Watching our little ones growing up is such a rewarding experience. They discover through experiences, practise new skills and love to learn. Growing up is so much fun!
In saying that…. why do they need to grow up so fast!?
Nature Snipping with Your Toddler
Miss 23 months was watching her sister cut up some junk mail the other day. I could see that she really wished to join in on the fun however our ‘big kid’ scissors are really not appropriate in my eyes. A trip to our local Officeworks and we were all set up with these handy little kid safe scissors.
The blades are plastic and the ends are rounded. After a little talk, Miss 23 months was beaming with pride being given the responsibility to use her new scissors safely. I gave her a piece of paper and let her snip away… Thats a story for another day. Fast forward a week and we have come to mixing up our new found love of snipping with our long term love of nature.
How to Set Up A Nature Snip
There isn’t all that much involved in setting up this fun little activity for your toddler. It really is about making good use out of the things around the home.
We used the following:
- Round Play Tray (Kmart – Homewares)
- Large Magnifying Glass (The Creative Toy Shop)
- Safety Scissors (Officeworks)
Miss 23m and I went into the garden and picked some pretty leaves and flowers for our snipping activity. The brief was simple – inspect and snip!
I chose leaves of different textures, sizes and colours. Some had smooth edges while others were jagged. We discovered some flowers on our hedge and weeds down the side of the house in bloom so a few of them were added to our tray as well.
I spaced the leaves and flowers out on the tray to leave lots of white space so it is easier to see the finer details rather than be overwhelmed with to much to look at.
How to Play
We started off by discussing the different shapes, sizes and textures of the leaves. Using the magnifying glass, we were able to closely inspect the finer details and Miss 23 m enjoyed making the leaves bigger then smaller by moving the magnifying glass over and away from the leaves.
Questions to ask
Some conversation starters that we used included:
- The leaf’s veins start at the centre of the leaf but where do they end?
- Which leaf do you think is the heaviest one?
- How many leaves are more purple in colour than green?
- Which of these two leaves is smoother?
- Why do you think this leaf has bumps on it?
- If you were a caterpillar, which leaf do you think you would like to eat?
- Why is this leaf bigger than this leaf even if it is on the same branch?
We were lucky ( or unlucky) enough to discover some little ants had hitched a ride in on some of our finds. Miss 23m was thrilled to discover them and watch them scurry across the base of the tray. We put them back in the garden (before they got squished by a certain toddlers friendly finger).
Passing Miss 23m her safety scissors, she instantly snapped into responsibility mode. Keeping her ‘thumb up’ and watching out for her helping hand, she eagerly started to snip her first leaf.
As a parent, I absolutely LOVE the joy that comes onto our kids faces when they discover something new. A beaming smile, ear to ear partnered with that energetic sparkle in their eyes (if concentration is involved then Miss 23m will have a gloop of dribble making its way down to her chin – too much info? Sorry but it is true :P)
While she was snipping away, Miss 2 was getting distracted and kept flipping her hand upside down or began holding the scissors sideways. A little reminder to keep her thumb up was all it took to bring her attention back to taking care with her scissors.
An Added Sensory Surprise
It didn’t take long for a lovely aroma to waft up from the tray. Bringing her attention to the smell of the cut leaves had Miss 2 sniffing the air which opened up conversations regarding our senses.
We look with our eyes, listen with our ear, smell with our nose and can touch with our fingers.
Skills Practised During Play
Nature Snipping with Your Toddler not only gives them the gratification of destroying things (without Mum going bonkers) but also gives them the opportunity to practise developing some important life skills.
- Bilateral Coordination
- Fine Motor Skills
- Recognising shades and colours
- Hand Eye Coordination
- Cause and Effect
- Cognitive Thinking
- Sensory Processing
- Sequencing Events
This activity is a testament to the fact that kids don’t need complicated or elaborate set ups for them to engage in play. Miss 2 was happily snipping away for a good half an hour and then kept returning to it later in the afternoon.
Truth be told, I did leave it out overnight and come the next morning, the leaves had dried a little. Both Miss 2 and Miss 5 got busy again, snipping the brittle leaves and then used the pieces to ‘cook’ for their toys before school.
I hope your kiddies love it as much as we do!
Dani D x
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