Categories
Sensory Activities

Balloon Collage

Beautiful, fun and easy activity for children of all skill levels.

You will Need:

  • White card stock paper
  • cutouts from magazines (people animals etc…)
  • Thin black marker
  • Large Stencil in the shape of a balloon (I created these from construction paper)
  • Scissors
  • stick glue
  • Tempra paints in several colors
  • Round sponge brush or just use your fingers

The Activity:

Find cutouts of people, animals and interesting items in magazines. Cut them out.

Paste one of these small pictures at the bottom of the white paper.

Cut out the shape of a balloon on a different piece of construction paper.

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Use painter’s tape to stick the balloon shaped stencil on top of the white card stock that has the magazine picture on it. Make sure the stencil covers the magazine picture so that paint will not touch it.

Have children dip their thumbs in different colored paints and stamp the inside of the stencil. Our younger kids just painted with their fingers.

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Once dry, remove the stencil to reveal what looks like lots of balloons. Use a thin black sharpie to draw ballon strings so that it looks like the magazine item is holding the balloons.

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Categories
Sensory Activities

Colorful Cornstarch Ice Painting

You Will Need:

  • Cornstarch
  • Water
  • Liquid water color
  • Ice trays
  • Popsicle sticks

Directions:

PREPARING THE COLORFUL ICE:

Put 3/4 cup of cornstarch in a bowl and add a few drops of liquid watercolor. Mix.

THEN Add 1/2 cup of water. (Use a ratio of 1 part water to 1.5 parts cornstarch). Mix.

Pour into ice cubes and put a popsicle stick in each cube. Put in the freezer overnight.

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THE ACTIVITY:

I have done this activity several times, with children of all abilities and all ages. I have to admit this…it looks like a beautiful, fun activity but the kids really do not enjoy it as much as I thought they would!!!!

Place a blank piece of paper in a tray and let children paint freely!

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I even tried covering a piece of paper with oil before painting with the ice but still no luck! )Let each child brush oil over a blank piece of paper before painting with the ice cubes.

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Not giving up on this one just yet!!! The results are too pretty!

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I think I will try it outdoors in the summer as a group project on a large mural!

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Categories
Sensory Activities

Magnetic Wand Painting

Here is a really fun activity that mixes art and science!

You Will Need:

  • Magnetic wands (available on Amazon)
  • Metallic items (washers, bolts, screws, paper clips)
  • Tempra paints
  • White Card stock paper
  • Painters tape

The activity:

Stick a piece of paper to the table for each child. Prepare  shallow paint dishes with different colored paints and place metallic items in each of the containers of paint.

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Have children pick up the metallic items using the magnetic wand and drop them on the paper.

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Drag the metallic items across the paper using the magnet.

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The kids were mesmerized by this activity!

 

 

Categories
Sensory Activities

Spring Flower Painting

I saw this idea on line at playfullearning.net and decided to give it a try with my Messy Art group. I love activities that combine a variety of senses. The smell of the flowers and the bright paint colors is a great way to welcome inSpring. It was a great success with my little ones. We even features this project at our first Art Show!

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You Will Need:

  • Fresh Flowers
  • Tempra paints
  • Paper plates
  • Card stock paper
  • Ruler

The Activity:

Begin by providing each child with a piece of card stock paper and fresh cut flowers. Let them play with the flowers, smell them, pull the petals.

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Put one color of paint in each paper plate and spread it out. (Don’t put too much paint)

Have children dip their flowers in the paint and stamp them across their paper, or twirl them or use the flower as a paintbrush!

 

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While the paint is still a little wet, use one of the paint colors and squeeze out one line vertically down the edge of the page.

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Use a ruler to drag the paint across the paper. If you feel you need more paint to drag all the way across the page, add another vertical line down the middle of the page.

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Simple and beautiful!

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Categories
Sensory Activities

Painted Salt Structures

You Will Need:

  • Sandcastle molds
  • 3 cups of salt
  • 3 teaspoons of Water
  • Liquid water colors or food coloring mixed with water
  • Thin paint brushes and small eye droppers

Directions:

Mix the salt and water well, until it appears damp and crumbly.

