Facial Feature Story Stones

Facial Feature Story Stones are a great way to teach toddlers about different emotions and to develop emotional intelligence! They are also a wonderful tool for teaching about the similarities and differences between their own faces and those of others.

1

As toddlers become more self-aware, they begin to notice their own facial features and those of others. One of the first things they notice is eye color. My daughter O is 26 months old. She has known that her eyes are brown for a while now, but only recently discovered that mommy’s eyes are green. She frequently tells me, “Mommy’s eye is green with a little black.” We recently read a book called “My Nose, Your Nose” by Melanie Walsh, which discusses the many diverse facial features of different children. O loved this book! I realized that she was very interested in similarities and differences, so I created this Facial Feature Story Stone activity!

2

These Facial Feature Story Stones are also great for teaching little ones about emotional intelligence. At two years old, Miss O is starting to become more aware of the emotions of others as well as her own. She is particularly affected by seeing people or characters become sad. If a character is sad on television, her eyes fill with tears and she will say “He’s happy?” Cue the waterworks! My husband and I talk to her about different emotions and explain to her that everyone feels sad sometimes, but then they feel happy again later. I want to help her to become more comfortable with her own emotions and those of other people and characters. These story stones have worked great for helping us discuss different emotions and how they can change. Right now Mr. Face is smiling, but something might happen to make him sad. Some of the stones have tears to symbolize crying and a sad, down-turned mouth. We switch out the stones to reflect the emotion of feeling sad, and talk about things that we can do to feel happy again. Then we switch the stones again to reflect happy feelings. 

3

What is emotional intelligence and why is it important? Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is a person’s ability identify, understand, and express their emotions. The earlier we teach children about their emotions, the more successful they will be in their relationships and ability to express themselves to others. People with strong emotional intelligence are better able to communicate, negotiate conflict, and successfully express themselves. As parents and teachers, we can help our children develop their emotional intelligence by helping them to acknowledge and label their feelings. For example, when a child gets upset after another child knocks over a block structure you can say, “You are feeling mad that your blocks got knocked over.” If a child is crying after saying goodbye to a parent you can say, “You are sad because mommy is leaving.” Helping children to label their emotions helps to build emotional intelligence because you are helping them to understand and express their own feelings. Facial Feature Story Stones can be used in a variety of settings, even when a child is upset. Keep them near and easily accessible to help a child build a face to express how they are feeling. 

Facial Feature Story Stones- teaching toddlers about emotional intelligence Facial Feature Story Stones- teaching toddlers about emotional intelligence Facial Feature Story Stones- teaching toddlers about emotional intelligence

Materials:

Tips & Tricks:

These are so easy and fun to make! Chalk markers easily paint on rocks and result in vivid colors. Draw a variety of designs to reflect your child’s facial features and those of others. Be creative! They don’t have to be super realistic, I made one character have purple eyes! Make sure to include a variety of emotions as well: happy, sad, mad, surprised, etc. 

Areas of Development:

  • Emotional– children are learning about their own emotions and those of others. This activity provides a lot of opportunity for discssion between the caregiver and child. 
  • Self-awareness– children will become more aware of their own facial features and those of others. 
  • Social– learning about emotional intelligence will help children interact socially with other people. 
  • Language– new vocabulary will be acquired and used as children discuss different features (eyes, nose, mouth, etc.) and emotions (happy, sad, mad, excited, etc.)

Facial Feature Story Stones- teaching toddlers about emotional intelligence

(Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. We receive a small portion of the sale should you purchase through these links. All recommendations are our own.)

 

Sharing is caring...Share on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

Mission to Mars Sensory & Prentend Play

Do you have a little one who loves rocket ships and outer space? This Mission to Mars Sensory & Pretend Play activity engages the senses and encourages toddlers and preschoolers to use their imaginations!

