Easy Winter Sensory Bin

winter sensory bin for preschool Sensory tables and sensory bins ( or lasagna pans like we used this time) are a fun experience for toddlers and preschoolers to learn a myriad of things. Simply scooping and pouring the contents of a sensory table will help develop hand eye coordination, as well as the basic concepts of measurement but as your child grows there are easy ways to turn your basic sensory fun a step further to keep them learning. Here is our easy winter sensory bin .

  1. Gather your materials. We used packing peanuts, blue pom poms, small pieces of silver ribbon and tiny snowflakes. We also used over sized clothes pins to use as “pinchers”.Winter Sensory Tub
  2. For younger children simply mix and explore. Feel the different textures, scoop with big spoons or measuring cups and pour. Winter Sensory Tub
  3. For older kids introduce the clothes pin , choose things to pinch or just let your little one loose. My son pretended he was a crane working on a snowy  Winter Sensory Tub construction site and picked up all the blue pom poms.

    Winter Sensory Tub

    Little does he know he was giving those fine motor skills and hand eye coordination a darn good work out!

  4. There is no right and wrong way to do this , have fun and  use what you have!Winter Sensory Tub

Books About Winter

All book lists include affiliate links.

A_Really_good_snowman

A Really Good Snowmanby Daniel J. Mahoney plucked my heartstrings and then some. This is a story of a annoying little sister who always finds ways to ruin her older brother’s fun, and his avoidance of her . He’s just an average big brother, and when she tags along to a snowman building competition he ditches her for his friends. When some bullies tease his little sister , he does what every mother hopes their older child does and stands up for her. Then seeing he needs her he leaves his friends and joins her snowman building efforts.  It’s a sweet story but not so sweet it’s unrealistic. Also the illustrations of all the different snowmen will make you laugh , my favorite is the Elvis snowman!

Snowman in Paradise

Snowman in Paradise by Michael Roberts is genius. There I said it. I very rarely think that of books. I like the majority of books I read and think there are so many good ones to share but I don’t want to return this one to the library, I want to keep it! The book is about a snowman from Manhattan who is glum after Christmas and wants to go on a vacation too. A magical bluebird grants his wish and he flies first class to a tropical island , with the only rule being he needs to come back in time for Christmas next year. This book is written like the traditional “Night Before Christmas” and although I thought the copy would be too long for my son at first , I was so wrong. The rhymes are unique , my favorite being :

In May after splashing with buckets of paint, He threw down his brush, saying, “Gauguin I ain’t.”

Even if some references are more for the adults reading it than the children listening , both parties will close the book smiling and wanting to start all over again.  Grab it and see why I love it so much!

Natural Halloween Craft For Kids

halloween craft

I love wreaths, they are the perfect way to decorate and although I made a Halloween wreath last week I wanted to share how my son  got in on the fun too. We actually made this one weeks ago. This Halloween craft was fun for both of us I love the organic look to it. If you don’t have a paper plate to use any cardboard cut into a circle will do!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need dried black beans, dried orange lentils, a paper plate, orange ribbon, white glue, bowls to mix , a spoon and scissors.Halloween Wreath Craft
  2. Start by having your child mix the black beans and orange lentils. It was at this point that I got the idea for this sensory tub. My son loved this step.Halloween Wreath Craft
  3. While they play with the beans and lentils add glue, lots and lots of glue.Halloween Wreath Craft
  4. Add the beans and lentils. It was hard getting photos of this because I was helping him drizzle them on. Halloween Wreath Craft
  5. Keep going until all the glue is covered.Halloween Wreath Craft
  6. Let dry – I popped it outside in the sun to dry faster!Halloween Wreath Craft
  7. When it’s all dry cut out the middle.Halloween Wreath Craft
  8. Shake off any loose lentils and beans.
  9. Add an orange ribbon.Halloween Wreath Craft
  10. Hang up !Halloween Wreath Craft

Halloween Books from Carrie Anne

Carrie Anne is a monthly contributor to No Time For Flash Cards, she shares fantastic book reviews and today she is sharing her Halloween picks! Catch up with her on her blog Another Day , Another Thought…or two!

Dragon's Halloween

Dragon’s Halloween by Dav Pilkey. The kids love Dragon. Actually I love Dragon too. He’s such a lovable character. He has a few books out . The Halloween book has 3 mini Halloween stories. Dragon’s personality and natural innocence is so childlike , I think that’s why we all love him so. Dragon is written by the same author as Captain Underpants, which explains some of the humour.

pumpkinhead

Pumpkinheadby Eric Rohman. I love, love, love the artwork in this book, all printed from carvings. The story is cute too, about a boy with a pumpkin for a head. One day he looses his head and adventure follows. Same author / illustrator as My Friend Rabbit .

