Apple Activities for Kids

Fall is the perfect time for apple crafts and activities with kids! Seems like every year we take a trip to the apple orchard, make homemade applesauce, and do some of our favorite fun apple activities for kids. Last week’s Good Tips Tuesday had quite a few fall activities for kids, including apples! We’ve rounded up some of the favorite apple activities for kids to feature this week.

Apple Activities for Kids

Apple Activities for Kids

9 Apple Recipes and Crafts | A Life in Balance

Apple Picking Math Felt Board | Munchkin and Bean

Apple Bet Match | Tiny Tots Adventure

Alphabet Learning with Apple Stamping | Growing Book By Book

Apple Stamping Craft | There’s Just One Mommy

Good Tips Tuesday

Now, let’s get to this week’s party!

Good Tips Tuesday 1/6 | Golden Reflections Blog.

We want this to be a resource for you to find Good Tips for your life, home, kids and everything in between! So what kinds of posts are you able to link up now? Check out this awesome list!

  • Recipes & Cooking Tips
  • Homemaking Tips
  • Parenting Tips
  • Kids crafts & Activity Tips

Your hosts each week are:

Golden Reflections Blog

Simply Sherryl

A Bird And A Bean

Happy Brown House

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Happy Brown House

Now let’s get to today’s Good Tips Tuesday party!

  • Link up your recipe/cooking, homemaking, parenting, and kids craft/activity tips below (4 per person please)
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Indoor Snow Play with a Snow Sensory Bin

It has snowed twice this month! Chattanooga, TN isn’t known for lots of snow, so we enjoyed the rare treat of sledding and throwing snowballs. The boys loved it! The temperature rose quickly and the snow started to melt….except on our back porch. Wanting to savor the last little bit of snow, I scooped up some of the snow and let the boys have some indoor snow play with a snow sensory bin.

Indoor Snow Play with a Snow Sensory Bin

It was simple. Besides the snow, I gave the boys some cups, spoons, and foam snowflakes. We looked for our polar bears and penguin toys, but they were somewhere in the abyss of the toy bins.

The snow sensory bin was great for talking about the vocabulary word “cold” with Asher. I also talked about the colors “white” and “blue” using our foam snowflakes. Eventually, the snow melted so we also talked about “melting” and “water”.

Indoor Snow Sensory Play

Asher enjoyed scooping, pouring, and squishing the snow. Then, he formed a small snowman. The snow play kept him occupied for quite a while, and I even had to refill the pan for him.

Making a snowman indoors with a Snow Sensory Bin

If we get snow again, this is on our to-do list! It’s the best of both worlds for this mommy–the kids play with snow and I get to stay warm!

Letter Tiles Spelling Mats

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links.
Letter Tiles Spelling Mats free printable colors, numbers, and shapes

I’ve got a treat for you today! I’ve put together a printable pack of spelling mats to go with the our favorite letter tiles that are perfect for preschool or kindergarten kids.

What’s in the Letter Tiles Spelling Mats Pack?

Combined, this printable pack is 27 pages long. Inside you’ll find spelling mats for color words, number words, and shape words. Each set has letter matching (one-to-one correspondence), beginning letter matching, and blank templates. The blank templates can be used in a variety of ways: spelling practice, handwriting practice, stamping the letters, and anything else you can come up with!

Letter Tile Page (Color Words)

Spelling Mat Ideas

  • Print on cardstock and laminate them for durability
  • To avoid child frustration, gather the letter tiles needed ahead of time.
  • Hide letter tiles in rice,sand,beans,etc. and let your child hunt for them while spelling
  • Place letters in a “feely bag” for an element of surprise
  • Hide the letters needed around the room and let the kids hunt for them
  • For active kids, place letters in a bucket at the opposite side of the room. Let kids race to the bucket, choose a letter, and race back to find the match on the spelling mat.
  • Have kids tell you the name of the letter before they can place it on the mat.

Letter Tile Spelling Mats (Number Words)

Ready to get it?

The Letter Tiles Spelling Mats are FREE for blog subscribers. If you aren’t a subscriber yet, you can subscribe by email.  There are more Letter Tiles Spelling Mats in the works, so make sure you don’t miss out! (Note: if you are already a subscriber, you should see the download link in the bottom of the blog post emails/blog feed. If you can’t find it, let me know and I’ll help you out!)

Happy printing!

The What & Why of Open-Ended Play

The What and Why of Open-ended Play

How many times have you given a child the latest, expensive toy only to have them unwrap it and find more pleasure in the wrapping paper and box than the toy inside? It happens all the time. Little did you know you just provided an open-ended play experience!

tissue paper play

What is Open-Ended Play?

Open-ended play is, quite literally, simple.

In open-ended play, seemingly simple toys or materials are transformed into creative, imaginative play by children. There are no “rules” when it comes to open-ended play—no sequence of events to follow, no right or wrong ways to play, no pressure to produce a specific product. Basically, a child engaged in open-ended play is going with the flow. It’s all about freedom—the freedom to invent and discover.

Why Open-Ended Play?

By nature, children are curious and creative. Hand them a box or a stick and they can come up with multiple ways to play. Open-ended materials don’t require batteries, wind up, or make noises. Sorry, Tickle Me Elmo. Open-ended play requires children to make decisions, problem solve, and think critically–traits most parents desire for their children.

While directed play has its place, open-ended play is, in my opinion, more important in the early years. Often, open-ended play experiences involve conversations—a chance to work on manners, speech, and personal interactions–all developing skills in the early years. Some of these activities help develop fine motor skills.

