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Hello friends! Hope you have had a fabulous, fun-filled week! We have been busy with our Goodnight Moonactivities, and I have five new ones to share with you today. But first, a recap- just in case you missed any of our other playful Goodnight Moon posts.
On Monday, I shared our Goodnight Moon Vocabulary Activity, a fun and active way for toddlers to practice the vocabulary from the book that is easily adapted to various ages and skill levels. There are also several extension activities included in the post.
On Wednesday, I followed with some Goodnight Moon Light Table Activities, including a super easy starry night sensory bin.
And today, to wrap up our Goodnight Moon series, I am sharing five additional activities that we did throughout the week last week. Come play with us!
1. “Red Balloon” Baked Cotton Balls
One of the twins’ favorites this week was our “red balloon” baked cotton balls. I saw this idea over at Play Create Explore and knew it would be right up their alley. The day before our book club play date was miserably cold and rainy, so preparing these together was the perfect activity to distract my tots from the fact that we couldn’t go “owshide.” Following Play Create Explore’s instructions, we mixed one cup flour and one cup water, added all the red food coloring we could find, dipped the cotton balls in the mixture, and baked them at 300° for about 40 minutes.
The flour mixture formed a hard, crunchy shell around the soft cotton ball, and we had a great time “popping” our red balloons with toy hammers (above left) or by simply stomping on them (above right). Creating the balloons was a great sensory play experience, and smashing them provided both fine and gross motor practice and eye-hand coordination depending on the method. There was also some problem solving involved as the kiddos figured out how to break open the balloons using different tools. As with any new experience, this was also a fabulous language stimulation activity.
2. “A Pair of Mittens” Matching
This activity was very simple to prepare and introduced my tots to sorting by two attributes- color and size. We’ve got color matching down pat, so I wanted to add a second component to make it more challenging. Luckily, while I was brainstorming I received a box of goodies from Craft Project Ideas and discovered these felt hand stickers inside, which were perfect because the package contained large and small pairs of hands (“mittens”) in several different colors.
I set up the activity by finding an old file folder, opening it, and drawing a grid on each side. I chose two pairs of hands, one large and one small, in three different colors for the activity. On the left side, I stuck one of each pair of small hands in the first column of the grid. On the right side, I did the same with the large hands, making sure to put the matching colors side by side (see photo above for clarification). That way, when the twins were making a match, they could find the correct color first and then be presented with the decision of “big” or “little” mitten instead of searching randomly all over the folder. I don’t have pictures of them completing this activity but the added size component did make it more challenging for them, mostly because they had to stop and scan both choices instead of just matching the first correct color they saw – it was an exercise in impulse control as much as anything! After a few attempts they were both able to complete the puzzle independently. In addition to sorting/matching by two attributes, this activity targets eye-hand coordination, focus and concentration, and visual scanning. Quite a bit for an old file folder and some felt stickers!
3. “A Comb and a Brush” Vocabulary Hunt Salt Tray
After seeing these EZ Grip Paint Brushes in my CPI loot, I thought a salt tray excavation was just what the doctor ordered. We had never tried salt trays before this activity, and they were a definite keeper! My little ones loved them and have requested them over and over. This was another very simple activity to prepare; I printed more of the Goodnight Moon vocabulary pictures from Homeschool Creations, cut them apart, and taped them to the bottom of some of our tot trays. Then I covered the bottom of each tray with a shallow layer of salt and gave them to the twins along with a paint brush. At first they were content just to make marks in the salt, but they eventually discovered the hidden pictures and were very diligent about uncovering each one, showing it to me excitedly, and then carefully covering it up again. I loved watching them with this activity, which targeted sensory exploration, vocabulary, and fine motor skills.
4. “Three Little Bears, Sitting in Chairs” Counting and Color
Matching with Manipulatives
This exercise was a fun mix of guided activity and open-ended play. Since both of my tots have shown a great interest in “counting” lately (they try to count everything…my toes, buttons on our shirts, pictures in books, our dogs’ eyeballs, etc.) I thought it couldn’t hurt to expose them to some number symbols through play.
To begin, I cut a piece of paper in half and wrote the numbers 1-3 on the rectangles with a Sharpie. Then I gave each tot their own piece of paper and they practiced pointing to each number and saying its name. They were very serious about this part! Then I gave them each three “chairs” (small wooden blocks) to put on top of the numbers. Finally, I gave them three teddy bear counters that matched the colors of their chairs- they both matched each bear to the corresponding color with no prompting from me.
We did these steps over and over for quite awhile- they loved it when I gave them new sets of chairs and bears in different colors to count and match.
Since both the bears and blocks come in different sizes, we were also able to match bears to chairs by size (see photo). When I saw them start to tire of the activity, I gave each one another handful of bears and made the rest of the blocks available to them. I saw lots of great pretend play after that- they built towers and simple slides for the bears, and even put them to bed!
Whee! Down the slide.
The bears sleeping (or going potty, depending on which kid you ask).
This early math stimulation activity exposes young learners to number symbols in a playful way while encouraging one-to-one correspondence. This helps children move beyond rote counting and eventually develop a basic understanding of counting and numbers. I followed my kiddos’ lead on this one, and only stayed at the semi-structured level as long as they were interested. Once we moved on to free play with bears and blocks, the opportunities for language stimulation and symbolic play were abundant.
5. “A Bowl Full of Mush” Pretend Play
This last activity came about because the twins had enjoyed playing with the “bears and chairs” so much the day before. They were all smiles and “Yes, Mama!” when I asked if they wanted the bears again! This time I set out a few bears and cube blocks for each child along with some homemade play dough, small spoons, and some beautiful wooden sorting bowls from Mama May I (look for a post about her wonderful shop soon). Then I sat back and watched the twins prepare bowls full of mush and feed them to their bears. This activity targets sensory exploration, fine motor skills, imagination and creativity, and symbolic representation. But best of all, it was just plain fun!
I hope you enjoyed these activities based on Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon.
* Once again, thank you to Craft Project Ideas for supplying our paint brushes and felt stickers! Click on the text link to visit their website for tons of great craft ideas for your little ones!