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.

 

Painting With Nature – Simple Summer Crafts

art for kids Summer time is about being carefree, not worrying about the schedules that hold us back and the deadlines…. well that is what I wish summer was. Really it’s only sometimes like this but the day we made this it was.  My son was playing with the neighbors and I grabbed this huge piece of card board, some paint and called them to the drive way. We had three kids 2, 5 and 7 years old all completely engaged , here is the super simple how to.

  1. Gather your materials. All you need is something to paint, paint, and a yard to find potential tools. Spread out some paint. We used a huge piece of cardboard but you can do this on a much smaller scale too. kids crafts
  2. Tell the kids to find things to paint with.
  3. Paint! Both big kids went straight to the pine tree and made prints. crafts for kids
  4. My 2 year old sat down in the paint with a rock and explored.
  5. They grabbed hydrangeas summer crafts and snap dragons .paiting with snap dragons
  6. Whipped paint with ferns.
  7. Made cool leaf and flower prints.
  8. Made a huge happy mess.summer arts and crafts

This was such a fantastic open and free art activity and seeing their faces light up as they said ” Oh I have an idea!” before running off to the yard to come back with a snap dragon or maple leaf was exhilarating. My 2 year old was covered in paint. I couldn’t get a picture because she grabs for the camera and I was worried she’d grab the lens. The paint soaked through her pants all the way to her diaper. She was in heaven.  Memories were made with such a simple summer activity!

 

22 Activities 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. Just check out all these activities for kids under 2.  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?

Check out our BRAND new Playful Preschool eBook. It is packed with awesome hands on preschool activities anyone can do at home. It’s $8.99 . Click on the image below to buy.

3-5 preschool ebook

Build With Letters – Alphabet For Starters

jumbo cardboard blocks The  goal for our Alphabet For Starters series is to give you ways to  introduce letters to your children through all sorts of play. This activity the 7th post in our series pairs gross motor play with letter recognition perfectly! Don’t forget that the number one thing you can do to teach your children about letters is to read to them so after the activity we’ve included some of our favorite books and if you are looking for alphabet books for kids we have 50 Alphabet Books too!

  1.  Gather your materials. You will need some big blocks like these from Melissa & Doug ( cardboard boxes will work just great too ) ,scissors,  painters tape if you don’t want to alter your blocks forever or a sharpie if you do.
  2. Using the tape make letters on the blocks. I did this obviously but she wanted to help , it was tricky…
  3. So she got in the bin and supervised while I made a bunch of letters that she suggested and I popped in a few others too.
  4. Then my son came to help too. He wanted the O to be on a blue so he suggested making the o I’d already made into a Q. I was all for it.
  5. We didn’t make every letter because they were super eager to play. But don’t feel like you have to do every letter. If you think 26 letters will overwhelm then focus on s few that your child knows well and a few that they have yet to recognize so you balance challenge with success.
  6. BUILD!  The most fascinating thing was that every time she grabbed a block she’d recognize and say the letter without prompting. As we built I would sometimes say ” Should we put the W on top?” or ” Grab the T and I’ll put it here.” We were playing with letters without testing or drilling and while we were building someone decided to start spelling too.
  7. Knock it down and build another.

Last night I had to make more letters because my son was begging to spell all sorts of words. I was excited to see him sit down and sound out words first before asking me if it was right .  I absolutely love that they both have enjoyed such an easy to make activity using their favorite blocks.

Our Bedtime Books

Baby Giggles (Beautiful Babies) by Rachael Hale is a simple board book that my daughter adores. She can’t go to bed without reading it and saying goodnight to the babies. Now something about my daughter is that she is baby obsessed which is why this book was bought for her in the first place, it’s page after page of all sorts of babies. The text is simple and rhymes but isn’t anything to be wowed by. The photos are adorable and even after a million readings she giggles at the baby picking her nose and kisses the sleeping babies at the end of the book goodnight. Definitely a favorite at our house even if it will never be a classic.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. is another book that can go with a baby from infancy through toddlerhood and into the preschool years. The bold colors of the illustrations by Eric Carle are perfect for catching infant’s attention and will continue to grab it through the years. My son enjoyed this book and loves reading it to his sister now but she absolutely adores this book.  We have read it every night before nap and bed for a few weeks and I think it’s going to be a bedtime favorite for a while. I also completely credit this book for teaching her some of her colors. It’s a great bedtime book because of the even rhythm and predictability that is calming and great to wind down to. There are other titles in the series , including ; Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?, Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? , and Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? but this one is my and my daughter’s very favorite!

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?