Archive for Sensory Play

Super Eye Sensory Bins

Monday, September 9th, 2013

This weeks theme is Super Eyes at Mikey’s School. When it came time to make the sensory bins I had to make a black EYED peas and googley Eyes sensory bin.

And a Rainbow Pasta sensory bin. I make my rainbow pasta by adding 1 Tablespoon of rubbing alcohol to 1 pound of pasta and enough food coloring or liquid colors to get the color intensity I want.
And here are some bins I have set next to the sensory bins with some nature items, bowls, funnels, measuring cups, and scoops.

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Making a Sensory Play Mat and Peg Characters

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

Disclaimer: I received a gift card from Jo Ann Fabric and Craft stores to help with purchasing the products to create this craft.

I love Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores. This summer they a fantastic program that has 72 wonderful Summer Crafts. These ideas are spectacular on their own but I like to put my own twist on things. So when I saw the fabulous Treasure Map project I knew it would be a fun project to work on with my kiddos.

First we had to decide what kind of map we were going to make. Mikey decided he wanted a Treasure Map. He wanted there to be a castle. He has been really into Knights, Dragons, castles, and swords. So I went to making our castle, It was easy. I just did a quick sketch of what I wanted the castle to look like. You don’t need it to be perfect. It’s for kids they will love it no matter what it looks like. I made a drawbridge I cut a half oval in my castle and then glued some of the same paper to the back of the oval so that the scrapbook paper would be thicker and the print would be on both sides.

After we had decided what we wanted to be on our map. I began to cut shapes to represent different landmarks. Every night Mike tells the kids stories. The kids tell him what they would like the story to be about. Kaia’s stories are almost always about Unicorns, Princesses and Faeries. While Mikey likes his stories to be about Knight ,Dragons, and other creatures. These stories have become a whole world created by Mike with suggestions from the kids. Meaning the Unicorns almost always are in a forest called the Tangle Wood Forest, The Mermaids are generally in the Singing Spring etc. So that is what we decided our Map would be. It would be a map about this world that they hear about every night.

The base of this map is made from a cork roll which gives it a fun attribute. You can stick things in it. In our case I made little Flags out of craft foam and pipe cleaners. I cut the pipe cleaners to the size I wanted and hot glued them to small pieces of cut up craft foam. I also decided that I wanted this map to have many different textures. I wanted it to not only be visually exciting but and exciting sensory experience for them as well.

Here is our castle which we call Bright Stone Tower. I glued jewels to the inside of the drawbridge so when the kids open it they can see and feel the beautiful treasure inside. There is also Dead Man’s Ditch. It is made from scrapbook paper that has a weaved texture. It feels kind of like a basket. I also used foam stickers to liven it up a bit.

The Creeping Marsh and The Worlds End. These places often make appearances in their nightly stories. There are mermaids who live at The Worlds End which was made with blue craft felt and fiber fill (usually used to make pillows). Big Bug like creatures live in the Creepy Marsh which was made from fabric (found in the scrap fabric area) and craft foam bugs.

The Sky Cap Mountains were made from textured craft felt and the white snow is made from fabric paint. The Wandering Island was made from scrap book paper, in both a water print and a textured weave. The palm trees are craft foam stickers.

Tangle Wood Forest is made from scrap book paper. I did use a tree punch that I already had. I am sure you could find something similar at Jo-Ann’s.
We decided that we love our map but that it needed a little something more. So we created figures to go along with it. I used wood clothespins to make our figures.

The first figure I made was this Knight. I used gray acrylic paint to paint the knight. I used puffy paint for the shield and a sharpie for the sword. The cape was made with felt. I used a glue gun to attach it.

The Dragon was made next. I used two different shades of green acrylic paint to paint the dragon. I used a sharpie for the face and tummy scales. The wings, tail and back spikes are made from green craft felt.

The Princess was made with pink acrylic paint. The dress, crown and cape are made from craft felt. I added a few gems with my hot glue gun. Because Princesses need some sparklies.

The Unicorn may be my favorite. I am not sure its between the Unicorn and the Dragon. I used a silver pipe cleaner for the horn cut to size. The eyes are made form small rhinestones. The hair is actually made form party blowers. I just took off the pretty foil part and turned it into unicorn hair. I added a small flower to the front because it needed it. The muzzle or nose is made from a small white pompom. The ears are made from craft felt.

The Mermaid was made using acrylic paint again. This time though once the paint dried I used teal glitter glue over it to make the mermaid tail sparkle. The bottom fin is made from craft felt.

This play set is super easy to put together and take apart. I had an extra baggy that we use to keep all the figures and flags in. Then we just take the baggy and roll it up in the map its very compact.

