Shamrock Shakers – Discovery Bottles

shamrock shakersI love including my son in making something fun and useful for his sister. This discovery bottle is a fun way of using a holiday theme and gives your infant something fun to play with too. Remember with infants all activities and projects are intended to be used only when directly supervised.  Also only you know what is safe for your child, if they aren’t ready for an activity bookmark it and try it when they are.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some plastic bottles with lids a hot glue gun, a shamrock bead necklace, scissors and some rainbow ribbon. I also use tape on the bottles that run the risk of making huge messes if they open.  For the gel and sparkle bottle you will also need a funnel,  some gold sparkles and green shower gel or shampoo( got mine for a buck at the dollar store). For the rainbow shaker bottle some pom poms in rainbow colors.
  2. Start by drinking the water. 
  3. Next take off the label.
  4. Next cut the shamrock necklace into the bottle. This is awesome for fine motor development and takes a lot of patience. I was amazed my son was not only able to do this without help but how into it he was. They grow up so fast!
  5. Next add the sparkles.
  6. Next add the gel. 
  7. I used hot glue to glue the top on. Then more on the outside to seal it, and wrapped it in tape. Be careful some bottles are so thin that they will melt with hot glue on contact. If you are worried consider using crazy glue. Whether you are using hot or crazy glue should be done by adults only
  8. Cut a small piece of rainbow ribbon and glue it on.
  9. Let everything dry and cool completely .
  10. For the rainbow shaker Cut the necklace in.Pop in the pom poms. Glue the top and ribbon on as above.
  11. Play!  For the photos I had her in the crib so the bottle wouldn’t roll too far when I was trying to take a photo. I am not suggesting giving it to your infant for independent play, these discovery bottles are for closely supervised play only.

The rainbow one has lasted forever. 2 years later it’s still kicking!

DIY Eye-Spy Book

When I saw this post by Jenae over at I Can Teach My Child ( who will be a guest poster tomorrow so don’t miss it! ) my head was running with ideas on how to make something similar. I would be lying if I told you it was easy, maybe it would have been with no kids but I had an infant in my arms while taking every picture and a 4 year old helper wanting to “help”. However the results were pretty cool and it’s a great book to take to church or somewhere else where talking is frowned upon.  It’s been tested out by a handful of friends already and our Eye-Spy Book  was quite the hit at a playdate last week. So the effort was worth it. Here is how we made it.

  1. Gather your materials. This is a long list so take notes! I gathered a bunch of categories of my son’s toys. You can use anything for the pictures but I went with themes because it was easy to just grab bins from his room and the family room. You will also need some back drops. I chose plain Jane construction paper, you will need some foam letters and a camera. A good camera would be better but my point and shoot was OK.  Once the pictures are developed ( or printed out) you will need some self laminating pages, a hole punch, and some binder rings.
  2. Start by using the foam letters to write Can You Find and take a picture. This will be the cover page.
  3. Next do the first lay out.  Lay the toys you are looking for on the page.  I laid out the whole search page first then picked a few out to lay on the can you find page. Take a picture.
  4. Replace the objects you used and take a picture of the full lay out.
  5. Repeat this is a bunch of different toys.  I always used the same black paper with ” Can You Find ” in foam letters for the search page. It made the process quicker.
  6. I took this picture for the back cover.
  7. Have the pictures developed or print them out on your printer. 
  8. Time to laminate.  Now in my dream house I have a craft room with awesome natural light and a laminator. But in reality I have my kitchen and these cool laminator envelopes that are sorta tricky but they laminate so clearly without a machine that they are worth it. I had a few bubbles but nothing too bad.  Remember to laminate in order so 2 pictures front and back to each page.
  9. Punch holes.
  10. Pop the rings through and you are done! I like using the rings because I have plenty of room to add more pages.
  11. Time to find things! 

