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Valentine’s Day is over, and the girls and I are moving on to our next theme of “preschool at home” activities. I have prepared a month’s worth of TRANSPORTATION ideas for Kate (and I usually try to extend the play with something a bit more challenging for Addie as well, when possible).
This morning, the girls helped me pack up all of our red and pink materials and pull out the blue beads, pom-poms, sensory rice, etc. (One of our books for the unit is Little Blue Truck and my transportation cookie cutters also happen to be blue, so it works!)
Then, we went into the kitchen to make blue playdough using this simple recipe. After cooling and kneading, it was still pretty green, so we added a LOT more blue food coloring to the dough (in a large Ziploc bag) and mixed it all together. Addie remarked that it looked a lot like Starry Night by Van Gogh as she was mixing up her half of the batch.
I like to include the girls when I prepare playdough because the recipe is very straightforward and they get practice with following directions, using measurement tools, and working together to create something. The only part they don’t get to help with is the boiling water!
We used our cookie cutters, rolled out snakes and balls, made letter Bs, and created animal statues, all in a period of about 15 minutes. I love seeing what how the girls play with the dough, knowing that all the manipulation is so good for building up the muscles in their hands AND we’re having great conversation while we’re working.
I have several more “invitations to play” in mind for the playdough for the rest of the month—and Kate is a whiz at coming up with her own creative ideas when I step back and let her lead.
After we cleaned up our playdough hands and dishes, we brought in a little more fine-motor practice and math with a couple of uncooked spaghetti noodles and our blue pony beads. Both girls worked at lacing the beads onto the uncooked noodle, which took some finesse to keep the noodle from breaking. Addie made an AB pattern with the light and dark beads, while Kate chose to alternate hers in groups of three. I challenged both girls to make it to the top of the noodle, which gave them the opportunity to work on patience and stamina when they felt like giving up. Kate eventually asked me to help after her first noodle broke, so we took turns to the top.
If you have younger children, you can make this activity developmentally-appropriate by using WIDE uncooked manicotti noodles instead of pony beads and a wooden dowel/kabob stick instead of a spaghetti noodle.
Our last activity this morning was experimenting with mixing blue and white paint. I used a chip and dip container from the dollar store and added different amounts of paint to each section so Kate could mix up a variety of shades (leaving the first and last sections plain white and plain blue). I gave her the option of using her fingers or brushes to paint, and she picked brushes.
If you prefer a low-mess alternative or have a child with sensory sensitivities, you can squirt white and blue paint in a Ziploc bag, seal it, and tape it to a table or window for a child to mix together.
Later today, we’ll be turning a large box into a pretend car for the girls to play with during the next few weeks! They’ve both been talking about it all weekend long.