I just discovered this really cool site – education.com – which has tons of activities for preschoolers and older kids. I love that they have the activities categorized by topic and age so you can find developmentally appropriate activities easily and you don’t end up doing something that’s too challenging for your child’s age. Kids love painting and it’s such a wonderful activity that has so much to offer in terms of helping development. It’s great for gross and fine motor skills, for developing spatial understanding, for understanding how things work (mixing colors), for experimenting, for cognitive development and it’s a great outlet and expression of thoughts and emotion.
Here are some interesting and unconventional ways of “painting” I found on their site and other favorite blogs and sites. Happy painting!
Painting with Bubbles
Painting with Ice
check out painting with ice on Thechocolatemuffintree.com
Crayon Rock Art
Make a Window Mural
Finally and most importantly a recipe for home made fingerpaint
Here is a list of fun ideas you can do with your baby with materials that are around the house or are easily accessible
This fun activity from The Imagination Tree is great for your baby’s fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination and sensory skills.Check out more Baby Play ideas on their site.
Also featured on The Imagination Tree. Playing with mirrors is great for exploring the self, textures and environment. Different mirror materials can be used, like toy mirrors, story box mirrors and other safe reflective surfaces.
Your baby can usually start rolling a ball between 8 – 18 months. Most children are capable of this when they are around a year old. It’s a great activity for developing eye-hand coordination, which is a skill needed later for drawing, writing and eating. Ball rolling is also great for physical gross and fine motor development. You can use small or big balls to keep your baby entertained and depending on her ability and age. Remember don’t force your baby into the activity, just giving her the opportunity is enough, she’ll participate when she’s ready.
Listening to music has been associated with increased spatial reasoning. Music and dance can have numerous positive effects on your baby; putting her in a good mood, helping her relax and just plain having fun. Dancing is an activity that can foster physical development as well as emotional and cognitive abilities. I’ve had experience with babies as young as 6 months moving their feet to the beat! Don’t be shy to give your baby some shakers or instruments to help her express herself and how she feels with the music.
Babies usually love water! Although they might find it stressful to take a bath in the first few weeks, most babies grow to love it and start crying when you take them out of the bath! Let your baby have some extra bath time and surround him with some rubber duckies and other safe play material. Some areas also offer swimming time for parents and their infants in groups. If you have access to a garden or beach, give your little one the chance to experience the wet mud and sand. It might be a hassle to clean up but you’re giving him a great experience in feeling textures and exploration which is great for his brain development. Remember never leave a baby in water unsupervised as it is extremely dangerous since babies can easily drown in a few inches of water.
Of course the most irreplaceable source of joy is you! Mom and Dad! You can provide your baby with all the stimulation and interaction he needs. Talking and singing helps his language, emotion, social and cognitive development. Your face is an endless screen of expressions that teaches him how social interaction works. Your actions are a perfect model to how baby should act and behave. Most of all you know your baby more than anyone and can give him what he needs at the right time 🙂
Check out more great activities to do with your newborn and baby on the Imagination Tree’s site and The Bub Hub
Cover Photo by Mariam El Mofty
Recycling isn’t just about separating your garbage or exchanging your plastic bottles for a few cents. Recycling can be fun and creative for both adults and children! Artists and designers have created some incredible pieces of work using recycled material.
You can also introduce your child to the fun aspects of recycling by turning an everyday item into something imaginative and creative.
Try turning a plastic bottle into a bird feeder or a boat! Here is a great idea to turn your milk bottles into planters.
Make puppets out of paper bags or use them to make these wonderful trees
Egg cartons make great bugs! You can also use this great transportation theme from “Getting Messy with Miss Jessy“
Also, check out these fun toilet roll ideas here and here!
Recycling isn’t just about making crafts, you can also make music. Try this creative outdoor music idea with your old pots and pans. Check out more recycled outdoor music ideas here!
You can use almost anything in your home to make one of these great Water Wall ideas. Check out ideas here and here.
You can find more great recycling craft ideas to do with your little on here.
For more inspiration check out what great Christmas trees cans and bottles can make and how some artists make sculptures out of old toys!
Reading to your Child about Recycling
Here are a few books about recycling for children ages birth-5. Get your child into recycling early on! 🙂
Don’t Throw That Away! A Lift-the-Flap Book about Recycling and Reusing
“Follow an eco-conscious super hero as he teaches kids how to recycle and reuse common household items! The six large flaps throughout show that oridinary trash is really a treasure. From turning old clothes into fun costumes or an old box into a brand new car, kids will learn that saving the environment is super cool!”
Choose to Recycle! A Green Touch and Feel Book
“A soup can becomes part of a new bicycle. A tire becomes a new ball. A bottle becomes a new goldfish bowl. In this die-cut, touch & feel book, recycling helps to create neat new things! This is a fun and simple introduction to one of the three R’s of conservation: reduce reuse RECYCLE. Reading to make a difference in the world. Hardcover book with touch-and-feel areas and die-cuts that reveal new images.”
Why Should I Recycle?
“What if everybody threw away old bottles and newspapers, littering the world with glass and plastic and tin cans that should be recycled and made into new products? Mr. Jones is a teacher who sets a good example for kids by separating his trash for recycling. When he takes them on a class trip to a recycling plant they learn the value of recycling. Part of every child’s development involves asking questions. Today, some of the most important questions kids ask are related to the natural environment. The enlightening and entertaining four-book Why Should I? series demonstrates the importance of protecting nature. Books present brief, entertaining stories that answer children’s questions and feature amusing color illustrations on every page. A note at the back of each book is for parents and teachers, suggesting ways to use these books most effectively.”