Thursday, November 12, 2015

Mummy Lantern
Builds on: Fine motor skills

What you'll need:
1 empty glass jar
2 large googly eyes
6 (1.5") pieces of tape
white party streamers (about 9" long)
1 tea light candle
What to do:
Show your little how to fold a piece of tape to make a double sided roll of tape (sticky side out) and have them make the remaining 5. Stick one roll of tape to the end of one streamer and attach that to the side of the jar towards the bottom. Have your little wrap the streamer around the jar at an upwards angle. Tape this end to the jar. Start the next streamer just above the start of the first streamer and let your little wrap away. Continue this until the whole jar is covered or until your little feels it looks enough like a mummy. Let your little glue the googly eyes on resisting the urge to straighten them or "fix" them. Place the tea light inside and light it in a dark room or at dinner time for some spooky ambiance. If you'd like to make your mummy a little less tidy you can tear the ends off of your streamers just before taping them and place the tape a little farther from the end so they dangle from the sides a bit like ours did in the picture. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Spooky Body Art
Builds on: creativity

Using kids body prints to make art is a classic activity that kids love. Not only are they creating art but the whole point is to actually get messy with the paint. How often does that really happen in a kids life?

What you'll need:
black, white and orange paint
large paint brushes
colored paper
glitter glue
fine tipped sharpies
wet wash cloth ( for washing up)

What to do: 

Put about 1 teaspoon of black paint onto a large paint brush. Have your Roo hold out their hands palm up. Paint the palm and the fingers on one hand, skipping the thumb, and place the palm down firmly on a piece of colored paper. Repeat with the opposite hand careful to line up the palm so it overlaps the first palm print evenly. Wash their hands right away so you don't end up with tiny handprints on everything. 

Once the paint dries use the glitter glue to create the web as shown and a black fine tipped sharpie to write a Halloween greeting.

Pumpkin patch
Choose brown and blue paper. Decide how big you want your patch to be and tear the brown sheet to that size in a straight line. Place about 1 teaspoon of orange paint onto a clean large paint brush. Have your Roo hold out fists this time and paint one from knuckle to first joint. Place them down on your patch firmly and then lift. Paint the fist again to make more pumpkins. Use the wash cloth to to clean their fists. 
Once the paint has dried on the patch use a green sharpie to draw the pumpkin stems and leaves. Use a black sharpie for the greeting.

Choose a black sheet of paper and after placing 1 teaspoon of white paint onto a large clean paint brush paint the bottom of one of your Roos feet. Have them place it down in the middle of your paper and push down on it. Remove and clean with the wet wash cloth. Repeat with the other foot. 

Once the paint is dry use a black sharpie to make 3 large spots that make the eyes and mouths. We used a white crayon to write our greeting. 

We like to include these with our Boo Bags but you can make cards with them to send to family or hang them up to decorate your home.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Pumpkin Hammering
Builds on: hand eye coordination, modifying physical force, safety
*This is a supervised activity 

What you'll need:
1 pie pumpkin
1 bag of wooden golf tees
1 child sized wooden hammer
Safety glasses

What to do:

Use the marker to place dots all around the top part of the pumpkin. Place all but the marker on to the activity table. Make sure everyone is wearing safety glasses before anyone touches anything. Show your Roos how to tap a tee into a dot on the pumpkin using the hammer. Emphasize safety and lay down some safety rules that will end the activity if broken. Then let your Roos have a try with the rest of the tees. There is something about hammers and nails that are just fun for kids. Once they get the hang of it they tend to spend a lot of time hammering in and pulling out tees over and over again.

*While this activity is fun and teaches valuable life skills part of the activity does involve how handle sharp tees and hammers safely. Keep a close eye on the kids to make sure the safety rules you lay down aren't being broken. Learning to use a hammer is just like learning to do anything else so you should expect a mildly banged up finger a few time. They should be tapping fairly lightly because the pumpkin is soft so any injury will be superficial.

Bones Hide and Seek
Builds on: observation and logic

What you'll need:
1 large paper skeleton decoration
Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler

What to do:

I drew my skeleton because I'm a glutton for punishments but you can make your life so much easier by going down to the dollar store and just buying one of those large door skeleton decorations. Dismantle it at the joints then hide the pieces around the house. Make sure that they are totally visible for younger kids and partially visible for older kids.

We read Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler. When I was finished I told the kids that the skeleton had hiccuped himself to pieces and needed our help to put him back together. Together we found all of the pieces, naming each as we found them, and figured out how they all came together to make a full skeleton. Then kids usually ask to repeat it a few times until it's snack time or someone comes to stop us.

Decorating with spiders

Decorating with spiders
Builds on: Hand eye coordination, fine motor skills and gross motor skills.  

I love how just decorating the house can  elicit so much laughter from kids. It's as simple as a bag of spiders, a bag of cotton webbing and double sided tape from the dollar store.

What you'll need:
1 bag of cotton webbing
1 bag of 100 black and orange spiders
Double sided tape
2 bowls

What to do:
I like to divide the spiders into two bowls equally and set one aside for later before we do anything. After hanging the webbing on the walls and corners of the house outside I give the kids the double sided tape with one of the bowls of spiders and show them how to put the double sided tape on to the bottom of the spiders. Sit with them and help since working with double sided tape can be frustrating.

Once they've all been taped we take to the front door sticking them everywhere. I of course get the high parts while both Hoots and Roos get the middle and lower parts of the door. It doesn't take long for the kids to start giggling because it always seems that about half of the spiders like to pop off once they've been placed. While the kids continue to place spiders I scoop up the escapees and re-tape them for the kids to try again. The extra stubborn ones get set aside for the next part. 

When all of the spiders from the first bowl have been placed on the door it's time for the webs. I generally will place them about 5-6 feet up depending on throwing strength. I place the bowl of spiders on the floor and tell the kids that they have to get all of the spiders to stick. The plastic spiders legs are just thin enough and the webbing is just fine enough that even a weakly thrown spider can stick if it touches. The fun part is watching the spiders fall back down on the kids when they don't stick.

When you're done you have a spooky decorated house that the kids can be proud of.

Skeleton Salt Tray

Skeleton Salt Tray
Builds on: pre-writing skills and exploration 

What you need:

Solid colored plastic serving tray
2 cups of salt
Skeleton cookie cutter
Popsicle stick
Any 2 letter cards
Small basket

What to do:
Pour the salt on to the tray then fill the basket with the popsicle stick, letter cards and cookie cutter. Place everything onto the activities table. Using the popsicle stick show your Roo that they can copy the letters in the salt with it. Step back and watch as your kiddo explores what they can do with what they've been giving.

This is a great quiet time activity for older kids that won't eat the salt or make a mess with the salt.

Pumpkin Drawing and Cleaning
Builds on: creativity, life skills

What you'll need:
Small pumpkins
Washable markers
Wet wash cloth

What to do:
Set out the materials onto your activity table. Let your kids know that it's ok to use the markers to color on the pumpkins; show them how to do it if they seem unsure. After the pumpkins are completely covered you can show them how to use the wash cloth to wipe off all of the marks. 

Let them repeat this for as long as they seem interested and aren't wandering off to color on everything else in the house.