‘Tis the season to head outdoors for some fun. Acting Out play is a great way to get your Little Pnuts to participate in play utilizing their imagination & creativity. Whether at the park, in the backyard or during a Little Pnut Playdate, Acting Out games, using a little imagination, creativity and silliness can provide hours of fun!

 

 

What You Will Need

  • A gathering of Little Pnuts
  • Endless Imagination

 

How to Play 

First have all the Little Pnuts sit in a circle.

Name an animal and the action for that animal your Little Pnut should mimic. An example would be, “Horses Gallop” Your Little Pnut would then respond by running around like a horse, galloping to and fro’. Without a doubt a roar of giggles will erupt and you’ll see all the Little Pnuts eagerly await their turn. Being that there are so many animals to imitate – Frogs hopping, Birds flying, Cats sneaking, Lions Prowling – you may never run out of ideas.

After each Little Pnut has taken a turn, have them vote on who did the best action and have that Little Pnut be the one who calls out the actions.

Variations on Play

To make it a bit more challenging have your Little Pnuts mimic the sound the animal makes in addition to imitating the action. As an example call out “Elephant, sway and say Hi”. Your Little Pnut would pretend to have a trunk, swinging is arms in front of his body and then perse his lips together and blow. Adding an additional direction allows your Little Pnut to focus, concentrate and strategize how they would do the action and sound. This allows for even more imaginative thought.

Want to create even more giggles? Change it up by throwing in a twist, have your Little Pnut mimic a Frog singing or an Elephant walking a high wire. You’ll see their minds spinning and the creativity flow as they try to create their own fun variations of what animals can do.

Happy Playing!

 

Developmental Milestones:

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

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

 

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

It’s almost Summer! Why not take a favorite seasonal item, the Beach Ball, your Little Pnuts and have some fun while teaching Cooperative Play. A great play date activity with several of your Little Pnuts friends!

 

 

 

 

 

What You Will Need

  • Several Colorful Beach Balls
  • A gathering of Little Pnuts

 

How to Play 

First have all the Little Pnuts stand in a circle.

Begin by throwing a few beach balls into the air. Have all the Little Pnuts do what they can to keep the beach balls from hitting the ground. Have them test out using different body parts to touch the ball; their feet, hands, shoulders, chest and heads, utilizing coordination to keep the balls from touching the ground. Instruct them that they are not allowed to touch anyone else in the process to prevent injury.

Once a ball hits the ground it is removed from play. As the balls get fewer in play, the object is to see if they can use team work to keep the balls from touching the ground. Have your Little Pnuts give directions to one another, alerting their “team mates” when the ball is near, have them communicate to each other taking turns to keep the ball up and where the ball is, thus avoiding collisions.

 

Variations on Play

To add a bit of challenge add more balls to the game. This allows for increased concentration and focus as well as having your Little Pnuts pay closer attention to their surroundings while simultaneously working to not to bump into someone else. This variation also assists in balance and coordination, while keeping focus on the ball they are trying to keep off the ground.

 

Developmental Milestones:

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

Gross Motor Skill Development, Focus and Concentration, Strategic Thinking, Cognitive Development, Coordination, Cooperative Play, Communication, Team Work.

 

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

Getting creative and recycling are two things that go together perfectly – Hand in Hand. Why not get creative with your Little Pnuts and have a painting party with some old paper towel or toilet paper rolls. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What You Will Need

  • A variety of Cardboard Paper Towel & Toilet Paper tubes
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Paint (Watercolor, homemade paint, tempera, etc.)
  • An old pan or painting tray
  • An old paint roller
  • Large sized sheet or rolled paper
  • Foam Sheets, Old Sponges to cut shapes out of or Foam Shapes
  • Leaves, flowers even petals 

 

Creating the Rollers

To create rollers, if old enough, simply have your Little Pnuts cut out a variety of shapes from an old sponge or foam if too young use store-bought foam shapes or even use items that you’ve found in nature.  Next, have your Little Pnuts glue them on to the cardboard rolls. Have your Little Pnuts spread the shapes out over the area to create random patterns or affix them in a line to create a continuous pattern.

Play

Once your rollers are completed and the glue is dry, have your Little Pnuts slide their rolls over the old painting rollers to keep them intact. Next, have them dip the rollers into the paint carefully allowing only a thin layer of paint and allowing the excess paint drip into the pan. Once the paint is applied evenly on the rollers,  have your Little Pnuts run them gently over the paper. Let them get creative with the patterns and see if they can create purposeful patterns or elusive patterns while they paint. Your Little Pnuts will have a blast as their imagination and creativity take over their artwork.

