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Colored Rice & Noodles

I love sensory play! There are so many different ideas on Pinterest. There is no right or wrong way creating a sensory activity. The best part is, you usually have everything in your home OR it’s super cheap to pick up the few items you may need.

One of our favorite sensory activities is playing with colored rice.

This is normally an outdoor activity for us. We did the rice sensory play inside once and well … it was a mess! I was still vacuuming rice up a month later! I know some lay down a large towel or tablecloth to “catch” the rice and that works for them. My son likes to get a little wild, so we keep it as an outdoor activity 🙂

Noodles are great to dye also. You can use them for sorting, making necklaces, throw in a large bin, and more. It is SUPER easy to dye everything at once. You could also dye oats and sand, but I chose to just stick to rice and noodles today. This entire process was about 30 minutes long and it could even take less time, if you have kiddos to help!

30

  1. Place your noodles and rice into gallon bags. Just eyeball a good amount. I put about 3 cups of rice into each bag and about 2 cups of noodles in each bag. 
  2. Place about 2-3 Tablespoons of alcohol into the bags.
  3. Squirt 2-3 drops of food coloring. You may want to add more in a bit.
  4. Seal the bags. Make sure they are sealed well or it will be a mess!
  5. Begin shaking! This is where the kids can help.
  6. If the colors are not bright enough for you, add more food coloring.
  7. You can now open the bags and let them dry out, or spread onto parchment paper. I keep them sealed overnight, then let them dry out the next morning. This allows the color to sit a bit longer.
  8. HAVE FUN!

Check out my other fun sensory activities and ideas!

  1. Red Activity Box
  2. Fall Sensory Bin
  3. Sensory Board
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PBS for Kids

I recently just discovered what all PBS Kids has to offer! There are so many resources, besides the regular programming. I was able to create a Curious George themed day for the kiddos, using all of these resources!

Curious George & PBS Kids Resources

Here are few links to help you extend the lessons your kids learn from the shows …

  1. PBS Kids – Lots of videos, games and apps!
  2. PBS Learning Media – My favorite! Free! You can sort by grade and subject. This will filter all videos, activities and more to help your child learn.
  3. PBS Kids Play – Educational games. There is a free trial, but after trial costs $9.95 a month
  4. Pinterest – You can always find something on Pinterest 🙂

(Image Source)

We started off reading, one of the several Curious George books we have, Curious George Learns the Alphabet.

Pinterest, of course, also has some great print-outs and resources. I found some matching number cards, I printed and laminated. I also printed off some coloring pages for the kids to learn colors and shapes. You can find them here.

We also learned our shapes and colors by playing with some bean bags I already had. Monte and the other kids love to toss them and it is another great way to learn shapes and colors! You can purchase them here!

After all of our activities we watched an episode of Curious George, ate some bananas and peanut butter and the best part … they played with their Curious George masks!

We chose to have a Curious George day because we went and visited Curious George at IPTV on Monday. The kids had a blast! They were able to meet Curious George, had snacks, did a craft, and they were given a tour of IPTV from Dan Wardell.

My favorite thing about PBS Kids is the fact they use characters like super heros, monkeys, and trains, that entice the kiddos to learn. Every show and every episode the kids learn something. It may be words, letters, manners, or numbers. I highly recommend adding PBS Kids to your daily routine and not just the programming! Hop on to any of the sites listed above and pick out an activity to extend your kids learning.

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A Robot Party!

My baby boy turned three years old this past weekend! Oh my gosh, I cannot believe he is already three!! Where has the time gone?!

Monte has recently become attached to the movie Robots. I actually had not heard of it until recently, but Monte wants to watch it ALL THE TIME. It’s okay though, because it’s a pretty cute movie. Travis and I decided we would have a themed robot party and he loved it!

We decided to have his party at the Grimes Community Center. We rented out a large room and rented the tumbling equipment to go along. It ended up working out perfectly! The kids really enjoyed burning off some energy.

I ordered special invitations from, of course, Etsy 🙂 Unfortunately, I do no have a picture of the invite, but you can take a look to see what they looked like and purchase yours from here!

