Showing posts with label play. Show all posts
Showing posts with label play. Show all posts

Apple Tree Addition Activity

This apple tree addition activity is perfect for kindergarten and first grade students. It gives them a hands on chance to practice their skills and work hands on play into their lessons. This is an all around engaging way to teach addition to kids.

This semester both of my kids are attending virtual school. They have a great curriculum that they follow, and the kids seem to be ok with the change in how we learn.  But, I like to make sure they are learning offline too. This apple tree math activity is perfect for little kids who are just grasping math concepts. Plus it is easy to set up and it is a lot of fun to work with. 

Using play doh is a great way to make this more than a math activity. Play doh is great for sensory play as wee all know. Adding it to math? Thats an equation for fun learning! Adding pony beads gives the activity a fine motor element, so I guess this math lesson has a lot of layers to it!

Green and Brown Play Doh
Pony Beads
Small wooden letters or stamps

Encourage your child to roll out a tree trunk with brown play doh.
Instruct your child to flatten out a can of green play doh for the leaves of the tree.

Select two numbers and stamp them into the leaves. Add a +  between them.

Offer your child a few pont beads.
Encourage your child to count out enough for the first number and press them into the doh.
Instruct your child to count out enough beads for the second number and press them into the doh.
Ask your child to count all of the beads to get the sum.

Remover the beads. 
Remover the "leaves"
Smash the green doh into a fresh pile of doh.
Repeat with more numbers.

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DIY Fine Motor Feed The Monster Toy

Harper is a curious little girl. She is always watching and wanting to get in on Roo's fine motor play. But I worry about her choking on the smaller parts because she still puts everything in her mouth.

I made a fun toy for Harper that gives her a chance to work on her fine motor skills while doing something she thinks is quite fun.

What will need:

For the Monster
An empty baby wipe tub
Pipe Cleaners
googly eyes

I glued sequins as bases for the eyes and made funny eyebrows out of pipe cleaners.
But I made sure that the lid would close when this wasn't in use!

I added another sequin for a nose.

And all we had to do was wait for the glue to dry.

Things to Feed the Monster

items such as :
Milk caps,
puzzle pieces
basically anything that can fit into the "mouth" of the monster but isn't a choking hazard.

Waiting for the glue to dry was the hardest part. When the monster face is dry, you set the tub upright and feed the monster in his squiggly mouth. This was great for Harp to put the things in, as well as get them back out. She quickly decided it was easier to just open the tub and dump the goods out.

This DIY toy was great for several reasons.

I spent $0 to make it. I used items we had on hand.
It gave my child a chance for fine motor play at her level and she loved it.
There was no worry about missing parts, damaged stuff, etc. This project was basically made with scraps and things that might go in the trash otherwise.

Play Room Reveal

Cabbage Manor; I have lovingly coined our house Cabbage Manor. I can't tell you why, but it feels natural. 

The house is great. It is one of those houses that is peaceful. I like that. The house was special to someone at some time. It was moved from another location at some time in the past. It still holds some of the charm of a previous era with the heavy wooden door. The kitchen oozes like 1950's or 1960's. I like it. 

There is a lovely nook off the kitchen, it has a sliding glass door, it would be nice for dining in, but we have a dining room. I immediately knew this room would make a great play room for my kids. 

During the summer, they must share a little area with their father's plants until they can go back to the school library, but the kids don't mind. 

It is a long process of getting settled in. But I have one room ready to reveal. 

My daughter Harper loves playing in here! She has her little play kitchen, tons of play food, and a table to play at. This table is intended to be a place my son would play with his wooden train tacks or complete his busy bags, but my daughter really loves to play here!

I am working on several ideas to make the room more functional for the kids, such as mesh bags to hang from the wall with toys like the matching donut game, card games and small puzzles. I am in process of making an organizer for all of the chunky puzzles too.

This layout will change soon, because we want to use the tiny patio, but until we fence in the rest of the yard, it seems like a bad idea to even let the kids know that is a door. I worry about the little one and the dogs getting out.

So, there it is. One room in Cabbage Manor. I know, it looks a little messy, but that is okay, we are living here and having fun doing it!

