Peek-a-Boo Sensory Board

I knew that I wanted to do a fun project involving the tops from baby wipes containers ever since I saw this post from I Can Teach My Child on Pinterest.  I started saving wipes lids and was inspired to create this Peek-a-Boo Sensory Board while wandering the aisles at Home Depot. 20140625-130952.jpg I picked out flooring samples for both indoor and outdoor carpet, as well as linoleum.  When I got home I flipped the samples over and traced the outline of the inside of the wipes lids on the backs of the samples with a Sharpie.  I cut along the outline so they fit perfectly inside! I grabbed a partial piece of foam board and moved the wipes lids around until I was happy with the layout.  Then I simply grabbed my trusty hot glue gun and glued the wipes lids to the foam board.  Finally, I glued the cut pieces of the flooring samples inside. 20140625-131012.jpg When I first presented Paige with the Sensory Board I laid it on the floor.  She had a great time exploring the textures with both her hands and feet!  Later I ended up mounting it to the wall with some Command strips for a little change. 20140625-131036.jpg Paige has really enjoyed exploring this sensory board.  It’s a great way for her to learn about textures and colors too! I just love a simple (and practically free!) project 🙂

EDITED TO ADD:  I have had many people asking about the brand of wipes I used for this project. They are Kirkland wipes found at Costco.

DIY Outdoor Reading Den for Kids

My kids love books and they love being outside, so I thought, “Why not combine the two?”  Given their fair skin we tend to play in the shade, so I decided to make them a cozy little outdoor hideaway where we could snuggle up and enjoy a few books.  The best part?  You can make it with items found at the Dollar Tree!  I love me a good frugal DIY project 🙂

All you need is a hula hoop, a shower curtain, and a pack of shower curtain rings.  For $3 and in only a few minutes you have a fun, inviting outdoor getaway spot!

PicMonkey Collage 2

First you hook the shower curtain to the hula hoop using the rings.  Once every ring has been used, tie the two rings from each end together with some garden twine (or yarn, string, ribbon, whatever you have laying around) to keep the top secure.  I then used the same garden twine to tie the hula hoop down from a tree branch.  Add in a few pillows and a comfy quilt and you have a spot that is begging to be lounged around in.

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Both of my kids loved this!  I couldn’t believe how much my daughter enjoyed the spot too, given that she’s always on the go and usually wanders around after a book or two.  The first time my kids saw this we sat and read books for over an hour!  My kids never attend to one task for that long.

Even our puppy wanted to come play in it!

This is a definite must-do activity to add to that Summer Bucket List!  What are your favorite fun and frugal outdoor activities for kids?

Spiders and Webs on the Light Table

This is a total Pinterest-inspired Halloween activity. I saw this idea of building spiderwebs on the light table from the blog “And Next Comes L”. It looked like a lot of fun, but I knew that Trevor would get frustrated trying to make webs out of yarn. Mr. Literal gets mad when things don’t look exactly the way they’re supposed to. So I took inspiration from another post on the same blog to make Trevor some spiderwebs for this activity. And all you need is a glue gun!

Using my glue gun I drew out four spiderwebs on top of some parchment paper. I also shook a little glitter on each before they hardened. They look great on the light table! Trevor had a blast with them. The spiders I used were glow-in-the-dark plastic spiders from the Dollar Tree. They also illuminate quite nicely on our light table.


We had so much doing this light table activity. The spiders reminded Trevor of the book “The Very Busy Spider” by Eric Carle, so I grabbed that book off our bookshelf and read it to him. Them we acted out all of the scenes in the book on the light table!


A Day at the Beach

We went to the beach a couple weeks ago for the day and it was wonderful.  It is so amazing to see how far Trevor has come.  He was walking in the sand without any problem, bending down to pick up shells, and “writing” with sticks in the sand.  We found a nice quiet spot and it was so great just to see him play like a typical little kid at the beach.  His endurance still needs a lot of work, as he was completely worn out by the short time we were there.  As much as he wanted to play at the second beach we went to, he was just too tired to do it.  We enjoyed ice cream instead 😉

Paige did great on her first road trip.  She’s a good little traveler.  But she wasn’t too impressed by the windy beach.  I bounced and nursed her in her carrier and she calmed down though.  It will be fun to see both kids playing together on the beach soon!







