Simple, 3-Ingredient Concoctions for Kids to Make

Do your kids love mixing concoctions? Oh boy! Do I ever have a whopper of a concoction collection for you! 35 of the best slime, goop, goo and play dough recipes that I could find! Science and sensory exploration never looked, felt or smelled so good!  And best of all? All of these mixtures require 3 ingredients or less!

Visit Kids Activities Blog  to see all of these amazing mixtures and to find out how to make them! Here’s a sneak-peek:

3-ingredient concoctions for kids

 

And speaking of Kids Activities Blog… Have you seen the fantastically, amazing book that they’ve just published?

101 of the bestest, funnest kids activities ever!  I’ve got it, I’ve read it, and I LOVE IT!!  It’s jam-packed with easy, activities that kids of all ages will absolutely love!  CLICK HERE to get your copy now from Amazon.com!

101-kids-activities-that-are-the-bestest-funnest-ever-book-cover-650

From 101 Kids Activities by Holly Homer and Rachel Miller, printed with permission of Page Street Publishing June 2014.

Teaching Spreading Skills with Blocks and Shaving Cream

Want a super activity for teaching spreading skills to your preschooler or toddler?  Break out the building blocks and shaving cream!  And prepare yourself for a little bit of mess and a whole lot of fun.

Recently, while preparing some crackers and peanut butter for snack, I got thinking about helping the children develop their spreading skills.  All I knew was I wanted to use non-food items because I wanted a fun, engaging activity that we could fill a morning with.  I was certain that I’d come up with something if I mulled it over for a few days.

 

Learning to spread with blocks and shaving cream

 

Sure enough, the light-bulb went on earlier this week when I was looking through all of my shaving cream posts.  I thought “Hey!  Shaving cream is spreadable!, and it’s most definitely fun and engaging!”  The hooligans LOVE playing with shaving cream!

All that was left was to figure out WHAT we could spread the shaving cream on.  It didn’t take long to come up with the answer:  our foam blocks!  The hooligans could work on their spreading skills while building structures!

Let me just tell you – this activity was FABULOUS!  Not only was it a great activity for teaching spreading skills, it was a wonderful construction activity, it incorporated messy play, imaginative play and fine-motor skill development, and at the end of it all there was some water-play as well.  Could it get any better than that?

Let me show you all the fun!

When teaching spreading skills with shaving cream and blocks, you’ll need:

 

foam blocks, shaving cream, bowls, pate spreaders

For your convenience, affiliate links have been added to this post.

 

  • foam building blocks
  • foaming shaving cream (as opposed to gel) – canned whipped topping or foaming bath paints could also be used
  • small pate spreaders, plastic knives etc.
  • flat, non-porous surface (suggestions below)
  • small bowls

 

Getting started:

To start, choose a flat work surface.  If it’s something like a plastic tray, a baking sheet or a table that you’re not too fussy about, you’re good to go.  If you’re concerned about the surface of your table however, I would advise protecting it first with a table cloth or towel just to be safe.  I’m not entirely sure what effect shaving cream might have on it, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Place the blocks in the middle of the table.

Fill a small bowl with a generous squirt of foamy shaving cream.

Give each child a pate spreader or plastic knife and let them know that they’ll be working on their “spreading skills” while building their structures.  For the benefit of the youngest hooligan, I did a little demonstration.  Ok, maybe it wasn’t entirely for her benefit.  Maybe, just maybe I couldn’t resist.  It all looked so inviting and fun!  Whatever the case may be, I dipped the spreader into some foam, scooped it up, spread it on a block, and “splat”, smushed the block to the table to start things off.

 

toddler stacking blocks spread with shaving cream

 

Everyone followed suit, dipping into their bowls of shaving cream and carefully covering a block with foam.  The fun had begun.

 

spreading shaving cream on blocks

 

Spreading, dipping and stacking ensued.

 

teaching spreading skills with shaving cream

 

According to their conversations, some were baking cupcakes, some were building towers, and some were building cities.

 

toddler spreading shaving cream on a foam block

Honestly.  What fun!  Open-ended building always sparks so much creativity, and adding the shaving cream just took it to a new level.  And all of the fine motor skills – manipulating those knives, little fingers turning those blocks over and over to coat them with shaving cream, and then of course, the critical thinking – the planning, the stacking, the building.

