Tips For Making Great Play Recipes With Kids

play recipes

Asia Citro has no issue with getting messy. The former science teacher turned blogger turned book author has devoted many many hours to finding just the right combinations of ingredients for amazing sensory play.  I appreciate this because much like baking I am great at playing with these recipes and even creating activities to do with them once they are done but I am no good at creating the recipes. Recipes like these are precise , not really my strong suit. It is Asia’s. I received this book free for review and you should probably know the author and I are friends. I hope it’s clear to all my readers I wouldn’t promote something unless it was rad even if my friend wrote it.

banana playdough

In her new book 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids (affiliate link) she not only shares amazing screen free ideas she shares some exclusive play recipes, not even found on her blog Fun at Home With Kids. I decided to share some of my favorite recipes from her blog and then I let my daughter choose one of the exclusive ones from the book and share some one my favorite tips when you are making play recipes with your kids.

Before we get to the tips let me share my favorite play recipes you can find on Asia’s site Fun At Home With Kids:

edible paint

1. Scented Edible Paint
2. Rainbow Soap Foam Bubbles
3. Borax Free Slime
4. Polka Dot Slime
5. Foaming Dough Recipe : Magic Foaming Snowman

 

What I love about involving your kids in creating the play recipes is that it’s cooking and play all together. A lot of parents express how nervous they are about cooking with their kids or that they don’t have the patience for it. Well try this first. You aren’t a bad parent if you know that cooking dinner with your child will make you nuts. Maybe a play recipe like this will be the perfect compromise!

Browse for some recipes and let your child choose, she chose banana playdough. Letting your child choose the recipe they are going to make isn’t just a fun way to get them excited it’s a great way to model how you browse and read cookbooks. Flip through, read the ingredient lists together, and make shopping lists if need be. In this step along you are modeling real world reading and writing.

banana cooking

Measure out all the ingredients together making note of the numbers on the measuring cups. Cooking can be a wonderful intro to fractions in the real world for kids.banana mash

She loved mashing the bananas. Mashing bananas, avocados, cooked potatoes… and other mashable foods are always a good choice because kids can do this without you stepping in every two seconds. This builds their confidence.

banana cooking with kids

If a big bowl equals a big mess at your house give you child a little bit of the dough ( or whatever you are cooking) in their own smaller bowl and don’t worry if they spill it.

banana playdough

Time to play with it! Even if you are making real food play can absolutely follow. You can play restaurant with the completed meal, invite Barbie for a tea party, or my daughter’s favorite  play” TV Chef” Did I mention she would stop nursing if Giadia was on the TV as an infant? This girl has cooking in her DNA!

If you want the full recipe for the banana playdough  ( and so many others) grab a copy of 150+ Screen Free Activities For Kids by Asia Citro I can’t praise this new book enough. I think of it as my cookbook for sensory play. You can buy it on Amazon  —>  150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids: The Very Best and Easiest Playtime Activities from FunAtHomeWithKids.com! ( affiliate link) and check out the author’s blog here.

Easy Valentine’s Day Craft

easy valentine's day craftThis easy Valentine’s Day craft was inspired by these hole punch snowflakes we posted years ago. What I love about these hearts aren’t just that they are pretty , they are so simple and are a craft that you can put down and start dinner, run to the bust stop to pick up a sibling, or put away until the next day. Using a hold punch is a wonderful tool for building hand strength but make sure you have the right size punch that your child can maneuver to avoid any frustration.

Gather your materials. You will need some paper ( great way to use up scrap paper! ), hole punches, scissors, and some ribbon. You will also need some painter’s tape to hang them up without leaving too much gunk on your walls or windows. easy valentine's day craft

Start but folding some paper in half and cutting hearts. easy valentine's day craft for kids

Time to punch, hole punch heartI am telling you this one was tricky. hole punch heart craft for valentine's dayEveryone helped punch the holes. hole punch heart valentine's day craft

Make sure there is a hole in the middle of the top to thread the ribbon through. hole punch hearts

Thread it through and tie a double knot. This was too tricky for my daughter. The hearts are fragile and rip easily on this step. We decided we were a heart factory and the kids punched most of the holes and Mama tied on the ribbon. hole punch hearts in window

Hang them up in the window using painter’s tape. easy valentine's day decor

 

Books About Love & Friendship

books about love

Check out these 14 wonderful books about love and friendship after you make these fantastic hole punch hearts Valentine’s Day craft!

