Clear a table or countertop and give the children smocks or aprons to wear. Spray a small mound of shaving cream on the surface in front of each child to spread around and make marks with their fingers. Talk to the children about how the shaving cream feels on their hands, how it smells, and how they can spread it around using their hands.

Goal: Children will use their senses and make marks using their fingers.

shaving cream

 

I was thinking about something interesting to do with the kids today and realized that I hadn’t made playdough in quite a while, so looked in the pantry to see if I had the ingredients I needed.  The recipe I typically use is this one:

1 cup salt

2 cups flour

4 teaspoons cream of tartar

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cups water

1 packet of Kool-Aid (or other similar type of drink mix–I buy whatever kind is on sale!)

Put all ingredients into a saucepan and cook over medium heat stirring constantly until the dough comes together.  Knead on table or countertop until smooth and cool.  Store in a plastic container or zipper lock bag.

As I started to take out the ingredients I found that I didn’t have any packets of Kool-Aid.  I like it because it adds color and scent.  I did find some food coloring and some cinnamon, and decided to give that a try.  It came out smelling great and with a little bit of a different texture than usual, which made it even more interesting.  There was almost an hour of play with the dough without any toys, so I imagine there will be more play over the next few weeks as I add some cookie cutters, rollers, plastic knives, and more.

I almost abandoned my idea of making playdough when I didn’t have everything the recipe called for, but I’m so glad that I got creative and took a risk to try using the cinnamon.  I was also reminded that revisiting activities that we haven’t done in a while and keeping it simple when reintroducing a material can make for renewed interest and extended play on the part of the child.

Do you have a favorite dough recipe that you use? Do you have interesting substitutions for your regular playdough recipe?

playdoughplaydough 2

 

Fill a bucket or other container with water and give toddlers a variety of different types of paintbrushes.  Have children paint with the water on the sidewalk or even on a wooden fence.  They can paint shapes, letters, pictures, or even just cover the whole space.  It can be interesting to watch how the sun dries the water painting and then they can do it all over again!

Give children a spray bottle with water or a small container of water with a brush so they can wet a window.  Have a variety of foam shapes that children can stick to the window to create scenes or patterns. You can buy pre-cut shapes or you can cut out your own shapes from fun foam sheets, both of which are relatively inexpensive at the craft store.

Goal: Children will enjoy sensory play with water while creating patterns or scenes with shapes.

Image result for foam shapes and water

 

 

 

Children can help create sensory calming jars to help them with self-regulation and encourage mindfulness.  Use any clear container with a tight fitting lid and help children as needed to fill them with water, oil, glitter, confetti, food coloring, or beads.  Secure the lid tightly.  You can even use hot glue around the edge of the lid to be sure it is sealed.  Then allow children to use them to help them regain focus and be calm by shaking and gazing at the movement and patterns.

Image result for calming jar

 

Children can help create sensory calming jars to help them with self-regulation and encourage mindfulness.  Use any clear container with a tight fitting lid and help children as needed to fill them with water, oil, glitter, confetti, food coloring, or beads.  Secure the lid tightly.  You can even use hot glue around the edge of the lid to be sure it is sealed.  Then allow children to use them to help them regain focus and be calm by shaking and gazing at the movement and patterns.

Image result for calming jar

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