Learning through play: Making Magic Potions.

For a fun educational Halloween inspired activity my daughters (age 2 and 6) and I made magic potions. To incorporate as much learning within the activity as possible I made colorful apples, shape pumpkins, and plain pumpkins to write sight words on. That my daughters could mix into their potions. The purpose of the activity was to supplement my oldest daughters daily goals which are reading, sight words, writing, and math in a fun way. A way that also covers going over basic skills with my youngest consisting of shapes and colors. Originally I had planned on adding in alphabet pieces either alphabet magnets, alphabet puzzle pieces, or alphabet lacing beads. However this time my youngest quickly lost interest in the activity although we were able to cover shapes and colors before she moved on.

Learning I incorporated within activity…
-colorful apples for color recognition
-shape pumpkins for shape recognition
-writing practice as my oldest wrote down her own potions
-sight words written on pumpkins
-reading 2 pages of simple directions for the activity
-basic math as we added up the ingredients to make the potions

Stirring a magic potion.
Googly eye feathers my daughter made for the potions.
Zombie potion.
Zombie potion recipe.
Zombie face mask made out of a paper plate.
Basic math. Fitting in more double practice. 4+4=8 add one more and you get 9.
Pumpkin shapes cards laminated for durability.
I kept the cards blank that way I could laminate them and write new sight words each time we play with the cards.
Colorful apple cards laminated for durability.
Adding reading into the activity.
Adding reading into the activity.


I hope our Magic Potions inspired some fun learning through play ideas. If you prefer print free activities instead of using the pumpkins, and apple cards you could cut out fun potion ingredients out of construction paper.

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Click the image above for more Halloween inspired learning fun.

Animal shape puppets.

Yesterday I shared animal shape coloring pages I made for my daughters to color over the weekend. My daughters were excited about the coloring pages and decided they didn’t want to wait for the weekend and we went ahead and colored them today. My youngest insisted on making them into masks in which I suggested making them into fun little puppets instead. Which gave my daughters scissor practice for the day. Although my youngest (age 2) is still learning how to hold scissors properly I allowed her to cut the paper and then finished cutting out the animals.

Supply List For Puppets…
-Animal Shapes coloring pages
-crayons, markers, coloring pencils, etc.
-popsicle sticks
-glue
-scissors

My oldest daughters puppets.
A puppet my youngest daughter made.
My youngest daughter claimed her puppets weren’t being nice therefore she had to rip them up.
Click the image above for the link to free animal shape coloring pages.
Outside for active learning.

After our mess was cleaned from the puppet making we headed outside for an active learning session. In which we played tag, went for a short walk, and my oldest made a fun maze with sidewalk chalk. She wrote out the words (start) and (finish) which gave her a chance to practice sounding out words in a way in which she approved. For extra learning you could add sight words throughout the maze and have your young learners read them as they walk upon each word to get to the finish line. In my household I only add in the amount I know my daughters will be willing to take on for the day. If I add to much outside of my daughters school curriculum in learning she gets upset and it’s a struggle to bring her back to a stable place in which we can get her to learn for the day.

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Early reader coloring pages; Animal shapes.

I frequently use coloring pages as fun additional learning practice on the weekends. As a way to incorporate reading for my oldest (age 6) that isn’t strict. My youngest daughter (age 2) is currently working on recognizing her shapes therefore I decided to make coloring pages that would cover shape learning as well as early reading. To be efficient for both my daughters. I made the coloring pages with and without sentences. That way the pages for my youngest had larger animals with easier to make out shapes. The pages with sentences have sight words in bold font as quick reminders for early readers that those are words best memorized rather than sounded out.

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Click image above for more shape learning fun.

Learning through play: Mail theme.

Recently we’ve been adapting a play based approach during our summer break. That way my oldest doesn’t lose the knowledge she learned all awhile getting the summer break she desires. Trying to come up with ideas to keep both my daughters interested and learning at their correct levels can be exhausting. Lately I’ve been taking a day to day approach in which I ask what they want to play and I just go with it and on the spot I throw in as much learning as possible within the activity. My only catch when it comes to the oldest is I tell her it has to involve writing. She often rolls her eyes and runs away when I grab out her journal and ask her to write. Therefore I’ve been trying to make it more fun.

What I was able to cover in our mail time…
-Reading: My daughter read the notes I wrote.
-Writing: My daughter wrote out notes for me and her little sister to read.
-Shapes: I drew pictures of shapes for my youngest.
-Sight words: I placed sight word cards into the mail box for my oldest to read.
-Alphabet recognition: I placed colorful alphabet pieces in the box for my daughters to name the different letters.

We placed our mail within a bin I had on hand. You can get creative and add to the fun by making a mailbox out of an old shoe box or similar box you have on hand.

Inside the box we all placed our notes to each other. My oldest wrote out her notes giving her plenty of writing practice for the day. My youngest drew all over pieces of paper for her notes. I wrote out notes to my oldest to help practice her reading skills, and I drew shapes for my youngest as a way to work in shape recognition for the day. I even added in letters from an alphabet puzzle we have, and sight word cards I’ve made previously.

