Archive of ‘4-School Age’ category

Rose Scented Rice Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, I know! Life got in the way of creating fabulous blog posts. Lucky for you guys, I made a massive list of posts I wanted to create in my absence, so I have plenty of material waiting to be created. Hopefully there won’t be any more long breaks around here!

Things have changed, we’re in our new house, the new baby is here and we’ve adjusted to all of it! I’m excited to start sharing with you guys again! Since Valentine’s day is fast approaching, I thought I’d kick off blogging again with a great idea for the holiday. This activity had my first-grade niece asking me if I had any more cool creations while she was here the other day it was so much fun, while my 4-year-old nephew and Peanut were elbow deep in it.

Rose Scented Valentine's Day Sensory Bin

Supplies:
*2 bags of uncooked white rice
*Food coloring
*One gallon ziplock bags
*Vinegar
*Rose Absolute Essential Oil
*Various valentine’s day items, such as:
Rose Petals
Felt Roses
-Plastic heart shaped bracelets
-Anything you have around the house that relates to Valentine’s day or roses!

This activity does take some preparation, but it’s worth it in the end! The day before you want to introduce this sensory bin, prepare your rice. It’s simple to do, you just need some time for it to dry or your little ones will end up with fingers dyed the color of your rice.

How to:

1. Select your food coloring. I used one food dye to get the dark pink and light pink in this sensory bin, I just used a different method of dying for both.

2. Dye our rice using one of two methods:

Dying method #1:

Dry Rice Dying Method
Step 1: Add 10-12 drops of food coloring to an empty one gallon ziplock bag.
Step 2: Add one bag of uncooked rice to the ziplock bag.
Step 3: Add 10-20 drops of essential oil and drizzle a bit more food coloring to the top of your rice.
Step 4: Seal the bag and shake until your food coloring & the EO is mixed in and the rice is dyed.
Step 5: Lay the rice out on a cookie sheet or some parchment paper. Spread it out to a thin layer and dry over night.

Dying method #2: To create the lighter color, dye your rice using vinegar.

Vinegar rice dying methodStep 1: Add about a cup of vinegar to an empty one gallon ziplock bag.
Step 2: Add 10-20 drops of food coloring to the vinegar along with 10-20 drops of essential oil. Mix the vinegar until the food coloring is evenly distributed.
Step 3: Add one bag of rice to the ziplock bag. Seal and shake.
Step 4: When the color is evenly distributed, use a fine mesh strainer and drain the rice over the sink. Let sit for 10-15 minutes so the excess vinegar can drain off.
Step 5: When the vinegar is drained, spread on a cookie sheet or parchment paper in a thin layer and dry over night. Mix rice up from time to time, if possible, to ensure it drys evenly.

3. When your rice is good and dry, add it to a shallow, long tub. Add your Valentine’s goodies, and let your littles have at it!

Rose Scented Valentine's Sensory Bin

4. Tip: Place your tub on a table cloth so the rice stays a bit more contained. When your kiddos are done playing, gather the rice in the middle of the table cloth and put it back in the sensory bin!

5. When you’re done, the rice can be saved and used again as often as you feel comfortable!

What was said while we played:
Peanut’s vocabulary has exploded since the last time I posted! We talk about all kinds of stuff and she give me all kinds of great responses! When she dove into this activity she kept telling me, “Me having very fun, Mommy!”

I asked her, “What color is the rice?”, “How does it smell?”, “What are you doing with the rice?”, “What else can you do with it?” I also let her ask me questions about what she was playing with. She did ask me what it was when she first started playing. She spent a lot of time repeating the color back while she was playing and also picking up the small roses and telling me what they were, once I had identified them for her.

Pretend Play: Sandbox Garden

While walking through the dollar store, I came across their floral department and wondered what I could do with some of their brightly colored silk flowers. At first I thought about a sensory box, but then thought it would be much better to get outside for the activity and take the “gardening” to the sandbox!

Pretend Play for Toddlers: Gardening in the Sandbox

 Supplies:

  • Silk flowers in a variety of colors
  • Watering can
  • Kid-friendly hand hoe
  • Kid-friendly spade
  • Plastic flower pots
  • Any other kid-friendly gardening tools you have on hand

I stuck the flowers in her sandbox, tossed in the tools, and called Peanut over (not that she hadn’t spotted the fun and was headed over already). She dug right in with the tools, but didn’t show much interest in the flowers. In fact, she really only played with the flowers for a few minutes. She mostly focused on digging with the shovel and the hoe. She also enjoyed filling the flower pots, scooping sand into them, dumping them out, and starting all over again.

Pretend Play for Toddlers: Gardening in the Sandbox

I have to admit…she probably didn’t know what to do with the flowers because Mommy is terrible at growing flowers and we don’t have many around our yard. She sees flowers as pretty things you smell when you’re in a park! :/ I really need to work on that skill. Haha!

