Things to keep them busy!

I like to have little activities to take out when our day needs a little pick me up!
I have a bag I keep in the closet that has different odds and ends and activities. Anytime I make a trip the the dollar tree I will grab a few 'new' things to add to it.

With the above being said....this unfortunately is not a dollar store find lol far from it more like an expensive lakeshore find but it's one of the benefits of being a preschool teacher for so long....I get to use fun things in and out of the classroom. 

This is a 'The Hungry Caterpillar'  flannel board set. We didn't use it as a flannel board but it was still fun to play with the pieces as we read along with the story!

This is how you know i'm a super dork! I have a handful of Eric Carle books signed by the man himself!!! I saw him at the book festival a few years back and my amazing hubby stood in line to get me his anniversary pop up  book which then got you a ticket for the book signing! He is one of my favorite children's authors and I was thrilled to meet him!!!

sorting and matching

counting how many oranges
all the fruit from the story
For this activity we used the back of some Christmas wrapping paper we had in the closet. I taped it to our coffee table so we could make a road map.

He loved the idea of a road and soon had all his favorite cars out.
the road got a bit crowded ;)

When he noticed I was taking pictures, he positioned his cars and said "here you go mommy, take picture"

and of the big boys ;)
another dollar store find....magnet letters and a small cookie tray.
10 sponges for a $1 I cut them into 3 strips each to make fun building blocks.

I can't wait to bring these in the bath or in the water table with a tray that floats and let him build on top of it! (thanks Amy B. for that great idea!)


Sensory Table: AQUA GEMS!!!!

These are seriously the coolest things you will ever put into you sensory table*** I'm obsessed***

I originally found this idea from play at home mom  an amazing blog!

Then my amazing Friend Amy did it at her home-preschool and the kids LOVED it** She had bought the aqua beads which are already packaged ready to go...they come in lots of colors, she was just telling me how she bought orange ones for Halloween and shes going to put in bats and spiders...SO FUN***

We used Aqua Gems...basically the same exact thing but they come in very very small beads and you soak them in water for a few hours and they grow.

I bought this pack for about $4 at Joann's it make 1 gallon of aqua gems                                                (we only used half of the pack)
They are very small then you add water

After about 2 hours
After about 4 hours...I drained the Aqua Gems and they were ready to be played with*
Seriously they feel sooo cool**

scooping, pouring, dumping, sorting, and naming all the colors*** Such a fun developmental activity

I had one of those baby medicine was the perfect size for the gems to fit in* all on his own he started putting the blue ones in and counting them** He would find a blue gem and say "I found another blue one" or "There it is*" then he would put it in and count* It was a proud Mommy moment* I love observing him when he is so immersed in an activity* 

You have to try these with your kiddos, they will love them** I look forward to adding them into my preschool class sensory table quite often this school year*

Did I mention they last* To store them put them in a ziplock bag with a little water to keep them hydrated and keep the bag in the fridge, when you want to play with them again just rinse to rehydrate and enjoy***

Let me know what you think***

Ice Ice baby!

We started with food coloring and fun ice cube molds...
We filled up small cups and large 'ovals' as Cruz calls it!

We popped them all into a tub and headed out to the back yard for some fun in the sun!
We 'ice painted' (card stock works best, regular paper will rip)

We made ice towers

we got out the hammer and smashed the big ice chunks....GREAT for hand-eye coordination

and....we added water and made soup***

We had so much fun playing with ice, talking about how 'cold' it was and experimenting with different ways to play with it***



Glow sticks fun!

So I did this activity awhile ago with my son and he LOVED it and so did I*** It was so much fun!
I am all about giving credit where credit is due...I am obsessed with this blog I found, you should check it out! play at home mom

Anywhoo on with the fun!!! So I bought a bunch of glow sticks at the dollar tree and let my son take them into the bathtub with him! we turned out the lights and I covered the window...

so much fun!!!

here he was playing the drums :)

he loved how the light took shape when he moved it fast...he said, "like a butterfly!" 

It was such a fun bath time and I played games with him and asked him can if he could find certain colors and he would pull that color out of the water.

Later that night we also made a fort and played inside our fort with the glow sticks!

A friend of mine suggested we tie them to the ceiling fan and turn it on low! We haven't tried that one yet but it sound super fun and is on my to do list!!!


This Summer I had the opportunity to work with my dear friend and preschool mentor! She has an in home preschool and I got to be her co-teacher for 2 weeks of summer camp FUN for her kiddos. She is so developmentally based and I was inspired everyday! I wanted to share some very fun activities we did! I don't have pictures from the second week of camp but I will write in as much detail as possible!

Week one was 'under the sea' theme
Along with lots of water play here are a few of the wonderful activities we did!

Playdough with seashell

Seashell prints

Sensory Table: rice and shells
spray bottles with liquid water color in them

exploring with sidewalk chalk in water

water and chalk exploration

Big Bubble fun

Sensory table: AQUA BEADS!!! These are AMAZING!!! you can buy them at any craft store these are so fun and such a developmental sensory must have!!!

Water table with blue liquid water color mixed in

Sidewalk paint! You can find this awesome recipe on my blog!

shaving cream and with liquid water color to mix

great sensory activity!

color mixing!

Sand sculptures: take a small container and fill it up with sand...
scoop out a section of sand and add objects, we used colored sea shells

Pour in your plaster of paris (follow instructions on package)
Let dry and pull out of mold....ta da!!! a awesome sand sculpture!!! SO FUN!

Week two was camping week and I am soooo bummed that I didn't take pictures and the ones I did take with my phone I am having trouble uploading but here are a few of the fun things we did!

We did this amazing activity will LARGE earth worms.
We took a large 'pretzel' jug/container and layered dirt and soil then put the earth worms in and you cover it over night with a dark blanket and in the morning you can see how the earth worms have burrowed!!!

We froze lots of different molds with colored water (food coloring and water), a few we added objects and then we put them out so the kids could explore, build and paint with the colored ice. We put the molded ice with objects in them in a sensory table with Epson salt, the salt creates a crackle noise and starts to melt the ice!

We also froze colored ice in small Dixie cups and put a popscicle stick in the center to create paint cubes.

We had a 'mud day' we put mud in sensory bins, paint brushes and spray bottles out. The kids LOVED this. We had a huge piece of butcher paper out and the kids painted on the paper, we had a big mirror set up on the table and the kids painted their bodies with mud and they brought out toy animals and were pretending that the animals were stuck in the mud! It was a great developmental activity to watch as they explored and created!

We also had a crazy paint day! We put out an easel and fly swatters and the kids dipped the fly swatters in the paint and 'smacked' it against the easel and paint would splatter all over them and everywhere! It was AMAZING!!!! We also had a station set up with the mirrors again and the kids got a kick out of painting their bodies. When can a child just paint their bodies and run around...they loved it!!!

For those of you thinking....that sounds so was!!!! That's the amazing thing about it!!! Who cares, we were outside and all the kiddos had baiting suits on and just jumped in the kiddy pools after a little warm water and a wash cloth, it all came off! These kids had such an amazing time, they were so engaged in the activities and having conversations about what they were doing with their peers! I was so inspired and reminded just how important these hands on activities are for the social and emotional development of our children!!!

If you have any questions about any of these activities please feel free to leave a comment and check back to see the reply!!!!