 

foam blocks and shaving cream structures
This activity was such a winner in my books, and one that we’ll repeat over and over I’m sure!

Teaching spreading skills couldn’t have been any more fun.

And how did we end our morning?  WIth a good, ol’ soapy block-wash of course!

 

washing blocks in shaving cream and water

 

If you have a favourite activity that teaches spreading skills, I’d love for you to leave a suggestion in the comments below!

Be sure to check out all of our shaving cream activities and our structure activities before you leave!

 

Sand Play Idea – DIY Sand Table For Kids Without a Sandbox

No doubt about it, kids love to play in a sandbox,  but what do you do if you don’t have one in your yard?  You create a DIY sand table!  Check out this small sand play idea!  It’s perfect for kids who don’t have a sand box! Sand play Sometimes it’s fun to take an activity that your child enjoys regularly, and present it in a new way.  It can breathe new life into the activity, spark creativity, or simply provide your child with a “change of scenery” so to speak.  That’s what I was thinking when I decided to create this DIY sand table.  It’s a great sand play idea for kids who don’t have access to a backyard sandbox!

a spoon and a cup of sand

Our sandbox is probably the most popular place to play in our backyard.   There are lots of things to do in our yard, but not every one will climb the ladder to the playhouse.  Some children aren’t comfortable with the tire swings and the slide.  Not everyone is confident enough to walk our tightrope or to climb on the the play logs, so the sandbox provides a safe place to have a ton of fun.

pressing buttons into a mud pie

Kids love sand! IMG_3629 And this is a great way to provide them with a sand activity when you don’t have a sandbox.

pstting mudpie with a spoon

Make a DIY sand table – a great sand play idea for small spaces:

Pick up a bag of sandbox sand at any Home Depot or Garden Center, and dump a generous amount into a big bowl or a shallow storage container.  You could even do this indoors if you placed a large vinyl tablecloth down on the floor.  I think we may have to try that this winter when our outdoor sand is frozen. IMG_3623 I added a little water to our sand today so the hooligans could make mud-pies, and I provided some items of interest: buttons, chopped up straws, spoons, cups and scissors. tools and items of interest for playing in a bowl of sandworking on scissor skills while playing with sand I set the bowl of sand and the various tools and items on a table in the back yard, and the girls played at it for almost an hour.

playing in a bowl of sand on a table

When they were done, I simply let the sand dry in the sun for the afternoon, and then I dumped and swept it back into the bag where it will stay until the next time we want to play with sand out-of-the-box again. :)  Then I simply gave the table and the tools a spray from the garden hose. pushing buttons into muddies   [jetpack_subscription_form]

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Sensory Art with Shaving Cream and Food Colouring

Sensory Art: exploring shaving cream and food colouring with our hands.

We had another wonderfully messy experience the other day, creating sensory art with shaving cream and food colouring. You may have seen our Giant Shaving Cream Magna-Doodle a couple of weeks ago when we covered our 6 dollar, thrift-shop table in shaving cream and doodled the morning away.sensory art - with shaving cream and food colouring (happyhooligans)

 

This time, at the suggestion of two of my lovely facebook followers, we added a couple of things that took the activity to a whole new level:  food colouring and craft sticks.

for your convenience, affiliate links have been added to this post

Our sensory art “ingredients”:

Added suggestion: bucket of water and a towel

I started by covering our table-top with shaving cream.  Don’t worry about buying expensive shaving cream.  This stuff was not.  It dribbled and dripped out of the container, but hey, we weren’t looking for a close shave here, we were just looking to get messy.

I sprinkled a few drops of food colouring on top of the shaving cream and we were good to go!

IMG_1089

Then I passed around some large craft sticks.  Using craft sticks until the food colouring is mixed in is a good idea.  It prevents having to put your hands directly into the food colouring.

shaving cream, food colouring and craft sticks on a table top

The hooligans scraped and doodled and spread the food colouring around in the foam, and it quickly began to look verrrry cool!

sensory art: painting with craft sticks in shaving cream and food colouring

IMG_1105

IMG_1106

And very inviting!  It wasn’t long before they ditched the craft sticks and got their hands into it.  IMG_1096

And they had a great old time, smooshing and smearing the colours all together. IMG_1109

When the shaving became all one colour, I would simply dribble some more on top, and add a few new drops of food colouring, and they’d start all over again.IMG_1113

We continued adding layer upon layer o food colour and shaving cream until the can was empty.

