Is anyone else a little excited the New Year has arrived and it’s time to
get back into routine create some routine? I sent my hubby off to work this morning a little sad for him knowing his crazy season is beginning and he would be missing out on time with the girls, but a little glad for me because I am ready to be on a schedule here at home! Don’t get me wrong!! We love having him home and the chance to relax and spend time together as a family but let’s just say he and I have slightly significantly different ideas of what the daily work/clean/play routine should look like.
So the hubs is back at work and the Lees and I are celebrating the new year with some fun, simple (and sparkly) activities.
Back in my days as a teacher I used the first week back to celebrate New Year’s Eve with my students, complete with resolutions, a party, and a ball drop. Of course this is a tradition I look forward to carrying on with the Lees but this year we kept it simple with a bajillion (okay, only 3… but with a twonager it felt like a lot more!) New Years sensory activities.
What’s New in 2016
Before we get started I want to let you know I made 2 New Year resolutions for Messy Mama Mondays: focus on developmentally appropriate skills and activities, and focus on the process not the product. (Oh wait! I almost forgot my 3rd! I’m really going to try being more timely with activities. Soooo… this post is technically a broken resolution since New Years was 4 days ago but after this week I’m going to try. Promise.)
With that said, our activities may sometimes look more like Pinterest fails that Pinnable ideas, but how often does a 2 year old actually make a Pinterest worthy craft on his/her own? My goal is to share activities with you that are truly beneficial to your toddlers’ development and are naturally engaging so you don’t feel like crying before it’s over (of course that doesn’t mean you won’t occasionally question your sanity and wonder why you even bother… or is that just me???)
Now that we have that little disclaimer out of the way- on to Messy Mama Monday!
New Year Sensory Activities for Toddlers
Themes: New Years, Winter
Skills: Pouring, Sorting
New Year’s Busy Bin
I love sensory bins and create at least one for every season! They require very little preparation and many, many hours of fun. Apparently our foam “2” has run off to hide so I substituted with a Z. (This is definitely not helping Whitlee’s number/letter discrimination but we are just going to go with it for now.)
Sorting is a necessary skill for all children to learn and a goal that could be found on almost every IEP I read or wrote as a teacher. But I did not realize how innate our (as in humans) need was to sort objects until I really watched Whitlee play in her busy bins. With no prompting the very first thing she does for every bing is separate out each item. She will place all the poms poms in one pile, then the cotton balls, etc. until there are only beans left in the box.
- snowflake ornaments
- Great Northern beans
- cotton balls
- sparkly pom-poms
- foam numbers
- tupperware container
New Year’s Noise Makers
What toddler doesn’t love a noisemaker? (Sorry Mom! they are fun for a couple hours and you can always hide it during nap time.) Whitlee and Bradlee both love anything that makes noise so of course we had to make one. And since pouring is one of the skills we are practicing this month the noise maker was a natural fit!
- water bottle with lid
- wrapping paper
- glue stick
- number stickers
- Using a funnel and a small bowl or spoon, let your toddler pour beans into the bottle. (Whit really struggles with the pick up and pour process. She would much rather use her fingers to grab a few beans and drop them in a little at a time. She’s one of those kids with impeccable fine motor skills and delayed gross motor skills).
- When the beans are in the bottle place the lid back on the bottle (or let your toddler try!!).
- Cover the water bottle with the wrapping paper using tape. Tearing and sticking tape is great fine motor practice!
- Let your toddler embellish his or her noisemaker using jewels, sequins, and stickers! (we used number stickers for 2016). I tied a ribbon around the neck of the bottle and called it a success. (Word to the wise! If your baby is going to be playing with this one I would leave off the jewels/sequin embellishments.)
- This is the best part! Turn on some music and let your toddler shake it with their noisemaker (or stream one of those character countdowns on Netflix.)
Glitter Play Dough
Okay, this one I saw on a fellow bloggers page and knew I had to make it. (HomeGrown Friends has a great, organized tutorial so I’ll let you pop over to her site for the glitter play dough recipe. And here is a no-cook glitter play dough that is also great from Krystal’s Kitsch!! ) Whit loves play dough and she is all about sparkles and glitter… and cooking. How could we not give this one a shot? And guess what cooking has a lot of? Pouring! Just so you know, that whole pouring thing definitely has a learning curve. I have a fun little video I will share on Facebook (but I may or may not have decapitated my child in the filming. I think it’s time for a video camera and a tripod vs. an iPhone leaned against a sippy cup!).
Whitlee loved “cooking” with Mama and had a blast rolling out her dough and cutting numbers in it. (Check this post for tips on cooking with kids.)
Warning: Some glitter will break loose from the play dough so you may want to use a mat or table covering for easy cleanup. Oh, and we made a half recipe. It makes plenty for one!
I know New Years has passed us by but these also also be fun simple activities to throw together during the long, cold weeks of winter. (Looking for some more ideas? See how I’m combatting the winter blues!)
How did you celebrate the new year? Is it a family night or kids-free date night? Or are you like me and kind of slept right through it!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
~This Messy Mama!
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