DIY Items for Little Ones

DIY Friday- Dinosaur Sensory Excavation Activity for Toddlers

It’s about time that I did a DIY project that related to an activity for Little Johnny to participate with. One of my most viewed posts has been the DIY hula hoop sensory toy, so I figured my viewers would love to get other ideas to incorporate with their little ones.

I was going to post about my furniture project this week that I have been working on, but it’s not nearly finished (a job that should take about 2 hours is turning into a few days…m o t h e r h o o d.) Stay tuned though because it will be revealed hopefully next week! This beautiful wooden sofa table is coming all the way from Cocoa Beach! I found this gem at a garage sale while my friend was in town! I almost didn’t get it, but they insisted and actually bought it for me! 🙂 So now I’m making it pretty again! The features in the wood has so much character built into, which all I’m doing is just accentuating them!

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Now, onto the activity…

Little Johnny really enjoys going to the Science Center here in Orlando! While he loves the toddler center, sometimes it’s nice to switch things up, so we venture up to the 4th floor and “dig for dinosaurs”! I thought this week’s DIY project would be a great idea to incorporate at our house for times when we just can’t make it over there. You can also include “bugs”, which they have at the Dollar Tree as well. This DIY project is seriously so easy and fun! Plus it’s another sensory activity which is great for kids to explore at this age.

All the materials I purchased were at the Dollar Tree.

{Supplies}

  • plastic bin
  • sand
  • toy dinosaurs  (or any other creatures you want them to dig for)
  • paint brushes
  • shovel (optional)
  • flour (optional)
  • water (optional)
  • rice (optional)

{Steps}

It’s pretty much self explanatory. The only item that I added a little twist to was the sand. I wanted it to be a little more compact and not as loose (which helps with cleanup duty too), so I added about 1/4 cup of flour, and 1/2 cup of water, and a 1 tablespoon of rice  in order for the sand to harden a little. I simply placed the creatures in the bottom of the bin and covered it with the sand mixture. Little Johnny then used the paint brushes and shovel to find the items.

{Quick note- if you are adding the flour mixture just know that it will only last about 2 days.}

If you have younger children make sure you assist as they tend to always want to put things in their mouth. This is still a great activity for them, just with parental watch. Also, this does get messy…so we took it outside, but if you want to do it indoors on a rainy day simply place a very large towel on the floor and then put the bin on top. When your child is done playing scoop with the towel and shake it outside. 🙂

I hope you all enjoyed this DIY! I’m looking to do more kid related DIY projects in the future, so stay tuned! 🙂

Wishing you well,

~Amanda

 

Motherhood

Sensory Play for Babies {Ages 0-18 months}

In our household we love inventing new sensory activities (okay, it’s mainly just me, but Johnny really does have fun with them)! Sensory play is so important for babies and toddlers. It’s how they explore and learn about this giant world!  It also helps with language acquisition (the process of comprehending language) and building upon their vocabulary. Even though babies don’t communicate as much through words, they are listening intently (even when you don’t think they are, I’ve learned that quickly). Talking to babies about what each sense means is so important. Sensory play refers to all 5 senses (sight, touch, sound, taste, and smell).

Here’s a great PDF document to use as a resource to help understand the stages of babies development. Click >>>Development Milestones<<<< to view.  (Babies are seriously GENIUSES, I mean think about all the skills their little minds and bodies have to master!)

Okay, now let’s get to the good stuff! Below you will find a few of our favorite sensory play activities that my 10 month old enjoys exploring.

**Safety Precaution: Please note, all these activities are things that will need to be carefully monitored by an adult.

Sensory Hula Hoop

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It’s a hula hoop with a range of tactile items! From cloth pieces to a pool noodle.

This was a DIY project I did when my son was just learning to sit up and still practicing tummy time. He still uses it today though. Click “creating your own sensory hula hoop” to view my previous post for a tutorial.

Sensory Exploration Bucket

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This is also a really easy DIY project. I purchased a bucket at the Dollar Tree and placed all kinds of sensory items in it. I have it hidden and pull it out every once in a while so that Johnny doesn’t get board of it. New items are added every once in a while.

Some of the items that are currently in his bucket are:

  • pin wheel
  • scarf
  • hand clapper
  • slinky
  • small rubber duck
  • kazoo
  • harmonica
  • goofy glasses

Sensory Adventure Walks

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This one does not require any supplies! Simply step outside and explore your neighborhood. Share with your child the surrounding things within your neighborhood, make sure to stop and explore things.  If you have older children, click  “neighborhood scavenger hunt” where you’ll be directed to a pinterest board. Here are examples of what I talk about with Johnny on our walks. (and yes, people probably think I’m crazy talking out loud, BUT that doesn’t bother me. I’m so use to it now, I even do it in the grocery store! haha)

Do you hear the airplane? It makes a loud “whoosh” sound.

Do you hear the cars going by? They’re loud too. They make a sound of “vrooooom”.

Do you see the bird in the tree? It makes a “tweet tweet tweet” sound.

What does this tree feel like? It’s rough.

Do you see this yellow flower? What does it smell like? It smells sweet.

Do you feel and hear the wind blowing?

 Sensory Bath Play Time

This is another easy one, because at some point babies have to take baths! 🙂 There are so many fun bath toys you can purchase or use everyday household items. Johnny has become quite a splasher lately too! Below you’ll find the items we currently explore with.

  • water scooping (he loves feeling the water as I pour it out of the scooper)
  • luffa
  • rubber toys
  • spray bottle

 Water Bottle Shakers

This is a fun one! We have 3 types of shakers by just using empty water bottles. We have rice in one, popcorn kernels in another, and a glittered sequence bottle. If you would like instructions on how to make your own sequence bottle, click here for a great website I found with instructions.

Flash Light Play

Grab your flashlight and have fun making puppet shadows. You can even hav eyour little one try to crawl to the light. Just make sure not to shine it in their little eyes.

Reflection Play

img_1386 Many babies love mirrors! They like seeing the reflection of themselves and other things. I bought this hand-held mirror for $1 at the Dollar Tree and I added a spoon for more reflection play. He loves it! We even play peekaboo where I hide the mirror and say “where’s Johnny” then I pull it out and reveal his reflection. He laughs every time!

Food Play

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This is an easy one, but it counts as sensory play too. My son loves to play with his food. I place all kinds of fun foods that he likes to touch and feel along with tasting.  Here are some things I ask him.

Look at this banana. Does it feel squishy? Is it sticky too? Yes, it is squishy and sticky.

Here’s an avocado. Is it squishy like the banana?

Here’s a pretzel. Is it hard? What does it taste like? Is it salty?

What does the pasta feel like? Is it slimy and slippery?

The broccoli is green. What does it feel like?

Bubble Wrap Roll Out

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I have a roll of bubble wrap  that I just lay out on the floor. I make sure to tape it down with painters tape, that way Johnny can crawl on it too.

Computer Typing Play

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We have a laptop that doesn’t work, so I brought it out for Johnny to practice his “typing skills”! He loves the feel of the keyboard. As a bonus we talk about the letters and sounds. We even spell his name. This can be something to continue as he gets older.

That’s it! Nothing fancy, but it still does the purpose for sensory play! What’s your favorite sensory activity to do with your little one?

I always love hearing from people, so feel free to share your insights in the comments below! You can also share this post with anyone else and follow me on my facebook page,  as well as instagram. Thank you so much for taking the time to read!

Wishing You Well,

Happy Mama, Happy Wife, Happy Life

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