I also ordered him a special t-shirt with a robot, his name and age on it. This has become a tradition. I usually order a t-shirt with his birthday theme, name and age every year. It’s something fun and something we can keep forever 🙂 I ordered his robot t-shirt from here.

We also got the idea to build robots as decorations from Pinterest. They were very easy to put together. We just wrapped old boxes with solid color wrapping paper, added googly eyes, glued pipe cleaners on the top for antenna’s, and used construction paper for the rest! They turned out really cute and Monte knew exactly what they were, “Robots!”

We had small snacks, cake and drinks. I found this fun idea on Etsy also! It was easy to print out the labels, fold them, and staple to snack baggies of chex mix. You can purchase these labels here.

I also offered a small craft … “Build a Bot”! I had foam shapes, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, pom-pom balls, popsicle sticks, and glue sticks sitting out. The kids were able to create their own robots. This was perfect for some of the bigger kids that attended and the little ones loved it also!

Of course, there was cake! We ordered our cake from Kissner Cakery and I highly recommend her! She did such a fantastic job and everyone loved the cake. Not just the appearance, but it was tasty also.

Overall, Monte had a great time celebrating his birthday. The robot theme came together very nicely and it was super easy! There are so many ideas out there!

What birthday themes have you done? 

 

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DIY Sensory Board

This Christmas we struggled with ideas on what to get Amelia as a gift. She was only 4 1/2 months old, so there wasn’t anything she needed or wanted. I came across this idea for a Sensory Board from someone else and searched them on Pinterest. I had no idea how popular they were! When you search for them, so many different types popped up! I was so excited to do this for Amelia. It was inexpensive and creative.

We purchased everything from Menards, besides a few items we purchased at Michaels. Here is what we used for our sensory board:

  1. You need a board – Ours is 2 feet by 2 feet. You can get much larger or smaller. We thought this would be the perfect size to pull out and store away when it is not being used.
  2. Spray paint – I decided to spray paint ours pink. There are a lot of people who just leave it the natural wood color also. It’s whatever YOU want to do!
  3. Chain door guard
  4. 3 inch spring door stop
  5. Switch & plate
  6. Red paracord bracelet
  7. 3 carabeeners, different colors
  8. 3 carpet samples
  9. Sandpaper
  10. Door chain
  11. Sash lift
  12. Spiky wood chain – Michaels
  13. Colored glass rocks – Michaels
  14. Super Glue
  15. Wood Glue
  16. Screws & Drill
  17. Wooden letters & numbers – Michaels
  18. Various paints for letters & numbers – Michaels
  19. Wooden square sample

Total at Michaels – $25.86

Total at Menards – $38.50

Total = $64.36

I love how this turned out. I also love that you can do anything to create it your own. Travis and I enjoyed creating this together too!

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New Year’s Eve for Kids 2014

I cannot believe that 2014 is coming to an end! Here are some awesome ideas that you can do locally with your kiddos!

1. Bounce in the New Year

Where: Pump it Up Urbandale

When: December 31st, 10 am – Noon

Info: $10 pre-registered and $12 at the door. Come bounce with friends and celebrate the New Year with a balloon drop at noon! Each child will receive New Year’s favors. To register or find out more information click here!

2. GuideOne ImaginEve

Where: Hy-Vee Hall at Iowa Events Center

When: December 31st, 4pm – 8 pm

Info: This event is FREE! There will be inflatables, obstacle courses, slides, face painters, carnival games & prizes, live entertainment, super heroes & princesses, and a special toddler zone. For children 1o years and older there will be a tween zone and laser tag. The evening will end with a confetti drop at 8 pm and fireworks at 8:15 pm. Check out here for more information!

3. New Year’s Eve at Seven Oaks

Where: Seven Oaks Recreation

When: December 31st, 7-11 pm

Info: Come out and celebrate the New Year with snow tubing, skiing, and/or snowboarding! Admission includes a hot dog or pizza, soft drink, and party favors. Check out here for more information and prices.

4. New Year’s Eve Party at the Ramada Tropics

Where: Ramada Tropics Resort & Conference Center

Info: Ramada Tropics is hosting a very special New Year’s celebration. They have an indoor water park, slide, and tiki bar. There is something for everyone! Check out the flyer for packaging prices and more information of what is included. You better book soon!