Mission to Mars Sensory & Pretend Play

Miss O is borderline obsessed with all things SPACE! It all started with the PBS show “Ready Jet Go,” and has evolved into many toys and books related to rocket ships and space. So to further build on this interest of hers, I created this Mission to Mars Sensory & Pretend Play activity box! The small rocket ships and astronaut figurines encourage children to pretend and use their imaginations. The red lentils that I used to create “Mars” provide a bumpy and sensory-rich experience as children run their hands and fingers through the materials. 

Mission to Mars Sensory & Pretend Play

Miss O was so excited and exclaimed, “WOW, rocket ships!” when I presented her with this activity. She immediately began to pour and sprinkle the red lentils in the box. She also really enjoyed the astronauts and rocket ships included in the TOOB set I ordered for her. My favorite part of this space themed TOOB is the space monkey! Miss O loved playing with the little monkey, pretending to make him jump and dive into the lentils! 

Materials:

Tips & Tricks:

Read books about space and introduce concepts about space travel and Mars prior to beginning this activity to further enhance meaning and understanding for children. Do this activity somewhere easy to clean up. These red lentils hurt quite a bit when you step on them! They have some sort of magical ability to become embedded in the bottoms of feet! 

Areas of Development:

  • Imagination & Creativity– this activity is open-ended, meaning children decide how they will play with it and what they will create. Children can use the small toys to act out stories and explore concepts. 
  • Language– as children learn about outer space, Mars, and astronauts, they will begin to learn and use new vocabulary. 
  • Cognitive– children develop their understanding of their world (and another world!) while exploring concpets through hands-on experiences. 
  • Fine Motor Skills– the small muscles in the hands are strengthened as children grasp and pinch the different figurines and explore the lentils. 
  • Emotional– engaging in sensory play is a calming experience for children and often allows them to get in touch with their emotions. 

Mission to Mars Sensory & Pretend Play Mission to Mars Sensory & Pretend Play Mission to Mars Sensory & Pretend Play

If you enjoyed this Mission to Mars Sensory & Pretend Play activity, check out these other sensory activities!

Magnetic Sensory Box

Butterfly Garden Sensory Activity

Ocean Sensory Exploration

Easter Egg Sensory Activity

Fizzy Numbers (STEAM for Toddlers)

(Disclaimer: This Mission to Mars Sensory & Pretend Play  post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of these links, we receive a small portion of the sale. We only recommend products we truly love!)

Mission to Mars Sensory & Pretend Play

Sharing is caring...Share on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

Rainbow Invitation to Play

Rainbow Invitation to Play- so many fun colors for toddlers and preschoolers to explore!

I love rainbows, and this Rainbow Invitation to Play is no exception! Our Rainbow Invitation to Play is a wonderful open-ended activity for toddlers and preschoolers. Providing children with loose parts to create anything they dream of, gives them the chance to express their creativity and imagination. Open-ended activities help to build confidence and cognitive development in young children. 

Rainbow Invitation to Play- so many fun colors for toddlers and preschoolers to explore!

For this Rainbow Invitation to Play, I used a plastic food serving tray with different sections to hold all the loose parts. I put some white confetti play-doh in the center. I chose white play-doh so that the rainbow colors would be the focus; like a blank slate for Miss O to create her masterpiece! I’ve given her loose parts and play-doh before, but this was the first time I gave her so many different parts! She was immediately drawn to the blue glass stones, as this was the first time she had seen them. She loved squishing them in the play-doh!

Rainbow Invitation to Play- so many fun colors for toddlers and preschoolers to explore!

Materials:

  • Serving tray with different sections
  • Red loose parts: craft sticks
  • Orange loose parts: pom poms and pipe cleaners (twisted into spirals)
  • Yellow loose parts: buttons and pom poms
  • Green loose parts: plastic tops of fruit and veggie pouches
  • Blue loose parts: glass stones
  • Purple loose parts: pom poms

Note: These objects are not developmentally appropriate for babies and young toddlers who still frequently put objects in their mouths. Always use caution and supervise when young children play with loose parts. 