What we talked about during play:
“Look at the pretty flowers!”
“You sure are good at filling that flower pot.”
“Can you put the flower in the flower pot?”
“What are you planting?”
“Did you find any seeds?”
“I see that you dug a hole. That’s a big hole!”

Keeping these supplies in the sandbox for a few days is easy and your kiddo will love it. It’s a change from the normal sandbox toys that take up all the real estate in the box that provide a chance for your toddler to be like you and garden away.

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There’s a Commotion in the Ocean Literacy Bag

Who doesn’t love the ocean? And who doesn’t enjoy the book There’s a Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae? This literacy bag explores the lovable book with ocean characters, ocean character movement cards, and a jelly fish in a bottle craft!

There's A Commotion in the Ocean Literacy BagSupplies:

You will need to do some preparation in advance of this literacy bag. You’ll need to print the movement cards and make the jellyfish in a bottle, which the instructions for can be found here at Bhoom Play. My words of advice are to take your time on the jellyfish. I tried to hurry when cutting my tentacles and they were too big and the “jellyfish” couldn’t move around in the bottle well.

 

Once you have everything assembled, put everything in your literacy backpack and determine where you’re going to sit down, relax, and read your story…preferably outside if the weather is nice! It was a bit rainy today, so during a break in the rain we got outside and sat on our covered porch which had stayed dry enough we could still use it.

I introduced the book to Peanut by reading her the title, author and illustrator. Today I mentioned that we were looking at the cover of the book. Book features such as covers, title pages, indexes, etc. are becoming more and more important in school earlier and earlier. Pointing these things out now so your kiddo can find them easily on any book when they reach school age would make your child’s teacher ecstatic. I don’t expect Peanut to know what these are before she’s 3 or 4, but I feel good pointing them out so I know we’re working on it.

Exploring a crab from There's a Commotion in the Ocean

When I began to read each page, I’d get out the figurine that went with that page. Between the bath set, the ocean animal figurines, and our Little People Zoo Talking Animals we had all but one of the sea creatures. Peanut was able to explore the toy while I read her the page. Then, we’d look at the illustration and I’d point out how the animal in the picture was the same as the animal she was holding. I’d complement her on any attempts she made to say the animals name or to copy the sound it made.

After we finished the book, I showed her the jellyfish in a bottle and she explored that for a while. Then, we did our best to make all of the motions from the animal movement cards. Some she was more then willing to try. Some she walked away from me like I was crazy.

Sea creature movements

What we talked about: 
“Look at this, it’s the same animal that is in the book!”
“You’re right, that is a crab.”
“That’s a jellyfish in the bottle. Isn’t he cool?”
“Great hiding, you’re hiding just like the lobster.”
“Doesn’t the whale your holding look like this whale in the book?”
“That’s a penguin. Did we see penguins at the zoo yesterday?”

I stored all of the animals, the book, the jellyfish, and the cards back in her backpack and have been letting her explore it from time to time since we’ve read the book this week. She likes going through the book and figuring out all the creatures.

Happy reading!

2 Ingredient Cloud Dough for Toddlers

My inspiration for this activity came from Learn ~ Play ~ Imagine through this post.

Two Ingredient Cloud Dough for Toddlers

My un-messy Peanut had no problems doing this activity inside on the mess mat (a cheap plastic table cloth) with a tub to keep the dough contained.  I also suited her up in her long sleeved smock so we wouldn’t have to change outfits or worry about the oil staining her clothing when she was all done. If your little one tends to really get into messy play, it might be a good idea to take it outside.

Two Ingredient Cloud Dough for Toddlers

“Are you sure you want me to touch this stuff, Mom?”

Peanut ran right over when I placed the tub of dough on her mess mat. She touched it right away and then looked at me or reassurance. Once I got her really digging into it, she loved it. She kept saying, “ooo” when she touched it and liked the way she could flip it around.

Two Ingredient Cloud Dough for Toddlers

We haven’t had many sensory activities similar to this were we could talk about soft, so I really emphasized that the dough was soft. She liked that word and has been repeating it all day.

Two Ingredient Cloud Dough for Toddlers

I didn’t add any toys, spoons, or other utensils to this activity today. Since it’s our first experience with it, I just let her play. Toys and tools can be added later, after she’s had time to play with the dough itself.

Vocabulary used while we played:
“This dough is so soft!”
“Wow, it’s so fluffy!”
“It feels like a cloud.”
“You’re flipping it everywhere!”
“Mix it up!”
“Is it on your hands?”
“Touch it.”
“Boy, that is messy!”

The original poster said that she doesn’t replace her dough for months, so this is an activity you can come back to again and again!

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