I also made a Beach Memory Jar out of the rocks, shells, and sticks that Trevor collected on the beach.  He loves to pick stuff up and carry it home when we play outside!  I filled the bottom of a mason jar with a little sand, crushed up some of the broken shells and layered them next, then stuck pieces of sticks and the longer clam shells in next.  After screwing the lid back on I tied a ribbon around the top with a tag that says “First Beach Trip as a Family of Four”.  I hope to have many more memory jars around our house in the years to come!


Marble Monster Fine Motor Activity


Since Trevor struggles with his fine motor skills I’ve really been trying to incorporate more fine motor activities into his playtime.  After watching the “Gulpy, Gulpy Gators” episode of Doc McStuffins, Trevor wanted to get his marbles out.  At first he played with the marbles on his Pool Noodle Marble Run, but that just wasn’t cutting it.  He wanted to feed his marbles to something just like on Doc!  So I grabbed the segment of pool noodle that was left over from creating the pool noodle marble run and turned it into a monster.  I cut teeth out of a white strip of cardstock and taped that around one end of the noodle.  (I also taped a piece of pink ribbon on the inside of the teeth for the tongue).  Then I hot glued some googly eyes to the pool noodle and used a Sharpie to draw on some eyebrows and a nose.

Trevor had a great time getting his monster to gulp up all of the marbles!  He was so excited about his gulpy monster that he had to show my niece when she came over the next day.  They played with it together and it turned out to be a great turn-taking activity.

Pool noodles are so versatile!  What fun activities have you done with a pool noodle?

DIY Felt Board


This felt board was so easy to make (and cheap too!).  I bought a yard of blue felt at a fabric store for $2.99 and a sheet of blue foam board at Wal-Mart for a little over $2.  The project only cost about $6, and it could even be done for less.  I really only needed a half yard of the felt to cover the board and I know they have foam board at the Dollar Tree (so you could realistically end up spending only about $3 on this).

To make the felt board I ironed the blue felt then cut it to size, leaving a few inches of extra fabric on each side.  Then I grabbed my stapler and stapled the excess fabric to the back of the board, making sure to pull tight.  Then I mounted it to the wall and let Trevor have fun with it!

I bought several other colors of felt at the fabric store and plan on making a bunch of different scenes and objects for him to play with.  The first thing I made were felt hearts for Valentine’s Day.  More on that later…

Undersea Lightbox Adventure

Trevor loves his light box.  But for some reason we hadn’t played with it in a couple weeks.  I’m not quite sure how that happened, but reading about how much fun Owen and Melaina had with their homemade light box inspired me to create a new light box adventure for Trevor.

What You Need:

  • 2 gallon sized Ziploc baggies
  • water
  • blue food coloring
  • baby oil

How To Make It:

  1. Fill a Ziploc bag about 1/3 full of water.
  2. Add in a few drops blue food coloring and mix.
  3. Squirt in some baby oil (this is optional, but it creates some neat looking bubbles)
  4. Let out the air and seal the bag.
  5. Put the sealed bag inside a second Ziploc, to prevent accidental leaks.
  6. Place on top of your light box and enjoy your own Undersea Light Box Adventure!

Having his fish “swim” in the “ocean” (I found these transparent animals at the Dollar Tree in their glow-in-the-dark section):

The Sea of Trevor:

Cheese Face 🙂

The next day he also wanted to play with the colored gel bag we made previously.  This worked out great.  I had him sort his animals by putting the water creatures in the blue “sea” and the land animals in the yellow “sand”:

Trevor’s Animal Habitat:

Playing and Sorting:

A Week of Dr. Seuss: Cat in the Hat Matching Game

Trevor’s really into matching lately, so I decided to create a Cat in the Hat matching game for him.  He loved it!