Pour it into the sandcastle mold a little bit at a time and press hard to compact it. Continue adding the salt mixture and press down until you get to the top.

Allow it to dry completely. (We left for one week based on our class schedule)

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Flip it over carefully.

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Paint it using watercolors or diluted food coloring using a paint brush or eye droppers. Be gentle and don’t paint over and over in the same spot. It will make the salt melt.

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Once painted, allow the structure to dry another 12 hours.

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The kids absolutely loved this project!

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Categories
Sensory Activities

Partner Painting

You Will Need:

  • Washable Paints in blue, red and yellow
  • Sponge brush
  • Covered Table with paper or garbage bag

The Activity:

I wanted to do a messy activity with the children that allowed them full control of the paint. Many times, I try to get them to follow one or 2 simple steps to an activity but this time I wanted to allow the creative flow. We paired up children two by two and painted on 2 different primary colors on one each one’s hand.

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They then shook hands with each other to reveal a whole new color! The children loved it.

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Once that step was completed, they went wild painting freely on the covered table, mixing as many colors as they wanted, with or without paintbrushes. We had them place  a piece of white paper on top of their paint mix to make a stamp of their beautiful expression.

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Categories
Sensory Activities

Sweet Hearts Edible Paint

You Will Need:

  • Plain Yoghurt
  • Liquid Kool Aide
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Heart Cutouts White Card Stock
  • Trays (optional)
  • Sponge Brushes (optional)

The Activity:

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Valentine’s Day is around the corner and we wanted the kids to have fun painting hearts and really not worrying about the final product. These hearts definitely have to be thrown out after the activity!

First prepare the edible paints by mixing yoghurt and a few drops of Kool-Aide. For brighter colors you can also add in a few drops of food coloring. If you use vanilla yoghurt, the children will most likely spend their time licking their hands and fingers. (it is what happened the first time I tried this activity). It’s great when you want picky eaters to explore a new food. This time I used plain yoghurt and most children did not even attempt to taste it!!!! It’s your choice.

You begin by placing a tray in front of each child, a heart cutout and a sponge brush. The children in my messy art class like to touch the supplies even before hearing the instructions so I only give out the paints once everyone is sitting.

The kids used sponges and their fingers to paint the heart. These edible paints were quite a success. It exposed the children to the scent of yoghurt, the cold touch of this medium and the smoothness on their fingers.

Categories
Sensory Activities

Sensory Snow

Living in Florida, many children don’t have the experience of playing with snow. Being that I grew up in Montreal, Canada, I know all about snow and would love to share that experience with my kids. Through the years, I have I have tried many Snow Sensory Bins. This is HANDS DOWN the best Snow Recipe! I don’t know the science behind it but it gets COOL to the touch!!!!

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This is one of my favorite sensory activities. The children can play for hours! Since everyone is obsessed with Frozen movie, they wanted to make Olaf the snowman! I have also used this recipe and had children spray the snow with a mixture of water/paint to make rainbow snow!

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You Will Need:

  • White Hair Conditioner (I used coconut scented, to make it “Florida Snow”)
  • Baking Soda
  • Dry spaghetti for arms
  • Mini carrots for nose
  • Wiggle eyes
  • pop corn kernels for buttons

Note: You can ask use Shaving cream instead of hair conditioner but I prefer the scent selection of hair conditioner.

Directions:

Mix 3 cups of baking soda to ½ cup of hair conditioner. You can change the proportions if you’d like.

Use wiggle eyes for the eyes, a carrot for the nose, spaghetti for the arms (some made hair) and pop corn kernels for buttons.

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Categories
Sensory Activities

Rubber Bands Snap Painting 3 Ways

This is a very messy activity. Be prepared for paint to splatter but the results are beautiful.

You Will Need:

  • 3 white card stock paper
  • Rubber bands
  • Tray
  • Tempra Paints
  • Paint brush

The Activity:

Place a dozen rubber bands around a tray. This works beautifully on your child’s thenar muscle strength as well as bilateral coordination.

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Slip in a blank sheet of paper inside the tray.

