messyplayforeveryday

A collection of fun activities for little hands!

My Dad…

Father’s Day is this weekend already (yikes!) so it’s time to interview my 6 and 3 year old about their daddy.  If you’ve never done this before I suggest trying it, the answers you get will be very honest and will give you a brief glimpse into your little one’s head!  Here are some of the questions I ask my kiddos.

 

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Have fun interviewing your little one, and even more fun watching their dad’s face as he reads their responses!

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Mermaid Tails

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My daughter loves to play dress up, mostly with my clothes and shoes, but every now and then she makes a special request.  We just read “Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet” so of course this meant she needed to dress like a mermaid.  At first I panicked and wasn’t sure how I would go about creating a mermaid tail, for her and then I realized I was trying to make it too difficult.  Here’s all you need

Bath towel

Elastics

Safety pin

Hold the towel vertically and wrap one of the short sides around you little one’s back toward their belly so the corners meet at their belly button and fasten them together with the safety-pin.  At the opposite short end take each corner and wrap an elastic like your making a pony tail a few inches down each side to create the tail effect.  That was it, nothing fancy, but she adored it and now keeps the towel safely tucked into her costume box!  Have a great day watching you little one use their imagination!

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Reindeer Food

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If you’ve never made reindeer food, you need to!  Such a simple activity that takes no time and limited ingredients, but will bring such a big smile to your kid’s face!  Here’s what you need:

Rolled oats

Green and Red Sugar

Ziplock Bag

Spoons

Super simple, no measuring needed and the kids can create their own mixture.  I give each child a ziplock bag and set the oats and colored sugars in front of them.  Each child uses the spoons to scoop into their bag some oats and some of the sugars.  Seal the bags and shake them up, tah dah you’re ready to feed the reindeer on Christmas Eve!  I usually attach this poem as well and read it to them before we sprinkle it outside on the lawn.

Sprinkle this out on the lawn

And Santa’s reindeer will arrive before dawn

The oats and sugar will guide them on their way

And you’ll wake up to gifts on Christmas day!

Such a fun tradition to add to your Christmas!

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Dinosaur Eggs

These are super cool and amazing and your kids will be impressed! (No need to tell them it’s pretty easy!) My kids are pretty predictable for breakfast unfortunately, toast and butter or boiled eggs are the usual answer to, “What would you like for breakfast?” and I get bored with serving the same thing. Dinosaur eggs spice things up a bit! All you need are

Boiled Eggs

Ziploc bags

Liquid Food Coloring

Vinegar

The first step is to gently crack your eggs all around, leaving the shell in tact, but with a crackled appearance. Place each egg in a ziploc bag and add to the bag some food coloring and a splash of vinegar. (Sorry but I’ve never actually measured this, just put some food coloring in until I like the color). Seal the bag and roll the egg around in the liquid. I let it sit for about 15 minutes in the fridge to get a really good color. Then fill the bag with cold water to rinse the egg, slowly pouring out the liquid and leaving your egg in the now empty bag. Dump your egg onto a paper towel to dry and hand it over to your kids. (Warning they will most likely have colored finger after this!!) Let your kids peel the eggs and discover the marbled effect they have created on their egg and on the inside of the shell. Have fun and enjoy!!

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Cotton Ball Rocks

My daughter is a crafty girl. She loves cooking, glitter, paint and beads. My son is an active boy. He loves running, climbing, throwing and banging objects together. Cotton ball rocks give them the best of both worlds and are super cool too!! You need

cotton balls

1 cup flour

1 cup water

few drops food coloring

cookie sheet

nonstick spray

a few soft headed hammers (fun, though not necessary)

In a bowl mix the water, flour and food coloring. I let my kids do the pouring and mixing. Then drop in a handful of cotton balls. Let the kids push them down into the mixture, completely covering the cotton balls. Place them on a cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick spray and bake them in a preheated 300 degree oven for 30-45 minutes. (Keep an eye on them, you want them hard, not browned). When they’re done allow them to cool and then head outside for some fun. I gave each of my kids a hammer and let them bang the “rocks” open. They then had fun pulling out the cottony insides! Really fun and great for the scientist in your little ones!!

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Thank You Gift for Teachers

Every time you open a new door an old one closes.  For me there can’t be a goodbye without a thank you.  When trying to think of an idea for a thank you gift for my daughter’s preschool teacher I realized that due to the type of preschool she’s in which offers before and after care she has interactions with several different teachers.  My decision was that I’d certainly give her classroom teacher a gift, but that I also needed to acknowledge the importance of the others as well.  Here’s what I came up with (sorry for the poor photography it was late at night when I finished!).  Here’s what you need

Colored oak tag

Thin marker

Vase or planter

Styrofoam Insert for the planter

Wooden Skewers

Elmers Glue

Ribbon (if you feel like decorating)

All I did was trace my daughter’s hand and had her cut them out.  We wrote the name of each teacher on the front and she thought of something special she enjoyed with each teacher which we wrote on the back.  We then glued a skewer to each hand and let them dry completely.  We then cut out a large heart and wrote on it “Thank you each for touching my heart” before gluing a skewer on it.  I placed the foam insert into the bottom of the planter and poked the skewers with the heart and hands into it arranging it nicely.  My last touch was gluing a pretty ribbon and we were done!  The teachers really enjoyed it and my daughter loved watching them check out their hand to see what she had written.  Have fun creating your own!

