Tag Archives: fine motor skills

{Toddler Thursday} Summer Spray Painting

1 Sep

It’s the first of September and summer is almost officially over, but there’s still time for outdoor fun and making summer memories even though it’s back to school!

Materials

  • spray bottle
  • paint
  • paper
  • water (optional)

Step 1

Fill your spray bottle with paint.  (We picked ours up for $1 at Target).  Dilute the paint with water if desired.

Step 2

Get ready to get messy and spray away!

For more fun, spray with different colors and watch the colors mix together.  Try to see how many color combinations you can make with three spray bottles filled with the primary colors.  You can also tape down images and shapes and lift the tape when you’re finished for a splatter paint effect.

LEARN!  Colors, fine motor skills, planning, creativity

{Toddler Thursday} Bubble Wrap Fun

25 Aug

As Jane and Sam found out after Hubby brought home a custom handmade double guitar stand swaddled in miles of protective plastic, it’s fun to snap bubble wrap!

I know plastic is bad.  It kills our planet and can kill our babies.  But this swath of giant bubble wrap was headed straight for the recycling bin after only a few hours of protecting the guitar stand we had made as a wedding gift for our dear friends M and E, so we had to rescue it and get some enjoyment out of it!

And enjoy it we did.  Snap!  Pop!  Crack!

We snapped it between our fingers.

Popped it under our palms.

Stomped on it underfoot.

Then, we rolled it out as a runway and ran up and down our bubble carpet creating enough explosive noise to put the Fourth of July fireworks to shame.

We also tried rolling down the bubble runway and crawled down it on all fours.  Finally, we taped it to the wall and body slammed into it.

This was a great material manipulation activity and the perfect pre-bedtime activity:  both kids were fast asleep within five seconds after their little heads hit their pillows.

Need another great bubble wrap idea?  Try bubble wrap painting as beautifully done over at Red Ted Art’s Blog!

LEARN!  Fine motor skills, gross motor skills, cause and effect, sensory exploration

{Toddler Thursday} Fun With Pasta! Pasta Necklaces

18 Aug

Fun With Pasta! is our latest installment of the Fun With Food! series.

What do you get when you mix pasta + paint + a toddler?  Painted pasta necklaces and a whole lotta messy fun along the way!

Here’s what you’ll need to make your pasta jewelry (think bracelets, headbands and crowns, too):

Materials

  • paint
  • paintbrushes
  • tube pasta (try penne)
  • ribbon, string or yarn
  • work surface saver (e.g., newspaper, cardboard, paper grocery bags)

Step 1

Paint your pasta.  I tried using a flattened cardboard box from the recycling bin as our paint palette, but Jane decided it would be her canvas instead.  She wasn’t ready to paint the penne right away.

Then she decided making handprints would be more fun than painting the pasta.

Eventually, she came around the idea of painting the penne.

Step 2

String each painted and dried piece of pasta together.  We used curly ribbon we had lying around the house, but you can use any type of ribbon, string or yarn handy.  Just tie several knots on top of each other to form a ball larger than the opening of the pasta; thread the pasta; and knot the two ends of the necklaces together.

Step 3

Don your fabulous creations!

LEARN! Colors, fine motor skills, manual dexterity, concentration

If you liked this post, check out other posts in the Fun With Food! series, like Fun With Beans and Fun With Gumdrops.

Themed Sticker Books

4 Aug

In the middle of Week One of my adventures as a working mom staying at home, I stood in the middle of our kitchen/family room scanning the busy counter spaces and heaving bookshelves, waiting for inspiration to pop out at me.  Luckily, it did.

“Let’s make a book!” I exclaimed to Jane, who was supposed to be sleeping but had decided to give up napping for my first week home.  She was keen and our project was on.

Here’s how you can make your own sticker book:

Materials

  • hole punch
  • cardstock
  • ribbon
  • stickers
  • markers or crayons

Step 1

Fold three sheets of cardstock in half cross-wise.

Step 2

Punch one hole in the fold at the top and the bottom of the crease line that forms the book’s “spine.”

Step 3

String the ribbon through the holes and tie a knot on the outer spine side.  You could staple the book together, but since Sam is still in the eat-everything-in-sight stage, I wanted to avoid retrieving swallowed staples from his stomach.

Step 4

Let your toddler decorate the pages of her new book and don’t forget to give your book a title on the front cover!

We chose puffy bug stickers and Jane enjoyed sticking and re-sticking the insects to different pages.  She decided this would be a “Bug Book” for Uncle B.

At this age (2.5), the fact that Jane made a book and the joy of peeling and placing the stickers was enough for her to feel satisfied with the activity.

For an older child, you might want to write the names of the various insects (or whatever theme you have chosen) underneath each sticker.  For an insect-themed book like ours, you could add fun facts about each bug and talk about what the bugs eat, where they live, and even go outside to look for one in your backyard!

LEARN!  Fine motor skills, concentration, manual dexterity, topical facts

Potato Stamping

15 Jul

This toddler activity is an old favorite from my own childhood.  Nothing like some good ol’ fashioned potato stamping fun, or “playing Juicy,” as Jane calls it.

It’s so simple, you have no excuse not to try this.  Unless, of course, you’re planning to serve the potatoes for dinner.

Step 1

Cut a potato in half and carve out a shape for your stamp.

Step 2

Mix food coloring and water to make stamping ink.

Step 3

Stamp away!

Not part of the potato stamping process, but part of Jane’s fun:  drawing on the paper with crayons dipped in the ink!

LEARN!  Shapes, colors, fine motor skills, manual dexterity.

{Fun With Food!} Fun With Gumdrops

9 May


Goody goody gumdrops! Fun With Gumdrops! is the first post in our Fun With Food! series.

Remember gumdrops?!

I used to love the sugary, spicy taste of these yummy gummy confections.  My mother always broke them out at Christmastime for our gingerbread houses and just the scent of these candies makes me nostalgic for my childhood.

Somehow I hadn’t seen them for years, so when I passed a bag of gumdrops in the grocery aisle the other day, I had to pick them up.  Turns out they are perfect for learning colors, counting, geometrical shapes and hours of fun.  All you need are toothpicks and you’re ready to go!

An older child (Jane is 2) would be able to make more than just these tripods.

Try:

  • other shapes (squares, hexagons, octagons, you name it)
  • 3-D shapes (like a house or box) or
  • atoms and chemical structures.

LEARN!  Colors, counting, shapes/geometry, fine motor skills

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