Archive for March, 2012

Sensory Box of the Month!

I’m going to try to start a new feature here where I introduce a new sensory box each month.  Nancy absolutely loves these sorts of things when I take Clara to preschool.  She walks on in the room like its her own classroom and immediately goes to either the bathtub sensory table (for wet-ish things usually) or the dry sensory table.  So, I think it is high time I start doing some at home for her.

This first one was really meant to go outside on sunny spring days for her to play with and spill to her heart’s content and then I would just cover it up and let the birds (or chickens) clean up the mess.  But by the time I got it made it was raining out side and so we have only played with it inside for now.  I’m sure that in the next month we’ll be able to find a time to take it out on the patio.

For this bin, I put in the leftover birdseed from this project and this project, a bit of rice, a bit of yellow split peas, and some barley that has been sitting around for over a year.  Really just any seeds and grains that I had around that really were mostly expired.  Then I added our Little People farm animals, people, tractor, and a few blocks.I put all of this into a flat plastic container (the kind that is meant to fit under a bed) with a lid so that it is large enough and long enough for many kids to use at once and shallow enough for them to reach into.

Photobucket

Flubber!

Photobucket
The activity of the moment at our house is flubber! Clara and I made some at preschool on my parent help day and then she wanted to make some at home as well, so I made two batches in various colors. Its really just glue, borax, and water that turns into a semi-solid and its super fun. We’ve had princesses and My Little Ponies playing in it as well as using the usual cookie cutters, scissors, rolling pins, straws, and chop sticks. The best part is that it is a very slowly flowing liquid as well and will slowly drip off of the table. Awesome fun for cutting and making “Rapunzel hair” as well as being a good lesson in patience.

Photobucket
Photobucket

Here’s the recipe for making your own:
1) Combine 1 C. white school glue (or clear Elmer’s glue but it will have a slightly different texture) with 3/4 C. of water and food coloring of your choice.
2) In a separate bowl, combine 1 1/2 tea. borax with 1/2 C. warm water.
3) Pour the borax mixture into the glue mixture and mix, then knead until all the water is absorbed.
4) Play to your heart’s content!

Photobucket

Happy first day of Spring!

Photobucket

How to make a six page book

Photobucket
This is something that I make all the time for Clara at home and just realized that I had never posted about.  It is a six page book made from one sheet of paper with no tape or staples required to hold it together.  I learned how to make them at Camp Silver Creek way back (thirteen years ago!) when I was a camp counselor.  At camp we called them “hip pocket books” because you could write down all sorts of games and songs and activities to do with kids in them and keep them in your hip pocket to pull out when you needed them.  Later I used the same books in my classroom for kids to take notes on throughout a unit or to write little books about some subject or other we were working on.  Now, with Clara we use them to write stories in or to just draw pictures in.  I’m also going to post in the next few days about how we used them to record our findings in a little experiment we’re doing.

So, here is how to make a six page book, with pictures to help!

1)  Get yourself a piece of paper.  This one is 11 x 17 construction paper, but you could use any rectangular paper (even notebook paper works).
Photobucket
2) Fold the paper in half lengthwise. I always told my eighth graders to fold it “hot dog style.”
Photobucket

3) Then, fold that in half again.
Photobucket

4) And in half again.
Photobucket

5) Open the paper up all the way and then fold is in half along the lines you already have width wise, or “hamburger style” if you would.
Photobucket

6) Cut down from the top, folded edge half way, along the middle line.
Photobucket

7) Open it back up and refold the paper lengthwise (hot dog style).
Photobucket

8) This is the hardest step. Push inward on the paper to make the hole that you cut bigger and the paper somewhat star shaped. Keep pushing until you have it all pushed inward with no hole showing anymore.
Photobucket

9) Fold it together into a book and crease it to keep it that way.
Photobucket

More and more shapes!

I think that the girls may finally be starting to learn their shapes!  They were each able to identify at least half of the shapes correctly in these activities!  Hooray!  So, I may be able to lay off of shapes for a while now.  Any way, here’s what we did the last time I had both of the little girls over.

Shape Relief Painting

Our first activity was a painting activity since painting was such a huge hit last time we did it.  Before I called the girls to the table I taped water color paper down to the table with painters tape and then used more painters tape cut into shapes to stick in the middle of the paper.  When I called the girls over to paint, the first thing we did was talk about what each of the shapes were and I had them each point to the different ones.
Photobucket

Then we started painting. I gave them each the same four colors to paint with. Chloe kept hers separate and pretty. Nancy stirred them all together to make a lovely shade of grey/green. They painted all over the papers, even over the tape.
Photobucket
Photobucket

Then we let them dry and when they were all dry I peeled off the tape to reveal the shapes!
Photobucket
Photobucket

Foam Window Shapes

Photobucket
The other activity that we did was an easy, quick little project to set up that kept them occupied for at least forty-five minutes. Super-duper fun! I found this idea on Pinterest here and knew it would fit easily into our shapes lessons. All I needed were some sheets of foam cut into triangles, squares, rectangles, and circles and to make them even less messy (which they weren’t to begin with), I gave each girl a damp sponge. The girls each rubbed the wet sponges on the window to put the “glue” on (it was just water) and then the shapes stuck to the window! So fun!
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket

Clip Organization

Photobucket

I haven’t posted about this because it wasn’t really my idea.  My friend Erin made one for her little girl and then I loved it so much she made me a gigantic one for our bathroom wall (because we have so stinking many hair clips).  But, this past week it became an organizing and sorting activity for Clara, so I thought I would post about it as an incredible sorting and fine motor skills activity.  Even our new cat, Kiki got in on the action.  Fun stuff.  And now everything is color-coded.  If you want to make one for yourself, all you’ll need is an old frame, some ribbon and some hot glue.  Brilliant, easy, and way better than a huge junk drawer swarming with clips and headbands!

Photobucket

Contact Paper Butterflies

Photobucket
Contact paper is one of my favorite toddler art mediums.  It creates the sort of art projects that are both engaing for toddlers and also contains the mess enough that parents don’t go crazy.  If you’re new here, here are a few of the ways we’ve used it in the past:

This past week I saw this post from one of my favorite craft for kid blogs, No Time for Flashcards.  I knew that the toddler girls would absolutely love this and it would be easy to fit it into our shapes theme.  I had both contact paper and various shaped gems from our Dollar Tree in the house to use, so all I really had to prepare were the butterfly shapes.  I also found some glitter that was left over from another project as I was rummaging around looking for the gems and took that out too.  Glitter is perfect for using with contact paper because it stick immediately and is pretty much mess free (see the cute snowman we made at the bottom of this post, also).

I stuck the butterfly outlines on the contact paper and let the girls go with their shapes.  We talked about the colors and shapes as they put them on, then I let them shake a bunch of glitter on for extra sparkle.  I then put another piece of contact paper on top the secure all of the glitter and beads inside and they were done!  Hooray!!
Photobucket
Photobucket