Ocean Sensory Tub

ocean sensory binAnyone who thinks that sensory play is just for toddlers needs to see this post.  Since making the swamp sensory tub last year my kids have asked to do another one just like it.  I didn’t mean for so long to go by but we finally got around to it and this time made it into an ocean sensory tub with blue gelatin.  Play like this is fun and simple and perfect for summer . We leave ours out covered in our yard for a day or two and observe how the gelatin changes throughout the day. Please note that we live in the PNW in warmer climates leaving it out may not be a good option.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a container to make the gelatin in, a large container to play in, some fun sea animals and glass pebbles, plain gelatin ( I used 5 boxes) and some blue food coloring. You will also need a little bowl, scissors, many cups of water and a pot or kettle for the boiling water.ocean sensory play for kids
  2. Start by pouring all the gelatin into a little bowl – 5boxes = 20 packets of gelatin.ocean sensory play
  3. Boil 5 cups of water . Add a few drops of blue coloring to the water.
  4. Pour 15 cups of cool water into your container.
  5. Sprinkle the gelatin on top and let rest for one minute.ocean sensory tub for kids
  6. Pour the boiling water in and stir until the gelatin is dissolved.
  7. Hide in your fridge behind yogurt. Well that’s what I did because the last thing I wanted was blue gelatin all over my kitchen . When I made the rainbow gelatin sensory tub I spilled some blue and it it forever to get that stuff off.ocean hiding behind my yogurt
  8. When the gelatin is set about 3 hours ( ours was a little under done but the kids were eager) grab the sea animals and get the table prepared.ocean sensory bin set up
  9. They explored the gelatin before putting it in the table. Touching and tasting it. ” It tastes like zero, nada, nothing .” ocean sensory bin tasting it
  10. Then we added the gelatin.ocean sensory play dgd
  11. Play!! Clearly the 6 year old was into it. Literally.ocean sensory tub with gelatin
  12. Because ours was a little under done it was stickier than normal and required more washing off – so they ran to the water in our yard and cleaned themselves off.ocean sensory clean up

Find & Rhyme – Gross Motor Rhyming Game

find and rhyme game for readingGetting my son learning after school isn’t always easy because he’s just been at school all day!  This rhyming  game was originally supposed to be a Frisbee like game with the hula hoops acting as targets but my dollar store plates were too light and even doubled up wouldn’t fly well. So we turned it into a hunt and my daughter came along for the ride and everyone had fun . You could adapt this easily for different levels using upper and lowercase as pairs to match, sight words ( writing out two and finding the match) or word families. Even though my almost 3 year old participated this activity is part of our Learning After School series . This series is filled with ideas for fun active learning after school gets out.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cheap plastic plates ( just don’t expect them to make good Frisbees… ) , a sharpie and some hula hoops.Rhyming Hunt for kindergarten
  2. Start by writing some words on the plates. I chose 4 words that offered lots of rhyming words.  Bake, car, band and hat.rhyming activity for kids with movement
  3. Write out as many rhyming words on the rest of the plates for each as you think will offer your child the right amount of challenge.  You can always have a few extra on hand to hide on the go if your child is into it and you want to extend it.
  4. Place the anchor words ( bake, car, band and hat) in the hula hoops.hunt and rhyme learning after school
  5. Hide the other plates. rhyming word hunt
  6. Get your kids ready – I had my son agree that he’d let his sister find her share and not zoom through and grab them all . He also offered up his reading and rhyming skills to help. I wasn’t sure how it would play out … if you are doing this with a number of children with similar rhyming and reading abilities a great way to do it is to start each child off with a different word and have them search only for words that rhyme with their assigned word. * Whenever I am explaining rules I start with a quick game of Simon Says. It gets them focused. hunt and rhyme learning after school game
  7. It was great. hunt and rhyme early literacy gameHe needed a reminder not to grab all the plates but one reminder was enough. They would find a plate, run over and match the rhymes. She got a few solo ( after we read them of course)gross motor rhyming game and he would do his in his head throwing them down fast. But then when she was stumped he took time to help his sister saying things like ” Do you hear they sound the same? Cake and bake rhyme.” It was still pretty much over her head but he got great practice being patient and teaching her.  You can see him stretching out the words for her as a hint. Best part is the plates store easily and you can add more when you want to play again. sounding out the rhymes - rhyming game for kids

 

Books That Rhyme

 

25 picture books that rhyme

Here are 25 great books that rhyme . When reading these books with your kids take some time to play with the rhymes , not every single on but a few. Be silly and have fun. Do things like use a synonym in the place of a rhyming word  in the familiar text. When your child corrects you explain that the word means the same thing. They will insist it’s still not right . Ask them why. Continue reading. Pretending not to know the answer and letting my kids answer for me always gets a good laugh and the lesson sticks as well.

