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Welcome to the second installment of activities from our Goodnight Moon week! In case you missed it, we started our week with a fun and adaptable vocabulary activity based on the classic children’s book by Margaret Wise Brown. Today I will be sharing a few activities we did (and are still doing) with our light boxes. Friday I will wrap up the week with five more fun Goodnight Moon toddler activities. Come Play With Us!
For our group session, I used two light boxes so that all four tots would have a chance to play with the light activities simultaneously. One was a commercially available light panel (find it HERE) that was a Christmas gift from my father-in-law, and the other was a DIY version that I threw together from things I had around the house. You can read about exactly how I made it in my latest post over at Little Pnuts (find it here). Both versions worked well for our activities, but the DIY version started getting a little warm after about 30 minutes of play, so be sure to monitor the temperature if you are using one you created yourself.
Squish Bag Tracing
Our first activity targeted fine motor skills through sensory exploration. I filled several small plastic sandwich baggies with yellow hair gel that I had leftover from another activity. Since the yellow was really pale, I added a generous squirt of yellow food coloring for an added punch of color, taped the baggies shut, and then squished it all up until the gel was nice and bright (this is totally something you could do with your little ones, mine just happened to be napping). After that I printed a tracing page from the (free!) Homeschool Creations Goodnight Moon printable packet, cut it into strips, and put each tracing strip under a different baggie for the tots to practice tracing with their fingers if they wanted.
M is for Moon; P is for Pom-Poms!
For the next activity, I printed Making Learning Fun’s M is for Moon Magnet Page, another awesome free resource, and placed it on the light panel. These pages can be used for tons of different activities with many different types of manipulatives- they were intended for use with small round bulletin board magnets. We used the twins’ current favorite manipulative, sparkly pom-poms, to fill in all the dots on the moon and letter “M” on the worksheet. The combination of poms and lightbox has kept my little ones’ attention to this activity much longer than I expected, and we have done it several more times since it was first introduced. Sydney surprised me one afternoon by filling the moon up with all yellow and white poms with no prompting from me! This activity provides fine motor practice, sensory exploration, and exposure to alphabet characters for letter recognition. You could also modify it to work on color matching and patterning if you so desired.
Starry Night Sensory Bin
As usual, the sensory play activity was everyone’s favorite of the three light box activities! It was super easy to prepare- I hydrated some purple and blue water beads, mixed them together in a small plastic bin, and added some clear geometric shapes from a set of our lightbox manipulatives (find them here) to represent “stars” in the night sky. Then I provided small containers for the tots to transfer all the stars into if they wanted to.
When I introduced this to the group, everyone went a little bananas for the water beads, and the containers were mostly used for filling with beads and dumping them everywhere 😉 But on subsequent days my two stinkers have been very diligent about collecting every last star and placing them carefully into the baskets. When their motor skills are a little more developed I will give them spoons or tongs to try to fish out the stars, but for now just grabbing them with their little fingers is challenging enough amongst all the slippery water beads!
This activity helps promote sensory exploration and is wonderful for fine motor development– look at that pincer grasp in the photo below! It has also been fantastic for language stimulation; both of my tots have chattered nonstop every time we have played with this tub, labeling the colors of the beads and the sensations they are feeling…”Weeet! Coooold! Sleeyee (slippery)!”
I hope these activities inspired you to give light box play a try, or at least pull out your copy of Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. This is the second of our Goodnight Moon series…stay tuned for the final installment on Friday!
*Thank you to Craft Project Ideas for supplying the sparkly pom-poms featured in this post! Click on the text link to visit their website for tons of great craft ideas for your little ones!