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
 
 
 

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.
 
 

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
 
 
 
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