A bucket full of water and towel made clean up easy, and was handy for those who wanted to rinse while they were painting.easy way to clean up when playing outside

sensory art - gorgeous, open-ended, sensory art experience by happy hooligans

Similar activities that may interest you:

Life-size Shaving Cream Magna-Doodle

Shaving Cream Car Wash 

Marbleized Painting with Shaving Cream

Shaving Cream Paints

 

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Shaving Cream “Magna Doodle” Activity

Create a giant “Magna Doodle” with 2 simple items: a table-top and a can of shaving cream.

We love playing with shaving cream!  It’s such a great sensory material, and kids just love rolling up their sleeves, getting right into it with their hands and creating art on a table covered in shaving cream! This morning, I created a shaving cream magna doodle using 2 simple items:  a table-top and a can of shaving cream.

life size magna doodle - shaving cream on a table top

If you’ve been following along with us, you’ve likely heard me mention the 6 dollar, second-hand coffee table.  It serves as an indoor craft table during the winter months, and an outdoor activity table during the warmer months.  I love it because it’s large enough for the children to gather around comfortably, and its laminate top makes it stain and water-proof.

Creating your shaving cream magna doodle:

This morning, I took a can of shaving cream to the table, and presented the hooligans with this:shaving cream invitation to play

At the sound of the spray-can, they came running, and gathered around, curious about what I was up to. “Is it for us?” they asked.  “Yep”, I said.  “What do we do with it?” one of them asked.  I replied very simply:  “Whatever you’d like”.

There was a moment of hesitation, and then a few cautious fingers poked at the cream.exploring shaving cream sensory play

And it wasn’t long before they were burying their hands in the foam, and spreading it around the table, making swirls and pattern.  Then they would wipe it all out and start fresh.  That’s when I realized that what we had in front of us was just like a giant Magna Doodle!shaving cream magna doodle - incredible sensory experience

Who doesn’t love a Magna Doodle?  Make it life-size, and add a sensory twist and it’s better than ever!  We made hand prints,handprints in shaving cream

drew pictures, and created oodles of doodles, writing our names and swirling our hands and fingers around in the foam.doodling in shaving creamIt was such a wonderful sensory experience.  The soft, fluffy shaving cream, little hands gliding around on the slippery table-top and it smelled amazing!swirling shaving cream on a table

When the table became covered with patterns and drawings, they would slide their hands down the length of the table, swiping the surface “clean” to start again.swirls in shaving cream

Cleaning hands:

We had a large bowl and a towel sitting beside the table, so the kids could rinse their hands whenever they wanted to.

hands covered in shaving cream

For those who don’ t enjoy messy play:

One little guy wasn’t big on getting his hands as messy as this activity required, so after a while, I handed out some paint-brushes and they had a go with those.IMG_0905

Shaving cream is an absolutely delightful substance to in your sensory activities, but as always, you know your child best.  If there are skin sensitivities or a risk of your child eating it, please hold off until your child is a bit older.

For more ways to play with shaving cream, please check our other posts:

Playing with Shaving Cream

Shaving Cream Car Wash

Marbleizing with Shaving Cream and Food Colouring

Window Painting with Shaving Cream

You may also appreciate:

5 Learning Activities for the Magna Doodle

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mud kitchen activity

Simple to set up, our mud kitchen activity requires only a bucket of mud, a few kitchen items and a handful of “past their best” pantry items.

mud kitchen with expired pantry items (happy hooligans)
If you’ve been following along with us for a while, you know how much I love coming up with unique mud play activities!  The inspiration behind today’s mud kitchen activity was the awesome pretend “coffee shop” which kept the hooligans busy all last Friday morning.   It was a huge hit, and required nothing more than a few basic supplies and some sand, water and dish soap.

