Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pedal to the Number

Since my daughter enjoys riding her bike I came up with an idea on incorporating number recognition and gross motor skills!

Initially, I was going to use bean bags to toss onto the numbers, which would have worked great but as I was preparing the activity my daughter was zooming around on her bike which made me think of using her bike instead.

As I called out a number my daughter would pedal to it.  Without planning on it she also got alot better at using her bike breaks!!

We learned numbers, used our gross motor skills and got a ton of exercise going up and down and all around our driveway!

If you would like to try this activity keep in mind that you can gear it towards whatever it is your child is currently learning.  It could be things like shapes, letters, colors, sight words, etc..

Here are some of our other posts on ideas for learning numbers:

Helicopter Number Hide n' Seek

Learn double digits re-using play doh containers

Egg match up 

Jump to the number

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Dinosaur Snappets Toy Review

Disclosure: I was sent the following toy to review free of charge.  All opinions are my own and I did not receive any compensation.

I was contacted by Zachary Opaskar who has designed paper hand puppets called Dinosaur Snappets.  Zachary sent me some samples of his invention and asked if I would help spread the word by sharing a review with my readers and other media sites.  I was happy to help!

This is how the Snappets look before putting it together.

Detailed instructions are included or if you prefer their is an instructional video that can be viewed at

To be honest I am not one to 'put things together' I always leave that up to my husband.  As I watched my husband it looked super easy - just pop out the puppet give it a few folds and tucks and within a few minutes the Snappet comes alive!

Once your Snappet is together their are 2 triangle shapes where your thumb and pointer finger fit into.  It was extremely easy to open and close the Dinosaurs mouth and I REALLY love the 'chomping' sound the dinosaur makes.  The sound really helps the puppet feel more real and interactive.

This is a good shot of how your fingers fit into the puppet

The first in my house (after me and hubby) to play with our new puppet friend was my 4 year old daughter.  First, she wanted to try opening and closing his mouth which was easy for her to do.  I thought she might have had some problem coordinating her fingers to fit and than to open and close the mouth but she was able to manage just fine.  Next we started interacting with our dinosaur.  I was holding the dinosaur and my daughter was feeding him some eggs from Easter that we had prepped to go into the attic!  Of course any puppet has to have a voice and a dinosaur is no exception!  In my best dinosaur voice we played and pretended for a few minutes before it was bedtime.  I guarantee had it not been bedtime we would have played much longer! We will have plenty more opportunities.

 My 8 year old son tried his hand at the puppet and after playing with it for a few minutes said, "this is really cool!"

As a Mom who has had her fair share of toys I like this one for several reasons. One of my favorite things is that it allows your child to be imaginative.  No batteries, no annoying beeps, dings, hums just a good old fashion puppet, with a style all its own!  I also love the detail specifically the teeth and how they stand out. The sound the puppet makes when you open and close its mouth (not annoying at all!)
Also included with your Snappet is a brief description about the dinosaur you receive:

1. The meaning of the name of your dinosaur
2. The period of your dinosaur
3. Length of your dinosaur
4. Weight
5. Diet
6. Fossils and where they were found

Just click on  Snappets for more information and also how you can share one with your kids!

Wishing Zachary all the best of luck with his Dinosaur Snappets!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Helicopter Number Hide and Seek

My 4 year old daughter really likes helicopters and airplanes. When I spotted these foam helicopters at the dollar store I grabbed them knowing I could use them for an activity.  I came along a post from Learn Play Imagine  called Alphabet Flower Hunt and that's what gave me the idea for our helicopter activity.

Since Tiffany is in a good place with her letters I chose to make our helicopter hide and seek about double digit numbers instead of the alphabet.  For this activity I only went up to number 20 but have plenty more helicopters left for another hunt once she is comfortable with identifying numbers 10-20.  

I numbered the helicopters and then hid them around our backyard.  Once they were all hidden I announced to Tiffany that helicopters had made a landing in our yard and that she needed to find them.  At first I asked Tiffany to find the numbers in order but she was too excited to find and quickly pick them that I changed my idea.  Instead I just asked her to tell me what the number was that she found. To not overwhelm her I hid 1-10 first (just to get her comfortable with the hunt) 11-15 next and 16-20 last.

Once all the numbers were collected is when she put them in numerical order.  We did the same with the double digit numbers but I didn't snap the picture!

This was a great activity to help reinforce Tiffany's numbers all while having fun finding and collecting!

What ways do you help your child/ren with learning double digit numbers? Let me know in the comments below or by posting on our facebook page!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Finding "Gems" at a Yard Sale

We love yard sales! It's as simple as that! My husband, me and our 2 kids head out every Saturday morning browsing the local sales.  Just recently I came across a yard sale that was selling a good amount of crafty items.  Bags of buttons, ribbons, unpainted wooden pieces for holidays like pumpkins, hearts and Christmas trees. Among the goodies was a bag of gems for .25 cents! I knew for sure that I would be able to use the gems for a craft/activity so I grabbed them up!

