According to Becca, this activity was fun, but “sticky and pokey”… so “enter at your own risk.” HA! I saw this idea on a pin somewhere (now I can’t find it) and it reminded me of a project I had my second graders do at one point. When I bought our super cheap marshmallows and toothpicks, I bought the flat toothpicks, thinking we’d reduce the number of pokes. She still got poked… and the flat toothpicks don’t work very well for stabbing marshmallows. Live and learn. But, we had fun building a house and then “huffing and puffing” and trying to blow it down like the big bad wolf. Of course that didn’t work, so we resorted to tearing into it, and then she decided that they were spiders and had a ton of fun playing with her marshmallow spiders. You just never know where an activity like this is going to lead a little creative mind! 🙂
I’ve decided to add, at the end of each post, the total prep time required by me, and the amount of time she stayed occupied. Keep in mind that the way I introduce activities is that I do them hands-on with her the first (and sometimes second and third) times just to make sure that she understands the rules and that I can see if she is struggling. The goal is for ALL activities to become independent activities eventually, so that I can work on prepping/introducing new activities, and also because little brother will be coming along behind and I’ll begin to work with him and will need time when Boo is independently working beside us.
Total Prep for Mommy: maybe 3 mins (open marshmallow bag, dig around and find a throw-away small plate – the longest part of the process for me, pull out toothpicks, put all on a tray)
Total play time for Becca: 25 mins (Daddy got home from work. She probably was about done, though. Might have made it 30 mins.)
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The kids are blessed with a Granny who sends them boxes of fun random items at random times. And at one point, in one of Becca’s boxes came one of Melissa and Doug’s most creative (in my opinion) products that inspires creativity in kids… it’s the Reusable Sticker pad. You can get your own here on Amazon (affiliate link). The one I’ve linked is the one Becca has – the habitats one, shown below, but there are others available as well.
She still needs help peeling them off the pad, but her hand-eye and fine motor coordination skills are almost such that she can do it all by herself… and she’s sooo proud of her pictures every time! 🙂
UPDATE: Have a child who really loves safari/zoo animals? Check out the fun project we did today, using this reusable sticker pad and her chunky puzzle! (Get your puzzle here) She started playing with her puzzle, so I went and got the stickers, and she would find the sticker that matched the puzzle piece, make the animal noise, and then place it on! She had so much fun! I also want to get her these Toob animals so that we can further extend our safari play!
I honestly can’t tell you where the idea came from. Between all the pins on my boards and all the educators/education groups I follow blogs for, somewhere out there was the idea that giving toddlers glue bottles to squeeze helps their grip and develops fine motor skills. Then I saw another one where you put food coloring in the glue and let them paint with it.
So, this afternoon, when racking my brain for something new to do INSIDE to beat the heat, I remembered that I had seen the idea, pulled out a couple bottles of glue, and we went to town!
Note- when you add food coloring to the glue, you’ll have to have something to stir it up with bc shaking the bottle doesn’t mix it. I just used a straw. And because her grip is still so weak, the glue will last a LONG time. She had to have help to get very much glue out at all. I’m thinking we’ll try to do this activity at least once a week to work on that grip!
She had so much fun and was so proud of her work! She didn’t like having to wait for it to dry, so I know she’ll be anxious to see it in the morning!
Got a fabulous idea from No Time for Flashcards to make magnetic sandcastles! I grabbed some old partially used sandpaper from Cody’s shop, borrowed his shop scissors, cut a bunch of shapes, and added some magnet tape strips! The whole thing took less than 5 minutes. (Ok, well, more like 12 bc I started searching for the magnet tape and sorta started cleaning my craft cabinet…)
Becca LOVED getting to build sandcastles… And bonus… She learned about magnets, and began experimenting about what magnets stick to and don’t stick to! Then, she discovered that the upside-down cake pan we were using also makes a really fun drum!! She also enjoyed sitting on the counter-top… That’s only allowed for special projects like cooking, so she knew this was gonna be a really fun, special activity. 🙂
Hoping we can make it to the beach soon to build REAL sandcastles, but until then… We’ve got the cool air conditioned version! 🙂
I love to scrapbook and make greeting cards, and I recently got a fabulous deal from Consumer Crafts on a bunch of embossing folders (they were 50% off of their regular $2.97 price!!). Something just hit me yesterday as I was thinking how I needed to find a place to store all of them now… These would make awesome crayon rubbings!! And, let the paper peeling begin!
I took the paper wrappers off of several of Becca’s broken crayons, and showed her the awesomeness of making crayon rubbings. It took a while for her to get the hang of it, and to figure out that yellow probably wasn’t going to produce the same bold results that purple and orange produced, but in the end, she had a blast and it was a great way to kill about 30 mins of a hot summer afternoon- all while working on her hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills! She even thought it was fun to attempt to color with her right hand instead of her left! (She’s a lefty.)
You can find your own embossing folders on this page from Consumer Crafts for less than $3 a piece, or at your local Hobby Lobby or Michaels craft supply store. JoAnn’s probably has them, too.