Time for Art: Glitter Star

Glitter Star

glitter-star

 

This is a super fun (just slightly messy) pre-Christmas activity that you will love to use as a decoration, and your child will feel so proud of their work! Check out what we did here to make this cute glitter star!

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Winter Week 3

Winter Week 3: December 18-22

This is the plan for next week. I’m trying to get back on my schedule of posting weekly plans a couple of days early to give you some prep time. But there is always a list of activities and the December materials list on the Toddler Winter activities page if you want to look and prep ahead of time.

Winter Week 3

Art

Scrap Paper Glitter Star

glitter-starParent prep: First cut out construction paper into a medium sized star shape (keep in mind things that are too big can be overwhelming for kids to think about finishing). Once you have your star there is really no rhyme or reason to how to finish it. Let your child decide what they would like to do with a combo of the yellow scrap paper and glitter. Yes, it’ll get messy! Using the scrap paper it will give them a chance to work on their little hand and forearm fine motor muscles. They can tear pieces apart and glue them on to the star to fill it in. Then they can embellish it further by adding glitter all over to make it shine. Whatever they do, they’ll be learning and having fun!

Stuff to Have

Construction paper

Yellow scrap construction paper

Glitter

Glue

Developing Skills

Fine motor, gluing, art

Sensory

Snow

Time to go play in the snow! If you don’t have any snow grab ice from the freezer to play with. Snow is a great sensory activity and kids always love it. Talk about the cold, the texture, what happens when it melts and ask lots of questions (ie. Does it stick together, can you make a ball?…). You can use bowls, spoons, cups, buckets, any container and scoops to experiment with moving the snow around.

Stuff to Have

Snow (or ice)

Buckets, bowls, spoons, etc.

Developing Skills

fine motor, sensory

Fine Motor/Problem Solving

Snowball Chute

img_1830This is a fun variation on the ping pong ball drop from last summer, but there are lot’s of ways to change it up. Start by gluing 2 magnets onto the back of an empty toilet paper roll or a paper towel roll, this is your chute. Stick this to the fridge. Now your child can drop snowballs through the chute. Stay tuned for the upcoming blog about this and I will give more ideas to add to this activity!

Stuff to Have

Cotton balls or white craft balls

Empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls

tongs, spoons, tweezers, etc, optional

Developing Skills

Fine motor, perceptual motor, problem solving

Early Science & Math

Christmas Tree Sort

img_1888Make ahead: 5 to 10 Christmas trees… start with a large piece of construction paper, fold it in half lengthwise and draw half of a Christmas tree the whole length of the paper. Cut out the outer edge making sure to not cut down the middle. When you open the fold you will have your largest tree. Now repeat this making each tree smaller than the last until you have 5-10 Christmas trees for your child to sort by size.

When your trees are ready, demonstrate for your child how to put trees in order of size (especially the first time doing this activity, and for younger children). Then, let them work on putting them in order of smallest to largest. Be patient! Even if they aren’t sorting them they are processing and experimenting with the concept.

Stuff to Have

5-10 Construction paper trees all different sizes

Developing Skills

Early math

Cooking & Baking

Gingerbread House

My kids have been begging me to make a gingerbread house with gingerbread men! So this year we are going to do it. I found a pre-made gingerbread house kit, and if you can find one and you want to do this I recommend that! Or you could even make a simple house gluing graham cracker squares together with peanut butter or frosting! Maybe you could make some marshmallow snowmen… be creative =) Now, for the traditional style… I’m by no means qualified to tell you how to make a gingerbread house, but I will tell you how to have your child help…

I would ask them a lot of questions about what colors they want to use, let them pick out the candies to decorate, and tell you where and how to decorate on the house. I’m guessing you’re not entering this thing into a competition… so, let them do as much as they can smearing, placing candies, squeezing the frosting. It will be more fun and engaging for them if they can be more involved and enjoy seeing it take shape. Your child will be so proud of their accomplishment, and so excited to spend that time with you!

Stuff to Have

Gingerbread house parts (pre-made kit, homemade, or graham crackers)

Frosting

Candies, sprinkles, and other decorations, optional

Developing Skills

Fine motor, hand eye coordination, cooking, art, color recognition


Don’t forget the ever important large motor, reading, and music & rhymes! All three of these have a huge developmental impact on our kids, and they happen to be super fun! As it starts to get colder getting large motor movement into the day gets harder and harder to do. Definitely take every chance you can to bundle up and get outside to run, jump, climb, and play! But on the days that you can’t, get creative. Try yoga for young children, keep a balloon up in the air, toss scarves up and try and catch them, or have a Christmas music dance party. Not only will your kids have fun, they will be learning and growing at the same time!

