Math Art Activities

Math and art have gone together since early artists began creating.  Many great works of art contain mathmatics, from buildings and pottery to paintings and statues.  Today on Share It Saturday, we’re featuring math and art activities that kids can explore while learning through creative expression.  Combining math and art in kids’ activities can be a great way for children who do not enjoy being “artsy” or “craftsy” to create.  

These art and math activities are sure to get the kids creating and learning!

Math and Art Activities for Kids:

Clockwise from the top image:
Mandala Segments from Highhill Education
Shell Mandalas Math from Nurturestore
Math Art inspired by Klee from Kids Activities Blog
Parabolic Curve Math Art from What Do We Do All Day
Concentric Circle Art from Sugar Aunts
Fibonacci Art Project from What Do We Do All Day

What are your favorite ways to create using math and art?

How to Make Crayon Floam Dough

Play dough made with crayons are  one of our favorite ways to play and this Crayon Floam Dough recipe was a HUGE hit in our house!  We’ve love crayon dough since we experimented with how to make crayon play dough.  We decided to give another sensory dough a twist on the crayon dying method and made our own homemade Crayon Floam Dough.

Use broken crayons to make homemade Crayon floam dough in less than 15 minutes.  So easy and a fun sensory play floam.

Use broken crayons to make homemade Crayon floam dough in less than 15 minutes.  So easy and a fun sensory play floam.
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What is Floam?

Use broken crayons to make homemade Crayon floam dough in less than 15 minutes.  So easy and a fun sensory play floam.

Maybe you’ve seen floam in stores or played with it in the past.  This foamy, moldable dough is so light and cool to play with!  It’s really a fun sensory material.  We made our floam dough with ingredients we had on hand and this is how we did it:

(You want to make floam.  Really!)

How to make Crayon Play Dough Floam Dough:

We started with a variation of our crayon play dough recipe.

Chop up two crayons in the same color family.  To make the red dough, I used two different red crayon shades.  The color isn’t important in this dough, (although you can make a big range of colored dough using our shades of crayon play dough idea.  

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil on a stove.  Mix in the chopped crayons and stir.  Don’t let the oil heat up too much, and slowly stir in 2 cups of water.  Add 2 and 1/2 cups of flour to the mixture and keep stirring over heat.  This is less flour than our typical crayon dough recipe because we are omitting salt.  The added foam makes up for this and holds the dough together.  It seems like leaving the salt out of this dough recipe helps with the airy lightness of this floam.

Pour the lump of dough out onto a chopping board and knead when tolerable.  You will want the dough to pull together.  If the dough is too sticky, add flour by half cup.   Mixing up the dough is very quick.  It doesn’t need much kneading, but you will want to wait a few minutes until you can tolerate the heat.  Overall, this dough pulls together in about fifteen minutes!

Once cool, fold in styrofoam fill.  We used filler from a pillow that was torn for our dough, but you could use bean bag filler as well which can be purchased in craft stores or here.  You will want to add a bunch of the filler so the dough is mainly made up of the filler and held together by dough.  It’s amazing to feel the dough “lighten up” as more filler is added.
Use broken crayons to make homemade Crayon floam dough in less than 15 minutes.  So easy and a fun sensory play floam.

This floam dough is moldable and pretty much awesome!  It’s crumbly, yet moldable.  
Mess-warning:  This dough is MESSY!  Rather, the filler is the messy part.  When you mold and play with this floam, the little filler bits will pull out of the dough.  Play with this sensory activity in a large shallow bin or on a tablecloth spread out on the floor.
Use broken crayons to make homemade Crayon floam dough in less than 15 minutes.  So easy and a fun sensory play floam.
Use broken crayons to make homemade Crayon floam dough in less than 15 minutes.  So easy and a fun sensory play floam.
We had so much fun with our homemade floam!  Watch the blog and our Facebook page for play and learning ideas with this homemade sensory dough!
Use broken crayons to make homemade Crayon floam dough in less than 15 minutes.  So easy and a fun sensory play floam.

More ways to use crayons in play dough:

 Shades of red crayon play dough | Harold and the Purple Crayon play dough |  Rainbow Crayon Play Dough

If you like the idea of using your broken crayon pieces in something as fun and creative as play dough, then you will love to try a few different ideas, too.  We’ve given crayon play dough a run for it’s fun and tried a few different versions.  Check them out and if you make a batch, let us know how you get creative with crayon play dough!