Variation on the Rollers

In addition to stamp rollers, your Little Pnuts can also create shape rollers. Have your Little Pnuts carefully manipulate the open end of the cardboard roll into shapes, such as a heart or a diamond, an oval or a square, for the extreme challenge try a star. For a little luck try a shamrock gluing 4 heart-shaped rolls together. Once the chosen shape has been created, have your Little Pnut dip the end of the cardboard roll into the paint, press on paper to create the outline of the shape they have made.

Developmental Milestones:

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

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

 

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

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
 
 
 

Photo Credit: Cheltanham Parks.

When we think of Play and Structured Play, we immediately realize that observation skills and learning go hand in hand. Both are highly beneficial to your child’s development. Do you often ask, “What is Child Development”? According to Kid Sense Child Development, “Children’s development occurs across a range of skill areas including: physical (motor) skills, speech and language, social and emotional, cognitive and intellectual abilities”.  Monitoring of Child Development is crucial to your child’s success, while making sure their milestones are being met. Let’s delve into helping your families use three techniques to take your fun playtime and make it slightly more structured, you can do this without your child even knowing they are learning! Here it goes!

  1. Introduce (1-2) specific concepts for daily playtime sessions – Choose specific times whether early morning or after afternoon snack to structure your child’s play. Get on their level and engage with them. Find something you know your child likes and set up an activity around it. This could take place at the carpet, table, or outside on a walk. Use props, materials and high energy. Ask open-ended questions, discuss observations, and use visual cues. Your child can go into any direction they choose and you follow their lead, this will make a huge difference for the future. This will offer a wealth of knowledge for the child.
  2. Create a home model of an educational space/classroom – This can be used for children infant to preschool. Purchase bins, drawers, chairs etc. and turn your child’s entertainment space into an educational realm. This means having everything in its order and all materials having a home. I.E. books on a shelf, small table and chairs for art, puzzle rack, stuffed animals on a shelf, cars in a bin. This will give it a structured look and even free play will be semi-structured.
  3. Use team building and appropriate social skills on playdates – We encourage children having play dates and or friends. A play date is the perfect time to see what developmental, and social level your child is on. Use special techniques to discuss emotions, proper sharing techniques, and listen to the language they use with peers. Take notes, and see how you can improve these for the next visit. Encourage success using positive words and modeling appropriate behavior.

    Photo Credit: Cheltanham Parks.


—Jessica Howard, Little Pnuts Educational Play BloggerFounder and CEO of Kid’s Night Out Parent’s Night Off in NYC.

Photo Credit: Nathaniel S.

What is Play? What is structured and unstructured play? Do you ever wonder or think, is my child playing too much or not at all? When my child plays is it even educational or developmentally appropriate? As Early Childhood Development Specialists we are here to tell you, Play can be the most beneficial and important stage of your child’s life from infancy to their preschool years! Wow, You Say!  Well come on already, ask us why?

Well according to the Academy of Pediatrics, play contributes to the physical, emotional, cognitive and social skills of your child. Play also gives that time for parents and or caregivers to be fully engaged with the child. With the new movement of academics and curriculum being pushed down earlier, and with the new rush of technology many families are not engaging in play like generations ago. We know there are 2 different types of play; free play– which is when children are left to amuse themselves in any way, and use their imagination without any direction or guidance from adults. We have even witnessed some free play unsupervised for older children. Structured Play-, which is when children are given direction and or guidance in specific activities to broaden and or develop the necessary skills for their current stage of development. Both types are necessary, but more structured play can be utilized with you at home, used with nannies, and or when deciding on how to choose a school for your children.

Below are the top 5 ways to engage in more structured play with your children, to take their individual development to the next level. The key is to practice being in a conscious state as much as possible to notice what you are doing and how to adjust- not to make yourself try to be perfect.  Show your children, you can get down and dirty too!