Tips & Tricks:

You can use any loose parts you may have on hand, be crafty and creative! This is a great opportunity to use scraps and leftovers from other projects. But of course, make sure to use all the different colors of the rainbow! 

Areas of Development:

  • Cognitive– children develop their understanding of colors, shapes, and sizes as they explore the play-doh and loose parts. 
  • Fine motor skills– children develop the small muscles in their hands as they manipulate the play-doh and grasp the loose parts. 
  • Confidence & Self-Expression– allowing children to play with materials in an open-ended setting helps them to learn about themselves  and make choices. 
  • Creativity & Imagination– this type of open-ended activity encourages young children to construct whatever their imaginations can dream up. 
  • Language– as children work with the play-doh and loose parts, they create and exchange language with other children and adults around them. They use language to describe what they are doing, often narrating their actions to themselves. Children are also learning new vocabulary about the various objects and colors. 

If you enjoyed this Rainbow Invitation to Play, you’ll also love our Ocean Theme Invitation to Play!

Rainbow Invitation to Play- so many fun colors for toddlers and preschoolers to explore!

 

 

Sharing is caring...Share on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

5 Books We Love (and why we love them)!

The Playful Genius- Books We Love (and why we love them)!

We absolutely love reading books with Miss O! We started reading to her right after she was born. She would gaze at the pictures and listen to the sounds of mommy and daddy reading. I think the first book we read to her was “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. It’s one of my all time favorite children’s books and I just couldn’t wait to introduce it to my own daughter! We still read it almost every day! Now that she’s two years old, I am constantly on the look out for new, engaging books to keep Miss O developing her love of reading. Here are the current 5 books we love, and why we love them!

The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin. Where do I start with this one? The illustrations depict gorgeously styled children and scenery. The words tug at the heartstrings as the story verbalizes the words every parent feels for their child: no matter who you grow up to be, I’ll love you. This is such a beautiful story to read with the child you love. It’s also an amazing baby shower or birthday gift for a baby. 

Hug by Jez Alborough. How can a book with only one word be so powerful? This book is great for young children because the emotions of the story are told through the illustrations and expressions. Poor Bobo gets separated from his mom and everywhere he goes, he sees animal babies and moms hugging! He reunites with his mom for a very emotional ending. Miss O loves this one, particularly because it’s so easy for her to retell. 

 Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor Robin Preiss Glasser. We love this book because Nancy is just so fabulous! Who can resist her lessons for playing dress up and learning to be fancy? Miss O especially loves the part when Nancy trips and falls, spilling ice cream parfaits all over the floor. Her favorite thing to do is say, “I don’t feel fancy anymore” in her super dramatic voice. I love this books because of how supportive Nancy’s parents are of each and every wild idea she has, indulging Nancy’s super fancy fantasies. 

Are you My Mother? by P.D. Eastman. This is a classic that even I remember reading as a child! Maybe that’s why it’s so nostalgic to read this one with Miss O. If you aren’t familiar with this one, it’s about a baby bird who hatches while his mother is away. He decides to go look for her and encounters numerous animals and machines before he’s reunited with this mother. Children love to answer as the story asks, “Are you my mother?” This is a great story for beginning readers as well because the words are easy to decode and very repetitive. 

 Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes by James Dean and Eric Litman. I’ll admit, this book is one of my favorites to read! I used to love reading this book to my students because they would have so much fun singing along to the songs in the book. Pete gets some awesome new white shoes, but then he steps in a myriad of messes that change the colors of his shoes! But does he cry? Goodness no! The Pete the Cat series is definitely one everyone with children should check out! 

The Playful Genius- Books We Love (and why we love them)!

If you enjoyed this 5 Books We Love post, you’ll also like our 15 Non-Fiction Books for Babies and Toddlers article!

(Disclaimer: This 5 Books We Love post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through on of these links, we receive a small portion of the sale. We only recommend books and products we truly love!)