Make your own floam play dough using crayons to dye the dough!

Harold and the Purple Crayon Play Dough

Favorite Play Dough recipes and activities for kids:

Click on the images or the links below each image:
 Crayon Floam Dough recipe 3 Ingredient Kinetic Sand Play Dough

 Fizzy Baking Soda Play Dough Recipe Crayon Play Dough Recipe Crayon Salt Dough Recipe

 Metallic Gold, SIlver, Bronze Crayon Play Dough Recipe Body Wash Play Dough Recipe Frozen Pixy Sitx Candy Play Dough Pencil Grasp Play Dough Exercise

Do you LOVE using play dough as a sensory and fine motor tool in therapy and in play? I have a subscriber-only play dough mat that is designed to work on the intrinsic hand muscles which are needed for pencil grasp and fine motor skills.  Read more about the play dough mat and the areas it will help with HERE.  

This play dough mat is available for FREE only for our Play Dough is Awesome newsletter group.  (This is a different email list than our regular subscribers.  If you’re on our subscriber list, you’ll still need to sign up for this one to receive the play dough freebies coming your way!)

Join me!  And get ready for Awesome Play Dough Play!

Learning Rainbow Order Stacking Cups

Today we’re sharing rainbow stacking cups, possibly one of the simplest learning activities that we’ve put together.  These DIY stacking cups are a wonderful way for teaching rainbow order, and so much fun to play with over and over again. Kids can benefit from the motor planning benefits of this activity too, working on gross motor skills and fine motor skills. 
DIY Rainbow Stacking Cups for color identification, color order, and learning rainbows with this stacking and building nesting toy.

Learning Rainbow Order

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These rainbow stacking cups are really so easy to put together.  I used 

styrofoam cups 
and cardstock
in a rainbow of colors.

Cut the cardstock into strips lengthwise. 
DIY Rainbow Stacking Cups for color identification, color order, and learning rainbows with this stacking and building nesting toy.

Tape the cardstock onto the rims of the cups.  The activity is set for learning and play!
DIY Rainbow Stacking Cups for color identification, color order, and learning rainbows with this stacking and building nesting toy.
We had SO much fun with these rainbow cups!  We stacked them up in random and rainbow orders.  As we stacked, we said the colors of the rainbow.  Little Guy (age 5) considers himself an expert in knowing the colors of the rainbow in correct order and was sure to correct Little Sister (age 3) in the accurate stacking of the rainbow.
DIY Rainbow Stacking Cups for color identification, color order, and learning rainbows with this stacking and building nesting toy.

We used the cups to build towers and buildings over and over again.
DIY Rainbow Stacking Cups for color identification, color order, and learning rainbows with this stacking and building nesting toy.
These cups make a great collection cup for a rainbow scavenger hunt.  Go around the house looking for matching colored items to fill the cups.  We found crayons, ribbons, scrap paper, toys, Legos…This is a fun way to work on color identification with preschoolers.
DIY Rainbow Stacking Cups for color identification, color order, and learning rainbows with this stacking and building nesting toy.

These rainbow stacking cups were a DIY hit in our house!
Here are some other rainbow order activities:
Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails: Rainbow Cereal Craft
Rainy Day Mum: Rainbow Smash Cookies
Where Imagination Grows: Stained Glass Rainbow craft

The Day The Crayons Quit Crayon Shaving Art

Have you read the book, “The Day the Crayons Quit”?  This is SUCH a cute book from the crayons’ point of view.  They are TIRED of coloring the same old pictures the same old colors.  Why does the Yellow crayon have to color the sun?  And why can’t the Black crayon color a beach ball?   We loved reading this book over and over again and coming up with our own take on mixing up the colors in a sensory art project using crayon shavings!

We are super duper excited to be back at the Preschool Book Club series where we’ll join a few of our favorite kids activity bloggers and explore a fun children’s book every two weeks!

