Thursday, September 30, 2010

Button Gloves

I actually made these gloves years ago for my 4 year old class who had not yet mastered the snapping fingers skill.  They would put them on and then click, click their way through songs. 

My daughter stumbled upon them in my music box and they were an instant favorite.  She not only clicked them together, but clicked them on the tile, table tops, oven....anything!  So much fun to make new sounds.

 I bought little kids gardening gloves and then just hot glued random buttons to the fingertips.  Easy as that!  Now teaching them to get each finger in the separate holes....not so easy, but a great skill to learn!
Pin It

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sticky Feet

We were doing a project with contact paper the other day and I noticed that my kids only wanted to stick and un-stick their little hands to the paper.  My son was very impressed with this one sided sticky paper and kept asking me "what is this called".  So I figured I should go with their flow and cut a big piece.  Then, we taped it to the kitchen floor with some packing tape all the way around it.  Then I let them have at it. They really loved stepping and jumping on it with their bare feet and listening to the "squish, squish" sound.  It really is a different type of activity for kids.  It encourages large motor skill development as well and sensory and tactile exploration.  The next time we do this, I will cover a much larger space with the contact paper so they can really run across it!Pin It

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Balloons + Paint = Feet Painting?

One of our favorite art activities is balloon painting.  T and R love it because well, they love balloons, they get a nice "spat" when they squish the balloon in the paint and then again on the paper, and it makes a really fun print they call "fireworks".  I love it because there is virtually no clean up.  Just pop the balloons and toss them in the trash.  No rinsing out brushes!  So, they began their art nicely enough.  Squishing and color mixing very politely.  Then T began to really get into the paint, rubbing it all over his hands.  R accidentally stepped on her painting as she was trying to get to the paint...and whoops...she slid across the canvas.  Ohhhh, what fun!!  She squished more paint on and went skating.  T thought this look like a good time and he followed suit.  I love when the kids take an idea and step it up without any direction at all.  Creativity at it's best!!!  Balloon painting is a wonderful tactile experience, lets the kiddos create new colors and learn about color mixing. 

Pin It

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dinosaur Play Dough

 I often make play dough for the kids.  It involves the kids in a creative experience, they get to become little scientist and make their own colors and mess with the texture too.  Yes, I do buy it as well, but this is just an all around great activity.  I got the recipe from the wonderful Lisa Murphy and it is the very best one I have made (and I have tried many, many recipes in my 12 years of teaching).  Here it is if anyone wants to try it. 
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups salt
3 cups of water (colored is desired)
5 TBS oil
6 tsp Cream of Tartar
(makes enough for about 4-5 kids to have a good chunk to play with)
Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl.  We use our electric mixer.  Pour the dough into a pan and cook, stirring constantly over medium heat until ball forms.  Take out and knead.  Let cool before handing it out to the kids.  Can be stored in an airtight container for a week or two.  If they taste it, it won't hurt them, but i bet they won't taste it twice!  Yuck!

We added some coffee grounds to the play dough while it was cooking because my son asked for "dinosaur play dough"  I love the way this smells!!
                                                             The dinosaur is hatching....
                                                                      what will it be?

Yippee....a baby ankylosaurus......."I've got a club on my tail, armor on my back, don't get to close or I'll give you a whack".
We cut the play dough with scissor too as a good scissor skill practice.  Sometimes it is hard for little ones to cut paper, but play dough is easy to cut. Working with play dough helps develop those small hand muscles, encourages dramatic play, creativity and is just a really great sensory activity.  I find it is very calming for little ones and they are usually really quiet when working with it.  Kids with various disabilities really enjoy play dough,

Pin It

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rock Your Socks

My son loves to collect, sticks, flowers, tree branches, leaves, whatever he finds interesting.  His rock collection was becoming quite large and I thought we should use them for "something".  I painted them white and then wrote a letter on each one for both the kids names.  I figured we could use them as a name recognition game. 
I flipped them over and wrote x's and o's so we could also play Tic, Tac, Toe.
We use them to spell our names and also letter recognition.
Today, I hid his name in a sock and had him pull out one at a time to create his name. 
I had his name printed on a card so he could match the letters.
Yep, letter and name recognition....who knew rocks in a sock could be so much fun!!
Pin It