We just did a beach theme sensory table, in which we also used gems to hide as treasure, and as I was watching my daughter play with the shells from that activity I got an idea.  Here's how one .25 cent bag of gems turned into 4 different learning games:

Game 1.
Gem and Shell Memory game: (since their were so many gems in the bag we were able to play this memory game 3 different ways:) 
Match same gem color and same gem shape
Match same gem color (but the shape can be different) this helped focus more on color identification
Match same gem shape (but the color can be different) this helped focus more on shape identification

Simply hide the gems under the shells and play a good old fashion game of memory!

Matching same shape and same color

Matching shapes

Game 2.
What's Different game:
Line up the gems and make one gem different from the others and ask your child which is different

Game 3.
Start a pattern whether it be by color or shape and have your child complete the pattern

Game 4.
Largest to smallest or smallest to largest:
Simply have your child line up the gems from smallest to largest or largest to smallest

My daughter had so much fun playing these little games which really took no set up time at all! 

Everyone loves finding a deal and I truly did with these gems!  Not only was the price right but my daughter had fun playing (and learning!).  As a bonus I was able to get 2 uses out of our bag of shells from the dollar store - once with our beach theme sensory activity and the other with our gem shell memory games! And I'm almost positive these pretty little gems will be used for a craft project at some point! Win, win, win!

One last thing....when I was a kid the way I remember playing the memory game was by using a deck of cards.  Hopefully this post will show that you can use different items that you probably already have in your home to play fun games and learn at the same time!  A little bit of imagination can go a long way!  

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Summer Cup of Fun

Summer vacation starts for us in about a week and I am really looking forward to it!  Last summer I planned ahead by thinking up ideas and writing them in my journal.  It worked great as it served as a reminder to do the things that I thought the kids would enjoy but most likely would have forgotten if I didn't write it down.

This year I am trying something different.  For our bigger outings I am going to use a calendar template and write in those outings and simply cross them out as we finish them.  Since I'm pretty sure I'll be hearing, "I'm bored" from my kids I made a list of ideas that we could do on a whim. Things that we could do in our backyard or something easy and close to home like bowling or visiting the library/book store. For these things I wanted the kids to be able to pick/choose an idea in a more hands on way for those ho-hum days. I had purchased a few things for our beach sensory table and thought I could use what was left over.  Here's what I had:

Summer Cup (purchased from dollar store)
Styrofoam (left over from Christmas)
Cocktail Umbrellas (from dollar store)
Blue Paint
Plain ol' cup before sprucing it up!

I could have written our summer ideas onto pieces of paper and tossed them into the cup and that would have worked great except I wanted something different. First, I cut out a piece of the styrofoam and inserted it into the top part of the cup and then painted it blue to give the appearance of water.

For the finishing touch  I used up the rest of our cocktail umbrellas by writing our ideas on the underside of the umbrella and then poking them into the styrofoam.

The Umbrellas had little rubber band type things around them and after writing an idea I decided to put the rubber band back around them just because I liked the idea of having the kids take it off and pop open the umbrella themselves.  Once the umbrella is opened and we do the activity that umbrella will stay open.

I was thrilled to be able to use up other things I already purchased for a different activity and if the kids enjoy it then it's icing on the cake!!

What are your summer bucket list ideas?  I would love for you to share in the comments below or on our facebook page!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Beach Theme Sensory Table

With summer quickly approaching I'm thinking of all things summer so I put together a beach theme sensory table.  For the sand I used brown rice (had no sand on hand and the rice is an easier clean up anyway!)

Here's what I included in our beach theme sensory bin which was all purchased from the dollar store:
Bag of shells
Bag of small stones
Summer Cups
Shot Cups
Cocktail Umbrella's

I used our water table to set this up and it always works out great!  On the other side of the water table I put in some water and added in blue food coloring.  For the water section I threw in some plastic alligators and some other sea creatures like turtles, dolphins, fish, etc.

After putting in the rice I laid out the shells and added the gems so that Tiffany could bury and find hidden treasure!  I really liked the cocktail umbrella's as it added a cute touch to the beach theme.

Tiffany first played with the shells and the rice but quickly became interested in the water.  She gave the alligator a shell to 'sun bathe' on and it was at this point that I gave her some other sea animals.  Tiffany also enjoyed taking the stones from the beach area and putting them into the water.  The umbrella's also made their way down to the water and animals.  The large summer cups were great for pouring and filling with the stones and shells.  It's always interesting to me to see what will grab my daughter's attention.  No doubt it was the water!  She stayed with this activity for an hour and toward the end she went back to the 'sand' side and hid the gems and asked me to find them.  After that Tiffany used the little plastic shot cups and started sorting the gems by color!

I think it's safe to say that this sensory play was a favorite!  

Do you have a favorite sensory bin?  I would love for you to share in the comments below or on our facebook page