December 7, 2014

Simple Sensory Play for Kids

I'm excited to be sharing these four super simple sensory play ideas from Asia Citro of Fun at Home with Kids!

4 super simple sensory play recipes you can make right now!

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About a month ago we received a free copy of Asia's new book 150+ Screen Free Activities for Kids to review, and my boys and I have been having a blast trying out her activities!  We love sensory play, and I let my kids each choose an activity from the book to include in our review.

Dinosaur Rescue World

J-Bug (5) was immediately drawn to the activities with dinosaurs.  We bought our dinosaur fossil skeletons after reading Asia's dinosaurs and sticky mud simple small world.  

This fizzing dinosaur rescue was every bit as fun as dinosaurs in sticky mud and then some!

What boy (or girl!) doesn't love some fizzing fun?  These dinosaurs were really stuck!  Without the magic ingredient they weren't going anywhere.  This activity set the stage for open ended creative play.  J-Bug jumped right in and created voices for each of the dinosaurs and had a whole story going before he began to rescue them.

Even after the bubbling stopped the boys played for a good hour with the dinosaurs.

All Natural Gel Finger Paints

Peanut (3) loves a good paint recipe, and Asia's all natural paints did not disappoint!  There are only two ingredients in this simple paint recipe, and one of them is incredibly moisturizing and gentle on skin.

My three year old twins still care more about the process than the end result, but it's important to note that these paints dry glossy and gorgeous.

The paints are squishy between the fingers and smooth on the paper.  Tank and Peanut painted paper after paper while I prepared their lunch.  The small amounts that got on the table washed away easily with water.

Glittery Grape Gak Dough

JZ (7) is obsessed with slime and oobleck, so as soon as he saw this recipe for borax free gak dough he had to try it.  It's sort of a mix between the two, yet completely different and awesome.

That's my hand in the photo, because yes I couldn't help but dig in and play with the gak dough.  It's soft and stretchy and smells incredible!  

Color-Mixing Fizzy Slush

Tank (3) is drawn to bright colors and anything he can run his fingers through again and again.  He chose fizzy colored slush, and I added the color mixing element Asia suggested in her book.

Tank and JZ, my sensory seekers, couldn't keep their hands out of the mixture.  It was soft and slushy, and the colors mixed together beautifully.

Even J-Bug who doesn't care to get his hands messy couldn't help but play.

The best part?  After an hour or so of sensory play, the boys got to make the mixture erupt.

How do you make all of these awesome sensory play recipes?  Order a copy of Asia's book 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids for the step by step instructions for these activities and at least 146 more!  We've been working our way through the book and loving all the ideas.  

Posted on 11:32 AM | Categories:

September 24, 2014

Apple Activities for Kindergarten

A wonderful collection of hands on apple themed learning to go along with My Father's World Kindergarten.

25 hands on learning activities with an apple theme including math, literacy, science, gross motor, and sensory play.

Fall is in the air, even here in San Diego!  (That means it's in the 80's instead of the triple digits, LOL.)  We recently wrapped up the apple theme unit of My Father's World Kindergarten, and here is the collection of hands on activities we did, as well as several favorites from around the web.

September 23, 2014

The Abundant Overflow

Hi all!  It's been a little quiet over here lately, because I've been busy with a new project.  I've started a second website that is dedicated to learning about essential oils.

Curious about essential oils?  Find out how you can ditch over the counter drugs and prescriptions and replace them with these all natural, 100% pure oils!

Using Essential Oils

I've used essential oils for years and started using Young Living essential oils last November.  I cannot even begin to tell you how much these oils have changed my life.  Here is a quick, very brief glance at the many success stories we've had with Young Living:

August 30, 2014

Apple Tree World Family Literacy Game

To go along with our apple unit study I put together a word family apple tree activity to help him as he is learning to read.

Word family apple trees - a literacy game for fall

Kindergarten Apple Unit Study

J-Bug has been learning to read, and I've noticed that he does really well with word families.  He isn't ready to sound out unrelated words in a sentence yet, but the repetitiveness of word family activities helps him remember how to sound out words and combine different sounds.  Since we are on the apple unit of My Father's World Kindergarten I decided to set up a literacy activity using apple trees.

August 29, 2014

Gross Motor Skip Counting Activity

A gross motor activity to practice skip counting by tens.

