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.

Paint to Learn!

I love any activity that is not only fun for my kids, but educational too.  This was also ridiculously simple to set up, which is always a bonus.

For this project I pulled out my fantastic Melissa and Doug Finger Paint Paper (not sponsored, I just love it…although if Melissa and Doug wanted to sponsor me I wouldn’t be opposed 😉 ).  This paper is great because it’s thick and doesn’t tear when kids add a lot of paint to the paper.

All I did was take a trusty Sharpie and draw shapes on the paper for my daughter, and some of the Dolch Pre-K sight words on my son’s paper.

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I taped the paper to our kitchen table and let them paint away with some homemade flour paint (though you could just as easily use store bought).  My daughter still tends to eat a lot of our art projects 😉

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This activity was great because we got to talk a lot about what they were painting on (identifying words and shapes).  Fine motor, language, and sensory skills all tackled in one simple project = a total win!

Real Tools = Real Fun!

Trevor is really into tools and “fixing” things right now. He likes to go in his Daddy’s shop and see (and touch) all of his tools. So I’ve been trying to let him explore real tools in a fun and safe way. I made him his own workbench using a scrap piece of wood. I nailed in a few nails for him to hammer and started a few screws for him to try and finish screwing. He loves it! It’s great fine motor work too. I also squirted some shaving cream on his workbench so he could use the putty knife he stole, ahem, borrowed from his Daddy. It was a fun way to add in tactile sensory play as well.

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I’ve also set him up with wrenches, pliers and hammers before at a Play-Doh station. It’s a fun and interesting way to encourage squeezing and hand strengthening. Since Trevor has some weakness in his hands this was a great activity for him. And using Play-Doh is a great pre-writing activity for any kid.

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Bug Sundae

Trevor loves cold things. So this summer we’re going to be doing a lot more cold-themed sensory activities. Today I made him a Bug Sundae to play with. He kept calling it a Bug Saturday, which was pretty darn cute 🙂 Love the things kids say!

I put Cool Whip, cocoa powder, chocolate syrup, and his plastic bugs into a little plastic bucket and let town have some messy fun. He had a great time squishing, smelling, and even licking this activity, lol. It was a nice way to stimulate a lot of different senses.

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Color-Themed Treasure Baskets

Now that Paige is sitting pretty well and loving to explore things with her hands (and mouth too of course), I wanted to start making her more Treasure Baskets. Yesterday I made her her first color-themed Treasure Basket.

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I gathered up a bunch of baby-safe items that were all the color blue for her to play with. Our blue basket had a soft block, a cup with lid, a bowl, a spoon, a stacking cup, a stacking ring, a sensory ball, some shapes from a shape sorter, those linking rings, a couple of washcloths and a burp rag. You can use whatever objects you want for this. It’s very open-ended.

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Paige had a lot of fun playing with all the blue stuff. In a week I’ll probably rotate these items out in favor of a new color.

The Green, Green Grass

Sometimes we forget that the most basic sensory experiences are the most valuable, and the most fun. We went to the park the other day and Paige just loved the grass. The look of wonder in her eyes was priceless. I loved seeing her little fingers explore the green blades.

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And now that Trevor is getting stronger I’m realizing that he missed out on some of these basic experiences. He’s spending more time out of his braces and I’m learning just how sensitive his feet are. He has a major sensory defensiveness issue with his bare feet. So as Paige discovers some of these new, basic sensory experiences, I’m encouraging Trevor to try and enjoy them too.

Sometimes the simplest things are the best things.

Easter Egg Water Play

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Spring is finally starting to show up around here. We celebrated a nice sunny day by going outside and engaging in some water play!

Since Easter is tomorrow we played with plastic Easter eggs. I filled two bins up with water and colored one yellow and one blue. Then I added in plastic eggs and various scoopers, spoons, and tongs so we could work on some fine motor skills too. I also ended up adding in some ice cubes. Trevor thought that was great! We opened the eggs, put the ice cubes inside, then closed them back up. The ice makes a great sound when you shake the eggs! We pretended the noise they made was a chick hatching and cracked the eggs back open to see the ice cubes “hatch”. It was a great way to spend a sunny Spring morning!

 

 

Easter Dough

I always love trying out new playdough recipes with my little sensory guy. I saw this recipe on Pinterest a few weeks ago and thought it looked interesting. But given the fact that his oral sensory seeking has suddenly become out of control again (today he licked the stairs, yuck!), the last thing I wanted him to play with was something non-edible but called the name of a food. So with Easter approaching I mixed it up and we had fun with Easter Egg Dough instead!
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All you need is cornstarch and cheap hair conditioner. Mix it up in a 2 parts cornstarch to one part conditioner ratio and you have a sweet smelling, pastel-colored dough that is perfect for spring! It is a great new texture to explore.

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Trevor had a great time with this new dough recipe, and baby sis enjoyed watching him play too:

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Fabric Treasure Basket for Babies

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I first saw the idea of creating Treasure Baskets on another blog, The Imagination Tree.  I fell in love with the idea of gathering up everyday objects for little ones to explore!  So now that Paige is 4 months old and reaching for everything I thought it would be a great time to create her first Treasure Basket.

All I did was grab a basket we had lying around the house (you could also use a storage bin or even a cardboard box, this idea is so adaptable) and filled it with different types of fabric.  I used washcloths, burp rags, kitchen towels, etc.  They were all of varying textures, sizes, and colors.  I chose to create a fabric basket first because Paige has been loving chewing on material lately.  It was fun to watch her explore the different materials and she definitely enjoyed it too 🙂

I also varied her positions as she explored the material so she could work on her gross motor skills too.  I sat her in her Bumbo and also lay her on both her back and tummy while giving her the different treasures.

I look forward to creating new Treasure Baskets as she grows!

Firetruck Painting

To go along with Trevor’s new interest in firefighting I created another fun activity for him to do.  It is a great sensory experience and fine motor skill builder too 🙂

I taped some white easel paper to his tray and set out some paints, shaving cream, a spray bottle filled with water, and 3 fire truck toys.  After he sat down I poured some red, yellow, and orange paint onto the paper for the “fire” and then sprayed shaving cream on it for the “smoke”.  Then he vroomed his fire trucks through the fire and smoke to save the day!  I also gave him a spray bottle filled with water to use as his “fire hose” so that he could fight the fires!  He had a blast spraying his trucks and the paper (and the wall, they tray, himself, and almost his baby sister – note to self:  supervise kids with spray bottles closely, lol).  I was so proud that he finally has the hand strength to use a spray bottle and he had so much fun fighting a fire!  It was cool for him to see the shaving cream melt away when it was sprayed with the water.  He wanted more and more shaving cream on his trucks and was a big mess by the time we finished.  Definitely a successful sensory experience!

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The paper was pretty soaked by the time he was done.  I was just going to throw it out (since this is definitely more of a process over product kind of project), but I decided to blot the paper and soak up some of the water.  Then I cut another piece of paper off his easel roll and smoothed it on top of the other piece.  It created a cool, pale, marbled effect on the paper and turned out pretty neat.  The soaked paper on the tray was then just thrown away.

I hope all of your little firefighters enjoy this activity too!

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