Oct 29, 2014

Halloween Mystery Sensory Bag

We are really excited for Halloween this year! Kingston completely understands the concept of trick or treating and can't wait to go. We have already been to several "trick or treating" events, and he asks to go again every day! This week we revisited our Mystery Sensory Bags. (We have done the junk drawer, the kitchen, daddy's workshop and a beach trip sensory bag in the past!) These bags are made using items from around your house. It is a form of heuristic discovery play where your little one can observe and explore every day objects that they may not typically get to play with! The sensory portion of the activity comes from exploring the different items: textures, sounds, smells, etc. 

For our Halloween bag, I used Kingston's trick or treat bag! I collected objects around the house that were part of different holiday decor, activities, and even cooking items. 

Kingston was excited to pull out a small pumpkin first. We had picked this pumpkin during our trip to the apple orchard and pumpkin patch, so it offered a great invitation to discuss our trip. We talked about all the things we did and what we saw! 

I included a large furry black spider and web from our Spooky Spider Sensory Bin. K was hesitant to touch it when he took it out and adamantly shook his head saying "I don't yike it!" The mystery of these bags can seem like a burden to a child who is cautious to exploring new sensory materials, but we like to use it as a learning tool. We talked about the spider and how the spider was nice. I described the texture of the spider and web to K and reminded him of how we had previously played with it. After a few minutes, he was happy to touch and explore it. He told me "the spider is nice Mama!"  

The same thing happened when he took out this skeleton garland that I picked up at the Dollar Tree. He was nervous about it and announced "I don't yike it!" again. In order to help him process what it was, we chatted about skeletons, bones, and body parts. He was intrigued by that and quickly wanted to point out the different parts on the skeletons body. Mystery sensory bags are excellent ways to open up discussions about all kinds of objects and experiences. 

The rest of the items were small bits that I had found around the house: a plastic bat, a pumpkin cookie cutter, a cauldron, a skull eraser, a bone eraser, and a squishy rat. We discussed each one, and I watched as Kingston put the different concepts together. 

He held up the skull eraser and pointed at the skull on the skeleton. He told me "it's the same! A skull!" He did the same with the bones and then told me all about how he played with the bones and dog food before. Seriously, we did our Dog Food Sensory Bin activity over 8 months ago! Just goes to show you that your little ones really DO take in and appreciate all of the activities you do with them. 

He was intrigued by the squishy rat and kept telling me he was nice. He engaged in pretend play with the bat and the rat. We talked about how those words rhymed.

He also talked about baking cookies with the pumpkin cookie cutter.

This activity was incredibly rich in story telling, vocabulary practice, and discussion skills. He had a blast exploring all of the different objects and talking about each one! We can't wait to do more mystery sensory bags, as they seem to be just getting better as he gets older. I love that he now puts his own toddler spin on them and leads the exploration and discovery.

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Oct 27, 2014

Toddler Halloween Basket 2014

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It's Halloween week, and what better way to celebrate than with one of our popular baskets? K loves getting baskets at different holidays, and I have been saving items up for this one for the past year. (I am a big after holiday sale shopper!) I like to give our baskets out the week of the holiday usually so that we can engage in fun holiday themed activities throughout the week. For larger holidays (such as Christmas) we celebrate the entire month leading up the event!

You may remember our Halloween basket from last year. Our 2013 toddler Halloween basket was a huge hit with both Kingston and our readers! So, I thought I would give you a peek into what he received this year. 

Basket Contents: 

A Pirate Costume Kit and a Cowboy Costume Kit - these were incredibly fun additions this year now that K is starting to become a bit more interested in dress-up!
Halloween Themed Coloring Books - I bought a large pack of 5 coloring books on sale the previous year!
Pumpkin Puzzle Sippy Cup
Pumpkin Silverware Set
Scarecrow Silverware Set
Pumpkin Plate
Halloween Grow Capsules

Books (click to read the descriptions!):

Kingston tackled his basket as soon as he woke up from nap. He was SO excited to dig in and see what goodies were in there. He has been really into ghosts and witches lately, so I told him "look what the ghosts and witches brought you!" 

He is just as appreciative now as he was last year, except now he knows more so he wanted to play with everything as he took it out. He is super into coloring books, stickers, and the incredible foam pictured above. He wanted to use it all right away.

He loved everything else in his basket too. He was super intrigued with the grow capsules which I got for $1 at Walmart. We will put them in water this week and see all of the excitement. He loved all of his books and dining accessories. The sippy cup also doubled as a puzzle (you twist the sections to make different colored pumpkins), so he thought that was really cool!

Some other ideas for your Halloween baskets: Halloween Play Dough, themed clothes, Halloween accessories for girls (such as earrings, headbands, necklaces), and healthy Halloween snacks and treats!

Have a Happy Halloween!!

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Oct 24, 2014

"Unwrapping" Our New Book!

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Happy Fine Motor Fridays! It isn't just any regular Fine Motor Friday though. Today, all 10 of us FMF bloggers have something exciting to reveal. We wrote a book! Our book 99 Fine Motor Ideas for Ages 1 to 5 is an awesome labor of love and a must have for all of the parents, grandparents, caregivers, and childcare providers in your life. We have included 99 of our favorite fine motor activities. The best part? They are all 100% kid tested and approved by all of our little ones! Each activity has full color photos, a material list, and step-by-step instructions. 99 Fine Motor Ideas for Ages 1 to 5 is available in ebook, Kindle, and paperback. The ebook is available for a special discounted launch price of only $6.99 (with code FMF2) so buy now! 
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Oct 17, 2014

Fine Motor Spider Painting

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Happy Fine Motor Fridays! This week, K wanted to get his paint on, so I set up a super simple invitation to paint with plastic spiders and washable paint. We have been exploring lots of Halloween items lately, and one of the ones that Kingston likes a lot are spiders! You may remember our Spooky Spider Sensory Bin earlier in the month. He was ready to get to work with the spiders as soon as he sat down.
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Oct 15, 2014

15 Arghhh-mazing Usborne Books About Pirates

My little guy just LOVES pirates! So I was immediately excited when I realized how much Usborne has to offer in the pirate department. Seriously, their pirate books are ARGHHH-mazing (see what I did there?!) They have everything from non-fiction and fiction stories to activity books and more, all geared towards varying ages. Without further ado, here are 15 awesome titles that are sure to make your little one walk the plank with excitement!
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Oct 14, 2014

23 Amazing Usborne Books for Girls

As the Mama of two boys, I don't get to play with or explore many girl-centered books and toys. Now, I am all about boys and girls playing with the same toys and not attaching a stereotype to everything, BUT Usborne offers so many precious books marketed directly to girls that I can't resist showcasing how amazing they are! As soon as I saw these titles, the girly girl in me just went gaga! So, here are 23 fantastic Usborne books for girls. There is definitely something for every little girl (and maybe some boys!) here.
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10 Usborne Books for Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner! We have been busy with plenty of Halloween crafts and activities, and have been reading plenty of books to go with that theme. Usborne offers plenty of reading books and activity books to get your little ones in the spooky mood! Here are 10 awesome products that you will definitely want to check out.

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