Soda Dough Snowmen Sensory Bin

Did you see our Soda Dough Snowmen post from last week?  We’ve been using our snowmen in all kinds of pretend play with loads of imagination!  They came in handy one day for this Soda Dough Snowmen Sensory Bin. 


Sensory Bin with Soda Dough Snowmen

{Note: This post contains affiliate links.  In other words, this blog will receive monetary compensation when any purchases are made through the links in this post.  Our opinions and ideas are in no way affected.  You can read our full disclosure policy here.  As always, we thank you for your support and community here at Sugar Aunts.}

Child manipulating loose parts in a sensory bin with Soda Dough Snowmen

Loose Parts in Sensory Bins

We used cotton batting left, cotton balls, our soda dough snowmen, bits of tinsel, and some glass gems.  A few clothes pins were added for fine motor exploring, too.  This was a fun little world for Baby Girl with loose parts.  All those little pieces are fun to explore and examine.  Language is developed.  As your child plays, ask her questions.  “What color is that?” “What can we do with this?” What is this called?”  Their imagination will blossom and learning is encouraged.  You can add colors, scents, textures to sensory bins with little loose parts pieces. 

Hand Strengthening with Clothes Pins

Pinching items with clothes pins is a great way to strengthen the intrinsic muscles of the hands.  Strength in the arches of the hands is needed for endurance with coloring and handwriting.  Starting in the toddler years with fine motor strengthening activities is a fun way to play and work on pre-handwriting skills.   Not to mention, it’s just fun!

Looking for more sensory bin ideas?  Check out our Sensory Play page for lots of fun activities!

Winter Book List Winter Activites and Books


The first series with the All Things Kids members Mamas Like Me, Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails, All Done Monkey, Fun-A-Day, House of Burke, and Crayon Box Chronicles is wrapping up as January comes to an end.  We’ve got plans for great series’ each month in 2014 and the first was a big success!  We had so much fun checking out these winter books and all of the great crafts and activities to go along with them.  Some of these winter books are old favorites, and others are new to us.  But, each book has a great activity for the kids to go along with the theme of the books.  So, bundle up in your warmest sweater, head off to the library, and get ready to read and have some fun!


Winter Book List Activities for 13 Winter Books

 

Winter Books Crafts and Activities

 {Note: This post contains affiliate links.  In other words, this blog will receive monetary compensation when any purchases are made through the links in this post.  Our opinions and ideas are in no way affected.  As always, we thank you for your support and community here at Sugar Aunts.}

White Snow Bright Snow by Delightful Learning
Ten On a Sled Activity by Reading Confetti

Snowballs Snowball Kit by Fun-A-Day

 

 

Snow Dance Activities by Inspired Treehouse

Snowmen at Work Activities by All Done Monkey

Geraldine’s Big Snow Craft by Crayonbox Chronicles

Just A Snowman Craft and Activities by Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

The Snowy Day Activities by Wildflower Ramblings

Owl Moon craft by Joyfully
Weary

Looking for more Winter activities for the kids?  Follow along on our Winter Fun and Learning Pinterest board:

Icicle Winter Scissor Skills Activity

Do you have a little one who is just learning to master scissors?  Scissor Skills for children who have never picked up a pair of scissors before can be very daunting.  Frustrations can build and the next thing you know, your little sweetheart is spiking the scissors across the table!   Kids learn all things at different paces.  Every developmental milestone and functional activity are achieved at different paces.  Scissor use is no different.  Kids as young as two can start to snip paper (and probably with an awkward-two handed grasp on the scissors!)  And as their fine motor skills develop, will achieve more and more accuracy with scissor use. 
 
This winter themed Icicle cutting activity is a great beginner project for new scissor users.  The strait cuts, bold lines, and even paper type are good modifications for a new little scissor-hands!
 
Icicle Craft Beginner Scissor Skills Activity

 

Scissor Activity for beginners

Preschoolers are just beginning to gain more control over scissors.  Strait lines are the perfect way to gain confidence when they are learning to cut…and ensure that they’ll want to pick up the scissors and try another craft again soon!  We started out with nice strait lines on these icicles.  Little Guy could cut the whole way across the page without needing to rotate the page to cut a curve or angle.