More I-Spy Crafts

I Spy BottlesI-Spy Bottle

I-Spy Bag

Alphabet Sensory Tub

Sensory tubs are great for all sorts of learning  and you don’t need fancy things to get your kids interested … but it’s so fun to give them a theme! This one is a great one for preschoolers who want to do a little more than scoop and pour. It’s easy enough to simplify using plain rice or beans ,  only the  larger letters and adding cups to fill and spill! Do not feel like you have to be directing your kids while they play with sensory tubs, some kids need it but most do not, just let them play. If they are older and looking for a game to play with it follow our instructions for the letter hunt .

  1. Gather your materials. For this sensory tub we used a handful of magnetic letters, some huge floor puzzle letters,small foam letters,  small letter beads, plain white beans a plastic dish tub ,  alphabet pasta. If you want to do the letter hunt game, you will also need an ice cube tray and some tongs.
  2. Start by putting the beans in the tub .
  3. Next the pasta.
  4. Now add the letter beads – my son was playing outside and came in to help.
  5. Next the foam, magnets and jumbo puzzle pieces.
  6. If you are doing a letter hunt place some letters in your ice tray for your child to find.
  7. Go for it!
  8. Found it!
  9. This was such a big hit that he pulled it back out later that evening.

More Fun with Letters

Fishing For Letters

Southern Snowman

by Katy

We live so far south that we very rarely get to experience actual snow.  When we do get snow, it’s often not enough to make a snow man. Even so, there are lots of holiday songs and stories about snowmen, so I thought I’d show my son how snowmen are made with a little play doh.

I used black and white play doh for this activity.

I went ahead and rolled all of the pieces in advance. My son has a lot of sensory issues, so he’s not a big fan of play doh. I still run him through the motion of rolling the big pieces, but if he had to do it all himself, we’d have a meltdown before we finished.
So, we took each white ball, rolled it once or twice in his palm, and then stacked them. He was extremely resistant to the play doh with his left hand, so we switched it up and used his right–much better!

We then took the smaller black balls and helped him use his pointer finger to press them into the snowman creating eyes, a nose, and some buttons. We’ve worked on using pointer finger before, so this is a good  way to reinforce that skill. Overall, using one finger was much better than using his whole hand.

When you’re finished, you have a snowman guaranteed not to melt.

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Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.

Christmas Sensory Tub

We love sensory tubs!  Digging, scooping and my son’s favorite… pretending! Yes these fun tubs filled with dry goods aren’t just for sensory development they are awesome for the imagination too. I really love this one not just because it was a big hit with my son, but because it combines so many different textures as well as sounds as you play.

  1. Gather your materials. For this festive themed tub we are using split peas, white beans, green matte garland , red and silver shiny garland, scoops, tongs and a plastic container. My son also grabbed a Christmas tin to fill up.
  2. Start by cutting the garland into the tub. Have your kids help if they want.
  3. Pour in the split peas.
  4. And the beans .
  5. As soon as he did the hands dove in to explore. The shiny garland was smooth, the beans were hard, the green garland was crunchy and the split peas were sharp. A wide range of textures for such a simple tub.
  6. Add the tools and enjoy.
  7. My son used the tongs to sort the garland into the tin.
  8. And the scoop for the beans.
  9. Eventually he got all the bunches of garland out.

Books

Merry Christmas, Mouse! (If You Give…) by Laura Numeroff is an adorable little Christmas counting book. Most of the praise should really be on Felicia Bond the illustrator because the pictures take the cake on this one. The book follows the mouse as he decorates the Christmas tree, 1 Star… 2 angels… etc… It’s a perfect to read and then count the ornaments on your own tree. After reading it my son and I found 4 bells, and 3 trains on our own tree.

A Small Christmas by Wong Herbert Yee is about as perfect a Christmas book as my son could ever read. My son is obsessed with firefighters, he rescues his baby sister all day long and the sound of sirens are pretty much a given day or night in our house. Fireman Small is a tiny firefighter that children immediately relate to because he is little. His heart is big though and so is his courage. In this installment though it’s not a fire he rushes to but Santa’s aid.  Your child doesn’t need to be as nuts about firefighters as my son is to enjoy this sweet holiday book.