Monthly Archives: June 2016

Cornstarch and Water Sensory Play

This week, I wanted to try a new sensory activity for Try Something New Thursday. I first saw the idea of playing with cornstarch and water at Fun at Home with Kids. I knew this activity would be messy, but I was willing to deal with the mess to have a little fun.

I mixed some cornstarch and water in a glass pan. I didn’t measure what I put in. I started with a little water, and I kept adding until it was just slightly runny. It was a great slimy texture that was somewhat solid and somewhat liquid.

I started by giving Buddy the pan while he was still in his highchair. It was less messy in this setup, but it was hard for Buddy to actually play while strapped into the seat. I decided to embrace the mess, so I grabbed a towel and moved the activity to the kitchen floor.

cornstarch and water

Buddy was a little timid at first, but he was definitely interested in feeling the mixture. It didn’t take long before he was digging in with both hands.

cornstarch and water 3cornstarch and water 2

It was a huge mess, but it was worth it. Buddy had a great time playing with the cornstarch mixture. He loved spattering it around the towel. Eventually he pulled the pan and set it in his lap, so he could get easier access to the good stuff.

cornstarch and water 4

Originally, I thought about doing this activity in the bathtub. I decided against it because I knew I needed to clean my kitchen floor and do a load of laundry today anyway. However, I might do it in a tub next time, because Buddy definitely needed a bath after our play time was done. We both had a good time, though, so the mess was worth it.

Little Blue Truck Storytelling Basket

For today’s Time to Read Tuesday, I made a storytelling basket to go along with the book Little Blue Truck. Buddy really enjoyed the last storytelling basket  I made, and since then, he’s chosen to read that book (Goodnight Moon) more often than usual.

Little Blue Truck is a story that involves a little blue truck, a dump truck, and a bunch of farm animals. I had a dump truck and farm animals already, but I didn’t have anything for the main character, Little Blue Truck. Since I didn’t want to buy a new truck toy, I just printed off a picture of Little Blue Truck from the book’s online resources. I laminated it to make it stronger, and then I taped it to a wooden block.

I read through Little Blue Truck once with Buddy before I gave him the basket. After we read the story, I gave Buddy the storytelling basket. As he pulled out each object, we talked about what that object was. I also found the part of the book where that character first appears and showed Buddy the picture. Once he had pulled out everything, we reread the book and acted it out with the figures.

Little blue truck

Our dump truck was much nicer than the one in the book because he gave rides to Little Blue and many of the other animals. (Or maybe Buddy was just trying to show what might have happened after the story ends?) Either way, he enjoyed playing with the figures for a long time, and he did go back from time to time to look at the pictures in the book again.

Little blue truck 2

Little blue truck 3

I will be curious to see if this activity will make Buddy more interested in this book in the future. (That was definitely the case with the Goodnight Moon book after that storytelling basket.) In the meantime, I will have to think about what book would be good for our next activity. Please share any ideas you have. I’d love to hear them!

 

Edible Finger Paint

This week for Make it Monday, I made edible finger paint for Buddy. Since I haven’t done finger painting with Buddy before, I wanted an edible recipe in case Buddy wanted to taste it.  I found this recipe from Meri Cherry that used only yogurt and food coloring.  For each color, I used a couple spoonfuls of plain yogurt and two drops of food coloring. (For the purple, I did one drop of blue and one drop of red.)

I put the paint in a muffin tin to make it easy for Buddy to reach all of the different colors. I also used painters tape to tape down a piece of paper, so the paper would stay in one place.

Edible Finger Paint 6

Buddy put his fingers into the paint right away. He was very interested in the paint, but he wasn’t as interested in putting it on the paper. After I showed him how to put the paint on the paper, he starting putting paint on the paper too.

Edible Finger Paint 2

Trying to figure out how to finger paint.

Edible Finger paint 3

Having lots of fun.