 

Sharing is caring...Share on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

Fizzy Numbers (S.T.E.A.M. for Toddlers)

Fizzy Numbers Header

Fizzy Numbers are a great way to introduce S.T.E.A.M. concepts (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) to toddlers. This hands-on activity gives young children an opportunity to experiment and observe baking soda numbers becoming fizzy after dropping colored vinegar on them! The colors and reactions make this a very engaging activity for toddlers and preschoolers. 

1

Miss O (24 months) loves to play with all things sensory: paint, water, sand, etc. So I knew she would love experimenting with some colored vinegar and baking soda. We did a baking soda/colored vinegar experiment a couple months ago, but I wanted to introduce this activity with a different twist. I found these really cool silicone number molds and knew they would make for lots of fun math and sensory play! You can find them on Amazon here

2

I love the whole concept of teaching S.T.E.A.M. to children. Back when I was teaching in the classroom, it was only referred to as S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and math- no art). But the inclusion of art in this group of studies makes my heart happy. Combining these areas of study increases student engagement and understanding of concepts. Instead of just learning about numbers, children get a chance to get hands on with them. This Fizzy Numbers activity gives children the opportunity to engage in science, math, and art! 

Materials:

3

Tips & Tricks:

This Fizzy Numbers activity is super easy to prepare. It’s best to do it at night, so the numbers are nice and frozen the next day. I don’t have exact measurements for the baking soda/water mixture, I simply mixed in baking soda until it seemed to be saturated. I used a turkey baster to squirt the mixture into the molds, which worked perfectly. I had to keep stirring the mixture to keep it combined because the baking soda kept separating. I put the numbers, dropper, and small cups of colored vinegar on a plate on the kitchen floor for Miss O to work. 

6

Miss O decided to put a number directly into the vinegar cup… look at that reaction!

Areas of Development:

  • Science- Toddlers are exploring science concepts by observing the chemical reaction and physical changes of the baking soda and vinegar. Children also have an opportunity to learn about colors and color mixing. 
  • Math– Children can explore numbers 1-9 and work on number recognition. 
  • Art– Children are free to decorate and use colors as they wish. 
  • Physical- Children develop fine motor skills and strengthen the muscles in their fingers and hands as they squeeze and release droppers. 
  • Cognitive-  Experimenting with baking soda and vinegar provides children with the opportunity to observe cause and effect. 
  • Emotional- This is a very calming activity, as children concentrate on using the droppers and watching the reactions. Sensory play is often connected with relaxation and mindfulness. 
  • Language- This activity provides great opportunities for parents and toddlers to use words like like fizzy, bubble, and talk about different colors. 

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through these links, we receive a small portion of the sale. We only recommend products we truly love!)

Fizzy Numbers (S.T.E.A.M. for Toddlers- science, technology, engineering, art, and math!

Sharing is caring...Share on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

Popsicle Stick Color Sort

Popsicle Stick Color Sort for Toddlers and Preschoolers

This simple Popsicle Stick Color Sort activity is perfect for teaching toddlers and preschoolers all about sorting objects by color. Sorting is an important skill to start teaching young, because it’s a foundational skill for math later on. Objects can be sorted and grouped according to their characteristics, and this is a skill that will prove beneficial when children start to learn to group numbers later on in their mathematics learning. 

Popsicle Stick Color Sort for Toddlers and Preschoolers

I put this Popsicle Stick Color Sort together quickly for Miss O using simple craft and kitchen supplies. I got these rainbow colored popsicle sticks at the Dollar Tree. If you don’t have a dollar store or craft store nearby, you can order these rainbow craft sticks from Amazon here. I had the silicone ice cube tray hiding away in the cupboard that I picked up from IKEA years ago. You can order a similar one from Amazon here

Popsicle Stick Color Sort for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Materials:

Tips & Tricks:

I set up this activity using an engaging Invitation to Play style. I set up the ice cube tray on Miss O’s activity table and placed one popsicle stick of each color in the slots. I left the remaining sticks (2 or 3 of each color) spread out around the tray, inviting her to sort. This way, Miss O knew exactly where to put the remaining colored sticks. No need to give lots of instructions when you set it up in a way that is self-explanatory to the child. O is already very familiar with color identification, so she was ready to sort!

