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This time of year Pooky is insisting on spending as much time as possible outside. And no wonder, the weather is beautiful! Sometimes, lately though, she has been just wandering around the backyard in circles looking rather bored.
I’ve been challenging myself to come up with new and exciting outdoor games for her. We recently played a variation of hopscotch that allowed her to practice naming and matching shapes, and she loved it!
First I simply drew a simplified hopscotch pattern with sidewalk chalk, but instead of using numbers in the boxes, I drew some shapes that she has been learning. (This could be modified to reflect a variety of learning topics such as letters and colors.)
(This showed me that she is still struggling with rhombus and oval.)
The next day, I gathered the wooden puzzle pieces from her Melissa and Doug shapes puzzle.
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I showed her that she could match them up to the chalk shapes in the hopscotch squares.
My plan was for her to pick a shape out of the bucket and then hop to that matching square and name the shape while placing it in the square.
You could use pieces from an alphabet or number puzzle if you wanted your toddlers or preschoolers to practice identifying letters or numbers.
Then we reversed the process and picked the shapes back up (hopping along the way).
Next I added the use of a hopscotch marker. We used her favorite polished blue stone. I demonstrated tossing the stone onto a square. Then she had to find the matching shape in her bucket and place it in the square before tossing the stone again.
Pooky can’t really toss yet, so she was content just to place the stone in a square.
She decided it would be easier to find the shape if she dumped them out of the bucket and spread them out.
(Good problem solving skills!)
Then it was time to pick them back up and return them to the bucket, naming them in the process.
We played this several times in one afternoon.
Since this game is simple, but fun, my daughter is happy to play it by herself when we’re outside.
I love how this game combines gross motor skills along with academic skills (shape identification). My favorite combo!
And to see what other antics Pooky and I get up to, you can follow us on Instagram.
What fun outdoor activities have you had success with at your house?