Homemade Playdough Pumpkins

Today I broke out the pumpkin pie spice yet again and made some homemade playdough. I love the simplicity of the recipe I found through Pinterest on the blog Messy Kids All you need is baking soda, cornstarch, and water! (Plus the pumpkin pie spice and food coloring if you want to add scent and color).

I halved the original recipe and it made more than enough Pumpkin playdough for Trevor:
🎃 1 cup baking soda
🎃 1/2 cup cornstarch
🎃 3/4 cup water
🎃 Pumpkin Pie Spice
🎃 Red and Yellow food coloring (to make orange)

Mix together the baking soda, cornstarch, and pumpkin pie spice in a small saucepan. Mix together the water and food coloring in a bowl and then add to the dry ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until it forms a dough. Let the dough cool, knead it a little bit, and then it’s ready to play with!

I set up this Invitation to Play with playdough Jack-O-Lanterns by providing Trevor with a bunch of loose parts along with the dough. He had pipe cleaners, small foam leaves, googly eyes, plastic beads, marbles, and buttons to work with. I was surprised at how much fun he had making pumpkins! He played for over an hour, which is huge for him.

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At first he just made faces on the pumpkins, but then he started burying all of the loose parts inside the playdough. So we ended up playing hide-and-seek with all of the objects which is an excellent way to work on hand strengthening and improve those fine motor skills (in addition to being tons of fun!).

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Fall Sensory Bin With Pumpkin Pie Scented Rice

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I think I’m in love. This sensory bin is awesome. It smells just like Fall when you’re playing in it. Oh yeah, and Trevor loves it too 🙂 I’ve seen the idea of scenting sensory bins floating around Pinterest, but I finally got around to doing it this year. It is so easy to do too. I dyed the rice orange by adding in the usual food coloring and rubbing alcohol combo, but I also shook in a bunch of Pumpkin Pie Spice during the mixing process. The added sensory experience of smell is simply fabulous. It is extra calming for Trevor for sure. He is engaging with this bin so much more than usual. We’ve played with it every night this week! I will definitely be adding scents to more of our sensory play activities from now on.

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Treasure Basket for Teething Babies

Paige has been having the worst time teething lately. She is up off and on throughout the night and all she wants to do is rock and nurse. Teething is so miserable, for both baby and mommy!

After another exhausting night (and cranky morning) I decided to make her a treasure basket specifically full of things to chew on. All her treasure baskets are full of items that are safe for her to mouth of course, but I wanted one that was full of different textures in hopes that she (and I) would find some relief.

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I included some traditional baby teething toys, as well as two cold washcloths (one smooth and one textured), a towel knotted around an ice cube, a mesh feeder filled with frozen carrots, a spoon, a spatula, and some of Trevor’s old Chewy Tubes. If there is a silver lining to Sensory Processing Disorder, it’s those Chewy Tubes. Not only were they great at redirecting Trevor’s inappropriate mouthing, but they make awesome teethers. Paige loves this treasure basket and was actually smiling and laughing while exploring it.

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The two items she kept going back to most were the mesh feeder and the red Super Chew tube. It was nice that she was finally able to find the right object to give her some relief!

Under the Sea Felt Board Play

Trevor has really been into learning about sea life lately. He chose to go to the aquarium for his birthday and also got some great books about different sea animals  recently. Since he loves to play with our felt board I decided to create some ocean animal themed felt pieces for him to play with.

I started by doing a quick Google image search and finding this template and this template. Then I cut the images out and traced them onto felt. After that I cut those pieces out. I used a hot glue gun to attach the embellishments, but if you prefer to sew you could do that too.

Trevor loves his new felt pieces! We’ve played with them again and again. After putting the felt pieces up onto the felt board he likes to pretend we’re on another trip to the aquarium 🙂

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DIY Sound Blocks

Paige loves to explore. But since she still mouths everything I wanted to find a way for her to safely explore objects that would be unsafe for her otherwise. I had saved a bunch of her baby food containers and thought they’d be the perfect containers to create these Sound Blocks for her. They’re designed to stack, so they work great as blocks.

I raided Trevor’s sensory bin materials, as well as some craft supplies, to find things to put in the containers. Once filled up with a material I hot glued the lids shut so they wouldn’t open up. This was such a simple activity to set up, and Paige just loves her Sound Blocks. Even Trevor has been playing with them.

The eight blocks I made were filled with rice, beans, pasta, birdseed, shells, pea gravel, beads, and colored gems. You could use any materials you have on hand though that you feel would make a neat noise when shaken. I think next I’d like to make one with bells inside!

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So far the containers have held up to being knocked over, thrown around, shaken, and mouthed. But of course make sure you supervise your little one while playing with any small object or homemade toy 🙂

4th Birthday!

Trevor is 4! I can’t believe my little man is growing up so fast. Given his sensory issues we usually avoid parties, but he requested one this year so we had a small one. He did great! He even blew out his birthday candle all by himself.

Before his party I took him with me to the party section at our local store to see if he would help pick out decorations. The only thing that caught his eye was a minion piñata. Even though he’d never seen the movie “Despicable Me”, his heart was set on a minion party. Silly boy! The only minion party decoration in the whole store was that piñata, so I ended up making all of the other decorations. I made cardboard tube minions, a minion balloon holder, signs, a banner, cake toppers and two centerpieces. It was a lot of work, but so worth it. He absolutely loved looking at all of the decorations and he still plays with some of them a week later.

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We had the party two days before his birthday, and then on his birthday we had a special family day to celebrate. His request was to go to the aquarium and see the starfish and the seals but not the scary spiky fish, lol. We also played on the beach afterward. It was a great day (except for an unfortunate bee sting to the face. Poor kiddo!)

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