Ghost Kids Craft

Puffy Paint  Ghost

Ghost Craft


This is not a neat craft, have wet paper towels ready- put on an old shirt and have fun.  We have made this puffy paint a few times and I absolutely adore how it dries. It really dries puffy- although it takes a while to dry fully so put it somewhere high until it’s done.  I love doing art with this because it combines crafting with a great sensory experience. The glue and shaving cream make a really great squishy texture, just be warned, it flings really really easily, I found some all the way across the room this afternoon!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some shaving cream , white glue, some black paper, googly eyes, and a paper grocery bag or other large thick paper.Ghost Craft
  2. Start by drawing an outline of ghost on the paper bag. Set aside.Ghost Craft
  3. Mix together 3/4 cup of shaving cream with 1/4 cup of white glue.Ghost Craft
  4. Explore!Ghost Craft
  5. Add your gloopy mix to the paper ghost!Ghost Craft
  6. Explore some more.Ghost Craft
  7. While your child is exploring cut out a mouth, we did a zig zag per my son’s request, make any kind of mouth you want!Ghost Craft
  8. Add the mouth right on topGhost Craft
  9. Add the googly eyes.Ghost Craft
  10. Let dry , depending on how thick your puffy paint is it may take hours.
  11. Cut out when dry!Ghost Craft

For more check out my FamilyEducation.com blog. All week long we are doing ghost crafts!

Books

Halloween Happening

A Halloween Happeningby Adrienne Adams is a curious book about a group of witches that are putting together a special party for the children on Halloween. The text is long but my son sat through the whole thing asking questions about the witches and the giant tower of pumpkins they built for the party. The book makes efforts to  explain that witches aren’t bad, just different.   I said that this book is curious because much of it had me scratching my head , the main event of the party are bat glider rides the witches take each child on. I wanted to think this was okay but all I could think was ” Don’t get in cars ( or gliders) with strangers!”.

wobbleWobble, the witch cat by Mary Calhoun is a vintage story that is charming and much loved by my son. Wobble is a cat who belongs to Maggie a kind old witch , but Wobble hates riding on Maggie’s slippery broom. The other cats tease him and with Halloween coming up he decides to get rid of Maggie’s broom. When Maggie can’t find her magic broom, all she finds is a vacuum cleaner, but will it fly?  My son loves vacuum cleaners and thought it was hilarious that a witch would try to fly on one. I liked the  idea that witches sweep the sky so that the children can be safe under the stars on Halloween night.

Old LadyThere Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat! by Lucille Colandro was a huge hit! It’s a reworking of the classic song ” There was an old lady who swallowed a fly” only this one swallows a whole bunch of Halloween creatures, like a goblin, ghost and of course a bat.  She continues to swallow bigger and bigger things much to my son’s amazement! He was giggling through the whole book and the end when the old lay belches he laughed hysterically. It was predictable but I have to admit was a really fun , silly read.

Pumpkin Pie Playdough Recipe

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
food coloring

Here is how I had my little man help me make it today!

  1. 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!Pumpkin playdough 002
  2. 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.
  3. Pour in the salt.Pumpkin playdough
  4. The alumPumpkin playdough
  5. The oilPumpkin playdough 006
  6. The pumpkin pie spice – my son added so much but it turned out great. Pumpkin playdough
  7. Pour the boiling water in ( adults only please- the water needs to be boiling not just hot) Pumpkin play dough
  8. Mix.
  9. Pop onto the cutting board and knead, add food color if you want. Pumpkin play dough
  10. Let cool a few minutes.
  11. 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.Pumpkin playdough 009


Toddler Halloween Books

Clifford" First Halloween

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!

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_babys_pumpkinWhere 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!

Halloween Sensory Tub

We Dig Halloween!

Halloween Activity for toddlers

I bought these black beans and orange lentils for another Halloween craft  but when we made it the real hit was scooping and pouring… and spilling! So we ran out to the dollar store got some fun plastic creatures to add to it to complete this easy DIY sensory tub that is small enough for even the tiniest apartment.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a plastic container,  some dried black beans, some dried orange lentils, we added macaroni for bones,  a spoon/scoop, some plastic spiders, snakes and other spooky creatures!Halloween Party Idea
  2. Have your child help pour the beans and lentils into the tub.
  3. Grab the creatures and hide them under the beans.Fall Sensory Tub Ideas
  4. Explore!