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Less Mess Paint Bags

My kids love "goop" (cornstarch and water), so I thought I would try putting it in bag for a different sensory activity. 
We put about 1/2 cup cornstarch and 1/2 cup water with a few drops of food coloring in a large Ziploc bag.
Then I squeezed all the air out (or most of it anyway) and sealed it up.  I added a strip of tape to the Ziploc just in case.....then let the kids mix it up and squish it around.
It was so fun to let it settle and then mix it again and it has a real nice consistency to "finger paint" and draw on.
They kept coming back to this all day and it kept them busy while I made dinner too! 
Pin It

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rubber Band Madness

I am always trying to come up with new, engaging ways to help my little ones develop their hand muscles, (you know the ones needed for writing).  I saw these cool weaving looms in a craft store and thought I could use them for something.  So we took them out this morning with a box of rubber bands.  I showed them how to loop them on the loom and they took it from there.  There are so many thing you could do with this..... make shapes, letters, create patterns, or like my two, make a mad mess!  We stayed busy for quite awhile and it was fun to make faces through them too!

Pin It

Friday, September 17, 2010

Seeing Spots and Dots

The other day we were drawing pictures with our markers.  I noticed T making dots all over his paper.  He then began connecting his dots to make a "roller coaster".  I was truly impressed and had to document this.  Super creative fine motor activity as well as inventive and imaginative!  I just never know what is going to be created and how we will be inspired....but all you have to do is provide the materials and they will take it from there.

Pin It

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ice Castles and Volcanos

We took advantage of the warm September weather and spent most of our day in our sandbox.  I froze water in various sizes of cups and containers earlier this week anticipating the perfect day for this activity.  We put the containers in water to soften them up and get them out.  Then we used them in various ways to create ice castles.  The kids discovered that the ice was easier to handle when they were covered in dirt. 
Making castles evolved into making mountains which evolved into "can we make an eruption?".  So I brought out the baking soda and vinegar and instructed them to make a hole.  Well, T determined that it would be better to pour the baking soda into one of the cups, which we did.  I gave both of the kids cups with about 1/4 cup of vinegar in it.  They slowly took turns pouring the vinegar into the baking soda, creating carbon dioxide.  We used a whole box of baking soda.  They wanted to do this over and over again.  The "volcano" never gets old! 
This is a great science experiment for cause and effect.  You can add a little dish detergent to slow down the eruption and make the "lava" thicker.  It is fun to color it red as well. 
I keep an empty laundry container in the sand box so the kids have access to water without sand in it.  They have strict instructions not to drink the water out of it.  Although, I did wash it well, bleached and dried it out.  It is great for washing their hands off when they get dirty too!Pin It

Monday, September 13, 2010

I Spy Bottles

I have been stock piling these little Gatorade bottles knowing that I would find some use for them eventually.  I was looking through a kid's toy catalog and saw those really cool "I Spy" bottle games with the items hidden in beads or something like that.  I saw that and the light bulb went off. 
I was thinking that I could make one for each letter of the alphabet, (yes, I had that many).  So I made a couple but then my son wanted one with just vehicles in it.  So I began doing some theme based bottles as well.  We love spinning and shaking these bottles.  So much fun. 
Here is how I did it---
First I washed and dried the bottles and took off the labels.  Then I poured white rice into zip lock bags and added a few drops of food coloring.  Then shake, shake, shake your booty...until all the rice is one color.  I did this with several different colors.  The kids had fun with this part too!  Then I poured a little of each color into the bottles.  I added items like those little shaped erasers, beads in the shape of different items, whatever you can find that will fit through the top is doable.  Next, I just taped the lid on so that every once in a while I can change out the items inside to keep them fresh. 
Shake away!!
Pin It

Sunday, September 12, 2010

"It may serve us well to consider removing our grown-up glasses as we observe children at play and allow ourselves to remember the magic of being little and the power and pleasure of such experiences."  - Lisa Murphy  (one of my most favorite mentors)
Pin It

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Super Sun Prints

          We took our blocks and foam letters outside to let the sun do some art for us.  T loves space and designed a spaceship on his paper.  He told me it needed a name so I used our foam letters to spell "spaceship" for him.  We also made one with his name.  We let them sit in the sun for the good part of the day and when we check, voila.....a design.  Sorry it is a little hard to see because the paper is almost the same color as our paint.  We discovered that the lighter paper makes better sun prints.
Sun prints encourage creativity, cause and effect and if using letters, letter awareness.
Pin It