To keep reading fresh, head to the library or dig out your favorite Christmas and winter books. I love when it is time to pull out our favorite Christmas books and my kids love reading the “new” books over and over. Reading is such an important activity for building vocabulary and adding to that foundation for reading in the future. Not only are they getting so many learning benefits from reading, but you are getting special one on one time with them!

And finally, have fun looking for winter and Christmas themed music and rhymes! Hearing rhymes and the sing songiness of music is building a foundation of phonics for learning letters and reading in the future! But for now, just be expressive and silly and have fun with it!

Happy Playing!

Winter Week 2

Winter Week 2: December 11-15

How about another week of fun Christmas activities! Now, I know it’s a busy, busy time of year. We all can attest to that! When I’m overly busy, like during the holiday season, I try to plan my day so that I get activities with the kids in first thing… well… first thing after coffee! If we don’t do things together right away, it won’t happen, all the other stuff will take over and push out our play time. So, putting our time together in the morning is really just prioritizing my day with the most important thing first, knowing all the other stuff will have a chance to get done later in the day!

With that said, enjoy these activities together!

Winter Week 2

Art

Santa Claus Beard

This is an activity that will be fun to make and play with in the end! Before you let your child start gluing on cotton balls, cut an oblong hole for the mouth about an inch below the straight edge of the paper plate. Now, let your child take over gluing and filling in the paper plate with the cotton balls. If your child is overwhelmed by the amount of space to fill in, break it down into smaller sections. Sometimes a big blank space to fill can seem like too much to conquer for toddlers and preschoolers. You can also consider pulling the cotton ball so that it is looser and takes up more space. When your child is finished, glue the popsicle stick to the round bottom of the plate for your child to hold the beard in front of their face. Once the glue has dried, have fun with a little pretend play!

Stuff to Have

Paper plate, cut in half

Large popsicle stick

25-50 cotton balls

Glue

Developing Skills

Fine motor, gluing, arts & crafts

Sensory

Snow

Time to go play in the snow! If you don’t have any snow grab ice from the freezer to play with. Snow is a great sensory activity and kids always love it. Talk about the cold, the texture, what happens when it melts and ask lots of questions (ie. Does it stick together, can you make a ball?…). You can use bowls, spoons, cups, buckets, any container and scoops to experiment with moving the snow around.

If you don’t have any snow you can do the same with ice cubes. Feel them, talk about the cold and the texture, and then watch what happens over time. Sometimes, when I’m on top of things, I pull an ice cube out a little early so that we aren’t waiting forever to see it start to melt.

Stuff to Have

Snow (or ice)

Buckets, bowls, spoons, etc.

Developing Skills

fine motor, sensory

Fine Motor/Problem Solving

Snowball Chute

img_1835This is a fun variation on the ping pong ball drop from last summer, but there are lot’s of ways to change it up. Start by gluing 2 magnets onto the back of an empty toilet paper roll or a paper towel roll, this is your chute. Stick this to the fridge. Now your child can drop snowballs through the chute. Stay tuned for the upcoming blog about this and I will give more ideas to add to this activity!

Stuff to Have

Cotton balls or white craft balls

Empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls

tongs, spoons, tweezers, etc, optional

Developing Skills

Fine motor, perceptual motor, problem solving

Early Science & Math

Measure Snow

If you are lucky enough to have an accumulation of the white stuff by now, you can easily take some outside play-time to practice using different forms of measurement. You can do many things to measure snow, use plastic measuring cups of various sizes to scoop the snow and compare amounts. You can also use rulers to measure the amount of accumulation on the ground. Be creative with types of measurement, but also keep it simple. The point is to start early thinking about height, length, and volume and how these things can be different (more/less, big/small, long/short, etc). If you don’t have any snow, use anything inside or outside to start demonstrating these characteristics.

Stuff to Have

Plastic measuring cups

Ruler

Other measurement devices

Developing Skills

Early math, sensory

Cooking & Baking

Candy Cane Cookies

img_1982Pre-make your favorite sugar cookie dough, or buy refrigerated sugar cookie dough. Cut the dough in half. In one half mix in red or green food coloring, depending on the color of candy cane cookies that you want. At this time you could also mix in peppermint extract, to taste, if you want peppermint flavored cookies. Once the color and flavor are incorporated, lightly flour your work surface and roll about a tablespoon of colored dough into a rope. Then, do the same with a tablespoon of uncolored dough. Twist the colored dough with the uncolored dough, curve the top into the cane shape, and trim both of the ends. Repeat this process until all of the dough is used up. Chill on a cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes. Bake according to your cookie dough instructions and enjoy!

