Paint with Tops

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A few weeks ago we made homemade spinning tops (which the boys are still having a blast with).  We found yet another way to have fun utilizing them:  paint with tops!!  Besides being a fun art project, this activity is also great fine motor practice as your child learns to spin a top.


We chose to do this activity outside, just in case the paint was to fly.  And I would definitely recommend it…especially if you have little ones who love to get LOTS of paint on the top.


Here’s what you’ll need:  tops (add to the fun and make your own with our tutorial), washable paint, paper, and a tray (we used the top of a shallow box).


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Just dip the marble (on the bottom of the top) into the paint and then spin on a piece of white paper!  We had three different tops with three different colors.



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 A top in motion!

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This was the result!  I love how unique this art project is!

 What unconventional material have you and your kids painted with recently?

X-Ray Playdough

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We are having a blast learning about the human body!  As we have been learning about the various systems, the boys were especially intrigued with the skeletal system.  We came up with this fun and interactive way to learn about the body system responsible for supporting our bodies, giving us our shape, and protecting our major organs!


We can feel our bones, but we can’t see them unless we are looking at a special picture called an X-Ray.  In this activity, the Q-Tips act as bones to create our own X-Ray pictures!  This would also be a great activity when learning about the letter X.


Here’s what you’ll need:  black play dough (you can make your own with black food coloring), Q-Tips, Skulls (laminated), and outlet covers.  


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1.  Gather your black playdough or make your own.



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2.  Print off the skulls and laminate them.  Use a hot glue gun to attach them to the outlet covers.  (Note:  If you think the skull might scare your child, feel free to use a cotton ball or even a picture of his/her face).  



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3.  Cut your Q-Tips into various lengths.

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4.  Let your child get started playing!  Show him/her some photographs of the skeletal system and try to reproduce the major bones using the Q-Tips and play dough!

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This was Little Brother’s skeleton!

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Big Brother and I created this skeleton together!




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Be sure to check out more fun ways to learn about the human body!


Sum Splat: Learning with Water Balloons

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Water balloons are so much fun for the summer!  But besides being a great way to burn off some energy, they can also be a surprisingly good learning tool!  We used water balloons to create this sum splat game to practice some simple addition.



Here’s what you’ll need:  Water balloons, chalk, a permanent marker, and a water balloon pump.


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1.  Fill your water balloons with water.  We use this water balloon pump that has a tying feature (no more sore fingers!).



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 2.  Write your numerals on the balloons with a permanent marker (we did 1-5).




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3.  Write all of the possible sums on the pavement using sidewalk chalk.




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 4.  Get your balloons (and kiddos) ready.




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 5.  Have your child choose two balloons and add them together.




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 6.  Splat the sum with the water balloons!




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What is your favorite thing to do with water balloons?  



4 Tips for When Your Baby HATES Tummy Time

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All three of my babies have HATED tummy time for the first few months of their lives.  They scream almost the instant I place them on the blanket for the ever-important time on their bellies.  We all know that babies should not sleep on their tummies and should ALWAYS be put to bed on their backs.  Medical professionals, however, are in agreement that babies should have at least 30 minutes of supervised tummy time each day in order to develop the neck muscles.  Honestly, it is nearly unbearable to watch your child scream and cry for the recommended 30 minutes of tummy time each day (even if you only do it only 5 minutes at a time).

Over the years, I’ve gotten creative when it comes to tummy time.  Here are four tips for when your baby hates tummy time.  Hopefully these suggestions will make the time much more enjoyable for your baby (and for you):


1.  Tummy-to-Tummy Time

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Put a pillow underneath your neck and lay flat on your back on the ground.  Put your baby on top of your tummy, making sure that you have both hands free to catch her in case she wobbles to either side.  Talk to her, sing to her, make funny faces and noises.  At first, she might not be able to hold her head up high enough to see your face, but it will be comforting to her just being near you.



2.  Knee Rock-a-Bye

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Sit in a chair and place your baby on your lap, laying over your knees.  Be sure that her head is supported and not dangling over the edge of your knees.  Slowly and ever-so-gently rock your knees from side-to-side.  Sing a song or talk to your baby.



3.  Shoulder-Holder

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This typically comes natural when holding a baby, but holding your baby on your shoulder allows the baby to practice holding his/her head up.  Just be sure you have your hand free to support his/her head as necessary (especially with younger babies).  She will enjoy seeing the world around her from an upright perspective.  :)





4.  Mirror, Mirror on the Floor:

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shatterproof mirror is a wonderful tummy time tool.  Place the mirror 6-12 inches in front of your baby and encourage her to hold her head up and look into the mirror.  Once she catches a glimpse of her reflection, she might even smile at her “new friend”.


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Does your baby love tummy time or hate it???


Pom Pom Push

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Guest Post by Malia of Playdough to Plato


I’m sometimes surprised by what my boys find entertaining – cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, duct tape… This Pom Pom Push definitely fits in that category too. It’s not fancy but kids find it seriously fun to play. And, as a big bonus, it’s a great way to build the fine motor skills they’ll use for writing later.

To prep, I grabbed a pile of pom poms, a pair of scissors, and a small Gladware container. Using the pointy end of my scissors, I poked a hole in the middle of the blue lid and then cut out a circle.

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Note: If you’re making this project for two year olds, you’ll want to cut out a large circle like the one pictured above and give them large pom poms to stuff inside. For three and four year olds, cut out a smaller circle and give them smaller pom poms. Using a tinier size makes the activity more challenging.

I placed the supplies on our table and invited my four year old to join me. I showed him how to push a pom pom through the top. He quickly jumped in and stuffed the rest of the pom poms into the container. That’s it!! Pretty easy, right?! Although this busy bag isn’t complicated, it truly is a favorite in our house. My younger son {age 2.5} will sit, stuff and restuff his pom poms for ten minutes before losing interest. That’s record breaking for a boy his age.


Looking for more fine motor activities for your kids? Try squeeze bottle salt writing and check out my fine motor Pinterest board.



Malia is a National Board Certified elementary teacher turned stay at home mama to three young kids {4, 2.5 and 5 months}. She shares fun learning activities over at Playdough to Plato. Stop by her site and follow along with her newest activities by email.