Easy Gem Letters – Alphabet Activities

alphabet activity Playing and creating with letters has been a fun way for my children and students over the years to get comfortable with letters, learn their shapes, and spark discussion about letters as we craft. As children color, paint, glue, and handle letters  while doing alphabet activities like this one they are learning. You can do this letter with upper or lowercase letters. I chose uppercase for my daughter because she is very comfortable and familiar with recognizing both and my goal for her is to get comfy with the shapes of the letters for writing. The handwriting program she uses at preschool and will be using in kindergarten next year focuses on uppercase first so we are focusing more on uppercase at this stage, though by no means ignoring the lowercase letters.  Adding jewels, buttons, stickers… is a novel way of personalizing this activity. My daughter adores these gems which made this activity a shoe in from the start. You don’t have to make a name sign but as we make the letters she wanted to make something and I suggested a name sign for a bedroom. She loved that idea.

Gather your materials. You will need some acrylic gems, sticky back foam, permanent double stick tape, scissors, and multiple sheets of card stock if you want to make a sign. alphabet actvity

Start by writing the outlines to the letters on the back of the foam. Don’t forget to make them backwards so when you cut them out they are correct. jeweld alphabet

Cut out. alphabet activity

Add the double stick tape. jeweled letters gemsI find this is way better on foam than glue. Once it’s down if you give it time to sit it will stay on forever. We did this craft before Christmas ( all those Christmas crafts pushed this one to drafts) and not a single gem has fallen off. This is VERY tricky. She did the straight letters and the curves ones I took care of. alphabet activity

Add the gems. This is where the literacy activity can easily morph into counting, patterns, shape recognition, even estimation. How many gems do you think will fit on this letter? Take cues for your kids to decide how much to push just make sure it doesn’t feel like pushing. gem lettersI had put them into pretty little containers to make it easier for her to grab them, but there was no point as she just dumped them on the table to get a better view.  This took a lot of patience and if your child is struggling let the tape settle and really adhere to the foam first before adding the gems. alphabet activity

Let them sit for a while. We used them to spell all sorts of things before settling on her name.

alphabet activity

Arrange them in whatever display you want . I layered a few sheets of card stock with more double stick tape to make the base of the sign.  You could do the same or get a cheap canvas and add them to that. callie gem letters

Peel the back of the foam off and stick onto the card stock. gem letters alphabet

Find the perfect place for it and hang it up. Like I said we made this before Christmas and since we hung it up she traces it every night before we turn the light off. It’s a sweet reminder of how proud she is of making it as well as just a good literacy activity. alphabet activity

 

Together Counts All Year Long

togetherOne of the fun things I get to do as a blogger is work with great brands and initiatives. One that I have been thrilled to work with for a few years now is Together Counts. You may have seen some of their posters in your child’s school { I just saw one last week when I had to pick my son up from the nurses office… poor guy} and I am always happy to see it. Together Counts is a great program aimed t teaching kids and families about energy balance. Together Counts is about more than energy balance though, Together Counts promotes the family table, being active together, and realistic goals for busy families.

rp_TogetherCounts_mainlogo-300x300.jpg

Our family goals were:

To eat dinner together with no screens and LOTS of fruits and veggies at every meal.  I’d give us an A on that one.

To run or walk a fun run together. I’d give us an F for that one. While I ran many races including 4 half marathons I couldn’t get my kids on board. This year I think I will try to make our move together goal less of what I want to do and something more suited to them!

To take advantage of our yard and be active close to home. Another A. We have played soccer, picked apples, turned over rocks, had races, ran through the sprinkler… we don’t take our big yard for granted!

What goals are you hoping to make this year?

Here are some of the articles I wrote for Together Counts Blog this year in case you missed them :

Sharing Your Childhood Games & Meals With Your Kids
Storytelling Walks
Games You Can Play In A Kiddie Pool
Favorite Fall Family Activities
Black Friday Activities For The Whole Family

 

As stated above I have been working with Together Counts and am compensated by them for the work.