Quick Fun For Busy Days

As I prepare for even more family to arrive at our house, double check recipes and check my 100 lists for the 100th time I can’t forget about my kids. They still need fun fast things to do bewteen gazing at the Christmas tree and shaking presents. Here are some great fast fixes and quick fun for the days ahead.

Train Track Painting ( above)

 

DIY Light Box

Wrapping Paper Patterns

Potato Masher Painting

Gingerbread People Play-Doh

Dry Erase Mazes

 

 

Southern Snowman

by Katy

We live so far south that we very rarely get to experience actual snow.  When we do get snow, it’s often not enough to make a snow man. Even so, there are lots of holiday songs and stories about snowmen, so I thought I’d show my son how snowmen are made with a little play doh.

I used black and white play doh for this activity.

I went ahead and rolled all of the pieces in advance. My son has a lot of sensory issues, so he’s not a big fan of play doh. I still run him through the motion of rolling the big pieces, but if he had to do it all himself, we’d have a meltdown before we finished.
So, we took each white ball, rolled it once or twice in his palm, and then stacked them. He was extremely resistant to the play doh with his left hand, so we switched it up and used his right–much better!

We then took the smaller black balls and helped him use his pointer finger to press them into the snowman creating eyes, a nose, and some buttons. We’ve worked on using pointer finger before, so this is a good  way to reinforce that skill. Overall, using one finger was much better than using his whole hand.

When you’re finished, you have a snowman guaranteed not to melt.

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Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.

Window Roadway

This activity is only for the brave or desperate… we have been home bound with an ear infection and we were all getting squirrely. I have been trying to motivate my son to write and draw more and doing it upright on an easel, wall or window is a great way to naturally use the muscles needed for writing.  These window crayons are great but I have a few must follow tips that will make your adventure with this activity much easier to clean than ours. Do not miss them. Seriously.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some window crayons, a window, a old dish towel wet on one side and dry on the other and some removable stickers if you want. Notice I have match box trucks in the picture. DO NOT use them… you’ll see why a little later on.
  2. Draw out some streets.
  3. Fill them in. Here is my 2nd ” Do as I say not as I do tip” Filling the roads in looked cool, but big flakes of black window marker fell onto my floor. They cleaned up easily but the one that I stepped on was troublesome. I left a little trail all over my kitchen that was reminiscent of those old Family Circle funnies. I am just thankful I didn’t go into my family room where there is carpet.  Simply drawing on the window didn’t create these flakes, but the large amount needed to fill the road in did. Look for the flakes and clean them up quickly before they spread.
  4. Add lane markers.
  5. Add traffic signs.
  6. Add your kid to draw the buildings, parks and in my case police stations and fire houses .  He loved it and although they may not look exactly like the fire house on your block, the fact that my son was drawing something made me so happy. At preschool he refuses to make any representational pictures saying ” I just like abstract.” so I feel great knowing we may be turning the corner without us pushing him.
  7. Listen carefully – learn from my oops.  Do not add match box cars. He loved running them all over town , but of course their tires picked up the crayons and ….
  8. Did this. My window sill is normally all white. I blame my 6 month old’s lack of sleep last night for my inability to foresee this obvious result but decided to share my oops.
  9. Instead grab re usable stickers if you have them and pop them on.Remember peeling stickers are a good workout for fine motor skills too!
  10. When you are done , wash off. We only left it up for as long as he played with it. I have left the window crayons on for a long time ( think months)  and it always comes off, it’s just a matter of how much elbow grease you feel like using. This came off easy peasy because it was only on for an afternoon.

Books About Trucks

The Three Little Rigs by David Gordon is a fresh twist on the classic Three Little Pigs with trucks instead of pigs. My son ate this book up, he loved it. The “wolf” in the story is a wrecking ball that smashes and crashes the Little Rigs garages , I thought he was a little scary but after reading the book I asked my son his favorite part and sure enough he said the wrecking ball. I loved the illustrations and was not surprised one bit to read that the author/illustrator has done work for Pixar.

My Truck is Stuck! by Kevin Lewis is a fun book full of great rhymes and funny illustrations from Daniel Kirk. The story is simple a truck is stuck and even though other vehicles come to help, nothing budges until a tow truck arrives. The best part is the cargo of bones in the truck are slowly stolen by hungry gophers while the others work to free the truck. It’s got a great message about helping people and the illustrations make me giggle, especially the guy in the moving van who is blowing bubbles. I have never understood that but it makes me laugh.

The Mighty Street Sweeper by Patrick Moore is a rare book, it’s rare because it is a story about self esteem clothed in a truck book. The street sweeper isn’t the biggest, the fastest or the most powerful truck but it’s still mighty and proud. I really like this book, we read it before nap and again before bed and I liked it even more the second time. The message about being happy with who you are is really touching . I liked that the book says that you don’t have to be the best at everything to still be proud of your hard work. My son really enjoyed this book as well and it was excited to read it again at bedtime.

Best Of 2010

# 3

Sensory Tubs

The jury was split on which sensory tub was the best , but many of you have emailed me saying you’d never expect your 5 and 6 years olds to still enjoy what seems like an activity for much younger kids. Sensory tubs are amazing, themed or simple with a single filling, kids love them. They spark imaginative play, they encourage cooperative with groups as well as a truck load of pre math skills too.

Which sensory tub was your favorite?

Snow Science!

We were actually snowed in a few weeks back but considering my Twitter stream was packed with tweets about snow days I thought I’d  better post this now while so many of you have snow ( It can also be done with ice if you are short on snow). My son loved this and it’s the type of activity that adjusts seamlessly to different ages and abilities.The goal is to answer the question : Where does snow melt the fastest in your house? And why?

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some small bowls or containers, a stop watch or clock,a measuring cup,  large piece of paper, and marker.
  2. Start by making a chart with 4 columns : Container #, Place, Prediction, Result. If your child can help write encourage them to.
  3. Number your containers, decide where you will place them and make your time predictions. I had my son go to each room and think about how long it would take the based on how warm each was.
  4. Go outside and gather some snow! Don’t forget to put about the same amount in each container .
  5. Put them in different spots around your house.
  6. Start the timer.
  7. Enter your results.
  8. Discuss the results. It was cold in our garage it wasn’t until bedtime that the snow was all water!  Since doing this a few weeks ago my son has made many mentions about our cold garage.

Have a little one not ready for this yet? Try ice cube painting .