{Note: This post contains affiliate links.  In other words, this blog will receive monetary compensation when any purchases are made through the links in this post.  Our opinions and ideas are in no way affected.  As always, we thank you for your support and community here at Sugar Aunts.}

Modifications to Cutting Tasks for Kids:

The smallest icicle could have been a harder task for him to cut, if he turned the whole page around like he started out doing.  I prompted him to start one line from the edge of the paper and then instead of rotating the whole page (which would have probably given him a big chopped off icicle point), I showed him how to start the other side from the edge as well.  He was much more accurate with the lines and wanted to keep going!

We had two different types of paper for our icicles.  The first set was drawn on a sheet of white cardstock.  Cutting from this thicker paper is a great beginning step for new scissor users and a modification often used for kids with fine motor difficulties.  The thicker paper requires slower snips and allows for more accuracy.  I also drew the icicles on the cardstock with nice thick lines.  This gave Little Guy more room to cut within the lines and allowed for less line deviation. 

The second set of icicles were drawn with thinner lines on printer paper.  After practicing on the first set, he was game to cut more  icicles.  The thinner paper and lines requires more control of the scissors and better line awareness, and bilateral hand coordination.

 
This looked like so much fun, that even Big Sister wanted to get in on the icicle-making action!
 
 
We hung our icicles in the window to match the icy conditions outside.
 
Looking for more ways to practice beginning cutting? Check Scissor Skills page!
 
 
 
 
 

Penguin Themed Snacks

We’ve been on a Penguin kick around here lately.  We took out a bunch of Penguin themed books from the library recently and have been having fun playing penguin games, making penguin snacks, and even penguin learning!  Watch this space for more penguin fun, coming soon!


These Penguin snacks were just the thing we needed one day when the temps were sooooo cold outside that we felt like penguins at preschool pick-up!  Our penguin snacks were the perfect ending to a frigidly cold day.  And, slightly owl-like, I think they would make a great owl treat too 😉
Penguin themed snacks

Penguin Themed Snacks. Cooking with Kids.

{Note: This post contains affiliate links.  In other words, this blog will receive monetary compensation when any purchases are made through the links in this post.  Our opinions and ideas are in no way affected.  As always, we thank you for your support and community here at Sugar Aunts.}

Start with a little melted milk chocolate (I just used a chocolate bar broken up into pieces)
and melted
white candy melts, in two separate bowls.  Try not to dip your finger in and sneak a little when the kids aren’t watching…

Dip round crackers 3/4 of the way in the melted white chocolate.  Let this harden in the fridge.  Or just put it outside on the porch like I did in the single-digit temps.  The chocolate will harden in a flash!

You’ll need to make sure the white chocolate is hardened before you dip the crackers again in the ilk chocolate.  Otherwise, you’ll get a mix of the two chocolates.  Once the white chocolate is hardened, dip each side and the very top of the penguins in milk chocolate.  Big Sister helped with the dipping part.  She enjoyed helping to make sure the crackers were covered “just right”!

Run outside and put the cookie sheet on your porch to let the milk chocolate harden.  Or just throw it in your fridge for a while.

Pour out a handful of sprinkles and admire their prettiness.  Pull out a few of the orange ones.  You’ll need them for the Penguin’s feet and beaks.

I found these candy eyeballs
on super clearance after Halloween and knew they would come in handy. Stick the orange sprinkles and candy eyes onto the penguins with a bit of the left over melted chocolate.  Pulling out the correct amount of orange sprinkles and eyes was a great job for Big Sister and Little Guy.  They made sure we had enough for each penguin.  And only snuck a few. 😉


Your penguins/owls are done!

