Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tot time: oat dough monsters, toast painting, watercolor letter plates

Tot school this week was crazy good. Pinterest, well played. Here are the activities I (read: Pinterest) contributed this week:

Oat dough monsters
The recipe calls for 1 c. oats, 2-3 c. flour, and 1 c. water. I ended up using a little less flour and a little more water. This made enough for five fist-sized monsters.

The kids had cut-up straws, cut-up pipe cleaners, googly eyes, pony beads and gems to decorate their monsters with.

This week, we had two almost-2-year-olds, two 2-year-olds and a bonus 5-year-old who was out of school. All five kids loved it. It was neat to see how differently they played and responded to the materials. None of the little kids really wanted to "shape" the dough, but enjoyed poking it full of things!

Toast painting
We all agreed, this is our new go-to when we need to keep kids busy in the kitchen. It was ridiculous how much they all loved this activity. And when we were done, we toasted the bread up and made a snack!

We gave them each one slice of wheat bread and a paintbrush, and they shared six containers filled with milk and food coloring. 

They were especially excited to discover the "paint" was milk!

Watercolor letter plates
I taped off each kid's first initial in painter's tape on a basic (non-coated) paper plate. Then they got to watercolor over them. When they were done, the tape was peeled off to reveal their initial. 

We tried combining this with white crayon relief, but I think they couldn't get enough crayon on the plate, so it didn't really work. The painting part was fun though!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Bead play

Ellie is 22 months old

I spent about $10 buying a bunch of different tiny things (beads, clothespins, paper clips, dice, etc.) to make I Spy bottles. Best money I think I've ever spent. Ellie has spent literally hours playing with the extras.

We've used muffin tins, funnels, scoopers and different cups and bowls. She's sorted them by type and by color, practiced pouring, listened to different sounds the beads make, and put them ALL in her crib.




Building with spools

Trying them in one of the cheap organizing boxes I got

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin activities

We got two pumpkins from the grocery store last week. They lent themselves to a lot of perfect potty-training day (yay!) activities.

Scooping out the seeds from the big pumpkin.


She wanted to see what was in the little pumpkin, too. I hadn't planned on cutting it, but who am I to stifle curiosity? She said the "lid" looked like a flower :-)

Peeking inside to make sure we got all the seeds out.

Prepping pumpkin seeds for cooking. We used olive oil, salt and cumin, and roasted at 350 for 10 minutes. Delish.

Painting her pumpkins.

Painting the inside "flower"

We used fingers and brushes, and did LOTS of impromptu color mixing.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I Spy bottles

I decided to make a bunch of I Spy bottles as gifts for some friends who are pregnant. They're really simple, but entertain kids from birth through at least age 3.

The bottles each have:

  • Smiley face bead
  • Glass bead
  • Paper clip
  • Letter block bead
  • Sparkly butterfly, dragonfly or ladybug
  • Baseball or soccer ball bead
  • Duck bead
  • Mini clothespin
  • Wooden spool
  • Die
Then they're filled with rice. Hours of fun, especially in the car or at a restaurant when we're waiting!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

September sensory bin

Ellie is 21 months old

I really, really like this bin. So does Ellie. And I had the most obvious revelation, which is to do the bin outside. I know. Obvious. 

It contains: oatmeal, a basket (a great find in Target's dollar bin), four big apples (Dollar Tree), fake leaves (Dollar Tree), apple-cinnamon scented candles (Dollar Tree), acorns (from our backyard), red and green pom poms (Dollar Tree), a big scoop (already purchased), big measuring cup (already purchased), big tweezers (already purchased), and two of the silicone bowls.

I had a few activities in mind for this bin: using tweezers to sort the pom poms into the silicone bowls, scooping and pouring practice, and talking about apples and acorns.

Here's how Ellie used the bin:

"No leaves."


Also hilarious.

Sort of scooping?

She plays with this bin for 30 minutes at a time, regularly, more or less by herself. AKA, I don't really care what she does with it!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Caterpillar and butterfly week at tot time

It's caterpillar and butterfly week at tot time! Let's dive right in...

Contact paper butterflies
I found this on (wait for it...) Pinterest! It's a piece of black construction paper, folded in half, with a butterfly cut out, then the middle cut out. I used some of the extra paper to cut antennae. Then I put contact paper behind it and trimmed around the butterfly shape. The kids had tissue paper, ribbon and construction paper pieces to decorate their butterflies.

Caterpillar color matching
Each kid got a caterpillar and a strip of star stickers, plus the letters of their name. Ellie didn't want to do it during tot time, but she loved working on it later. I liked watching her match the colors, and then sometimes choose to put them on the "right" circle and sometimes not. Poor little red circle didn't get any stickers! This was also great fine motor practice for her.

Dyed water coffee filter butterflies
Who could have a butterfly week without coffee filter butterflies?

Very Hungry Caterpillar snack
While we read VHC, the kids got to eat along with the main character -- they each had one slice of apple, two slices of pear, three slices of plum, four strawberries, five pieces of orange, a slice of swiss cheese, a lollipop and a leaf of basil. They LOVED it and it was so much fun!