Rainbow Rice

As mothers and teachers, we are always looking for interesting, useful ways to teach in both the classroom and at home without spending a lot of money. This coloring technique fits the bill.

Rice, pasta/macaroni, rock salt – this method works for all of it. It’s easy, mess free and, most importantly, inexpensive! Why color these items? Well, because there are a plethora of learning activities that they are just dying to be a part of, that’s why! In this instance, I was looking to put together a St. Patrick’s Day sensory bin, and I wanted a rainbow colored base.

MATERIALS USED:

– White rice
– Washable water colors
– Ziploc baggies

Fill the baggie with the amount of rice needed. Carefully drip/pour the watercolor into the bag and over the rice for the desired effect. Seal the Ziploc and carefully massage and manipulate the baggie so that the rice works its way into the rice properly, giving you your desired outcome. Be sure to let the rice dry thoroughly (in the Ziploc) before use. Happy coloring!


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Printing With Strawberry Baskets

This is one of my favorite times of the year; strawberry season. The strawberry stands have recently cropped up along the roadsides, meaning that you may have quite the collection of those little green baskets. Whatever you do, DON’T throw them away. This is a post on just one of their many uses. I will be sharing more of them in the near future.

How about a little strawberry basket printing? This simple activity is an alternative to painting that will engage children.

MATERIALS USED:

– Paper
– Paint
– Strawberry basket
– Glitter (optional)

Pour some paint into a shallow container. Have the child place the basket into the paint, lift and press onto the paper. If desired, glitter may be sprinkled over the wet paint. That’s all there is to it!


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Valentine Love Collages

The children began their Valentine’s Day festivities by making Love Collages. After spying all of the colorful goodies to work with, they could not wait to get started! These are the materials that we used in our classroom, but you may modify them in any way you’d like.

An array of Valentine scrapbooking paper was gathered and a Fiskars squeeze punch was used to make the hearts. While working, the kids had fun sorting through all of the different paper heart designs.

Some wire ribbon, some pink yarn, and a some cut up garland provided not only a little color and sparkle, but it also provided a lot of texture. As the children placed their chosen pieces on their construction papers, we discussed how each of the items felt.

MATERIALS USED:

– Construction paper
– Glue
– Our free printable heart template
Fiskars heart squeeze punch
– Valentine scrapbook paper
– Yarn
– Garland
– Tissue paper
– Sequins
– Fabric
– Wire ribbon
– Pipe cleaners/fuzzy sticks

EXPANSION IDEAS:

Take the children’s dictation on the back of the collages. Maybe something along the lines of “I am loved because….” or “I love Mommy and Daddy because…”.

Use your imagination and have fun!


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Valentine Sensory Bin

There is really nothing quite like a container full of bright, sparkly goodness just waiting to be explored. My children could not wait to dive deep into all things Valentine!

Because there are many schools and parents that do not believe in “playing with your food” (using food as learning materials), I worked to find a sensory bin base that was not a food product. I had recently purchased a Beta fish for my classroom and was carousing the fish supply section on Amazon when, all of of a sudden, I spotted aquarium gravel. As I quickly scanned all the bags of fantastic colors and combinations, well, my head exploded!

MATERIAL USED:

– Any suitable container
– Aquarium pellets
– Pom Poms
– Heart and XO sequins
– Different colored bottle caps
– Small jewels and gems
– 3D hearts
– Animal print scrapbook hearts
– Heart buttons
– Small chunks of garland
– Pink yarn
– Pipe cleaners/fuzzy sticks
– Shovels
– Funnel
– Spatula
– Tweezers
– Cups

Not only do sensory bins strengthen the senses, they hold many learning opportunities. Children use their fine motor skills as they scoop, sift, pour, and examine its contents. They develop and cultivate social emotional skills as they play and work together; taking turns with items, and sharing ideas of what to do with them. In the way of math, preschoolers sort and count the many objects. Shape and color knowledge is also gained.


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