Guess by Touch – Sensory and Discovery Game

Boy kids feel grow FAST! We have just bought our grommies some new shoes from the Outlets not too long ago. I was about to toss the little shoe boxes out when I thought of a fun sensory game for our gnomes.

First I outlined a circle on the box where I’m going to cut holes for little hands to fit into. I made them a bit big for my tots and you will catch them peeking! Haha 😉

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Then use a craft blade to cut the circles out. Use a sawing motion to cut it out more easily. The two shoe boxes we have are the kinds with flip lids. I made sure the holes were made on the side away from the opening that way I can place items into the box without the kids seeing what it was. The lid blocks their view. Although, my children tried very hard, stretching their necks to see around the lids!!

If you use a convention two-piece shoe box where the lid comes completely off like a gift box, just put the hole anywhere where there is no cardboard overlap or it’d be hard to cut through so many layers! Top of the lid would work too but you’ll just have to make sure the kids aren’t peeking when you place your object in the box!

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I bought this from Michael’s.

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Then I sanded the hole’s ridges a bit so the little ones don’t get a papercut. You can even table around the jagged edges with duct tape or masking tape.

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Then I arranged two trays. One set is for them to SEE the objects and one set for them to guess by touch. They feel the item and guess which item in the control tray they are feeling.

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Here we go!

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It’s furry! It’s a pom pom!

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Oops!

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Dinosaur!

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Then I gave them some wooden shapes and letters from Melissa and Doug to guess

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OH it’s coooold mama! ICE!

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You can easily mix things up and have different themes. You can have a nature theme with leaves, rocks, sand, dirt, feathers, sea shells, pine cones, etc. Or  you can  have a kitchen food theme with uncooked pasta, uncooked rice, flour, salt, fruits and veggies.

It’s always great to learn while you play! This activity is a fantastic way for little ones to learn to discover, observe, categorize, and sort using their sense of touch. It was amazing to see and hear my near 4yo’s deductive reasoning and logic to work out what he was holding and feeling.

Hope you guys have as much fun as my little ones did! Be warned….kids younger than 4 are extremely tempted to peek but our 2yo had too much fun anyway!

Homemade Dinosaur Bones – fun activity for little paleontologists

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I wanted to do more dinosaur related activities with the kids and I was inspired by this page out of J’s book to make some dinosaur bones

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I decided to make the bones out of modeling clay.

You can make these bones out of salt dough which is:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup water

You will have to bake it for 3 hours at 325 degrees F.

Since I’d rather save on gas / electricity, I opted for air dry modeling clay instead 🙂

I let the bones dry for at least 48 hours so they are rock hard. As you can guess, the skull took a bit longer as it was pretty thick (thick skull ha ha ha) 🙂

I made some rib bones, spine  segments, a hip bone, and humerus or femur bones…

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Once they dry, I decided to add this to my homemade sand to do a little excavation and sensory play!

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I also added some colorful beans to add to the texture. The kids loved seeing the extra colors in the sand.

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Every discovered bone was met with excitement and wonder.

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Then we asked our miniature dinosaur friends to join the fun!

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Mr giraffe decided to join in as well

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Then we buried some gold coins like pirates…

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Homemade Sand – natural ingredients and safe for tots!

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I found a great recipe for homemade sand on How Stuff Works

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups dried used coffee grounds (sun or oven dried)
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour (I used wheat for darker color)
  • 1/2 cup salt

I found it quite difficult to drink that much coffee at such a short amount of time so for my batch, I had less coffee. Maybe about 2 cups. Since this is reusable sand (if you don’t get it dirty or wet), I figure I can always add more dried coffee later on. I just couldn’t wait 🙂

Make sure the used coffee grinds are completely dry before you add it into your mix. It may get moldy and/or clump up with the rest of the sand mix.

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I’ve added some colorful beans to add to the texture for the kids to play with.

