messyplayforeveryday

A collection of fun activities for little hands!

Valentine Mice Book Marks

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We are completely snowed in here in the Northeast so what a great time to get started on our Valentines!  My daughter is in kindergarten and is just learning to read so really wanted valentines to reflect that fact.  We finally decided on these easy to make mice.  There is some prep work for these on your part (unless your child wants to help with the cutting), but once that is complete the project itself goes quickly.  Here’s what you need

Various Colors of Construction Paper

Glue

Scissors

Yarn

Markers

From the different colors of construction paper cut various sized hearts, some will be for bodies, some for ears, some for eyes and some for noses.  Cut a length of yarn for each mouse and you can either braid this or tie a knot in the end.  Spread some glue on one half of the largest heart and place the length of yarn in the center before folding the heart in half (this creates the mouse’s body).  Now glue the other, smaller hearts to look like the nose, eyes and ears.  We then used the markers to create the eyes and mouth and to write on the back of each mouse, “Be my reading buddy!”  So simple!  Have a great Valentine’s Day!

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Penguin Foot Art

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I’ll admit it, I’m addicted to hand and footprint art projects!  I love them, they are adorable and such a cute way to keep track of how your little one is growing.  This one is for my daughter who has loved penguins since she was small (her imaginary friend was even a penguin named Pengwee).  It’s a simple project, cute to hang on the fridge for the winter and then a treasure to tuck away in a safe spot to look back on how tiny their feet once were!  All you need is

Black, white and orange washable paint

Paint brushes

Construction paper

A bucket of warm, soapy water

A towel

Have your little one take off their shoe and then help them paint their toes orange, outside edge, heel and ball of their foot black and their arch white.  Carefully let them step onto the construction paper, pushing down gently and then help them pull their foot straight up for the best result.  The messy foot goes right into the warm, soapy water for a quick wash and then to the towel to dry and you are almost done!  We then used construction paper to make eyes and a beak for our penguin and stuck it to the still wet paint.  There he is, your very own foot penguin!  Have fun!

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Let It Snow!

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My kids have been not so patiently waiting for it to snow, so this week when it did of course the forecast was for it to turn to rain before I got home from work. Knowing they would not be so happy if they got home and the snow was no more I grabbed a large tub and scooped up as much snow as it would hold, covered the top to protect it from the rain and left it on the back porch. When we were done with our respective school and work days the fun began, even though outside it was a mushy, rainy mess. Here’s what you need

A large storage container

Fresh snow

A large towel

Waterproof Mittens

A laid the towel on the floor of my kitchen and placed the tub on top of it. My only instructions were, you need to keep mittens on while you’re playing in the snow and there is no throwing it. They were in heaven!! We might not have been able to go outside in the now pouring rain, but they got their fill of scooping, rolling, stacking and packing snow right in our own kitchen. Have fun and let it snow!!

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Puffy Paint

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My daughter came home with a homework assignment of decorating a paper snowman.  Her first reaction when I read her the instructions was, “Let’s make puffy paint for it!”  So we did and you can too since it’s so simple and you most likely have everything you need at home.  All you need are

Shaving cream

White School Glue

Disposable bowl

Plastic spoon

Paint brushes

Construction paper

In your disposable bowl combine one part glue to one part shaving cream and mix it well with your plastic spoon.  If you like you can add food coloring as well (as always ours needed to be pink!).  Now all the kids do is paint a picture with the mixture, the thicker the layer of paint the better as it will dry puffier.  Easy and fun (be warned however you are working with glue so protect your surface and wash the brushes really well immediately after the kids are done having their fun!).

