Mess Free Bubble Wrap Painting

We’ve done the mess-free painting a few times (here and here)
And it’s all over the kid activity boards on Pinterest. 
We added a new component to this one.  Bubble Wrap!
Cut a small square of bubble wrap, slip it into a sandwich baggie, and squirt in some paint.
Instant sensory, mess-free paint play.  You could pop the beads and see the paint splatter, smear the paint around the bubbles, and spread the color using finger isolation.
This would be fun to add two colors and mix.  This took a little more strength to pop the beads than usual, being in the baggie.  Great fine motor exercise, here!
This was a fun rainy day painting project.  What have you been painting lately?

Color Matching Water Bin with Letters

This was our last water bin in our Water Bins for Kids series with Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails.  This was definitely the most fun water bin for us this summer!  We ended the series with a splash! 
(Yes, had to go there!!)

Letter Water Bin

This week’s theme was Color Matching!
Two of us sisters got together one day this week and had SO much fun with the kids on a hot and sunny afternoon.
We started with a colorful plastic bin and filled it with water.  We threw in our bin of colorful magnetic letters (see another fun letter sensory bin here), and egg dying cups in lots of colors.
We started by scooping the letters into the floating cups and trying to catch the matching letter.  We asked the kiddos what letter they found, the color, and if the letter color matched the cup. 
This activity is a good one for bilateral hand coordination, eye-hand coordination, and fine motor skills.  They had to use both hands together in a coordinated manner, while visually tracking the letters as they flowed around in the water.  Then, with both hands on the cups, scoop up the letters.  How fun!
Of course, when these cousins get together, there is sure to be silliness.  The two younger ones were the instigators in the splash down.
We pulled out a metal curtain rod and stuck a magnet to one end.  It stuck to the curtain rod and was able to attract the magnets of the letters.  Little Guy LOVED this!
We pulled all of the colored cups out of the water and had the kids “fish” for the letters and put them into the matching cups.
Little Guy could have done this for an hour, I think…if it were not for his fun-loving little Sister and cousin dumping water on everyone.
 There was a LOT more of this…
…and watering of the plants!
This whole series has been so much fun!  

Learning with Dyed Alphabet Pasta

This easy dyed pasta activity combines learning with fine motor development.  From the scooping to the neat pincer grasp activity, this is a great way to build many skills!  Younger children can use scoops and spoons to develop coordination needed to scoop and pour while gaining exposure to letters.  What a fun way to build so many areas!

This was such a fun activity!  I found a bag of alphabet pasta at a local grocery store on sale for a dollar and couldn’t pass it up!  We used a little from the bag and used the rest in wedding soup.  (Little Guy’s most often request and favorite meal!)  Because the only thing that makes wedding soup even more awesome is fun shaped noodles 🙂
We dyed the pasta in a baggie…added a few drops of red food coloring and 2 Tbsp of vinegar.  We dyed this batch back in May and the color is still going strong.  The vinegar doesn’t leave an odor when playing with the pasta, but helps the coloring to “stick” to the pasta.
Have the kids shake the bag (or use a lidded plastic container for a fun auditory component!) and get their wiggles out.
I put up a few strips of masking tape on our easel and put out the bowl of pasta.  Baby Girl had the job of scooping letters from the bowl onto a plate.  She loved using my measuring spoons to scoop.  Toddlers seem to love scooping any little bits…peas/beans/rice/sand…and it’s such a great fine motor task for them. 
Pinching those little letters was a fun fine motor exercise for working on their tripod grasp and pincer grasp.  I  positioned the tape strips high up on the easel to encourage an extended wrist.  This wrist position allows for efficient use of the fingers in such a small motor activity.  
Big Sister worked on locating letters as I told her how to spell words.
…Baby Girl couldn’t let her big sister do something and NOT get involved…
We also worked on a little reading/spelling activity: I stuck on the -AT letters and asked Big Sister to find the letter we needed to spell different rhyming words.  Fun!

Creative Painting for Kids Share It Saturday Features

Try these creative painting ideas for kids!
This week we had so much fun playing both inside and outside (depending on the weather).  This included some indoor play at the mall and some outdoor play at the park.

We found an amazing carnival with tents and colorful strings of lights, the night ended with a beautiful sunset.  It made for a wonderful summer evening with great memories.
We are making the best of this Summer 2013!
Thank you all for stopping by again this week to share your creative ideas with us. 
We love seeing what everyone has been up to.  This week we chose some fun painting activities for kids. 
These are great on the hot summer days when you just want to stay indoors or sit on the porch.  Not to mention it keeps the kids busy and provides your fridge with some beautiful artwork while school is out for the summer 🙂
Inspired Montessori– shared beautiful apple stamp art.  This fun and creative activity is great for kids any age.
Serenity You created magic artwork by first drawing on paper with a candle.  I can see my daughter loving an activity like this with a secret message!
Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds combined shaving cream and water colors for some awesome finger paints.  What a great mix of sensory play and artwork!
Laughing Kids Learn if  you are looking for some mess free painting check this out!  I love the ideas for mathematics and literacy she shares.
Teaching 2 Stinkers did water color painting to the music of Mozart.  This sounds like so much fun and what inspiration!  We will be trying this soon 🙂
Janis Cox made a beautifully textured hand print turtle by adding nut shells for the turtle shell.


