Browsing Tag

sensory bin

shark week playdate - free banner printable, chumming for sharks yogurt recipe, shark bait recipe, link to popcorn bucket printable and tons of other shark week ideas

Shark Week Playdate and Free Printables

We had our friends over for a playdate during shark week, so I of course used it as an excuse to have a fun, shark themed get together. I love little events like this because it allows me to be crafty and creative without all the work and stress of a full-blown party. I didn’t start making stuff or preparing until Monday (our friends came over on Wednesday) so this is totally do-able for busy or last-minute moms. πŸ™‚

DECORATIONS

I started out like I always do, searching Pinterest for ideas and free printables. I found some really cute stuff to use as well as some fun ideas. I didn’t see anything I could use for a banner though, so I made one myself. I think it turned out really cute and I always feel like a banner makes the table look complete. You can download the free banner printable by clicking HERE. Just cut it out, punch holes in the corners and run string through it. Lately I have been using blue painters tape to hang up my banners then covering the tape up with cute washi.

shark week letterboard idea

I also used my letterboard for the occasion. It was a bit of a challenge creating the shark fin, but I love how it turned out.

SNACKS

Chumming for Sharks Yogurt

chumming for sharks yogurt - perfect healthy snack or breakfast for shark week or a shark birthday

I wanted to have a few snacks with at least one healthy option, but most of the ideas on Pinterest were not very healthy. Usually I am all about desserts, but we have been making an effort to eat healthier lately so I came up with my own snack idea by combining a few ideas from Pinterest. We ended up making chumming for sharks yogurt. The kids helped me make these, which was a lot of fun. To make these you will need the following:

  • Granola (optional)
  • Greek Yogurt (we used vanilla)
  • Blue food coloring (you only need a few drops)
  • Frozen Strawberries in Sugar (we bought this from the frozen section of the grocery store)
  • Plastic Cups
  • Mini spoons
  • Grey construction paper (to make shark fins)
  • Glue gun

We added a little bit of granola to the bottom of the cups, put a few drops of blue food coloring into the yogurt, scooped the yogurt into the cup, then topped it with the chum (the frozen strawberries). I explained to the boys that chum is what they dump in the water to attract sharks and then what do you know, a few sharks showed up and jumped right into our bowls. πŸ˜‰ The kids loved it! I free hand cut out shark fins out of grey construction paper and glued them onto mini spoons. I also used a few sharks left over from the adorable popcorn buckets I made using a printable from My Printly.

Shark Bait

shark bait popcorn snack is easy, delicious, and perfect for shark week or a shark party

Of course, I had to do one sweet treat, so I made shark bait. It was so delicious and all the little sharks ate it up super fast!Β I spent Tuesday night driving from store to store searching for shark gummies. I feel like I always see them until the time I need them, then they vanished. I found gummy bears, worms, snakes, octopus, frogs, dinosaurs, alligators and lions! Literally every gummy animal ever made except sharks! Then I thought, why would sharks want to eat sharks, and decided that putting them in my shark bait didn’t make sense anyways. That is when I came up with the goldfish idea. Sharks love eating fish, especially delicious sweet ones. They have so many fun flavors now too that you could use, but I must say, the s’mores goldfish were perfect in this recipe. To make the shark bait you will need the following:

  • Sea Salt Air Popped Popcorn
  • Ghiradelli White Chocolate Chips
  • Blue M&Ms
  • S’mores Goldfish Crackers

I put wax paper on a cookie sheet, spread out my popcorn, sprinkled in goldfish and m&ms, then drizzled the melted white chocolate over it. I put it in the fridge until it cooled then broke it apart and put it in the cutest popcorn buckets from My Printly. These were so perfect for our playdate and I have been refilling the containers with shark bait all week so the boys can munch on it while watching Shark Week.

Ocean Water

ocean water - blue gatorade with a swedish fish makes an easy and fun drink for shark week or a shark party

For drinks, I kept it simple with blue Gatorade and a swedish fish on each straw.

ACTIVITIES

Shark Sensory Bin

shark sensory bin

I set up a shark sensory bin. What I love most about sensory bins is that they don’t always have to be fancy. I didn’t have time to buy anything (and to be honest didn’t really want to spend a bunch of money) so I just used what we already had. A bag of glass circle vase fillers, water and plastic sharks. That’s it! And you know what, the kids loved it and played with it for quite a while. Sometimes, I think we as moms get caught up in making everything Pinterest worthy, but kids don’t need much to have fun. They were getting so creative and having the best time! When you give kids water activities, you usually can’t go wrong.

Shark Slime

shark slime - perfect activity for shark week

We also made shark slime. For our first attempt, the day before the playdate, we tried to use a non-borax recipe, but the slime was so sticky. I watched a bunch of you tube videos and started adding everything they recommended for sticky slime, but nothing helped. So my hubby bought borax and like magic our sticky bowl of blue goop turned into slime. When our friends came over, we made a second batch using the borax recipe and it worked great. The kids loved playing with their sharks in the slime! I used this recipe to make the slime.

Shark Play Doh Mats

shark week playdoh mats free printables

I also had a little play doh station with our shark week playdoh mats, some playdoh and some cutters. My boys had already done this activity earlier in the week and the kids were all having so much fun with the other activities that we didn’t get to this. You can check the play doh mats out here.

Shark Cutting and Tracing Activity

free printable - shark cutting and tracing practice

I also made a fun little printable for Hudson. I printed one out and had it laminated so it could be used as a tracing exercise. Both boys had fun with that. Then I printed one out on regular paper so Hudson could also use it for cutting. Hudson loves cutting so this was perfect for him. You can get the printable HERE. *Graphics were purchased from Prettygrafik Design.

