Monday, January 24, 2011

Sensory Awareness

Look for your child to exhibit sensory awareness.

Have your child identify hidden objects in a "feely" box by touch.

Cut the bottoms out of two empty, square tissue boxes, and tape the open ends together. Hide objects of various textures (cotton balls, rocks, sticky tape ball, sand paper, small toys, ice cube etc.) inside the box. Have your child use both hands to touch the objects and figure out what's inside the box.

For smaller items slip an object into a sock. Have your child try to identify the object from the outside of the sock and then by placing their hand inside the sock.

Give your child opportunities to experience various textures such as, mushy, slimy, rough, smooth, cold, wet, dry. Using a variety of descriptive words will help your child build their vocabulary.

    Cut arm holes in a large plastic bag to make a smock. Old vinyl tablecloths or shower curtains can help protect floors and tables.

Join your child in finger painting. For variety mix sand in the paint.

Have your child guess what is in a bowl with their eyes blindfolded. Vary the texture, size, weight and temperature of the items (cold, cooked spaghetti, dried oatmeal, feathers etc.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Staying Warm: Bring 'Snow Day' Fun Inside!!!

According to, our area has accumulated about 6 inches of snow over the past week.  That sure doesn't sound like a lot, but to my kids, it's music to their ears.  6 inches of snow has equaled 3 extra days of sleeping in, 9 extra meals in the comfort of their own kitchen, and zero homework!

Being an educator, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to spend these treasured days at home with my children and also feel that giddy excitement at the announcement of a 'snow day'.  However, as we are in our third day of confinement, I find myself wondering how many days I can actually maintain the sanity of our household!

We have now exhausted every outdoor snow activity that we could dream up and frankly my toes can't handle another frigid moment outdoors. So we're ready to try this fun recipe and bring the 'Snow Day' fun into the warmth of our own house.  I'll let you know how it goes!

1.  Collect 5 cups of FRESH snow Don't pack it, you want it light and fluffy.
2.  Combine the first three ingredients until the sugar dissolves.
3.  Slowly add the snow into your mixture while stirring.
4.  Continue to add snow until the mixture is thick and creamy.
5.  Eat right away! 

 *Good vocabulary to use with your child. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Indoor Snowball Fight

Indoor Snowball Fight

If you live in the midwest as I do, you know about cold temperatures and snow during the winter months. Children need to move their bodies throughout the year, but a park is not very accommodating during the winter. Here's an idea of a fun AND educational way to play together on a cold winter's day.

An Indoor Snowball Fight

You can make "snowballs" with various items:

* White socks that have lost their mate
* White paper
* Cotton balls or pom poms
* Panty hose stuffed with paper or fake snow or anything else lightweight (you will tie off the panty hose in a knot and cut off the extra hose to create a "ball").

Children receive developmental benefit in almost any sensory activity - enhanced even more with parental involvement. As you are having your snowball fight, think how you are preparing your young child for life as a learner:

1. Planning: Involve the child in preparing for the snowball fight. They will need to think about the needed items and plan accordingly. They mig
ht want to take out blankets or sheets to cover furniture as a fort. They will also need to make an adequate number of snowballs. You might discuss how many they think they will need.
Simply seeing a project from start to finish will help a child understand a process, and gain the perseverance and patience to see a project to completion.

2. Math Concepts: As you make your fort, the child will need to find the appropriate-sized covering for the table/furniture. Comparing pillow cases and sheets will give children an idea of area and a concept of size.
Additionally, while making snowballs, you can count the snowballs. You can also make snowballs of different sizes and categorize them in your forts - making sure that each competitor has an equal number of snowballs.

3. Fine and Gross Motor Development: Whether you are stuffing stockings or wadding up paper, children will need to use their hands to squeeze, stuff, rip, shred and cut. They will definitely use their bigger muscles as they run around the house throwing the snowballs. For an added element of fun and development of eye-hand coordination, you could have
children hit the snowballs with their hand or a racquet.

4. Creativity: The open-ended play of the snowball fight is limited only by a child's imagination. You could make igloos, plan creative forts, make different types of snowballs, etc. You will also be increasing your child's awareness of the world as you talk about eskimos, igloos and arctic habitats.

The benefits of play are immense. Enjoy making a dreary winter day into a day of fun and learning!