Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Rice Sensory Bin Challenge

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Skyler loves sensory play of all kinds. He has been asking for rice a lot lately, our last time playing with it being our Valentine sensory bin. When I saw this fun child-led prompt to leave out just a container of rice, I was intrigued and I knew Skyler would be a happy camper! Check out the other blogs participating in this rice sensory challenge at the end of the post!

I left out a wooden bowl filled with brown rice on Skyler's craft table and he woke up from nap to see it sitting in our dining room. I was excited to see how he would choose to play with it!

He stood at his table for several minutes running the rice through his hands and pushing his fingers into the bowl, touching the bottom and covering most of his hand. He enjoyed picking up a handful and dropping it from above the bowl. He kept going higher and higher until his arm was stretched completely. After probably five minutes, he asked me for "spoons?" 

I didn't want to get the spoons for him, but I said "would you like to play with your drum spoons?" and he ran over to the cupboard that holds some wooden spoons and stainless steel bowls and grabbed two spoons. He stirred up the bowl, saying "pancakes!" or "yogurt" and then spent a long time lifting a spoon full of rice and dumping it onto the other spoon. The other thing he likes to say is "I cookin'!!" and it makes me laugh every time!

After dumping the rice using the spoons, he asked for cups. We talked about which cups to use and he wanted the colored nesting cups we use for sensory play often. He excitedly got his cups and spent the next half hour or so using his cups to play with the rice in a variety of ways! Scooping, dumping, sifting, stacking. The cups and spoons were great tools for Skyler to manipulate the rice! He was so focused throughout this activity.

My dad came over and Skyler was excited to let him check out the rice play :)

We cleaned up the tools for dinner, but then Skyler asked if he could feed his animals rice. Still remembering all the coffee grounds he fed his farm animals last week! So he picked out a couple of animal figurines and took turns burying them and digging them up, or sticking their heads into the rice to feed them.

When he was ready to be done with the rice play, Skyler looked around at the floor and said "sweep!" which is one of his favorite things about sensory play! He wanted the big broom instead of his little one attached to his high chair, so my helpful boy ran around the room sweeping up the remnants of our fun play time! So very helpful ;)

This open-ended rice prompt was so fun and I was not surprised by the choices Skyler made to play with his rice, but was happy to see his ability to choose and find the tools he wanted. Cups and scoops are always a favorite with him, and he had such a blast with the animals last week!

Skyler has asked to play with rice every day since we tried this, and we will do this simple sensory activity often in the future. We had so much fun!

Check out how our blogging friends tried this rice sensory bin challenge!

Teach me Mommy
The Chaos and The Clutter


Monday, April 28, 2014

Homemade Duct Tape Drum

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I got an email last week from the teacher from our Kindermusik class asking us to make a drum with our kids. She sent several links to DIY drums, and I did a combination of this duct tape drum from fellow KBN mama blog Frugal Fun 4 Boys and this drum using an oatmeal container.

Skyler and I went to pick out some duct tape and these are the three that he chose. I originally showed him the bright chevron and a white, light blue, and navy chevron and he said "PINK ONE!!!" so pink it was, and he chose orange and green to accompany the fun chevron.

Just like the tutorial at Frugal Fun 4 Boys, I placed strips of duct tape around the opening hole of the container. I cut the duct tape in half and alternated colors until I had done about three layers of tape. Skyler picked bright tapes, so my goal was to make this as colorful and fun as possible :)

Once the top was done, I made the stripes along the outside of the container. Starting at the same spot so the seam ended at the same place, I did a stripe of chevron, one each of the orange and green, and another stripe of chevron at the bottom. That is one bright drum!

I didn't want Skyler's only part in the drum to be choosing the tape, so I cut up some pieces of the chevron tape and let him use the "stickers" on the drum. He had so much fun and kept asking for more stickers in between jam sessions with his drum!

He is drinking. I am pretty sure he is "drinkin' oahnge juice!" The boy loves orange juice.

Here is Skyler's finished drum!

But not quite finished, because I had to give the top a little monogram! I think the various tapes were used to their full potential ;)

Skyler had a lot of fun helping with this drum from choosing his own tape to decorating it, and definitely playing it! I know he will be proud to bring it to class tomorrow. We love making instruments at home, and I am excited we can add this drum to our collection!