The Day the Crayons Quit sensory art

Crayon shaving art craft for sensory play based on the book, The Day the Crayons Quit

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We loved reading The Day the Crayons Quit
by Drew Daywalt so this sensory crayon shaving art was completely a hit in our house!
This sensory activity requires just a few items:

plastic sandwich bags
clear shampoo
permanent marker
 and a small pencil sharpener


Use the pencil sharpener to make crayon shavings in the colors you want.  This is a fantastic fine motor activity for little fingers.  Twisting the crayons in the small pencil sharpener really works the intrinsic muscles of the hands.  Not only are kids building the hand strength and endurance for writing and coloring tasks, they are using a tripod grasp to manage the pencil sharpener/crayon.  It’s a resistive task that might cause hand fatigue for little ones, but not much crayon shavings are needed for this sensory activity.

Use the permanent marker to draw a picture on one of the sandwich bags.  Fill the baggie with the shampoo and you are ready to get started!  
Have the kids pinch the crayon shavings into the plastic bag.  We tried to get the colors we wanted into the general area of the picture.  So, instead of a yellow sun, we made ours purple and tried to get the purple crayon shavings near the sun in the picture.  If they don’t land exactly near the part of the picture that you want them, it’s not a big problem, and actually a good sensory and fine motor activity to move the shavings around in the shampoo.
Crayon shaving art craft for sensory play based on the book, The Day the Crayons Quit
Press and push the colors into the part of the picture to make mixed up colors just like in “The Day the Crayons Quit” 
Crayon shaving art craft for sensory play based on the book, The Day the Crayons Quit

Be sure to see all of the amazing activities based on The Day the Crayons Quit

Writing Activity from Homegrown Friends
Crayon Box Craft from Buggy and Buddy
Follow Up Story from Mama. Papa. Bubba.
Paper Doll Crayons from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails
Did you miss some of our other Preschool Book Club activities based on popular children’s books?  Check them out and see all of our Preschool books and activities
hands-on activities to explore social emotional development through children's books.

Love exploring books with hands-on play?  

Grab our NEW book, Exploring Books Through Play: 50 Activities based on Books About Friendship, Acceptance, and Empathy, that explores friendship, acceptance, and empathy through popular (and amazing) children’s books!  It’s 50 hands-on activities that use math, fine motor skills, movement, art, crafts, and creativity to support social emotional development.

What is Visual Memory?

Have you seen visual perceptual terms like Visual Memory and wondered, exactly What Is Visual Memory?  Today we’re sharing how to use our dyed lollipop sticks in a few eye-hand coordination activities including visual memory, and explaining what this term means to development of handwriting, reading, and functional tasks.

What is visual memory and why is it necessary for development of functional skills like handwriting and reading? Tips and activities from to work on visual memory in kids and adults.

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What is Visual Memory?

Visual Memory is one part of a large arena known as visual perceptual skills. Visual memory focuses on one’s ability to recall visual information that has been seen.  Visual memory is a critical factor in reading and writing.  When a child is writing a word, he must recall the formation of parts of the letter from memory.  It can be terribly frustrating for one with a visual memory deficit to perform a handwriting, spelling, or word copying exercise.  Children with difficulty in visual memory will have trouble copying letters, words, and sentences from a chalkboard or book.  They may present with very slow handwriting, trouble forming letters, and mixing up letters or words within sentences.  Producing written work on worksheets and tests may be difficult.  Recalling sight words in reading exercises can be hard as well as following along in a reading activity during stop and start tasks, due to comprehension and difficulty recalling what was read.  Kids with visual memory defecits can demonstrate difficulty with formation of letters and numbers and appear “lazy” in their written work.

Visual Memory Shape Building Activity

We used our dyed lollipop sticks to build shapes.  Make a shape example and have your child copy the form.  You can grade the activity as more difficult by removing the example and having the child build the shape using their “mind’s eye”.  Assistance can be provided by giving visual or verbal prompts to assist with building simple shapes.  Further extend this visual memory activity by engaging colors and building the shapes with all one color.  Then introduce shape forms with patterning or random colors.  Once the child demonstrates succeeds with shape copying, encourage letter and number building using the lollipop sticks.  This simple activity can be extended in so many ways to help work on visual memory!
Use dyed lollipop sticks to work on visual memory by copying and building shapes, forms, letters, numbers, and pictures. Visual Memory  is an important skill needed for reading and writing.

We did a few shape copying activities as well.  Little Sister had fun creating a neighborhood of houses using our colored lollipop sticks.  

