Thank you for visiting the home blog of Caliso Learning, a natural science-based business celebrating the beauty and ecology of our natural environments. Our goal is to connect you and your family with nature--actually, we want you to fall in LOVE with nature!

Here you will find nature-inspired articles and posts, family activities, personal stories, resources, and more--all with the goal to connect you with the benefits of nature for family fun and inspiration! Please enjoy and let us know what you like :) Follow us on Facebook for even more resources, more frequently!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Adventure & Bonding With Your Toddler!

Nature activities for you and your tiny explorer. Bring your family together, foster growth and curiosity in your child, and feel the benefits and peaceful pace of the natural world. Try some of the following activities we’ve compiled from our favorites! All can be done with ages 18 months and up. All you need is a little sense of pint-sized adventure :)

Bug Eyes: Get on your bellies and study the terrain from a bug’s eye view! Pick one small area of the yard to explore with a hand lens. Look for bugs under rocks and watch them with a hand lens.

Rocky Puppy: Rock collecting starts early with curious minds. Begin with just collecting in your yard. Move on to arranging rocks by size or color; stack them, make patterns, lines—or better yet, just let your little rock hound arrange those new finds as he pleases. Just remind him that rocks do not like to fly.

Story Time al Fresco: There’s nothing like a simple change of scenery to excite the senses. Try story time under the stars for a new twist on old favorites! You could even follow up with sleeping outdoors!
From T. Albrecht, SRSJMNM

“Pooh Sticks:” An old favorite, inspired of course by Winnie the Pooh. Gather sticks and drop them in a stream, watch them float away! Even better if you can do it from a small bridge, watching for them to emerge on the other side! My 3-year old son would do this for hours if we let him.

Species Safari: Create your own tiny explorer field guide (keep it simple!) or
use ours. Take your child on a walk around the neighborhood or a nearby nature area and mark off each critter she can find!

Teddy Bear Tracking: Draw or print out a set of 12 paw prints (~3”- 4”); cut out and hang at child level, around your yard or campsite for your toddler to “track” to a teddy bear you’ve place sitting in a low tree, sturdy bush or other semi-hidden spot for him to find. Delightful fun!

The Secret Garden: Choose a part of your yard, under a special bush, at the base of a favorite tree, even a large planter where your toddler can create their own unique garden to plant collected rocks, sticks, plastic dinosaurs…anything she wishes that makes it uniquely hers!

Nature Bracelet: Wrap a piece of masking tape to your child’s wrist, sticky side up. As you explore, help him attach colorful leaves, flowers, and other interesting discoveries to his bracelet. When done, use scissors to snip off the nature bracelet. Display on a bulletin board, shelf, or wall.
From fun.familyeducation.com

Follow the Leader: Start out as the leader and buzz a flower, hop around a tree, step over a rock, flap over to the hose, etc. Then switch to let your little one lead!

Backyard Harvest: If you have any trees with edible fruit, let your little one help you harvest your fresh crop, then share the organic snack! Create a bouquet of garden flowers with your toddler for tonight’s center piece (just make sure to watch for poisonous plants or defenses like thorns, spines or burrs).
From family.go.com

Moon Face: Take your child on a moonlight walk in your backyard during the full moon.

Treasure Bucket: Perfect for toddlers who like to collect things…and dump them out only to refill it again! Use a small toy bucket or container they can manage. Collect leaves, rocks, small trash flown in after a windy day, or specially hidden toys!

If collecting natural items from your yard, it’s a good opportunity to teach the non-removal of things from protected areas. Have them dump their bucket outside, leaving their natural items where “they live.” If picking up trash, have them wear gloves, make sure what they’re picking up is “safe” and have them empty their buckets in the trash can to teach good environmental habits.

Activities from Caliso Learning’s Yards of Fun compilation booklet.

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