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Use a paintbrush to dab paint across each rubber band.

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Remove the blank sheet of card stock paper from the tray and replace by a blank sheet of white card stock paper.

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Use the back of a clean paintbrush (or pencil) to flick the rubber bands and splatter the paint! (If you wish to minimize the mess of the splatter, create a shield with a cardboard box.

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Carefully remove the painting and place another clean card stock paper ON TOP of the rubber bands and press down to create another painting.

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Three beautiful Messy masterpieces! Love it!

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Categories
Sensory Activities

4 Really Cool Art Projects for all Skill Levels

Once a week, I work at the Social Mind Center where I teach several classes of Messy  Art. The challenge is to find art projects for children with very different skill sets. The following activities were a great success with children at our center. I hope you enjoy and send me feedback and pictures!!!!

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1- Snack Painting

Who doesn’t love snacks?! For very young children that put everything in their mouths, I like to use edible paints but trust me, the appeal was just as great for older children. Just make sure to check with parents regarding food allergies and restrictions. Depending on the ingredients you choose, this activity can have lots of SUGAR!!!!

You Will Need:

  • White card stock paper
  • Condensed milk (For children that are Gluten Free use heavy cream)
  • Several colors of Food Coloring
  • Popcorn
  • Marshmallows (For children that are Gluten Free leave this ingredient out)

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 The Activity:

This is as simple as it gets. Mix a few drops of food coloring with condensed milk. Set out bowls of popcorn and marshmallows as well as white card stock paper and let the fun begin!

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Children dip snacks into the “paint” and stamp it on their paper…watch the snacks disappear in no time!

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Therapy Corner:

I love crafts that involve food. Many children (and especially those with ASD and SPD) are picky eaters. Using food and art is a great way to expose them to food that they would otherwise never even touch! This is a first step in the right direction.

2- Oil Pastels with a Twist

A new twist on a regular coloring activity!

You Will Need:

  • White Cardstock paper
  • Oil Pastels
  • 1/3 cup of baby oil (or any cooking oil will do)
  • 5-6 Cotton balls

 The Activity:

Place a tray or cover the working surface with plastic such as a garbage bag! Ask children to use oil pastels to draw a colorful picture. For this class I had them draw Kandinsky Circles.

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For some, this was difficult so they drew colorful flowers. The important thing is to have a variety of colors.

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Once the drawing is complete, children dip a cotton ball into a little bit of oil and spread it in ONE direction across the drawing.

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This will spread the colors and create a cool effect! Let it dry completely.

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Therapy Corner:

This activity is simple yet for children with tactile sensitivities, it can be quite challenging. It gets dirty, oily and slippery!

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3- Sticker Art

Here’s a really great way to create a beautiful project with minimal skills needed. I like to use this activity for holiday gifts.

 You Will Need:

  • Small Canvas
  • Variety of Foam Stickers
  • Acrylic/Tempra Paint
  • Sponge brushes and regular paint brushes
  • Blow Dryer/Fan (if you want the painting to be ready that same day)

 The Activity:

Ask children to peel and stick stickers on their canvas. You can have them create a theme ex: Ocean Animals or provide them with letters to create a message to mom for Mother’s Day or create their name for a cool painting they can hang in their rooms!

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Use a sponge brush and different colored paints to paint over the entire surface of the canvas (Paint over the stickers too, you may need a little paintbrush to get into the crevices of the stickers). Blow dry the painting on cold setting just enough so the stickers can be peeled off without leaving streaks. Tada! Beautiful Art!

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Therapy Corner:

Peeling stickers is a great way to work on neat pincer grasp i.e. thumb and index finger working to peel the stickers. This is an important precursor to an efficient pencil grasp and to improve dexterity.

4- Rainbow Oobleck Art!

Ready to get dirty?!! This is a fun twist on oobleck. This really gets messy so get ready for it!

You will Need:

  • White Cardstock paper
  • 2 cups of corn starch
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1-2 drops of food coloring
  • Large bin

The Activity:

I created several bowls of different colored oobleck. The ingredients are quite simple but you will find it difficult to mix. Just be patient. You may start out with a wooden spoon but eventually you will need to mix it with your hands.

