Monday, March 28, 2011

Sensory Play Recipes

The best sensory play occurs in nature...but when you need to create some indoor sensory fun these are the best links that I have found.

There are enough recipes here to provide an entire childhood (or even whole lifetime) of messy sensory play!    
Enjoy!  ~April

Enjoying some sand and water play in 2007 ~~~ life goes too fast not to get messy!

20 Playdough Recipes

Homemade Art Supplies

Moon Sand -

Ice Play & Experiments -

Messy Play -

Recipes for Sensory Materials -

Are stickers considered sensory play? I think so if the child has to spread a jello solution to make them! This sounds like a lot of fun...can't wait to try it myself.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Robin's Day

As part of our on-going 'Signs of Spring' project, we have been on the lookout for the first robin. We have been watching closely but no robins. So we were really excited when we were out for a walk in the neighborhood and spotted 7 robins feeding under a pine tree.
"Oh look a robin. NO! 1,2,3,4,5,6, 7 robins!" exclaimed my son
"Yay, spring is here." I said.
"Nope, if you see 7 robins then it will be 7 more days until spring." he added!

I started laughing and so he quiped, "No really that's what I've heard. If you see 1 robin then it's spring and if you see 7 robins there are 7 more days to go."

~Move over Groundhog's Day...we now have Robin's Day. Though waiting 7 more days sounds much more manageable than 6 more weeks!

Measuring Spring

My son is currently excited about measuring...measuring anything in fact. At his preschool they have been measuring four different amaryllis bulbs. He keeps me well informed about the number of leaves and how many inches high they are. He has explained the difference in using a ruler and a yardstick and why you might need to use one instead of the other. He also has showed me which of the four is currently winning, and gave me his prediction of which one will end up being the biggest. His enthusiasm is quite contagious.

So while we were playing outside the other day I suggested that we measure the snow. Of course I meant the depth of the snow so we would know how much is left on the ground. That task held no interest for him.

"No, I think we should measure spring. You know, measure how far away the snow is from the house. Here, I'll show you."

For a moment I suggested that my idea made more sense because we would know how much snow was on the ground to melt. He stood fast to his suggestion and said, "No, let's measure spring."

And with that he took the tape measure and I followed his lead!

So if you think you can't measure spring...think again. On March 24th it was 58 inches!

Winter Wheat Sensory Tub

The sensory tubs have been a HUGE hit with both kids. This tub is filled with Red Hard Winter Wheat and it has a great texture. On St. Patrick's Day we hid gold coins to find, and another day we hid small plastic insects. What the kids have enjoy most though is simply scooping and pouring. I love when I find activities that they both enjoy playing together.

We have been using an under-the-bed plastic storage box. This gives them both enough room to play. The box is the right size to put onto our plastic picnic table, so that on warm days we can take the sensory tub outside. Fresh air & less mess to clean up....can't argue with that!

Spring Sensory Tub

Our spring themed sensory tub has lots of silk flowers & leaves, pinecones, and a variety of insects and butterflies. My daughter (22 months) loves to hide the insects under the leaves and then acts surprised when she find them. It's quite entertaining, for both of us!
We have begun to talk about colors and she can find something that is red, green, blue, or yellow. Of course she has to name every item that she finds that is pink...and lucky for me there are about a hundred pink flowers to keep her busy!

Signs of Spring

Try explaining to a five year old that it really is now spring, despite the fact that there is still lots of snow on the ground and it is barely getting above freezing!

We finally came to the compromise that we would call this "early spring" since my son says, "it's just starting to be not winter."

To celebrate the new season we have been reading a bunch of spring themed children's book. I thought it would be great way to get him excited about the warmer days to come. Unfortunately, the books just gave my five year old some good ammunition in proving that, in fact it is NOT spring. "See we don't have flowers blooming. Our grass isn't green. We don't have our umbrellas out because we have SNOW not rain."

Ahhh...sometimes those teachable moments are turned against us!

None the less, we have been on the hunt for 'Signs of Spring' and luckily for us, this project will continue for at least a month more! We are going to add photographs to our nature journal to document what we find.

So far we have found puddles, mud, melting snow, and brown grass....

Puddles - on the days it does get above freezing!

Mud, mud, glorious mud!

Melting snow and dead brown grass!
"The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month." ~Henry Van Dyke

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Leprechaun Love!

This week we had lots of fun with shamrocks, leprechauns and all things green.

On St. Patrick's Day we had a shamrock inspired breakfast.

Then at lunch time we discovered that a tricky leprechaun colored our milk green! Suprisingly it tasted the same as regular milk, and there was suggestion that next time the leprechaun add some flavoring to it as well! 

For me, the gift of sunshine & near 60F degrees was the best part of St. Patrick's Day!

We brought our sensory table outside so we could soak up the rays as the kids played. The hard red winter wheat has a great texture for exploring and both of my little leprechauns had a great time playing in it.

Of course adding gold coins to the box made it even more fun!

My son's favorite part of the week was the tribe of 15 leprechauns that we made for his preschool class. He had visions on cutting lots of gold paper coins to put inside but once I realized that I was the one doing all the cutting I made the executive decision that the wee folk would be coin-less! They turned out super cute none the less!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hello driveway!

We have had a few warm days in Vermont. Warm means above freezing ~~~ almost reaching 40 degrees for the last two days in fact.
So today the kids and I were outside playing and enjoying the sunshine. Suddenly my son starts yelling in delight. I was pretty sure he was looking at squirrel tracks, which I had seen earlier, but was waiting for him to discover. So I walked over to where he made his discovery and asked, "What did you find?"
In complete seriousness he said, "Look, it's the driveway. I didn't even remember that we had this kind of driveway."
What a great laugh we both had! We've had so many months of snow that he actually forgot that our driveway is paved!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Climbing Snowbanks

My son declared today that on the walk home from the bus stop he wanted to climb the snowbank ALL the way to our house. The road we live on is quite steep so this seemed like an impossible task. I agreed but walked ahead since I was pushing the Queen in  her stroller.  We stopped and waited at the enterance to our driveway as he trudged along in the snowbank.
His pace was slow but he managed. I think his sister's clapping and cheering "Go DeeDee" kept his moral high. Once he reached our mailbox he looked back at his footprints and was clearly proud of his accomplishments!
It's simple moments like these that are missed when we depend on our cars or limit our children's play!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Rainbow Sensory Box

 It's March and I am ready to see some bright cheery colors. Outdoors we have a few feet of snow and spring seems very far off.

Over the weekend my son and I dyed rice in all the colors of the rainbow. I was planning on making a colorful rice table for the kids to enjoy. It quickly became apparent that our Queen (22 months) was more interested in eating and throwing the rice than she was in pouring, sifting, and drawing in it. I thought adding the vinegar to the food coloring would be a deterrent but it turns out she loves the flavor vinegar!
So plan B was to make a sensory table filled with rainbow colored toys and trinkets. I was careful to choose things that weren't choking hazards and to be doubly sure, I only let her play under my watchful eye.
My son likes to play 'eye spy' while the Queen is just happy touching and playing with the toys. As they get tired of the box, we will sort the objects by various attributes - color, texture, size, etc.
So until we are able to play on green grass and go searching for real rainbows~~~this will have to do!

Snow Cake for Dr. Seuss!

We decided to have an impromptu birthday party for Dr. Seuss today. First we got an oversized dish pan to use as a mold for our snow cake. We gathered some icicles for candles. Brought out a few plastic plates and a stuff version of the birthday boy....and with just a bit of off key singing, our celebration was complete!
Yum! An outdoor birthday makes any cake more delicious.