Buddy had a great time playing with the paint, especially in the tin. Once he realized he could make a noise by banging the muffin tin against the counter, he had a great time doing that as well.

I can make a lot of noise with this tin!

I can make a lot of noise with this tin!

Ooh - paint is so squishy!

Ooh – paint is so squishy!

This turned out as a great sensory activity. Buddy enjoyed seeing the colors, feeling the cool paint, and hearing the noise of the clanging tin. He didn’t taste the paint, but it would have been fine if he tried it. Even though the actual painting was a mess, I still think it was a great activity.

DIY I Spy Bottle

Earlier this week, my family traveled to a friend’s lake house. There were three families that stayed there and a total of four kids. I wanted to bring an activity that would be interesting for everyone. The two older girls (ages 4 and 6) were willing to make something for the babies (ages 14 months and 10 months). After looking through my Pinterest board, I decided to do I Spy bottles. I thought they’d be fun for the older girls to make, and that everyone would enjoy playing with them.

Before our trip, I gathered all the supplies needed for the bottles. I bought a six pack of Voss water bottles at Target, some rice from the grocery store, and a bunch of small items and a pack of funnels at the dollar store. I also searched my house for other small objects and Gorilla Glue.

i spy bottle

I laid out all of the materials for our bottles out on a table for the older girls to access. I told them to pick out things to put in each bottle. Once they had chosen their items, we laid them out and I took a picture. That picture will be laminated and used to play the I Spy game. (Can you find the bell?) I didn’t give the girls a number of objects to select, but I wish I had. If I were to do it again, I would put in more objects to make the bottle a little more difficult to solve.

i spy bottle 3

After we took the picture, all of the items were put in each bottle. Then we used the funnel to fill it with rice. I left extra space at the top so that the contents have room to roll around. I used Gorilla Glue to make sure the bottles stay sealed and the contents stay inside. I also used a permanent marker to write each child’s initial on the bottom of each bottle.i spy bottle 2Both girls had a lot of fun making the bottles, and everyone enjoyed playing with them. Buddy has pulled his out several times since we’ve come home. He loves the sound it makes! As he gets older, I’m sure he’ll enjoy finding the different items as well.

I spy bottle 4

I would love to hear other ideas for activities for multiple ages for our next gathering with kid friends!

Pom Pom Play

I’ve been wanting to do something with pom poms for awhile. Since today is Try Something New Thursday, it was the perfect time to try playing with pom poms for the first time.

Buddy loves putting things in and pulling them out of containers. I’ve seen a lot of different variations of poms and containers on Pinterest, and I decided to use a snack cup to hold the poms. We have only tried to use this cup with an actual snack once, which wasn’t very successful. I liked the idea of reintroducing this cup as a toy, since it isn’t being used at all right now. Maybe later, Buddy will be more interested in using it to hold snacks once he’s used to it.

I took a couple of handfuls of poms and put them in a pile on the floor. Then, I handed Buddy the cup. He immediately started putting the poms into the cup. He started by putting one pom in at a time, but eventually got so excited that he started using both hands to shove handfuls of poms in the cup.

Pom Pom play 2

I didn’t think ahead of time about whether or not all of the poms would fit in the container. Luckily, they did, although it took some effort on Buddy’s part for the last two to go in.

Mom, this one won't go in!

Mom, this one won’t go in!

Once all of the pom poms were in the container, Buddy wasn’t sure what to do. He shook the cup to try to get them out, but they stayed in. He put his hand in, but he couldn’t get many out. I let him use his problem solving skills for awhile, but eventually I took the cup and poured out the poms. Then Buddy started over putting the poms back in the cup.

Pom pom play 4

After the second time the cup was full, Buddy decided to make up his own pom pom game. He took poms and lined them up on the bookshelf. Then he knocked them down. He kept doing this over and over for quite a while.

Pom pom play 5

This activity was a huge hit, and we will be doing this again soon! I highly recommend it to anyone looking for an easy idea to keep a little one entertained.