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Simply store it in an airtight container or cover with plastic wrap for later usage!

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Homemade Fizzling Easter DINOSAUR and Bird Eggs!

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As some of our readers already know, our kids are big dinosaur fans. They both love the excavation kits they have at kids toy shops. J has been super obsessed with eggs lately. I guess if you think about it. It’s pretty magical to a child. Such a pretty, fragile, yet sturdy thing can possibly hatch into a little creature such as a bird, lizard, or FLYING REPTILE! Not to mention it’s quite nice as breakfast 😀

To make the fizzling dinosaur / bird eggs, I used the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup bicarb aka baking soda (keep it handy in case you need more)
  • 1/4 cup corn meal (to add grainy texture. Some site suggest instant coffee but I didn’t want my eggs to look brown)
  • 1 tsp dish detergent (make EXTRA bubbles)
  • 1 tbsp conditioner (I had apple scented ones yum)
  • water (if necessary)
  • food coloring (gel if you want it to have a marble affect)
  • small dinosaur and/or bird figurines

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After you mix all (not food coloring and the figurine!) the ingredients together in a large bowl, see how you like the texture. You don’t want it too crumbly or it will be hard to mold and hold the shape. You will need to add a touch of water if that’s the case. If it’s too wet, then add more baking soda and corn meal.

Then I take a small handful out of the mixing bowl and into a smaller bowl to create one egg. I flatten it slightly and add a drop of each color I wanted. I used colors similar to the creature I’m placing inside the egg. Then i start mixed each color separately and then together. Get ready to have rainbow colored hands! Wear a glove if you prefer.

MAKE SURE you wash your hands and dry then between each egg so there’s no color transference!

If you don’t have gel coloring, normal food coloring works too but it will be a more even color instead of marble. I tried that with one of the eggs and that’s what happened.

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After I’m happy with the coloring of my egg shells, I flatten out my dough like a fat, oval pancake and place my creature in the middle long ways (think egg shape). I can’t remember which dinosaur this is…

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Then I fold and mold the dough around my creature. This one below is a kookaburra 🙂

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Keep molding and molding making sure it’s completely covered and nothing is poking out. Add a bit more dough from your main stash if you need to. Shape it like an egg with your hands. Place your completed eggs on a baking sheet and place it in a dry spot to harden overnight. My perfect location had been above the fridge for many projects. It’s also a good spot to hide from my little gnomes with their gnome-heights.

If your dough is a little more damp, it will take a little longer to dry. Just have a feel.

Tada! Aren’t they pretty?? The pastel colors are very Easter-esque!

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Easter Egg Hunt!

Here comes the fun part with the kiddies!

While my husband distracts the gnomes, I went and hid the eggs in the family room (pretty easy locations for little tots). As it can get a bit powdery, you may want to keep the eggs off furniture that is hard to clean off of.

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After finding their eggs, they brought it out onto the balcony where I had a plastic tray and some tools ready for them to excavate!

The eggs are pretty easy to break open and they loved feeling the sandy texture. We use spray bottles filled with vinegar to make them EXPLODE!

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Watch the colorful foam grow!

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In the end, we dumped the foamy mixture down our kitchen sink. Acted as a drain cleaner!

Bonus 😉

Then N surprised me and found the book in which the little dinosaur figurines came from and was pointing at the baby dinos hatching from eggs!

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Fun with Colors – Apple Scented Soft Play Dough and Alphabet Rocks (baked cotton balls)

Apple Scented Soft Play Dough – using conditioner and corn starch (flour) 

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The kids are just DYING to have fun getting messy again! Today we made some super SOFT apple-scented play dough.

Recipe I used:

  • 2 cups corn starch
  • 1 cup apple-scented conditioner (I bought it for 99 cents at Safeway)
  • food coloring

First I mixed the starch and conditioner. To be honest, I eye-balled it and added a little bit of conditioner at a time till it is the right consistency. Most other mummies will tell you do use 1 part conditioner with 2 parts corn starch. It was already smelling AMAZING! Like apple flavored gum! The kids couldn’t wait! I had to shoo them off several times before it was ready!

