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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

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Gardening With Kids: Edible Flowers

Gardening with kids is both fun and educational, but it can be a little nerve-wracking if you have a child that likes to pop the flowers off of plants and eat them!



I've been through this stage with two of my own kiddos and decided the best solution is to plant flowers that are edible!  I now have a yard full of edible flowers!  I thought I'd share this collection of some of my favorites so you can grow them and not stress when your little one decides to eat the newest blossom!

A few quick precautionary notes: make sure you have the real plant and not a similar-looking, but toxic, imitation.  I like to buy the plants from our hardware store so I know exactly what they are.

Also, I am no doctor or even herbologist...just a mom and teacher trying to share something helpful. If you're concerned about something your child has eaten call a doctor or poison control.  Anything your child is allergic to can be deadly if eaten.

And, while many of these flowers actually have a pleasant flavor (especially if you remove the white, bitter base), some of them do not taste good at all.  If you plan to make a deliberate salad, sample the flowers first!  I've found that some of my toddlers have been much less picky about flavor than I am!

And now (without any more preamble!) here are 7 of my favorite edible flowers:

Marigolds:



Lilacs:



Roses:



Sunflowers:



Pansy:



Petunias:



Snapdragons:



Once you have a healthy flower garden, I love to have a lesson with my children on the parts of a flower.  It's also loads of fun to make bouquets for neighbors, relatives, and the kitchen table!




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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

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Space Sand for Fine Motor Skills & Letter Learning!

Space Sand is soooooooo much fun!!


Not only does it tie into space units (which are one of my favorite things to study!), but it's just as much fun to make by itself as its own little project!  You an use it to practice writing letters or numbers, drawing, as a sensory bin, a place to bury treasure, or to pretend you're walking on the moon and you discover this amazing new texture.  And I will tell you...it is one of the coolest textures ever!

I will admit that I invented this recipe myself...it may or may not have any actual resemblance to the moon or sand from any other extra-terrestrial planet!  But, it is fun to pretend that when you travel to space you will encounter textures different than if you just walked into your own backyard...

Anyways, making the space sand is just as much fun as playing in it, so we will start out with the super simple recipe:

1 cup salt
1/2 cup cornstarch
black paint

This fills an 8" tray very nicely for one child, though it can easily be split into two trays if you have two kiddos.  If you have more than two kiddos, you may want to multiply the recipe...or rotate turns at a Space Sand Station!

Mix the salt and cornstarch first, then add the black paint.


If it isn't dark enough for your little astronauts, you can always add more black paint!


Once it is all mixed together, you can start playing right away!  Or, you can make it the night before and let store it in a nice zip lock baggie.  Either way, once you're ready to play, put it in the tray and let your kiddos get busy!

You could encourage them to write letters in it...


or you could use it to practice writing their name, numbers, address, etc.  

Or you could hide little treasures in it.

Or your kiddos may hide little treasures in it!



(Yes, I do believe that is a piece of popcorn!)

I especially love how my children can be 100% involved in the mixing-up process and still enjoy it afterwards!  They also cleverly thought to pull out spatulas and wooden spoons to use as they explored as well!

In the end, they played with it as long as they play with play doughs, and then I scooped it into a bag to save for the next day!  I'm seriously considering tossing in a few flowers next time!

What would you do with a bin of Space Sand?






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Saturday, March 21, 2015

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Preschool Craft: Rock Painting!


Rock painting is a fantastic craft for preschoolers!  It allows them free expression on a process art project that strengthens fine motor skills, involves the outdoors, and provides sensory a experience with a variety of textures and colors!  And, it only requires two supplies: paint and somewhere to find rocks!

First, let your little explorers go outside and find rocks!  You can do this in a backyard, on a walk, or in a garden.  Even when the weather is wet or cold, you can hop outside long enough to find a rock!

When you get back, let your kiddos start painting!  I like to put a few colors on a plate for them to work with while their rock rests on the plate.


Sometimes the plates get colored too!


When you're done, you can decorate with your rocks, put them inside or outside, or give them as gifts!  They make great paper-weights for Mother's Day and Father's Day!  What would you do with a rock painting?




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Monday, March 16, 2015

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Name Recognition & Writing Series!!


I am super excited to host a Name Recognition & Writing Series during the month of April!





