Halloween Rice Sensory Play

Back when I colored a bunch of rice (see that post here), I made both orange and purple rice.  Today I only gave her the orange rice, a few pumpkins, a spoon, scoop, some cups, and this pumpkin ice cube tray I found at Dollar Tree.  She had so much fun stirring the rice and transferring it to the tray.  I’m hoping to have time to make some additional items to go with this activity before Halloween.  When I do, I’ll update and repost this.  The long-term plan is for her to have the orange and purple rice mixed together. 🙂

Clean up tip: If you’ll put your plastic table cloth with the fabric side up, the rice doesn’t bounce or roll off of the table cloth. 🙂

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Total Prep Time for Mommy: Because I already had the rice colored, this took about two minutes (or less) to throw together.

Total Play Time for Becca: About 15 minutes.  I’ve noticed the past few days that her attention span for activities has been shorter and shorter.  But, it took very little time to set up, or clean up, so it’s all good.

Leaf Art

Well, as you know, I’m not Jean… but I am trying to become a more art-loving parent!  So, when we went to the library and the story time activity was to go outside and collect leaves, I decided to bring them home and do something with them!!  I made the poster, then gave her the bag of leaves and a sheet of contact paper to stick them on.  She loved putting them on the sticky paper, and then was so excited to see her leaves on her poster!  We also put the leaves under some copy paper and did rubbings of them.  It was a super fun art time!

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Here’s a view of our art wall, which I’m really striving to keep new art rotating through more regularly!  Becca LOVES seeing her art displayed on the wall, and is so proud when we hang up new things!  I need to come up with a really good way to keep the stuff we take down off of the wall…

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This is the text “picture” that anchors the wall.  Found this quote and fell in love with it.  We just very simply attached a cable to the wall behind the picture, and anchored it at both ends with nails.  Then I can clip art of various sizes easily.

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Autumn Sensory Bin

In continuation of our week of autumn, here’s what I threw together for Becca this week: dry beans, old popcorn kernels, foam leaf stickers (I peeled the backs off and stuck them together), play pumpkins from Dollar tree, and flat toothpicks.  Of course I also gave her her favorite scoop, and a little bowl as well.  She really doesn’t like the toothpicks at all.  So I keep presenting them in different ways so that she’ll have the textural experience.  She likes the pumpkins and the leaves and digging her hands in the beans.  At one point, she started sorting the corn kernels from the beans.  Ever the OCD… not too fond of things mixed together.  HA!  She also asked for a tray to assist in her sorting.

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Total Prep Time for Mommy: five minutes just to throw it all together

Total Play Time for Becca: she didn’t play at this one as long – only about 10 minutes.  I think when I give it to her today, I’m going to help her pull out the toothpicks… and then I bet she’ll play with it for much longer.  Those durn toothpicks!

An Invitation to Autumn Play

Continuing the theme of fall/autumn activities this week, I thought I’d share the shelf I set up as an invitation to dramatic play as well as reading – on theme.  Here’s how I prepared the shelf:

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I didn’t have to buy a thing – just went thru my decorations in the attic!  I went thru our various shelves of books, and came up with some fabulous options, and put the board books here for easy access.  (See below for a listing and links for purchasing.)

 

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In the basket, I placed a bunch of little pumpkins and gourds that I had on hand – I believe I got them at dollar tree and hobby lobby a few years back.  The basket was also a hobby lobby find ions ago.  (AKA – if it gets torn up, I’m not gonna cry over it!)

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So the books  – as you can see, a couple of them are Target dollar section books.  But here are the links to the others (all affiliate links – thank you for your participation!).

Duck & Goose, Find a Pumpkin  – Becca LOVES Duck and Goose books.  So much that she’s already excited about writing a letter to Santa Clause to ask for more of them. 🙂

It’s Pumpkin Day, Mouse!

Eating the Alphabet (yes, I consider this a fall/harvest book)

Jack and Jill: A Halloween Nursery Rhyme

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She immediately went for the Duck & Goose book, and then slowly got everything else out.  She has really enjoyed having these items available for free play/read anytime!

Total Prep Time for Mommy: About ten minutes – because I got distracted while digging through the decor in the attic. 😉

Total Play Time for Becca: She will regularly sit here and spend about 5-10 minutes at a time, if not longer.

Orange/Pumpkin Scented Playdough

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I love making play dough, I really do.  But it’s been a LONG time since I had made any because I really need stuff I can throw together quick, and I’m not really willing to dedicate 20 minutes of my time just to making something I’m gonna throw away in two weeks.  But, with all the fun play dough options out there, I wanted to try my hand at modifying my favorite recipe, to see if I could make something fun for fall.  And wow, was it a success!!  I had to remind Becca that we don’t eat the play dough, we just smell it and look at it and feel it. IMG_8509

Here she is smelling it – she did this several times – it really does smell GOOD, ya’ll.  (A great conversation about our 5 senses followed – and she informed me that we can hear it too – we can hold it to our ears and squeeze it!)  I gave her some fall shaped cookie cutters to play with, and she loved them!  She kept calling the turkey a chicken, but we can work on bird recognition later. 🙂

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So, here’s how you make your very own pumpkin play dough:

It works best in an electric skillet, but can be done on the stovetop in a non-stick pan.  I recommend using a wooden spoon for mixing, but that’s not required.  Bring to a boil: 1 1/4 cup water and an overflowing Tbsp + an overflowing tsp of vegetable oil
Meanwhile, mix in a bowl (child can help if you feel like also having a math lesson!): 1 cup flour, a little less than 1/2 cup table salt, 2 tsp cream of tartar, 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, and 2 packets of orange Kool-aid.
Turn the heat off on water/oil after it’s boiled hard.  Dump in the dry ingredients, and stir well until dough forms.  Use the spoon to lump dough together in the center, allow to cool for about ten minutes, then place in freezer bag or sealed plastic container.  Condensation will form- this is good, and helps the play dough stay moist.
Note: If your dough isn’t very moist, but rather grainy, you have too much salt and/or not enough oil. 
I highly recommend thorough hand washing when done, and then using hand lotion- the salt in the dough can really dry your skin, and the cinnamon and nutmeg can cause super sensitive skin (like Becca’s) to turn a bit pink.  The dough should be kept in a sealed container when not in use, and will stay fresh for about two weeks.
Enjoy the scents of fall in your kitchen!
Total Prep Time for Mommy: about 20-25 minutes
Total Play Time for Becca: on first use, about 30 minutes, but I know she’ll use it every day for the two weeks til I have to throw it away and make some more.  Maybe I’ll try apple scented play dough then… hmmm…