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Doesn’t that look fun?! I handed them some of their figurines and play utensils and then let them go crazy!

Looks like our caribou friend has survived the arctic freeze…He now treks amongst the soft apple scented play doughy terrain with its fellow survivors…

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Who wants a play dough pizza???

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Alphabet Rocks – baked cotton balls

I happened upon this wonderful activity from Stir the Wonder. They made ABC Moon Rocks! Fun fun fun!!! So I thought we’d try a version of their fun activity.

My recipe:

  • 1/4 cup self rising flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • food coloring

I used paint container liners and poured the ingredients into each container for mixing.

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Once I had all the colors mixed up, I called the kids over to try making their own colorful alphabet rocks!

First I demonstrated so they knew what to do.

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Little Gnomes turn!

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Who’s ready for some fun mess??

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Each cotton balls were placed on a pre-greased pan (or your can line it with baking paper).

Once completed, place the tray of cotton balls into the over at 300 F (150 C) for an hour. I only had it in for 45 minutes and they were ready. It really depends on your oven especially if you have a fan-forced fan. That would change things a bit and probably would need less time in the oven.

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Let them cool and harden: I waited an hour so I took the kids to the park to burn off some of that extra energy!

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Then I used a black permanent marker and wrote the alphabet on them!

The kids love playing with them as is but you can do rock smashing too if you’d like! Just use a plastic play hammer and let your kiddo go wild!

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Arctic YELLOW (ew) Ice Expedition – frozen lemon jelly archaeological dig

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J has always loved dinosaur egg excavation. Being it’s been such a warm and sunny winter, I found a few fun ice excavation ideas from Pinterest.  Some use just ice. Some froze jelly. What a great idea I saw from Fun at Home with Kids. I thought I’d try both! First, I froze some water about an inch thick. Then I made some jello out of a store-bought package and poured it on top and then placed little animal figurines on top of the ice. OOPS! The ice came loose and floated to the top. That’s ok, I just reversed it! It worked out better in the end because the figurines sunk into the jelly section and the frozen jelly would be easier to dig into than a solid block of ice!

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Once I was done, I placed the tray into the freezer. Now you wait! I had it sit overnight to be safe.

Why YELLOW jello (ice) you ask? My son chose it so how can I refuse?! 🙂

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We tried sprinkling (pouring by N ;)) salt and water onto our frozen jello to help melt the ice. Then we start DIGGING!!

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The caribou is almost free

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N decided to feed some to her friend Elsa

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J came in to warm up by the fire! Brrrr

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Homemade Puffy Paint – using microwave

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I’ve seen a post by one of my favourite sites Happy Hooligans where they made puffy paint out of flour!

The ingredients are simple and toddler friendly. Here is their recipe:

  • 1 Tbsp Self Rising Flour
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • Food coloring
  • A little bit of water (start with 1/4 tsp)

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Mix everything together till it is like stirred yogurt consistency. Not thick and not too watery. I personally found for that amount of flour and salt, 3 teaspoons and about 1-2 more 1/4 tsp till you get the right texture. Keep in mind you may need to add a couple of drops of water as you go because the mixture tends to dry and become more solid making it more difficult to paint.

The Hooligans used cotton swabs. Great idea! Our little Gnomes used paintbrushes. In retrospect, cotton swabs might be better as it keeps the paint thicker and easier to puff up when you microwave it. The paintbrushes encouraged our kids to spread the paint out more.

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Even I got into it!

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When you’re ready to puff up your painting, simply put your painting in the microwave for 30 seconds! I recommend placing a piece of paper towel underneath your painting. It helps absorb some of the excess water from your paint. Keeps your microwave clean too.

Tada!

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We love the way it feels!!

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