Alphabet Sensory Tub

Sensory tubs are great for all sorts of learning  and you don’t need fancy things to get your kids interested … but it’s so fun to give them a theme! This one is a great one for preschoolers who want to do a little more than scoop and pour. It’s easy enough to simplify using plain rice or beans ,  only the  larger letters and adding cups to fill and spill! Do not feel like you have to be directing your kids while they play with sensory tubs, some kids need it but most do not, just let them play. If they are older and looking for a game to play with it follow our instructions for the letter hunt .

  1. Gather your materials. For this sensory tub we used a handful of magnetic letters, some huge floor puzzle letters,small foam letters,  small letter beads, plain white beans a plastic dish tub ,  alphabet pasta. If you want to do the letter hunt game, you will also need an ice cube tray and some tongs.
  2. Start by putting the beans in the tub .
  3. Next the pasta.
  4. Now add the letter beads – my son was playing outside and came in to help.
  5. Next the foam, magnets and jumbo puzzle pieces.
  6. If you are doing a letter hunt place some letters in your ice tray for your child to find.
  7. Go for it!
  8. Found it!
  9. This was such a big hit that he pulled it back out later that evening.

More Fun with Letters

Fishing For Letters

Best Of 2010

#7

Musical Hearts – Movement Game

As you can see if you click over to the original post,  this video tutorial got quite a few comments but it also got kids moving which in the middle of winter is not always easy. My son loved it and the hearts are still in the drawer of our coffee table ready to play almost a year later. This game can be played anywhere rain or shine, so there is no excuse for kids not getting their whole bodies moving!

What is your favorite way to get your kids moving when they are stuck inside?

Homemade Gift: Discovery Bottles

Letter of The Week will return after the holidays but for now holiday kids crafts, homemade gifts and books will be filling your screen! This is not an original idea as long as I have worked with kids I have made and played with these. I am actually making these for my son’s preschool but plan on making one for my daughter’s stocking, they are great toys for babies.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need empty water bottles with their lids, hot glue gun, glitter, oil, water, food coloring and shampoo( karo syrup or  hair gel is much cheaper… I just had a ton of this shampoo on hand). You may also want a funnel.
  2. Start by removing the labels from the bottles.
  3. Next add the contentsWe started with the green bottle with  shampoo , glitter and green food coloring. When this one is done the glitter will slowly move through the shampoo ( or hair gel or karo syrup). We used a funnel to fill it and my son watched it slowly fill pretending it was a soft serve ice cream machine. 
  4. The next bottle was the yellow bubble bottle with yellow food coloring, glitter , one squirt of shampoo and filled halfway with water . When it’s done the children can make bubbles by shaking it.
  5. The next was the blue glitter bottle – water and glitter. When it’s done the glitter will swirl through the water.
  6. The final one was half oil , red food coloring, water and red glitter. This one has always been my favorite, the water and oil will resist mixing and children can make gentle waves without much effort as well.
  7. Hot glue the lid on, do not let even older kids do this. I have been using hot glue guns for oh 25 years and I burned myself with every bottle!  I added colored tape to the outside as well.  Let sit a few hours before playing with it, and test it over the sink before passing it to a child.

Remember that even with careful gluing these things break . I had an oil and sparkles one break in my kitchen when my son was a baby. The lid broke in two! Lesson is to stick to playing with them in places that are easy to clean and always supervise children with these, always!

Preschool Math Game

I use what I have to teach my son and for this game I used tea bags. I love tea and these bags were so colorful that they were the perfect available manipulative. Have you ever seen how expensive math manipulatives are?  You can use legos for this, fun colorful cut outs or even marbles ( provided your child is past the “I’ll pop that in my mouth” stage).

  1. Gather your materials.  We are using 5 different colors of tea bag packages, berry cartons ( 5) a bowl to hold all of the tea bags to start with and I made number cards 2-6 for the berry cartons.
  2. Start by talking about how some of the tea bags match and how you have to group the matching ones together.
  3. Count the matching tea bags.
  4. Find the correct carton with the number .  And pop them in !
  5. Keep going!  If your child is frustrated by too many steps, scale it back. Simply group the colors. Ditch the numbers and matching them up, if they are still game after that count the piles. The next time you play see if they are ready to take it to the next level and match the counted number with the written number in the carton. If not don’t push. Make this fun, they will get there when they are ready. In the mean time even if all they do is match up colors they are still practicing math skills, matching and color recognition so do not stress.
  6. For really reluctant mathematicians try using something they love like matchbox cars, Polly pockets, legos… be creative and you will be shocked at how receptive they may be.

Need more math activities? What about math books?

Math Activities

Math Books