I’ve posted about sensory bins before (No Mess Sensory Bin) but now that my youngest daughter is older we are re-visiting a lot of the same activities that I did with my first daughter. My oldest is enjoying everything again too.
For this sensory bin I just threw in a lot of small items and spoons to practice scooping and pouring. There’s smooth gems, and puffy cotton balls, etc. Throwing in some scented objects (like the tea tree oil toothpick container) is fun too. I save all tiny random objects around the house (like nuts and bolts and twist ties, for example) to switch out. Keeps them entertained in different ways for a quite a while!
My almost-three-year-old could cut paper all day long. One of my favorite items I’ve found at the Dollar Tree are these children’s scissors. I initially thought they were cheap and would break right away but they’ve held up so well I went and bought more. They aren’t sharp enough to really cause an injury but I always make sure my kids are sitting while using them. They work best cutting construction or thicker types of paper.
In an old post I mentioned that I save their old drawings and scribbles so that they can recycle that paper for cutting practice instead of wasting it. Cutting is really fun and even a two-year-old isn’t too young to begin with close adult supervision. They get a huge kick out of it and feel so proud of themselves at that age.
This is a very simple weather chart that can get your toddlers/preschoolers thinking about weather and the atmosphere around them. I made it from felt. My inspiration came from an image I saw on Pinterest (in photo below):
This paper plate version is very simple and I love the cotton balls for the cloudy weather. I wanted something more permanent and so I made it out of felt (and I was on a felt sewing kick for a while). I drew the images on paper and cut them out to use as stencils. I free cut all of the letters out (very tedious but they sell pre-cut felt letters at most craft stores which would be easier) and sewed everything down. It’s a very easy sewing project and the kids enjoy it!
“Paint” with water on a chalkboard. My kids love this. They also like washing it this way (which is a bonus because they clean off all of the chalk dust).
Stick tooth picks into play doh. As simple as this may seem it was very interesting to a 2.5-year-old and a 5-year-old. They pretended like the toothpicks were birthday candles on a cake, arms and legs on a person, etc.
No play doh? Mix together 1 cup hair conditioner and 2 cups cornstarch. It’s very soft and fragrant! I’ve seen this recipe (sometimes called cloud dough) all over the internet and it really is worth trying out. Next time I’ll add some food coloring and make it colorful.
So, I’ve seen this melting of the broken and forgotten crayons lots of places, and I finally tried it out myself. Actually, I stole the directions from this lady’s blog: http://www.imagineourlife.com/ Her blog has tons of awesome free quiet book patterns as well!
For the nice round shape of the crayons I just used a regular muffin tin.
My almost-four-year-old helped me sort the colors into the muffin tin, and after they were finished she loved coloring with them.
But most of all, both of my daughters loved stacking them over and over, and hiding them around the house like buried treasure. Lots of fun and worth the effort… not to mention SO EASY. I also feel good about using up all of our broken crayons.
I have been wanting to try this activity out with my almost-four-year-old for some time now, either with salt or cornmeal. I am really glad we did! Basically, get a shallow tray and fill just enough with salt to create a thin layer. Then practice! To erase just shake the tray gently.
In the above photo she is practicing an “F”. Writing in the sand doesn’t always produce a perfect looking letter no matter how precise you try to write it. It’s a fun way to get your kid to practice though!
And my daughter would have fun just drawing in it too. She would often turn away from me and lick the salt off her fingers… as if I didn’t know what she was doing!