christmas Busy Box:

You can use ANY learning toys you have around your house–these are just a few recommendations that are both quiet and easily transportable.

  • UNO cards (specifically the red and green number cards 0-9)
  • ice cube tray
  • red, green, and white pom poms
  • tweezers
  • red and green foam blocks (1 inch cubes)
  • “velcro sticks” (red and green craft sticks with velco dots on the ends)
  • red and green pegs
  • tree cookie cutter
  • green LEGOs
  • empty (clean) Parmesan cheese container
  • red and green straw pieces
  • shoelace

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Christmas Busy Box and Activity Ideas

6 Fun Activities for Teaching Colors to Kids

6 Fun Activities for Teaching Colors to Kids

When you have young children in the house, the three most important concepts to work on are letters, numbers, and teaching colors. When my own girls were preschool-age, we did everything we could to make learning colors easy for them!

If you are teaching colors to your toddler or preschooler this year, check out these fun and simple ideas!

Pictures of toys with text overlay: 6 Simple Ways to Teach Colors to Toddlers and Preschoolers

6 Activities for Teaching Colors:

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

  • “Color of the Week” Basket

When our kids were little, toy rotation worked the best for us! Every week, we included a big bowl full of toys from our weekly color: bristle blocks, large magnetic letters, musical instruments, vehicles, plastic cookie cutters, play food, Duplos, etc.

  • Songs & Sign Language

For four years of my girls’ preschool years, I taught “Mommy & Me” sign language classes in our home. We reviewed counting, ABCs, and colors each week using Rachel Coleman’s Colors of the Rainbow song and Laurie Berkner’s Balloons song. Our girls learned the signs for colors before they could say the words.

  • Lots of Props!

Along with singing songs every week, we also used scarves and balloons to practice our color words! Katie especially loved using the scarves while she read (looked at) one of her favorite books, Color Dance.

  • Color Sorting

We sorted toys by color ALL THE TIME. Our favorite tools were a large, green “chip and dip” container from Dollar Tree (with six compartments) and a muffin tin! We sorted magnetic letters, fuzzy pom poms, animal counters, and even cut straw pieces. As you can see in the image, I added labels with the color sight words to each of the compartments for a little extra literacy fun.

  • Rainbow Noodles

Back in March, I dyed a box of rigatoni noodles with food coloring to make “rainbow noodles.” These have been great for stringing, patterning, and stamping in playdough! (See the tutorial here.)

  • Color Mixing

One of the things I recommended to preschool parents all the time is to buy only a few colors of paint (red, blue, yellow, white, and black) and mix up shades every time we did an art project. We have learned how to make secondary colors (green, orange, and purple) and combination colors like brown and teal. The book Mouse Paint is a great one to read with kids if you’re looking to learn more about color mixing!


Grab your FREE Ultimate Guide to Learning at Home from Melissa Droegemueller of Rolling Prairie Readers


Hopefully, these six simple activities, games, and songs make teaching colors FUN! Remember, the goal is to connect with your kids through play, so try to follow their lead and match their interests.

Which of these activities for teaching colors will you try first?

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Picture of color toys with text overlay: "6 Fun Activities for Kids who are Learning Colors"