Swamp Explorers Dramatic Pretend Play

We love great sensory play.  So when I saw these lizards, snakes, and bugs from, I knew we had to create a swampy sensory play.  With a little summer learning mixed in!
I set this up for the kids by scattering a few creatures around our yard, and creating a swamp sensory bin.  Complete with mucky water.

When they saw the swamp in our baby pool, they jumped right in!  We went on a hunt looking for swampy creatures of all colors.
 We had a check list to find creatures of different types and color.  These were stuck on to a wipe board with play dough for easy portability around the yard.
Big Sister carried this around as she and Little Guy went on a hunt for swamp creatures.  She would mark them off as they found each one.  We talked about similarities and differences in the animal types and colors.  She loved using a white board marker to write.  We worked on her handwriting including letter formation and spacing.  Little Guy is a new four year old and counted out each of the lizards, snakes, and bugs he found.  He did a great one-to-one correspondence and is getting much better at sloooowing down when he counts objects!  This was such a fun outdoor learn and play activity for all of us!
You may also enjoy some of our other swamp related posts:

Imagination Play with Play Dough

Little Guy and I had some fun with play dough and some of his cars and dinos.  And of course, bad guys.
It started with adding some green play dough around the mountain from our train set.  We used our homemade dough and added some water with blue dough.  Once I piled some lava on top of the mountain, he got pretty excited about the whole set up and kept adding things to the scene…”We need a road.  And a bridge. And a grass bridge!”

He had so much fun making foot prints in the dough and stories to go along with the guys.  How great is this for language development and pretend play?
There was a battle.
(or many…)
And the dino got stuck in the volcano just as it erupted.
 As the bad guys attacked.
What a fun day with my Little Guy.  Have you done any pretend play with play dough?
Looking for more ideas to use play dough in pretend play?  Try these:

Water Bin Series: Pool Noodle Sensory Play

We’ve joined Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails in our Play The Summer Away: Water Bins for Kids series. Stop back each Monday in July to see the themed water bins that we and Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails have created. 
This week’s theme was so much fun and EASY to throw together.  We had a couple of pool noodles purchased from the Dollar Store that we used for our family reunion games (keep an eye out for the post on this!)  These pool noodles were just asking to be played with!

I cut up two pool noodles and added a couple of big serving spoons, slotted spoons, and a ladle for scooping fun.  Baby Girl loved this.  And of course got right in there in the water bin!
 I added Big Sister’s jump rope for an extra large beading activity.
This was a great activity for large motor movements of both arms.  With that huge string, and sliding the pool noodle “beads” down the rope, this really got the arms going in whole body motions. This gross motor body motion and repetitive movements in a novel manner help brains develop new neural connections and long term learning abilities.  Not only that, threading the “beads” onto the jump rope was great for fine motor manipulation and bilateral hand control.  We did a nice pattern and had to grab the correct color as it floated along in the water bin.  (Eye-hand coordination!) So much  learning and SO much fun!
 Big Sister thought her super-sized necklace was pretty cool!
This water bin was perfect for a hot and muggy afternoon.  Have you been doing any fun water play this summer?

You may also enjoy:

Summer Kick-Off Playdate party details

We had a Summer Kick-Off Play Date last month
(this post is just a little delayed, haha!)
…and we wanted to share the party details and fun!
We invited some friends over for a play date and instructed the moms to dress the kids in their bathing suits, and bring towels.  What else says “summer” like the sprinkler??
A summer kick-off party also needs a bucket of chalk, popsicles, and a big bin of lawn toys.
I made the sunny straw toppers one morning while sitting and watching my kiddos take their swimming lessons.  Big Sister drew a bunch of suns on yellow cardstock and I cut them out.  Easy and cute!
I put out a bowl of bubbles and added sunny little details like yellow bowls, napkins, and plates. 
The Oreo dirt dessert was a hit!  And very easy to make:
Crush a package of Oreo cookies.
Make a package of pudding (I used vanilla but chocolate would be good, too).
Pop open a container of Cool-Whip.
Layer pudding/Cool-Whip/Oreos.
Our summer kick-off play date was a great way to connect with some friends we haven’t seen for a while and a FUN way to get excited about summer!