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Note: I prepared this activity 30 minutes before my kiddos showed up, the oobleck hardens and looks like wet cement! All you have to do is mix it up once again and it liquefies!!!!

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In a large bin I had each child pour in one of the colored ooblecks. We gently swirled it with a spoon to create a cool pattern and each child had a chance to dip in a sheet of paper to reveal a beautiful rainbow creation! I did not send this project home! Instead, we took pictures of these beautiful masterpieces.

It was then time to have some fun with this fascinating medium! The kids looooved it!

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Therapy Corner:

Oobleck is quite a challenging medium to play with. For those of you who never felt it before, it’s a liquid that solidifies and then returns to a liquid consistency when mixed. It almost feels like wet chalk! For children with tactile sensitivities, this is quite the challenge. There are so many different sensations when using this medium. It feels wet but also can feel hard and chalky and if it dries on the hands it then feels powdery! Pretty cool!

Categories
Sensory Activities

Summer Fun with Balloons

I love balloons and kids do too! Not only are they colorful and festive but they can be used for movement activities as well as art and science! Here are some of my favorite activities.

Painting with Balloons.

You Will Need:

  • Balloons
  • Tempra Paint
  • White drawing paper

This is a very simple activity that can be done with children of all skill levels. There is no emphasis on the outcome but rather on the process.

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First have children blow balloons. Keep them small. Then they can dip the balloons in the paint and stamp them unto the paper to create beautiful art creations.

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Balloon Letter Tap:

You Will Need:

  • Balloon
  • Sharpie Marker

Many children that I work with are challenged by eye-hand coordination. Throwing and catching balls can be a challenging skill. I love using balloons to help them catch and throw. Since the movement of the balloon is slower, they can take more time to motor plan their actions.

Begin by blowing up a balloon and use the sharpie marker to write letters on the balloon.  Throw the balloon in the air and name a letter or name a letter and name a word that starts with that letter. Ask the child to do the same as they tap the balloon back to you. This can be very challenging for children that have difficulty combining movement (tapping balloon) with a cognitive skills (name letter or word).

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Balloon Volcano

You will Need:

  • Parachute
  • 5-6 Balloons

This is a wonderful group activity. Kids hold on to the parachute and work as a group. You place a balloon in the middle and as children raise the parachute, they have to make sure the balloon does not fall out. Once they master the one balloon, you can add more and more balloons. I like to tell the kids that we keep the volcano dormant and then at the end we let the volcano erupt by lifting off all the balloons in the air!!!

Don’t Let the Balloons Drop with a Twist

You Will Need:

  • Balloons

Another great group activity is the infamous Balloon Drop! I like to play it with a twist. We start with one balloon and gradually I add one balloon at a time. I like adding up to one more balloon than the number of children playing. (if 5 children play, I will slowly add up to 6 balloons) Warning: This becomes a very loud, energetic game!!!

Sensory Bean Bags

You Will Need:

  • Balloons
  • Funnel
  • Dry Rice
  • Dry Beans
  • Dry Chickpeas
  • White Glue
  • Water

Fill balloons with the above ingredients and tie a knot. You can then use them as hand fidgets or bean bags for a toss game. The different ingredients result in bean bags of different weight. They can then be used to work on graded hand control. ie. children have to decide how much force needs to be used to throw the different weights into a set target.

Categories
Sensory Activities

Spring is Here

Spring is here and although it’s been cold around the country, we have been blessed in Florida! Spring energy is in the air. It’s time for color and flowers and outdoor activities! Here are 2 fun crafts that we did in MissMancy’s Messy Art Class for Spring!

Textured Birds:

You Will Need:

  • Cutout of a bird
  • Colorful feathers
  • finger paints
  • white glue
  • Wiggle eyes

I like giving the children sponge brushes as an option to begin their project especially for those that have tactile defensiveness. My experience has been that once they see other children using their fingers to paint, they usually try it themselves!

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I purchased these foam cutouts in the shape of birds at Target (but you can draw your own on card stock). The kids used bright neon finger paints and added colorful feathers! It’s fun watching the kids play with feathers. This is a wonderful tactile experience with both the paints and the feathers.

