Monday, September 15, 2014

Pumpkin Scented Pumpkin Sensory Bin!

This pumpkin-scented pumpkin themed sensory bin smells so good you will want to dig into the orange rice with your kiddos!

Besides it smelling like the perfect fall moment, this sensory bin gives your children an opportunity to practice their social skills in a focused, small group.  Plus, the same parts of your brain that are activated when you smell something brilliant are associated with memory!  Just for fun, try pulling this bin out right before or after introducing a new concept, and see if you think it boosts your kiddos' memory!

Our kiddos had tons of fun playing with the pumpkin scented bin, their trucks, and other props!  But, before we talk about how they played, let's talk about how to make orange pumpkin scented rice! 

 Don't's super easy!

Pour your white rice into a large pyrex bowl.  Pyrex is wonderful because the food coloring doesn't stain least it never has in my house!  You can also use disposable trays or zip-lock baggies.

Add yellow and red food coloring and two big squirts of hand sanitizer.  I like gel food coloring because it seems to take less than other kinds.  I use about 2-1/2 times as much yellow as red.

Use a spoon and smash the two colors together, then smash it into the rice.  Add 10-12 drops of Pumpkin Patch essential oil (see the affiliate link at the bottom of this post), and mix it together well.

Wasn't that easy?!  

Now pour it into your bin and add pumpkins or other toys.  My kids have a set of construction trucks that they like to use in sensory bins.

They poured it, and scooped it, and piled it, and just ran their fingers through it...soaking up the wonderful pumpkin-y smell!

This post is part of a pumpkin scented mini series here at Preschool Powol Packets!  Be sure to check back soon to see what else we've been up to!

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Edible Pumpkin Play Dough!

This edible pumpkin play dough smells amazing, takes only minutes to mix together, and is the perfect fall sensory activity for a group of kids!  Plus, you only need two common fall ingredients!


Play dough is one of our favorite sensory materials!  I wanted to have a fall scented play dough day, but we have two 1-year olds that still try to taste every play dough we use.  After a little thought and a little experimentation, I came up with this recipe that is perfectly edible (though I'm not in love with the flavor, lol)!!

It is also perfectly play-able!  It presses...

it squishes...

it molds... smells absolutely divine...  
(confession: Pumpkin is one of my all-time favorite smells!)

...and it is perfectly safe for our littlest friends to taste...over and over, if they want!

 In fact, everyone loved playing in it--from our 7-year old to our 1-year olds!

To make your own Edible Pumpkin Play Dough

simply mix one (15-ounce) can of pumpkin and 3 1/2 cups white flour.

Knead them together until you get a nice dough consistency, about 2-4 minutes.  If it is too dry, add a few drops of water.  If it is too sticky, add a little more flour.

That's it!  Easy peasy!

Now you just need to play!


Do you love pumpkin smells?  What about play dough?  I'd love to hear from you!

This post marks the beginning of a pumpkin sensory series this month here at Preschool Powol Packets!  Be sure to check back for more fun, and stop by my Fall & Pumpkins Pinterest Board for dozens of great ideas!

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Blow Dart Painting!

Blow Dart Painting is the perfect way to add some pizzaz to your preschoolers' day!


When I saw this darts and shooters game and this catapult activity, I knew the perfect way to combine the ideas:  Blow Dart Painting!

This activity is a great open-ended art project that strengthens fine muscles and allows for a conversation about colors.  It also has to potential to morph into a physics discussion!

It only took about two minutes to gather our supplies and tape the paper on the gate, and this project was ready to go!

So, I give you the very easy (and super fun!) Blow Dart Painting:

Simple Supplies:

* straws
* q-tips
* paint
* big paper and tape

Easy How-to:

1.  Tape your big paper up to a wall or fence.

2.  Show your kiddos how to "load" the blow dart by dipping the q-tip in paint and setting it into the straw.

We had some experimenting with dipping the entire q-tip in different colors!

3.  "Shoot" the paint at the paper by blowing into the straw (aka blow dart!).  It worked best for us to stand about one foot away from the paper. If your children are younger, you may want to practice blowing (and not sucking) on the straw before you let them put paint on it!

4.  If you have younger preschoolers, they may enjoy using the straw and q-tips like paintbrushes.  Our youngest kiddo here was adding to the painting already done by the blow darts!

This also morphed into a discussion about physics and trajectory with my oldest, who proceeded to shoot a few blow darts perched from the top of our swing set!

Do you have a favorite way to paint?  I'd love to know if you give this one a try!

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Robot Shape Stomp!

Robot Shape Stomp is the perfect activity to learn and/or review shapes with your preschoolers while you play!  You can also use it to assess how much they remember!

