Archive for the ‘ Activity ’ Category

Slime!

Where I live, it’s a rainy day. Halloween is around the corner, too. What’s the perfect activity? Making some slime!

Materials Needed

  • 2 cups cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Sauce Pan
  • Large Bowl
  • Sealable Plastic Bag
Procedure
  • Heat water in a saucepan. Make sure that the water is only warm, not boiling. You will find it easy to work with warm water.
  • Pour the warm water into a large bowl and add few drops of food coloring to it. The commonly used color for slime is green. To make it look even more disgusting, mix in red food color as well.
  • Blend the food color into the water, by mixing it well. The water should be one shade darker than the color of slime you want, because cornstarch tends to lighten the color.
  • Slowly add cornstarch to the colored water. Mix the starch in water thoroughly, using your fingers. Blend it well, until it becomes a thick and smooth paste.
  • The final cornstarch mixture should neither be too watery, nor too dry. It should be wet enough to drip through your fingers, but dry to touch. If you do not reach the right consistency, add more water or cornstarch.
  • Your homemade slime is ready! Make sure to preserve it in a sealable plastic bag.
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Ocean in a bottle

It’s the end of the summer, let’s capture the ocean in a bottle. This is a fun science/art  activity you can do with your child.  You can talk about why the water and oil are separated from each other, color, and different things with the ocean. The waves, currents, creatures, etc.

What you will need:

Empty two liter plastic bottle with lid
Baby oil, clear vegetable oil or mineral oil
Water funnel
Food coloring
Small star fish, shells or other sea creatures
One tsp glitter
White craft glue
Hot glue

How to make it:

Wash and dry two-liter bottle and remove all labels
Fill bottle halfway with tap water
Add a few drops of food coloring and swirl around to mix
Add glitter, sea creatures
Fill bottle the rest of the way with oil using a funnel
Be sure that rim and cap are dry, then apply white craft glue around the rim. Seal cap. Use a layer of hot glue around the outer edge of the cap for added protection from leakage
Turn bottle on its side and gently rock the bottle to create a “wave” inside your ocean habitat!

Note: You can also do this with just the first four items, and even use a smaller bottle. Just be sure that either one you use the cap is sealed with tape or glue.

Benefits: Colors,  motor skills, cause and effect, measuring, cooperation, listening and following directions, sensory pleasure, new vocabulary: waves, current, flow, fluid, transform.

This activity is best for ages 3-9. Use your judgment on your child’s abilities.

Finger Paint

Kids love to finger paint. They love the messiness and how it feels in their fingers.

There are a lot of different recipes to make your own finger paints right at home! I would love to share a few with you so you can try them too!

All recipes are washable

Number One — Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup of cornstarch
  • 2 Cups water
  • 1/4 Cup dishwashing soap
  • food coloring

Put the sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan and then slowly mix in cold water. Then cook the mixture over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly until you have a smooth gel. Let cool and then add dishwashing soap. Divide into as many containers as you would like colors and then mix in food coloring drops until you have you desired color. If you have colored dishwashing soap that can influence all the colors you try to create, which isn’t always a bad thing.

Tip: Use baby food jars to divide and store the paint! They are a perfect size for kids to dip their fingers or brushes into and they can be sealed easily if you have leftover paint.

Number Two — Ingredients

3 cups water
1 cup cornstarch
food coloring

Directions

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Dissolve cornstarch in a separate bowl with water.   Remove boiling water from heat and add cornstarch mixture.  Return to heat, stirring constantly.  Boil until the mixture is clear and thick (about 1 minute).  Remove from heat.

As the mixture is cooling, divide into separate bowls and add food coloring.  Let the children carefully mix in the coloring.

Tips

  • Add 1 tbsp of glycerin to make the mixture shiny.  You can find glycerin in most drugstores or pharmacies.

Number Three — Ingredients

1/2 cup cornstarch
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups cold water
food coloring

Directions

In a medium pan, mix all the ingredients together to make the finger paint. Cook over low heat 10 to 15 minutes. Keep stirring the finger paint mixture until it is smooth and thick. After the finger paint has thickened take the pan off the stove and let the mixture cool.

After cooling, divide the finger paint into storage containers depending on how many colors you would like. Add a few drops of food coloring to each container. Stir the coloring in to the paint to determine the shade of color. You’re ready to finger paint! Cover tightly when storing.

Number Four — Ingredients

3 cups water
1 cup cornstarch
food coloring

Directions

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Dissolve cornstarch in a separate bowl with water.   Remove boiling water from heat and add cornstarch mixture.  Return to heat, stirring constantly.  Boil until the mixture is clear and thick (about 1 minute).  Remove from heat.

As the mixture is cooling, divide into separate bowls and add food coloring.  Let the children carefully mix in the coloring.

Hints:

  • Add 1 tbsp of glycerin to make the mixture shiny.  You can find glycerin at most drugstores or pharmacies.

Number Five (No Cook Recipe)— Ingredients

2 cups white flour
2 cups cold water
food coloring

Directions

Put water into a large bowl.  Slowly add the flour, while the children are stirring.  Once it’s all mixed together, divide into smaller bowls and add food coloring.