Enjoy your penguin treats! Little Guy sure did!
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Penguin Activities for Kids

Brrrr it is COLD out there! We’ve had a few delayed starts to school this week due to cold temps and highs of single digits.  We’re trying to stay warm with lots of fun indoor play (and hope you’re staying nice and cozy too!)  The penguin activities for kids here will give you plenty of fun indoor play ideas. 
When we went through the links this week to pick our features, we had to go with a penguin theme.  We’ve been doing a few penguin activities around here (and are so excited to share them with you!) after we got a handful of penguin books out from the library.  The features this week show songs, games, crafts, sensory play, books, and even snacks…all about PENGUINS!
Penguin Activities for Kids

Penguin Activities for Kids

5 Little Penguins Counting Songs from Let’s Play Music
Penguin Sensory Play from Fantastic Fun and Learning
Winter Sensory Bin from There’s Just One Mommy
Snow Dough Arctic Sensory Bin from House of Burke
Penguin Craft with Printable Pieces from ABC Creative Learning
Fun With Tacky The Penguin from Learning is Messy

Valentine’s Day Goop Painting

 
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  We don’t normally do holiday crafts and activities this far ahead, but our Valentine’s Day Goop Painting came about from a previous material…and it was so much fun, that I was excited to share, haha! This Valentine’s Day activity is perfect to add to occupational therapy plans this time of year.
 
Sensory Play is so much fun.  We do a ton of sensory activities, crafts, and play every day.  Whether the kids are messing around in the sink, exploring textures in a bin of toys and “stuff”, or crawling under blankets and cushions…sensory play happens ALL the time in a child’s daily play.  Inviting a child to try new experiences like with this goopy Valentine’s day play activity is just another way to learn through play.
 

 

 
Valentine's Day Goop Painting

Valentine’s Day Goop Painting

You may have seen our Candy Cane Scented Moon Dough post back around Christmas-time.  That post turned into this Valentine’s Day Goop activity (and sensory-tastic painting fun!).   When we finished up that activity back in December, I saved the red and white (turned pink once we were done playing!) moon dough in a gallon sized baggie.  This was the perfect shade of pink for a Valentine’s’ Day themed sensory activity!

Note: This post contains affiliate links.  

Valentine’s Day Sensory Activity

The powdered left-overs from our Candy Cane Moon Dough and a little water were all that we needed to make this goopy fun.  We had about 2 cups of the powdered material…Check out the post here to see how we made it.  I added a half cup of water and got a nice goopy, messy, sensory texture to play with.  The peppermint scent was still really strong and when we were playing, Baby Girl said it “smells like candy canes, Mom”! 

I threw in a few heart cookie cutters
and Baby Girl got to playing.  She liked to have a wet washcloth right next to her to wipe her hands off every once in a while.  This was some messy stuff!

We had paper and a felly roll pan next to the bin of goop and did some goop painting by stamping the cookie cutters onto the paper.  It was so meant to paint like this!  Baby Girl sat there for a LONG time stamping, and stamping, and stamping some more. 

(seriously…we had 14 pages filled with hearts!!)

Messy, sensory, goopy fun!
 
 
The goop made the heart stamps a big lumpy texture.  So much fun to stamp!  I joined Baby Girl and stamped a bunch of hearts too…
 

When the hearts dried, they were a pretty stamp.  However, this is not something that can be saved to decorate cards or hung on the wall.  The hearts flaked away if you touched them.  Maybe a little glue added would help to preserve these pretty hearts?  We’ll try that next time!

Let us know if you try this activity.  We would love to see your play in action!

 

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Soda Dough Snowmen

We are big fans of play dough, salt dough, clay…any dough is tops in our house!  We’ve tried a lot of different recipes for different doughs and have our favorites, definitely.  We wanted to make some snowmen one day and tried a new (to us) recipe…Baking Soda Dough!

Baking Soda Dough Snowmen

Soda Dough Snowmen

 

Baking Soda Dough is the neatest stuff to play with.  This soda dough was soft and easy to mold into little snowmen.   The kids loved playing and creating with our soda dough.  It was easy to roll little snowmen bodies and  so we made a bunch! 
We were inspired to make soda dough before Christmas when we made thumbprint reindeer ornaments for Christmas gifts to grandparents.  Jen over at Mama.Papa.Bubba. made these Baking Soda Clay Ornaments and we thought they were beyond adorable!  They made perfect little gifts from the kids.  The baking soda dough recipe can be found here.  It was an easy recipe to follow and perfect for little hands to mold, roll, and smash!

We made these Soda Dough Snowmen one day when Little Nephew was over to play.  The toddlers were big fans of this dough!  They had so much fun making snowmen…we ended up making 12!