You can view the full online Cape Discovery Catalog & Jo-Ann’s Weekly digital advertisement to see everything that is going on! You can find a single coupon for 40% off one item there as well! There are even more craft ideas & you can find out what is on sale when you visit in store & online!

What kind of Summer crafting activities do you enjoy doing with your kids or even for yourself? Which one of the Jo-Ann Summer craft activities are you most excited about?

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How to make a Wind Tunnel

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

When we visited my parents in Washington there was a great Kids Museum we visited that had a wind tunnel. Mikey and Kaia probably spent about an hour there playing with it. I didn’t mind I was there playing with it to. Ever since then I have wanted a wind tunnel of our very own. I found one made by Kodokids (that is where the picture above is from). I am completely obsessed with the kodokids wind tunnel. It is on my wish list. Unfortunately I cannot convince my husband that a wind tunnel is a necessity. So I think the beautiful Kodokids Wind Tunnel will remain a dream. Well when I obsess over something I really obsess. So I think about it often, I try to figure out how I can make something similar with what I have and so I came up with what you see below.

I looked through my house unfortunately I do not have any fans even remotely the same size as the one pictured. I did however find an old hair dryer in my garage so I had a jumping off point. I knew I had to direct the air. If you read my blog you know I have a thing for upcyling plastic bottles. I found a plastic bottle and used a box cutter to cut off the bottom of the bottle.

I placed the bottle over the hair dryer

I then used duct tape to attach the bottle to the hair dryer. I did not want the hot air to melt the bottle or to burn the kids hands so I taped down the cold air button. I now needed something to hold the dryer in place. I wanted it covered so the kids would not play with the on off switch to much. I had a Styrofoam cooler I thought would be perfect so I cut a hole in the top. I used a dowel to hold the hair dryer in place. I placed it all on top of a wire rack that came with my fridge. I wanted to make sure there was plenty of ventilation.

The result was better than I had hoped for. It works great. Mikey figured out we can have two balls going at once. He is able to move the balls without touching them. We will practice with more objects later. I am just so excited that this actually worked. While I am still dreaming of the Kodokids Wind Tunnel . I at least have my make shift wind tunnel to let the kids learn and discover with.

Let me know if you try this out. I would love to hear all about it and see pics too. Any ideas on what we should use to play with on our wind tunnel? Leave a comment I am so excited to see what you all can come up with.

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Making Scented Bubbles

Monday, April 29th, 2013

I went to a craft store by my house and saw they were selling scented bubbles. I immediately put it on my list of things to make and then sadly forgot about it…until now. The kids have had the tummy flu and are still battling it which means we have been home and looking for things to do. I knew I wanted to do something easy that would keep them busy and enjoying some time outside. Cue the amazing and oh so pretty scented bubbles.

First check out my post on Bubble Recipes I have five fantastic recipes there. All of them can be adapted to add scent. Making your own bubble wands out of pipe cleaners is just extra credit.

So here it is super simple. I added a few drops between 5-10 of essential oil or extract add more or less depending on the strength of the scent you want. That’s it. I added food coloring to just to make them look a little different liquid watercolors would have worked as well.

Looking to make it even more simple. Buy your bubbles and just add some essential oil or extract to your store bought bubbles.

Another easy way to add scent if you don’t want to go the essential oil/ extract route is to buy scented dish soap when making your bubbles.

I am going to try making bubbles with kool-aid as well to see how that goes. I figure making a simple syrup with the kool-aid will keep it from separating. I will see and update this post later.

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Predict, Measure and Pour

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

While searching for something to do on a boring morning at home. I came up with a simple project that was fun and completely free.
Here is what you will need:
something to pour- we used birdseed, rice would work, beans, waterbeads etc.
A container to keep your pouring material in
empty clean jars/ containers in different sizes, shapes and so on
a measuring cup or spoon
funnel to make pouring easier on small containers
a bin to contain it all or a table cloth/ mat something to make clean up easier for you

Use a marker, rubber band, or washi tape to make a mark on the jar. Ask how many scoops to make it to that point? Then how many more to make it to the top?

We did this project outside. Just because I like doing projects like this outside it could easily be done inside. I had the kids predict how many scoops it would take to reach the top of each jar. These were all jars I had saved from around the house. Some were the same volume containers just in different shapes to fool the kids. We used a 1/2 cup measuring cup to measure and pour. The kids got better about predicting as we went on.

There is real learning going on in this simple, and fun activity. We talked about which bottle they thought would hold the most birdseed and which they thought would hold the least.

So what did they learn? They learned how to measure, how to make comparisons. How to make judgements based on prior knowledge and based on assumptions. They were also developing hand eye coordination all the while.

Have you ever done a similar project with your kids? What did you do and how did it go? Leave a comment I would love to hear about it.