More Activities to help with Visual Memory Deficits:

  • Memory Games
    games or Concentration games
  • I Spy games
    and books
    .  Encourage the child to recall the items to be found using visual memory.
  • Form copying games, such as Pixy Cubes
    Shape sequencing games, like Mental Blox
  • Place a tray of items in front of the child.  Allow them 30 seconds to memorize all of the items.  Cover the tray with a piece of paper.  Ask the child to recall as many items as they can.  Another version to this game is removing one or more items and asking the child to recall the missing items.

Looking for more vision activities?  Try these: 


 As always, use your best judgement with your kids.  All activities that we document on this blog are supervised.  The information on this website should not be used as medical advise.  Please contact a therapist for an individualized evaluation if therapeutic advise is needed.

I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More Book Craft

It’s true that we are HUGE fans of activities and crafts based on children’s books.  Today we’re sharing a craft inspired by a new book to us, “I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!” by Karen Beaumont.  This pretend play kid made craft is big fun for imagination, language, and acting out the book while learning to name body parts.  This would be a great craft to do at a play date, as it uses only a few items (easy set-up is bonus for a mom hosting a play date!) and these cup crafts are fun for acting out the story in a small group.  We had a blast making our pretend play story parts and using them in retelling the book “I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!”

Use this Story telling craft for I Ain't Gonna Paint No More! to host a preschool play date book club with craft!

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I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More book craft

If you haven’t read the book, I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!, this is definitely a book you will want to check out.  It’s colors, rhyming text, and body part-learning story is not only fun and engaging, it’s funny!  My kids loved reading this book over and over again, and guessing the body parts that the little boy would paint next based on the rhyme of the text.  We loved the “Ya ain’t-a gonna paint no more!” that the mom in the story yells after her son paints the house. When the boy starts to paint his body part-by-part, we loved the bright colors and yelling out the next body part.  

We had to make a painting body part craft to paint body parts!

Painting Craft Naming Body Parts

I started by drawing a picture of a boy on the outside of a clear plastic cup
using a black permanent marker.  My three year old was a particularly hug fan of the book and is also loves anything involving paint.  This craft was just right for her!

I showed her how to hold the cup with one hand and use a paintbrush to paint the body parts with paint.  We used acrylic paint that we had on hand from an old craft kit, but these acrylic paints are ones that we love for their bright colors and semi-washability.  

We made a colorful house too, just like the house was painted in the beginning of the book.

Body Part Identification craft

We made another painting craft to go along with I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!
I Aint Gonna Paint No More craft for kids book club play date
I drew a quick outline of a boy.
Little Sister painted in the body parts as she named them.
It was fun to see her paint the parts as she said “I’m going to paint his ARM!”  and “I’m going to paint his NECK!”
I Ain't Gonna Paint No More body naming and story retelling craft

Our painting craft turned out very colorful, just like in the book!

This post is part of a new series we’re joining all about Book Themed Play Dates!  If you’ve ever thought of planning a play date based on a book, this is the series to follow to get great snacks, games, crafts, activities and more based on a great book each month.  Check out the bloggers below for fun activities for I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!
Painted Toast snack from Craftulate
Rainbow Writing Activity from Fun-A-Day
Body Part Game from Still Playing School
Body Part Identification Busy Bag from House of Burke
Looking for more crafts and activities based on books?  These are some of our favorites: 

Teaching Kids to Stop Spreading Germs

Oh boy, is life ever messy with little ones during the winter months.  Add to the mix: a teething baby who puts EVERYTHING into her mouth, and your house is a germ festival.  And it’s a festival you definitely DON’T want to visit.  When kids are constantly passing germs, hygiene is so important!  I’m not sure how many times a day I repeat, “Cover your mouth!”, “Wash your hands!”, and “Get a tissue!”, but those phrases should be plastered on my forehead and maybe the kids would notice a little more!  I thought it was time for a little wipe and blow your nose song and dance to teach the kids something about keeping those germs to themselves!

I participated in the Pass The Puffs blog program as a member of One2One Network. I received compensation but all opinions are my own.
Teach kids hygiene and to use a tissue and wash their hands after they blow their nose, cough, or sneeze with this poem!

Washing Hands and Blowing Nose poem for Kids

We were given the opportunity to try Puffs Plus Lotion during the booger-est time of the year.  And we are sure a booger-y family!  In fact, my Little Guy was wiping his nose so often that he had a red upper lip from the tissues!  We loved that the Puffs Plus Lotion seemed to soften that irritated nose and helped his skin even with all of his nose blowing.  You could tell that he looked and felt better!

