The holidays are always bright and cheerful and tend to bring a coziness into the home. This holiday while busy prepping, keep your Little Pnuts entertained with a tree they can decorate on their own. 

 

 

 

What You Will Need:

  • Green Construction Paper
  • Pom Poms in a variety of shapes and colors
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Get Ready…

Draw or trace a Christmas tree shape onto the green construction paper. If your Little Pnut is able, have them cut out the tree with the scissors. If your Little Pnut is not using scissors yet go ahead and cut out the tree for them ahead of time.

Create invitation for your Little Pnut to decorate their Christmas tree by setting out your materials in an inviting manner. I set our tree on our table on top of some paper towels to protect our work space. Putting the pom poms in a small bowl makes them inviting to little hands.

Trim Your Tree!

Let your Little Pnut glue and stick pom poms onto their Christmas tree until their little heart’s content.

Variations:

If you want to challenge your Little Pnut, give them some tweezers or tongs to manipulate and place the pom poms with.

If your Little Pnut is still not ready to use a bottle of glue try pouring a little glue into a small bowl or cup and allowing them to dip the pom poms into the glue prior to placing them on the tree.

Finally, sit back and admire their tree. Don’t forget to find the perfect spot to hang it for the holiday season!

Happy Playing!

 

Developmental Milestones:

This activities focuses on the following Developmental Milestones for your Little Pnuts:

Fine Motor Skills, Focus and Concentration, Strategic Thinking, Color Recognition, Hand-Eye Coordination, Cognitive Development, Creative Play, Free Play, Imaginative Play.

—Jennifer Haas, founder of Plain Vanilla Mom.
 
 
 

Looking for an activity to celebrate Fall with your Little Pnuts? How about a pumpkin hunt? This is a super easy and inexpensive activity that has lots of potential for fun and playful learning!

 

 

 

 

What You Will Need

  • A bag of miniature pumpkins and gourds, preferably in a variety of shapes and colors (often sold in the produce section of your grocery store during the season)
  • Somewhere to hide them – we used a nearby playground, but even your backyard would work!
  • A bag for each Little Pnut to collect his/her pumpkins

 

Let’s Begin

To set up, simply hide the pumpkins and gourds around the designated area while your Little Pnuts are engaged elsewhere.

 

Let’s Play

When the pumpkins are all hidden, give each child a bag and have them collect the pumpkins.  Once they’ve all been collected, bring them all together to investigate and compare.  Talk about the different shapes, sizes, colors, and textures of the pumpkins and gourds.  Help your child sort the pumpkins by various attributes (bumpy and smooth, round/not round, etc.). Slightly older Little Pnuts may enjoy a turn hiding the pumpkins for the adults to find! You can also work on expressive language by having the children give you verbal directions to help you find the hidden pumpkins.

 

Developmental Milestones:

This activities focuses on the following Developmental Milestones for your Little Pnuts:

Problem Solving, Reasoning, Fine/Gross Motor Development, Receptive/Expressive Language, Sensory Development

 

—Stephanie Haass, Little Pnuts Early Childhood Activities Expert & Blogger, founder of www.two-daloo.com
 
 

With Back-to-School it’s always great to have activities at home that reinforce and inspire your Little Pnuts love for learning at school. Here is a classic play dough activity that will have your Little Pnuts squealing with delight while also working on their fine motor skills- color surprise play dough!

 

 

 

What You Will Need

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil (I’ve used canola oil, vegetable oil, olive oil, and coconut oil)
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • Liquid watercolors or food coloring in several colors

Let’s Begin

To make your play dough, combine the dry ingredients in a saucepan and then add your water and cooking oil. Cook over medium/low heat, stirring constantly. Your play dough will quickly form a ball around your spoon; remove it from your pan and allow it to cool on some foil or wax paper.