  1. Provide new ideas and learning opportunities- Next time you are home, or the caregiver is with your child, let the child peruse around to find 2-3 of their favorite toys. Use these toys as an opportunity to ask open-ended questions, discuss observations, and use visual cues and so forth. This will open your child’s mind to answering questions (even if they can not speak). This will further benefit their comprehension and cognitive skills for the future. Make a commitment to begin this once a day!
  2. Boost up the physical activity and motor play- Do you understand how important active play is for growing children? Make use of a playground, museum, taking a walk, and or playing a movement game at home. Your child will love playing leapfrog, roll over my friend, or hop and jump scooter at home. Make up games, and remember they do not have to be lengthy; using 15 minutes to begin is just as suitable.
  3. Emotional Tolerance/Social Skills/Team Building- Children need to be given outlets and techniques for handling their emotions. Guiding our children to learn how to behave and what is expected in every situation is crucial. Learning how to work as a team, even if it is just you and baby, or sibling and baby. These are skills for life. Find games to encourage team building, kindness and concern for not only themselves but also others.
  4. Encourage Their Use of Imagination- In today’s society we do not see many people still dreaming or understanding how important it is to use your imagination. Begin on a weekday and take 15 minutes to create imaginary fun. This will not only boost their self-esteem, but also have your child engage with either words or facial expressions to show you how they are feeling. Encourage the love of books and reading by bringing life into your story time, imagination goes a long way.
  5. Take notes on your child’s developmental level- This is an important step, begin taking notes about where you feel developmentally your child is. Check out the CDC, website to get a guideline of where your child should be for their age. Use this to challenge them as you create more activities. Have fun, this is what childhood and parenting is all about. You and your child were made for each other and have a special gift together. Work on that gift, master that gift and teach others.

 

Photo Credit: Shane O’ Mac


—Jessica Howard, Little Pnuts Educational Play BloggerFounder and CEO of Kid’s Night Out Parent’s Night Off in NYC.

 

What a better way to celebrate Earth Day, everyday, than by creating an activity with recyclables with your Little Pnut?  Don’t toss those cardboard boxes to the curb…save them up and create some Giant Duct Tape Building Blocks instead!


 

 

 

 

What You Will Need

  • A variety of sturdy cardboard boxes in different sizes. Diaper boxes work great for this activity as do Little Pnut Special Delivery Boxes.
  • Several rolls of duct tape (we used a few different primary colors)

 

Creating the Blocks

To create your blocks, simply wrap each cardboard box tightly and evenly with duct tape. The duct tape adds enough stability so that if your boxes were sturdy to begin with, younger Little Pnuts can actually climb on them!

Play

These fun, mega-sized blocks have infinite possibilities.  Younger Little Pnuts will enjoy exploring the physical properties of the blocks by pushing, climbing, stacking, and sitting on them.  Older Little Pnuts can add to the fun by building towers and using the blocks for imaginative play.  Build some walls and drape a blanket across the top for a totally awesome fort!  If you’ve used different colors, engage your Little Pnut in some fun color learning activities with the blocks.  Building with blocks of any size is an excellent early math activity as well.

 

Developmental Milestones:

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

Cognitive Development, Gross Motor Skill Development, Focus and Concentration, Sensory Exploration, Imaginative Play

 

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

 

 

 
 

Having a hard time keeping your Little Pnuts away from the Christmas tree this year?  Give them their own sticky trees to decorate!  This easy-to-prepare holiday activity is the perfect mix of sensory play, creativity, and fine-motor fun.

 
 
 
 

 
 

 

What You Will Need

  • Green poster board or card stock
  • Transparent adhesive shelf paper
  • Tape
  • Assorted “trimmings” for the tree- yarn, pom-poms, buttons, sequins, feathers, etc.

Making the Trees

Take your poster board or card stock and roll it into a cone, taping in place.  Trim around the bottom of the cone with scissors to make it level enough to stand.  Now, take your shelf paper and cut it into large strips.  Peel the backing off the paper and wrap the strips around the tree adhesive side out, taping in place as needed.

Time For Fun

Once your trees are covered, it’s time to have some fun!  Set your Little Pnut up with an assortment of interesting items to stick on their trees. As they decorate, provide language support by discussing the different colors, textures, and sizes of the items. Younger Little Pnuts will enjoy sticking the items on the trees and taking them back off, too! Make the activity into a game with older Little Pnuts by having them follow simple (“Put the feather at the top of the tree”) or more complex (“Put the yellow star beside the green feather”) directions. This is a great activity for targeting prepositions (position words, i.e. beside, under, on top).  Have fun and be sure to proudly display your Little Pnuts’ creations when they are done!

Developmental Milestones:

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

Language Development (Adjectives, Prepositions, Listening Comprehension), Fine Motor Skills, Hand/Eye Coordination, Focus & Concentration, Imagination/Creativity

 

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

 

 

 
 
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