Homemade Pretzels

Ingredients: Buy 1-2 cans biscuit dough(depending on number of people eating it)(found in the refrigerated section). Beaten egg yolk, coarse salt.

Procedure: Give each child two pieces of dough and have them shape it into a pretzel. They also could make it the shape of their inital. Brush with beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake as directed on the package.

Before baking the pretzels, put parchment paper down on the baking sheet. You can write their names down by their creations so you know whose pretzel is whose.

If you want a sweeter version, spread melted butter on top, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake as directed on the package.

Stuffed Animal Parade

You can have a stuffed animal parade with one child or twenty children or any number in between. When I use to own a preschool we would have a stuffed animal parade day. The children were able to bring their favorite stuffed animal.

The children can share with others about what they brought. They could also talk about the different kinds of stuffed animals as well as various sizes.

The children could make hats for their stuffed animals and also themselves. Prior to this, collect some boxes that the children could put their stuffed animals in and parade around the house or class. The boxes can also be decorated. You can also use wagons or strollers to pull the stuffed animals around in.

Potato Faces

This is a fun activity that the children can do.

Materials: 1 potato per child, grass seeds, container or cup to hold potato

Procedure: Cut the top off of a potato and hollow out about 1/4 inch down. Have the children sprinkle grass seed in the hollowed part. Set upright for 3-4 days. The potato will soon have a growth of green “hair”. The children may then decorate a face. The moisture in the potato waters the grass.

Olympic Playday

With the summer olympics coming in August it might be fun to have your own olympic playday. I did this a number of years ago when I did family day care and also when I was a preschool teacher.

What is an olympic playday? It is a day or afternoon/morning where you plan some activities for the children to do. You can do it with your family or invite some friends over with their children to join in the fun.

Decide on a day that you want to do it. Do you want to have it at your house or go to a park? Decide what activities you want the children to do – ball throw, jump(see how far they can jump), bean bag toss, running, make an obstacle course, and anything else you and the children can think of. Let them practice the week before.

Talk with the children about the olympics coming up and what kind of events are in it. Plan on watching an event or two. Talk about the difference between the summer and winter olympics.

Make ribbons/medals for the different events. What other events can you add for an olympics playday?

Home Made Sand

Are you looking for a different sensory material to make? Do you love coffee? This recipe has a great feel to it and it uses dried coffee grounds. If you don’t drink coffee or have access to anyone who does drink it, check with Starbucks or a local coffee shop to get some of their used coffee grounds.

Ingredients: 

4 cups dried used coffee grounds

2 cups cornmeal

1 cup flour

1/2 cup salt

Procedure: 

Mix ingredients together. Put in sand or water table for scooping, pouring, measuring, feeling, and smelling. Keep in Ziploc bag or covered plastic container.

To dry coffee grounds: 

Place in shallow tray or box and let air dry. You can also leave it out in the sun for several hours to dry.

 

Yogurt and Orange Juice Popsicles

In my book Summertime Sanity for You & the Kids(A variety of activities for preschoolers thru elementary) I share 15 almost healthy snacks for children.

Another favorite snack that I like to make, especially in the summer is a yogurt and orange juice popsicle. It remids me of the creamsicles I use to have when I was little.

Ingredients: frozen orange juice, vanilla yogurt

Procedure: Mix several tablespoons of frozen orange juice into the vanilla yogurt. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

If you don’t have popsicle molds, you can put some in  paper cups and freeze( add popsicle sticks after about an hour).

This also taste great without freezing.

 

“Creation Station”

Last month our church had a Kid’s Camp for three days, where I had a class for them called “Creation Station”. The children were able to come in during their free time and create whatever they wanted to. Sometimes there would be between 15 and 20 1st and 2nd graders. During that time I didn’t have any behavior problems.

What is the “Creation Station”? It was a room with a variety of materials(mostly recycled things) where they can create things. We provided tape, glue, scissors, markers, crayons,  and magnets. We didn’t provide any paint or glitter but the children didn’t seem to mind.

Prior to Kid’s Camp, for the past three months we had people save boxes, egg cartons, material, paper, paper towel tubes, foam pieces, and anything else we thought would be good for creating. We also had metal washers, coffee cans, toothpicks, straws, pipecleaners, cottonballs, and q-tips.

If the child wasn’t done with their project they could keep it in the room and work on it the next day. The children made robots, tanks, a solar system, lollipop garden, and a blanket for their stuffed animal to name just a few. I was quite impressed of things that the children created.

You too can have your own “Creation Station”. Start saving a variety of things and pick a couple of days when you want your child to create. Just provide the materials and let them go at it. For younger children they may need more help or some ideas of what to make.

What recycled things do you like to use?

Playdough – What Can You Do With it?

There’s so many great recipes that you can try of different kinds of playdough. There is cooked, gluten free, scented, textured, just to name a few. You can look on the internet to find the recipes.

When my grandchildren play with playdough they have the usual rollers, plastic pizza cutters, cookie cutters, or just their hands for rolling, making snakes, and flattening out. Some times I like to give them other things to use like saftey plugs with googly eyes on it, or little plastic bugs.

When I was over my daughter’s house last week, the older boys were playing with playdough. Besides the usual things that they were using, my daughter gave them some pieces from Mr. Potato Head. They definitely got creative and made some silly faces.

Just by giving them something different to use with the playdough to get their creative juices flowing, they stayed at it longer than usual.

What else does your child like to use when playing with playdough?

Frozen Yogurt Sandwiches

In my book Summertime Sanity for You & the Kids(A variety of activities for preschoolers thru elementary) I share 15 almost healthy snacks for children.

One of my favorite snacks is to make the frozen yogurt sandwich. Not only do my grandchildren love it but also my husband.

To make them you need a carton of flavored yogurt(small or large, depending on how much you are making) or you can get vanilla or plain yogurt and add fresh fruit or frozen orange juice to it, and graham crackers or a healthier version of cookies.

I like to shop around for yogurt and graham crackers that have the least amount of sugar.

To make the frozen yogurt sandwiches have your child spread the yogurt on half of a cracker and then top it with the other half. Wrap in wax paper and freeze for several hours or overnight. You can also place the yogurt graham crackers on wax paper and place on a plate or tray and freeze. Once it is frozen you can put the yogurt sandwiches in a ziploc bag. When ready to eat, take out and enjoy!

What kind of yogurt do you like to use?