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…

Water, Sunlight, and Love

This blog post contains affiliate links.  I appreciate you purchasing items from this post!  Thank you in advance.

As you know, if you’ve read many of my posts, Becca loves Little Einsteins.  One of their episodes is titled “Farmer Annie,” and in the show, Annie and her friends help the three little pigs plant “Super Mystery Seeds” on their farm.  When they plant them, they have to find clouds to make rain, wake up the sun, and sing love songs to the seeds so they will grow.  Becca has been fascinated with this episode, and so a while back, on a whim, I bought a little $2 kit at Target – bucket, dirt, mini sunflower seeds.  $2.  I didn’t figure they would do much.  But they have.  We have given them water, sunlight, and LOTS of songs.  And hugs.  These seeds have received more love than I thought was possible.  And they are blooming.  Our little plant is going bananas.  And she is so so so proud of her “Super Mystery Seeds” that aren’t so mysterious any more.  What a fabulous project – never underestimate the power of simply planting a few seeds with your child.  Yes, it takes time for them to sprout and grow, but it’s a wonderful lesson in patience – and learning that not everything happens in the blink of an eye, or the fall of a tear.  Sometimes we have to wait for the good stuff.  And there’s nothing wrong with waiting every now and then.  Especially when it means I get to hear her sing love songs to her plant practically every day.  Because there’s nothing cuter!

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Here’s what I want to try next!  (Affiliate link): Toysmith Garden Root Viewer