This is a chance to get hands dirty with modeling dough and creating something new! This a great sensory and fine motor combo- that also happens to be an art form! You can play along too, describing what you are doing as you create a tree, leaves, apples… however you want to make your tree. It will give your child an opportunity to learn how to grow their own play. Let them play with their playdough however they want, but describe the play and guide as you go. Their final product may not look like a tree (in fact it probably won’t), but you can use the opportunity to talk about what a tree looks like, what’s on top, what’s on bottom, what colors are in a tree, you could even talk about critters that live in a tree. It is an activity that is accomplishing fine motor and sensory components, but also helping children get one step closer to planfully playing and creating something new.
Stuff to Have
Clay or modeling dough
Fine motor, sensory, art: modeling, early science
Set out your jar and ping pong balls (or similar small ball) and ask your child how to put the balls in the jar. Let your child try dropping the balls in. If your child is young or not interested, demonstrate to them how to drop the balls in. Can they get it out? If it’s too easy for your child, make it more difficult by trying to drop the ball in from a higher point. Or, try something different by dropping a smaller object into a container with a smaller opening.
Stuff to Have
-Ping pong balls, or ball similar in size
-Jar or plastic container with opening wide enough to fit ball
-Craft balls (smaller than ping pong balls), optional
-Jar or container with smaller opening, optional
Fine motor, hand eye coordination, problem solving
Fishing pole: Make a small hole in one end of the paper towel role. Then, to attach the pipe cleaner, stick about an inch through the hole, bend the pipe cleaner over and tape the piece inside of the towel roll. On the other end of the pipe cleaner attach a strong magnet, or glue the tip of the pipe cleaner between two magnets.
Fish: On construction paper draw about a 3-inch circle or oval then add a triangle to one side to make the tail of the fish. Cut it out and add an eye and a line for the mouth. On the back of the fish glue a magnet.
Set-up: Set the fish out, magnet side up, on the floor, on a table, or in a shallow plastic container. Then your child can sit nearby and “fish” with their magnet fishing pole. This is a problem solving activity so you might start by asking how they can pick up the fish with their new pole. Let them experiment some and see if it works to pick up a fish. This might require a little help from you if they aren’t catching any, but once they start to pull up fish they will be excited to catch more!
Stuff to Have
-1 empty paper towel roll
-1 pipe cleaner
-Construction paper fish
Problem solving, follow through, fine motor
Early Science & Math
Melt an Ice Cube
Take your child outside, preferably a hot one to see the change happen quickly. Set your ice cubes in various locations and see how they melt. One could be on the sidewalk in the direct sun, one could be in the shade, and one could be left inside… be creative! Your older child may be able to describe the differences in the melting ice cube. Younger children might enjoy playing with the ice as it melts. Either way, ask questions, describe what you see, give your child a chance to make their own observations, and let them experience the changing ice cube by touching, splashing, maybe even tasting the melting ice.
Stuff to Have
Early science, sensory, fine motor
Cooking & Baking
Make one of your family favorites!
Add on Activities
Large Motor: Find ways to use the big muscle groups. Activities could include things like jumping, kicking or throwing a ball, dancing, twirling, running through a sprinkler, or other outside activities.
Music and Rhymes: There are many online resources for music and rhymes. Look for some that have some summertime themes like swimming, camping, playing outside, summertime fruits and veggies, and other fun summer activities that apply to your family.
Books: Take a trip to the library and look for books about summer as well as books that match your child’s interest. Read, read, and read some more! They will love it and it’s prime time to get some snuggles.