DIY Fine Motor Skills Craft for Toddlers with Pipe Cleaners

DIY Fine Motor Skills Craft for Toddlers with Pipe Cleaners at RoamingRosie.com

I like to make homemade activities for my girls by recycling things we have around the house.

We use pipe cleaners {or chenille sticks} fairly often, so we’ve always got those on hand.  I usually get them at the dollar store.

For this project, I used 4 pipe cleaners and cut them into inch-long pieces with a pair of strong scissors.

Then, the goal was simply to put them into an old spice container.

This is the type of spice container that holds dried herbs, like parsley or oregano.  You’ll notice the top has only 6 large holes.

It’s a great way to work on fine motor skills and helps with prewriting skills.

The only drawback to this is that the metal inside the pipe cleaners can be a little sharp.  There are a couple of ways around this.  One:  ignore it.  And two:  use pliers to curve over the very ends of the metal pieces, making sure that the sticks still fit through the holes in the spice container.

We chose option one.

Really, it’s not terribly sharp and you can insert them without pushing the ends anyway if you manipulate the pieces by holding them on the fuzzy part.  Or pushing gently, which is what I showed my girls.

Or, if you’re really worried about it, you could just use pieces of yarn instead.

My favorite part is that all the little pieces fit inside the container, and, thus, it is self-contained and easy to store.

For more kid activities using items around the house, check out:

Practice Measuring with Rice

Painting With Chalk

Our Colorful Backyard: Color Matching Activity for Kids

Blustery Day Water Play

Free Kid Activity: Developing Fine Motor Skills with Crayons

Pretend Play: Makeup

Free Kid Activity: Chalk on Construction Paper

Free Kid Activity: Painting Newspaper

Make Your Own Color Shadows

Dirt Soup: In Contact With Creation

Have fun!

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Lemon Scented Play Dough

Lemon Scented Play Dough

I came up with this recipe because my 4yo was asking to make play dough and I’d just found an extra lemon hanging out in our kitchen.

So:  lemon scented play dough.

Because scented sensory play is fun for everyone, including moms.

Seriously.  I love playing with this stuff.

Lemon Scented Play Dough

Anyway, the ingredients are pretty basic.

And it’s easy to put together – you just throw everything in a pot:

Lemon Scented Play Dough

Then you keep stirring it over medium heat until it looks like this:

Lemon Scented Play Dough

And then you knead it to make it smooth.

As you can see in the blurry photo below, my daughter was already grabbing pieces of it to play with before I had a chance to knead it.  :)

Just be careful, because it will be hot.  I kinda like digging my hands into the warm dough, tho.

Lemon Scented Play Dough

My girls like to roll it out and cut out shapes with cookie cutters, or cut it using a small angled spatula.

Here are a few pics of them playing with the deliciously scented dough:

Lemon Scented Play Dough

Lemon Scented Play Dough

Oh – and playing with it on their easy-to-clean Jake placemats, of course!

Lemon Scented Play Dough

Lemon Scented Play Dough

Lemon Scented Play Dough

Ingredients:

1 cup lemon juice (or water added to squeezed lemon juice to equal 1 cup)
1 cup flour
1/4 cup salt
Zest from one lemon
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. cream of tarter
1 tsp. lemon extract
Yellow food coloring

Begin by zesting and juicing one lemon.

Squeeze the juice of the lemon into a glass measuring cup. If it is less than one cup, add water until it reaches the 1 cup line.

Mix all ingredients in a medium sauce pan, adding enough food coloring to reach your desired color.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes together into a ball.

Remove from heat and knead until smooth.

Store covered.  Will keep for about two weeks.

[Note: even though all of the ingredients are technically edible, please don’t let your kids ingest this. Also, if your child is going to help with the kneading, please remember that the dough will still be hot when you first remove it from the pan. If stored in a sealed container, this will last many months.]

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To print the free PDF of this recipe, click here:

Lemon Scented Play Dough

Happy Crafting!

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Letter A: Alphabet Activities for Kids

Letter A: Alphabet Activities for Kids at RoamingRosie.com

Letter A Day was our first Alphabet Activities day.

My OCD really wouldn’t have let it happen any other way.  :)

Anyway, if you haven’t read the Introduction to the Alphabet Activities, you should really start there.