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Cupcake Liner Flowers:

You Will Need:

  • Different colored Cupcake liners
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Markers
  • Construction Paper

Another fun Spring Craft. This one focuses more on fine motor skills such as cutting and drawing. This activity also requires children to follow a certain sequence. It’s an easy activity for children with lower fine motor skill level. You can increase the level of complexity by asking them to draw a scene around the flowers or to draw and cut out their own flowers to add to the craft.

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I found these really cool felt flowers at Target that some children stuck on their creations.

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Categories
Sensory Activities

3 Kings Day Inspiration

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I remember as a little girl living in France, we celebrated 3 Kings Day with a very special tradition. Although I didn’t grow up Catholic,  it was a tradition that my parents did with us every year because to me and my siblings it was so magical.

We call it La Galette des Rois—The Kings Cake. In France, they made this delicious round puff pastry in which they hid a tiny porcelain figurine.  We all sat around the table for a slice and whoever landed on the figurine became the king.  They got to wear a paper crown and were granted one wish!

This has become an activity that I like to do as a cooking group with my little ones.Cooking activities address so many skills on a sensory level as well as sequencing, following directions and life skills such as measuring, pouring, mixing etc.. Instead of the fancy puff pastry,  we make a giant chocolate chip cookie and I hide a little porcelain figurine. I was also inspired by 3 Kings Day to do create “OT” activities.

La Galette des Rois:

Mix all ingredients for your favorite chocolate chip recipe or use the one below but hide a PORCELAINE figurine before baking. However finds the figurine wins a crown and is granted one wish!

The recipe:

  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 3/4 c white sugar
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 & 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

In large bowl, beat butter, sugars and vanilla until soft and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Gradually add flour, salt, baking soda, and beat until well blended.  Stir in Chocolate Chips.  Spread it out on  greased pizza pan. (leave a good inch or so around the edge of the pan as it will spread when it’s baking) Bake 375 for 20-25 mins.

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Find the King in a Rice Bin:

Here is a wonderful sensory way for children to play. You can use rice, sand, or dry beans and hide all sorts of items in it including a little king. Whoever finds the king becomes king for the day and is granted one wish.

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Find the king in the Putty:

This is also a great sensory activity but with the added component of finger strengthening. Children use tactile discrimination to find the little king hidden in the putty using their fingers.

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Writing Activity:

When working on handwriting, instead of working from worksheets, I like children to use their creative side and imagination. For my 3 Kings inspiration I started off a sentence and asked children to finish the idea by writing their own words. “If I was King for a day, I would……………..”

Cutting Activity:

Zig zag cutting takes a lot of bilateral coordination and therefore it’s great cutting practice for young children. What better way to do that than have children cut a piece of construction paper in a zig zag to create a crown!

Start by drawing a zig zag in thick marker across the length of a construction paper.

Ask children to cut on the lines

Stick both ends of the cutouts together to create one long piece.

Have children decorate by coloring, stickers, glitter, jewels etc…

size it to the child’s head and staple together or tape.

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The King’s Scepter

This is a fun group activity. Create a kings scepter my decorating a dowel with ribbons and jewels. Each child gets a turn to “draw” a letter in the air and the rest of the group needs to guess the letter! This is a great way for children to practice correct letter formation.

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Categories
Sensory Activities

Halloween Scene Prints

You Will Need:

  • Acrylic or tempra paint
  • Sponge roller
  • Plastic place mats
  • Q tips
  • Construction paper

Instructions:

This is a very simple activity that can be done with children of all skill levels. The little ones enjoy it just as much as the older ones. The younger children even used their hands to spread the paint and drew scribbles with their Q-tips. The older children took the time to draw more elaborate scenes!

Roll out paint evenly on placemats.

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Create a Halloween scene using a Qtip.

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Work quickly don’t let the paint dry out
Put a paper over the painting and press down.

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Peel the paper to reveal a beautiful Halloween print!!

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Once the first print is completed, you can roll out a different color and create a new scene!

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