We have been working on learning how to recognize and write our names a lot lately, and I LOVE finding more ideas for fun ways to work on this...especially with my very high-energy little boy!

I am just thrilled to bring you dozens of ideas for name recognition and writing from some of my favorite bloggers throughout April!  This is the landing page for this awesome series!  Be sure to bookmark, pin, and check back throughout April for updated links to all the brilliant ideas that will be shared for helping your kiddos learn to recognize and write their names!

Here's a look at the schedule...with topics and sneak previews coming soon!


April 1st
Beaded Names | Preschool Powol Packets

April 2nd
Messy Little Monster

April 3rd
Toddler Approved

April 4th
Growing Book By Book

April 6th
Sand in My Toes

April 7th
School Time Snippets

April 8th
Treading on Lego

April 9th
In the Play Room

April 10th
Study at Home Mama

April 11th
Something to Offer

April 13th
Bare Feet on the Dashboard

April 14th
Countryside Mom

April 15th
Munchkins and Moms

April 16th
Putting Socks on Chickens

April 18th
The Inspired Treehouse

April 20th
Adventures of Adam

April 21st
In the Kid's Kitchen

April 27th
Best Toys for Toddlers









shortcut to this page:  http://goo.gl/6NQKoq




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Saturday, March 14, 2015

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Giant Sensory Bin Ideas

Giant sensory bins are a completely different kind of sensory experience...one that your preschoolers will absolutely love!


Every time we make a sensory bin, someone wants to stick their foot or head (or as much of their body as they can get away with) into the bin!  Since we usually have several kids trying to share the bin, this isn't usually an option.  Then, a few days ago we were at the Houston rodeo, and I saw this:



A giant sensory bin!  It was full of corn and kids from 2 to 10 were playing in it and loving it!

My brain started turning.

A giant sensory bin could easily be made in a garden box, a cheap swimming pool, or even a pit in the yard.  I love the idea of using a cheap swimming pool, filling it with sensory materials, and then putting it all away when you're done.

Today I'm sharing 10 Giant Sensory Bin Ideas, broken into two groups:  ideas that take less than 5 minutes to prepare, and ideas that are a little more time intensive.

Giant Sensory Bin Ideas 
That Take Less Than 5 Minutes to Prepare

1- Pour corn into a small swimming pool!  I couldn't resist this after seeing how much the kids loved the corn at the rodeo!

2- Pour beans into a small swimming pool!  Similar to #1, but a slightly different texture would make a slightly different sound and sensory experience!

3- Pour a bag of rice into a small swimming pool!  And for extra bonus points you could color the rice!  Imagine a pool full of rainbow colored rice!

4- Put water into a small swimming pool!  Just remember to put the kids in swimming suits too!

5- Pour cotton balls into a small swimming pool!

6- Fill a small swimming pool up with leaves!  This would be fantastic during the fall!

7- Fill a small swimming pool with foam blocks!

Giant Sensory Bin Ideas 
That Take Less Than 5 Minutes to Prepare

8-  Fill a room up with 12" balloons!  We actually did this for a birthday party one year and it was a HUGE hit!

9- Pour several bags of sand into a "mountain" in your back yard!

10- Cover your playroom floor with pillows 2-3 layers high!


Would your kiddos like a giant sensory bin?  What can you see yourself doing?  I'd love to hear from you!  You're welcome to share pictures on our PreschoolPowolPackets Facebook page too!


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Thursday, March 12, 2015

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Sparkly Shamrock Dough

Sparkly Shamrock Dough is super soft, so fun to play with, quick to make, and so, so sparkly!  It's perfect for St. Patrick's Day play!



To make your own sparkly shamrock dough, you will need these 

Simple Supplies:

* 1 cup flour
* 1/2 cup salt
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
* 10-20 drops green food coloring
* 1 tablespoon green glitter
* 1 cup boiling water 

Easy How To:

1- Put your water in the microwave to boil--it takes me about 2 minutes.
2- Mix all the other ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
3- Add the water and stir vigorously.  As soon as it is cool enough to touch, knead it with your hands
4- Start the play!  There is nothing quite like warm play dough!!



Check back soon for more pictures of our kiddos playing with their sparkly shamrock dough...we had some computer problems and I am a little behind in uploading photos, but they will be up soon!

Also be sure to check out these other sparkly play dough recipes and activities!