And don’t forget to check out the Letter A:  Free Alphabet Worksheets for Kids, too!

A is for American Flag {Alphabet Activities at RoamingRosie.com}

One of the first letter projects we ever did was an American flag.

And it really stuck with her.

To this day, my daughter points out the flags, excitedly shouting, “An American flag!”

The project itself was simple:  I cut out red stripes, a blue rectangle, and punched out some white stars ahead of time.  Then I showed my daughter a flag and she copied it in paper.

There are plenty of other flags you could do, too.  Just to name a few:  Austria, Australia, Argentina, and Afghanistan.  Also, Alabama, Arizona, Alaska, and Arkansas.

Letter Sorting: A is for Apple Trees {Alphabet Activities at RoamingRosie.com}

I always do a letter sorting project where I print out both capital and lowercase letters ahead of time.

These letters were cut into apple shapes.  {Don’t laugh at my apple trees!}

You could easily hand write the letters instead.  Honestly, my printer gives me more trouble with construction paper…

Letter A Apple Slices {Alphabet Activities at RoamingRosie.com}

This was a fun snack.

I cut some thin slices in an apple and used an A cookie cutter to make little apple ‘A’s.

And I ate all the scraps, too.  :)

Letter A is for Mini Apple Pies {Alphabet Activities at RoamingRosie.com}

I’ve made these a bunch of times, usually for potlucks.

I’m not posting a recipe since it was all ready-made supplies {or you could substitute with your favorite homemade recipes}.

Check out the step-by-step photos:

Letter A is for Mini Apple Pies {Alphabet Activities at RoamingRosie.com}

I used a 2-inch flower shaped cookie cutter to cut pieces out of store bought pie crust.  I placed the flower crusts in greased muffin tins.  Then I scooped a few apples from a can of apple pie filling into the crust.  I topped it with a generous sprinkle of my Cinnamon and Sugar Mix, and baked them according to the pie crust directions.

These little pies are always a hit.

Letter A is for Chocolate Acorns {Alphabet Activities at RoamingRosie.com}

Chocolate is a favorite in our house, so these chocolate acorns, it should go without saying, were also a hit.

The great thing is that they also work well for autumn-themed projects.  I’m thinking of making them again around Thanksgiving.

Letter A is for Chocolate Acorns {Alphabet Activities at RoamingRosie.com}

As you can see in the photos, the ingredients are Hershey’s Kisses, mini Fudge Stripe cookies, and miniature chocolate chips.

I melted some chocolate chips in a baggy to act as the “glue” to hold it all together.  Then we stuck the flat end of the Kisses onto the bottom of the cookies and let them sit for a minute to set.  Then I put a drop of melted chocolate on the top of the cookies, and my daughter attached the kiss to the top.

Store covered… if you have any left.

Click here to get the free printable Letter A:  Free Alphabet Worksheets for Kids.

And here are some of the supplies I’ve mentioned in this post, including the star punch, letter A cookie cutter, and fudge stripe cookies:

Star Craft Punch 101 Cookie Cutters Keebler Fudge Stripe Cookies Mini

I’d love for you to share if you’ve done any of these projects with your little ones!

Follow me on Facebook and Pinterest to see my latest posts.

Have fun!

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Practice Measuring with Rice

Pretend Cooking And Practice Measuring With Rice Activity For Kids

This is one of those activities I love:  easy to set up, great for learning, and free.

That’s a hard-to-beat combination.  :)

Anyway, while busy in the kitchen/laundry room, I set this up for my girls and was amazed at how involved they became.  We’ve done similar things with dried pasta, but we hadn’t used rice for anything in awhile.

I put two large, two medium, and two small bowls on an old cookie sheet.  I provided two small measuring cups and two measuring spoons, and dumped some rice into the two big bowls.  Then I stepped back.

There was measuring, scooping, pouring, touching, and a general sense of busyness.

And silence.

It was so strange.  I’m not used to my 2yo and 4yo sitting so quietly together for so long.  But they were involved in their project.  There wasn’t even any arguing.  No “she’s touching me!”

Just concentration.

It didn’t last forever, of course.  Eventually the 2-year-old discovered that the rice made a neat sound as it sprinkled out over the tile floor, and so I wasn’t really able to keep and reuse most of the rice as I’d hoped.

But it was worth it.

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