“I Spy” sight word sensory bottle

We made this sensory bottle

and sight word “I Spy” bottle

for an easy little learning activity.  Two of us Sugar Aunts were together one afternoon for a little play session with the kids and this was quick and easy to put together. 
One bottle of sand.
A handful of foam sheet shapes (we wrote a few beginner sight words on front and back of each shape).

 It was perfect for the different age groups of the kids (5, 4, 3, 2, and 1!)
And these kids seem to LOVE anything they can put into something else. The little fingers were everywhere when we told them to drop the shapes into the bottle opening! This is Awesome for tripod grasp skills.
This was great for the 5 and 4 year olds who are learning their sight words.  We used some beginner reader words that they recognize (Their current favorite book around here is “Sam I Am”.  Seeing those words in a new place is pretty cool way to emphasize reading confidence, I think!)
The 3 year old knows most of his shapes (that rectangle gets him every time!) so this was good for his learning level.
The two year old could point to the colors (and with only three options in the bottle, it was not overwhelming for him).
And for the one year old, this was overall great for language development!
((and super fun to shake !!)
We had fun with our sensory sight word bottle.  Have you done one of these? Link them up in the comments, we would love to see them!

Fine Motor Strengthening Color Match

When I saw how the thread matched the color of some of the crafting poms, I knew we had to do a color matching activity. 

Fine Motor Strengthening

I wrapped the thread around the ends of the clothes pins.

We received a great package in the mail one day from http://www.craftprojectideas.com/.  This was just a small part of the free goods we received… There are SO many project ideas and crafting supplies on their website. 
(we have a lot more crafting to do!!)

And Big Sister helped, too.  What a GREAT fine motor and bilateral hand coordination manual dexterity task!  She reaaaallly had to concentrate on this.  It was such a novel task for her.  It was neat to see her watch me wrap the thread, follow my verbal directions and cues, and as it became easier for her…wrap that thread around faster and faster!

Big Sister and Little Guy liked matching up the colors to the clothes pins. 
After they sorted the poms, we changed it up just a little.  I pulled out washable markers in the same four colors and Big Sister wrote right on the plastic tray.  She is learning to sound out words so we worked together on the letters to spell out the colors.

Pre-handwriting Warm-up Exercise

The pinching and fine motor strengthening with the clothes pins is a great mini-hand exercise to warm up the hands before a handwriting task.
This was such a fun activity!


This is part 2 of a two-part outdoor messy play activity.  If you missed part one, Sensory Paint Play(Part1)  was very fun…Check it out!  We left the bubble wrap/blue paint dry right in the bins overnight.

The next day was another super hot and sunny day.  Add a bin of water and some empty plastic bottles, and let the fun begin.

Sensory Play

The paint-y, texture-y, messy play returned when the water was added.
Plus, it’s just fun to pour water from bottles.
And put the bottles on your head, of course.
What a fun sensory play experience!

 Fine Motor Play

Baby Girl thought it would be pretty fun to drop the gems and beads into the plastic bottles.  She did this for a LONG time.  That little ‘bonk’ sound was pretty cool!
and, such a great fine motor task.
{{LOVE this picture!}}


When all of the water was added, we had a blast on this 85 degree day in our BLUE water bin!
Looking for more BLUE play activities:

Sensory Paint Play

This sensory paint activity used bubble wrap for a wonderful tactile experience. We loved to feel the bubble wrap sensory activity. Kids can use this as a way to work on sensory touch and tactile defensiveness, or just for fun, creative painting!

Sensory Paint

This sensory paint idea is easy. You’ll need just a couple of items:

  • Paint
  • Bubble wrap
  • Paper to press onto the bubble wrap

How to do this bubble wrap sensory play

When you get a package in the mail that has bubble wrap, it’s a special day!  After some jumping and a little popping, we used the bubble wrap in a fun sensory play activity.
Finger paint, and a handful of beads, and glass gems made this extra special.


This sensory painting activity is a great activity for sensory exploration. Add it, along with this rubber duck painting activity to your painting ideas!


This was SO much fun!  Perfect outdoor play for a hot day.
Don’t you just want to get messy and play with this???
It was such a neat sensory experience…and very BLUE.  After we were done playing, we squirted the kids off with the hose.  I left the blue bubble wrap, beads, and everything right in the bin until the next day.  I had plans…
*stop back tomorrow to see what we did the next day after the whole mess dried!*
UPDATE: Here is the post for the next part of this two-day sensory play activity…PERFECT for a hot, sunny, outdoor messy play day! Fine Motor/Sensory/Water Play (Part 2)
We did use a little of that wet blue paint for some face painting.  Big Sister gave me a nice smiley face on my foot 🙂

Blue Sensory Play for Toddlers

This was a fun activity that the toddlers around here loved.  I put a bunch of little objects out on a tray, all in shades of blue.  Different textures, shapes, and sizes were perfect for little exploring hands.  Baby Girl and my nephew played with these for a while.
Once they had enough of that activity, I poured the whole tray into the sandbox and we had a ball covering everything with sand, finding little things, and starting all over again.  