Calming Sparkle Slime | Lemon Lime Adventures
Constellation Dough | It’s A Long Story
Sparkly Mermaid Slime | Study at Home Mama
Twilight Sparkle Playdough | Squiggles and Bubbles
Sparkly Shamrock Dough | Preschool Powol Packets
Sparkle Salt Dough | Preschool Inspirations
Taste Safe Strawberry Lemonade Sparkle Dough | Bare Feet on the Dashboard
Twilight Sparkle Dough | Creative World of Varya
Midnight Sparkle Dough | Wildflower Ramblings
Star Wars Dough | Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tail
Glitter Oobleck from Still Playing School
Star Dough | the Pleasantest Thing
Sparkling Ocean Play Dough | Stir the Wonder
Shimmery Dough | In The Playroom
Sparkle Dough Eruptions | Little Bins for Little Hands





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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

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Minion Easter Eggs!

I've been playing with some non-traditional candy-free different egg ideas this year and am happy to introduce you to our newest creation: the Minion Easter Eggs!



If you haven't seen our fizzing rainbow Easter eggs, you'll definitely want to pop over and check them out! Then, I saw these super cute TMNT-inspired eggs and realized: plastic eggs can become SO many things!!  I started thinking about some other cartoons, and soon came up with these minion Easter eggs.

They are incredibly easy to make too!  You will want these

Simple Supplies:

* yellow and blue plastic easter eggs
* black permanent marker
* little wiggly eyes
* hot glue gun & glue
* optional: little LEGO kits

Easy How To:

1- Switch the yellow and blue plastic easter eggs around so your minions have yellow heads and blue bottoms (overalls).

2- Draw a black goggle-strap onto the heads and add mouths and hair with the black permanent marker.

3- Use hot glue to add the little eyes.



Ta da!  That's it!  I told you it was easy!  I'm planning on putting little LEGO kits inside of them (because the minions are awesome little builders and creators...and because my kids will love them!).   And guess what?  With goodies inside, you can balance them so they stand up by themselves!  I pretty much love that.

What do you think?


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Monday, March 9, 2015

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Fizzing Rainbow Easter Eggs!!

Easter is around the corner and these fizzing rainbow Easter eggs pop a whole new festive and fun side into the season!!



Our fizzing dinosaur eggs are always popular this time of year, but this particular spring we have a lot more girls around our house than we have in the past.  They're pretty much in love with rainbow colors!  Actually, even my boy has had a lot of fun with our rainbow projects! (If you've missed them, be sure to check out the rainbow volcano, sparkly fizzing rainbow, edible rainbow playdough, and sparkly button rainbow!)  We decided to mix our recent rainbow obsession with our love of fizzy projects and the Easter/Spring season!  The result was fantastic!!  Our kids wanted to repeat the experiment almost immediately!  I think next time we will be adding sparkles too!

Making your own fizzing rainbow Easter eggs is super easy!  You just need these 

Simple Supplies:

* baking soda
* water
* food coloring
* vinegar
* pan or dishes
* pipettes (optional, but great fun and excellent fine motor exercise!)


Easy How To:

1- Mix about 1/3 cup baking soda, 1 tablespoon water, and 3-8 drops of food coloring for each color of egg you want.  More food coloring gives you more vibrant colors.  If your mixture is too dry to stick together, add a few more drops of water.  If it is to wet, add more baking soda.


2- Mix each color together thoroughly and roll into Easter eggs!  I considered hiding a yellow pompom inside each egg, but decided that it would be just as fun (and a lot cleaner, lol!) without it!  I made 2-3 eggs in each color.


3- Set the eggs up like a rainbow in a pan!


3- Give your kiddos a pipette and a cup with vinegar in it, and let them start the fizzing!!



Depending on your children's age and interest, you can talk about lots of science topics with this activity!  Some ideas include (but are definitely not limited to) reactions, rainbows, color mixing, solids and liquids, dissolving, and acids and bases.

As we played, I had even more ideas!  You could easily pop these inside a plastic Easter egg, hide them, go on a hunt to find them, and then have a fizzing party afterwards!  It's an instant sugar-free, fun egg-hunt & activity!

What would you do with fizzy rainbow-colored Easter eggs?  Do you have another favorite egg-themed activity for the spring/Easter season?  I'd love to know!!




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