Archive for the ‘Learning’ Category

Sensory: River Rocks

Today after home-daycare closed Liam went upstairs to run laps (which seems to be a new trend with him) and started digging through the newly ‘kid-proofed’ cabinets and found himself something to play with.  He pulled out an empty wipes container and a couple handfuls of river rocks.  First he dropped them onto the floor and listened to the cool/loud noise they made.  Then he started to ‘poke’ each rock into the wipes hole and listened to them drop into the box with great pride.  None of this was facilitated.  I just sat there taking pictures.

Pardon Liam’s hair – avocado makes great hair gel… apparently.

Selecting with rocks fit into the box

It was interesting to see him manipulate each rock to sort out which ones would fit in the hole and which wouldn’t.

"Dis" he says, each time he finds a rock that fits.

His enthusiasm for this was incredible.  It was like he invented it all on his own (he kinda did, but I am pretty sure he could never get a patent)

"NoNoNo" he says when the rock doesn't go into the box any other way - no matter how hard he banged

THEN, he discovered the noise they make when banged together!!!

What a fun 30 minutes!  A whole sensory lesson created by a 1 year old!  Love it!


Baby-Led Painting

I am not going to win any ‘Mother of the Year’ awards with this one…

Today while I was cleaning up the craft stuff from 4 days ago (exhibit A of my MOTY fail) Liam nabbed a paintbrush and bolted up the stairs while my back was turned (Fail 2).  Once at the top of the stairs he darted into our ensuite bath and dipped his brush into the dog dish (Fail 3).

By this time, I had caught up to him.  He was squealing with excitement!  Insert impromptu “Water Painting” lesson.  I ran back downstairs and grabbed some coloured paper while he continued to dip his brush in the bowl.

Once presented with the paper, he knew exactly what to do!


Dip Dip, Paint.  Dip Dip Paint.

Here is a video of him in action about 1 minute into the activity with very little instructions.

So this went on and on for a good 30 minutes and about 9 refills of the dog dish.  He was in heaven! He started painting the tiles, himself, the cupboards, the tub.  He even painted his hair!

This was for sure what he wanted to do with his morning.  He was SO into it.  Forget the big playroom, forget chasing the dogs through the kitchen, forget going outside.  He wanted to play in water!

So we did.  For a LONG time.

And then he decided it was time to explore in the cupboards… which was cool except I suddenly realized – they have not been baby-proofed! (fail 4)

Well now they are!  The bathroom has now been baby-proofed, all of the tiles have been ‘washed’, cupboards ‘washed’, floor definitely ‘washed’.  Baby ‘washed’ and he suddenly has decided it was time to turbo charge his playing and he began to do laps between his room and the bathroom.  Like he was trying to ‘air dry’.  Whatever – works for me!

It’s like the feeling of being understood and having his creativity support gave him some kind of super powers.  I have never seen him with SOOOOO much energy!

Super fun morning!

Now to think of some ways to add some non-permanent colour to this activity…




Sensory Activity: Jello

First things first… making Jello isn’t idiot-proof.  I have no idea how I screwed this up so bad.  My jello was more like… thick orange water with a few gelatinous lumps.  Delightful right?!  Well – the perfect kind of thing for a sensory activity nonetheless.

Step one: Strip children.  Very important step – you will see why at the end of this entry.

Step two:  Gather this stuff

  • some measuring spoons
  • some basting brushes
  • cookie cutters
  • plastic eggs (still ‘training’ for Easter egg decorating)
  • jello
  • a spatula
  • a bin to put it all in
  • wash cloths and water

Pile the kids into their high chairs, cover them in something you never plan to use again.

Give them some spoons, the cookie cutters and the eggs to figure out how to use them, open them, let them taste them (of course).

With the spatula – portion out some jello and put it on the tray.  Now… here is where everything went downhill.  My jello didn’t gel so, my spatula couldn’t portion anything… so it was rendered useless and I just poured some ‘jello’ lumps/water onto their trays.

Watch as the kids’ energy builds with wonder and amazement as the jello jiggles and wiggles all around.  Or in my case… watch them try to play with the orange puddle on their trays.  Attempting to manipulate it with all their ‘tools’.

Following direction is something both of these kids do well… when it comes to craft time.  When it comes to ‘stop throwing things on the hardwood while the other kid is sleeping’ not so much.

So, anyways – play play pay.

And then something happened that I had not taken into consideration when planning this sensory activity….


And here my friends, is exactly why I did instruct you to strip your children before this activity!

Or, you could just make jello properly and this wouldn’t likely be the outcome… but just incase… diapers only!

So anyways – this occupied a good 30 minutes of the day.  It made minimal mess… nothing my 2 dogs couldn’t handle (in 6 seconds flat).

Maybe one day I will actually try this again if I learn the ancient secret to making proper jello.  Until then, I have this picture to remind me what a terrible mother I am for not knowing how to make frikken jello!

(PS the orange hands washed out in the tub a few hours later… I think the face too (bad lighting in the loo)- wont know till morning :P)

Let me know if you try this – and/or you know the secret to jello making.


Sensory Activity: Cool Whip

Well, spring sprang and then left.  What was going to be a week of playing in the grass and further developing their walking skills has gone back to staying indoors because the effort to get them all bundled and out the door is just too daunting.

So, we do sensory activities instead!

It’s almost Easter and with my two 1 year olds this will be the first time they will dabble in the art of egg decoration.  The visions in my head are all “Martha Stewart-y” with different dyes and patterns and some kind of use of Mod Podge… but let’s face it, these two can barely do a hand print without all hands on deck!  So, I decided now was a good time to get them ‘play practicing’ with the tools for the job.

A can of spray ‘whip’

Paint brushes

Easter themed cookie cutters

‘Rubber’ ducks, bunnies or whatever else fits the theme

Plastic eggs (which I meant to use, but just realized I forgot!)

Spoons (because we might as well practice that too!)


Bin to toss it all back into afterwards




I got the kiddies all settled into their high chairs, faced them towards each other and put on their paint smocks.  I think by now they ‘know’ the smocks mean craft time.  They LOVE wearing the smocks – not so much the crafts most of the time!  I added in the bunny ear headband for D in an attempt to keep her hair out of the line of fire… plus it fit the theme.

Then, I sprayed a little pileof whip onto each tray.  It took a few seconds for either of them to even touch it.  I think they thought there was more to it.  L was the first to squish it between his fingers and then spread it around his tray.  D saw this, and jumped in herself.  A taste, a smell a splash and they were both ready for more.  I added in the other items one by one… followed by another dollop of whip



“Give the duck and bath, paint the tray, put the whip on the ducks head” etc etc lead both kids to use all the items as asked … and also as vessels to get the whip into their mouth.  Boy am I ever glad I didn’t use shaving cream!

The time ticked on, larger and larger piles of whip where served and the kids just ‘ate it up’ as it where!  I am pretty sure there were playing for at least 40 minutes.  eventually the can was empty and the remaining whip melted (?) and the items where being dropped on the floor.

“All done” signs D

With all that could have gone messy in this sensory activity, this is the extent of the mess… not too bad!








And the only casualty was the cute bunny ears which D remembered where there only when she stuck her hands up to sign.  Oh well!

A fun activity for sure.  Not sure what the amount of ‘edible oil product’ will do to the … ahem… diaper later but… worth the smiles nonetheless.

Try this with your very young toddlers and let me know how it turns out!