An envelope my daughter made out of stickers and paper.
Samples of the notes I made for my daughters.

I’ve been trying to do no print simple activities lately. To make the letters more fancy they could easily be printed from the computer. The possibilities are endless as far as what the notes can cover in the sense of learning. A focus I have with my youngest is currently shapes therefore I chose to do pictures of shapes with you. While working in basic number practice as well. My oldest is at a level in which reading is a main focus therefore I kept her notes reading oriented without pictures.

A purse made out of paper and yarn my daughter made to hold the letters when finished.

After she made hers I made my own version using staples instead of tape to keep it more sturdy. I also tied string to the bag rather than taped it on which was used as a handle for the purse.

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Click image above to find the sight word cards to print out.
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Week four the letter is Dd, the color yellow, shape diamond and the number is 4.

Click image above for letter of the week Dd learning ideas.
Click on the image above for a yellow color poster and matching activity.
Click on the link above for a diamond tracing worksheet and a coloring page.

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Click image above for more week to week learning ideas.
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Egg matching game.

With Easter coming up in a few weeks I made an Easter egg theme activity that can be used in a variety of ways. I made several sets of cards to go along with the eggs for different age levels and skills. For my youngest daughter (age 2) I made cards with the numeral number on them and cards with shapes on them to match with the eggs. For my oldest daughter (age 6) I made cards with the written number word and written shape word on them. For her to practice reading in a fun way. I left the eggs uncolored for kids to color themselves depending on their skill level. After the egg cards were colored I then laminated everything for durability. You could print them on cardstock to make them less see through.

A game idea with the cards could be placing the egg cards face up and picking whichever set of cards matches the skill you want your child to work on. Placing those cards in a pile and having your child pick a card and place it on top of the correct egg. For example the number four would go with the egg that has four shapes on it.

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Click image above for more color learning fun.
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Easter theme counting and shape book for early learners.

With Easter coming up in a few weeks I wanted to make something that would be appropriate for both my daughters (age 2 and 6). My youngest is currently working on her shapes and numbers. Although my youngest can count to 12 I’m trying to go beyond rote counting (remembering numbers) to rational counting (connecting numbers to their quantity). My oldest daughter is learning to read which takes utilizing countless strategies daily. Therefore I made an early reading shape and counting book to color that could be stapled together and turned into a book.

What really helps my youngest with rote counting are counting videos. We tend to dance to learning videos. As a way to get exercise in as we learn. It really helps her to learn, and get up and move around. My oldest daughter has always been a reluctant learner and struggles to pay attention and stay focused. It was a struggle for her to pay attention and memorize counting to 20. She started off Kindergarten struggling to count. It wasn’t until recently that she could make it to 120. Our dancing to counting videos really helped her as well.

Here is a list of counting videos we listen to the most to give you more ideas to help your reluctant learners or your eager to learn young learners…

*Jack Hartmann Grandma and Grandpa count to 120
*Jack Hartmann Welcome to the Zoo count to 120
*Count from 1-20

Stapled together, or could be hole punched and strung together.

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The above egg toys are fun shape and number learning toys my daughters enjoy playing with.

Click image above for more shape learning fun.
Click image above for more number learning and counting fun.
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Making a shape book for young learners.

I’ve been working towards teaching my youngest daughter (age 2) shapes. At the same time I’ve been trying to teach my oldest daughter (age 6) to recognize the written word for different shapes. I made traceable shape pages that could be turned into a book. If you wanted to make the book reusable you can choose to laminate each page, or keep it as a one time use. I give my daughters a new page a week that goes along with the focus shape of the week. I made two different versions suitable for different ages.

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Above toys are helpful in teaching the concept of shapes to young learners.

Click image above to go back to the shapes main page.
Click image above for week to week learning ideas.
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The number is three and the shape is an oval.

For my youngest daughter (age 2) preschool lessons the shape of the week for week three was an oval. I made a coloring page with a simple sentence for early readers such as my oldest daughter (age 6). I also made an oval tracing activity appropriate for both their ages. I placed the tracing sheet within a dry erase pocket to make it a reusable activity.

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Above items are great puzzles that I use with my daughters to help reinforce numbers and shape learning. My youngest daughter enjoys using the teach my toddler kit. It’s a helpful resource in teaching fundamental concepts however the colors are slightly off. I use it as a way to explain the fact colors come in different shades.

If your looking for more ideas to teach numbers to young children then click the image below.

Leaves with shapes coloring pages.

Most weeks I give my daughters five coloring pages with simple sentences for early readers to read and color together. The month of November we went with a leaves theme for the last month of Fall.

My youngest daughter is beginning to learn names for different shapes. Therefore I made five fun leaf coloring pages with different shapes for extra practice and exposure for my youngest daughter that she could do along side her older sister.

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Fall/Autumn counting tree design can be found for purchase at the NanaHedgehog shop on Redbubble.
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Thanks for stopping by LearningWithNanaHedgehog.com. Please remember any printable activities found on LearningWithNanaHedgehog.com are meant to be done with adult supervision and are for personal use only.

If looking for more Fall theme learning fun click on any of the images below.