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
 

 

 

 
 


 

In the mood for a winter play activity, but no snow in the forecast?  Never fear! Your Little Pnuts will love playing with this peppermint-scented cloud dough so much, they won’t even miss the fluffy stuff!  Scented cloud dough only needs three ingredients and the possibilities for creative sensory play are limited only by your imagination. 

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

What You Will Need

  • A large plastic container
  • Flour
  • Cooking oil (we use olive oil, but vegetable oil, canola oil, and coconut oil work, too
  • Peppermint essential oil (optional)
  • Assorted kitchen tools, containers for filling/dumping, cookie cutters, small toys, pinecones, etc. for playing in your “winter wonderland”

Making the Cloud Dough:

Place your container on a low table or on the ground where your Little Pnuts can access it easily.  Add flour and cooking oil (stay away from baby oil – it smells nice but can be toxic if ingested or inhaled) in a ratio of eight parts flour to one part oil.  Add a few drops of peppermint essential oil if desired.  Have your Little Pnuts help you mix the oil into the flour with their hands, a spoon, or even a whisk.

Let the Fun Begin:

Encourage your Little Pnuts to explore the cloud dough with their hands and feet, kitchen tools, and/or toys. Use your imagination…gently press the dough into balls to make snowmen, or if you are brave, have a “snowball fight!”  Flatten the powder with your hands and use cookie cutters to stamp holiday shapes.  Use pinecones to make “trees” in your tiny winter landscape.  Measuring cups and ice-cream scoops are the perfect tools to make pretend food with your cloud dough.  You can even use a stick or a cotton swab to draw or write letters in the dough.  Open-ended play activities such as this are wonderful opportunities for language enrichment– talk about how the dough feels and smells and describe your play as you go.

Variations:

Try using various essential oils to and/or spices to add different scents to your cloud dough.  Pumpkin pie cloud dough would be a fun autumn activity; lavender-scented cloud dough would be very soothing. If you are concerned about Little Pnuts ingesting the dough, be sure you buy “therapeutic grade” essential oils as they are the only ones that are edible.

To add color to your cloud dough, try adding crushed colored chalk,  powdered gelatin or drink mixes.  Make it sparkly by adding fine glitter.  Of course, just plain-ole’ cloud dough is loads of fun, too!

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, Symbolic Play, Sensory Development, Social Interaction

 

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


Looking for a fun activity for the kids’ table this Thanksgiving? Your tots will love making these cute little turkeys using pinecones and play dough! Give your Little Pnuts a fine motor workout with this fun and easy activity.

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

What You Will Need:

  • Large Pinecones for the turkey “bodies”
  • Miniature pinecones for turkey “heads” (large acorns, pom-poms, or just a ball of play dough would work, too)
  • Play dough (any color)
  • Feathers and/or pipe cleaners (cut in half)
  • Google eyes
  • Small triangles of construction paper or craft foam for “beaks”

Making the Turkey:

Take a large pine cone and show your Little Pnut how to poke small pieces of play dough between the scales.  Next, take your feathers and/or pipe cleaners and poke them into the play dough, creating the turkey’s colorful tail.  Then, make a face on your turkey’s “head” using small bits of play dough to stick on google eyes and a beak, and for the grand finale, use a larger ball of play dough to stick the head onto the body.

For younger Little Pnuts, you may want to make the turkey’s head ahead of time and hot glue it onto the turkey’s body before doing the activity.  Older Little Pnuts will enjoy doing the whole activity themselves!  Be creative with your materials – have your Little Pnuts help you think of other items that could be used for the turkey’s feathers. Some we thought of include colorful pasta, cut-up straws, popsicle sticks, etc.

Developmental Milestones:

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

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

Stephanie Haass, Little Pnuts Early Childhood Activities Expert & Bloggerwww.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
 
 
 

These are the truly fun times, the moments in which your Little Pnut will begin to keep you on your toes and biting your nails. Into everything, toddling to and fro’ and exploring new heights your Little Pnut is bringing back the fun into your life. Sleeping through the night now he also has more energy to play and so do you.

Your Little Pnut is beginning to focus on the development of his gross motor skills, walking, running, dancing, throwing, he might even begin to kick a ball back and forth. So many things to try out and explore. His world and surrounding environment are all so close now for him to begin experimenting with.

