Friday, March 15, 2013

Shamrock Hunt Sensory Bin

I set up this super simple toddler sensory bin to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
It was a huge hit as we have played with it multiple times over the past few days. 

I used about 1/3 a roll of party streamers in rainbow colors cut into various sizes. A few really long, some about 18 inches, and a bunch of smaller squares. This provided a great opportunity for early math concept practice. We sorted sizes, matched lengths, as well as compared all the different pieces and colors.
I picked up foam and card stock shamrocks from the local party store. Again the different sizes and shades provided a fun and hands on early math lesson. Mix together well for instant fun. 

Rex quickly discovered the shamrocks and went about collecting them all.

 Rex is all about playing on the couch lately. He takes all his treasures to sit quietly and explore in detail.

And like a typical toddler insists on getting into any container he can find.

Little Bear is much more focused on the small details of sensory play, as you can see by him tearing up the streamers into small pieces.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Friday, March 1, 2013

The Shape of Me and Other Stuff

I love Dr. Seuss. I am glad that Baby Rex has developed an early love for books and reading. He is really enjoying all the activities too.
The Shape of me and Other Stuff is one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books to use in conjunction with story stretcher activities. The book opens the door to endless possibilities incorporating math, science, and language learning objectives. 

For our first activity I gave Rex a few flat shapes to arrange on paper. He had a good time arranging and rearranging the shapes over and over again. I put the tray on the deck to be bleached by the sun. However our day turned out rather cloudy. I will check back tomorrow to see if the sun has worked it's magic!
This project works best with regular construction paper and as flat as shapes as possible. When the weather in nice, we like to go for a walk collecting natural objects for our sun prints.

Tracing a wiggly toddler was a feat all in itself. It took quite a while and lots of silly giggles later we had success. Rex was very excited and surprised to see a full size version of himself on the sliding glass door.

I wanted Baby Rex to be able to interact with his cutout but was worried he would tear it down in two seconds. I ended up taping his cutout on the outside of the door looking in, which has worked wonderfully. Rex is loving smacking himself in the face as well as pointing at his hands and feet. Bonus points for looking like my toddler is staring you down when walking by our apartment. 

I traced a few everyday objects to create an outline puzzle for Rex. To start I put all the items on their corresponding outlines. Then let Rex play and interact with the materials at his choosing. This was a fabulous table top activity that kept Rex engaged and entertained while I cooked lunch. I think I am going to make several more and laminate them for durability. Will be a great way to introduce or re-enforce basic learning objectives or make a themed puzzle for a special occasion.

For some afternoon tubby play I used cookie cutters to stamp object outlines on the tub wall. A simple colored bubble bath was fun yet not too distracting away from our focus of attempting to match cookie cutters with the painted shapes. Rex is still a little young for exact matching, but he had fun and we had an exciting conversation. Sensory play in the tub has become Rex's most talkative time - he babbles non stop telling me all about what he is doing as I answer him and verbally illustrate our activity. Even though he is not talking yet these little moments are a critical step in building language skills.