Stickers are a fantastic fine motor activity! Today we set up a "sticker wall" and the kids worked hard to peel the backing off of LOTS of stickers to fill it up.
There was a fun sensory walk of tape balance lines, sticky contact paper, and bubble wrap waiting to greet the kids as they came in the door this morning! They enjoyed the sensations that the bubble wrap and sticky paper had to offer and had fun following the tape lines on foot, and later, with cars too. And of course, any time we are reminded of tape, we have to use up at least one roll of it all over the floor. :)
Learning how to effectively rip a piece of tape off a roll is a very hard thing for little hands to do. Another of our kiddos has today joined the prestigious ranks of our “tape-rippers” and she is very proud! Learning to rip tape is such a badge of honor around here not only because it is such a useful skill (we LOVE making tape shapes and designs on the floor!), but also because of how hard it is to do! Have you ever noticed how the pride you feel in an accomplishment is directly related to how hard you had to work to achieve it?
The more times kids get to experience trying, practicing, and finally succeeding at those “hard things,” the more confidence they will have that they will be able to accomplish more “hard things” in the future. Learning to tie shoes can be a hard thing. Learning to solve math problems can be a hard thing. Learning to read can be a hard thing. Each time kids are allowed to completely own the process of mastering a new skill, they gain confidence that they will be able to do it again and again. And it’s okay for kids to struggle a little in the process. That just makes the end result so much sweeter!
We pulled out an old favorite today and we now have a pretty cool painter's tape farm being constructed. Lots of planning, spacial awareness, shapes, and fine motor practice (ripping tape is HARD work for little fingers!).
We are getting VERY excited for Halloween to get here! Today I set out some paper, black jack-o-lantern face cut-outs, wiggle eyes, and paint. The kids really got creative and made some awesome creatures, monsters, and jack-o-lanterns!
I'm a little behind, but have been wanting to share what we did for Mother's Day this year! I think the kids really had a lot of fun with it, and so did I! Together as a group, we mixed up our own bath salts to give to mom...
in both lavender and chocolate scents! I got the "recipe" here. Whether making them or using them, bath salts are a great sensory activity for kids! A great texture, and so many scent possibilities!
We also made our own soaps. The kids loaded a bowl full of glycerin soap bars, and I melted them down in the microwave. Then they added lavender scent and the colors of their choice. After it had cooled and set, the really fun part started! The kids used cookie cutters, a wood block, and a hammer to pound out flower and leaf shaped soaps!
I hope the moms enjoy their gifts as much as we enjoyed the process of making them! :)
Our Valentine "Heart Hop" game turned out to be an even bigger hit than I could have predicted! I have decided that I might just have to choose other shapes and ALWAYS have numbered shapes taped to my floor! :) I placed the hearts on the floor in the hallway that connects our toy room to the rest of the house, so every time the kids took that path, they were counting as they went! We used them for various follow-the-directions type of games, but even before I led them in any of that, the kids were hopping, jumping, counting (forwards AND backwards), and even organizing and communicating their own games. They also were able to reason that if this heart shows the number 7, and has 7 dots on it, then maybe that word there says "seven!"
And, the hearts were a great way to get out some of that BIG energy that is always so abundant on holiday party days!
We also had lots of fun with our themed breakfast and lunch, Valentine balloon play, painting, decorating Valentine treat bags (which led to a puppet-making session and puppet show!), and the highlight of course, passing out the Valentines they had brought for their friends.
We had lots of fun experimenting with candy canes today! Before we could get started experimenting (or eating!), we had to use our fine motor/pre-writing muscles to open up the individually wrapped candy canes! And while we unwrapped, we watched this short video about how candy canes are made.
We talked about what happens to a candy cane when we suck on it...though we had to really think about it since most of the kids didn't have the patience not to chew them! Then we talked about what we thought would happen to the candy canes when we put them in each of our four bowls: one with ice water, one with warm water, one with boiling water, and one with vinegar.
The kids noticed right away that the candy canes in the hot water turned the water red quickly. The candy dissolved in the warm water next, with slower results in the cold water and the vinegar. Next, I pulled out some baking soda and we added that to the bowl of vinegar. We got the exciting fizzy reaction we are used to from that fun combination, but other than that it didn't do much to the candy.
Next, I asked the kids what they thought might happen if we put some candy canes into the oven. "They would get hot!", "They will get bigger." (I'm sure that guess comes from watching baked goods rise in the oven, so there was some great thinking going on there!)
So, we tried it and the answer is: they get bendy! :) We put our mini candy canes in at 225* for about 8 minutes and when they came out, if we moved slowly and carefully, we could bend them into different shapes!
We had lots of fun playing with our candy today! :)
Today we had fun decorating (and re-decorating!) our new felt Christmas tree! The kids used pieces of felt that I had cut into the shapes of ball ornaments, light bulbs, and stars and took turns making their tree beautiful! :)
I'm back! The new baby and I are, so far, adjusting well to merging our days with all the other kids... I'm glad to report that the first couple of days back have gone really well!
Today the kids made some festive trees using strips of green paper cut to varying lengths. It was great practice using the pre-math skill of judging biggest to smallest, as they had to compare the rectangular strips to get them in the right order to make a tree shape. They also had to use their visual-spacial and visual planning skills to lay the strips in a way that would allow them to fit the whole tree onto their paper. Of course, for the younger ones we didn't worry so much about those things, and instead let them focus on the fine motor skills of picking up the papers, applying glue, and placing them down to make a much more "abstract" tree! :)
We then placed a foil star sticker at the top and used some Q-tips dipped in white paint to add some snowflakes!
Today we used painter's tape and foam stickers to create some resist paintings. The kids made pictures, letters, and designs using the tape and stickers (and worked really hard at peeling the backs off the stickers and learning how to rip the tape off the roll - great fine motor work!), and then used watercolors to paint around their designs.
Once they were done painting, most of the kids peeled off all of their designs to see the picture that it left underneath!
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