Easter Egg Play Dough Tray Activity

easter play dough Finding that fine line between setting something up that is exciting and interesting for your child ( or students ) and letting go of how they decide to use it can be hard. You envision this awesome idea but when you let go of it and they dive in they don’t always use it the way you intended. Maybe they spend a fraction of the amount of time you expect them to on it, maybe they turn it into a completely new idea, or maybe they ignore it completely. Don’t sweat it. Let them create their own experience and let go of your expectations. Observe and see what they are learning from how they have decided to play with the materials you have put on the tray. I imagined wonderfully patterned Easter eggs like ones she’d been drawing for days before I created this Easter egg play dough for her. Instead what she learned was that if you dip and roll the play dough in the collage materials , they stick. I think her lesson was a lot more exciting.

Gather your materials. I put out a egg mold, some play dough, gems, buttons, and beads.easter play dough

Start by making your eggs. I showed her how to make one then rolled it back into a ball so she could make it herself.  easter sensory

After that she added a few things. Not very enthusiastically.  easter egg sesory

She made a few more.easter egg fine motor

Then her face lit up as she dumped the decorations out and rolled her purple egg in it. easter egg discoveryNow it’s fun! She then took out the pieces she didn’t want, leaving only a few pink ones.

easter egg free choice activity

The white egg was next. When she didn’t do it at all I asked her why ” I am leaving it for you.” So I made it the way I wanted to now that it was my turn and she praised me after noticing my patterns . She still got the lesson about patterns I was angling for and one about me trusting her choices. When we follow their leads not only do they have more fun but they learn we trust their choices and value their ideas. There will be times when we chose to push ahead with our plan for the activity but when you don’t have to be inflexible I encourage you to throw the plan and sit back and watch.

Easter Sensory Activities that you can touch, taste, see, smell, and hear!

easter sensory activities As a preschool teacher I get asked a lot about how I teach. One thing I usually say is that in my class my students explore with all their senses. This isn’t because of careful planning it’s just a fact. Young children use all their senses to make sense of what they are experiencing. Because that is how they learn we also have to teach that way. Here are 18 Easter sensory activities that are wonderful experiences for all their senses.

easter sensory activities

Marshmallow Easter Bunny – fantastic for touch and taste!
Texture Easter Eggs – explore how the materials feel so different!
Polka Dot Slime – feel it and be amazed at what you are seeing from Fun At Home With Kids
Sandpaper and Felt Carrot Puzzles – Feel the different textures and see the different shapes.

easter sensory
Shaving Cream Marbled Easter Eggs – use almost all your senses for this activity from Hands On As We Grow
Frozen Yogurt Easter Eggs Make them and taste them.
Easter Egg Sticky Wall – Fun sensory activity from Toddler Approved
Easter Egg Collages – explore silky and smooth textures with this ribbon craft.

sensory ideas for easter
Easter Sound Match – explore sounds with this fun game from A Mom With A Lesson Plan
Shaving Cream Easter Bunny – Get your hands messy with this great craft from How Wee Learn.
Easter Sensory Tub – Dig through spring with this multi-sensory activity.
Paint & Eat Easter Egg Waffles – not only for taste these are visually stimulating too!

easter touch and feel
Soft Cotton Ball Bunny – Make it and feel it!
Fancy Egg Shakers – these shakers from Mama Smiles are visually stimulating and perfect for learning about sound.
Marshmallow Easter Egg – children love the feeling, smell, and not surprisingly taste of these colorful marshmallows.

easter ideas for kids
Candy Play Dough – I can’t imagine kids NOT wanting to taste this from Kids Activity Blog.
Bunny Color Match – Bright visuals help make this activity a hit!
Easter Writing and Printing with Carrots – explore how carrots, taste, smell, and feel with this activity from Nurture Store.

Spring Flower Fine Motor Tray Activity

fine motor tray activity This super simple spring activity packs some wonderful skill practice for both hand eye coordination and fine motor skills. As children find and fit the flowers into the holes they are using their hand eye coordination skills and as they pinch the stem and press them into the floral foam under the colander they are giving their fine motor skills a workout.

