Easy Peasy Painting

Would you like a simple activity that will entertain kids of multiple ages? I have an easy one for you today! It is called… wait for it… “Paint the Sidewalk.” ha, real original, but SO EASY!

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Now that the weather is nicer, we are taking every opportunity to get outside. On a really warm day last week, I remembered that my kindergarten students loved painting the sidewalk with water… what an easy and fun idea! So, I grabbed some paint brushes, tupperware, and for some more fun; food coloring.

Emmy and I headed outside with some excitement, some clothes we didn’t mind getting messy and started painting. At this time, Emmy is 14 months old and is really starting to mimic everything I do. I gave her the paintbrush and watched her twist it around her hand, feel the bristles, and then give it a good shake. I used another paint brush to dip in the water and showed her how to paint the sidewalk. She immediately started copying me. I could see the wheels turning in her head as she was figuring out this new activity. She was fully engaged for a good 10 minutes. When I noticed she was losing interest, I added the food coloring and once again she was fascinated! I added another tupperware container with water and a different color and again she was sucked into painting our sidewalk.

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This activity can’t get any easier, and it provides a lot of sensory input, language development, as well as some fine motor and gross motor activity. Encourage vocabulary by naming the colors, and the materials, and take this time to narrate what your child is doing or maybe even label a feeling. (Try; “Wow! Painting seems to help you relax!” Or “Wow! You are painting so much! You have so much energy!” Sounds cheesy, but the more you talk, the better!) My kindergarten students always loved this activity, so I don’t see a need to modify it for older children. For babies, you could forget the water (or keep it, if its warm enough) and just use a paint brush to tickle their toes, knees and hands!

I hope that you have so much fun getting outdoors with your little ones! I would love to hear how you make this activity your own. What are some other ways that you enjoy the outdoors?

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In and Out

I feel like most activities I do with my toddler last maybe 10 minutes? And that would definitely be the maximum amount of time! Tonight, Emmy was engaged in an activity for a solid 30 minutes!!! My husband and I were in disbelief.

 

All you need is an empty tissue box, some bouncy balls and maybe another container. I used a tupperware container.

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It is super simple, and a great activity for building language, fine motor skills and even gross motor.

 

I modeled how to take the balls in an out of the tissue box. Each time, I said, “in, and out.” The bouncy balls were new to Emmy so, she was fascinated by these and had to turn them over in her hands a few times. I kept pointing and repeating “ball.” Then, she began to mimic what I had been doing. She kept taking the balls out of the tissue box and placing them in the tupperware container. I only had six balls because they are smaller than I would prefer, so these are an item I will put away because I don’t want her to play with them without me monitoring. Once she had placed all six in the tupperware, I clapped and cheered! She then started clapping for herself, which is so cute, and then started the process over again!

 

There were so many variations with this activity and they all kept her so engaged. I could see her wheels turning as she manipulated the bouncy balls. I thought for sure I would end up with bouncy balls all over my living room… but she was very intent on keeping these in their containers.

 

Emmy actually created her own variation to this activity. She pulled a ball out of the tissue box, walked around our ottoman, and then placed in the other container. She did this so many times we were worried she was going to get dizzy!

Toddlers love taking objects out of containers, bags, cabinets, and drawers! Although this can drive us crazy, it can also be a fun opportunity for building language skills and having some fun with your little one!

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Let me know if you tried this activity or created something of your own. I am off to clean up all of the tupperware that Emmy forgot to put back in a cabinet!

Easter Sensory Bin

Emmy and I visit Target at least once a week. Our favorite spot is the dollar aisle. This week I started an Easter sensory bin with some dollar aisle finds along with some things I already had at the house. When I create a sensory bin I keep it in rotation for a few weeks. I add things, take things out, etc. With this being my first sensory bin post, I want to clarify my goal: I hope that you can find something that works for you and your little one. I will always post examples of what I do with my daughter, but I hope to modify for your older or younger children.

I found these adorable bunnies for $1 along with these cute Easter Eggs. I have an obsession with ribbon so I grabbed some Easter colors. I also happened to have some green tissue paper.

I usually make the sensory bin with Emmy because it provides some opportunities to narrate what I’m doing. My teaching background often comes into play here, it can seem awkward but I simply describe what I am doing. For example, I start by cutting the tissue paper (safely so these curious toddler hands can’t grab the scissors) and say, “Mommy is cutting the green paper to make green grass.” I place it in the container as I cut and she immediately starts exploring. Then I cut the ribbon, add the eggs and bunnies.

This first experience in the sensory basket is always the easiest part. She stays engaged with new items to explore. My main goal is to keep the tissue paper out of her mouth! Emmy takes a pacifier, so I can easily pop that in and she no longer attempts to make these items a meal.

For a younger baby, this can be a great tummy time activity. Lay baby on their belly on a nursing pillow so their little hands can reach the basket. I wouldn’t even cut the tissue paper. They will be amused crinkling the paper, or touching the eggs and ribbon.

For an older child, they can make the grass by ripping the paper, and they would also enjoy opening and closing the eggs. This would be a good opportunity to put something inside the eggs. Cheerios? Then it can turn to a counting activity/snack!

Have fun, and please share any changes you made, or what worked for you! I will post again when I change the basket a little to keep Emmy’s interest.