Posts Tagged ‘craft ideas’

Make Your Own Awesome Sensory Tubes

Rolling jingle bells.  Clinking, brightly colored buttons.  Soft tapping wooden rings.  Gently floating feathers.   And swishing, sparkly beads.  The babies were crazy for the sensory tubes I made and brought to class this last week.  Frankly, so was I.  So were my boys who fought over the tubes as I made them at our house.  My oldest is now begging for his own set.

And guess what?  You can make them, too, or at least a modified version.  Here’s what you need:

  • empty clear plastic water bottles or two-liter soda bottles
  • fun things to fill them with such as water with food coloring, plastic beads, dishwashing liquid, sand, small jingle bells, small strips of colorful paper, little feathers, or anything else that might make an interesting sight or sound

While we used these in class with the babies, older children will enjoy experimenting to find out which different materials make different sounds or even no sound at all.  You might enjoy filling water bottles with colored water and even a bit of dishwashing liquid.  If you let the bottles sit for a while the bubbles vanish, only to reappear when you shake them up again.   You might also experiment with the different sizes.  The water bottles work more like shakers, whereas a two-liter would be more like the tubes I made for class, with a greater length for rolling or floating items.   And when you’re all done, you can even share your favorites on Facebook or in the links on the blogpost itself for other families.  CAUTION:  Be sure to close the lid tightly and always supervise your child as she plays with the new toy just in case she figures out how to open it.

Out of the Box

image by bfhoyt used via Creative Commons License/Flickr

My boys seem to love the start of each new Kindermusik session for one special reason, our house ends up being filled with empty cardboard boxes from all the Home Materials we order and hand out.  Boxes make great toys for all ages and a wonderful way to encourage imagination.  Next time you have an extra empty box or two lying around, try one of these ideas:

  • Make your own doghouse. Let you child pretend to be a dog who climbs in and out, takes a nap, hides, comes out for a snack, etc.  (This is actually a suggestion from our current toddler class “Our Time:  Fiddle-Dee-Dee”.  Check out pg. 5 of your activity guide for some great ideas for this one.)
  • Make your own elevator. For those of you who have preschoolers in “Imagine That!:  Cities!” this semester, this is one we were able to do in a few of the classes, and the kids just loved it.  Feel free to decorate your elevator with “up” and “down” signs on the outside and number buttons for the different floors.  Sing the “Elevator and Escalator” song as you play.  You might even get off at different floors and go “shopping” for toys, groceries, clothes, whatever suits your fancy!
  • Make your own pirate ship. We did this one year when Noah was still a baby and pretended to sail the ocean seas!  We even got binoculars to look out for buried treasure or even land.
  • Get baby in on the fun, too! A great idea for all ages is to create your own wagon or car.  Older kids might decorate their cars with markers or stickers, but even babies love being gently tucked into a box and pushed around the room.  Older toddlers also like being the one to push the box.
  • Play hide-and-seek. Maybe your pretend to be a Jack-in-the-Box who pops out or a dinosaur hatching from an egg or just play plain old peekaboo.  Anyway you look at it, boxes are super fun for hiding and peeking.
  • Use your imagination. Build a robot, a castle, a shop, an airplane, a train, or even a dream house.  Pull out markers, stickers, crepe paper, or whatever else strikes you.  And most importantly, be sure to let your child lend plenty of ideas as she makes this project her own.   As you ask guiding questions, like “What if we tried this?”, “How do you think this might look?”, “Should we use markers or stickers?”,  “Will we need tape?”, you may be surprised and delighted at the opportunities for problem solving and creativity that arise.

Happy Exploring!

Wipe-off Coloring Pages

In class this morning, we set out our brand new special coloring pages as the toddlers were gathering for class.  Since several of you commented on the pages, I thought I’d share how I put them together.  They are very simple and would be especially handy to have for travel.

First, print off some favorite coloring pages from some of your favorite websites such as…

this site for basic preschool coloring pages,

or some beautiful coloring pages from the children’s author Jan Brett

In fact, many children’s authors have fun coloring pages on their websites.  For example, for those of you who like The Gruffalo, I just found a gruffalo website with bunches of coloring pages and activities:

And of course, lots of toy and/or media companies have coloring pages.  You can always look up your child’s favorite characters such as Thomas, SuperWhy, or Dora online to find printables.  Here to get you started are some fun coloring pages from Crayola as well as activity pages for older kids:

There are tons of options.

Once you have your coloring pages selected, you’ll need some sheet protectors, a clipboard for each child, and a set of washable dry-erase markers.  Now, two important notes:  in terms of clipboards, I recommend getting the kind with round-edged clips, so they do not bite small fingers (or big ones for that matter), and in terms of markers, you’ll notice I said washable dry-erase markers.  I point this out because my niece managed to nearly ruin my sister’s couch with a regular dry-erase marker, which we quickly learned make for very tough stains.

Now that you have all your necessary “equipment” slide the coloring page of your choice into a sheet protector, fasten it to the clipboard, and color away.  When you’re all done, the coloring page can simply be wiped off with a tissue.  The kids this morning seemed to have so much fun with them I am now planning to make a set for our house.

No Cook Play-Dough

I love play dough.  I love the way it squishes between my fingers.  I love making play dough pancakes and seeing the colorful shapes I can make.  I even love the way you can use big clumps of it to pick up littler bits as you clean up.  Play dough just feels good.  It’s therapeutic.  In fact, if you’ve got a toddler running in circles or a preschoolers on the verge of a tantrum, try pulling out the play dough and see what happens.  There’s little better for releasing pent up energy or emotions.  (Some therapists even use squishable toys and items such as these to help build coping skills.)  We keep tubs of the stuff around, but I think this week we may just make our own.  I always liked homemade better anyway, and the kiddos can help out and get some good sensory play at the same time.  There are all sorts of fun textures and sensations in both making and playing with dough!

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 cups sifted flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 Tb. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water


Mix the dry ingredients.  Add the oil.  Slowly add the water to the dry mixture.  Check for desired consistency as you add the water.  Knead the dough until it is smooth.  Store dough in an airtight container.

When you’re all done have some fun experimenting with the dough.  Grab cookie cutters, spoons, plastic cups, or whatever else you can think of and explore.

Confetti Squiggles

by ADoseofShipBoy (used under Creative Commons License via Flickr)

Here’s a fun craft for those of you in “Confetti Days” or for someone looking for a simple craft for a preschool activity.


  • confetti, purchased or made, in a small cup
  • one piece of heavy construction paper or poster paper cut into approx. 10 in x 10 in.
  • one small bottle of glue


  1. Help your child squiggle her pointer finger all over the piece of paper.  Switch hands and do with the other pointer finger.  This is of course a practice run, and a great way to be silly as you learn about squiggles.
  2. Grab the glue.  Help your child squiggle glue all over the paper making a string-like texture with the glue.
  3. Help your child sprinkle confetti on top of the glue and shake off any excess onto the tablecloth.
  • Let your squiggle dry.