Monday, April 21, 2014

Paper Plate Witches Hats

Bubble and Squeak dressed up as witches for a party recently and we made these super cute little hats to go with their costumes.
They were very simple and fun to make using things we already had stashed in the cupboards.

WE USED

* party hats
* paper plates
* scissors
* tape
* black paint and brush
* optional - black contact paper


 

First we covered our party hats in black contact paper by unfolding them and then tracing their outlines onto the paper backing of the contact. That made it easy to cut the contact to size, cover the hats and then reassemble them with sticky tape.
You could also turn the party hats inside out like we did in THIS POST and paint them black instead.

Next we used scissors to cut the center from our paper plates.

Slide the paper plates over the top of the party hats to see if the center hole is big enough before painting. You want the plate to sit low on the hat, but not so low that it falls off!

Once you are happy with the plate size you can paint it black too.
Or any colour really, who says all witches hats are black, right? :D

Once the plates are dry you just slip them over the top of the party hats to make cute little witches hats. 
We secured the plates to the hats using tape on the underside.

The party hats already have elastic attached so the witches hats stay on well.

Two little witches ready for a Wonderful Wizard Of Oz party!

Easy Lunch Idea - Hamburger Shapes

I have written in here before about the challenges we face getting our two girls to eat certain foods, and meat is one of them! 
Many kids with Autism are selective eaters due to sensory sensitivities, for our girls it is largely colour and texture that determines whether or not they will eat something, or even try it.
As they have gotten older we have found ways to get them to try a wide variety of foods (see my earlier post here on fussy eating) and cookie cutters have been my saviour many many times.
Recently I decided to try my trusty cutters to make some hamburger shapes to see if I could add a bit of variety to the girls lunches. Not only were they very easy to make but they were also a big success!

WE USED:

* high quality mince meat
* cookie cutters

I made our hamburgers with plain mince, you could add anything you like to them - grated vegetables, spices, garlic, onion, herbs. Our girls are very sensitive to new smells and tastes, so I always start basic!

Spread the mince to a thickness about half that of your cutter, then use the cutter to create your shapes.
I used a butter knife to help cut the shapes where the cutter didn't go all the way through.

Once you have made your mince shapes you can cook as you would normally. I made a heap of them and froze some for later!

 
Both Bubble and Squeak were more than happy to try 'hamburger stars' for lunch and now I have something else I can add to our meal rotation.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Streamer Jumping

This is a fun easy activity our girls like to play on the trampoline, it's a great gross motor exercise and has been helping to burn off some of their excess school holiday energy!

WE USED:

* streamers
* strong tape
* scissors
* trampoline

You can attach your streamers to your trampoline however you feel is safest for your child/trampoline, we just use strong tape to attach ours to the net.

Today we just put one length of streamer straight across because the girls wanted to practice hopping and jumping like the Easter Bunny, it's also fun to create a big web of streamers for the kids to weave in and out of as well.

Lots of hopping and jumping fun from one side to the other.


The girls also like to crawl and roll underneath and make up stories to go along with their play.

The streamers provide an extra element to playtime on the trampoline without causing obstruction since they simply snap or fall down if one of the kids lands on them.
Thanks to the tape they are also easy to put up again and change their position.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hula Hoop Ring Toss

The weather has been very rainy here lately so getting girls outside to play has been harder than usual some days. We set up this activity a few days ago and it has been keeping them entertained for ages, adding new obstacles and learning new throwing techniques.
Not only is this game of benefit to the girls gross motor development but they've also been doing a great job of turn taking, making up imaginary story lines to accompany their play and problem solving.

WE USED:

* hula hoops
* an object small enough for the hoops to loop around
(we used an upturned storage basket)

An upturned storage basket was the perfect size for our hoop game and heavy enough not to move too much while we played.

The girls tried out all kinds of throwing techniques to see which ones worked the best.


They tried over hand, under hand, frisbee, taking a run up, jump throwing - you name it they tried it out!




Great shot :)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Easy Peasy Valentine's Day Hair Clips


 This activity was easy and fun for both of the girls to do and as a bonus incorporated a lot of fine motor practice as well.

