I have been in a rut as far as coming up with new and fun activities for the kids. Sure, there are the usual summer activities, but I felt like they are in need of some variety. I have been discovering some great blogs out there on "play based learning," something I am a strong proponent of. There are also quite a few blogs with ideas for helping with early literacy, Montessori concepts, preschool math, science, art and other general early education - all this learning hidden behind play. Many of the ideas I ran across involved some prep work upfront, which I have not done. But there were many that I was able to jump right in with the stuff I had on hand. As I discover cool stuff, I'll pass it along.
Today's activities were a hit, although clean up was mildly annoying.
Crayon painting from Crafts-N-Things (Draw something in white crayon on white paper. Water down tempera paint a bit and let the child discover what drawings you made - the blogger mentioned above does a much nicer job showing this than I just explained.)
Gavin enjoyed watching the stars magically appear as he painted his paper.
And watching the paint roll around.
I had to take him to the laundry room sink and hose him down. No joke. It comes off fairly easily, but not as easily as it comes off the table. Unfortunately he popped the paint brush into his mouth for a split second before I reach him. Hopefully it's truly non-toxic. Should make tomorrow's diaper change interesting...
Later, we tried making homemade "moon sand" for the sensory table (aka our water table that has been used almost every day this summer. I can't recommend sensory table activities enough - I can almost always get in a cup or two of coffee while they play with the bucket of whatever I toss in there). Irresistible Ideas has a decent recipe that we cut down in size. It's definitely different from store-bought moon sand, but still cool none-the-less. It's firm when you pat and mold it and liquid at rest. I didn't have the fine sand mentioned in the recipe, just basic sand, but it didn't make much of a difference. The kids LOVED it!
Of course, once again, clean up was a challenge. I didn't anticipate it, but the cornstarch left residue on the deck. Ugh. I thought I was so clever filling the table up with "bubble" water and sponges for the boys to play with afterwards, but alas, there is still a corn starch layer on parts of the deck. Hopefully it storms tonight!
And, once again, Parker took one of the play cups filled with both soapy water AND fake moon sand and drank it before I could grab it out of his hands. So now he has licked paint, eaten a sand/corn starch combo, and drank soapy water. Do you think all the ingredients will cancel each other out?
He also took the opportunity to take a bath outside. He must have dumped at least 25 cups of water over himself and his clothes. At least it helped get the last of the paint off, right?
While Parker was napping, I tried a pool noodle sculpture activity with Gavin (from The Chocolate Muffin Tree) Another HUGE hit. I just used a bread knife to cut a pool noodle into various sizes, tossed them in a box with bamboo skewers and toothpicks, and he went to town. I was able to get the whole 1st floor clean (including vacuuming and steam mopping) while he created with it. I'll definitely keep this box handy for future use. Plus virtually no clean up required.