This is a great activity for kids to get their hands involved rolling and twisting the dough. Like everything, their cookies might not turn out picture perfect, but it is the experience and practice that is the important thing. Plus, they will have so much fun with this!

Stuff to Have

Premade or refrigerated sugar cookie dough

Red food coloring

Green food coloring

Peppermint extract, optional

Flour, for dusting

Developing Skills

Cooking & baking, early science, fine motor, sensory


Don’t forget the ever important large motor, reading, and music & rhymes! All three of these have a huge developmental impact on our kids, and they happen to be super fun! As it starts to get colder getting large motor movement into the day gets harder and harder to do. Definitely take every chance you can to bundle up and get outside to run, jump, climb, and play! But on the days that you can’t, get creative. Try yoga for young children, keep a balloon up in the air, toss scarves up and try and catch them, or have a Christmas music dance party. Not only will your kids have fun, they will be learning and growing at the same time!

To keep reading fresh, head to the library or dig out your favorite Christmas and winter books. I love when it is time to pull out our favorite Christmas books and my kids love reading the “new” books over and over. Reading is such an important activity for building vocabulary and adding to that foundation for reading in the future. Not only are they getting so many learning benefits from reading, but you are getting special one on one time with them!

And finally, have fun looking for winter and Christmas themed music and rhymes! Hearing rhymes and the sing songiness of music is building a foundation of phonics for learning letters and reading in the future! But for now, just be expressive and silly and have fun with it!

Happy Playing!

December Materials List

Ready or not December is here and I have a list of materials to help you be prepared… at least in this area of your life. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help you get your Christmas gifts or grocery lists accomplished, sorry!

This is just a simple list of things that will be coming up. I find it’s nice to know if I should be saving toilet paper rolls or picking up cotton balls at the grocery store. I recommend looking at each activity and the materials to have on hand more specifically as they come up.

Dec Materials Color

December Materials B&W

December Materials List

Winter Week 1

Winter Week 1: December 4-9

I really love to plan things. Is there anyone else out there that just loves planning? I love laying out a new calendar… that I’ve made myself of course because there isn’t a calendar out there that works the way I want it to! I love thinking through what needs done in the next week or month and lining it out just so. I love making a list or plan for my day so that I know I can fit everything in…

But sometimes oftentimes  usually my plans stay on the paper and never ending up exactly the way I planned them. Sometimes it’s close to what I’ve had in mind, and sometimes, like the last three weeks, it ends up being more like I shook up all of those well laid plans, tossed them in the air, and they just landed all over the floor. And we proceeded to jump from task to task and event to event with no rhyme or reason.  Inevitably certain things get missed, like two weeks worth of blog plans, and the introduction to these new Winter activities! I’m happy to say we are getting back on track though and should have a new line up of Winter activities, December materials list, and lots of fun activity posts coming up in the next couple of weeks.

This week kicks off these Winter activities with Christmas trees, snow, and Christmas cookies. The winter activities are probably some of my favorites, so I hope you and your child enjoy them together as much as we do!

Winter Week 1 2017

Art

Foot Christmas Tree

With this craft you are going to help your child make a Christmas tree with the stamp of their foot, and then they can finger paint it to decorate. I find it easiest to brush the green paint onto the bottom of their foot, and then guide it to stamp onto the construction paper. It’s a Christmas tree, so the widest part of the foot should be towards the bottom of the paper, leaving room for the stump if you like. Let the paint dry, go do another activity, play in the snow, read some books… When it is dry your child can use their finger tips to dot Christmas balls onto the tree, add a stump if you want, and maybe Christmas stickers like a star at the top of the tree. Let them use their imagination. It’s ok if it doesn’t end up looking like a perfectly decorated Christmas tree!

Stuff to Have

1 sheet of construction paper

Green non-toxic paint plus other colors to decorate

Paint brush

Christmas stickers, optional

Developing Skills

Fine motor, color recognition, sensory

Sensory

Snow

Time to go play in the snow! If you don’t have any snow grab ice from the freezer to play with. Snow is a great sensory activity and kids always love it. Talk about the cold, the texture, what happens when it melts and ask lots of questions (ie. Does it stick together, can you make a ball?…). You can use bowls, spoons, cups, buckets, any container and scoops to experiment with moving the snow around.

Stuff to Have

Snow (or ice)

Buckets, bowls, spoons, etc.

Developing Skills

fine motor, sensory

Fine Motor/Problem Solving

Snowball Chute

This is a fun variation on the ping pong ball drop from last summer, but there are lot’s of ways to change it up. Start by gluing 2 magnets onto the back of an empty toilet paper roll or a paper towel roll, this is your chute. Stick this to the fridge. Now your child can drop snowballs through the chute. Stay tuned for the upcoming blog about this and I will give more ideas to add to this activity!

