Saturday, February 9, 2013

Invitation to Play - Valentine's Sensory Tray

Normally, we have a sensory tote out for the season or a topic we've been exploring however, this month I did something different - a Valentine's Sensory Tray.  Sassy Sis is really into scooping, sorting, matching, patterning, counting, transferring - all of the great skills a sensory tote helps to develop/practice.

Like many of my ideas I was inspired by Happy Hooligans' post because her ideas  are just perfect for little ones and super easy for me to put together!

Here is what I came up with:

Nothing is expensive and most of it we had at home:
mini heart containers
mini heart erasers
heart ice cube tray
empty baby food jar
assorted red/pink/white containers
Valentine lid container
various scoops, tongs, spoons.
metal mailbox
felt hearts
pink and red heart table scatter

I can tell you all of this was bought at Dollar Tree, Joanne's, dollar section of Target, and Ikea ( ice cube tray) and most was probably bought last year when Valentine's day items were 50% off!

Sassy Sis was immediately drawn to the tray and spent the better part of the morning playing with it, even inciting the Owl to come and have a look as well.  

Putting together a sensory tote or tray doesn't need to take a lot of time nor does it need to be expensive.  
We'll play with this for the next couple of weeks and then we all of the components will go in a large ziploc bag for easy storage until next February! 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Invitation to Play - Beaded Valentines

Especially in the winter months I like to have an " Invitation to Play" ready for the little ones when they come down in the morning. This is a simple activity - with everything they need to complete activity - laid out for them on a tray.  Sometimes they'll walk right by it and not even notice it until later in the day while other times they'll dive right into the activity as soon as they spot it.

Sassy Sis spotted this activity right away and stayed with it for the better part of the morning.  She even asked me to replenish it so she could play with it the next day as well.

What's on the tray? 

1. Pipe Cleaners - I had bent some to look like hearts, but neither child was drawn to them.
2. Various pink, red, white and heart shaped pony beads.

What do you do? 
The little ones will simply string the beads on to the pipe cleaner.  I did show them how to bend the end of the pipe cleaner first so the beads wouldn't fall off.  This is a GREAT activity for fine motor skills.

After the kids were done stringing the beads onto the pipe cleaner I helped them twist the two ends together.

Then, we just manipulated the pipe cleaner to resemble the shape of a heart. 

That's it, easy-peasy - 99% child driven - with just a little help from Mama.  Our pile of beaded hearts is growing, but here are some of our first attempts.