Gross motor activity to practice skip counting

Kindergarten Apple Unit Study

We are in the middle of the apple unit of My Father's World Kindergarten.  A unit study wouldn't be complete without a gross motor educational activity.  If you follow along regularly you know I have a passion for making learning fun, and this includes sensory play, gross motor activities, and hands on experiments.  To go along with our apple unit study I set up a gross motor skip counting activity using apple scented sidewalk chalk paint.

Apple themed gross motor skip counting practice to 100

How to Make Sidewalk Chalk Paint

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Gross motor skip counting game with apple sidewalk chalk paint

Directions:  To make the sidewalk chalk paint I mixed equal amounts of cornstarch and water.  I made three batches, yellow, red, and green.  I mixed liquid watercolor paint in with the cornstarch and water before pouring the sidewalk chalk paint into squeezy bottles.  If you prefer, sidewalk chalk could be used in place of the paint.

Gross motor skip counting game for fall

I drew apples in our driveway and wrote numbers inside of them.  The numbers can easily be adapted depending on your child's level and ability.  Basic counting and number recognition, even and odd numbers, or addition facts could be practiced with this gross motor math activity.
Apple themed gross motor skip counting game

J-Bug hopped from number to number counting by tens as he jumped.  In true little boy form he shouted the numbers.  In inclement weather gross motor skip counting can be done inside with tape.

For more hands on apple activities for kids follow me on Pinterest.

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A gross motor skip counting game for fall

More apple activities for fall:

How to add color and scent to water beads for falls sensory play:  golden delicious yellow, apple cinnamon green, and candy apply red How to make an apple cinnamon sensory tray for learning activities Apple graphing - kindergarten math activity for fall 

August 28, 2014

Apple Cinnamon Sensory Tray

To go along with our apple themed unit study I put together a simple learning tray that smelled just like apples and cinnamon.  We used the sensory tray for mark making, letter practice, counting skills, and imaginative play.

How to make an apple cinnamon sensory tray for learning activities

Kindergarten Apple Unit Study

This is our second apple themed activity as part of the apple unit of My Father's World Kindergarten.  Yesterday I shared our apple graphing, and today I'm excited to share the apple themed learning tray I set up for J-Bug.

August 27, 2014

Apple Graphing

Apple season is here!  I love the colorful variety of apples God created, and apple graphing is the perfect way for young learners to work on hands on math skills.

Apple graphing - hands on math for fall

Kindergarten Apple Unit Study

We have a whole lot of apple activities coming your way as part of My Father's World Kindergarten.  My Father's World has a strong focus on nature based learning, and fall is the perfect season for learning in nature.  The gorgeous colors all around provide a palette for hands on math skills for kindergarten.

August 21, 2014

Glowing Milk Paint Recipe

It's been a long time since we shared a glowing activity!  We replenished our glowing art supplies this week, and the first thing my boys wanted to do was paint in the dark.

Two ingredient glowing paint recipe that dries glossy and gorgeous!

Glowing Paint Recipe

We make most of our own paint recipes, and one of JZ's favorite paint recipes of all times was our glowing paint.  During the summer we don't use our black light a whole lot since the boys are usually in bed before it gets dark.  As fall approaches and the nights get longer, we are ready for some glowing fun.

August 20, 2014

Apple Scented Water Beads

With fall just around the corner I put together a sensory bin full of apple scented water beads.  For added sensory play I dyed them green, red, and yellow like apples.

How to add color and scent to water beads for seasonal and themed sensory play

Apple Scented Water Beads - Fall Recipe for Play

Last fall we were a bit obsessed with the apple scented play.  With our apple tree in bloom I'm in the mood for some more apple inspired fun!  We love water beads and have played with them in many different ways.  Adding scent and color to water beads is an easy way to make a season or theme specific sensory bin.

How to make apple scented water beads for fall themed sensory play

How to Add Color and Scent to Water Beads

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Dyeing and adding scent to water beads

Directions:  I mixed liquid watercolor paint with water and put it in three containers, one yellow, one green, and one red.  I sprinked cinnamon in with the green, vanilla in the yellow, and candy apple flavor in the red.  I added about a tablespoon of clear water beads to each bowl.  JZ (7) poured the colored water into each bowl of water beads.  After a few hours the bowls were overflowing, and I had to transfer the water beads to larger containers and add more water.  I started hydrating the water beads after breakfast, and by dinner time they were fully hydrated and ready for play.  I poured all three colors of water beads into a bucket and invited the boys to join me outside.