What You Need:

  • Cat in the Hat clip art
  • Notecards
  • Glue Stick
  • Contact Paper
  • Scissors

How to Make it:

  1. Find Cat in the Hat themed clip art online (I just googled “free Cat in the Hat clip art”) and paste into a document.
  2. Print out 2 copies of the clip art.
  3. Cut out images.
  4. Glue on notecards.
  5. Cover notecards with contact paper.
  6. Play your matching game.

Our Cat in the Hat Matching Game:

Finding his first match:

Smiling after finishing all his matches:

Make-It Monday: Hand Stamped Valentines

On Friday Trevor got to exchange Valentines with the classmates in his Language Group.  Instead of going out and buying pre-made Valentines, I decided it would be fun (and much more special) if we made them ourselves.  So we created these hand stamped Valentines.

What you need:

  • red paint
  • blank cards
  • toilet paper roll
  • tape

How to make it:

  1. Fold the toilet paper roll in half lengthwise to create 2 creases.
  2. Push one of the creases back into the middle of the toilet paper roll to create a heart shape.
  3. Secure heart stamp with a piece of tape at each end.
  4. Dip the heart stamp into the red paint, then stamp onto the front of the blank cards.
  5. Let dry, then write a special message inside.
  6. Share your hand-stamped Valentines!

We did a practice run on a piece of paper, and I highly suggest you do that.  Trevor doesn’t have the fine motor control to create a full heart shape without a little help.   That big red blob in the corner of the paper is his attempt.  The ones that look like hearts I helped him with, hand over hand.  If your little one is older and/or has good fine motor control you can skip the practice run if you want.

Me and Trev stamping the Valentines together:

The finished product:

Our inside messages, complete with Trevor’s “signature”:

I cut a small rectangle out of a piece of cardboard and let Trevor scribble, so that his “signature” was contained to the right spot:

These turned out beautifully! Also, Trevor had so much fun with the heart stamp we made.  He was covered in red paint by the time we were done.  After I got some good impressions on the Valentines I gave him back the practice sheet and let him run wild.  He loves to dip and stamp!

Sensational Saturday: DIY Light Box

The latest rage online seems to be light boxes for kids.  Several blogs I’ve stumbled across show kids having fun playing with ready-made light boxes.  But those are pretty pricey and I’m way too cheap for that!  So I searched around online and found a few ideas on how to make your own light box.

What You Need:

  • clear under-the-bed style storage tote
  • foil
  • parchment paper
  • duct tape
  • Christmas lights (I used white LED net lights I found on clearance after Christmas)

Using these items I made a light box for under 15 bucks.

How to Make It:

  1. Assemble your supplies.
  2. Line the inside of the storage tote with foil, securing with duct tape.  This helps to reflect the light upward.
  3. Line the lid of the tote with a double layer of parchment paper, securing the edges with duct tape.  The parchment paper helps diffuse the light.
  4. Spread the lights as evenly as possible inside the box, with the plug hanging over the edge.
  5. Put your lid on.
  6. Plug it in and enjoy!

Trevor loves his light box!  I found some great items at the Dollar Tree to use on top of the light box.  These are glow-in-the-dark animals.  They are flat and transparent, so they work great.

And I found some colored transparent kaleidoscopes in the party favor section.  He decided they were hats, because they’re cone-shaped like a Santa hat 🙂

I also picked up some colored gems in the floral section at the Dollar Tree for him to explore on his light box.

He decided sitting on it was fun too.  The plus side of making your own light box out of a storage tote is that it’s pretty durable too.

The light box is a huge hit in our house.  Playing with light is a great way to stimulate the visual sense.  I had been looking into adding some more visual tasks to Trevor’s sensory diet, and this worked out perfectly.  The possibilities are endless.  I can’t wait to find lots of new items for him to explore on his light box.


Stay tuned for more Light Box ideas, or check out Teach Preschool for their great ideas!