Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Five Senses - part one

Theme: The Five Senses
Honey Pot is 2 years and 2 months old
Little M&M is 4 months old

This is part one of our exploration of the five senses! We covered sound, sight and touch through a variety of activities and crafts. I had intentions of doing smell and taste as well, but Honey Pot has a cold so I thought I would wait until she could experience them properly. Read on to see what we did.

* * Update: Part two is now available over here! * *


As I’ve said in the past, we have a pretty small local library. I was sorry to see that they only had two of the books in a series about the five senses. We borrowed them, but Honey Pot didn’t chose to read them too often. In addition to those, though, we took home a book called Rain by Manya Stojic. I actually really, really enjoyed this book. It explores all five senses as African animals sense the coming rain. A porcupine can smell it, zebras see it, baboons hear it, a rhino feels it and then a lion tastes it. The illustrations are beautiful and the text straightforward. We read this one again and again this week.

Sound Safari

I discovered this idea from No Time For Flashcards, one of my go-to blogs for inspiration. I created a checklist for Honey Pot’s clipboard, and we embarked on our safari. First we went over the list, identifying the sounds we might hear:

Then we began. “I hear someping!” she’d say. We live in a very quiet neighborhood, so I wasn’t too ambitious in my checklist. Turns out there was more to hear than I anticipated! So as she heard more sounds, I quickly drew in pictures for her to X out.

And even Little M&M enjoyed listening to the sounds of the outdoors.

Now don’t mock my lack of drawing skills. Okay, maybe you can. I sure laughed at them! The ones I drew in are meant to be the wind, a bee, a baby and a chipmunk. Surprisingly, the only sound she couldn’t check off was the bottom one – kids playing.

Texture Cards

I pinned this on Pinterest a long, long time ago. The idea originates from The Felt Mouse. And this became our craft for the week. I cut out small squares of chipboard, and gathered a few odds and ends of different textures from around the house. I told Honey Pot we were going to make these for Little M&M, and she was so excited to help. We used plastic straws, aluminum foil, pom poms, a gift wrap bow, buttons, handmade paper, foam, Popsicle sticks and a craft flower.

Here she is admiring her work!

Once they were dry I put Little M&M into his Bumbo seat with the tray on, and let him explore a couple at a time. He seemed pretty interested in these texture cards actually.

I had to supervise closely though, because he eventually tried to bring everything to his mouth. But he seemed to enjoy picking up each texture and then dropping them onto the floor just as much!

Sensory Bottles

In addition to the texture cards, I also made Little M&M a few bottles to play with. When he was born, the hospital gave me a lot of free samples, among them this set of three Similac bottles. So I placed bells into one, pom poms into another, and rice with star beads into the third. He seems to enjoy the latter the best!

Here he is exploring them for the first time:

I put these and his texture cards, as well as a few books that explore the senses into a basket that we’ll keep handy for playtime.

I Spy Game

To explore the sense of sight, I made Honey Pot a small I Spy book. The inspiration for this came from This Present Life. I bought a photo album at the Dollar Tree, and made a cover for it.

Then I grouped various toys and puzzle pieces together and took pictures of them.

It didn’t seem like I had enough pages, so I also grabbed these cute color-themed collections that I found at Picklebums, and included them as well.

Honey Pot really loved this game! On each page, I asked her to find various items, and she got so excited to point them out to me. “Here it is!”

Giant Squishy Sensory Bag

We concluded part one of our five senses theme with a giant sensory bag! The idea for this of course comes from Play At Home Mom. We don’t have much of a yard, and decided to do this on the back deck. Even though the water was so cold, Honey Pot loved to crawl around on it. To make it extra slippery, her Daddy squirted some bath soap/bubbles onto it. She really enjoyed crawling around, squishing and sliding.

Honey Pot had so much fun with this - we ended up rinsing it off and playing with it again the next day!

Small Squishy Sensory Bag
Yes, we decided to give Little M&M his first sensory bag as well. I just filled a Ziploc bag with water and blue food coloring, and placed a couple of bath toys inside. He really loved it!

We’ll resume the five senses another week, when Honey Pot is feeling better. But I think the first part of our theme was a huge success!

* * Update, take a peek at part two, where we covered smell and taste, right here! * *

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Theme: Fruit
Honey Pot is 2 years and 2 months old

This week our local story-time group read books about fruit. Since my planned theme was already pushed off till next week due to the virtual book club (see the fun we had with that over here!) I decided to make a small theme of this.

Blindfolded Exploration

I grabbed a (clean) burp cloth from Little M&M’s closet and used it as a blindfold for Honey Pot.

Then I collected three different fruits that we had on hand, and let her identify them by touch. She didn’t want to keep the blindfold on for long, but she did well with this activity while it lasted.

Apples and Bananas – Song and Snack

We sang an old favorite together – Apples and Bananas. I am not sure of the original vocalist, but ever since Honey Pot was born, we’ve enjoyed the version by Raffi. I love how Honey Pot keeps trudging through a song even when she doesn’t know the words! After we sang through the song, we split an apple and banana for her morning snack. Yum!

Play Dough – Slicing Practice

I made some fruit out of Honey Pot’s play dough. Erm...obviously not drawn to scale. (Again, find the recipe we used here! We love it!)

Then I gave her a plastic knife, and let her practice cutting up her fruit. She really enjoyed doing this and, for her first time, she actually did quite well!

Dramatic Play – Shopping for Fruit

I had purchased a money set from the Dollar Tree months ago, intending to use the coins for our St. Patrick’s Day theme (which was a bust actually because, well, I had a baby that week instead). I’m glad it came with dollars too, as it made this game so much more fun (and educational). First I collected all of the fruits from Honey Pot’s kitchen set, and placed the dollar bills in her purse.

Honey Pot then went shopping!

I played the part of the cashier. Once I emptied out her bag, we counted how many pieces of fruit she had.

Then she counted out that number of dollar bills to pay me with. It was a great way to sneak in some counting practice!

Here she is putting the leftover money back into her purse.

And this was such fun - we did this a few times.

“Bye, I’m going shopping!” she kept saying, as she strutted around the house.

Coin Art

After doing an online search for fruit themed activities, I came across this fun one from Gummy Lump. I suppose it could be altered for any number of themes, but it happened to suit ours just fine. To make it easiest, I stuck the coins onto a piece of contact paper so they wouldn’t budge.

Then I covered it with a sheet of paper, and showed Honey Pot how to make rubbings.

For the blueberries, I asked her to help me place them onto the contact paper in random order.

Here is the final product!

And then she asked if she could put the coins in her piggy bank. Well, for putting up with all of my extra tot school shenanigans, of course you can, my dear.

Coloring Page

There is a site called Super Coloring that has a wonderful selection of coloring pages that look like famous paintings. So I chose one with fruit in it for Honey Pot to use those crayons a little more. It is called "Still Life With Jug and Drapery" by  Paul C├ęzanne. Here is the original painting:

And here is Honey Pot's version:

Blueberry Picking

And what fruit theme is complete without a trip to the berry farm to do some blueberry picking?

"Mmm, nummy!"