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!

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, Shape Recognition, Hand-Eye Coordination, Sensory Play, Cognitive Development, Creative Play, Imaginative Play & Free 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
 
 

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
 

 

 

 
 


Looking for a fun activity for a crisp Autumn afternoon?  Need a kid-friendly idea for a Halloween or Thanksgiving celebration? Try Fishing for Pumpkins! This simple idea uses the bounty of the harvest to entertain your Little Pnuts and can be adapted for various ages and developmental levels.

 
 
 
 
 

 

What You Will Need:

  • A large plastic container
  • A variety of small pumpkins & gourds
  • Assorted kitchen tools for scooping pumpkins (we used small mesh strainers, liquid measuring cups and large spoons)
  • Water

How to Play:

Place your container on a low table or on the ground where your Little Pnuts can access it easily.  Place your pumpkins and gourds in the container and add enough water to make them float.  Show your Little Pnuts how to use the kitchen tools to scoop out the pumpkins.  Be sure to provide language modeling by describing the pumpkins/gourds as you go  – talk about the different colors and textures that you encounter, compare the different sizes and shapes of the pumpkins, etc.

Variations:

Younger Little Pnuts will enjoy simply scooping out the pumpkins and exploring their colors and textures.  Make the activity more exciting for older children with one or more of these adaptations:

  • Make it a listening comprehension game by describing physical attributes of specific pumpkins for them to scoop (i.e. “Scoop the small bumpy gourd” or “the green and white striped pumpkin”). Adjust the complexity of the directions based on your Little Pnuts developmental level.
  • Blindfold your Little Pnuts and see how many pumpkins they can scoop without using their sense of sight
  • Grab a timer and see how many pumpkins each child can scoop in 30 seconds.  After everyone has had a turn, the child with the most pumpkins scooped within the allotted time is the winner.

Developmental Milestones:

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

Fine Motor Skill Development, Hand/Eye Coordination, Focus & Concentration, Vocabulary Development, Listening Comprehension

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