Stuff to Have

Cotton balls or white craft balls

Empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls

tongs, spoons, tweezers, etc, optional

Developing Skills

Fine motor, perceptual motor, problem solving

Early Science & Math

Christmas Tree Sort

Make ahead: 5 to 10 Christmas trees… start with a large piece of construction paper, fold it in half lengthwise and draw half of a Christmas tree the whole length of the paper. Cut out the outer edge making sure to not cut down the middle. When you open the fold you will have your largest tree. Now repeat this making each tree smaller than the last until you have 5-10 Christmas trees for your child to sort by size.

When your trees are ready, demonstrate for your child how to put trees in order of size (especially the first time doing this activity, and for younger children). Then, let them work on putting them in order of smallest to largest. Be patient! Even if they aren’t sorting them they are processing and experimenting with the concept.

Stuff to Have

5-10 Construction paper trees all different sizes

Developing Skills

Early math

Cooking & Baking

Christmas Cookies

One of our favorite things to do at Christmas time is to make all of our favorite delicious Christmas treats. Ours usually include cut out sugar cookies to decorate, gingerbread cookies, peanut butter cookies, and delicious breads and other caramel covered sweets… it seems like we add something new each year. Cooking and Baking is a great way to get kids involved with measuring (science & math), dumping, stirring, rolling, patting (fine motor), baking (science), and decorating (fine motor and art), among many other learning objectives. The kitchen is a fabulous place for learning and is rewarded by a delicious treat! Take this time to make some of your family’s favorite treats and have fun making memories together in the kitchen!

Check out my post on baking with young children if this seems particularly stressful!

Stuff to Have

Ingredients according to your favorite recipe

Developing Skills

Fine motor, following directions, early science and math


Don’t forget the ever important large motor, reading, and music & rhymes! All three of these have a huge developmental impact on our kids, and they happen to be super fun! As it starts to get colder getting large motor movement into the day gets harder and harder to do. Definitely take every chance you can to bundle up and get outside to run, jump, climb, and play! But on the days that you can’t, get creative. Try yoga for young children, keep a balloon up in the air, toss scarves up and try and catch them, or have a Christmas music dance party. Not only will your kids have fun, they will be learning and growing at the same time!

To keep reading fresh, head to the library or dig out your favorite Christmas and winter books. I love when it is time to pull out our favorite Christmas books and my kids love reading the “new” books over and over. Reading is such an important activity for building vocabulary and adding to that foundation for reading in the future. Not only are they getting so many learning benefits from reading, but you are getting special one on one time with them!

And finally, have fun looking for winter and Christmas themed music and rhymes! Hearing rhymes and the sing songiness of music is building a foundation of phonics for learning letters and reading in the future! But for now, just be expressive and silly and have fun with it!

Happy Playing!

Fall Week 11

Fall Week 11: November 12-16


fall week 11

At Real. Meaningful. Family. my goal is to provide information based on research for parents and caregivers, and to create regular opportunity for you to have special together time with your child. Toddlers and preschoolers learn from the environment and daily interactions. We are in no way seeking to create a school-like setting for your young child. Research has clearly indicated that academic learning (think reading, writing, and arithmetic) for these young children is not developmentally appropriate, learning for this age is in the every day details. The activities below have been created as a time to set aside specifically for parents and care givers to have a fun interaction with their children. I would recommend you first prioritize time to read, snuggle, dance, sing, move, rhyme, play, and then add these activities in as you can. Don’t stress… keep it simple, and just be together!
“The work will wait while you show your child the rainbow. But the rainbow won’t wait while you do the work.” -Erik Erikson

Art

Turkey Roll

img_1430Trace around your child’s hands on construction paper. We used 3 different colors of paper for our wings, so I traced around my son’s hans 3 times, once per sheet of paper. Cut out the hand tracings. While you’re doing this, your child could color their toilet paper roll brown or orange if they want. Now show your child the back of the “turkey” and explain that he can glue the wings onto the back. Let him experiment with the gluing, picking which wings to put on next, and then sticking them on.

Once the wings, or feathers, are stuck on, your child can add the face to the front. Talk about what goes on a face and where it goes, but don’t be discouraged if the turkey’s face ends up a little abstract. Learning how to construct a face will come with time. This is just good practice!

Stuff to Have

1 Empty toilet paper roll

Construction paper (various fall colors)

1 small orange triangle (for beak)

2 precut orange feet

2 craft eyes, or eyes from construction paper (a hole punch works well for this)

Developing Skills

Fine motor, shapes, construction of a body

Fine Motor

Bean Scoop

img_1527Pour 1 or 2 bags of dry beans into a large container. Provide spoons, bowls, cups, tongs, or anything else your child would enjoy digging through beans.