Pinching, rolling, stacking…this was great fine motor play here!  Working the dough uses the small muscles of the hand (the intrinsic muscles) that are so important for small motor activities like button management and endurance in coloring and handwriting. 

Once we had our family of snowmen, I put them on a cookie sheet and let them dry for two days.  At the end of two days, they were still a little soft, so I then threw them into the oven set at 150 degrees F.  I let them bake for about 2 hours and they seemed to be hardened up.  If you make snowmen like ours, keep an eye on them in the oven.  It will probably take longer if you bake them from the onset.   

Our snowmen were hardened and ready for play and pretending.  Watch this space to see what we did with them next!

Stop by and follow along on our Sugar Aunts’ Pinterest board to see all of our ideas:

Olympic Rings Craft for Kids

My kids are very excited to watch the Olympics this year.  They can’t wait to watch their favorite sports next month.  I’m excited for the opening ceremony and watching that with the kids.  We made this Olympics ring craft to get in the mood and to talk about the rings and create a little Olympic art. If you’re looking for ways to get the kids excited about the Olympics or are incorporating Olympics activities into learning and play this year, try these Olympic Games Activities for a bunch of creative ideas.
Anytime we pull out the paint, Baby Girl gets excited to make a craft and paint away.  This girl loooooves to paint.  These Olympic Rings were fun (and messy) to paint…just the way she likes her crafts! 

Kids will love to make these Olympic Rings craft while watching the Olympic Summer Games this year! Perfect for the winter games, too! Uses recycled toilet paper tubes for a 3D craft.


Olympic Rings Craft for Kids

This post contains affiliate links.

Kids will love to make these Olympic Rings craft while watching the Olympic Summer Games this year! Perfect for the winter games, too! Uses recycled toilet paper tubes for a 3D craft.
We started with our collection of paper tube rings (You may have just seen these used in a totally different way on our last post where we used the paper rings for Learning Sight Words.  We pulled them out again for our Olympic rings.

Next came the fun part.  We used our paint set
(and pulled out a container of 
black paint
because our set doesn’t have it).  The rings were very messy to paint, but a great sensory and fine motor activity.
Kids will love to make these Olympic Rings craft while watching the Olympic Summer Games this year! Perfect for the winter games, too! Uses recycled toilet paper tubes for a 3D craft.

Olympic Ring Paint Craft


These colorful Olympic rings dried on a piece of wax paper (and looked so pretty!) 

Kids will love to make these Olympic Rings craft while watching the Olympic Summer Games this year! Perfect for the winter games, too! Uses recycled toilet paper tubes for a 3D craft.

We’ve got all of the colors in there!
Kids will love to make these Olympic Rings craft while watching the Olympic Summer Games this year! Perfect for the winter games, too! Uses recycled toilet paper tubes for a 3D craft.
Once our rings dried, we glued them onto a piece of paper.  This part got a little messy with the glue, but only because Big Sister wanted to pour the glue onto the rings.  If you put the glue on the paper and then stick the rings into the glue, it will be a lot less sloppy than ours was.  But, the glue dries clear, so no harm done!
Kids will love to make these Olympic Rings craft while watching the Olympic Summer Games this year! Perfect for the winter games, too! Uses recycled toilet paper tubes for a 3D craft.
Kids will love to make these Olympic Rings craft while watching the Olympic Summer Games this year! Perfect for the winter games, too! Uses recycled toilet paper tubes for a 3D craft.
The three dimensional Olympic Rings looked pretty neat when hanging from our dining room wall.  They remind us how excited we are for the games to begin!
Kids will love to make these Olympic Rings craft while watching the Olympic Summer Games this year! Perfect for the winter games, too! Uses recycled toilet paper tubes for a 3D craft.

Looking for more fun kid’s crafts?  Follow along on our “kid’s crafts” Pinterest board for loads of fun ideas:

Olympic Rings Craft for Kids
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Kids will love to make these Olympic Rings craft while watching the Olympic Summer Games this year! Perfect for the winter games, too! Uses recycled toilet paper tubes for a 3D craft.



More Olympic Activites your kids will love:


Olympics Activities for Kids

Gold, Silver, and Bronze Play Dough


What are your favorite ways to get your kids excited about the Olympics and learn through play with an Olympics games theme?