Painting with Water

For this week’s Water Wednesday, I needed an activity that was quick and easy. My original plan was to play in our new water table (affiliate link), but it was raining this afternoon. (I did wonder if getting soaked taking groceries to our car could count as our water activity today… Buddy certainly enjoyed it.) Then I remembered this activity, which we’ve done before.

Painting with water 2

I put some water in a small cup and used it to wet the end of a paint brush. I demonstrated to Buddy how to use the paint brush to draw on the construction paper. He loved making marks on the paper and feeling the wet paint brush bristles. When the brush dried out, I would rewet it for him. After seeing me do this a few times, Buddy tried to do it himself. (He didn’t quite get the hang of this, but it was cute to see him try.)

painting with water 3

This was the perfect quick, fun activity for today. Buddy had a lot of fun, and I didn’t need to take any time to set up or clean up the activity. Painting with water is a go-to staple for summer fun!

Crawling Obstacle Course

For this week’s Try Something New Thursday, I made a crawling obstacle course for Buddy. The other day I saw him crawl up and over the seat of his ride on airplane, so I thought he’d be up for some crawling challenges.

I pushed back the coffee table in our living room to make some room, and then I made a pile of couch cushions and pillows. I wanted Buddy to have some motivation to crawl through the course, so I added a few balls and a stuffed toy. Balls are Buddy’s favorite toy, and I knew he’d be excited to see some new ones.

crawling obstacle course 2

Buddy wasn’t sure what to do at first, although he spotted the balls right away. (“Ba!”) He started with the pillows, but he wasn’t sure how to get over them.

crawling obstacle course 3Buddy struggled for quite a while. Eventually, I lifted him onto the couch cushions. Once he was there, he could get one of the balls. It didn’t take long for him to knock it out of his reach.

Crawling obstacle course 4

The obstacle course was much more difficult than I thought for him. Buddy struggles with gross motor skills, and he’s not quite ready for climbing. He liked the idea of crawling on the pillows, but when he was completely surrounded by pillows, it was frustrating for him. I eventually put the couch cushions back, and cleared a spot in the middle of the floor for play surrounded by a perimeter of pillows. Once the pillows were on the outside of the area, Buddy was more interested in crawling on them. He went back and forth between playing with the balls and crawling on the pillows for a long time.

Crawling obstacle course 5

Crawling obstacle course 6

Even though this activity didn’t go as expected, I’m really glad Buddy had a chance to work on his gross motor skills in a new setting. If you have any tips for working on motor skills, please share in the comments!

Making Rain Sensory Activity

Since today’s weather forecast showed afternoon thunderstorms, I planned to do our Water Wednesday activity inside and decided to use the theme of rain. (Of course, we ended up having a sunny day, but it was way too hot to play outside so the inside activity worked out.)

While Buddy was napping, I used a hammer and nail to poke holes in the bottom of two plastic cups. I also pulled out pans made of several different materials, and put water in one of them. I wanted Buddy to be able to hear the different sound that the “rain” made when it hit different surfaces. (He loves things that make sound, so I knew the sound factor would increase his enjoyment of the activity.) I put water in a glass pan, and then I also pulled out an aluminum foil pain, a metal baking pan, and a plastic tupperware. I put everything on a beach towel because I knew there would be spilled water, and I wanted to minimize the amount that would need to be mopped up at the end.

Making rain set up

Buddy loved this activity. He loved the water, and he especially loved the sounds. The “rain” on the aluminum pan was his favorite! It was a huge mess, though. Buddy had trouble keeping the cup upright so the water would rain out the bottom instead of pouring out the top. He also had a tendency to pour it out the top of the cup onto himself (as shown in the photo below). He didn’t mind getting wet though!