*Variation: Provide a separate bowl to scoop beans into with the utensils. Or for older children provide a muffin tin or ice tray to sort beans by shape and color.

*Variation: Add a problem solving element by putting small toys or objects in the bean container for children to find.

Stuff to Have

-1 or 2 bags of dry beans

-Large open container

-Cups, bowls, spoons, strainers, etc. (Be creative and change it up each time you do this!)

Developing Skills

Fine motor, sensory

Problem Solving

Flashlight Find

IMG_0700Darken a room that is familiar to your child and has familiar objects in it. Sit down somewhere comfortable and let your child use the flashlight to find various objects. Older children will love having you name some of their favorite toys or special objects and using the flashlight to find them. While younger children might not grasp the concept of finding things with the flashlight you can demonstrate and begin that problem solving concept. If they are only interested in playing with the flashlight that is fine too- they are still always learning and building new concepts. Just take care to help them avoid looking directly at the light.

Stuff to Have

-1 Flashlight

-Darkened, familiar room

Developing Skills

Problem Solving, follow through

Early Science & Math

IMG_0602Sort Leaves

You can either collect fall leaves while on a nature walk or you can purchase craft fall leaves. Allow your child to sort through the leaves making piles by size, shape, and color. The younger the child is the less we are interested in them doing it “right.” For all ages let them explore the textures and the colors.

Stuff to Have

Fall leaves collected from nature or fall craft leaves

Developing Skills

Colors, size, shape, problem solving

Cooking & Baking

Choose a Favorite Fall Treat

I love including chances for your child to get involved picking something to make. It lets them use that budding independence and they will have so much fun getting to watch their choice start from nothing to a tasty treat!


Happy Playing!

 

Fall Week 10

Fall Week 10: November 5-9

At Real. Meaningful. Family. my goal is to provide information based on research for parents and caregivers, and to create regular opportunity for you to have special together time with your child. Toddlers and preschoolers learn from the environment and daily interactions. We are in no way seeking to create a school-like setting for your young child. Research has clearly indicated that academic learning (think reading, writing, and arithmetic) for these young children is not developmentally appropriate, learning for this age is in the every day details. The activities below have been created as a time to set aside specifically for parents and care givers to have a fun interaction with their children. I would recommend you first prioritize time to read, snuggle, dance, sing, move, rhyme, play, and then add these activities in as you can. Don’t stress… keep it simple, and just be together!
“The work will wait while you show your child the rainbow. But the rainbow won’t wait while you do the work.” -Erik Erikson

Art

Leaf Stamp

Stamping is one variety of arts and crafts for your child that will not only highlight the characteristics of whatever they are stamping, but also develops knowledge of colors and textures, as well as being a great activity for fine motor development. You or your child can paint one side of a leaf the color of their choice. Then let your child press the leaf onto the paper just like a stamp. The imprint of the leaf should show through and your child will have fun making a colorful collage of leaf stamps.

Stuff to Have

1 Sheet construction paper

Various leaves collected from outside

Non-toxic paint

Paint brushes

Developing Skills

Art processes, creative expression, color recognition, fine motor

Fine Motor

Pipe Cleaner Colander

img_1001Pull out your kitchen colander and some pipe cleaners. Let your child poke the pipe cleaners through the holes of the colander giving them a great fine motor workout!

Stuff to Have

Colander

Pipe cleaners

Developing Skills

Fine motor

Problem Solving

IMG_0657Fall Puzzle

I find it fun to include activities that for the most part fall within the season we are in. We don’t have a fall puzzle, so I decided it should be easy enough to make one. If you don’t want to make a puzzle, no problem. Just do some of the puzzles that you have together. To make our puzzle I freehanded 4 different colored and different shaped pumpkins (you could also do leaves or apples if you want to keep it in the fall theme). I cut out the 1st 4 pumpkins and traced each of them on the same color paper. So, my result was 2 of each color of mathcing pumpkin. Then, I glued one of each color onto a sheet of paper, and the other 4 pumpkins are left to match up for the puzzle. Whether you are doing your own puzzle or this fall puzzle be interactive and encouraging. If your child becomes frustrated give them some hints- this isn’t a test!

Stuff to Have

8 pumpkins (4 different shapes/sizes, 4 different colors)

1 Piece construction paper

Glue

Developing Skills

Problem solving, follow through

Early Science & Math

Pumpkin Patch Match

Prep your paper pumpkins in various shapes and sizes. Have between 3 and 5 of each colr and several different sizes. You can lay out the pumpkins and your child can match pumpkins based on size and/or color.

