Play pirates and create a treasure map of “x’s” for your child to follow. Cut 5-10 large x-shapes from colored paper and lay them in a path leading through your house or yard. Have the path end at a “treasure”—a small snack or sticker. Does your child want to lay down the x’s next time?
It’s raining pompoms. Fill a shoebox with pompoms and sing Rain, rain go away, come again another day and toss the pompoms into the air. See what other ways your child can think of to use the pompoms. She may put them in a bowl and pretend they are cereal or mound them into a ball and pretend they’re snow.
Paint without brushes. Let your child be creative with art by using unusual objects to paint with. Try painting with sponges, the wheels of a toy car, dipping a plastic basket in paint, or using a paint-covered leaf.
Transform a box. Ask your local appliance store if you can have one of their large boxes. Take it home and cut a door and a few windows out. You can decorate the box in different ways to transform it into: a castle, a house, a barn, a doghouse, a hospital, a lemonade stand. The possibilities are endless.
Keep track of the rain. Put a small plastic bowl outside the house to catch the rain. Watch the rain fall into your bowl. When it’s done raining, bring the bowl inside. Talk with your child about how much rain you caught: A lot? A little? Will it fit into a big cup or a small cup? Let your child pour the rain out.
Plant some seeds together (grass seeds work well). Watch the plant grow. Let your child water his plant and put the pot in a sunny place. Watch the calendar, marking off days until you see a tiny shoot peeking through the soil. Take a photo! Talk with your child about how he sees the plant growing. Take more pictures as the plant grows. Put the photos together in a book about your plant.
Smell the smells! Spray 5 cotton balls with different scents—perfume or other essential oils work well. Let your child sniff each one and tell you whether she likes it. She can glue the ones she likes on a piece of cardboard where you have drawn a smiling face at the top. She can glue the smells she doesn’t like on a piece of cardboard where you have drawn a frowning face on the top. How many cotton balls are on each piece of cardboard?
Make some mystery boxes. Cut a hand-sized hole in the top of 5-7 shoe boxes. Inside each box put a common household object that your child is familiar with: a mitten, some dry pasta, a crayon, a spoon, etc. Let your child put his hand in each box (without looking) and guess what is inside. Ask him: “What does it feel like? Is it soft or hard? Do you feel round edges or square edges?” Then let him lift the top to see if he is right!