Arctic Ice Sensory Play

arctic ice sensory playI ordered these Arctic Animals a few weeks ago and we’ve been playing with them in playdough snow and with our other animal figurines but this arctic ice sensory tub was by far our favorite way to play. My daughter was absolutely in love with this and it’s so easy and cheap to make. The one big word of caution is that this much ice is heavy so please be careful that it’s on a stable surface and not somewhere that it could fall and hurt someone.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a plastic tub that will fit in your freezer( dollar store !) , a smaller plastic container, something heavy to place in the container ( I used frozen chicken sausage), a freezer and some arctic animals.
  2. Start by filling your tub part way with water. Do not fill it all the way it will be so heavy and possibly dangerous. Place the smaller container in and weigh it down. This will create a open area for water inside the icy terrain. Freeze.arctic ice play for kids
  3. Remove the smaller container and fill the open area with water. I filled mine with lukewarm water. artic ice play for kids and toddlers
  4. Add animals and play.arctic ice activity We kept ours low to the ground arcticon a stool in the bathroom so spills and splashes could be no biggie ( and also because the light it way better for pictures than in my kitchen). The next few times we played we played in the kitchen on a towel on the floor.
  5. Talk about which animals stay on land , which live only in the water and which can swim and walk on land. arctic sensory playWe talked a bit about predators and prey as well ( especially when her brother joined in the next day).  We noticed how the water was so cold even though it was warm-ish when we poured it in and why that was. And most importantly we played and played and played. arctic animal and ice sensory play
 This post contains an affiliate link.

Footprints in the Snow {Playdough Play}

winter play dough play for kidsMy daughter adores playdough and cooking so last week we made some simple white playdough and added snowflakes ( that promptly melted of course – duh! Add after it cools…) and then had fun playing pretend with some forest animals. This is about as simple as it gets but there are so many wonderful lesson possibilities packed in this simple play.

First we made the playdough. The recipe we used is my favorite .

Something I do with my daughter ( or the toddlers I taught when my own kids were only imaginary) is to play Simon Says before doing someting where I may have to say ” Don’t touch!” a lot. Instead of turning this activity into a negative one when I need her to not touch I simply say ” Simon says touch your nose!” As it turned out I didn’t even have to use this but we still had fun with our pre playdough making game.

simon says

She helped me mix the dry ingredients, foot prints in the snow play dough for toddlersI  kneaded the dough while it was too hot for her to touch and gave her some extra flour to explore on the counter.  I slipped in some glitter too. footprints in the snow playdough activities

This playdough is best after it’s chilled so we made it before nap time. Then after nap time it was ready to be played with.

I love these animal toys. They leave real footprints. We sat across the playroom table from each other and just started making prints.  snow playdoughWe looked at them, at which were bigger than the others and how many we could make from one side of the playdough to the other. footprints in the snow playdough play Soon a storyline emerged the raccoon was saving the other animals from a “Snow bump” <– which is 2 year old speak for a snow bank. It was hilarious to watch her narrate a whole complex story line including some negotiation during the various rescues. footprints in the snowwinter  play dough play for toddlers

At this time of year with so much sparkle and wow and rush it’s a blessing to sit and be and take things slow and easy with a toddler . We’ve played this exact activity over and over and each time felt calm and connected after. Something I know most all of us can use right now.footprint in the snow playdoh play

This post contains an affiliate link.

Scrap Paper Lion Craft

Yesterday I asked my son to choose one of the animals we saw at the zoo last week and I’d think up an activity. He chose a lion and this is what we made. Now I can’t post this without saying that I did my fair share of this lion too. If I could do it all over again I’d have the kids paint the body and only collage the mane or make it a way smaller project because they lost major steam about half way through. We took a break I slipped back in the playroom filled in some of the empty spots and then the challenge was just right and they completed it on a high note and our playroom now has a super cool lion on the wall.

  1. Gather your materials, you will need some craft paper, glue, construction paper ( we used paper from out scrap box ) , a pencil, crayons, markers, googly eyes and scissors.
  2. Start by drawing a lion on your craft paper. I used the lion from Eric Carle’s 1, 2,3 to the Zoo as my inspiration.
  3. Next have the kids color the paper to make fur- this was my son’s idea.
  4. Next cut some of the paper in long strips for the mane. The big adult scissors are a treat for a kid who isn’t super fond of cutting but needs to work on it … funny how something so simple can make all the difference!
  5. Cut or rip the rest into pieces.
  6. Add glue.
  7. Add the paper.
  8. My son worked hard on the mane. Then we took a break.
  9. When we got back he added glue for the face pieces ( I cut them out when they were collaging) .
  10. Added the googly eyes .
  11. Let dry then cut out and display!