CRAFTS

I had a few crafts to do that I found on Pinterest, but we didn’t get to those either. Good thing shark week lasts an entire week so we can fit in all the fun we planned.

Clothespin Sharks

clothespin shark craft for shark week

I let each of the kids select one craft from Pinterest. Hudson chose clothespin sharks from Kix. This wasn’t an ideal craft for my kids’ ages so I pretty much ended up making these, but the kids did love playing with them.

Toilet Paper Roll Sharks and Paper Towel Roll Hammerhead Sharks

Luc chose to make paper toilet roll sharks. The one he selected was a regular shark, but his favorite shark is the hammerhead so I got really excited when I found a paper towel roll hammerhead shark on Pinterest. We are planning to make both, but so far have only completed phase one. I will update this once we finish the project.

Shark Hats

shark hats perfect for shark week

I was also planning to make shark hats, but the hats we selected required an obscure paper size in numerous colors that was not readily available (please tell me I am not the only one who spends tons of time driving from store to store looking for seemingly basic craft supplies that are actually impossible to find). Luckily, one of my friends, Danielle, from Mama Life Inspiration, who is an awesome blogger, posted an adorable shark hat idea. So we ended up making those instead and the boys had tons of fun finger painting their shark fins and tails. Of course they also loved running around in their shark hats. For more details on the hats and for the link to the shark fin hat template click here. Danielle also has a bunch of other fun shark week ideas on her blog so be sure to take a look.

As you can see, we squeezed a whole lot of Shark Fun into one week. My boys just love sharks so much that I couldn’t help myself and went a little overboard. You could easily pick just a few of these ideas to make your shark week a bit more fun.

I hope you have a fin-tastic Shark Week!!

carrot patch spring themed sensory bin

Spring Themed Sensory Bins

We love sensory bins in our house. Especially now that the boys are a bit older and a little bit independent, it is the perfect activity to set up before I start making dinner. We love to try new things and the possibilities really are endless. Here are just a few that we have tried that are perfect for this time of year:

Carrot Patch Sensory Bin

carrot patch spring themed sensory bin
The boys had a lot of fun digging up their carrots, making shakers out of the carrot eggs, using the carrot eggs to scoop up beans, and just exploring the beans and gardening tools. They also had a little bonus surprise when they discovered that some of the carrots were actually bubbles. πŸ™‚
carrot patch spring themed sensory bin
Supplies:

  • 4 2lb. bags of black beans
  • Carrot bubbles (I bought them at Walmart)
  • Carrot Easter Eggs (Dollar Store)
  • Mini gardening tools (Walmart)

 

Easter Sensory Bin

spring/easter sensory bin
We did this one last year and the boys had so much fun with it! There is just something about Easter eggs that seems to keep kids entertained for minutes (hehe, I would say hours, but nothing has ever held my kids’ attention for hours). The kids really had fun though and this got them very excited for Easter.
spring/easter sensory bin
Supplies:

  • Rice ( I use a plastic ziploc container, then let the kids add 1 cup of rice, 1 tablespoon of vinegar and then a few drops of food coloring – repeat until you have enough rice – my kids love doing this as much as they love playing in the bin)
  • Plastic Easter eggs
  • Cookie cutters or pancake molds in spring shapes
  • Flower shaped cupcake molds
  • Pretend butterflies
  • Plastic spoons (the boys loved using the spoons to scoop rice into the eggs)

 

Gardening Sensory Bin

gardening - spring themed sensory bin
This idea is courtesy of MamaLifeInspiration and was a huge hit. Boys and dirt is always a winning combination and when you throw in bugs you can’t go wrong! πŸ™‚ The boys also really liked using the tweezers to collect and study their bugs in the container, which is great fine motor practice!
gardening - spring themed sensory bin
(Notice his boots are on the wrong feet. I pointed it out to him, but he said they were comfy like that)

Supplies:

  • Potting Soil (One bag from the dollar store worked perfect)
  • Kid’s Gardening Tools (I found some at the Dollar Section at Target after a few searches, but both Walmart and Target also have some character ones in the Gardening section)
  • Plastic Bugs (we got ours from the Dollar Store)
  • A few fake flowers (left over from my DIY Easter Bunny Ears)
  • We found a cute little bug catcher set at the Dollar Store that included a magnifying glass, tweezers to collect the bugs and a plastic bottle to put them in. This isn’t at all necessary, but it was a big hit with my boys.

 

I always get questions about our set-up, it’s really cool, right? It is fairly easy and affordable to make too and can be broken down and stored in the storage container if you are tight on space. If you are interested you can check out the instructions here. For more seasonal sensory bin inspiration check out these posts:

St. Patrick’s Day Sensory Bin

St. Patrick's Day themed sensory bin

Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin

valentines day sensory bin

Halloween Sensory Bin

halloween sensory table

spring themed sensory bins - carrot patch, Easter, and Gardening
halloween sensory table

Halloween Themed Sensory Bin

My boys love playing in our sensory bin. My aunt gave us ours as a gift (isn’t that a great gift idea?!) and we have used it so many times already. I have so many friends ask me about our sensory table so I figured I would share a tutorial I found on pinterest with instructions on how to make your own. Our go to favorite sensory activity is rice because it works well for both kids, it keeps them busy for a decent amount of time and I don’t have to be involved in the playing. We started making the rice in the morning, and I must say, making the rice is as fun for the kids as playing in the actual bin. I use a plastic ziploc container, then let the kids add 1 cup of rice, 1 tablespoon of vinegar and then a few drops of food coloring. Each of my kids alternates turns creating their color combination and they love it. It is also a good time to explain how different colors mix together to make new colors. Then I snap the lid on and let them go to town shaking it up.

coloring rice sensory bin

While Luc was napping, I set up the bin. The boys were so excited and had a great afternoon playing.

halloween sensory bin

halloween sensory table fun