Pipe cleaners and a colander
Let’s have some fun and get messy. Something really cool we like to make every year in the Burrow is Ooblek. This stuff is so much fun but you got to put your hands in and get a lil dirty to make it. But you won’t regret it cause it’s pretty awesome. The coolest thing is it’s not a liquid or a solid so check it out.
Things you’ll need:
- a large mixing bowl
- 1 ½ cups corn starch
- 1 cup water
- a cheap plastic table cloth or crawfish tray (optional)
Let your kiddo help measure and pour into the bowl. They love to “cook” so they can help “cook” Ooblek. Then it’s time to put your hands in and mix it up. You’ll know you’ve got the right consistency when it feels similar to honey or molasses. Also, you can store it in an airtight container so it can be reused again and again. I would recommend putting down a plastic tablecloth or crawfish tray so clean up will be easier. Have fun and please take pics if you try it and share them.
This activity works really well with a large piece of paper, so if you have leftover wrapping paper, news paper, old tablecloths, or even a few smaller pieces taped together any of those will work great! Spread the paper out on a surface that can get messy (we just went outside) and weigh it down/tape it if necessary. Next, add drops of paint in several colors across the paper. The size of the drops, the distance between them, and the colors you use are up to you and your child and will make each painting unique! If you have the time to sit and actively engage for this activity, you can do a few colors at a time and place them where your child would like, or you can do several dots all at once and let them know that after they are done with the paint on the paper, the paint is all gone. Make sure you put enough paint that it can easily be spread out. As they spread the paint around the paper and connect one color to another, it will create a really awesome marble effect and will also provide a learning opportunity for color mixing (hint: if they get very excited and mix everything up over and over it will likely turn brown, but that’s a fun discovery to make as well!) After it’s dry, you can always revisit the painting with a new medium such as chalk, crayons, or marker, and add a whole new layer on top!
See You At The Chalk Roads
If your child enjoys playing with cars, or imaginary play with any other toys (such as action figures or animals) try this activity out! Using sidewalk chalk outside, or markers and paper inside, have your child help you create a road. This will be great fine motor skill practice for them to hold writing utensils and try to make a deliberate line. It’s ok if they make one side of the road and you do the other half, or if your road just ends up being a squiggly line, just try to have them be involved in the process. We decided we wanted a parking lot at the end of ours, but the possibilities are endless! After the road is finished, challenge them to see if they can keep all their cars on the road, and have them all race to the end. Or if they’d rather play with toy animals, maybe they can have a parade down the street, or their action figures can take turns running down the road. It’s a simple activity, but having them take part in the creation of the path will make it a little bit more exciting than driving on a play mat or the floor that they are used to playing on. You or your child could also add rocks or sticks as roadblocks that the cars need to drive around or the animals need to jump over, whatever it is that seems fun for your child and keeps them entertained for longer!
Mardi Gras Bead Hide and Seek
If you (like most of the city of New Orleans) have some leftover Mardi Gras beads laying around, give them a new life by creating a sensory bin hide and seek game! I put mine in a cardboard box, any container (bowl, bucket, Tupperware) that can fit some beads and small items of your choice will work.
Put all the beads into the container and then pick some fun items your kid can search for (I did not have many fun items, so I chose things like scrunchies, cotton balls, hair bows, a rock, and an old ID card. If it can hide under the beads, it’ll work!)
Remember how many items you put in there and then hide them under the beads. Tell your child how many toys/items are hiding in the beads and then let them go to town looking for them! You can provide tools like tongs or spaghetti ladles, or just let them go in with their hands which is a fun sensory experience. If they find all the toys, they can hide them again, or challenge them to find some new toys that are able to hide under the beads. Older siblings may also like this activity and can help with finding and hiding objects!
Ice Sensory Bin
Sometimes when it gets too hot outside, we like to get some ice from the kitchen and let the kids cool down with a water table full of ice. The kiddos like to taste it and feel how cold it is on their skin.
All you need is a bin (any size) and a lot of ice cubes. You can add some toys, cups, and other kitchen tools to add some excitement to their ice bin.
What you’ll need:
- A table and chairs
- Something to cover the table
- Containers to act as bowls/cups
- Play food, play doh, or any small toys/materials that can fit in the containers
- Utensils to make and serve the “food” with
- Guests (Siblings, baby dolls, stuffed toys, or you!)
We love tea parties in the burrow! Making pretend coffee and cooking some silly food for our friends and toys is always such a fun time. This could be a fun thing to surprise your child with after nap time. Setting it up is as simple as placing a blanket or large piece of paper over a table, and adding some bowls, plates, utensils and/or cups that you’re comfortable with your child playing with. Feel free to add some babies/soft toys as guests if you have enough chairs!
For food and drinks, we would include things like dry rice and beans, play dough, and sometimes real ground up coffee. Whatever you have at home will be fine, and you can determine how messy you’re ok with the activity getting. Here I used LEGO bricks and play food. I promise even if it seems silly your child will be able to use their imagination to make those legos into anything they want. Sometimes our magnetiles become pizza slices, or dry beans become Mac and cheese! This can be a great way to remind your child that their old toys can be used in all sorts of new and fun ways that they may not have thought of before. Be warned though, your child may have lots of cups of “coffee” that they’ll want to deliver to you 🙂
What you’ll need:
- Pen or marker
- Beans/buttons (something they can place over the pattern)
Here’s why we teach our children about patterns: patterns help them understand change and that things happen over time. This will also help them guess what comes next and patterns are a form of math. Even if they don’t do the pattern it’s ok because the beans/buttons are open-ended.
What you’ll need:
-Magnet (magnetiles or fridge Magnets will work fine)
-Some metal objects that will stick to the magnet
-Other assorted items
Find some items around the house that you know are attracted to magnets. Some things I found in my home are key rings, hair clips, a picture hanger, and magnetiles. If you have paper clips or binder clips at your house those would work great as well! Add them to a container with some items that will not be attracted to the magnet, which could include anything plastic or wood, as well as coins or keys which will not stick. Give your child the magnet and let them have fun exploring which items the magnet attracts and which don’t work! Including metal or shiny items that aren’t attracted is a great way to make it a little more challenging, since they may notice that many of the items that do stick share those qualities. You could also add the magnetic items to a sensory bin with either water, water beads, sand, pom-poms, or any other sensory materials you have and let them try to fish the items out!
Cut Up Cardboard Tube Rolls
If you would like, you can first give your child cardboard tube rolls, either from paper towels or toilet paper, to decorate. Cut the tube into pieces to create rings. Or let them decorate the individual rings after the tube has been cut.
Offer your child the rings with string, or any objects that can potentially pass through the tube. You may find that your child will string the tube rings, see what else they fit over, create scenes out of them, or maybe even stack them!
If you would like to turn this into an activity, challenge them to get as many beads on the string as they can! This is also a great opportunity to practice counting, and if they pick a few different colors to paint their beads, they can practice making and recognizing patterns as well.