Family Field Day

Our family was in need of some fun this weekend.  Monday would have been school field day, so we decided to hold one of our own.

I made a check off list for each child to keep track of our activities.


Our first activities were for the whole group, and the parachute is always a favorite.

The parachute is always fun but it can be hard to think of ways to use it, especially outside, so I came up with a few ideas we tried out.

After the parachute the kids all held hands and passed a hula hoop around the circle without letting go of each other.

Next we set up an obstacle course through the back yard – over, under and around – they even walked the plank over a kiddie pool.

Our last group game was a sack race.  I made sacks out of old flannel lined plastic tablecloths for our sack race.

It was too windy to do the pool noodle game.  The idea was to stand in a circle, and for each child to hold a pool noodle standing on its end.  When I said GO they were supposed to let go of their noodle and run to the right to grab the next pool noodle without letting it fall.  It was too breezy for them to get the pool noodles to stand up.


After the group games the children were free to do the rest of the activities in any order they wished.  I wrote out simple directions that I posted by each activity.

Here is the master of the monster feet I printed off.  I taped them onto the driveway.



I didn’t have signs for a few activities

Bean bag toss


Squirt Gun Boat race

And bubbles!

It was a wonderful afternoon!




Hawaiian Luau


My grandchildren enjoyed another wonderful program at the Commerce Township Community Library.  This time the theme was a Hawaiian Luau!  I never would have thought to include Hula Hoops!  They enjoyed some Hawaiian music and tried out some Hula moves.  They had a chance to try out a few traditional instruments too!


Palm trees

The Palm tree bowling was a big hit.  The pins were large soda bottles filled with crumpled blue tissue paper, with laminated palm trees taped on the front.  They used small inflated beach balls to try to knock them down.



They made leis by stringing pre-cut foam flowers alternating with small pieces of pre-cut colored straws.  Great practice making a pattern!



These cute fish were preassembled, but many children could cut the triangle and glue it onto the back independently.  The library program has limited time and lots of fun activities so some projects are often pre-cut.  The children used markers, stickers, bingo markers and glue on jewels to decorate their fish.  They could also cut out shiny scales – just like Rainbow Fish!


Beach blanket



There were large beach towels on the floor to play Beach Blanket Bingo, but my kids chose to stand at the table.  I loved the colored shells they used as markers – I am guessing you could color them by shaking them in a baggie with a bit of food color and alcohol.  They were set out in small buckets – so cute and fun!  The high school helper pulled a picture out of her container.  I liked how this game showed some things that are special about Hawaii – birds, flowers, hula, surfing, etc.  The prize for the game was a candy bar – everybody played until they won!bingo

I found some free clipart online in case anyone wanted to make their own bingo boards.


The kids loved using a plastic stylus to scratch designs in these black shapes.  As they drew with them, pretty colors showed up.  There was string if the children wanted to hang these up.


Of course they loved the special snack of Hawaiian Punch (what else?) and pretzels mixed with colored Goldfish crackers.



They set out a few books based on Hawaii – Owen was anxious to check one out!

It was a great evening.  Just for fun I looked up a few Hawaiian terms that would be fun to use with children.


Mahalo  Commerce Library!  It was such a fun evening!



Fine Motor Activities

I was thinking about children who need a little extra reinforcement and that reminded me of those kids who really struggle with fine motor strength and control.  I have had some students who knew letters and sounds, and were ready to write, but just did not have the coordination to make meaningful marks on paper yet!

I really believe that children learn so much through play, and I encouraged parents to find games their children enjoy that would strengthen hands and fingers – like Legos, dressing Barbie dolls, Lite Brite, lacing activities, poking push pins through paper (on top of a carpet square).

I loved including activities like hole punching and tearing paper in projects we did at school because they really require the children to use those muscles!  I think sign language also encourages children to stretch their fingers and control their movements.

I also made a list of activities parents might do at home to help children who are having trouble holding pencils, writing, cutting, etc.  One of these lists was compiled by an occupational therapist.

fine motor activities to share

more fine motor

Owen is at a great age to start some of these activities – he turned 2 in October!   Of course he isn’t ready for a lot of them yet but one of  his favorites is his foam container.  I bought a set of brightly colored foam pieces at a dollar store.

Then I took a cottage cheese container and cut an X in the lid.

Owen pushed one foam piece at a time through the X.  He used a great pincer grasp to pick up each foam piece, and really had to push to squish it through the slit in the lid.  If you have grandchildren or work with younger kids – Owen did this over and over, he loved dumping them out again!

At school I sometimes made a slit in empty water bottles and gave the children dry beans to poke through.  Owen has a great pencil grip already – and he draws a mean scribble – it used to be very wispy!

Most of you already know that giving children a short pencil really helps with their pencil grasp – you can pick up one or two for free at Ikea – or buy a boxful from an office supply store!

Of course, being 2, Owen started stacking the foam pieces in a tower – hey – more great fine motor practice!

Owen is really into sorting by colors right now – today he put all the yellow pieces in first, then red, then green, then blue.  In the classroom you could give children who need practice 4 containers and ask them to sort – they will self check when they open the lid of the containers!

He also found miniscule stickers on the bottoms of a few of the foam pieces and pulled those off – he used them to decorate my sweater.  That makes me wonder – when do children start to care what picture is on their stickers?  Owen adores stickers but he doesn’t care what they look like – Chiquita banana stickers, size labels from clothes, price tags that pull off – he loves anything that sticks – and often decorates his sisters!