Tag

sensory

Salt Dough and Nature Winter Wonderlands and Wreaths


I just joked the other day about how when you are a crafter it seems as if friends and family are always giving you random materials to craft with. A lovely woman that works with my husband recently gave us a huge bin full of assorted potpourri. My daughter has been dying to get her hands into it.Build a beautiful winter wonderland with salt dough and nature materials and potpourri. A wonderful activity for the winter and Christmas. Kid's arts and crafts and sensory for toddlers and preschoolers.

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One of our favorite activities has always been to work with salt dough or clay and nature items. I wanted to make nature wreaths using homemade salt dough, so I gathered some nature supplies outdoors. I picked branches from different varieties of evergreen trees in our yard. We also dug our hands into all of that potpourri and found cinnamon sticks, pine cones, star anise and other lovely and fragrant fillers. We added a handful of red beads for a little bit of a festive touch.

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40+ Gingerbread Crafts, Activities and Recipes

Over 40 gingerbread inspired arts and crafts, activities, sensory and recipes. Gingerbread house and gingerbread men projects for kids for the winter & Christmas

I’m sure that I have mentioned it before, but I love gingerbread. It is one of my absolute favorite things about this time of year. I look forward to baking it, smelling it, eating it and my daughter and I have fun doing arts and crafts projects inspired by it.  Here are some wonderful gingerbread inspired ideas to welcome in the holiday season.

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Egg Slime

Easter is only a week away. We have been shopping & preparing for the holiday. I have a ton of plastic Easter eggs lying around waiting to get filled. I should rephrase that, I had a ton of plastic Easter eggs. My daughter  has been slowly depleting my supply & using them in her play kitchen.Make egg slime for ooey gooey pretend & sensory play for the kids

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 She pretends to crack them open & throws the empty egg shells in the trash. I had to give her a pretend trash because she was throwing them away for real. She take pretend play very seriously. She has been having a lot of fun mixing up her air eggs, but since she likes the realistic, I thought we could add a little something extra to her pretend egg scrambles. Here is what we did.

Make egg slime for ooey gooey pretend & sensory play for the kids . Play Food with slime

We made up a quick batch of slime.

Ingredients:

2.5 oz of clear school glue

2.5 oz of white school glue

1/2 cup of liquid starch

Water

For Later:

Yellow Play-doh

Extra-large plastic eggs

Directions: Pour all of the glue into a bowl. You can use all clear or all white glue, but to achieve the look I was going for I used a mixture of half & half.

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Add the liquid starch in very small increments at a time. Stir it well as you go. It will thicken quickly. Be careful not to add the starch too quickly.

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When it gets to thick to stir, you can use your hands to knead it. I used just shy of the 1/2 of liquid starch & then added spoonfuls of water at a time until I achieved the consistency I was looking for. My daughter helped.

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Use the Play-doh to form little yellow balls for the yoke. Flatten them out a little with your hand.

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Grab a handful of your slime & add a yolk to the top for a realistic looking sunny side-up egg.

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Or you can put the slime & yolk into an extra-large plastic egg for a fun egg cracking experience.

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My daughter thought that this was hilarious. “Mama, it looks like real eggs.” It turns out that just like with regular eggs that she does not like the yolk, so she pulled those out & just played with the whites. Like I said, my daughter likes to keep things realistic.

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Oatmeal & Honey Play Dough

Oatmeal & Honey Play Dough - add a little texture to play.

We recently moved into a house that was still under renovation. Most of our belongings were in storage for months while we waited for our home to be move in ready. While unpacking our kitchen, I noticed that a lot of our food was getting close to their expiration. I had open containers of flour & oats that I wanted to use up, so this morning I made a couple of dozen oatmeal mini muffins. They were a big hit by the way. I still had a little bit more flour & oats left, so we tried our hand at oatmeal play dough.

Ingredients:

2 cup of oats

2 cup of flour

1 cup of water

1-2 tbsp honey

Food coloring optional

Directions:

Add the water to the oats and add the honey. Stir well. Mix in the flour & then knead with your hands. It may seem like a lot of flour, but keep kneading well and it will absorb. (Add extra water a tbsp at a time if needed until you reach your desired consistency)

Oatmeal & Honey Play Dough - Texture Sensory Play for the kids

I loved the texture of this play dough. It was very firm & moldable. My daughter of course wanted to dive right in.

Oatmeal & honey play dough - the oatmeal adds a different texture for the kids

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I was so excited about how well it molded. I asked Mai what we should make. She said that she wanted to make a pyramid. We sliced the play dough into rectangular pieces and constructed our own pyramid.

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As if the play dough wasn’t messy enough, mommy added another element of mess & made icing to bind the pieces together.

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This was a great activity for both of us. While Mai constructed her towers & googly eye cookies, mommy made a little something of her own too.

Oatmeal Play dough owl

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Roll , Cut & Construct and Build with Play Dough - Fine motor for kids

Colored Oats Fall Tree Craft

Fall Tree made out of colored oats. A great sensory & arts and craft project for the kids for the fall autumn

I love the fall. It is my favorite season & there are so many reasons why, but the biggest of them all is the changing leaves. One of the advantages of living in New England is being able to take in the breathtaking autumn views. It is no surprise then that my favorite of all of the fall crafts is autumn trees.