WE USED:

* felt sheets
* laundry markers
* scissors
* hot glue gun / craft glue
* hair clips

Don't have a glue gun or felt? Why not try this activity using cardboard/paper and double sided tape instead to make temporary hair clips for Valentine's Day.

First the girls used the laundry markers to draw hearts on their felt.
You could draw any shapes you like or even draw pictures and cut around the outsides of them, but both Bubble and Squeak had their hearts set on hearts!

Using scissors cut around the outside of your shapes.
Bubble could do this on her own easily, Squeak still needs my help with tasks like these.

Once the girls had finished making their felt shapes I fired up the glue gun and they put a blob of hot glue on the ends of their hair clips

Then they could easily turn the clips over and (holding the cool end of the clips only) press them onto the backs of their felt shapes until the glue dried.
If you have never used a glue gun before please note that the gun, the glue and the object you are gluing get very hot. My girls were well supervised and did not touch the clips until the glue had cooled and set.

We made a whole stack of clips in under fifteen minutes - a nice fun after school activity that would make great presents as well.




Monday, January 27, 2014

Paper Plate Letterboxes - Valentine's Day Activity

We try to encourage closeness between our girls every day, in lots of little ways. With Valentine's Day approaching we made these very simple letter boxes for their bedroom doors, they were fun to make and they are both excited to write and leave notes for each other over the coming weeks.
Both Bubble and Squeak are also secretly working on a special Valentine's Day card for each other to post the night before, it's beautiful to watch them both working industriously on their 'surprises'.

WE USED: 
* paper plates
* textas
* stapler
* string
* scissors
* hole punch (optional)

We used large sized paper plates but you can use any size.

 Using a marker we drew the top of our heart on our plate in a 'V' shape.

Then we cut the V section from the plate to create a rounded heart shape.

We used the cut piece as a template to mark out the outline for our other plates.

Bubble easily cut her own plates but Squeak is still finding fine motor activities challenging so I helped her cut hers using a hand over hand method.

Once you have cut your two plates face them towards each other (to create a pocket) and then carefully staple around the edges to hold your letter box together.
Bubble (6) could do this herself, but I did Squeak's (4) for her. You are the best judge of whether or not your child can safely use a stapler or not.

Using a hole punch we made a hole on either side at the top. If you don't have a hole punch a skewer or sharp pencil will do the job too.

We tied some string through the holes so our letter boxes could hang on the girls bedroom doors.

The girls both decorated their letter boxes ready for their secret notes.

I set up a writing station on top of their library book table where they could make special notes for each other.
I included shaped notepaper, colourful gel pens, stickers and stamps.
All great for making pretty letters and for developing fine motor skills at the same time.
Bubble and Squeak have already been writing each other little notes and drawing pictures for one another, I'll be leaving little surprises in there for them as well from time to time.
 A fun craft activity and a lovely way to encourage communication.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Kickboard Sight Words

It is hot hot hot here at the moment. Our girls have been alternating their time between the backyard paddling pool and sprawling in front of the lounge room fan.
The weekend was particularly hot (47'c, yikes!) so I thought I'd try out some fun and sneakily educational activities for us to do in the water while we kept cool.
This game was the most popular with both Bubble and Squeak, Squeak in particular wanted to play it over and over again which was a great thing to watch  as she usually tires of letter games pretty quickly!

WE USED:

* paddling pool
(you could do this activity in the bath, a pool, a large container of water or a sink too)

* kick board
(you can use anything that floats - esky lid, lid from a large plastic container, pool toy etc...)

* foam alphabet
(if you don't have foam letters you could also use bottle lids with letters written on them, laminated letter cards, cut up a sponge into squares and use permanent marker to write letters on the pieces - use anything that floats!)

* sight word cards

I grabbed our foam letters from our bath toy stash and used some sight word cards of Bubbles from last year. We also used tongs to add some fine motor exercise for Squeak who needs to work on her hand strength.

 We threw the foam letters into the pool and the girls swirled them around and around to mix them all up.

I gave them a kick board each and put a sight word card at the top of the board.

The girls then splashed around finding their letters and sounding out the words.

Squeak, who ordinarily tires quickly of these sorts of activities, enjoyed it so much she went through all 20 word cards in our deck.


Using tongs added a bit of extra fine motor exercise.