Stuff to Have

Paper pumpkins, various sizes and colors (I free hand my pumpkins and cut out)

Butcher paper (optional)

Developing Skills

Early math, color recognition, fine motor

Cooking & Baking

Leaf Sugar Cookies

Mix up your favorite sugar cookie dough recipe, and if your favorite recipe comes out of a tube from the grocery store there is no judgement here! I love a good homemade cookie, but sometimes when it doesn’t matter go for the easier route and save some time! Roll out your choice of sugar cookie dough to between 1/4-1/8 of an inch and help your child cut them out with a leaf cookie cutter. Set aside on parchment paper.

To make color glaze for dough: Combine 1 egg yolk with 1 t water. Divide the egg mixture into an empty ice tray or muffin tin (each compartment will be for a different color.) Color the individual compartments with your child’s choice of food colors. Maybe ask them what color the leaves are turning, and use those colors. Green, red, orange, yellow, purple, etc. Now, you and your child can brush colors onto the cut out leaf dough. Bake on parchment paper or baking mat at 350 for about 8-10 minutes (or follow your dough’s specific instructions) or until edges are just beginning to become golden. Enjoy your beautifully painted leaf sugar cookies!

Stuff to Have

Sugar cookie dough, homemade or store bought

1 egg yolk

1t. water

Various liquid food colors

Pastry brush

Developing Skills

Fine motor, color recognition, early science, early math


Happy Playing!

Fall Week 9

 

Fall Week 9: October 29-November 2

Fall Week 9 17

At Real. Meaningful. Family. my goal is to provide information based on research for parents and caregivers, and to create regular opportunity for you to have special together time with your child. Toddlers and preschoolers learn from the environment and daily interactions. We are in no way seeking to create a school-like setting for your young child. Research has clearly indicated that academic learning (think reading, writing, and arithmetic) for these young children is not developmentally appropriate, learning for this age is in the every day details. The activities below have been created as a time to set aside specifically for parents and care givers to have a fun interaction with their children. I would recommend you first prioritize time to read, snuggle, dance, sing, move, rhyme, play, and then add these activities in as you can. Don’t stress… keep it simple, and just be together!
“The work will wait while you show your child the rainbow. But the rainbow won’t wait while you do the work.” -Erik Erikson

Art

Form a Pumpkin

I try to include a play dough activity in each section. It is such a great opportunity for kids to work on all of those important fine motor muscles in their arms and hands, as well as develop creativity and planning in creating something from nothing. Younger children may not get the concept to make a pumpkin out of the dough, but that’s ok. Demonstrate for them and let them try it out. They’ll still get all of the benefits. As children get older, they may try to make something closer to a pumpkin.

Stuff to Have

Playdough, store bought or homemade

Developing Skills

Fine motor

Shaping

Textures

Fine Motor

Bean ScoopIMG_0551

Pour 1 or 2 bags of dry beans into a large container. Provide spoons, bowls, cups, tongs, or anything else your child would enjoy digging through beans.

*Variation: Provide a separate bowl to scoop beans into with the utensils. Or for older children provide a muffin tin or ice tray to sort beans by shape and color.

*Variation: Add a problem solving element by putting small toys or objects in the bean container for children to find.

Stuff to Have

-1 or 2 bags of dry beans

-Large open container

-Cups, bowls, spoons, strainers, etc. (Be creative and change it up each time you do this!)

Developing Skills

Fine motor, sensory

Problem Solving

IMG_0657Fall Puzzle

I find it fun to include activities that for the most part fall within the season we are in. We don’t have a fall puzzle, so I decided it should be easy enough to make one. If you don’t want to make a puzzle, no problem. Just do some of the puzzles that you have together. To make our puzzle I freehanded 4 different colored and different shaped pumpkins (you could also do leaves or apples if you want to keep it in the fall theme). I cut out the 1st 4 pumpkins and traced each of them on the same color paper. So, my result was 2 of each color of mathcing pumpkin. Then, I glued one of each color onto a sheet of paper, and the other 4 pumpkins are left to match up for the puzzle. Whether you are doing your own puzzle or this fall puzzle be interactive and encouraging. If your child becomes frustrated give them some hints- this isn’t a test!

Stuff to Have

8 pumpkins (4 different shapes/sizes, 4 different colors)

1 Piece construction paper

Glue

Developing Skills

Problem solving, follow through

Early Science & Math

IMG_0602Sort Leaves

You can either collect fall leaves while on a nature walk or you can purchase craft fall leaves. Allow your child to sort through the leaves making piles by size, shape, and color. The younger the child is the less we are interested in them doing it “right.” For all ages let them explore the textures and the colors.

