Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer Fun on a Budget - Treasure Hunting

We've been searching out some inexpensive toddler-friendly activities this summer. It's hot, hot, hot, so our old standbys of chalk in the backyard and running around the park just aren't doing it for pregalicious mom right now.

One goldmine we've hit on is treasure hunting. I filled Margaret's toy wagon (you could also use a sand/water/sensory table, kiddie pool, baby bath, large bowl, cleaning bucket, plastic storage tub, etc.) with 3 lbs of stale pinto beans I'd let get away from me in the food storage. Then I raided my craft shelves for treasures. I pulled out crocheted flowers, polished glass chunks, old marker caps, large buttons, milk jug lids, and other goodies. My kitchen drawers yielded measuring cups, old formula scoops, and baby spoons. Margaret's playroom bore up wooden puzzle pieces, blocks, and animal figures. I finished it off by offering her sand pail and shovel.

When Margaret woke from her nap, the treasure hunt was waiting for her. She proceeded to play with it for the next 3.5 hours! No requests for Little Bear, cheddar bunnies, or Da Da to be heard. She's been playing with it all week, and she still can't get enough of it. (Please excuse the poor lighting. It's been so overcast here lately.)

She's actually not so interested in the hunting aspect. My orderly little one is all about the sorting. She lines up the marker caps, tosses the animals in a glass jar, and separates the toys from the other treasures. She loves experimenting with moving the beans around. Scooping them up with a jar, dumping them from vessel to vessel, shoveling them from wagon to pail and back again.

It's been a big hit, and it's so nice to have a portable, indoor piece, rather than schlepping out to the backyard sensory table in the midday heat.


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