Simply put, open-ended play is the business of being a kid and allowing them to just…be.

Tell me: What other benefits can you see to open-ended play?

This post is a part of the series, 31 Days of Open-Ended Play. Be sure to read all the posts in the series for more great ideas for encouraging learning and creativity through open-ended play.


31 Days of Open-Ended Play

31 Days of Open-Ended Play

For the month of October, I’m going to participate in the Nester’s 31 Days Series link-up. While things here are hectic with baseball season, I’m ready to get back to writing and sharing things I’m passionate about.

31 Days of Open-Ended Play

Each day this month, I’ll be adding a new post in the series 31 Days of Open-Ended Play. I hope you’ll join me on the journey as I share the why, the what, and the how of open-ended play. Along the way, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite (and my kids’ favorite) ways to play. I’ll link to resources, post a review of our new favorite toy in our closet, and even have a giveaway or two.

Want to follow along? Subscribe to have the entire series delivered straight to your email inbox.

I’ll come back every day and add the links for each day in the list below.

31 Days of Open-Ended Play Series

Day 1: Intro (this post!)

Day 2: The What & Why of Open-Ended Play

Day 3: The Biggest Obstacle to Open-Ended Play

Day 4: Throwing Out the Script to Engage in Open-Ended Play

Day 5: 10 Traits of Great Toys

Day 6: Thoughts on Play from Mr. Rogers

Day 7: BionicBlox–An Engineering Toy for Open-Ended Play

Day 8: 14 Picture Books about Building With Blocks, Engineering, and Architecture

Simple Science: How to Make a Volcano with Kids

While we were studying rocks and volcanoes during one of our homeschool units, we made a simple volcano using household items. Making a volcano with kids is an easy and fun science activity. Little ones are fascinated by the fizzy “lava” and can’t wait to do the activity again.

How to Make a Volcano with Kids


  • small disposable paper cup
  • playdough
  • baking soda
  • vinegar
  • food coloring

There are lots of ways you can make a volcano, but I have found it easiest to have something you can place the baking soda in. I cut the small disposable paper cup in half, about 2 inches from the bottom.

Cut the cup

Next Jonah used some old playdough that was starting to dry out to make a base for the volcano. He placed the bottom part of the cup on top of the playdough blob.

build the volcano1

He used more playdough to build up around the base and make it look more like a volcano.

build the volcano2

Once the volcano is ready, take it outside. Pour a little baking soda into the top of the volcano.

baking soda

Pour vinegar in a cup.

pour vinegar

Add a drop or two of red food coloring.

red food coloring

Pour the red vinegar into the top of the volcano and watch what happens!

volcano explosion

Jonah loved this! He has worked with baking soda and vinegar before, but he didn’t remember how the two react to each other. He was excited because he was allowed to do all the steps by himself and took ownership of his learning. He wanted to see the fizzing volcano more than once, which led to an afternoon of giggles.

 Volcano Books to Read

Volcanoes! (National Geographic Readers)

The Magic School Bus Blows Its Top: A Book About Volcanoes

Volcano: The Eruption and Healing of Mount St. Helens

Volcanoes For Kids: Fun Facts And Pictures Of Volcanoes

Want more Simple Science Activity Ideas? Follow my Easy Science Activities Pinterest Board!

Want more fizzy fun? Visit Teaching Mama for 5 Baking Soda Experiments.

Dog’s Colorful Day

Dog’s Colorful Day is a fun book for young children. The book naturally leads to learning activities focusing on colors and numbers. It’s a favorite around our house.

Dog’s Colorful Day: A Messy Story About Colors and Counting

About the book:

Dog starts off the day with one black spot on his ear. But it seems that wherever he goes, he runs, rolls, and trots right into colors. As he wanders around town, Dog collects spots made of red jam, blue paint, pink ice cream, and more. When he finally arrives back home, Dog has ten different colored spots. And then it’s bath time for this colorful canine, who makes learning colors and numbers easy, messy, and fun!

Dog's Colorful Day Activity

Asher has finally started to join in the learning fun! While his attention span is still very short at this point, he definitely has a desire to join us at the table for activities he can do. At 22 months, he can count to ten with minimal assistance. One of the skills we have been focusing on is color recognition.

Combining the need to work on colors, his interest in dogs, and his counting skills, we spent some time enjoying Dog’s Colorful Day. After we were finished reading and pointing to all the colors on Dog, Asher used the dot markers to make dots on a Dog printable from Making Learning Fun. He loves dot markers, so this was a perfect activity for him.

When he finished, we hung his masterpiece on the refrigerator and cleaned up. Asher didn’t think he was clean enough and helped himself to a bath like Dog. Ahem…

bathtub silliness after Dog's Colorful Day activity

Jonah wanted in on the learning fun, too, so I made some printable activities of our own to focus on more advanced skills like, identifying tallies,  reading color/number words, and reading a “key” using color-by-number. I thought I’d share it with you and your little one.

Dog's Colorful Day Kindergarten Pack

This pack is full of cards for matching games, color-by-number pages, and more! Download it free today! (Link below)

Dog's Colorful Day Kindergarten Pack (3446)

Reminder: When sharing, please link to this blog post, not to the download url. For personal use only. These files may not be uploaded to any other site. A book and a Big Idea from iHomeschool Network

Looking for more picture book fun? Be sure to visit the iHomeschool Network for A Book and a Big Idea, a blog hop where iHn bloggers share some of their favorite picture books and coordinating enrichment activities!