Music now  becomes a very integral part of his life. You’ll notice that your Little Pnut will start to bang spoons on surfaces, clap toys together and start grooving to your favorite tunes. Your Little Pnut will giggle with glee as you sing along and dance with him, such a great way to expand his love for music and appreciate close, fun times with his Mama & Papa. Make it a game and play fun sing-along music with repetitive phrases that will also encourage his growing vocabulary.

So many opportunities to have fun with one another and to explore the world together, the Toddler years are truly some of the most memorable times in both of your lives. Make them fun and make them play filled.

Whether it’s the first time you are dropping your Little Pnut off at school or a skill you’ve practiced for a few years now, it’s always difficult to say goodbye on that first day of the new school year, perhaps even more so for you. Now is the time to wipe away those tears of sadness (or relief) and relish in the knowledge that your Little Pnut is embarking on the adventure of his life.

Your Little Pnuts are about to have the time of their lives. With so many new skill sets to be acquired and mastered and so much knowledge to be absorbed your Little Pnuts are now beginning to develop a deeper love for learning about the world beyond their immediate surroundings.

In preschool, your Little Pnuts will also begin to foster relationships with other Little Pnuts, some of which may last their lifetime.  They are further establishing their social skills, interacting with more depth and thoughtfulness. They are learning to take turns, practicing patience as they wait for their chance to try something or play with something, all the while developing focus and concentration. They are learning more and more each day in an environment that is fun, playful and engaging. Your Little Pnuts are now enjoying learning in a social setting—with friends.

At home you will begin to notice your Little Pnut having an increased desire for you to read even more to them. They will begin to interact with stories and to ask unending streams of questions while you are in mid-sentence. Their curiosity is never-ending, absorbing the most amount of knowledge in these years versus the rest of their lives. It really is true, they really are little sponges at this phase in their development.

We as the parents of preschoolers should enforce this love of knowledge as best we can. Conscientiously answering that endless stream of questions with true facts and knowledge. We must challenge them to learn about both winning and losing and how to be motivated to always strive for the best. We must prepare them for their future success so they will know and understand that with hard work and determination they will accomplish what they set out to do.

Preschool is put in place to help your Little Pnuts engage more practically with the world around them and to begin to flourish as little beings. Congratulate them as they are about to conquer the world.

Preschool is fun!

Life is great. You have your Little Pnut and all you want to do is stare into his beautiful eyes, glance longingly at his face as he sleeps and cuddle with him when he’s awake. He is the ultimate of perfection and you know it.

His first year is for achieving all of those wonderful and magical milestones that you read about and each of those milestones will guide your Little Pnut into becoming an amazing young man or woman one day. You as his parent, have all the tools to set your Little Pnut up for a lifetime of success, simply by being there for him and helping him learn about his world and how to experience it to the fullest. Right now is the perfect time to start getting him excited about learning, teaching him how to use his imagination and inspire his creativity. All of this wonderful learning can be done through your interaction with him at playtime.

The first 3 months of your Little Pnuts life is truly all about learning about the senses. Seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling. He is developing each of these five senses every minute of each day. Strengthening his eye muscles as he stares lovingly into your eyes, listening as you whisper his name softly and feeling your hands gently caressing that baby soft skin of his. The world he knows gets bigger and brighter every day through each of these senses.

Months 3-6 are all about experiencing the senses. Your Little Pnut is seeing things up close and in color, hearing and being able to distinguish sounds, smelling new things more closely, tasting different flavors by putting things in their mouth and touching everything around them. It is through these senses that they experience and learn about the world around them.

Months 6-9 are all about interacting with the senses. Your Little Pnut is now able to hold onto things and bring them closer to look at them more inquisitively, shaking things to see if they make noise. He can now touch the textures and feel the curves and straight edges of an object putting them in their mouths to interact with them more intimately. He may even have started crawling and getting into everything. You may start introducing solid foods now with even more tastes and textures. His little world is expanding and his experiences within his world are only making it more fun to discover.

Months 9-12 are about further perfecting your Little Pnuts interaction with his senses. Crawling around pulling on things pushing things, trying to pull himself up. His gross motor skills and fine motor skills are being further perfected allowing his senses to control how he observes and interacts with the world. He is loving the learning and growing that his little body and mind is allowing. He is beginning to push the limits, trying everything, experimenting with everything and investigating everything. Each day his environment further blossoms, allowing him to continue on a journey to learn something new.

It’s a bright and beautiful world for your Little Pnut, introduce it to him!

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