After the play dough has cooled, it’s time to add your surprise to WOW your Little Pnuts!  Divide your dough into small balls, at least one for each of your colors. Next, poke a hole in each ball and squeeze a few drops of watercolors or food coloring into each hole.  Close the hole by carefully pinching it shut. Your play dough will not look any different but will contain a fun color surprise for your little ones to discover!

Let’s Play

Invite your Little Pnuts to take the balls of play dough and begin kneading and smushing them.  They will quickly discover the colored centers…encourage them to continue mixing the play dough until it takes on the color of the dye.  Then make some colorful creations with your Little Pnuts…the activity is limited only by your imagination!

*Note – Be sure to wear old clothes and prepare your play space for mess…food coloring and liquid watercolors may temporarily stain hands and/or clothing (but it’s soooo worth it)!

Developmental Milestones:

This activities focuses on the following Developmental Milestones for your Little Pnuts:

Sensory Exploration, Creativity and Imagination, Fine Motor Skill Development, Cause and Effect

 

—Stephanie Haass, Little Pnuts Early Childhood Activities Expert & Blogger, founder of www.two-daloo.com
 
 


Do your Little Pnuts love ice cream? Ours certainly do, and what could be a better way to beat the summer heat than ice cream pretend play? Here are five ways we have used the Hape Ice Cream Shop from our recent Little Pnuts shipment for pretend play, sensory play, fine motor development, and FUN!

 

What You Will Need

  • Hape Ice Cream Shop
  • Cloud Dough (Recipe below)
  • Sand
  • Shaved Ice
  • Homemade Syrup (Recipe below)
  • Ice Cream Dough (Recipe below)
  • Pom Poms in various sizes & colors

Variations of Play

Cloud Dough

Cloud dough, moon dough, snow dough –whatever you call it, this classic sensory medium makes the perfect pretend ice cream! To make it, simply combine 8 parts flour to one part vegetable oil (or any cooking oil). You can add Kool Aid, spices, or extracts to scent it and/or crushed chalk or powdered tempera paint to color it.  The dough is soft and fluffy but can be molded like sand…so fun!

Sand

Take your Hape Ice Cream Shop to the sandbox – your Little Pnuts are guaranteed tons of fun with very little preparation!

Snow Cones with Homemade Syrup

Since the Hape Ice Cream Shop is BPA and phthalate free, your Little Pnuts can use it to make their own tiny snow cones! We used shaved ice and made homemade syrup with this easy recipe (LINK: http://nateandrachael.com/snow-cone-syrup-recipe/) and had a blast with our icy treat!

Ice Cream Dough

We stumbled upon this sensory play recipe from our friend over at Play Create Explore (LINK: http://www.playcreateexplore.org/2013/01/ice-cream-dough-new-play-recipe.html) and have been having tons of fun with it this summer! To make it, simply combine ¾ cup hair conditioner (or lotion, which is what we had on hand) and 1 ½ cups cornstarch.  Add extracts and/or food coloring to make your perfect “flavor” and you have a fantastic dough that really and truly looks like ice cream!

Pom Poms

We have a giant stash of pom poms of all shapes, sizes, and colors that our Little Pnuts love to play with. They had a fabulous time scooping them out of the tub and “serving” their creations to the whole family one afternoon. This was an easy and awesome fine motor workout!

 

Developmental Milestones:

This activities focuses on the following Developmental Milestones for your Little Pnuts:

Exploration, Sensory Exploration & Development, Cognitive Development, Fine Motor Skill Development, Focus and Concentration, Creative Play, Pretend Play, Imaginative Play

 

—Stephanie Haass, Little Pnuts Early Childhood Activities Expert & Blogger, founder of www.two-daloo.com
 
 
 

Image Credit: PreKPlay

Spring and Summer are simply an invitation for daily outside play. Why not incorporate the joy of blowing bubbles with the creativity of painting. Adding a little color to your Little Pnuts bubbles takes bubble blowing to a whole new level of fun!

