Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Snowy Construction Zone

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Grandpa is a proud heavy equipment operator and he insists the boys know the names of each of their toy tractors. My youngest is just starting to say "bulldozer", but my oldest will eagerly point out backhoes, dump trucks, cranes, excavators, and bulldozers! To say that he loves construction vehicles is an understatement. They are his go-to toys that I also like to incorporate into activities (see our Construction Zone Breakfast and our Playing with Rocks posts).
Since my boys haven't really experience snow (ok, my oldest did when we visited North Dakota when he was just 10 months old. He doesn't remember that though), I really wanted to make a sensory activity for them to play with. I searched for several play snow recipes, but settled on this one I found at Growing a Jeweld Rose. The recipe doesn't have exact measurements, but is SO easy to make!
Play Snow Recipe
Combine a box of baking soda and 1/2 can of the cheap, white shaving cream. Use your hands to mix thoroughly. The ingredients will shrink together into a snowy mixture.
I doubled the recipe and could have easily made more, but I ran out of baking soda. The ABSOLUTE COOLEST feature of this snow is that it got COLD. VERY COLD. So strange! I remember a big, fancy word for this from my chemistry class: Endothermis Reaction. Whatever the chemicals in the two compounds are, they combine and take heat from the surroundings, hence creating a cold temperature on our hands! SO COOL (literally)!!
The other neat feature of this snow is that it is moldable. Make a snowman, create snowballs, or form snow bricks. Can you guess which one we did? (ok, a little of each! But the main one was...)
My lighting was terrible, so the bricks look yellow-y, but I guarantee you they were the purest form of white I could imagine! And they smelled so clean! To form the bricks I just pressed some of the snow in ice trays and popped them out.
To play with it, I just spread some loose "snow", snow bricks, and our favorite toy tractors out on an outside table (this play could get messy!)
The boys spent at least an hour playing with this! I couldn't blame them, even after playing for a while, the snow was still cool to the touch!
Definitely a must-try sensory experience!
I'd love for you to follow me on Facebook where I share more great activities for you and your munchkins!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Snowman Soup

Make winter meals fun with yummy Snowman Soup!
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After our successful "Melt a Snowman" activity, I really wanted to incorporate more snowmen fun into our day...maybe in the form of a fun food idea... then it hit me:  Snowman Soup!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Dinosaur Fossil Dig

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Last week's preschool co-op theme was dinosaurs. Our co-op has munchkins ranging from 18 months to 3 1/2 years old, so I like to try to offer a variety of hands-on play and learning activities that will be enjoyable for everyone. There are typically 3-5 activity centers for the kids to explore, and the activity I'm sharing today was highly popular with both my little men and many other kiddos!
It was really more of a sensory bin with a learning extension. The necessary materials are as follows:

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Snowman Ice Melting Activity

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Do you want to melt a snowman?  |  Super cool sensory activity that would work for toddlers and preschoolers!

We have a lack of real winter weather where we live. No snow, frost, or even rain. So all the "winter" weather my boys experience are manufactured (fake snow at local events around town). Consequently, I thought I'd manufacture my own winter sensory experience for them!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

S.T.E.M. Activity with Salt Dough and Blocks

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It's no secret that I love incorporating literacy opportunities in play. Actually, I'll incorporate literacy in almost any activity, including eating! (see our Letterpress Toast) But I am admittedly less gifted in incorporating STEM activities into our daily repertoire (STEM activities include science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
Incorporating STEM activities doesn't mean that I have to have my preschooler/toddler working on math problems and studying classical architecture. Just the opposite, actually. Through play, I can give my munchkins a foundation for developing an intuitive mathematical/engineering understanding to build on later in life.
Despite the fact that I haven't done so well incorporating these types of activities in the past, I'm pretty excited to start offering more STEM type activities on a regular basis. For our start on this new journey, I went back to an old activity that I offered Cannon when he was a bit younger (1 year and 10 months old). Building with Salt Dough and Blocks! (see the original post here)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Thanksgiving Turkey Cascarones

Just a few weeks ago, I posted our Halloween Cascarones Activity and how much my son loved smashing those cute little pumpkin surprise eggs! Since that initial activity, I knew cascarones would need to be a more regular activity in our house. I've been mulling over a Thanksgiving themed version of the activity since that day and I finally came up with something just as fun as smashing those pumpkins- smashing turkeys!
If you're new to making cascarones, visit the original post where I show you how easy it is to make them (How to make Cascarones). Here's a little glimpse into how I prepared these ones:

Friday, November 7, 2014

Insect and Spider Sensory Bins

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Insect and Spider Sensory Bins for preschoolers and toddlers

In preschool, the bugs and spiders unit is typically done in the Spring... but I'm impatient and didn't want to wait that long to get this unit started in our own preschool co-op! I already shared our Spiderweb Web Craft and am ready to share another activity we did for this theme: Sensory bins! Well, they were mini-sensory bins because I just used plastic shoeboxes instead of a big sensory bin container like these.


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