Five St. Patrick’s Day Sensory Boxes…and More!

 

st patrick's day sensory box crafts toddler and preschool activityYes, yes. I know it’s already St. Patrick’s Day and this is kind of a moot post.  But there’s always next year! And lots of these activities can be adapted for other holidays or even used alone. So without further ado…1 sensory box, 5 ways!

Sensory Boxes

First, I dyed uncooked macaroni noodles. You can do this the same way as dying rice.  I also covered a paper towel tube in green ribbon and taped it to the side of the sensory box.  This made a great little tool for dumping macaroni, coins, and letters down.

1. Rainbow Numbers

st patricks day sensory box toddler and preschool number activity

He’s really into numbers right now, so we practiced putting them in order, naming them, and hiding them in the macaroni and finding them as I called out a number.

2. Letters in my Name Hunt

st patricks day sensory box toddler and preschool name letter activitiy

I found these trays at Wal Mart for $.92 each. Then I used a Sharpie to right his name.  His job was to find the letters and match them to his name.  This would be fun to do with a variety of words, or sight words for older kids.

3. Coin Sort

st patricks day sensory box toddler and preschool activity

I had two of those little black pots–one for green coins and one for gold coins.  Simple, but sorting is an important skill to practice.

4. Pot-O-Gold Count

st patrick's day sensory box toddler and preschool activity

I printed these awesome number printables for practice with counting objects.  Matthew can count objects correctly to four, so we just used 1-5 for the next step.

5. Green Extravaganza

st patrick's day sensory box toddler and preschool activity

Have I mentioned he loves these pom pom balls?  I gave him a pair of small tongs and an empty egg carton along with this box.  We also began talking about light green vs. dark green.

Books

Matthew’s favorite friend is Curious George, affectionately called, Georgie. So when I saw I could get this in Kindle edition for him, it was a no-brainer. It’s a nice overview of some St. Patrick’s Day themes and vocabulary, but probably wouldn’t be too appealing if George isn’t a “thing” in your house.

 
 
 

I picked this up from the library last week, and let me say, it was slim pickings.  I’m sure there’s better St. Patrick’s Day books out there, but this did the trick. Can you tell I was a little behind this year?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Activities

1. Handprint Shamrock. This was a craft Matthew did with his babysitter. She always does fun things with him (which is why I justify driving 1 hour round trip for a babysitter…). I also love anything that captures his handprint.

hanprint shamrock st patricks day activity

2. Brown Bag Leprechaun Puppet. We go to Kid’s Night at a local restaurant, and this was last week’s craft.  It kills me because he has two sets of eyes.  Matty drew his eyes on the hat before the lady stopped him and drew her own face on. I like Matthew’s eyes better. :)

3. Lacing Shamrock. I swung by Jo Ann Fabric (which also has tons of crafting supplies) to look for gold coins a few days ago. To my surprise everything was already marked 50% off, plus I had more coupons.  I was able to get a few packs of gold coins and random crafts for around $4. Not too bad.  The shamrock came with it’s own lacing string, but I thought the shoelaces were a bit sturdier for little hands.  This could be made with heavy cardstock or cardboard, and in any shape!

4. Leprechaun Mask. Creepy picture alert.  Again, Matthew grabbed these at Jo-Ann’s. He got one for himself, then added one for Daddy and one for Mommy. Oh yes, we have a family set.  Unfortunately he had no interest in coloring them, so guess who got stuck coloring 3 creepy leprechauns? This could totally be made with a paper plate, construction paper, and a popsicle stick.

5. Check out last year’s shamrock mosaic and rainbow game. Oh, and our healthy green (spinach) cupcakes!

Questions:

1. St. Patrick’s Day book recommendations? (you know, for next year!)
2. Do you find it hard to be hands-off during kid’s crafts? Or do you inevitably step in to straighten things up?

Toddler Pre-Writing Salt Tray Activity

Bam! Do you like my nerdy little guy?! I think he’s too cute for words. He got glasses about two weeks ago, but that’s another story…

Anywho, Matthew has been really interested in numbers and letters lately, and more specifically in making lists and writing notes.

He did these at the library a few months ago–he sat at the table all by himself for a good 20 minutes “writing”.  Whenever he’d run out of paper, he’d jump up yelling “More paper, please!” to which the librarians happily obliged. Apparently everything he’s getting at the grocery starts with “m” and ends in scribble, but it was the deliberate writing that melted my heart–each line and scribble was painstakingly placed and named (oh, I need more bananas :writes M scribble scribble:: :)

So I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to do more deliberate literacy activities with him (in between train play, of course–OMG TRAINS! Must play trains All.Day.Long.)  I think his favorite so far was the salt tray.

Montessori activity toddler writing salt tray

Use a baking sheet (I found this one at Wal Mart for $.92 and picked up a stack so I could stage various activities), cover it with regular table salt (sugar would work too, you know, if you don’t mind your kiddo eating their activity), and voila–instant writing surface.

montessori writing activity toddler salt tray

To encourage more deliberate writing, I made a stack of cards with various shapes, numbers, and letters using regular index cards.  Matthew actually liked this part, too, and made his own cards after playing in the salt for awhile.  I think we ended up adding handprint, D, and zig zag to the pile. Matthew is just shy of 2 1/2, so basic, easy shapes were our target just to strengthen fine motor skills, but older toddlers and kiddos could go full on letters, numbers, or words.

montessori toddler activity writing salt tray

The best part is with just a little shake, the surface is clear and they can start again.

montessori activity toddler writing salt tray

And I realize he looks very serious and mellow in these pics, which is only partially true.

There was some sweeping (which apparently involved tossing the glasses aside)…

Some “crunching”…

And some “here Mommy have some too”…

P.S. This was not as messy as I anticipated, and I even left it out for a few days before an unfortunate “I made-a footprint and spilled a mess, Mom!” thing happened.

Quality Father-Son Bonding Time

This is why some moms never leave the house.

At least one of them has pants on, and only one of them has wine.

HAPPY MONDAY!