Sea Glass Sensory Tub { safe for little hands }

mod meltsOne of my very favorite things to do when I had some downtime is to go to the beach and search for sea glass. It’s such a calm and focused activity. My daughter really wants to help but doesn’t have the patience to search for very long. So when I was asked to check out the new Mod Podge Mod Melts for a sponsored post I knew just how I could create something for her while trying out this new product. This sea glass sensory tub was a huge hit. My daughter has (finally) moved past the mouthing stage and so these little shapes are fun and great for her fine motor development too . If your child is still putting things in their mouth try larger items like big seashells and try this out when they are ready.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some play sand , a tray or container, Mod Podge Mod Melts and mold , a high temp glue gun, paint and a jar.mod podge melts sea glass
  2. Start by creating your “sea glass” the melts are easy to use . all you need to do is place the melt sticks in your glue gun like you would a glue stick. Fill the mold and wait. Our heart n=mold was small so I only waited about 5 minutes and them popped it out. mod podge melts craft idea Make many.mod podge make your own sea glass
  3. Paint! We used acrylic paint in green and blue . I painted 1/3 blue, 1/3 green and left the rest plain. I am not sure how well my camera captured it but it really looks like sea glass! The paint dries quickly if you use a sponge to apply it.mod podge melts beach glass sensory bin
  4. Pour your sand into the tray or container.mod podge beach sensory bin
  5. Add your “sea glass” I hid some under the sand and put some above .modge podge melts
  6. Invite your beach comber to come and search. My daughter immediately dove in.  mod podge beach glass sensory bin
  7. Pop them into the jar .mod podge melts sea glass counting activity
  8. After you have found them all scatter them and count. Next she hid them all and repeated every step. This is a pretty intuitive activity I wasn’t having to hover or instruct. I think I showed her the jar without any clear instructions and the rest she figured out and explored with me clicking pictures and enjoying how intent she was.mod podge melts counting beach glass sensory bin
  9. She even gave me a heart for my sea glass collection .mod podge melts make your own beach glass

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This post as mentioned above is part of a paid campaign for Mod Podge Melts with The Blueprint Social.
 
 

Playdough Animals

playdough animals easy kid activityI love when I set up an activity with one child in mind and the other ends up completely into it. I love the addition of small items to playdough not just for the extra kick of fine motor development ( playdough all by itself is great for it) but also for the extra kick of creativity. My toddler took to this activity very literally decorating her butterfly but my son experimented with decorating as well as using the materials as tools.  I love watching the gears turn in their heads!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some playdough ( I love the commercial stuff but have some great recipes if you want to make your own) , animal shaped cookie cutters, googley eyes, beads/bits of straws/buttons and other embellishments.playdough animals 2
  2. Start by choosing a color of playdough and pressing it down flat.playdough animals
  3. Choose a cookie cutter and cut out. playdough activity for kids
  4. Start decorating. playdough animals 7I love how a simple googly eye transforms the playdough. My daughter was totally into it but it was my son who surprised me. He was far more focused than I expected him to be. playdough animals 8He quickly discovered that the beads made cool prints and that he could make it look like scales and fur. playdough animals 10
  5. After she was done her butterfly my daughter found our plastic scissors and joined us at the table to do some playdough cutting.playdough animals 5
  6. My son just kept creating. playdough animals 22He couldn’t wait to show his dad what he made and his new techniques when he got home from work. playdough animals

Simple Patriotic Sensory Activity

4th of july sensory activity for kids I had grand plans for dying rice, finding star shaped containers and some flags for a 4th of July sensory bin but life got in the way and I ran out of time. So yesterday when my daughter and I had some time alone and quiet ( after weeks of family and running around) I used it to make this simple sensory activity.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a tray or pan some shaving cream, paint ( finger paint works great!) , glitter and some tools for mixing like paint brushes , spoons and spatulas.  4th of july sensory activity for kids
  2. Spray the shaving cream in.
  3. Add the paint.shaving cream fireworks I started just by squeezing it on, then used a brush to make it look like fireworks . My daughter couldn’t care less she is 2 and has only ever seen them once . The goal for her is to mix and explore.
  4. Add glitter! For you who aren’t keen on glitter you will like this , the glitter doesn’t spread all over. Ready for the kiddo- who was napping. Luckily the cream stays fluffy.
  5. Time to explore. She immediately went for the tools I had laid out for her.
  6. Asked for a napkin when she got some on her fingers.
  7. Mixed and mixed.

While she was exploring I narrated some, asked her what she saw, what she liked… but didn’t direct . Let them explore until they start throwing it on the floor or push away from the table. The great thing about this is that it really does last longer than you’d think. Hours later when my son got home from the beach with his dad he gave it a few mixes too.

 

 

 

Playdough Play Mats – Silly Hairdos!