Friday, April 25, 2014

Good Night Animals Match Game

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Apparently we have really needed some little animal guys around our house! Skyler loves animals and we are constantly reading books about animals. Earlier in the week I shared this Big Red Barn inspired small world play, and today I am going to show you our activity interpretation of another favorite book of ours - Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann.

Skyler has been asking for this book a lot lately, and often I will walk into his room to see him reading it on his own. He even says "Good night, dear," and says good night to all of the animals, the lion being his favorite. It just melts my mama heart!

For this activity I used several animals from both the Wild and North American Wildlife Toob sets. I used the animals that could be found in the book, that Skyler knows well, or ones that can be seen at our zoo, which is why I picked a combination from the sets.

To create our match game, I took pictures of the animal figurines against a roll of white paper, printed them off and cut them out. I have always wanted to make Skyler a match game using this method and was intimidated, but it was actually quite easy!

I picked out the three animals from the story that we had - gorilla, lion, and giraffe - and set them out for Skyler. We had just read through the book, so I asked if he wanted to put his animals to sleep. He picked up the gorilla and set it down on the matching picture.

After matching the giraffe and lion and letting him play for a few minutes, I asked if he wanted more animals to match. I added three new animals for him to match.

He quickly matched his tiger, elephant, and moose, so I added three more animals.

Skyler loved the crocodile and matched it over and over! Hearing him say good night to the crocodile was adorable, so I was happy that he wanted to play with that one repeatedly :)

Skyler took a break to read his book, so I took the figurines off the pictures and reorganized them so he could try all nine at once. I only put out the nine total, even though I printed fourteen. Eventually I might give him all animals at once, but for awhile I will stick to just a few at a time.

This was a lot harder for him, but he did eventually get all of the animals sorted. The hardest for him to distinguish were the camel and moose. A very similar color and both with strange things on the tops of their bodies!

I knew Skyler would enjoy this match game, but I was a little surprised just how much he liked it, and also at how well he did at distinguishing the animals. He happily sat and sorted his animals, sometimes saying good night, always telling me what he had or what color it was. He also liked holding two animals together and saying "they huggin'!" which cracked me up!

If you have animal figurines around or if you have thought about getting some, you have to try this activity! It was so simple to put together and a lot of fun - Skyler can vouch for it! ;)


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Big Red Barn Play

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I got Skyler some animal figurines for his Easter basket. He is getting to an age where I think he will love small world play, and I was so excited when I found the Toob Farm animal set at Michael's! Skyler loves the book Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown and this fun sensory activity was a great way to provide Skyler with a hands on activity based on the book he enjoys so much!

I spread our green St. Paddy's Day Dough on half of a cookie sheet, and filled the other half with coffee grounds to make grass and mud, and then all I needed was our big red barn. I looked for images of a barn, and loved this one from Learn Create Love. I didn't use the printable, I just looked at the image and drew it, but the printable is a great option! I stuck the barn in our play dough "grass" and added some farm animals. It was a perfect morning to play with this, because Skyler had been asking to play with play dough!

When Skyler saw this activity he got so excited! He touched the coffee grounds and said "coffee" quietly as he ran it through his fingers. I especially loved it because it smelled SO good!

Skyler's favorite thing to do was pick up handfuls of coffee grounds, and pile them onto the play dough. His play grass ended up looking like our poor backyard after this winter - one huge mud pit! 

Skyler used the pile of coffee grounds to feed the animals. I think he was remembering the "baby chicks eating!!" that we saw this weekend. The little rooster got a ton of coffee grounds :)

Taking a break from feeding his animals to feel the coffee. 

 Time to feed the dog.

And of course, the cow was hungry too. This was right after Skyler ate a bite of coffee grounds. His reaction was pretty hilarious. I think he is still trying to get them out in the first picture. He didn't try to eat any after that!

We also had fun rolling balls of play dough and coffee grounds making little speckled eggs.

As we played, I read Skyler the Big Red Barn and he told me about the animals he had that were also in the book. It was a lot of fun, and I know Skyler will be asking for more coffee grounds to feed his little animals all the time!