Friday, January 27, 2012

5 Fun Ways for Kids to Play with Stuffed Animals

1.     Throw a Party Have your child gather up all of the same kind of animal (teddy bears, for example) and create a pretend birthday or tea party!
2.     Go on Safari Have a sibling or parent hide some jungle stuffed animals in one area of the house. Give the child a list (in pictures or words) of animals to find. The child then checks off each animal on the list as it's found. Dressing up like an explorer and wearing binoculars adds even more fun to this pretend play game.
3.     Play School Get your stuffed animals seated and start today's lesson. (Stuffed animals make excellent students!)
4.     Play Veterinarian Your child is the vet, and there are so many animals who need help today! Bring each animal into your child's “office” and have the “doctor” treat each patient. Use bandages, gauze and other household items to make the pretend play more realistic.
5.     Play Jungle Family Your child can pretend to be the mother or father of a favorite stuffed animal. Make the room look like the animal's habitat by adding some pictures, and build a “nest” or “cave” from blankets and cushions.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

10 Fun Ways for Toddlers & Preschoolers to Play with Snow Inside!

Bring the Joy of Snow Indoors for Toddlers & Preschoolers!

Supplies Needed: Snow, Towel(s), Plastic Container (a cookie sheet will work in some cases). Everything else is optional (You may want to put gloves or mittens on their hands).

10 Fun Ways for Toddlers & Preschoolers to Play with Snow Inside!

  1. Ice cream shop
    Fill a large plastic container with snow. Add an ice cream scoop, some spoons, and plastic or paper bowls. Use paper cups as "cones". Sprinkles can be coffee or
    sensory rice.
  2. Make "snow" cones
    Fill a few small plastic container with snow. Add a different color food coloring to each container. Add an ice cream scoop and paper cups.
  3. Play construction zone
    Fill a large plastic container with snow. Add construction vehicles. Add some coffee grounds for gravel and a nice sensory addition.
  4. Snowballs
    Add a few drops to the water to make it good packing snow if necessary! Then, make some snowballs. Pile them high, make a 3-d pyramid, add food coloring, store them in the's endless.
  5. Build a mini igloo
    Fill a large plastic container with snow. Have an additional container or cookie sheet to build on. Turn a plastic bowl upside down and pack the snow on top of it until you have an igloo. Or, build your igloo freehand. Use a crayon to etch the "brick" lines. Add some play figures.
  6. Make a snow volcano
    Fill 1 large plastic container and 2 smaller containers with snow. Use an additional container or cookie sheet to build on. Use food coloring to have a green (food coloring) landscape. Then build a black (food coloring) volcano atop it, and cap it off with red (food coloring) lava! You can add coffee to this one too if you want the look of soil :)
  7. Make a penguin or polar bear habitat
    Freeze some water in small plastic containers to make icebergs Color some with food coloring for learning fun when the colors melt together! Fill a large plastic container with snow, leaving a large center area free of snow. Drop the "icebergs" into the empty space. Add penguins, polar bears, or other cold habitat animals!
  8. Bake it up!
    Snow makes great cookies, pies, and cakes! Use your candy molds, muffins tins and other baking containers to mold desserts! Add food coloring for added beauty. Remember the spatulas, spoons, measuring cups, and dishes so your little baker can properly prepare and serve his treats!
  9. Buried Treasure
    This can be done so many ways. My kids usually take one type of figure like
    dinosaurs and one of them buries a bunch of them in the container of snow. The other child has to try to find them all using tongs or a spoon -- no dumping out the snow! Great for fine motor skills :) You can do this with animal figures, action figures, rocks, and any other plastic thing your child collects.

    *An alternate way to play is to bury all the "treasures" so that they can be seen through the outside of the bin. Then, one child describes a specific treasure while the other child tries to guess which "treasure" is being described. Great for building vocabulary, language skills & social skills. Also helps children understand similarities and differences between objects
  10. X-Game Car Races
    Fill 1 large plastic container with snow. Have child create a ramp by building up one side. Smooth it out. Use vehicles to have races down the slope! For this one, the bigger the container, the better so the cars can really roll at the end!

    BONUS #11:
    Build a mini-snowman! Decorate your mini-Frosty with jelly beans or other candy. Try a baby carrot for the nose :)
NO SNOW BY YOU? Many of these activities can be done using potato flakes, shaving cream or cotton balls! Try some sensory fun today!
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