This sensory activity allows kids to use their imagination to give you or themselves a new hairdo with playdough. My toddler is a huge fan of playdough play and it’s great stuff for toddlers and preschoolers… but my 5 year old gets bored easily sometimes. It’s not essential we all play the same things but it’s nice to play and be silly together .It was inspired by this paint project from Putti Prapancha . Adapting it to playdough  allowed us all to sit and play together .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some sheet protectors, some photos of faces that you can cut, playdough ( ours is store bought but homemade will work a-ok), a few sheets of construction paper, some scissors, painters tape, double stick tape and a garlic press.
  2. Start by cutting out the faces from some family pictures. Cut off the hair! playdough ideas
  3. Tape them onto the construction paper using double stick tape.
  4. Slip it into a page protector. I had to trim my construction paper to fit.Tape to the table with painter’s tape if you have a little one like my daughter who takes great pleasure in “clearing off” tables.
  5. Start playing. We used the garlic press, our hands and scissors to make the hair. preschool play dough stuff
  6. My daughter loved putting it on my face, apparently she wants me to have a goatee. Don’t worry about toddlers putting the hair in the “right” place, there is no “right” place.  Talk about who they are looking at , talk about how squishy the playdough is and ask if they have hair etc… no need to make it a battle of wills, this is supposed to be play, so let them explore.
  7. We rotated through the pictures taking turns ( another good lesson) .He loved mixing the colors in the garlic press.
  8. Squeezing it out.
  9. Adding it on. For some reason the concept of chest hair has been a big topic at our house – not something I was expecting until closer to puberty but ok. He added some on his sister and himself. Have fun with this.

Books About Families

Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gilman is one of those books that you read and think oh I love it, but will kids? I am here to tell you yes! They love this old Yiddish folk tale about a little boy, his very special blanket and his grandfather who made it for him. Over the years Joseph’s blanket transforms into a jacket, a vest, a tie, and handkerchief and finally a button. The story is beautiful and kids love not only the repetitive text when the grandfather is sewing but also the continuing storyline of the mice that live under the floor boards who use the scraps of material for all sorts of things. There are no goofy gimmicks, no lights or sounds just a great story and beautiful illustrations in this gem! A fantastic book about family and growing up.

All Kinds of Families! by Mary Ann Hoberman was not what my son or I expected at all. The story is really disjointed both connecting similar objects into families and talking about the generations of a family. I like  that it explains that there can be all sorts of families  and that it talks about how your family makes you into new things like a son, sister or cousin but I think mixing the two is too disconnected for the average picture book reading kid. To be honest it was a little disjointed for me too.  My son was ready for it to be over half way through and that is never a good sign. Usually by the time he’s asked if it’s over he’s tuned out. The illustrations were cute but even they didn’t save it for us.

The Family Book by Todd Parr is a book that doesn’t give readers a narrow definition of family , it doesn’t say that your family has to look a certain way, or be the same as your neighbors. As a teacher I really appreciated the matter of fact way it embraced diversity. Kids see that families are not all like theirs and it’s important to validate the truth while recognizing that while they may not all look alike, all families are made with love. Great book , cute illustrations and children love it.

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3 Fruity Cheerios Activities

I bought these fruity cheerios for a fun craft at my daughter’s birthday party and decided to use them for a few more crafts and put it all together for you.  These smell awesome! Which make them even more fun to use for crafts since they add a deeper sensory experience for kids.  Each of these activities are distinct but so simple you could do them all in one day or spread over years!

Fruity O Sensory Tub

This was a fun colorful tub for my daughter to play with.  Using the cheerios let her explore with scooping and pouring with something that although I don’t usually have it in her diet if she did ingest it I wouldn’t be concerned. I didn’t encourage her to eat this though as I treated it like any other sensory tub where we are not suppose to eat. I should note that she’s never been fed these so they were not immediately thought of as food. As with any activity with young kids this is only to be done under immediate supervision , only you know if your child is ready for an activity, look at your child’s abilities not the age recommendation.

  1. Gather your materials . You will need a container ( I love light ones for babies so if they pull it off the table by accident you have a mess but no injuries). You will need a few cups of fruity cereal and fun tools to scoop with . You may also want some painters tape.
  2. Add a few loops of tape to your table and tape down your tray.
  3. Add cereal.
  4. Add tools and toddler !
  5. Watch out for fast moving preschoolers too!

Fruity Flower

This was impromptu and as you will see it evolved as we went. My original vision was not what my son wanted to make , so we changed it up mid craft. I like his vision better anyway and the end result was a really fragrant flower!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some fruity cereal, a paper plate, a sheet of colored paper, scissors and white glue.
  2. Start by gluing the paper plate in the middle of the paper and drawing the petals with glue.
  3. Add your cereal to the petals. Which he did… for a bit. 
  4. He decided that just putting one color on each wasn’t “seriously cool” but if we filled the middle , that would be.
  5. So that’s what we did! There are enough power struggles in every day life with preschoolers if they don’t like the craft and want to change it go with it, it’s great if they have an idea they want to make.
  6. Let it dry.
  7. Cut out. 

Fruity O Butterfly Necklaces

I loved these Butterfly treats from TeachMama and knew when I decided to use a butterfly theme for my daughter’s first birthday party that I’d need a craft for the kids to do. So I changed it up a little by turning it into a necklace craft.  The craft table was busy even though the sun was out at the party, and these are a fun craft to do any time.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need fruity O’s cereal, sandwich baggies, and some craft lace.
  2. Start by filling the baggies with a handful of cereal.
  3. zip it and separate the cereal to the edges. 
  4. Wrap a cut piece of craft lace around the middle and tie.
  5. When making it into a necklace loop the craft lace through one o first to make an easy stopper so kids can string the cereal on without them zipping off the end.
  6. Lace and tie . At the party we had kids from 2-8 enjoying this craft.
Believe it or not I have not been compensated in any way for this post – no one at Cheerios have contacted me although if they are reading this , wow those chocolate ones are so good!