5. Noon Year’s Eve

Where: Science Center of Iowa

When: 9 am – Noon

Info: Visit the Science Center and all the exhibits they have to offer. They will also have face painting, balloon twisting, and a huge balloon drop with noisemakers at noon! All of the special events are included with your admission and SCI Members get to enjoy it for FREE! Check out more information here

6. Jolly Holiday Lights

Where: Water Works Park

When: 5:30 pm – 10 pm

Info: Check out the last evening of Jolly Holiday Lights. Load the kids up, get some hot cocoa, and enjoy the festive lights before the end of the year!

7. Host a New Year’s Eve Party at your house

Where: Your house!

When: Whatever times you choose!

Info: Invite your friends and their kids over to your place and host a New Year’s party. Or you can invite just the kiddos and have a big sleepover. There are tons of ideas on Pinterest of games, snacks, activities and more to do. Here are some of my favorite pins to check out:

  1. 30 Awesome NewYear’s Eve Games
  2. 10 Things to Do with Kids on New Year’s Eve
  3. New Year’s Eve Countdown Goodie Bags (Free Printable)
  4. Best New Year’s Eve Crafts for Kids
  5. New Year’s Eve Activities for Kids
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I Love Busy Bags!

Have you heard of Busy Bags? They are amazing! I was introduced to this whole concept last summer. One of the many Facebook groups I belong to, created a small group of mothers and we all took part in the Busy Bag project.

Pretty much, if there are say eight mothers in your group, you choose one activity and make eight of the same activity. You then all come together, swap activities, and you end up with eight different activities for your Busy Bag! It’s very similar to a freezer meal swap, but you get fun toddler activities instead!

Not only will these activities keep your kiddos busy, but they are awesome to use for a learning tool too! A lot of these activities incorporate matching colors, practicing numbers, fine motor skills, matching, and more.

Here is a snap shot of just a few activities I received from the swap. Sorry this isn’t the best picture! 🙁

These are also awesome to place into activity stations during the day, to keep the kiddos busy!

I just participated in another one a couple of weeks ago, but instead of just swapping we made a night of it. We came together with all of our activities we chose and decorated a small bag to keep all of the activities in. Of course, there was food and wine! It was so nice to get out, without kids!

I love keeping all the activities in a bag. You can throw this in your car, if you are going out to eat, going to a friends house, or anywhere you may need to keep your kiddo busy. This is a much better solution then handing then a smart phone, tablet, etc.!

There are ideas for Busy Bags all over Pinterest. Literally, probably hundreds. Here are some links to ones I like and some that I have in my Busy Bag!

  1. The Princess and the Tot – Toddler Busy Bags – Family memory game, finger puppets, lacing cards, matching colors, and more!
  2. Busy Bags for Teaching Colors
  3. Clothes Pin Number Match 
  4. Pattern Matching
  5. Popsicle Stick Puzzles
  6. The Rigneys – Toddler Busy Bag Swap – Velcro Mr.Potato Head, Button Turkey, Brown Bear Head and Tail matching, upper and lower case matching, and more!

Have you participated in a Busy Bag Swap? What activity did you make?

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Holiday Pinterest Crafts

This past weekend one of my good friends came to town with her kids and we did some FUN Holiday Pinterest crafts! Every year we get together before Christmas to have a gift exchange and do fun crafts. Here are a few things we did, that I highly recommend checking out!

Fleece Christmas Tree

I came across this idea, last year, but never got around to doing it, because I was so nauseous with baby Amelia 🙁 But I finally got it done and Monte loves it! The daycare kiddos also enjoy it so it’s a win-win!

Canvas Snowflakes

This was a perfect project for the older kids. They got to choose what colors to use and had fun painting! Monte always loves painting and the hardest part is to tear him away from the paints when we are done. All you need is paint, canvas, and masking tape. Place the masking tape on the canvas so it looks like a snowflake. Then let the kids paint …

After they are done painting and the paint is completely dry, slowly remove the paint …

You end up with a pretty snowflake! An awesome decoration for the home that can be used all winter long!

Mistletoes

I absolutely loved this project and it turned out great. It is very easy to do with a baby and even easier if you have a helper to help place the painted feet on the canvas. We made one on a canvas for a decoration and made more prints on card stock for the Grandparents.

