Hot Chocolate Math

My son loves math and adding marshmallows into the mix pretty much made this activity one of the highlights of our snow storm fun last week. You don’t have to add the contact paper but by adding it becomes reusable and I was able to quickly make the activity more challenging when my original problems were too simple. If marshmallows are not something you want to use as a manipulative try buttons, packing peanuts or cotton balls.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 3 full sheets of construction paper ( backing, cups and strips of hot chocolate), a washable marker, double stick tape, a bunch of mini marshmallows, a white crayon for the steam, scissors, a tray or cookie sheet to keep it all together and a barely damp baby wipe for erasing the marker. I like dollar store cookie sheets because they keep the manipulatives in one place and I can attach the contact paper on top .
  2. Start by drawing a mug and cutting it out. I then used it as a template for 4 more. 
  3. Tape the mugs down , add a strip of brown to suggest hot chocolate and add some stem with a white crayon.
  4. Cover with contact paper. Don’t you hate it when you make a ridge in the contact paper , the stuff is too costly to just redo it too. I dream of one day having a laminator….
  5. Using a washable marker write numbers or basic equations. I started with the ones above but as you will see had to change it to offer more of a challenge. That’s the beauty of the write and wipe surface.
  6. Add some marshmallows in a bowl and your little learner.
  7. I quickly changed 3+1 into 3-1 and the 5 into a 5+3 to test the waters.
  8. Magic of manipulatives- not a problem. Finding just the right level of challenge is a bit of trail and error. My son didn’t think he could do 9-1 but he did. That is the perfect zone when they feel unsure of success but are willing to take a chance and take on the challenge. That is when new connections are being made. This stuff excited me beyond words. 
  9. This is such a great activity because you can wipe it clean and customize it to your needs 2 months from now or right away for another learner.

 

Sensory Play Snow

by Kim

 

Not everyone gets snow. Not everyone that gets it likes to take their kids out in it. I came across a neat recipe for “snow” on Pinterest. {By the way, if you are not on Pinterest you should be! Allie’s stuff is all over the place around there, too. ;) } You can find the original post about it here on Flights of Whimsy. She calls it cloud dough, I call it snow.

I made half of the recommended amount she posted. So for my version you will need:

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup of baby oil

Yes, baby oil. Your room is going to fill with the sweetest little smell and take you back to milk breath (without the sleepless nights, of course).

You and your child can count out the scoops it takes to equal 4 cups. Go ahead and let them dump it in.

Now measure out 1/2 cup of baby oil. Your child can easily pour this right on the mountain of flour.

First my daughter stirred with a spatula. Then she mixed it with her hands because it will clump a little. It is very easy to break up and continue mixing, though.

The texture is so nice. If your children have played with Moon Dough, it is very similar. It is light and fluffy. The scent is very relaxing. This is a fantastic sensory project. We mixed ours in a bowl, but moved it to a bin to play.

It molds easily. We used small bundt cake pans to make mounds and igloos. But the favorite was snowballs, which we threw into the mixing bowl to watch them shatter.

The dust from this does initially stick to your hands, but it brushes off remarkably easy.

 

 

Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.

9 Winter Crafts & Activities

Here are 9 great crafts and activities that celebrate the lovely things winter has to offer like building snowmen ( for ours you don’t even need snow), pretty snowflakes and what’s winter without mittens?

Snow Globe Snowman  –  Winter Sensory Tub  –  Penguin Place Mat

Spice Jar Snowman Blocks  –  Marshmallow Snowman

Magnetic  Snowman –  Mitten Match  –  Snow Science   –  Cotton Ball Snowflake

Winter Train Table Sensory Play

Just because you haven’t gotten any snow doesn’t mean your kids can’t play with it! We are lucky enough to have a train table that my dad made ( he’s been hacking Ikea since before it was hip) and this week we took some time to play with pretend snow . This is a wonderful multi- age sensory activity and worked great for my 5 year old son and 18 month old daughter, they each explored and played learning different things but having the same amount of fun.