Two Edible Finger Paints

Pudding Finger Paint

Vanilla Pudding Mix (Instant)
Food Coloring

Directions:

  • Make the vanilla pudding according to package directions. Divide into portions and mix in different food coloring for each portion. Paint away!
  • This finger paint is edible. If you use food coloring sparingly this is a washable finger paint.

Jello Finger paint Recipe

Jello Powder
Boiling Water

Directions:

  • Slowly add boiling water to the Jello powder (constantly stirring) until you have a thick consistency. Add ice to thicken and cool down the Jello quickly. Use when cool.

Benefits: Colors, texture, promotes creativity

This activity is good for all ages, depending on the recipe you are using. Use your own judgment on your child’s abilities.

Clay Play

Children between two and three love to play with things they can squeeze, pound, break apart and put back together.

Here’s a recipe to make your own play dough that you probably already have right in the kitchen.

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • a few drops of food coloring (optional)

1. Mix the flour, salt, and water. If necessary, add more flour until mixture has a doughy, but not sticky, consistency. Add food coloring for vibrancy. You can also let your child help pour everything together. This is a great way to learn numbers, measuring, and how mixing things you can create something new. Talk about it together.

This dough lasts for weeks if you store it in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or covered jar. Or they can make “things” and leave them out to dry and harden. Small children may put the dough in their mouths. It won’t taste good, but it also won’t hurt them. You can use a cookie sheet for a working place or the kitchen table. Dust his hands with a little flour, so the dough doesn’t stick to his hands. S/he may just want to pound it, or he may want to try using the following things:

  • rolling-pin
  • cookie cutter
  • dull knives, forks and spoons
  • craft Popsicle sticks

Benefits: Colors, shapes, numbers, measuring, promotes creativity, encourages generosity (make gifts), fine motor skills

This activity is best for children 2+.Please also note: I first made play dough for my son at less than 18 months. Use your judgment on your child’s abilities. 🙂

Water Drop Activity

Here is another fun activity you can do with your child. It incorporates a fun weather theme. All you need is:

  • a piece of wax paper
  • water in a cup or container
  • straws
  • flat surface
  • eye dropper (optional)
  • tape (optional)
  • food coloring (optional)

To do the activity take a piece of your wax paper, you can cut it in half and tape it to make it longer, if desired and set it on the table. Show your child how to  drop some water with an eye-dropper or with your fingers. If you want, you can drop a small amount of food coloring in your drop to give it some color. (Blue to make it look like water, perhaps?) Use your straws to blow the water drop across the wax paper. As your child gets older and/or if you have more than one child you can set up a race. The fun thing about this is the water drop will split apart, so you can talk about how many it split into, or try to make 3 drops into one. If your child is younger, you may have to help guide them on how to use the straw as to not suck any in. If they do, it won’t harm them. Also, talk and ask questions about how they think the water moves.

My son likes dropping the water on the paper the best. What did your child enjoy?

Benefits: Teaches weather (wind and water), numbers, simple mathematics, fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and colors.

This activity is great for all ages. Use your judgment on your child’s abilities. 🙂

Clothespins Fun

This is a very simple thing to do with your child and there are many ways you can adapt it to your child’s age. All you need is a loaf pan and clothespins, any number will do, even if it’s only one you can still have fun. If you don’t have a loaf pan you can use any object that has a good sized opening.

*Please note these are best used with old-fashioned clothespins as not to pinch your child. Monitor your child if using the spring type.

Activity Idea Number One:

Line the clothespins up on the loaf pan, if your child can do this let him/her. Show him/her how to take it off and drop them into pan. The sound alone is a lot of fun. Line them back up and start again. Count as you drop.

Activity Idea Number Two:

Have your child stand in front on the container you are using. Hold the clothespin at about chest level and drop the clothespin so it lands inside. As your child gets older clothespins can be used to drop in a container with smaller openings. This game could be adapted to a clothespin toss.

Benefits: Eye-hand coordination, counting, sorting, and fine motor skills.

This activity is best for toddlers, around 1.5+. Use your judgment on your child’s abilities. 🙂

Cornmeal Sandbox

You can have a small sandpile in your home simply by putting cornmeal, oatmeal or uncooked cereals into a big metal baking pan. If you’d like you can also put a cookie sheet underneath the pan. If your child puts any in his or her mouth, it won’t hurt him/her any. Put the pan on the kitchen table, on newspapers on the floor, or on the back steps. You know your home best. It’s super easy to vacuum up afterward, too. Here are some good things  to play with in an oatmeal or cornmeal “sandpile.”

  • funnel
  • muffin tin
  • sieve
  • small toy cars and trucks
  • juice cans with smooth edges
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • empty containers such as yogurt cups or cottage cheese cartons

My 22 month old son in our oat sandbox

I like to keep the “play oats” in its own marked container.

Benefits: This is a great project for sensory play. My son and I like to draw in the oatmeal with our fingers as well, things like shapes, numbers, and silly looking animals.

My son especially likes pouring the oatmeal over his cars. What did your child like best?

In my opinion this activity is best for approx ages 1.5+. Use your own judgment on your child’s ability 🙂