10 Mural Projects For Kids

10 mural projects for kidsMaking a mural is a great opportunity for learning, especially cooperative learning. When I was teaching PreK I had a very spirited class and although I made many missteps as a new teacher one thing I did well was to encourage cooperative art projects when bad behaviors started popping up. Murals aren’t only great for making kids work together they are also wonderful for long term projects, getting up from the table to learn and encouraging kids to use proper hand form for writing while writing and drawing on vertical surfaces. Each of these mural projects have other more specific learning goals like shape recognition, counting and fine motor skills but the emphasis is always on fun.

Spring Garden Mural
Math Around The House Mural
Flower Petal Sticky Wall
Heart Rainbow Mural
Letter Flowers Sticky Wall
Jar Lid Match Mural
Peel & Pick Apple Tree
Alphabet Wall Mural
Ocean Shapes Mural
Christmas Tree Sticky Wall

Painting with Sound

painting with sound preschool art ideaThis painting with sound activity was too brilliant to not share. It’s a perfect addition to a 5 senses theme. I can’t claim any credit for this other than choosing a great preschool for my kids. This came directly from my daughter’s teachers and when I saw it Wednesday I gasped because it’s pretty rare when I see something new to me. The only thing I changed was to put it on a vertical surface but that was because I was duplicating the activity only a few hours after my daughter did it at school and wanted to change it a little for her. I love using my doors as makeshift easels.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paintbrushes ( these were sent to me from craftprojectideas.com and worked well! ) , jingle bells, pipe cleaners, paper, and paint. If you are doing this on a window like we did you will want some painter’s tape to keep the paper up without leaving crud on your window.painting with sound preschool art
  2. Start by threading the bells on the pipe cleaners. I put different numbers of bells on each to create slightly different sounds.
  3. Wrap around the end of the paint brushes.painting with sound 5 senses activity for kids
  4. Let your little one explore the brushes and shake before they get covered in paint . She shook them as hard as she could before they were covered in paint.painting with sound exploring art for toddlers
  5. Grab some paint and paper.
  6. Add your artist. painting with sound jingle bell painting She really liked this and  loved hearing the jiggle bells as she was painting.  We talked about which ones made the prettiest sound and she decided she only liked 3 out of the 4 and refused to use the largest one at all. Using the vertical surface seemed to encourage her to make big strokes which really made the bells jingle. We ended up learning all about color mixing too. painting with sound 5 senses for preschoolShe wanted to make red so we tried all the combinations to discover how close we could come to it. Don’t shy away from lessons like color mixing that emerge from other ones.painting with jingle bells Yes the plan was to talk about sound but there is always room for more or different lessons.
  7. I even managed to step away and start dinner while she painted and made beautiful tinkling sounds.painting with sound toddler art

 

Rock Easter Eggs

rock easter eggsPainting rocks is a classic craft and a family favorite around here. When my daughter and I gathered rocks outside I didn’t tell her what they were for knowing if I asked her what she wanted to do with them she’d say ” Let’s paint!” and she did. We used Martha Stewart paints that I got for this post last spring. I love these paints for adult crafts but they are not at all washable. Have wet sponges on hand for anything that might get paint on it like little boots that trail across your deck… for example. You could do this with more kid friendly paint but I just love the colors that this paint comes in and frankly it’s what I had on hand.

      1. Gather your materials. You will need some rocks , paint ( this is all weather so the eggs can be put outside) , brushes, a drop cloth like a paper grocery bag and sponges or a wet rag to clean up spills.Rock Easter Eggs
      2. Paint. rock easter egg 2
      3. After some pinkeaster egg rocks she decided like many of her favorite clothes this egg needed to have polka dots. easter egg painting
      4. While she made the dots I made a striped egg.easter egg craft
      5. She helped me choose a few of the colors for the other eggs but after her big polka dot one she was ready to move on to playing in our garden while I had a blast painting in the sun.painted easter eggs She came back a few times to observe and give me tips like ” Make it polka dots!” . Toddlers aren’t made to sit for a long time carefully working on projects so don’t take it personally if they have enough way before you thought they would.