Areas of Development:

  • Sorting/Classifying
  • Color Identification
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Cognitive

Popsicle Stick Color Sort for Toddlers and Preschoolers

If you enjoyed this Popsicle Stick Color Sort activity, check out these other play-based color sorting activities for young children:

Button Color Sort

Ball Color Sort for Toddlers

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through those links, we receive a small portion of the sale. This does not influence our recommendations, as we only recommend products we truly love!)

Popsicle Stick Color Sort for Toddlers and Preschoolers

 

 

Sharing is caring...Share on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

Paper Plate Frog Mask

Paper Plate Frog Mask- a book craft inspired by "Froggy Gets Dressed" Plus more frog-themed book recommendations!

Ribbit! This cute Paper Plate Frog Mask is a super fun and easy craft for kids! I love using paper plates for crafts because I always have them lying around the house and they’re so versatile. This one is simple enough for toddlers to make too! This craft was inspired by the book, “Froggy Gets Dressed” written by Jonathan London and illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz. This book is a funny and engaging story about a frog who wakes during winter and wants to go play outside, but he keeps forgetting different pieces of clothing! The favorite part of the story for children is when froggy forgets his (spoiler alert!) UNDERWEAR! Oh boy, anything involving underwear will have kids rolling around laughing on the floor! 

Paper Plate Frog Mask- a book craft inspired by "Froggy Gets Dressed" Plus more frog-themed book recommendations!

Miss O has been really interested in frogs lately, so we’ve been reading lots of frog books. She even got a snazzy new froggy lunchbox! I started to wonder where this fascination with frogs came from, because we live in a big city and don’t exactly have a ton of frogs all over.  I think her interest may just be the fact that frogs are so cute! Whatever it is that has made her like frogs so much, I wanted to create a fun craft for her that would also double as a froggy mask for dress up! 

     

I love doing crafts out of paper plates. When I was teaching in the classroom, I would also find way to incorporate paper plate crafts into each unit of study. We made self-portraits using paper plates, farm animals, and even used them to learn about different food groups. I found a huge stack of left-over paper plates in my teaching supplies and wanted to use them up. This Paper Plate Frog Mask is super easy to make, even a toddler can do it! 

Paper Plate Frog Mask- a book craft inspired by "Froggy Gets Dressed" Plus more frog-themed book recommendations!

Materials:

  • paper plates
  • tempera paint
  • paint cups and brushes
  • scissors
  • black marker
  • straw or stick
  • tape

Directions:

  1. Draw a line to define the cheeks, top of the eyes, and holes for eyes (see picture below). 
  2. Cut on the line to remove the top part of the paper plate. 
  3. Cut out holes for eyes
  4. Cover the paper plate with paint. We made our frogs green, but go ahead and be creative!
  5. After the paint dries, add any decorations to your frog (pink cheeks, tongue, etc.)
  6. Use the marker to draw a mouth on the frog. 
  7. Tape the straw to the back of the paper plate as a handle to hold the mask up. 

IMG_8039

Tips & Tricks:

This activity is so simple, there aren’t too many tricks! My best recommendation is to use something round (like a bottle cap) to create a round and uniform look for the eyes. I used the round top of a baby food pouch! 

      

Areas of Development:

  • Dramatic Play– Children use their imaginations and props to participate in pretend play. 
  • Art– Children learn about different types of art materials and how to create a mask. 
  • Literacy– This activity encourages early literacy skills as adults read to children. 
  • Social– Children develop social skills through interactions with adults and other children (turn taking with materials, playing with other children, learning social norms, etc.)
  • Emotional– Dramatic play provides children with an opportunity to act out different feelings and experiences, helping them express and get in touch with their emotions. 