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Gone Fishin”


My son loves this activity and will play for an hour or more! My daughter and I whipped it together while he was napping one day since it was raining and we knew we’d be stuck inside the rest of the afternoon. Here’s what you need

construction paper

scissors

paper clips

string

ruler

magnet

Draw fish shapes onto the construction paper and cut them out ( I had my 5-year-old do the cutting). Place a paper clip where the mouth should be and the fish are done. For the pole take the ruler and tie the string on one end. At the opposite end of the string tie the magnet and you’re good to go! We adapted this activity for each of my little ones. For my son as he caught a fish he would tell us the color (he’s 2) and for my 5-year-old daughter I wrote some simple words she’s working on reading and she would read them as she caught them. You could do this math problems, the alphabet, numbers etc depending on the skill your child is working on. As we caught them we even dropped them into a bucket just like we do when we actually fish. So fun!

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15 Ways to Emotionally Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten

In 5 short weeks my daughter will be starting kindergarten (how did THAT happen?!).  When you ask people what to do to prepare them for this new adventure most will immediately give you ways to academically prepare them for the day, but no one every says how to prepare them mentally and emotionally for it.  So here’s a quick list of things to try with your soon to be kindergartener.  Please remember that while all of these things are going to be useful tools to prepare your child, it may not stop them from crying or not wanting you to leave.  At the end of the day your child is a child and this journey, while exciting, is also very scary so support them in every way possible!

1.  Visit the school as many times as possible.  Play on the playground, look at the classroom and meet with the teacher so on their first day it’s not unfamiliar.

2.  Go to the library and take out some “First Day of Kindergarten” books.  Most of your child’s favorite cartoons or characters have created books on this topic so read them and let them see how these characters react and adjust.

3.  Write a social story depicting the first day.  A social story is a story you write incorporating in your child and walking them through what the first day may look like.  To make it even better take pictures and include them in your book.

4.  Find out (if at all possible) the names of some of the children in their class and set up several play dates.  This will help them on the first day when they see a familiar face.

5.  Take them shopping or let them look through their closet to pick out a first day outfit.

6. Have your child help you write an “Exciting and Scary” list where they tell you things they think will be exciting and scary about kindergarten.

7.  Get a schedule of the day (we got one at orientation) and run a mock school day at home.  It’s not only a fun rainy day activity, but will also let them feel a little more confident as to what will happen.

8.  Find a special from home trinket to wear or tuck in a pocket.  We made a locket for my daughter with a picture of our family in it.

9.  The night before allow them to help pack their own lunch or snack.

10.  Include in their bag a special note or picture so they’re reminded that their not alone and you’re still thinking about them.

11.  Have your child draw a picture of what the first day may look like.

12.  Do a dry run of drop off.  Drive or walk to the school and show them where they will be going.

13.  Practice walking to the classroom from the door they will enter the building in, as well as down to the bathroom and back to the class.

14.  Talk, write, paint etc.  about the emotions they may be feeling about leaving their familiar routine and beginning kindergarten.

15.  Finally and most importantly, validate how they feel and tell them how you felt on your first day.  You may even show them pictures of your own first day of school to help them see their not alone and even you had the same experience.

Best of luck on your first day preparations and may your little ones have a great school year!

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Glow In the Dark Bubbles

Saw this on pintrest and it is too awesome to not share!  All you need is

a container of bubbles

a glow stick

a knife

Very carefully cut off the top of a snapped glow stick (in other words it should be glowing already) and pour the contents into the bubble container.  Put the cover on and give it a mix.  Head outside (this stuff can stain) and let your kids blow them.  Now the actual bubbles won’t glow, but the bubble solution in the container will.   My daughter’s exact words to me were, “Thank you for making this mommy, it’s amazing!!”  Have a blast!

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Tub Time

The warm weather is here so to me that means time to break out some outdoor messy play activities!  This is one my two will stay with for long periods of time and listening to their pretend play as they do it keeps me entertained too!  Here’s what you need

Large plastic tub

Water

Dish soap

Plastic Cups

Sponges

Towels

Place a large plastic tub ( you can use a plastic storage container) outside with some water, dish soap, sponges and cups inside of it.  Let your kids pick a baby doll to be in charge of washing.  Provide them with a towel to wrap their baby in when they’re done and I even buy cheap preemie diapers to place on the babies as well.  You may want your video camera for this one since the conversations you will hear are priceless!  Have fun!

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