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Noise Makers

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Well here we are at New Year’s Eve, how does a year go by so quickly?!  A tradition I love in my family is that we spend our New Year’s Eve with our friends and their children, very casual and people go home when they’re ready.  One of the things kicked around for our celebration this year was whether or not to buy the kids those lovely horn, noise maker things.  My vote was a resounding, “NO!!!!!”.  Way too loud for me!  There is a way, however, to allow your kids to ring in the New Year with a homemade noise maker that won’t pierce your ear drums!  Here’s what you’ll need

Plain Paper Plates

Stapler

Streamers

Glue

Sequins

Stickers

Markers

Dried rice, peas, beans or beads

First give each of the children a plain paper plate and with the markers, sequins, stickers, streamers and glue have them decorate the back side of it (the side that would sit on the table if you were eating off of it).  Next fold it in half and carefully place the dried rice, peas, beans or beads inside of it before closing it all of the way and stapling it around the edges so none of these little treasures escape.  I then let them decorate more if they’d like.  Now your little one is ready to make some noise at midnight (or 8 o’clock in my case since not even I can stay up until midnight!!).  Have a great, safe New Year’s Eve and prosperous 2013!

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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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Applesauce/Cinnamon Ornaments

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One of the fun things I get to do as part of my job is to co-teach a parent/toddler sign language group.  As part of our group this week we decided to try these with the kids (who are 18 months to 3 years old) and it was so cute and successful that I of course brought it home to do with my own children.  These are not only very cute, but smell wonderful and my kids loved feeling the texture, squeezing it through their fingers over and over again!  All you need are

Applesauce

Cinnamon

Spatula

Bowl

Flour

Sharp Knife

Straw

Cookie Cutters

Ribbon

First decide how many you will make as this will determine how much to mix.  I did 1/2 cup cinnamon and 1/2 cup applesauce (it is a 1 to 1 ratio, so if you decide to make more  or less keep it equal parts) into your bowl and use the spatula to mix it really well.  It will make a thick brown paste like dough.  Flour your working surface and turn the mixture out onto it.  We used our hands to flatten it out to about 1/4 inch thick and then the cookie cutters to cut out cute shapes (we did gingerbread people, stars and hearts).  An adult can then use the sharp knife to cut away any excess dough that has stuck around to make the edges more crisp looking.  Then use the straw to punch a hole in the top for the ribbon which will be added once they are completely dry.  Put them on a plate or parchment paper and allow to dry for several days before adding your ribbon.  They smell wonderful and make cute gifts from your kids too!  Enjoy!!

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Shake, Rattle, Butter!

When I was a teacher (many moons ago!) a Thanksgiving activity I would always do with the kids in my class was making our own butter.  (This was of course after weeks of talking about the holiday and the Pilgrims who had to make all of their food by themselves.)  I decided to try it out with my own kids this year and it was just as big a hit!  It’s easy and fun and requires few supplies.  You need

a glass jar with a tight cover

Heavy Cream

One crazy, jumping around child!

Wash and dry the glass jar and cover really well (baby food jars work great, we used an old pickle jar).  Now fill the jar about 1/2 full with the heavy cream and tightly cover.  Put some music on and have your kids jump, bounce, dance and shake with their jar in their hands.  The more vigorous the shaking the quicker the process will be.  For us it was about 20 minutes before we had yummy soft set butter.  My kids were totally amazed when we opened the jar and even more amazed when we spread it on a fresh roll and they got to taste what their hard work had created.  Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

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Family Hand Print Turkey

Who doesn’t remember making the classic hand print turkey for Thanksgiving when they were a kid?  I certainly do.  This takes that classic activity and puts a little twist on it by using the family hand prints instead of just one person’s.  All you need are

Construction paper

Scissors

Marker

Glue

Trace each member of your families hand onto a piece of construction paper with the marker.  Cut out each print and layer them on top of each other, largest hand print first, gluing each one down as you go.  Then cut a turkey shape and decorate him with eyes, a beak and a waddle, adding whatever embellishments you’d like to create your own unique family turkey.  Enjoy and have a wonderful  Thanksgiving!

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Pumpkin Guts!

This is quite possibly my favorite (and easiest) messy play activity of fall.  After you scoop the membranes and seeds out of your pumpkin, resist the urge to throw them out!  Instead place them in a big bowl, bucket of storage container and let your kids squeeze it through their fingers, ooze it through their toes, or mix it with a spoon if they’re not quite so brave.  It’s a wonderful sensory experience and you’ll be amazed at how long they’ll stick with it!

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