 

 

 

 

 

What You Will Need

  • Pre-Made Bubble Solution or Homemade (recipe below)
  • A low rimmed dish to hold the bubble solution
  • Tempera Paint (liquid not powder) or Food Coloring
  • Various sized Bubble Wands or make their own from pipe cleaners, cookie cutters, paper clips, etc.
  • Sheets of Water Color Paper, Paper Towels or Regular Paper 
  • An easel if you have one

 

Homemade Bubble Solution Recipe

  • 1/2 cup dishwashing detergent (JOY works best)
  • 4-1/2 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons glycerin (available in most pharmacies)

Have your Little Pnut help in mixing together all the ingredients in a bowl, stirring slowly and gently, once mixed thoroughly allow the mixture to stand. The longer you allow the solution to stand the bigger the bubbles and the longer they seem to last.

Creating the Bubble Paint

Whether using the homemade recipe or store-bought bubbles, divide the solution into a variety of containers, one for each color you plan on making. Have your Little Pnuts add a few drops of paint or food coloring to each container creating the color of their choosing. As they are creating the colors, have them name the colors and tell you whether they are using a primary color or if they are creating a secondary color by mixing two primaries together. This allows them to really think about why and what they are making while learning how to formulate the idea prior to creating.

Creating the Wands

If not using pre-made wands have your Little Pnuts scavenger through the house in search of objects they can use as wands – paperclips, pipe-cleaners, cookie cutters, toilet paper/paper towel rolls, straws and twigs would work. Simply have your Little Pnut bend and manipulate the objects to form a continuous shape. Testing out different materials and shapes allows your Little Pnut to really think practically and logically. While they are figuring out their shapes, discuss with them their methodology and reasoning, this expands cognitive development. We recommend using one wand per color of bubble solution so as not to mix the colors.

Painting with Bubbles

Time to paint. Simply dip wands into the colored solutions and have your Little Pnuts blow while aiming at the paper. The object is to have the bubble land and pop on the paper leaving behind a colored imprint. Get creative by letting them blow multiple bubbles at a time, or have your Little Pnuts attempt a strategy at creating an image by aiming one single bubble at a time to create a predetermined pattern. Regardless of which variation your Little Pnut chooses, this activity is sure to provide hours of fun.

 

Developmental Milestones:

This activities focuses on the following Developmental Milestones for your Little Pnuts:

Gross Motor Skill Development, Fine Motor Skill Development, Cognitive Development, Focus and Concentration, Strategic Thinking, Creative Thinking, Imaginative Play.

 

—Melissa Pia Bossola Beese, Mother of 2, founder of Little Pnuts
 
 
 

Looking for a creative way to challenge your Little Pnut’s fine motor skills? Try spaghetti threading!  This is a fun activity that is easy to set up using items that you may already have in your pantry or craft closet!


 
 
 
 

 

 

What You Will Need

  • A few uncooked spaghetti noodles
  • Play dough
  • Small items to thread onto the spaghetti – we have used pony beads, Cheerios, colored pasta, etc.

 

Set Up and Play

Form your play dough into a large ball or mound.  Stick one end of your spaghetti noodles into the ball so you have a giant “porcupine.”  Show your Little Pnut how to thread the small items onto the noodles one at a time.

Variations

Younger Little Pnuts may have more success if you substitute thin dowel rods for the noodles and use larger beads for threading.  To make the activity more challenging, use multi-colored items for threading and turn it into a color-sorting exercise by assigning a different color to each noodle. Work on early math skills by drawing numbers out of a cup and having your Little Pnut thread the corresponding amount of items onto the spaghetti.  For groups of Little Pnuts, make it into a game by using a timer and seeing how many items each player can thread onto the spaghetti in 60 seconds.  The player with the most items is the winner! As always, we are proponents of learning through play, so if your Little Pnuts get bored with the structured activity, let them use the materials for free play – you might be surprised at what they can build with spaghetti and play dough!