Gather your materials. You will need a colander, some bunches of artificial flowers, scissors, and floral foam in a half circle shape. spring activity for preschool

Start by flipping your colander over on top of the floral foam. fine motor activity for preschool

Snip the flowers and lay them out ready for play. flower activity for preschool

All ready!
fine motor play
My daughter was so eager to play. She decided to put them in using a pattern pink then yellow. flower arrangements fine motor activity for preschool

As she popped them in she counted them first all the flowers, then after they were all in she counted the yellow, then pink. fine motor

This will be taken into my preschool class to help my 2.5 and 3 year old students develop their hand eye coordination as well as fine motors skills and it will make my classroom so cheery as well!fine motor flower arrangements preschool

9 Tips For Finger Painting With Your Toddler

finger painting for toddlers Of all the questions I get one of the most common is “How do you deal with the mess?” This is often followed by “I just can’t do messy stuff with my kids.”  If messy things really honestly upsets you I am here to tell you that it’s not worth the upset. If you will spend the whole time cleaning up after them, telling them to not do this or that it’s not worth it as an activity at your house. That’s OK. We all have our limits and not allowing messy art in your house doesn’t make you a bad parent.

If you are just nervous but eager to try it than these tips are for you. Over the years these have been my go to ways to make messy art like finger painting a wonderfully creative experience for my kids without me budding in every two minutes with a wipe interrupting their play. When we break up their play with wipes and cleaning up under them what we are saying is ” What you are doing is wrong, let me fix that.” or ” This is annoying me, let me make it right.” Sure this won’t register with every kid but most pick up on it and by nature most children want to please us. If we are going to let them be creative we need to find ways to make it work for all of us so we aren’t stepping in constantly.

These tips will help! These are old pictures of my now four and a half year old daughter, she was just under two when we did this activity.

finger painting with toddlers

1. If possible strap them in. If you use a booster seat for meals use that same chair for the activity. When their hands are covered in paint you don’t want them free to roam. If this isn’t an option position yourself so that you are between them and the area you do not want them to reach until their hands are clean. For us that’s the family room ( specifically the new couch)  only a few feet away from the kitchen where we were creating.

2. Tape their paper to a cutting board, or right to the table if the table is easily washable. This prevents the picture covered in paint from hitting the floor and other things on the way down. toddler finger painting tips to avoid mess

3. Dress your child in old clothes/ Pajamas. Little toddlers and smocks don’t really make a great pair. Avoid the dramatics and just let them wear something that you don’t care if it’s stained.

4. Use an old table cloth to protect your table. If you need to protect your floors try a shower curtain under your child’s chair.  happy tips for toddler finger painting

5. Give them control and let them have small dishes of paint to explore with. Toddlers are on the verge of a lot of new independence and giving them some control during activities is a great way to support this development. You don’t need to direct this activity at all!

6. Have extra paper ( and anything else you are using) on hand so you don’t have to leave them unattended for a second. tips for finger painting

7. Have wipes or a wet wash cloth, and a towel ready. Also don’t unbuckle the booster until after they are all the way clean.

8. If they are super messy my favorite trick is to have a big old bath towel ready and wrap them up in it, and go directly to the bath. toddler finger painting

9. After the painting is dry display it with pride! This seems obvious but it’s really important. Children need to their their art to complete the process. They are artists and should be proud of their work!

 

 

Need a great finger paint recipe? Try this one that your child can help make with you in the kitchen! Click on the image to find out how to make it.

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Exercise Eggs – Find & Move Scavenger Hunt

gross motor activities for kids I have been going through my photo archives and finding activities I have photos of but never posted. This scavenger hunt must have just gotten missed because it’s a great game and we’ve played it many times since, I don’t know why I have never posted it. The goal of the game is to get kids moving when it’s too cold or wet to run outside but it uses the novelty of finding and opening these sport themed Easter eggs ( which are already in the stores) to make it just a little more fun.

Please excuse the blurry photos – this was before I had a great camera or kids who’d freeze when I asked!

Gather your materials. You will need some plastic Easter eggs ( any theme will work), some paper, a pen, and scissors.easter egg gross motor activity

Start by cutting your paper into strips small enough to stuff into the eggs. Write different actions on the paper. If you really want to tire your kids out go big!gross motor eggs

Here are some ideas for you :

10 jumping jacks.
Sing the alphabet while skipping around the room.
March in place for 25 seconds.
Do a crab walk around the couch.
Stomp 5 times.
Touch your toes.
Jump as high as you can 5 times.
Sing Head and Shoulders.
5 burpees.
5 sit ups.
Dance like a maniac!

Pop those in and hide the eggs. Can you see any in the room? My little ones ( oh look how little they were…) were eager to find them all.sport egg

Search for the eggs. easter egg gross motor sports eggsAs you find them open them up, read it exercise eggs and do what it says. We all did the actions as a group but you can decide if the finder does it or everyone joins in. easter egg gross motor jumping

You can make this activity a quick brain break or a long full body workout. It’s all up to you. Either way it’s fast and fun to put together. So go grab some plastic eggs and get moving!