Books For The Zoo

Check out some books about the zoo here.

35 Easy Animal Crafts For Kids

{Hello! If you are checking us out for the first time and like what you see you can subscribe here and get new ideas to play and learn with your kids daily. }

summer crafts for kids

Last week we went to the zoo and since our visit my son has been pouring over the free map asking about each animal and telling me what he learned about it. It gave me the idea to round up our best animal crafts for kids and share them in one post.


Bat
Bird
Bunny
Chicken
Crab
Ducks
Elephant
Fish
Frog
Giraffe
Hedgehog
Jellyfish
Leopard
Monkey
Moose
Mouse
Octopus
Owl
Panda
Peacock
Penguin
Pig
Rabbit
Reindeer
Seahorse
Sea Urchin
Snake
Sheep
Starfish
Tadpole
Tiger
Turkey
Turtle
Tortoise
Zebra

Simple Penguin Craft

penguin craft

We love penguins and was one of my favorite themes for daycare and preschool when I was teaching toddlers. My daughter loves the penguin bath toy you see in this post so we decided to use a penguin to paint a penguin. This was a huge hit with my toddler who thought it was hilarious to whack it on the paper. With older children encourage them to do the cutting but with toddlers the goal is fun, exploration and making something fun to show off on the fridge. This penguin is on our fridge right now and my daughter likes to point to it saying her name and smiles.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 3 sheets of construction paper ( blue, black and orange) , white paint, a dish , a bath toy ( but a sponge will do), glue, scissors and googly eyes ( although I put them on at the end she is too little and still eats things).penguin craft
  2. Start by pouring paint into the dish, and placing the toy in it.
  3. Hand it  and the black paper to your monkey and start painting. My daughter carefully made a few prints…penguin craft
  4. Then really got into it.
  5. We paused to wipe paint off our hands and mouth and switched paper. The blue paper is the icy habitat so it needs paint too! penguin craft for kids
  6. I gave her snack after clean up #2 and allowed the paint to dry some. And cut out some feet and a nose from the orange paper. penguin craft
  7. Then cut out the black into the shape of a penguin.
  8. Time to glue.  We took turns gluing.penguin craft for kids
  9. If they want to take time to explore the glue bottle don’t fret, they are making connections. Just stay close so any giant messes can be minimized.
  10. Put the body on the glue.
  11. I added the glue for the nose and feet putting it on a wide area so she could choose where to place the pieces. Don’t correct your kids  and where they place things, this is their creation. If they are able to glue ( and get more than a few tiny drops) by all means encourage them to do it.
  12. Add eyes ( if your little bug is like mine and eating all small potentially hazardous items wait until they are napping or engaged in other play and add them on) and let dry.penguin craft

Penguin Books

Penguins, Penguins, Everywhere! by Bob Barner is a cute rhyming book filled with simple facts about penguins. My toddler loved the bold illustrations, and my son really liked the facts and it sparked a desire to learn more about the animal. That is one of my favorite things about non fiction books like this that look like stories , they plant seeds of interest that can be launched into deeper inquiry. Great book for preschool through Kindergarten.

Penguin by Polly Dunbar was an unexpected delight! The book started with Ben who got a penguin as a gift but no matter what he did he got no reaction from his penguin. Finally as happens with young kids Ben lost it, has a temper tantrum and a lion eats him. Yes I said a lion eats him. My son loved it. He howled with laughter and don’t worry in the end it’s happy so nightmares are unlikely if you read this before bed. I loved the rhythm of this book and the simple illustrations were a perfect fit. Big thumbs up from kid and parent on this one!

Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester is such a cute and funny story, your kids will love it! Tacky is an odd bird but when hunters come to get some pretty penguins is funny odd ways of doing things turn off the hunters and saves Tacky and his perfectly not odd companions. This is a sweet look at being different and being happy as pie about being different.  My son loves this book and will often point out that Tacky is proud to sing just the way he wants. I love that it can preach to kids without preaching at all.