Frog Related Book Recommendations:

 
                                           

Other Fun Froggy Related Products:

            

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Should you order through these links, we receive a small portion of the sale. This does not affect our recommendations as we only recommend products we truly love!)

Paper Plate Frog Mask- a book craft inspired by "Froggy Gets Dressed" Plus more frog-themed book recommendations!

Sharing is caring...Share on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

Magnetic Sensory Box

Magnetic Sensory Box- Hands-on exploration for toddlers and preschoolers (Inquiry-based and S.T.E.M.)

Introduce magnets to young children with this fun Magnetic Sensory Box. Children can explore various objects and inquire about their magnetic qualities. This Magnetic Sensory Box provides children with a hands-on opportunity to answer the question, “Is is magnetic?” I love providing children with S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and math) activities from a young age. I filled this box with rice and various objects for my toddler to sort through and discover. This inquiry-based activity encourages children to explore and engage the senses. 

Magnetic Sensory Box- Hands-on exploration for toddlers and preschoolers (Inquiry-based and S.T.E.M.)

Miss O just turned 2 this month, and I thought it would be a fun time to start introducing new instruments and concepts to her. I found some awesome magnetic wands and wanted an engaging setup. I went on a scavenger hunt around the house to find as many different materials as I could. I placed all the different objects on top of the rice and set this Magnetic Sensory Box out as an Invitation to Play. I introduced her to the magnetic wand and she took it right away. As she swiped it across the top of the rice, so many of the magnetic items stuck to the wand. She was pretty impressed! 

Magnetic Sensory Box- Hands-on exploration for toddlers and preschoolers (Inquiry-based and S.T.E.M.)

I think we both learned a lot from this activity! As a teacher, I’ve done these magnet activities many times. Yet, somehow I forgot that coins aren’t magnetic! There were a few other items that surprised me as well! This activity really is great for kids of so many different ages, as the activity can be modified (ex. Have older children sort them into groups and even write about them). To help children answer questions about their natural environment, encourage them to ask and seek answers to many different questions. Encourage children to make observations of what they are seeing and doing. Discuss with them that magnets are attracted to some metals (with the most common metal being iron). Follow-up this activity by encouraging children to look through the house to find materials and test out whether or not they are magnetic. 

Questions to Ask Children:

  1. What are magnets?
  2. What can they do?
  3. What type of materials do you think magnets will be attracted to?
  4. Why do some materials move towards the magnet while others don’t? 

Magnetic Sensory Box- Hands-on exploration for toddlers and preschoolers (Inquiry-based and S.T.E.M.)

Materials:

There are so many different things you could include in your Magnetic Sensory Box, so scavenge the house and have fun! Here’s what I included in mine (and more)!

Magnetic: refrigerator magnets, paper clips, pipe cleaners, washers, bolts

Non-magetic: pom poms, keys, coins, rocks, shells, buttons, wood, crayon

Magnetic Sensory Box- Hands-on exploration for toddlers and preschoolers (Inquiry-based and S.T.E.M.)

Tips & Tricks:

You don’t have to use a ton of rice to fill the box. I only used enough to create a 1/2 inch layer of rice. Any activity involving sensory materials can get messy, so do this somewhere easy to clean up rice spills. These materials could easily be choking hazards so please make sure to supervise children. If you have a toddler who is still in the mouthing phase, I would recommend holding off on this activity or modifying the materials to be larger and safer. 

Magnetic Sensory Box- Hands-on exploration for toddlers and preschoolers (Inquiry-based and S.T.E.M.)

Areas of Development:

  • Science– children are exploring concepts about magnetics and cause and effect.
  • Inquiry– children seek answers to questions about the natural world. 
  • Fine Motor Skills– as children manipulate the small objects in the bin and pull metals off the magnet, they  build the small muscles of the hands. 
  • Math– children add and subtract items as they manipulate them in and out of the sensory bin and table. 
  • Language– children learn new words like magnet, attract, metal, etc. 
  • Emotional– engaging in sensory play is a calming experience for children and often allows them to get in touch with their emotions. 