Our little Good Hygiene for Kids poem is a catchy one and we’ve been saying it over and over again.  It’s a good poem for young kids to remember and use!  With preschool germs, library germs, grocery cart germs, and even sibling germs, my kids seem like they constantly have a cold this time of year.   Especially this year when we’re experiencing one of the toughest flu seasons (according to the CDC).  In fact, our hometown of Pittsburgh is on high alert for outbreak of the flu.  With the bitter cold temperatures that we’ve been having (it was below zero until noon one day last week!), the softness of Puffs Plus Lotion is perfect for sensitive little noses and cheeks.  With just the right amount of softness, Puffs Plus Lotion will help us put your best faces forward this cold and flu season.  

This little one had fun with the tissues!

Tips to help teach kids about stopping the spread of germs

Tips for Helping Kids to Use Good Hygiene 

  • Encourage kids to wash their hands with warm, soapy water.  Sing a short song like the ABCs while they soap up and rinse so you know they are really scrubbing.
  • Teach kids to cough or sneeze into their elbow or to use a tissue.
  • Show kids how to use a tissue to hold the door when exiting a public restroom.
  • Wipe down public grocery cart handles with a sanitizing wipe.
  • Remind kids when they should wash their hands: after using the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing/blowing nose, before meals, after being outside.

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How to make a Sensory Bottle

We love to play with sensory bottles.  Sensory bottles are an amazingly simple way to explore, calm, and investigate. This round ups of sensory bottles inspired me to share creative ways to make sensory bottles.  If you are looking for a sensory play idea that is mess-free and can be used as a learning tool as well as a therapy tool, then sensory bottles are the way to go. 

Sensory bottles for self-regulation, calming, and sensory input. How to make sensory bottles for learning and sensory.

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What is a sensory bottle?

You can find many versions of sensory bottles online.  So what is a sensory bottle?  They are tools to calm down and encourage self-regulation.  Sensory bottles are a visual and physical tool for calming and relaxing the body.  A child (or adult!) can use a sensory bottle when they feel anxious, overwhelmed, “wound-up”, or overstimulated and use the sense of proprioception as they shake the sensory bottle and watch the contents shift.  This visual cue is a great calming strategy for many children.

Featured post: These Waterbead sensory bottles from Living Montessori Now are beautiful!  I love the bright colors that waterbeads provide.  We’ll definitely be making these!

RELATED READ: Sensory Play Ideas

How to make a sensory bottle:

Sensory bottles are so easy to create.  The possibilities are endless when it comes to additions.  Grab a few plastic bottles, glue to secure the lid (Glue is the most important part!), and a few of these items:

To make a liquid sensory bottle add:
cooking oil

Add pieces to the liquid base:
nature (acorns/leaves/flowers/sticks/rocks…)
paper clips
pipe cleaners

Or make a dry sensory bottle by pouring in:
dry pasta
colored sand
spit peas

Adding a learning component by dropping in:
Sight Words

You can use items like foam letters and numbers, dominoes, foam craft sheets, or magnets.

More ways to make Sensory Bottles: 
Add flowers (My Little 3 and Me) or other items from nature for exploration.  
Use cooking oil (Happy Hooligans) to make beautiful ocean-like waves.  You can even add themed items to the liquid to make an ocean discovery bottle (The Imagination Tree).
Instead of liquid additions, add colored items to make rainbow bottles (Fun at Home with Kids).  You can even add a glowing component (Kids Activities Blog) to the bottle for nighttime calming.
Sensory bottles can had a learning aspect too.  Add letters to make a find and seek bottle (The Jenny Evolution) or sight words.

Are you looking for more information on Sensory Processing or any of the body’s sensory systems and how they affect functional skills and behavior?  This book, Sensory Processing 101, will explain it all.  Activities and Resources are included.  Get it today and never struggle to understand or explain Sensory Integration again.  Shop HERE.

We’ve used sensory bottles as a sensory tool many times. Along with crayon play dough, they are one of our favorite ways to to get proprioceptive input through play.

How to make sensory bottles

MORE creative sensory ideas that you will love:

Baby Safe Waterbeads Sensory Play

Waterbead Sensory Box

Creative Scissor Activities for Kids

Our favorite sensory bottle ideas: 

Valentines Day Sensory Bottle with Waterbeads

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