Written by: Amanda Haxel
The wait between Halloween and Christmas can be hard and loooonnnnngggg with toddlers. Have no fear, activities with OOLY are a great way to pass the time! Whether indoor or outdoor, the options are endless for all sorts of fun!
I love any activity that allows my three boys and I to play together, so I’ve compiled a short and easy list of some of our go-to activities that keep them busy and happy! From no prep to low prep, there is an activity here for everyone. Bonus, they all include learning opportunities!
1. Painting Pumpkins
Painting pumpkins is a must do Fall activity for us! Our boys love getting out the paint and brushes and have total creative freedom. I love to set out different paint colors, stickers and googly eyes for them to experiment with. Even better, repurpose the Halloween pumpkins!
We love using OOLY’s variety of painting supplies for this activity. From the Marvelous Multi-Purpose Paint Pens to the Lil Poster Paint Pods, kiddos of all ages are sure to find the perfect color and design.
**This activity can get a bit messy depending on how adventurous your kiddos are with the paint, so this may be best as an outdoor activity.
2. Hand/footprint crafts
There is just something about a hand or footprint craft that I just cannot resist. These crafts forever capture their tiny little hands and feet, and I don’t ever want to forget it!
For November, a favorite of mine is of course the hand or foot turkey!
- Red, yellow, orange, brown Ooly Lil Poster Paint Pods – https://www.ooly.com/products/lil-poster-paint-pods
- Paint brush set – https://www.ooly.com/products/the-lil-paint-brush-set
- Red, white and orange craft paper
- Googly eyes
First, coat your kiddo’s hand in yellow paint, then press firmly onto the paper.
TIP: I usually place my hand on top of theirs to keep their wiggly little fingers from moving too much.
Next, repeat this process using red and orange paint. You can either make 3 separate prints or wait for the paint to dry, and then place the next color on top in a staggered way to create a feathered look. And last, coat the kiddo’s foot with brown paint and toes with orange paint. Press firmly onto paper, again using your hand to keep their toes from wiggling too much! Wait for it all to dry….
Once dry, cut around the hand and footprints. Use the colored craft paper to create Nan orange beak (triangle shape) and red waddle (tear drop shape) and glue them and a googly eye onto the heel of your kiddo’s dried footprint. Lastly, glue their dried handprints onto the back of the foot and you’re all done! You and your kiddo’s can now admire their artwork, and you can have a sweet keepsake.
3. Nature Scavenger Hunts
This just might be the easiest activity on the list as it requires no prep from you! All that is required is some sort of basket, bucket or bag for your kids to store their treasures in as they find them. My boys love to find pinecones, acorns, leaves and the biggest sticks! And you can use these on another activity below – 2 in one!
As they find the fun treasures on our walk, we discuss the size, color and other characteristics of them! It’s always so fun to see what catches their eye while we’re out. Once home, I like to set these aside for different sensory and craft activities. Some of which are included in this list!
4. Apple Bobbing
Hear me out – you may be thinking what in the world? But this is not the same apple bobbing where you dunk your head in a tank and try to avoid getting soaked. Nope, this activity is much safer and less messy!
For this activity, we fill a bucket with water and apples (or pumpkins or any other fruit you have on hand.) Except, instead of dunking their heads trying to retrieve the items, the kiddos use tongs, scoops or ladles to retrieve them.
There is so much fine and gross motor learning going on here that they don’t even notice. They will be having too much fun splashing in the water and fishing out all of the items!
There are some days where I just don’t have the time or energy to put together an activity. On those days, I always default to printables. There are so many free options on the internet, but of course, OOLY has great printables for all seasons. Our favorites to use are the Ooly I Heart Erasable Crayons because they are bright and easy for little hands.
6. Sensory Bottles
This time of year is always bursting with colors, textures and smells that are super fun for kids to explore hands-on. However, with young kids who love to mouth things, it requires constant supervision. So, rest easy knowing there is an easy alternative that still allows younger kids to explore while keeping them safe!
To make your own sensory bottle, you just need a few things you can find around the house and/or in nature.
Empty water bottle
Corn Syrup or Oil
Superglue or hot glue
Fall loose parts (acorns, leaves, beads, berries, dried beans/pasta, small rocks, dirt, nuts, seeds, etc.)**These can be some of the things you collected on your Nature Scavenger Hunt!
Glitter – OOLY Pixie Paste is great for this with all the colors and different shapes!
First squeeze the corn syrup (or oil) about ⅓ of the way in the empty water bottle.
Next add warm water until the bottle is about ⅔ full. Add a few drops of food coloring and then add a few things or all the things from your scavenger hunt plus a few spoonfuls of Pixie paste. Secure the top tight and glue it shut…..tada! A quick and easy sensory bottle for toddlers.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to what you can put in your sensory bottle. I just like to choose items that have lots of colors and textures!
7. Apple Stamping
Remember that apple bobbing activity from earlier? I love activities where I can use items for more than one activity!!! Take those same apples and slice them in half. Use a paintbrush to coat them with OOLY’s Poster Paint Pods paint and you’re ready to stamp! TIP: I always make sure to use cardstock or other thick paper to ensure it doesn’t tear if they get a little heavy-handed with the paint. Plus, once it’s dry they now have their very own artwork to admire!