The Robot Shape Stomp is wonderful because it so easy to set up and use AND because preschoolers love it!

I created the game when my own 4-year old told me that he was frustrated because he didn't know all the shapes.  I decided to use a game the kiddos frequently play (Robots) and integrate some shapes.  It worked like a charm!  The kids loved it!  After we played, I left the pieces out and they continued to play with them for days...until I gave them a permanent home and made the kids put them away regularly!  

I love that it is one more method you can use to play with your kiddos and teach them at the same time.  If you follow this blog, you know that I am a huge advocate of play-based learning for young children, and this is one fun arrow in your quiver of play-based learning activities!

I especially love how versatile it is:  you can use it to teach, review, reinforce, assess, or give the pieces to your children and let them use them!  And if you don't want to work on shapes, you can use the same concepts and process for numbers, letters, sight words, or anything else that needs to be memorized for immediate recall.  

And it is quick and easy--you can decide you want to do it, and then do it two minutes later!

Here it is...the Robot Shape Stomp Directions:

Simple Supplies:

* foam sheets
* scissors
* robots (or other dinosaurs or other high-interest toys!) 

Easy How To:

1.  Cut large shapes out of your foam sheets.  I made at least one big and one small circle, square, rectangle, triangle, heart, star, oval, and pentagon.  If you don't have foam sheets, you can use cardstock, construction paper, or even cloth!

2.  Lay them out on the floor, on a train table, or in your general play area.  Use them as stomping pads, regeneration sites, and landing areas for your robots!  Play a make-believe robot game with your kiddos, and while you play use phrases like "return to the circle landing site," "stomp on the green rectangle," "regenerate on the triangle," etc.  You can have the robots ask each other for directions to the "blue square" or "Do we have a yellow heart?"  Integrate the shapes into the play!


You can also encourage your robots to complete challenges like pair the matching large and small shapes or group them by color.

During free play, many of the challenges and phrases I introduced during our game were re-used!  The children also used the shapes to create "secret codes" and "cool designs!"

How do you like to teach shapes?  Do your kids like to play robots?  I'd love to hear from you!

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Pirate Preschool Packet & Weekly Updates!!

Do you love posts like How a Preschooler's Brain Develops or science experiments like Elephant Toothpaste, Fizzing Dinosaur Eggs, Apple Science, and the Elsa-Inspired Ice Castle?  What about easy sensory activities this construction zone or recipes like these no sugar pumpkin cookies or crafts like these footballs or seasonal fun like this candy cane experiment?

This week's BIG news is that I have created a weekly newsletter for you!  Now you won't have to worry about missing any exciting posts or fun ideas!

At the beginning of the week I would love to send you my Preschool Powol Packets Weekly Update newsletter!  It will have loads of brilliant ideas for you and your kiddos, including all the recent posts from this blog, easy-to-do last minute activities, holiday fun, fabulous printables, exclusive freebies, and more!

And the best's totally FREE!!  I want to use this newsletter to connect with you better, let you get to know me a little, and provide a fabulous resource for you!  I will never sell your email address or spam can expect one newsletter from me each week.  :)

Signing up is super simple (just use the form below), but I know that it takes a little effort to return to your email and confirm your subscription, so I want to give you a {FREE} gift for taking the time to join me!  So, after you confirm your email, you will receive a welcome email telling you how to get this fabulous Pirate Preschool Packet FREE!

Seriously, I think you will love it!  There are more than 30 pages with pirate-y activities on could do them one-on-one with your own child or you could laminate them and set up a dozen child-friendly classroom centers!

I'll be putting up collage pictures soon, but here are a couple pages from the packet:

The 14 activities include the following:

* Count & Clip Cards
* Cutting Practice
* Mazes/Games
* Memory & Shadow Matching Cards
* Counting Puzzles
* 2-piece/symmetry puzzles
* Pattern Practice
* P is for Pirate
* Size Sorting
* Non-standard Measurement
* Which One is Different
* What Starts With the Letter P
*3-piece Puzzles
*Grid Games

Are you excited?  I'm excited!!

So, how do you sign up?  I'm glad you asked!
You can sign up using this form...

Join Preschool Powol Packets Weekly Updates!!

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or sign up by clicking here!

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About Us

Welcome! I'm so glad you're visiting! I am a public school teacher turned homeschooling mom who runs a small home daycare. I love to teach, create fun and exciting resources, and share the educational journey that we get to live!

This blog is full of ideas and resources for parents teaching preschoolers! One of my favorite things about blogging is getting to meet you all--be sure to say hi! You can always leave a comment or email me anytime at PreschoolPackets at gmail dot com!



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