Arctic Ice Sensory Play

arctic ice sensory playI ordered these Arctic Animals a few weeks ago and we’ve been playing with them in playdough snow and with our other animal figurines but this arctic ice sensory tub was by far our favorite way to play. My daughter was absolutely in love with this and it’s so easy and cheap to make. The one big word of caution is that this much ice is heavy so please be careful that it’s on a stable surface and not somewhere that it could fall and hurt someone.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a plastic tub that will fit in your freezer( dollar store !) , a smaller plastic container, something heavy to place in the container ( I used frozen chicken sausage), a freezer and some arctic animals.
  2. Start by filling your tub part way with water. Do not fill it all the way it will be so heavy and possibly dangerous. Place the smaller container in and weigh it down. This will create a open area for water inside the icy terrain. Freeze.arctic ice play for kids
  3. Remove the smaller container and fill the open area with water. I filled mine with lukewarm water. artic ice play for kids and toddlers
  4. Add animals and play.arctic ice activity We kept ours low to the ground arcticon a stool in the bathroom so spills and splashes could be no biggie ( and also because the light it way better for pictures than in my kitchen). The next few times we played we played in the kitchen on a towel on the floor.
  5. Talk about which animals stay on land , which live only in the water and which can swim and walk on land. arctic sensory playWe talked a bit about predators and prey as well ( especially when her brother joined in the next day).  We noticed how the water was so cold even though it was warm-ish when we poured it in and why that was. And most importantly we played and played and played. arctic animal and ice sensory play
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31 Things For Kids To Do During Winter Break

winter break activities When I suggested to a friend over coffee that I was thinking of writing a post about winter break activities for kids her face lit up and I knew I had to do it.  We love having our kids home for winter break but after a few days , a few newly broken Christmas toys and the third trip to the store to get more batteries it’s time to unplug and have some simple fun.  So here are  31 things for kids to do inside and out during winter break. These are not special activities for the holidays or even ground breaking activities . These are simple do it today and don’t break the bank activities. When you hear ” I’m bored!” you can scan the list.

  1. Donate. Before or after new toys make it into your house make a few piles and chose what to donate , throw away or keep.
  2. Go on a scavenger hunt outside.
  3. Make some ornaments for the tree inside.
  4. Make bird feeders for your trees outside.
  5. Bowl with your family and knock them down.
  6. Have a book festival .
  7. Go for a hike .
  8. Turn your playroom into a grocery store , toy store or coffee shop.
  9. Toss an egg off your porch and learn while doing it.
  10. Read some banned books .
  11. Work off some energy in your own boot camp.
  12. Go on an alphabet hunt.
  13. Play hide and seek.
  14. Make a snowman outside.
  15. Make a snowman inside.
  16. Go on a photo safari and write a book about your neighborhood.
  17. Get messy .
  18. Make a mural .
  19. Pretend to be a veterinarian , a scientist , or even an elf.
  20. Play with your food .
  21. Make your own constellation.
  22. Make a volcano without too much mess!
  23. Have an ice cream taste test.
  24. Start a journal.
  25. Match up some mustaches.
  26. Draw and design your own cards ( maybe thank you cards for holiday gifts?! )
  27. Measure with Legos
  28. Bring some snow inside and find out what part of your house is the coolest.
  29. Turn your train table into a winter wonderland.
  30. Get creative with loose parts .
  31. Make your own art retrospective , host a kid gallery show and look back at all the art you created in 2012.

 

Simple Penguin Craft

penguin craft

We love penguins and was one of my favorite themes for daycare and preschool when I was teaching toddlers. My daughter loves the penguin bath toy you see in this post so we decided to use a penguin to paint a penguin. This was a huge hit with my toddler who thought it was hilarious to whack it on the paper. With older children encourage them to do the cutting but with toddlers the goal is fun, exploration and making something fun to show off on the fridge. This penguin is on our fridge right now and my daughter likes to point to it saying her name and smiles.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 3 sheets of construction paper ( blue, black and orange) , white paint, a dish , a bath toy ( but a sponge will do), glue, scissors and googly eyes ( although I put them on at the end she is too little and still eats things).penguin craft
  2. Start by pouring paint into the dish, and placing the toy in it.
  3. Hand it  and the black paper to your monkey and start painting. My daughter carefully made a few prints…penguin craft
  4. Then really got into it.
  5. We paused to wipe paint off our hands and mouth and switched paper. The blue paper is the icy habitat so it needs paint too! penguin craft for kids
  6. I gave her snack after clean up #2 and allowed the paint to dry some. And cut out some feet and a nose from the orange paper. penguin craft
  7. Then cut out the black into the shape of a penguin.
  8. Time to glue.  We took turns gluing.penguin craft for kids
  9. If they want to take time to explore the glue bottle don’t fret, they are making connections. Just stay close so any giant messes can be minimized.
  10. Put the body on the glue.
  11. I added the glue for the nose and feet putting it on a wide area so she could choose where to place the pieces. Don’t correct your kids  and where they place things, this is their creation. If they are able to glue ( and get more than a few tiny drops) by all means encourage them to do it.
  12. Add eyes ( if your little bug is like mine and eating all small potentially hazardous items wait until they are napping or engaged in other play and add them on) and let dry.penguin craft

Penguin Books

Penguins, Penguins, Everywhere! by Bob Barner is a cute rhyming book filled with simple facts about penguins. My toddler loved the bold illustrations, and my son really liked the facts and it sparked a desire to learn more about the animal. That is one of my favorite things about non fiction books like this that look like stories , they plant seeds of interest that can be launched into deeper inquiry. Great book for preschool through Kindergarten.

Penguin by Polly Dunbar was an unexpected delight! The book started with Ben who got a penguin as a gift but no matter what he did he got no reaction from his penguin. Finally as happens with young kids Ben lost it, has a temper tantrum and a lion eats him. Yes I said a lion eats him. My son loved it. He howled with laughter and don’t worry in the end it’s happy so nightmares are unlikely if you read this before bed. I loved the rhythm of this book and the simple illustrations were a perfect fit. Big thumbs up from kid and parent on this one!

Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester is such a cute and funny story, your kids will love it! Tacky is an odd bird but when hunters come to get some pretty penguins is funny odd ways of doing things turn off the hunters and saves Tacky and his perfectly not odd companions. This is a sweet look at being different and being happy as pie about being different.  My son loves this book and will often point out that Tacky is proud to sing just the way he wants. I love that it can preach to kids without preaching at all.

 

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.

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!