What holiday crafts are you doing this season?

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Marbling with Shaving Cream

I came across another fun and easy activity on Pinterest … Marbling with Shaving Cream!

There are all sorts of tutorials on Pinterest for this activity. I used this site as a guideline. This is what we did!

Supplies

  1. Foam shaving cream – I always have several cans on hand because there are so many activities that use shaving cream!
  2. Shallow dish – You can use a 9×13 glass dish or pan. I have some foil ones, I have kept for other activities I’ve done.
  3. Food coloring – You can use water color paints, tempera paint, etc. Whatever you may have on hand.
  4. Thicker paper – You do not want to use regular printer paper, otherwise it wont hold up well. We used 8×10 white card stock.
  5.  A wooden dowel – I happened to have this on hand and it worked really well for swirling, You could also use a plastic knife, popsicle stick, a finger (that may get messy). Whatever you think is best!
  6. Butter knife – You use this to scrape off the excess shaving cream off the paper.

Directions

  1. Squirt shaving cream into your shallow dish and squirt several colors of food coloring into dish.
  2. Give child a wooden dowel or whatever utensil they will be using for swirling.
  3. Swirl away!

This quickly became a sensory activity 🙂 Monte really enjoyed the feeling of the shaving cream. Good thing I put them in their painting shirts!

4. Once they are done swirling and creating their design. Take your piece of paper and place it down into the shaving cream. Press it down with your hand. Then slowly pull it up.

5. Flip it over, take your butter knife, and scrape off the extra shaving cream over the sink.

6. Set it to the side and let dry!

This is one Pinterest project that was easy and actually turned out how it was supposed to! I also had everything on hand!

What is your favorite activity to do with shaving cream? Besides shaving 🙂 

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Thanksgiving Crafts 2014

It’s November! Which means it’s time for fun turkey activities!

Last year we had lots of fun celebrating Thanksgiving …

1. We made Fall Scented Playdough. Which we used to make cute and fun turkeys!

2. I also made a trip to our local library and checked out a bunch of fall and turkey books! Here is a list of some festive books.

3. Turkey Handprint Plate! I made one for us, that we will use for decor this Thanksgiving and also one for Monte’s grandparents. We had a lot of fun getting messy!

A few days ago, I made my way to Pinterest, of course, to find some new and fun turkey activities we could do this November! Here are some ideas, I hope we will get a chance to do …

1. Toilet paper roll turkeys! These look so easy to make and I have all the supplies. I have been saving toilet paper rolls for arts and crafts. This is the perfect opportunity to get rid of them!

(Image Source)

2. Another super easy turkey craft! Scrapbook paper turkey. This is another project I already have all the supplies for!

(Image Source)

3. Of course, you need a cute and fun festive snack!

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4. A cute craft that you can add to every year and can also be Thanksgiving decor, a turkey table runner.

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These are just a few of the projects and activities I came across. Check out my Thanksgiving Pinterest board for even MORE ideas!

What fun turkey projects and/or activities are you doing this year?

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Erupting Sidewalk Chalk

I want to share a fun activity Monte and I did last week … Erupting Sidewalk Chalk

We had so much fun making a mess and painting on our patio outside. I came across this site for the recipe.

Ingredients & Directions (per color)

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • Add coloring
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of water
  • Mix

When adding the water to the mixture, make sure to add it slow. I used 1/2 a cup and I think it wasn’t thick enough. I would start with 1/4 cup and then add more if you want. You want it to be thicker so it’s more like paint.

I decided to just make three colors, but you could make any and however many colors you want! You can also add glitter to the paint, and/or scents. You can also use whatever items you want, to paint with. Get creative! I had a couple of apples that were going bad, so I cut them in half, and placed a popsicle stick in them to paint with.

Monte had a blast!

After you are finished painting your masterpiece! Place vinegar in a squirt bottle and begin squirting your artwork. It will begin to fizz and bubble! I think that was Monte’s favorite part!

I definitely recommend this activity! I love how simple it is to put together, easy clean up (the rain will wash it away), and you can change up what you paint with and what colors you paint with!

Have you tried using Erupting Sidewalk Chalk before?