 

Developmental Milestones:

This activities focuses on the following Developmental Milestones for your Little Pnuts:

Cognitive Development, Fine Motor Skill Development, Focus and Concentration, Sensory Exploration

 

—Stephanie Haass, Little Pnuts Early Childhood Activities Expert & Blogger, founder of www.two-daloo.com
 

 

Looking for a fun Easter activity for your Little Pnut? Why not try your hand at making some sensory eggs?  Your Little Pnut will enjoy hiding, finding, and examining these eggs over and over again!

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

What You Will Need

  • 1 package plastic Easter eggs
  • Hot glue gun
  • Assorted embellishments 

Make the Eggs

This activity is limited only by your imagination.  Your mission is to take your plain plastic eggs from drab to fab by embellishing them with items that will delight the senses of your Little Pnut.  Be sure to glue your eggs shut before you begin (fill some of your eggs with pinto beans or rice before securing them so your Little Pnut can shake them and listen to the different sounds they make).  Need ideas?  Choose items that not are not only visually interesting, but add texture to the eggs as well (think rough, smooth, bumpy, soft, etc.).  We used buttons, sparkly pom-poms, strips of fabric and leather, sequins, plastic gems, pipe cleaners, yarn, feathers, and sandpaper to embellish our eggs.

Let’s Play!

There are so many fun ways your Little Pnut can play with these eggs.  Younger Little Pnuts will be content just to examine the eggs closely or put them in and out of a basket or other container.  Help your Little Pnut develop object permanence by hiding the eggs under colorful play silks and helping them to discover them again.  Older Little Pnuts will enjoy using these to practice egg-hunting skills for the big day!  Hunting for eggs is a great opportunity for language stimulation – in addition to describing the sensory properties of your eggs, you can also practice prepositions (is the egg beside the tree or behind the tree?) and following directions (find the shiny green egg).   Another fun idea – place all the eggs in a bag or box with a hole in the top and have your Little Pnut stick a hand inside. Your Little Pnut can try describing the eggs he/she feels or finding eggs that match your descriptions.

 

Developmental Milestones:

This activities focuses on the following Developmental Milestones for your Little Pnuts:

Sensory Exploration, Language Development, Cognitive Development, Fine Motor Skill Development

 

—Stephanie Haass, Little Pnuts Early Childhood Activities Expert & Blogger, founder of www.two-daloo.com
 

 

 

 
 

Now that Spring is just around the corner, it’s a great time of year to explore colors with your Little Pnut.  Painting can be a wonderful way to introduce colors and color mixing, as well as a whole-body sensory extravaganza! Worried about your Little Pnut tasting the paint? Never fear! We’ve got you covered with this flour-based paint recipe – it’s easy and non-toxic but doesn’t taste good enough to keep your little ones coming back for more.  Let’s get artsy!

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

What You Will Need

  • 1 cup flour
  • Boiling water (1-2 cups)
  • Cold water (1-2 cups)
  • Food coloring (gel or liquid)

Make The Paint

Place your flour into a large, heat-safe bowl.  Heat your water until boiling and then add enough of the boiling water to the flour to make the consistency of peanut butter.  Stir well to remove lumps.  Use cold water to thin out the paint until you reach your desired consistency.  If lumps remain, you can pour the paint through a strainer to remove them.  A few drops of food coloring, and voila! Safe paint for Little Pnuts to explore!

Let’s Create!

There are so many fun ways your Little Pnut can play with paint.  For large-scale fun, spread a big piece of butcher paper on a table top or sidewalk (use duct tape to secure the edges) and let your Little Pnuts go! To keep painting experiences fresh, provide different “tools” each  – traditional painting tools like brushes can be mixed with non-traditional items like toilet paper rolls, q-tips, spaghetti noodles, and cotton balls for experimenting.  Try providing interesting “canvases” like fabric, bubble wrap, or foil instead of paper.  Remember, try not to focus on the finished product as much as enjoying the painting process with your Little Pnut – let them make the decisions about how to paint their masterpieces and you will be fostering creativity, independence, and a lifetime love of art and learning!