Stuff to Have

Fall leaves collected from nature or fall craft leaves

Developing Skills

Colors, size, shape, problem solving

Cooking & Baking

Pumpkin Pie Muffins

2 1/4 c. flour

1 pkg. (3.4 oz) pumpkin spice pudding

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. butter, softened

1/2 c. packed brown sugar

1 c. pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!)

1 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

1 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375. Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Cream together butter and brown sugar and then add pumpkin puree and vanilla. Once well combined add eggs to wet mixture and mix well.

Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Combine well, but don’t over mix. Finally, fold in chocolate chips.

Drop batter into muffin tins and bake for 10 minutes for mini muffins and 12-15 minutes for larger muffins.


Happy Playing!

 

 

Fall Week 8

Week 8: October 22-26

At Real. Meaningful. Family. my goal is to provide information based on research for parents and caregivers, and to create regular opportunity for you to have special together time with your child. Toddlers and preschoolers learn from the environment and daily interactions. We are in no way seeking to create a school-like setting for your young child. Research has clearly indicated that academic learning (think reading, writing, and arithmetic) for these young children is not developmentally appropriate, learning for this age is in the every day details. The activities below have been created as a time to set aside specifically for parents and care givers to have a fun interaction with their children. I would recommend you first prioritize time to read, snuggle, dance, sing, move, rhyme, play, and then add these activities in as you can. Don’t stress… keep it simple, and just be together!
“The work will wait while you show your child the rainbow. But the rainbow won’t wait while you do the work.” -Erik Erikson

Art

Decorate a Pumpkin

By now those perfect and cute little craft pumpkins at the craft store should be on sale. We have painted a pumpkin, we’ve made our own pumpkin, our carved pumpkins are out on the step… we have some super cute and decorated pumpkins. A couple of years ago we decorated craft pumpkins with stickers that matched my kids interests. For some reason, that fun activity stuck with us and we have done it ever since. So, I thought I’d share this simple idea with you to add to your own pumpkin collection! Use a craft pumpkin, a real pumpkin, or just decorate a print out of a pumpkin. Then gather stickers that match your child’s interest, along with other craft supplies if they would like and let them decorate to their hearts desire. What a great way to practice their independence, creativity, and get a great fine motor workout!

Stuff to have

1 pumpkin (craft pumpkin, real pumpkin, or print out)

Stickers

Other craft supplies/decorations, optional

Developing skills

Independence, creativity, art, fine motor

Fine Motor

Pumpkin Seed Transport

img_1355Let your child experiment and get creative moving pumpkin seeds from different containers with various utensils. Try and make it interesting by giving them containers with different sized openings. For instance, give them a bottle with a small opening to work on getting the seeds into. Can they get it back out? Also change up the utensils they use. Try giving them tweezers, tongs, clothespins, etc. to make it interesting and further fine motor movement.

Stuff to Have

Pumpkin seeds, cleaned and dried from pumpkin carving

Utensils: spoons, ladles, serving spoons, bowls, etc.

Developing Skills

Fine motor, Problem solving

Problem Solving

IMG_0657Fall Puzzle

I find it fun to include activities that for the most part fall within the season we are in. We don’t have a fall puzzle, so I decided it should be easy enough to make one. If you don’t want to make a puzzle, no problem. Just do some of the puzzles that you have together. To make our puzzle I freehanded 4 different colored and different shaped pumpkins (you could also do leaves or apples if you want to keep it in the fall theme). I cut out the 1st 4 pumpkins and traced each of them on the same color paper. So, my result was 2 of each color of mathcing pumpkin. Then, I glued one of each color onto a sheet of paper, and the other 4 pumpkins are left to match up for the puzzle. Whether you are doing your own puzzle or this fall puzzle be interactive and encouraging. If your child becomes frustrated give them some hints- this isn’t a test!

Stuff to Have

8 pumpkins (4 different shapes/sizes, 4 different colors)

1 Piece construction paper

Glue

Developing Skills

Problem solving, follow through

Early Science & Math

Pumpkin Patch Match

Prep your paper pumpkins in various shapes and sizes. Have between 3 and 5 of each color and several different sizes. You can lay out the pumpkins and your child can match pumpkins based on size and/or color.

Stuff to Have

Paper pumpkins, various sizes and colors (I free hand my pumpkins and cut out)

Butcher paper (optional)

Developing Skills

Early math, color recognition, fine motor

Cooking & Baking

img_1268Mummy Pizzas

This is about as “spooky” as things get at our house around Halloween. I’ll do cute costumes and go for candy, but I’m not a big fan of the scary stuff. Even if you’re not at all into Halloween festivities, still do this fun activity in the kitchen. It is one that allows so many opportunities for independence, sensory, and fine motor!