Magnetic Sensory Box- Hands-on exploration for toddlers and preschoolers (Inquiry-based and S.T.E.M.)

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through that link, we receive a small portion of the sale. We only recommend products that we truly love!)

Magnetic Sensory Box- Hands-on exploration for toddlers and preschoolers (Inquiry-based and S.T.E.M.)

Sharing is caring...Share on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

Button Color Sort

1

Buttons come in such an array of colors and sizes making them perfect for sorting and classifying! This Button Color Sort is great for teaching toddlers and preschoolers to sort objects by colors.  Sorting is an important skill to teach young children because it is a beginning concept for math. Sorting helps children understand that things can be alike or different, and can be organized into groups. This helps lay the foundation for understanding number concepts and grouping numbers later on. 

3

I am always inspired by Montessori and Reggio-Inspired practices, and I wanted to include some in this Button Color Sort activity. Both practices originate from Italy. Reggio-Emilia is the name of a region in Italy where schools and teachers adapt the approach to their specific classroom needs. Reggio-Inspired classrooms emphasize:

  • Learning is driven by children’s interests
  • Adults help to guide child-led projects
  • Document and display children’s work and thoughts
  • Children have multiple ways to express themselves (The Hundred Languages of Children)
  • The environment is the third teacher

This last one, the environment as the third teacher, is the one that really stands out to me. A Reggio-Inspired classroom (or playroom) should have lots of light, natural materials, organization, and authentic tools. Some of the best Reggio-Inspired classrooms I have seen have minimal clutter and appear to be very home-like. I like to try to incorporate some of these elements in activities that I create for my daughter O. For this project, I included a wooden salad bowl set that I received from my grandmother. It’s both beautiful and sentimental! The story behind this bowl set is also pretty cool. My late grandfather picked it up in Fiji over 60 years ago! You can read more about Reggio Emilia Practices here

7

I can’t sew, so I don’t exactly have a ton of buttons lying around. So when I found this cute pack of pastel buttons at the Dollar Tree, I was so excited! I knew they would be a great to include in this Button Color Sort. They also worked perfectly with the wooden bowl set that I wanted to include (4 different colors and 4 separate bowls)! 

2

Materials:

  • assorted buttons
  • bowls/tray for sorting
  • colored paper

4

Tips & Tricks:

I set this activity up as an Invitation to Play, meaning I didn’t give O any specific instructions but allowed her to figure out what to do herself. When activities and environments are thoughtfully prepared, children are better able to seek out knowledge through their own investigations. I set out the large bowl full of buttons and the four empty bowls next to it. Inside each of the small bowls, I put a square of colored construction paper that I cut to match each color button. Miss O dove right in, sorting buttons into the small bowls. Being the cheeky toddler she is, she pretended to put the buttons in her mouth to get a reaction out of mommy! I would NEVER leave her alone with these, and definitely recommend using your best judgement when it comes to your own child. 

6

Areas of Development:

  • Sorting/Classifying
  • Color Recognition
  • Fine motor skills
  • Pincer grip/Dexterity
  • Decision making skills/confidence

Button Color Sort (Montessori & Reggio-Inspired)

Sharing is caring...Share on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

Donut Party

Donut Party

This past weekend we celebrated O’s second birthday with a donut themed birthday party! Miss O’s name starts with a donut-shaped letter, donuts are cheerful and perfect for a party, and EVERYONE loves donuts, so why not make it a donut party! The celebration was in the morning, so I went with all allergy-friendly donuts, cake, and  brunch foods that everyone could enjoy. I used a combination of homemade and store-bought foods and decorations to create a memorable donut party for Miss O!

