Florida is the number 1 state for vacationing and it’s so easy to see why! From beautiful sandy beaches to the awe inspiring Kennedy Space Center to the natural beauty of the everglades and the man made magic of Disney World there is just SO much to see and do! Even if Florida isn’t on your summer vacay destination list this year, you can virtually go there with your little this week with these fun art, sensory play and learning activities! Say “hi” to Mickey for me!
–Shape Mickey: You can’t do Florida without a trip to see Mickey Mouse! To make Mickey, I cut out all the shapes we needed, then gave my littles instructions on how to glue them together using shape names and descriptors (like largest circle).
–Mickey number ordering: I traced a Mickey cookie cutter then wrote the numbers 1-10 on them (you can also do 1-5 if your toddler is closer to 1…mine is 2 1/2 so he’s a bit older). Then I had my little find each number and put them in order. He needed help identifying most of them since we’ve never done number ordering before, but he got a few by himself and had fun putting them in a line. (There’s one random yellow Mickey from his brother’s number ordering set…it’s his favorite color and he was sad to the point of tears that I gave him all red! LoL)
–Sun craft: Florida is known as “The Sunshine State” so we decided to make some suns! I cut out a circle then traced my little’s hand and cut it out (I folded the paper into 4th’s so I wouldn’t have to spend all day cutting out 8+ handprints! LoL) Then I had him glue the hand prints around the outer edge of the circle to make the sun’s rays! My preschooler did his own cutting but I only had him cut out one hand- I did the rest so he wouldn’t be there all day and get frustrated (he can’t quite cut a stack of 4 papers when it’s intricate like a hand yet!)
–Beach sand ABC hunt: You don’t have to go to the beach to have a beach day! Just fill a cake pan or plastic shoe box with play sand and ABC magnets and let your little explore! You can either identify the letters as your little finds them, ask them to find a specific letter (if they have some letter recognition knowledge) or write the letters on a sheet of paper and have your little match the letters they find to the ones on the page.
–Florida beach taste safe sensory play: My boys loved this taste safe sensory play! You just make a cake pan of blue Jello, squish it up so it looks like the sea, scoot it to one side of your pan to make room for the “sand”, mix 1/4 cup of brown sugar with 1/4 cup of regular sugar and sprinkle it on the space you cleared. Then spray the line between the sand and sea with whipped cream to make breakers! This is definitely full of sugar, so if you don’t want your littles eating a bunch of it make sure you lay out the ground rule that you should see mostly playing, not eating and that handfuls of the sensory play material are not for little mouths. You can also make plain Jello with blue food coloring in it to cut the sugar!
–Florida sunset painting: The west coast of Florida is known for its gorgeous sunsets right into the Gulf of Mexico, so we decided to paint our own. I put purples, pinks, oranges and yellows on a piece of card stock and had my littles mix the colors from side to side. When they were dry, I had them glue on some palm tree silhouettes as a finishing tropical touch!
–Key lime pie: One of the most famous foods of the Florida Keys is key lime pie! Tangy, sweet, creamy and delicious it’s something you have to get every time you visit! To bring a taste of the keys to our house this week, I decided to whip one up and it was surprisingly quick and easy! I made up my own recipe by combining one I found online at Mom on Time Out and one I found on the back of my Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice bottle. You just mix 1/2 cup of key lime juice (you can juice your own if your grocery store doesn’t carry pre-squeezed juice), the zest (or outer colored part of the peel) of 4 key limes, a 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk, and 3 egg yolks. Pour the mixture into a graham cracker crust (I made my own by mixing 1 1/2 cups of crushed graham crackers with 6 tbsp. melted coconut oil) and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Let the pie cool on the counter, then pop it in the fridge for at least an hour before serving with a topping of whipped cream. It’s so good my little licked his plate! LoL
–Key limeade: Since we had a bunch of key limes left, I decided to make key limeade for my littles too! I just squeezed the juice of one key lime (they’re pretty tiny) into a cup, added a sprinkle of Stevia, a few ice cubes and cold water and gave it a good stir. It was so refreshing and yummy- the perfect drink for a hot summer day!
–Alligator art and song: Since Florida is home to the American alligator, I made alligators using my little’s foot prints! We also listened to the song “Alligator” by Jack Allessi on Alexa and I made up movements to go with it. Check them out on YouTube!
–Zoom to the moon: Florida is known for its space program at Kennedy Space Center, so of course we had to do something rocket themed! This cute little “Zoom to the Moon” song is one we used to do at toddler library time- it’s fun and a great way to practice counting backwards from 5!
- brown sugar
- white sugar
- blue Jello
- plastic shoebox
- key lime pie ingredients (I used key limes, key lime juice, egg yolks, 14 oz sweetened condensed milk, graham crackers, coconut oil and whipped cream)
- key limes
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