Sensory activities are always a huge hit around here. My son loves exploring , squishing and the pretend play that always seems to accompany play dough play. Adding scents to your play dough simply makes something every day a little more novel and exciting.He played with this play dough forever. I originally only gave him half of each scent/color so we’d have some reserved for later, but then gave in. He was pretending to make and ice a cake on his own youtube video. It was hilarious and great pretend play.
- Gather your materials. Today we made Bisquick Playdough ( click for the recipe) , I like this one because the playdough is very white and is easy to color. To make the play dough scented we used flavorings ( Banana, Strawberry and Cherry) and food coloring. You can also use Kool-aid. Also grab a few zip locks for adding the flavor and color to avoid stained hands.
- After kneading the dough per the recipe , separate the dough into one bag per scent/color.
- Add the coloring , close the bag and have your helper come help. He mixed it some but I did the majority of mixing, it takes some time.
- Chill the dough until cold. This makes it less sticky.
- Gather some fun tools to play with – I love cookie cutters and popscicle sticks.
- Smell see if your child can identify the scents.
- One big happy smelly mess .
Books About Fruit
Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert is an alphabet book extraordinaire! Wonderful paintings of fruits and vegetables seem ultra simple and it is but somehow the way the author has pieced this simple book together is brilliant. Maybe it’s that children learn about food at the table multiple times a day and feel proud being able to identify not only some of the letters but some of the pictures too! From a teaching standpoint I love that there are both upper and lower case letters on each page! This book will grow with your child, and beware it will also make you
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey and Ron Wood is a fantastic book that children adore! The story not only unique in that the narrator speaks directly to the mouse , it’s illustrations will enchant your child’s imagination and make the most overtired parent smile. The little mouse is trying to keep the strawberry away from the bear, and his adorable attempts to hide it make my son laugh every time! Great book!
We love cupcakes, but who wants 24 cupcakes when only 2 people in your house will be eating them( which means 22 for me and 2 for my son … not good). So instead of baking them we decided to play with them. This pretend play incorporates sensory, learning shapes, and color mixing too! Not to mention it was really fun!
- Gather your materials. You will need some red and white playdough, some fun cupcake liners, cake picks ( is that what they are called?), a cutting board and heart cookie cutters. You can also add sprinkles, fancy plates and muffin tins!
- Start by mixing some of the red and while to make pink playdough. Normally I make my own playdough but I wanted this color mixing lesson as part of the play, so I bought white and red dough, it’s hard to make true white playdough at home. If you want to make your own here are my favorite recipes.
- Let em at it! My son kneaded the dough ” I squish it until it’s yummy!”
- We rolled it into balls and popped it in a liner.
- Made hearts for the top – I did one to show him all the options while and he ran with it.
- Don’t forget a pick!
- Keep playing- this cupcake cost me $38 dollars! Good thing the playdough , liners and pics together only cost $3.99!
- There is no right or wrong way to play – just explore, have fun and remember to keep playdough far away from carpet, it’s such a pain to get out.
Mr. Cookie Baker was an instant hit at our house. The book is about who else, Mr. Cookie Baker and it shows the reader how he makes cookies from scratch, ices them and sells them. It’s a great book to explain baking and bakeries. My son loves the part where Mr. Cookie Baker eats a cookie after a long hard day and then says goodnight. I like the illustrations, they are bold and detailed without being cluttered and can almost tell the story all by themselves. Be warned though reading this will almost definitely make you crave a cookie or two.
I love play dough but until last year hated making it. I had a play dough cook off and this was my favorite recipe that was submitted by Jana from This and That I added pumpkin pie spice to it and it was perfect! It was a nice calm activity for my little man on a very rainy day!
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
3 Tbs. oil
1 Tbs. alum
2 cups boiling water
Here is how I had my little man help me make it today!
- Gather your materials. You will need the ingredients – separated into individual bowls, pumpkin pie spice, food color is you want, a cutting board, and fall cookie cutters for playing after!
- Start by pouring your flour into a large bowl, I don’t suggest having it at kid level until you are ready to mix… my camera batteries died and in the 2 minutes it took to get new ones there was a nice dusting of flour all over.
- Pour in the salt.
- The alum
- The oil
- The pumpkin pie spice – my son added so much but it turned out great.
- Pour the boiling water in ( adults only please- the water needs to be boiling not just hot)
- Pop onto the cutting board and knead, add food color if you want.
- Let cool a few minutes.
- Play! The addition of seasonal cookie cutters make all the difference for us. Plain old playdough becomes extra fun with these $1 cookie cutters! You can store it in the fridge for months in a sealed ziplock.
Toddler Halloween Books
Clifford’s First Halloween (Clifford the Small Red Puppy) by Norman Birdwell is a Halloween book that my son adores, I read it 4 times this afternoon alone. In all honesty I am sick of it but the person that matters still wants more. The story is about the big red dog’s very first Halloween as a puppy. Clifford and Emily Elizabeth find costumes, they trick or treat and try candy apples too. I think what my son relates to is that at almost 3 he doesn’t remember too much of Halloween , even though he knows what it is this year will be the first time he gets to do so many things. Like little Clifford, he is often too little for things, makes messes and has bigger people step in and fix it for him. He doesn’t know it yet but one day he will be more like the big Clifford than he knows. This book doesn’t jump at me as a must read but I can’t ignore my son’s love when writing this review!
Peek-a-Boooo! by Marie Torres Cimarusti is a perfect toddler Halloween book. The premise is simple, each page has a well known Halloween character including a witch, skeleton, Frankenstein all hiding behind their hands playing peek-a-boo with the readers. The characters hands are flaps and when you lift them they reveal the character’s face – which is always sweet and happy , never scary. At the end of the book there are more flaps to lift to reveal trick or treaters and the same Halloween characters hiding in their haunted house. My son loves this book too and I think it’s a great completely gentle way to read about Halloween with toddlers.
Where Is Baby’s Pumpkin? by Karen Katz. This lift and flap book is the newest addition to our Karen Katz collection. My son adores these books. I read this in the check out line 3 times and he was asking for more before I could get my groceries in the fridge. I like this book because it’s a cute and gentle introduction to Halloween and all the creatures that go along with it. Also there are fun textures to many of the illustrations which help keep little hands busy! I love the sparkly ghost and the shiny bats are my son’s favorites!
Need a playdough recipe ?
Check out what happened when I tested out readers recipes!