Making rain 1

After awhile, Buddy started to have fun stacking and unstacking the two cups. Some day, I’ll just have to pull out a bunch of these cups and let him play. (He has his own set of stacking cups that he loves, but I think this was fun because they were new cups and could stack in any order.)

making rain 2

Although Buddy struggled with using the cups to consistently make rain, I would still call this activity a huge success. He was laughing and smiling and having so much fun! I think this was his favorite activity of the summer so far! We will definitely be pulling these materials out again soon.

Making rain 3

Exploring Shapes Through Reading and Play

Today for Time to Read Tuesday, I chose to read two shape books followed by some play with different types of shapes. This activity was a blend of my love of reading and my love of math. It’s exciting to be working with Buddy already on a math topic.

I started by reading the book Paris: A Book of Shapes, which is part of the Hello World series. (I highly recommend it! Each book takes place in a different city and focuses on a different topic.) When I planned out this activity, I originally just was going to read one book. Yesterday, though, I found another book on shapes at the library (Louis the Lion Shapes), so we read that book too. While we read each book, we spent a long time looking at the pictures and finding each shape.

After reading, I gave Buddy a bag of Attribute Links as well as his shape sorter block toy to play with. The Attribute Links were given to me as part of one of my college courses, but because I’ve only taught middle school math, I’ve never used them. Buddy was very interested in the links because they were new to him. We picked out squares first. I turned the pages of both books to the square pages, and then we made a pile of squares. I linked a bunch of the squares together, which Buddy loved.

Playing with shapes

We continued to look at one shape at a time with both the blocks and the links. For each shape, I referred back to the book pages and placed the shapes on top of the picture. Buddy was able to pick out the circles on his own, but he needed help with the other ones.

Playing with Shapes 3

Buddy enjoyed putting both the links and the blocks in and out of the bucket. He did better than with the actual shape sorter on the top of the bucket than he has in the past. Maybe the extra practice looking at the shapes and the books has helped him figure out what holes to use. (Or maybe he was just having a lucky day.)

Playing with shapes 5

Overall, Buddy enjoyed both books and both sets of shape toys. It was a lot of fun for me finding something in my classroom that could be used as an educational toy for my son. I’m sure we’ll be playing with both shape toys again soon. Playing with Shapes 4

Father’s Day DIY Photo Card

Since we are going to be traveling on Father’s Day, we celebrated Father’s Day a week early. I bought my husband a Father’s Day card from me, but I wanted Buddy to be able to give his dad a homemade card. There’s just something extra special about a homemade card, especially when it’s from a child.

I’m including a copy of our template in case you want to make your own Father’s Day photo card.

Dad photo card template

Here is what you’ll need:

  • A printed copy of our template
  • Two 8.5″ x 11″ pieces of cardstock
  • Three 4″ x 6″ photos
  • Scotch tape
  • Double sided tape
  • Scissors
  • Permanent marker
  • *Optional * – paint and paintbrush

Directions:

  1. Print the template and cut it out.
  2. Trace the template on one piece of cardstock. (I did this with permanent marker.) Dad card trace template
  3. Cut out the design on the cardstock.
  4. Use scotch tape to tape the photos in place and trim to fit.
  5. Fold the second piece of cardstock in half vertically (hot dog style).
  6. Place the folded cardstock behind the DAD photo card. Line up the bottoms of both pieces of cardstock. Trace the DAD card on the folded card.
  7. Cut the folded card so that the extra parts of the card won’t show behind the DAD card.
  8. Use double sided tape to tape the DAD card to the folded cardstock.
  9. *Optional* Paint the child’s hand and put inside card. (I actually did this first before I folded and cut the cardstock, but if I did it again, I would do it last.)
  10. Use permanent marker to write a message inside card.

Here’s what the final product looked like:

Inside of card

Inside of card

Final card

Final card

I hope you have a wonderful Father’s Day celebrating the important fathers and father figures in your life. Hubby loved his card, and I hope your dad will too. If you make this card, I’d love to see a picture!