1

It was so important to me to make this party completely allergy-friendly for my daughter O. She is allergic to dairy and eggs, so birthday parties can be a little tricky. O will have an allergic reaction if someone touches her with dairy or eggs on their hands or mouth, so any event where people are consuming food and cake is one we have to watch carefully. It breaks my heart when people avoid touching my daughter and loving on her the way she deserves, because they are afraid of an allergic reaction. This is why I decided to make her birthday party completely free of allergens! This also relieved me of some major anxiety so that I could enjoy my daughter’s birthday too!

     

Food

Donuts, donuts, and more donuts! I ordered three dozen vegan donuts from Whole Foods Bakery. They included different flavors like chocolate, blueberry, maple, crumb, and cinnamon sugar. I got the most delicious vegan chocolate mouse cake from the Whole Foods Bakery as well. We got vegan donuts and cake because vegan foods are free of eggs and dairy. It’s important to note that I didn’t feed the vegan foods from the bakery to my daughter because they are most likely contaminated with allergens and unfortunately aren’t safe for her to eat. That’s why I baked some safe vegan donuts for Miss O (and everyone else) to enjoy! I used a Wilton non-stick donut pan to bake the donuts (which makes them a WHOLE lot healthier than those fried ones). I found a great recipe for vanilla vegan donuts at The Friendly Fig. Then I used my own recipe for vegan coconut icing to dip the donut in. They were DELICIOUS!

Donut Party Food Collage

Other food served at the donut party included:

  • Cinnamon rolls (vegan; Trader Joe’s)
  • Prosciutto wrapped asparagus (Whole Foods Catering)
  • Berry Platter with coconut milk yogurt and granola
  • Hash Browns
  • Iced coffee/tea, juice, lemonade, and water

Invitations

I used Canva to create invitations to Miss O’s donut party. They have the cutest clip art and fonts, and it’s all for FREE! I think they turned out adorably and they didn’t cost me a thing to make. Especially since when I went to go get them printed at Staples, the wonderful woman who printed them gave them to me for free! Maybe it was the squirmy toddler, but I truly appreciated this woman’s random act of kindness! 

 

2

Decorations

I found the most amazing inflatable donuts from the Oriental Trading Company, and they gave me major inspiration for the rest of the party. They were also much easier to transport and decorate with than balloons. AND I sent them home with the kids as party favors! For the banners, I found a few super cute felt banners at Target in the Dollar Spot that worked perfectly. The Dollar Spot even had felt letters that stuck to the banner and matched our theme. I found some great printable donuts from Chicfetti to put at the ends of the banner and could even be strung together to make a whole donut banner! I found the cutest printable tags from No Biggie that I printed, cut out, and hot glued to toothpicks to stick in some of the donuts. I think they added a really cute detail! 

4

3

Guest Book

To make Miss O’s 2nd birthday a little more memorable, I wanted to include a keepsake for her. She LOVES her books, so when I stumbled across the title If You Give a Dog a Donut… I knew I had to include it in her donut themed birthday party! You can get your own copy of the book here! I found a cute poem on Pinterest, but it was for a little boy so I changed the words around to make it work for us. I put the book, poem, and a few colorful Sharpies out for everyone to write a sweet message to the birthday girl. It turned out adorable and I know it’s something O will treasure later on. 

Location

We had the party at a great kids place called Play Haven in San Francisco. Not only does this place host parties, but they have a wonderful play room for children of varying ages. It’s designed like a preschool room, with different areas dedicated to art, building, and they even have a rock climbing wall! There’s also a special place designated for babies that has soft mats, pillows, and toys for infants. The area also keeps them protected from all the bigger kids running around! I love the small outdoor patio, with a play house surround by trees. It’s a peaceful oasis for kids in the city! Play Haven supplied the linens and did all the clean-up, which was a great bonus!

(Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links for products listed above.  I receive a small cut of the sale if you buy via that link. However, this does not affect my opinions of these products. All opinions are my own I truly love and recommend any products I write about!)

Donut Party Pinterest

Sharing is caring...Share on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter