Thursday, October 23, 2014

Spider Web Sensory Play

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When I picked up spiderweb material and plastic rings for a care package topping, I knew I wanted to use the leftovers in a sensory bin. I couldn't believe that a sensory bin so easy to throw together would keep Skyler so entertained! This bin is a lot of fun!

All I did to put this sensory bin together was pull out handfuls of the web material and fluffed it up a bit before layering it in the bin. It doesn't look like much, but once you pull on it a little, it takes up a lot of space! I scattered the plastic spider rings on top and we were ready to play!

I was pleasantly surprised with how much the spiders grip to the web material. The little legs and ring hold on to the web so whenever you try to pull a spider out it brings a lot of the webbing with it!

The webbing stretches really far! Skyler loved just pulling little bits of it as high as he could reach.

Of course, the spider rings are fun all on their own as well!

The longer you play, the more tangled the rings become. By the end, Skyler would pull up bits of webbing and there would be spiders hidden all throughout the part he pulled. Such a fun peek-a-boo game!

This simple sensory bin is a lot of fun and very festive with Halloween coming up. Just playing with the webbing and spiders was fun for a toddler. Picking out the spiders and carefully picking off all of the webbing stuck to them was great fine motor practice, and older children could do it as a color sort or counting activity. This activity could be extended to many other learning activities.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fall Leaf Painting

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We have been really enjoying our walks around the neighborhood lately. With all of the beautiful colored leaves and the perfect weather we have been having, it is such a wonderful time of year! Skyler will often talk about the colors he sees and the sounds he hears (stepping on crunchy leaves and listening to the leaves blow around are such great noises!), but then he will also say things like "The leaves change colors and fall off before the snow comes! And then the snow plow will come!!" in the most excited voice. It is adorable, but I am just happy to enjoy this beautiful fall weather before that season that shall not be named arrives!

During a recent walk we saw the most amazing red colored leaves, so we grabbed a bunch to take home and had a lot of fun with this simple painting activity. 

To start, I put a loop of tape on the bottom of the leaves and Skyler stuck them onto his paper. I loved how it looked like they were blowing around and he was so proud of setting this up on his own!

Next I squirted some yellow and red paint into a cup without mixing them, and let Skyler mix the paint as he went so we would have different shades of yellow, red, and orange with our leaves. I thought that Skyler would mostly paint on the leaves or on the white portions of paper, but I was happily surprised when he did big strokes from the insides of the leaves and out. He carefully filled up his paper and the resulting picture is so festive and fun!

When Skyler told me he was finished with his painting, we went through and carefully peeled off the leaves and tape and were left with some amazing resist leaves! The final product is even more beautiful that I thought it would be and I just love it! Such a festive painting that we will use to decorate for the season for many years to come!

This simple painting activity is a lot of fun, between the leaf collecting, deciding where to place the leaves, and watching the colors mix on the paper to resemble the leaves we see changing outside, we enjoyed this craft from start to finish!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Toddler Decorated Pumpkins

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We enjoyed a very full and fun family weekend starting off Saturday morning with this trip to Sever's Corn Maze. While we didn't actually do the corn maze, there were so many amazing activities at this spot - I can't believe it was a first time for all of us! Growing up in our hometown, my husband and I have gone to many local pumpkin patches and apple orchards, but not this nearby gem. We cannot wait to go back next year! Here are some of my favorite pictures from the morning. 


Vintage tractors were all over at the corn maze, and Skyler had to drive each one at least once!

A vintage fire truck was open for children to explore as well! We made a few stops and Skyler loved standing inside and looking up the ladder. Even though we didn't do the corn maze, we did try out the much smaller hay maze which was perfect for a toddler! 

The little wooden train was one of Skyler's favorite parts of our trip. There were several tunnels to crawl through, windows for peek-a-boo, and a great bell to ring.

My favorite was the corn pit. It was surprisingly hard to move around in the deep corn (especially at 30+ weeks pregnant!) and the corn was really cold. We had so much fun running it through our fingers, listening to the corn rain down, and walking as fast as we could before falling down. Of course there were several round of leg burying with the corn, which I found so much more enjoyable than being covered with sand!

The animals (kangaroos, lemurs, capybaras, and ostriches among the most interesting) and a ton of wooden signs with face cut-outs were other favorites for this little guy!

The purpose of our trip was to pick out some pumpkins to decorate, so we couldn't forget to stop at the pumpkin patch on our way out. After the longest nap ever (Thank you, Sever's!) we spent the afternoon decorating Skyler's three pumpkins. Skyler had a blast decorating his pumpkins almost entirely on his own! We started off by opening up one of the pumpkins to have a little sensory play.

I knew I wanted to have Skyler try the cookie cutter and rubber mallet method, so I went in search of cookie cutters that he would love and ended up with an assortment of vehicles. He was so excited to get started with this pumpkin!

This was so much fun to do and Skyler loved it! I thought we would be able to fit more cutouts, but we ended up with one of each before Skyler started to lose interest.

Up next we did a simple painted pumpkin which was Skyler's favorite to do! Last year for his pumpkin we did finger paints (with a tape resist S) that he covered with stickers once dry. Whether it was the age difference, or using the brush instead of his fingers, he had so much more fun decorating with these methods this year! He sat and carefully painted his pumpkin until every side was filled, politely asking for more paint whenever he ran out.

Similar to last year, we did a simple sticker pumpkin for the third and final decoration. These were actually the leftover stickers from last year. Again, this was a completely independent pumpkin for Skyler to decorate since he can easily remove the foam stickers from the backing. He did this pumpkin very quickly.

Skyler's foam sticker decorated pumpkin turned out so fun and glittery. I was kind of surprised all of his stickers stayed on one side!

The cut out pumpkin turned out pretty cute, but I am excited to see it lit up when it gets dark out! We haven't had a chance to try it out the past two nights, but Skyler will be so excited to see the glowing vehicles tomorrow night!

Skyler's beautifully painted pumpkin is my favorite one. He worked so hard on it and I think it turned out so cute! We have an owl shaped pumpkin holder that I am excited to put out on our front step to hold this pumpkin.

These three simple decorating techniques were great for a very independent toddler! Each one was a lot of fun on its own, and you definitely do not need three pumpkins to do all of these. Last year we had fun painting and (once dry) placing stickers on one pumpkin. Painting and cookie cutouts would be another easy one to combine on one pumpkin.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Little Pumpkin Craft

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This fun craft was one of the ways Skyler and I dealt with Joe being away for the past week and a half. I posted on Instagram the last paper "chain" of our most recent daddy countdown. I had fun making the candy corn countdown and Skyler loved taking off a candy for every night daddy was gone! We have since taken off the last candy and can't wait to see him tomorrow!

A few weeks ago we went to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (one of our favorite places - where Joe and I got married and the location of more than one family photo shoot!) While we were there, Skyler found this "pumpkin house" and loved playing inside of it. The idea for this craft we made for daddy came from this picture as well as the most common nickname I use for Skyler. I call him "pumpkin" all the time (or some variation of it!)

My little pumpkin with some little pumpkins!

After an accidental similar picture was taken two years in a row, we had to get a third! (9/28/12, 9/21/13, 9/29/14)

To make this little pumpkin craft for daddy, I cut two pieces of contact paper, one for Skyler to decorate with tissue paper and one to cover his craft and a picture to be framed! I cut two orange pumpkin shapes and made one into a frame by just trimming near the edges. We added a green stem and leaf using green paper, white paper, and green paint. 

Skyler loves using contact paper in any way. For his little pumpkin frame, I gave him two shades of orange tissue paper and he carefully filled all of the sticky contact paper!

Once he was done, I placed the picture of him in the middle. 

I put the other piece of contact paper down over both the tissue and picture. This step isn't really necessary, but I liked how it held the tissue paper down. You could just glue the picture on top. 

I glued the pumpkin shaped "frame" on top of the contact paper and cut it out.

At this point, add the stem (and leaf which we made later) and it would make a really cute suncatcher! I actually preferred it as a suncatcher, but wanted it to be more durable for Joe, so I added the other pumpkin shape to the back. 

We made the leaf with one sweet green hand print. Skyler made enough hand prints to make a little pumpkin for our entire family, the boy loves to make hand prints! I wrote on the back, and we are ready to give it to daddy when he gets home!

This little pumpkin craft was a lot of fun for both of us to make, and it could be used for a home decoration/keepsake or given to another family member or teacher!