Cooking in the Sink – Sensory Pretend Play

water table ideas for preschool Even though I wish all summer could be spent outside rainy days or too hot days means more time inside and for antsy toddlers that can be hard. This activity occupied my 2 year old for a good 40 minutes and she had fun too. Below are a few tips on how to make play like this last longer without sparing the fun.

  1. Gather your materials. We grabbed an apron, a pot, some corks, spoons and a ladle . We also used dish soap half way through.
  2. Start by filling the sink and asking your child if they want to cook.
  3. Let them play.
  4. Without prompting she threw some corks in and then scooped them out and into the pot. Can you say hand eye coordination development ?
  5. She mixed and splashed . When she was tiring of it I asked if she wanted to look at all the different tools for cooking. She loved the whisk.
  6. Next I asked if she wanted bubbles…of course that was a yes too .water play for kids
  7. The whisk was extra fun in the bubbles. She even caught a cork.
  8. For us the sign that she was done was that these big waves turned into let’s make Mama wet even after reminders that the water stays in the sink. You will find your child’s own end signs where gentle redirection fails and every day will be different, some days this will last a long time others it just won’t. It’s not you or your child it’s just the way it is, if it fails try again another day. 

Throughout the pretend play I followed her lead. She told me it was cheese soup and I asked her questions about her cheese soup, about cooking etc… I know that pretending doesn’t come naturally to all parents but try to at least ask a few questions and indulge their imaginations. It’s OK to feel silly sometimes even if it doesn’t come naturally.

 

22 Activites For Kids Under 2

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activities for one year olds

 

Kids under two can have fun too! My sweet baby girl just turned 2 but she has been playing and creating with us since she was only 6 months old. There is so much fun babies and toddlers can have. Below are our favorite 22 activities for one year olds but older kids will like them too.  Only you as a parent/ teacher know what your children are ready to do, only expose them to materials you are comfortable with and remember that all activities on No Time For Flash Cards require adult supervision.  Now to the fun!

Alphabet Playdough
Bubble Wrap & Dish Scrubber Starfish
No Mess Color Mixers
Rubber Duck Stamping
Who Do You Love Sensory Tub
Glass Sponge Painting
Animal Track Painting
Rainbow Gelatin Sensory Tub
Bug Painting
Touch Box
DIY Board Book About Feelings
Playdough Toy Prints
Baby Basketball
Pretend Play Vet Clinic
Backyard Car Wash
Baby Block Painting
Pretend Play Grocery Store
Toddler Beading
Toddler Butterfly Craft
Recycled Drum
Discovery Bottles For Babies
Painting With Water

Do you need ideas for older kids?

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3-5 preschool ebook

Mud Soup – Outdoor Sensory Pretend Play

outdoor sensory play Once nice weather makes it our way in the Seattle area we run outside and stay until the rains come. We have been playing outside a lot and I needed something that both kids could be engaged in so I wasn’t trying to watch one outside while the other was inside . This was the ticket , you will see that they weren’t doing the same thing at the same time but everyone was happy and I sat in the sun listening to giggles under a blue sky. Pretty perfect, of course I had to strip them both down at the door so my carpets weren’t ruined but that’s the price you pay for fun. As you will see there was lots of learning happening too.

Gather your materials. We grabbed a bunch of different sized containers, some spoons, shovel and bucket.  We have raised beds in our yard with soil in them so we used that too.dirt soup outdoor play
We dug some dirt.
They got water together
And that’s when we lost my wee girl. She decided she’d play with water – and drink a lot of it.outdoor play
My son was deep in mud soup making.  He soon noticed that if he put the dirt on the water it sank. We talked about why while my daughter continued to drench herself at the tap.outdoor play
He counted and added bits of weeds, leaves, flowers, rocks, clovers…outdoor play
Then pretended to give it a taste before adding a little more of this or that.outdoor play for kids
Oh look who came back to see what we were up to. She finally joined in adding dandelions and water.mud pie play
Then I sat watching them play soaking up the giggles.

What’s your favorite outside activity with your kids?