To get started, preheat your oven to 375. Then, let your child have fun creating their own pizza, using their independence to choose what toppings to use. Finish off with strands of string cheese laid across the pizzas and the finished product will make it look like a mummy (or not if you’re not into that kind of thing). It might be a little messier, but try and let your child take charge, practicing their fine motor movements, making their own decisions, and learning from everything they are doing. They will love it!

Stuff to Have

English Muffins

Pizza sauce

String cheese

Favorite Pizza toppings: pepperoni, sausage, vegetables… whatever you and your child choose!

Developing Skills

Cooking/baking, fine motor, science, math


Happy Playing!

 

Fall Week 7

Fall Week 7: October 15-19

At Real. Meaningful. Family. my goal is to provide information based on research for parents and caregivers, and to create regular opportunity for you to have special together time with your child. Toddlers and preschoolers learn from the environment and daily interactions. We are in no way seeking to create a school-like setting for your young child. Research has clearly indicated that academic learning (think reading, writing, and arithmetic) for these young children is not developmentally appropriate, learning for this age is in the every day details. The activities below have been created as a time to set aside specifically for parents and care givers to have a fun interaction with their children. I would recommend you first prioritize time to read, snuggle, dance, sing, move, rhyme, play, and then add these activities in as you can. Don’t stress… keep it simple, and just be together!
“The work will wait while you show your child the rainbow. But the rainbow won’t wait while you do the work.” -Erik Erikson

Art

Paint a Pumpkin

Pull out your paint, brushes, and any other object that would be good for painting. Be creative! Your child can use these things to paint their pumpkin.

If you are using different mediums to paint the pumpkin, how do they appear differently than the others?

Stuff to Have

1 Pumpkin (small to medium size)

Finger paint or other non-toxic children’s paint

Paint brushes or other objects good for painting

Developing Skills

Colors, shapes, textures, fine motor

Fine Motor

Bean ScoopIMG_0551

Pour 1 or 2 bags of dry beans into a large container. Provide spoons, bowls, cups, tongs, or anything else your child would enjoy digging through beans.

*Variation: Provide a separate bowl to scoop beans into with the utensils. Or for older children provide a muffin tin or ice tray to sort beans by shape and color.

*Variation: Add a problem solving element by putting small toys or objects in the bean container for children to find.

Stuff to Have

-1 or 2 bags of dry beans

-Large open container

-Cups, bowls, spoons, strainers, etc. (Be creative and change it up each time you do this!)

Developing Skills

Fine motor, sensory

Problem Solving

Flashlight Find

IMG_0700Darken a room that is familiar to your child and has familiar objects in it. Sit down somewhere comfortable and let your child use the flashlight to find various objects. Older children will love having you name some of their favorite toys or special objects and using the flashlight to find them. While younger children might not grasp the concept of finding things with the flashlight you can demonstrate and begin that problem solving concept. If they are only interested in playing with the flashlight that is fine too- they are still always learning and building new concepts. Just take care to help them avoid looking directly at the light.

Stuff to Have

-1 Flashlight

-Darkened, familiar room

Developing Skills

Problem Solving, follow through

Early Science & Math

Carve a Pumpkin

img_1334Draw a circle on the top of the pumpkin large enough that once it is cut you can fit a spoon and hand through to scoop out the inside. Optionally, draw a design or face to your child’s liking on the side of the pumpkin that you would like to be the front. Mom’s and dad’s, use the serrated knife to cut around the circle on the top of the pumpkin. Let children use spoons and other utensils to scoop out the insides, taking care to separate the gooey stuff into one bowl, and the seeds into a different bowl. Once the inside of the pumpkin is completely scooped out, and if you have chosen to put in a design or a face, cut along the lines of your design. Once the design is complete put the top back on and enjoy your carved pumpkin. (Rinse pumpkin seeds clean and bake… our pumpkin seed recipe is coming soon!).

Stuff to Have

Pencil

1 medium to large sized pumpkin

Serrated knife

Large spoon

2 large bowls

Developing Skills

Science of growth, fine motor, problem solving, sensory

Cooking & Baking

Bake Pumpkin Seeds

img_1383Rinse and drain pumpkin seeds well. Dry with a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth. Toss dry (or nearly dry) seeds with melted butter and sprinkle with desired seasoning. Bake at 350o for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally. You may sprinkle on more seasoning to taste. Seasonings can be as simple as salt, or add flavor with various herbs and spices. Our preference is a little sweet with a dusting of cinnamon and sugar baked into the seeds!

Stuff to Have

Raw Pumpkin Seeds (from your carved pumpkin)

1-2t butter, melted

Desired seasonings

Developing Skills

Early science, sensory, fine motor


Happy Playing!