 

Developmental Milestones:

This activities focuses on the following Developmental Milestones for your Little Pnuts:

Fine Motor Skill Development, Hand/Eye Coordination, Focus & Concentration, Creativity, Sensory Exploration, Language Development, Problem Solving

 

—Stephanie Haass, Little Pnuts Early Childhood Activities Expert & Bloggerwww.two-daloo.com
 

 

 

 
 

 

Looking for a fun art project to keep little hands busy? Try using adhesive shelf paper to create relief art with your Little Pnut!

 

 

 

  

 

What You Will Need

  • Blank paper or canvas
  • Several colors of paint
  • Adhesive shelf paper
  • Paint brushes (or you can finger paint!)

 

Let’s Create!

First, have your Little Pnut cover his/her canvas with a background color. We used pink and then sprinkled on a little glitter. After the paint is dry, cut a shape out of adhesive shelf paper, peel the backing off, and stick it onto the canvas.  Press the edges down well.  Now, paint over your shape with a new paint color/colors that contrast well with the background color.  We used two different shades of blue and a little bit of white.  Before the paint dries, carefully peel off your shape to expose the background color.  And there you have it! A beautiful work of art to proudly display on your wall!

 

Developmental Milestones:

This activities focuses on the following Developmental Milestones for your Little Pnuts:

Fine Motor Skill Development, Hand/Eye Coordination, Focus & Concentration, Creativity, Sensory Exploration

—Stephanie Haass, Little Pnuts Early Childhood Activities Expert & Bloggerwww.two-daloo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that the holidays are over, the long winter days can seem dreary and dull as we wait for spring flowers to bloom.  Brighten your Little Pnuts day with play by creating a light box from a few items you probably have on hand!

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 
 

 

What You Will Need

  • A large, clear plastic container with lid
  • Liner for the body of the container- a black garbage bag, black construction paper, or foil work well
  • Parchment paper
  • White Christmas lights- a strand or two will do, depending on the size of your container

Making the Light Box

First, line the body of the container with your material of choice. We used a black garbage bag – no taping required!  Next, arrange your Christmas lights so they are distributed evenly throughout the container.  Be sure to leave the plug near one end so you can find it easily.  Now, take your lid, flip it over, and line the inside with a single layer of parchment paper to diffuse the light from within.  Tape the edges down, flip it back over, and place it on top of your container.  Before locking your edges down, find your plug and pull it out enough to plug into the wall.  You can cut a hole in the side of the container for the plug if desired, but we didn’t need to.  After that, all that remains is to plug it in and enjoy the soft glow from within the light box!

Light Box Play

There are many great ways to play with your light box with Little Pnuts of all ages!  There are commercially available geometric shapes for light box play, or you can make your own by cutting up inexpensive translucent dividers. Water beads in clear containers look beautiful when placed on top of a light box (pictured)!  Another fun idea – fill plastic baggies with colored hair gel or glitter glue, place flat on top of the light box, and let your Little Pnuts practice drawing shapes or writing letters in the gel with their fingers. Drawing in translucent containers filled with a shallow layer of salt is another engaging pre-writing activity for Little Pnuts that is extra-exciting on the light table.  Manipulatives such as marbles, translucent gems, or sparkly pom-poms are fun for fine motor or counting activities.  Older Little Pnuts may enjoy using the light box for tracing activities.  A quick internet or Pinterest search for light box activities will yield many more ideas.

 

*Please keep in mind that children should always be supervised when playing near an electrical outlet or plug. DIY light boxes may become hot after extended periods of play, so be sure to monitor the temperature of the box periodically. 

Developmental Milestones:

This activities focuses on the following Developmental Milestones for your Little Pnuts:

Fine Motor Skill Development, Hand/Eye Coordination, Focus & Concentration, Imaginative Play, Creativity, Sensory Exploration, Cognitive and Language Development

 

—Stephanie Haass, Little Pnuts Early Childhood Activities Expert & Bloggerwww.two-daloo.com