Alphabet Playdough – Alphabet For Starters

alphabet for starters no time for flash cards

Introducing children to letters doesn’t have to only use print material especially for the very young. Children learn with all their senses and it’s best to teach them using as many as we can. These simple but valuable introductory activities is what this series Alphabet For Starters is all about. My daughter who just starting to show interest in letters loved this simple sensory activity. We played and played naming letters as we pressed them into the squishy playdough. Try to avoid using this time to quiz your child on their knowledge ( I know it’s hard not to ) instead label what they are doing.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some playdough ( we have great playdough recipes and even a gluten free playdough recipe) and alphabet cookie cutters. alphabet for starters
  2. When starting any activity with a toddler I like to start them ready to play. I gave her a few letters to start and a hunk of playdough pressed flat. alphabet for starters
  3. She started playing and naming letters immediately. She knows a handful of letters but all the ones she doesn’t are named R . I don’t tell her ” NO it’s T! This is T!” I just say something like ” You are pressing the letter T so hard into the playdough.” or ” Look at that yellow T you have.” There is no rush – just play with the letters.alphabet for starters
  4. I was shocked with how long she played – it just went on and on! We grabbed more letters from the bin. alphabet for starters
  5.  I asked her which letters she liked and even though she said A and M she played with R way more than any other letter. It was fun to watch her explore knowing that in an instant she will be reading and writing like her brother. Savoring these simple playdough activities is such a treat. alphabet for starters

Like this activity but you have an older sibling who wants to play too?  Or a child who is already familiar with the alphabet?

Here are a few tasks for them  :

  • Use the cookie cutters to cut out the letters of their names.
  • Give them words to cut out and spell.
  • Guess how many letters they can fit in one hunk of playdough without overlapping the prints.

 

 

Easy Easter Egg Craft

easter egg craft

We just got back from a nine day family vacation so I wanted to re-establish a routine quickly but gently. This Easter eggs craft was a perfect way to do that. It’s very process focused and I let the kids direct as much as they wanted. I had the paper cut out in eggs but also had extra as plain paper that they could make into any shape they wanted. This was quick for my son who was eager to play with new Lego sets (spoiled by a Great-Grandma) but my daughter explored for a long time after her brother was done. Expect a mess and enjoy!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper, bubble wrap ( the big ones works well), paint, a tray or plate for paint, brushes ( love ours from craftprojectideas.com) , some painter’s tape , scissors and if you want to display it a few sheets of construction paper and glue.
  2. Start by cutting out some paper eggs. I made sure to have plain paper on hand too but my kids just made a few eggs each.bubble wrap easter eggs
  3. Next attach the bubble wrap to the table. My daughter loved popping the wrap which is great for fine motor development.
  4. Dish out the paint. I have been teaching my son about colors and how adding white changes the tint so we did that. Adjust this step to your child. My daughter hated mixing and when we helped her with the first she started crying . My son mixed all hers for her after and showed her how he mixed his and then she was fine but I will find a new way of approaching this with her next time.
  5. Mix.
  6. Paint the bubble wrap. My daughter wasn’t sure at first so I sat down and painted with my son, soon she was asking for the brush too.
  7. My son painted with his brush but my daughter and I took turns, she often used her hands. Then wanted them wiped off, then … well it was a long back and forth but that’s ok.
  8. Print the paper on. She insisted on printing one in the same spot as her brother.
  9. Voila !
  10. Glue to construction paper and you have a super easy Easter craft for all ages.

Easter Egg Books

All of our book lists include affiliate links.

Ollie’s Easter Eggs (a Gossie & Friends book) by Olivier Durea is a cute book about friends working hard to dye their Easter eggs, well all but one Ollie who is playing and looking incredibly adorable in bunny ears while the others work hard.  However Ollie may have missed out on dyeing the eggs but he makes up for it by masterminding a true egg hunt!  My 4 year old son loved this book and how sneaky Ollie was as he snatched the hidden dyed eggs and re hid them! Cute addition to this popular series.

Where Are Baby’s Easter Eggs? by Karen Katz is a great way of having an Easter egg hunt while reading a story. If you aren’t familiar with the ” Where are  Baby’s …” series of life the flap books, they are simple books where the reader searches for an item finding other things first before finally finding the title object, in this case Easter eggs. My daughter loves these books and plays with them even when we aren’t reading them together. I love the bright illustrations and the simple holiday theme.

Easter books

The Best Easter Eggs Ever! by Jerry Smath .The story follows the Easter bunny and his 3 young assistant bunnies as they prepare for their big day. The Easter Bunny is getting tired and a little bored of his polka dot design for the eggs and decides to send out his assistants in search of new designs. The little bunnies head out with one egg and paints to all different places to find inspiration. When one of the little bunnies is captivated by the night sky she doesn’t notice how dark it is and how lost she has gotten. The Easter Bunny and his other assistants find her and in the morning the new designs are celebrated. My son loves an inside look at any sort of secret place like  the Easter Bunny’s or Santa’s workshop so he was drawn into this book immediately. I liked the illustrations and how detailed they were , it certainly got me excited about Easter.