Play doesn’t have to be elaborate or complicated to be fun and rewarding for both our Little Pnuts and ourselves. Sometimes the simplest of activities are the biggest winners. This leprechaun treasure hunt is an example of that. My Little Pnuts would do this activity over and over again and it couldn’t be easier to set up and execute.
What You Will Need:
- Plastic cold coins (available this time of year at your local dollar store, craft store, or party store)
- A good imagination
- A few hiding places
Have your Little Pnut wait for you in another room (like their bedroom) while you hide gold coins all over the house.
Hunt for Gold
Help your Little Pnut hunt for the gold coins! Use clues like hot and cold if they need a little extra help.
It’s that simple! I promise, your Little Pnut will have loads of fun and their imagination might even kick in a little bit. My Little Pnuts even spied a few “leprechauns” around the house when we were hunting for gold.
Try a few variations of your treasure hunt: Hide the gold coins in mounds of play dough for a quiet time version of this activity or take your hunt outside if weather allows. For a little extra learning have your Little Pnut count the coins after they have collected them. Hide a different number of coins each time and tell your Little Pnut how many you hid so they know how many they need to find.
This activities focuses on the following Developmental Milestones for your Little Pnuts: Imaginative Play, Creative Play & Co-operative Play
—Jennifer Haas, founder of Plain Vanilla Mom.
Bring a little luck o’ the Irish into your home this St. Patrick’s Day, with these darling DIY Salt Dough Shamrocks both you and your Little Pnut will enjoy making together. You’re sure to have a visit from a Leprechaun, or two, with these hanging about the house.
What You Will Need:
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 cup flour
- Shamrock shaped cookie cutter
- A straw
- Various colors of green paint
- Ribbon or string
- Paint brushes
- Baking sheet
- Mixing bowl
- Cutting board
- Rolling pin
Make & Bake the Salt Dough
To make the salt dough, mix the flour, salt and warm water together until a soft dough forms. We like to get ours started in the bowl and then finish kneading it on a floured cutting board until it’s just the right consistency. It should feel a bit like soft play dough. Little Pnuts love doing the mixing so let your Little Pnut get their hands into that dough!
Next, help your Little Pnut roll out the dough on a floured surface. Using a shamrock cookie cutter have your Little Pnut cut out shamrock shapes.
Important: If you want to hang your shamrocks, this is the time to use a straw to poke a hole in the shamrocks before baking. Don’t forget to remove the straw before baking though.
Place the salt dough shamrocks on a cookie sheet and bake them at your oven’s lowest setting until they are completely hardened. Usually around 250 degrees fahrenheit and about 2 hours but it could take more or less depending on how thick your cutouts are. Check them every hour and turn them so they don’t get too brown. Once they are completely hardened remove them from the oven and let them cool.
Paint Your Shamrocks
Once your shamrocks have cooled completely they are ready to paint. Present your Little Pnut with some green paint and let them have fun painting their shamrocks. The more shades of green the better! We ended up with some with a beautiful swirled marble effect on some of ours by mixing multiple shades of green. Once the paint is dry string some ribbon and hang your shamrocks.
Try a Variation: Add a little green food coloring when you are mixing your dough and you’ll have green salt dough shamrocks you can either hang as such or paint further.
Most importantly have fun! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
This activities focuses on the following Developmental Milestones for your Little Pnuts:
Fine Motor Skills, Focus and Concentration, Strategic Thinking, Color Recognition, Shape Recognition, Hand-Eye Coordination, Sensory Play, Cognitive Development, Creative Play, Imaginative Play & Free Play.—Jennifer Haas, founder of Plain Vanilla Mom.