How to add color and scent to water beads for falls sensory play:  golden delicious yellow, apple cinnamon green, and candy apply red

In addition to the bucket I provided a few extra bins and containers for scooping and dumping.  Please note that water beads jump and bounce around quite a bit.  If you play indoors I highly recommend using a bin with deep sides to contain all the beads.  If a stray water bead or two rolls away it's not a huge concern unless you have animals or young children.  The water bead will dehydrate when not in water and vacuum up easily the next time you clean. 

Sensory play with apple scented water beads

For more fall recipes for play follow me on Pinterest.

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Sensory play with water beads

More apple scented recipes for play:

Apple pie dough - recipe for play.  Sensory play and make believe with this simple dough recipe made from common household ingredients.    Apple printing with apple scented sidewalk chalk paint.  Bonus:  it erupts!

August 19, 2014

How to Dye Pasta

It's been quite awhile since we dyed a batch of pasta for art and sensory play, so I decided to put together a pasta rainbow!

The easiest method for dyeing pasta - no vinegar or alcohol needed to achieve these long lasting, vibrant colors!

Rainbow Pasta - Recipe for Play

The wonderful thing about pasta is that is comes in so many shapes and sizes.  Each type of pasta provides a different sensory experience.  We've dyed pasta many times before, so for this rainbow pasta I decided to use our three favorite types of pasta:  elbow macaroni, rotini, and penne.  I bought two boxes of each from Dollar Tree, so I could make six colors of pasta.  Another aspect I love about pasta for sensory play is that it lasts for many months and can be played with again and again.

Dyeing pasta

How to Dye Pasta

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Adding color to pasta

Directions:  We dye our pasta exactly like we dye rice, no alcohol or vinegar is needed.  Just coloring and pasta.  For this batch I added one box of pasta to a ziploc bag at a time.  The boys took turns adding the color.  I prefer liquid watercolors since they are brighter and come in a variety of colors.  Food coloring can also be used, especially if you have little ones who are likely to taste the pasta.

Dyeing pasta for sensory play

The next step is my kids' favorite.  I seal the baggy carefully, and they shake it as hard as they can.  They shake it until all of the color is distributed and covering the pasta.  Actually, they generally shake the bag way longer than necessary.  I don't blame them.  It's makes a cool noise, and it's fun to watch the color spread.  Much to their chagrin, I draw the line at throwing the bag.

Dyeing pasta in a Ziploc bag

I completely forgot to take a photo of the next step, but it's an easy one.  I spread out the colored pasta on a sheet of wax paper and let it dry.  On a hot day, like today, it will dry in a few hours.  During colder months, leaving the pasta over night might be necessary.  Since I was making a batch of rainbow rice I had six sheets of wax paper on my kitchen counter.

How to make gorgeous rainbow pasta for art and sensory play - This method doesn't require vinegar or alcohol and is so simple, a toddler can do it.

Once all the colors were dry I carefully added them to a sensory bin and invited the boys to play.

Sensory play with dyed pasta

I am not kidding when I say that they boys attacked the bin like a pack of wolves.  All day long they had been checking on the pasta and asking if it was ready.  We mixed it up in the morning and played with it while my husband made dinner, so there were quite a few hours of anticipation building up to this play time.

Rainbow pasta sensory play - hands down the best and easiest method for dyeing pasta

Any time I make a multicolored sensory material there seems to be a race to see who can mix it up the fastest.  I love both the separated colors and the mixed.  They are just so beautiful.

Gorgeous rainbow pasta.  I love this quick and easy method for dyeing pasta!

Tank (3) cracked me up.  He spent a good ten minutes with his head against the side of the bin watching his hand push the pasta around inside.  I would love to know what was going on in his head as he played.

Playing with dyed pasta

As is often the case, the boys climbed right into the bin to feel the pasta with their toes.

Rainbow pasta sensory play for kids - a sensory material that lasts for months!

For more recipes for play follow me on Pinterest.

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This is my favorite picture from the day.  Tank said, "Mommy I swimming, I swimming!" as he dove into the pasta bin again and again.

"Swimming" in rainbow dyed pasta

More rainbow sensory materials:

How to dye rice - I love how simple this method is!  Gorgeous rainbow eruptions for kids - Easy, inexpensive, and so much fun!  How to make rainbow slime for sensory play - Isn't it gorgeous?