Three must-haves for no-prep fun activities

In class or at home have these handy:

mirrors, magnifying glass, flashlights

So many easy activities to try- play and learn!

A mirror

Get everyone a little mirror and let their imagination do the rest. Allow some time for the kids to explore by themselves. Here are some ideas:

  1. Look in the mirror and describe what you see. Try drawing on paper what you see. Mirrors are fun to use when you teach body parts (here is a cute song from The Children’s Kingdom Nursery Rhymes).
  2. Or use when you teach expressions and feelings: make your own feelings cards together with the kids, you do not need to draw well to do that- check this video or this one if you need help; then choose a card and take turns to copy the feeling in the mirror. Kids love this activity.
  3. Place small objects in front of the mirror. Observe objects from different angles, describe them, learn about sizes and comparison. Use two mirrors and explore the object reflections. Try small figures, animal toys, different shapes.
  4. If you have a wall mirror, try a “monkey see monkey do” activity in front of it, take turns and let the kids take a leading role, too. This could be a brain break activity, great for bonding, too.

Find some more ideas below:

Observe letter reflections -From BUGgy and BUDdy

Draw on mirrors – From Happy Hooligans- Art, Craft, Play

For older kids- learn how mirrors work:

Here is an interesting article about children’s self-awareness stages and what they see in the mirror.

A magnifying glass

  1. Go on a scavenger hunt with a magnifying glass, both indoors and outdoors. Going outside and observing insects and plants is super fun. Or hide objects, letter cards, etc. and go on a hunt in the house. Let older kids practise reading by adding some clues around (it is easy to use post-it notes in neon colors).
  2. Explore surfaces with a magnifying glass- tables, walls, toys, rocks, shells, etc; collect various textures to observe. Take it further and make a texture board– from Nurturestore.
  3. Read books with a magnifying glass- observe letters, words, pictures. Play “Spot the word, the number” game. Collect books in different languages, then compare- discuss differences and similarities.
  4. Explore art- anything your kids have made or draw- crayons, pencils, paint, etc.

Learn more from Kindercare about how a magnifying glass builds science skills.

A flashlight

Flashlights are fascinating for any age. Kids just love them.

Be sure to check out hand-powered flashlights- they can help kids get extra sensory input. Head flashlights are another option- good not only for camping but also for learning adventures both outdoors or indoors.

  1. Help your kids build a fort or a den, then give them a flashlight. Some of you might have heard about the Japanese kotatsu (low tables with blankets and electric heaters for extra warmth in winter). Sometimes for leg comfort, a hollow space is made on the floor under the table. We do not have this type of table at home but there is one at my in-laws and the kids love hiding in there and playing with flashlights. That inspired me and sometimes I put a blanket or a darker sheet over our regular-sized dining table and let the kids have some fun with flashlights.
  2. Find a dark place- a big cupboard, storage room, space under the stairs, a dark entrance, etc, where they can hide and explore in the dark. If you have any glow-in-the-dark stickers at home, use them. Or stick some pictures, photos, letters, numbers, or even quizzes on the walls, ceilings, and play games. Check out these great ideas for flashlight reading games from MossWoodConnections.
  3. Shadow play (Innovation Kids Lab) with a flashlight. This activity is with hearts and you can adapt it and include other shapes, too.
  4. Play hide-and-seek in the dark with a flashlight.
  5. If you have the chance, plan a walk through a forest or go on an adventure to explore tunnels, caves. Your walk will not only be fun but also a great bonding experience for your family or class. Excellent for mix-aged kids, too.
  6. Light painting with a flashlight- we have not tried it yet, but we need to. Easy and fun.

Let me know how it goes once you try any of the activities.

What are your favourite mirror, magnifying glass, flashlight activities?

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