 

  1. Gather your materials. We used our train table , extra trains and some cotton balls. If you don’t have a train table grab a bath mat, large shallow bin or just a coffee table and set up some trains or trucks then add in the “snow”.
  2. Start by being a little goofy and pretending to be clouds that are snowing . Give the kids the cotton balls and let them decide where the snow goes. I talked to my son about weather, asked him to look outside and tell me if he thought it would snow today in our yard. For my daughter we focused on the color white and the word “soft” feeling the soft cotton balls in our hands and on our faces.
  3. Play.  This is where some kids and many parents ( and even teachers) clam up. Now what? Here are some things we did that were fun.
  4. My son pretended to be delivering snow from one end of the train table to the other and we counted the snow as we loaded up the train, and then the pile when we dropped it off. 
  5. My daughter had a ball putting the snow into the little train house , through the windows. Hello, fine motor and hand eye coordination practice!
  6. We made a blizzard.
  7. We pretended to be the wind and blowed the snow.
  8. And more play.  What I loved so much about this was that it made the train table feel new again and we played with it and the snow on and off for days.

Books About Trains

Freight Train by Donald Crewes. Donald Crews’ Freight Train is a classic book.  It is rather simplistic in nature, but it is good for the younger train fans as it talks about the different kinds of freight cars and teaches about colors. My son loved this book at 2 and will still grab it at the library and read it when we are there three years later.

Tracks by David Galef and Tedd Arnold is a hilarious book about a man named Arnold who is in charge of directing the crew who lays down the train tracks.  Arnold’s glasses break, and his vision becomes a bit skewed.  What will the mayor think of this wacky track?  You’ve got to read it and find out!

Terrific Trains by Tony Mitton is another great book. My parents bought my son this whole set and at first I was sceptical of it just because it is a set and I guess I judged a book my it’s cover because I love all the books in the set. They are informative, fun, have great rhyming text and my son will sit for them and often requests them at bedtime too!

Snowflake Craft For Toddlers

snowflake crafts

You know that stage when everything gets thrown off tables? Bins get dumped? Nativity scenes get wiped out in a single visit from Baby-zilla? Yeah we are knee deep in that right now. It’s fun. This is a really simple classic craft but with a few tricks you can save yourself cleaning up gobs of glue from the floor, your baby’s mouth or hair.  As you can see she loved making this snowflake craft for toddlers and points to it and asks me to hold her up to touch it in the window daily.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cotton balls, glue, a dish, a paint brush ( pretty wide like an inch or so) and some construction paper. I used 2 pieces one to glue the cotton balls onto and one to use as a backing to make it strong enough to hang it up.
  2. Start by pouring some white glue in a small dish.
  3. Paint the glue onto the paper in the shape of a snowflake.
  4. Add kiddo and cotton balls.
  5. Because the glue is so thin the cotton balls stick but if they pick it back up there won’t be a ton of glue on it.  I rotated the paper as she filled up each arm of the snowflake.
  6. Lable the textures as they explore and make the snowflake- soft, sticky glue , rough ( or smooth) paper.
  7. Let dry and cut around the snowflake and glue onto the 2nd page if you need some extra strength.  Hang up where your little one can see their awesome creation.  snowflake crafts for kids

Books About Snow

All our book lists include affiliate links.

Stella, Queen of the Snow by Marie-Louise Gay is my kind of book. If I were to quote all my favorite bits of this book I would write out most of it. I just love the writing, it’s simple but doesn’t talk down to the reader. The characters are sweet but not saccharine and I love how inquisitive Sam is . Stella is a know it all but not bratty about it at all! Sam has never seen snow before and Stella tells him all about it as they explore the first snow fall of the year.

The Biggest Snowman Ever by Steven Kroll is a cute winter book that holds a fantastic message inside. The book tells the story of a snowman making contest in Mouseville, two little mice work so hard by themselves but it’s just not enough until they join forces. Competition is not a bad thing but sometimes cooperation is even better, I really like this book.