Magnet Play: Apple theme

This was a play invitation I set up one day for Big Sister and Little Guy.

Paper clips, magnets, tissue paper, and the corn bin.
((The Babies were sleeping…tooooo many hazards with this one!))

The Big Kids had fun exploring with the magnets.

We tore the tissue paper into small squares (Tearing paper into little bits works on those small muscles in the hands).  Put a couple of paper clips into the tissue paper.
And crumble it up into a ball 
We were calling them “apples”. 
Only requiring a small stretch of the imagination 🙂

Big Sister and Little Guy went on an Apple Hunt, raking the magnets through the corn to grab up the apples.

It felt pretty neat on the hands to rake through the corn…a great sensory play activity!
We had a hunt for paper clips too…

Enjoy Today!

Paint Baggie: Letter Formation and Seek and Find

This was a fun activity we did before Thanksgiving.  I wanted to get this posted before the holiday, but never got the chance.  I love this play idea because not only does it address so many areas

(letter formation, fine motor skills, visual scanning, color learning…),

 but it can be done any time of year…

Just use different stickers!
Start by sticking stickers to the inside of a plastic, seal-able bag.
I used a sandwich bag, but you could definitely go with a larger size to engage bigger muscle groups when drawing the in the paint.

Squirt paint into the bag and seal shut with as little air pockets as possible in the bag.
This is the play set up that I had waiting for the kids.
They mixed the colors together using their whole hand.  
“Smash it like a pancake, Mom!”
A child pushing weight through their hand is really working their shoulder stabilization.  Shoulder stabilization exercises work on the stability and strength of the shoulder girdle.. Strengthening the shoulder girdle is necessary for performing small motor activities of all kinds.  
When a child has poor strength of the large muscles of the shoulder joint, they are unable to control the small movements needed for things like handwriting, coloring, cutting, shoe tying, threading beads…
This is a good exercise to wake up the muscles in the whole arm.  Have them push the paint around…
smashing it like a pancake…
smearing it around
 (mess free)
We talked about the colors. Red and Yellow make Orange.  Little Guy is getting pretty good at telling me what color combinations make.

After the paint is good and mixed, you can have the kiddos try to find the stickers.  Pushing the paint aside is great isolation of the index finger, it separates the two sides of the hand, and strengthens those little muscles in their hands.
Babies move all of their fingers together at the same time.  Then, as they develop their fine motor skills, they are able to move their fingers one at a time with better accuracy.  Isolating the movements of individual fingers is needed for typing on the keyboard, shoe tying…

Playing peek a boo with the Pilgrims and Native Americans…
Scanning with the eyes to seek and find the stickers.

Big Sister loved this whole activity.  She loved making letters in the paint and showing Little Guy all the letters in his name.  

Little Guy traced some letters. Check out the other hand stabilizing the baggie…  
(Just like holding the paper with the non-dominant hand when writing!)
This one was so much fun for all ages…the 5 year old beginner hand-writer, the 3 year old pre-writer, and the one year old who loves touching all things squishy 🙂
We will definitely be doing this one again.  Got some Christmas stickers all ready to go!