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Play-Doh & Rice Sensory Play

Play-Doh Sensory Craft

 

This has been a tough few days. Our daughter sprained her wrist & hasn’t been able to do much.  We have kept her calm & entertained with books, Highlights magazines & hours of marathon watching Stella & Sam & Play-Doh videos. We had far too much screen time this weekend & I needed to entertain her another way.

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We made a simple sensory craft using Play-Doh & colored rice. You could just as easy use sprinkles, small gems or buttons too.

I cut a cone shape out of construction paper & glued it to a white piece of paper.

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I drew hash lines on the cone with a marker. I rolled out Play-Doh and formed ice cream scoops.

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We used dyed rice to press into our ice cream scoops as sprinkles.

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When we finished with this, Mai wanted to keep playing with the Play-Doh & rice. We made several other crafts using cookie cutters & free form creations.

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Mai made a sweet little hand print & I made a flower.

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Mai made a bunch more too. This was a great activity that kept her happy & occupied with one hand for hours.

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Play-Doh & Rice Hand Print Activity & Craft

Fake Snot Experiment

Fake Snot Experiment

 

I have said this several times over the last few months, but I will say it again. It was a rough winter for us. Our whole house was sick more than we were healthy this past winter & unfortunately the spring has not been much kinder to us. There has been plenty of nose blowing & snotty noses in this house, so when I saw this experiment it seemed to be right up our alley. This experiment show how mucus is formed, which is with sugar & proteins. There were many variations on this, but I found this on Yeah I Made It.

The Fake Snot Experiment

What you will need:

1/2 cup of boiling water

3 packets of unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup of Caro (corn syrup)

Food coloring

 

Directions:

Add the boiling water to a bowl & add a drop of food coloring. Mix in the packets of gelatin and let it soften & stir.

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Add the corn syrup to the mixture. Pull the fork up & watch as the mixture forms stringy snot-like strands.

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“Ugh gross, mama! It looks like boogers.”

 

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It will thicken up as it cools. Add water if needed to keep it from getting to thick.

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Mining For Gemstones

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I can still remember the first time I made my daughter a sensory box. It was last year & it was just a large Rubbermaid storage bin filled with colored rice, rubber insects & some scoops & cups. Mai went crazy for it. I could not believe this simple idea could hold my daughter’s attention for so long. She played with it for hours. It was the first time since she was born that I was able to peacefully cook a full meal without her attached to my hip. I was even able to clean up after too. It was amazing.

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As amazing as it was though it was also very messy. I accepted this as long as it kept Mai happily occupied. A year later I will still find a stray grain of colored rice every once in a while. We continued with the sensory play, making holiday themed boxes, fossil brushing & her favorite which is water play. All of these activities were fun & all of them were very messy.

With the warm weather here, I am delighted to be able to move the messy play outdoors for a change.

Mai recently became obsessed with these little crafting gems that I have. She carries them all around & like the rice, I find them everywhere. I had an idea to make a sensory treasure hunt for her using some of these gems that she is so fond of. We recently bought her a sand & water table and this fit in perfectly with our plan.

What you will need:

A sensory or water table, an old pool or a large storage bin. Any of these will work fine.

Play sand

Water

Colored crafting gems

A sand sieve, shovels or scoops

We have a sand/water table, so I used this for our activity, but it would just as easily work in a large Rubbermaid storage container or an old pool. Throw your gems into the bottom of your container, add sand & water. Let your child dig out the gems using scoops or shovels, a sand sieve or even just their hands.

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As with all of the sensory play, this kept my munchkin amused for quite some time. I sat on the grass, enjoyed the sun and watched Mai digging out her gemstones. She would dig them out, put them aside & them throw them back in & start all over again. She asked for a towel to clean them off with & then put them in a container that night & set them next to her bed. Like I said, she really likes those gemstones.

 

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Foam Play Food

109Like many children my daughter’s age, she loves being mommy’s little helper. This past week she has been very eager to help me in the kitchen. I let her measure out ingredients and stir. She plays with the food scraps & measuring spoons & loves every minute of it.
One of her favorite things to do is to make “soup”. She loves pouring liquid from container to container & she loves throwing things in the liquid as well. She has come up with some interesting combinations in some interesting places. Do not ever leave my daughter alone with her milk or juice. You never know where you might find it later.

After helping me make dinner tonight, she wanted to help with the dishes too. There were a lot of sharp items that needed washing, I needed her to stay occupied elsewhere. I gave her a few different sizes of plastic bowls, some measuring cups & spoons and some water to play with.

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As usual she told me she was making soup. She started grabbing at random objects on our island to throw in her bowls. Remember those capsules that grew into little foam creatures when they got wet? She grabbed a few of those & threw them in. They turned into different fish. “I make a fish soup, Mama. I mixing it.” This gave me an idea. I grabbed a few sheets of foam from our craft bin & cut out some little foam fish for her to add to her fish soup. This was fun. She was chasing the little fish with the tablespoon and fishing them out one by one.

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From there, Mai asked for tomatoes and potatoes. We ended up quickly making up a whole smorgasbord of foam food to throw in her soup; meatballs, spaghetti, broccoli, onion, etc. This added a whole new dimension to her water play. It was a quick and easy project that my daughter loved.

 

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This kept her occupied long enough that I actually got to do something I have not done in quite a while…clean my house. With Mai deeply immersed in cooking her foam food soup, I was able to clean up after dinner and straighten up our pit of a living room a little bit. Mommy of course had to taste test it. “Mama, eat it.” Mmmmm…foam soup is delicious. Good job cooking, my sweet girl.

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