Friday, July 30, 2010

Eye Spy Jar

I just finished making colored rice and noodles. I knew L would love playing with it and so I used it as a sensory bin activity. He had a blast! See COLORED RICE AND NOODLES for directions! However, my original purpose for making colored rice and noodles was to make an Eye Spy Jar. I originally saw this post on a wonderful blog called The Magic Onions. There's was very simple and used no colored rice, but I had been wanting to make colored rice and noodles for a while anyway so I thought I could combine the two projects.

These were the two white rice jars I made. One for a boy and one for a girl. Each jar contains many different objects hidden within the rice and noodles. I also printed a picture of all the objects within each jar and used Scotch Self Sealing Laminating Pouches (no heat or machine needed) to laminate them. I attached them to the jar with a ribbon. 

I like the jar idea (pretty for sure) but I'll also be saving a water bottle or two to do a few more for safter handling (non breakable) and a great way to REUSE the bottle!

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Colored Rice and Noodles

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Colored rice can be used in all sorts of craft and sensory play activities. Its also fun to color noodles because there are so many different fun shapes and sizes! It makes a great sensory bin material, which is how I used it when it was finished. 
I have a few crafty projects in mind for it after L mixes all the colors.

Its super easy to do!

What you Need
rubbing alcohol or vinegar
uncooked white rice and/or  a variety of noodles
food coloring 
plastic baggies or just a bowl
*essential oils or extracts for scent

1. Pour 2 tsp of alcohol into a bowl or the plastic baggie
-If you use a bowl use a metal bowl so it wont stain
-I used a bowl and not the baggie so I could experiement with the colors easier

2. Add your color to the alcohol (8-10 drops for very bright colors)
-Experiment with lots of different colors!

3. Pour 2 cups of rice or noodles into a baggie or bowl and then add your color mix. If your adding an essential oil or extract for scent, add it now as well.
-I don't recommend mixing rice and noodles together because its hard to get the color even

4. Make sure its sealed tightly and then shake, and manipulate the rice and color until all the rice is completely saturated.

6. Then lay the rice out on a cookie sheet to dry. Drying time will vary
-I put down wax paper over my pan first
-I set the cookie sheets outside for faster drying (1 hour)

When its dry your free to play! 
Store in sealed container or baggies.
Rice will be a bit dusty and you'll notice colored dust on your hands but it rubs and washed right off.

L's Rainbow Rice Sensory Bin
So pretty! I hardly wanted to let him play with it! haha

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He loved funneling the rice

Put a plastic table cloth underneath for easy cleanup and less waste!

aaaand just another rainbow pic. 
I had to take lots because I knew it would stay that way for about 1 second after L started on it!

For more colored rice play, click on the photo's below

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Homemade Hidden Veggie Pops

I've been going nuts lately trying to get L to eat his vegetables. He has NEVER been a picky eater until a few weeks ago when he just decided that all the food he used to love was "yucky."  I always blamed picky eaters on parents...but now I know better. I exposed that kid to alllll kinds of different foods since he was old enough to start solids. He ate EVERYTHING, including almost any vegetable! And then one day....he just refused...everything. So, now I know that a picky eater can develop on his own, and not be the result of a non food versatile parent.

I had made a yummy batch of
which are just strawberries and bananas blended into a puree with a little water added so its not so thick and then frozen with a popsicle stick. These are soooo good and all natural and L LOVES THEM! Plus, its something I don't mind him asking for all the time because they are good for him.

Well, after another veggie battle at lunch (sweet peas that used to be his favorite like 3 weeks ago)...I  took that can of peas, some strawberries and bananas, then blended them together and made

Hidden Veggie Pops

Talk about SUCCESS! 

He didn't question his popsicle for a second and I just watched him eat it with a HUGE smile on my I ate my strawberry banana popsicle (no peas for me). haha!

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Homemade Banana Ice Cream

"L" loves bananas so when I found this recipe for banana ice cream I knew I had to make it for my little boy! Its super easy and absolutely delicious! You could also add strawberries for strawberry banana ice cream which I will probably do next time. Yummmers!

3 bananas
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1. Peel the bananas and put into a blender

2. add lemon juice and blend until its a completely smooth puree

3. pour into a mixing bowl
4. add confectioners sugar and beat until well mixed and it becomes very thick

5. Freeze in a freezerproof container (uncovered) for 1-2 hours.

6. Return mixture (now frozen) to the blender. Add cream and blend until smooth.

7. Return to freezer for another 2-3 hours.

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Ocean Sensory Bin

Sensory bins are a cheap way to keep your children VERY entertained and develop fine motor skills, as well as experience different textures. Your sensory bin can be as simple as a shallow dishpan, or one of those classroom sand and water tables. Since we are at home, I have found that using a plastic storage bin with a plastic table cloth under it for easy cleanup is the best way to go! I have containers of all sizes used for different sensory bins. 

My first one was an
which was inspired by THIS OCEAN BIN I found at Pink and Green Mama
which "L" completely loves!

Everything for this bin was found at Walmart but you can try your local pet store as well. I got the sea shells and colored glass rocks at the dollar store.

*Plastic storage bin
*Aquarium rocks
*Aquarium plants
*Glass colored rocks
*Sea shell
*Ocean animal toys

Before water was added

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He's digging for treasure. I put a few pennies into the ocean so he could search for treasure :)

We had many Nemo adventures in our little ocean

We played well into the evening, and after we came inside I turned on the movie "Finding Nemo." He seemed to watch it more intently than the first time he saw it. Notice what he's holding?....

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