We’ve been on a blue kick around here.  It started when we filled our bird feeder and had a Blue Jay in our front yard. 
We’ve been playing with blue, sorting blue, crafting blue, eating blue (berries), and even reading  about blue…

Toddler Sensory Tray

((I love the little knuckle dimples in these pictures!!))
Watch this space for more BLUE play and craft activities!

Create Your Own Race Track…fine motor play with Wikki Stix

There are many ways that Wikki Stix are used for fine motor skills and this homemade floor race track is a favorite! We loved getting down on the floor…hello, core strength!) to make this DIY race track with wikki stix, but the fine motor benefits are even greater! Let’s break it down…

wikki stix for fine motor skills

If you aren’t familiar with wikki stix, then you should be because they are an occupational therapy prover’s favorite tool!

Wikki Stix are sticky strings that you can peel off and stick to things, but then they can re-stick. As an occupational therapist, this is one of my favorite OT tools! Build skills in:

  • Pincer grasp
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Separation of the sides of the hand
  • Tactile defensiveness/discrimination (they have a sticky texture)
  • Motor planning
  • Range of motion
  • Hand strength
  • Visual motor skills
  • Core strength

Plus, you can use wikki stix on various surfaces:

  • Paper for tactile input to create borders around coloring areas
  • Lines on paper, chalkboards, dry erase boards for a bumpy baseline
  • The floor…like we did below!
  • Windows to create a fun suncatcher
  • Walls to work on the vertical plane
  • SO many more ways!

Wikki Sticks Fine Motor Activity

We had a ton of fun with this activity this past week.
Have you played with Wikki Stix (also called Bendaroos…) This set came in a book that Big Sister had, but Wikki Sticks are widely used by OT’s working on handwriting, line awareness, fine motor skills…
We used them for a little fine motor play, visual perceptual skills, and most importantly, fun play with some matchbox cars!
We lined them up on our dining room floor and made a super fun race track for Little Guy’s cars.  Pressing the sticky stings together requires a little pinch of fine motor strength, so this is excellent for working the little muscles in little hands.
Matching up the ends correctly, and creating two parallel lines is perfect for visual perceptual skills and line awareness.  Both of these skills are vital for letter placement in handwriting.
We had SO much fun making roads, gates, and even a little parking lot.
We will definitely be playing racetrack again…soon!

Purple (waterbead) Sensory Bin

This was a fun and easy little sensory bin to put together.  Someone (cough, Big Sister, cough) threw some bath water colors into the bin of blue water beads we had out.  They absorbed the color reeeeally fast.  And are VERY vivid in their new purple hue.
I found a few purple bracelets and cookie cutters, and a few other purple things, and voila!
Purple Sensory Bin fun!
I’m not sure why, but every time we do water bead or corn bin sensory play, Little Guy goes into the kitchen and grabs my whisk and whatever other utensils look right.  So, now Baby Girl does the same thing.  I guess it’s just fun to mix and stir when you’re playing with a sensory bin!
Have you done a water bead sensory bin?  Link up in the comments…we would love to see it!

Invitation to Scoop and Pour

Scooping and Pouring for Toddlers and Preschoolers

is such a great fine motor and visual perceptual activity for little ones.  Not to mention the neat pinging sound you get when pouring grains of corn onto a metal tray 🙂
Toddlers who are learning to control the spoon during eating, scooping food with a spoon, and using  controlled motions to bring food to their mouth benefit from an activity like scooping corn.  A child with poor muscle control would benefit from different modifications to this activity: different sized scoops/spoons, lighter or heavier objects to scoop (sand, rice, beans, crafting pom poms, cotton balls…)

I had a set of these orange bowls and spoons sitting around and they worked great to scoop, pour, and dump corn.  Baby Girl was occupied with this activity for a looooong time.
Pouring from a pitcher with something like corn is perfect play practice for the real world task of pouring drinks from a water pitcher.  Preschoolers often do this in a preschool setting at snack time, and pouring drinks for their friends is fun!  I’ve seen Big Sister glow with excitement when I have her pour water for us at lunch time here.  You can see her self-confidence growing!
Pouring materials from a pitcher is also a great activity to work on bilateral coordination, visual perceptual skills (stop pouring before you overflow the cup!)
Baby Girl watched Big Sister fill the pitcher with corn and pour corn into the muffin tins.  (We were making “cupcakes” for Daddy!) Baby Girl then had to copy and pour the corn.
Of course.  This girl does EVERYTHING the big kids do!
If you are worried about the mess, lay down a blanket first and do all of the pouring and scooping on the middle of the blanket.  You could also play in a baby pool.  Or, just head outside now that we are having some warmer weather.

Why we love scooping and pouring:

Fine Motor skill development

Visual perceptual skills

Bilateral hand coordination


Real-world practice

Sensory Play