Home Sweet Jellystone Storybook Activity and Name Writing Practice

Did you know kids can lose months of the things they learned at school when they are on summer break? With that in mind I set out to have 30 minutes of preschool/play school with Roo that involves tracing, counting, reading and fine motor at least 4 days a week.

So far this has been a great thing! He can spell, he can read, but his handwriting needs a little work.

I found some old printer paper, like the kind that is connected. This gave me an idea. I asked Roo to go to his bookshelf and find a book about cars.

He picked Home Sweet Jellystone, A Yogi the Bear Book. The Ranger inherits money, leaves the park and the Yogi the Bear gang longs to get him to return. Cute book!

So, as we finished the story, I started drawing out my son a tool to practice writing his name, in an addicitve way!

We made the object of this activity to drive over the roads that spell his name, and get from Jellystone to Yogi.

This was a lot of fun for Roo. We tried to make a name road for Harp, but she saw paper and decided to destroy it rather than play along.

While the story wasn't about cars really, I can't complain, he did find a book with a jeep on the cover!
And we made it into a storybook activity in a flash that he keeps coming back to that will help him with writing his name!

In The Sky Sensory Bin

Roo loves waking up to find a new sensory bin waiting on him! I love making something fun for him and knowing he will happily play with this new bin for a few hours. I got a great deal on a Toob from Safari LTD and I couldn't wait to make the In the Sky Sensory Bin.

I started with a base of Easter paper grass stuff and a few cotton balls.

I pulled the cotton balls apart slightly to fluff them up a bit.

Gently pull your cotton ball apart until it looks like a fluffy cloud.

Next add a handful of planes and balloons- or a toob (In the Sky).

And you have a neat sensory bin for kids that incorporates fun with their senses. The paper Easter grass and the cotton ball clouds offer different textures to feel. The paper grass engages the sense of hearing as it crinkles when touched. The colorful blue base engages the sense of sight with a visually appealing color. The planes open the doors to imaginative play.

Roo liked this sensory bin. He was amazed at the planes inside and he caught on quickly that the bin was the sky. He excitedly showed me all of the clouds, several planes and the paper grass which he thought was pretty neat stuff. After about an hour of playing planes he smiled and picked out a few dudes and told me it was bubble bath time! The In the Sky Sensory Bin can double as a bubble bath sensory bin in the imagination of a child.

Thanks for reading! I would love to hear about your favorite sensory bin ideas.

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Why I Hoard Cardboard

Hasn't this been a terribly long winter? The time spent indoors has been really rough on my son. He is a get out in the world kind of guy and with the bitterly cold temps and endless amounts of snow he has been cooped up for months now.

It seems like he has exhausted his options for play. The poor guy groans when I try to engage him in a play session of Dinosaur Train. He sees me with the play doh and he hides under the table.

In times like these there is only one option for Mom to turn to. 


If you have young kids, you need to be greedy, to hoard and stockpile great pieces of cardboard. The possibilities are endless with cardboard at your disposal.

My husband often gets annoyed with me over my fondness for cardboard. It is recycling to him while it is an invitation to play for my 3 year old.

Today things were not going well. Roo was frustrated, he was obviously bored. He wanted to play on the elliptical, he wanted to jump off of furniture, he wanted to pester Harper. I looked at the clock, only 5 hours to go until my husband is home...

All of the sudden I remembered a great piece of cardboard I had put away for a day like this.

I gathered a bucket of crayons, the cardboard and the baby. I asked Roo to help me clean up his toy mess in the living room. As soon as he saw the cardboard and crayons he was eager to help.

I am not the worlds greatest artist. (You have been warned not to laugh.) But I started drawing what might pass for streets.

I added houses, trees and a Walmart (Roo is obsessed with WalMart).

As you can see he couldn't wait to grab a matchbox car and start playing!

He helped color. We are calling that grass in yards.

3 hours later, my son is still on the floor, still driving around on the neighborhood he made with his Mommy. He loves that I added "red lights".

We have a plan to flip the cardboard over and make another neighborhood next week to inspire his imagination.

How do you use cardboard to inspire creativity and imaginative play?