I’m happy to say that our mud kitchen today was also a complete success, and once again, the hooligans were engaged for most of the morning cooking up a storm with a bunch of stuff I already had on hand.

For those concerned that we wasted food doing this activity, I want to say that all of the items you see in the round tray, are materials that we’ve used previously in many of  our sensory bins.  When we’re finished with a bin, I seal up the pasta, lentils, rice etc. to be used again and again.  We’ve been using these same dried food items for a couple of years now.

As for the shaker bottles, I used a small amount of oatmeal, which lasted the entire morning, and some old, dried dill that was past its best.

Supplies we used to create our mud kitchen:


supplies/ingredients for mud kitchen activity

For your convenience, I’ve added affiliate links for some of the products in this post:

To make our mud:

play mud: 50/50 sand and potting soil mixed with water

I used a mix of approx 50/50 sand (from our sandbox) and potting soil, and stirred in just enough water to make it moldable.

I set the whole kit and caboodle up on our handy-dandy 6 dollar thrift-shop coffee-table, and the cook-fest began.IMG_0037

The hooligans spent the better part of the morning scooping, pouring, mixing and garnishing their concoctions.

tweezing, ladeling, scooping, cutting

And I gotta say:  they looked fantastic!

a shaker bottle dispenses rolled oats

I was impressed with how deliberately the preschoolers worked, carefully arranging and decorating their plates.

decorating a mud pie with dried pasta and lentils

We snipped some herbs and flowers from the garden and they added those to their creations.

The most popular items at the table were the shakers – perfect for adding the final touch to a dish.IMG_0141

The children first filled their pie plates, and then moved on to the bowls and tart tins. mud cupcakes

After about an hour, I suggested that they use the water from our camping jug, to make soup.

Our water dispenser:

Our camping water jug is a much-loved addition to our outdoor play space when the weather is warm.  They love having their own personal supply of “running water” in the yard.  It’s great for activities like this, because it saves me from running in and out of the house to refill pitchers with water, and the kids don’t soak themselves at the dispenser  like they tend to if they’re using the garden hose.IMG_0097

I’d placed the water-jug a short distance away from the mud table, so they ran back and forth, filling their small bowls with water, and dumping them into the large bowl of mud, until it was brimming.  Then they added flowers, cut grass and their food items, and stirred and scooped the soup into their bowls.adding water to the mud kitchen

Fun?  You bet it was!  Messy?  Sure, but what a wonderful experience!  second hand coffee table set up with mud kitchen actvitiy

I had them wear their aprons to keep their clothes from getting too messy.  These aprons are THE BEST!  I made them a couple of years ago out of the legs of worn out jeans so they’re really durable, and water and stain resistant.  They’re easy to make, requiring only basic sewing skills.  Click here to see my tutorial.  re-purposed denim aprons - happy hooligans

Clean up was a snap:

At the end of the morning, I drained the water in the big bowl off into the garden, and then I dumped the contents of the plates and bowls into the bowl.  I used the cookie lifter to scrape the mess on the table into the bowl, and then we dumped the whole thing into our compost bin.  A quick spray with the hose had all of the tools and table clean.

When it comes to good, old-fashioned fun, you really can’t beat a bucket of mud for keeping kids engaged and entertained.

mud kitchen activity pie plates and small bowls

If you’d like to see a few more of our favourite mud activities, check out our muddy car wash and our one-of-a-kind portable mud-pit.

 

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You can follow me on Pinterest too!  I have over 90 boards dedicated to all kinds of kids’ crafts and activities, as well as some personal interest boards too.follow the Hooligans on Pinterest!

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Shaving Cream and Food Colouring Marbleized Valentines

Make gorgeous marbleized prints with shaving cream and food colouring!

One thing we hooligans really love is experimenting with easy painting techniques. We’ve discovered so many creative ways to make art using basic household ingredients and supplies. You can see 25 of my favourite art techniques for toddlers and preschoolers here. Today, we were doing some Valentine’s crafting today using one of my very favourite art processes: marbleizing with shaving cream and food colouring.

 

shaving cream and food colouring cover photo

These pictures still don’t completely capture the beauty of this technique, but hopefully they’re impressive enough that you’ll try this at home with your little ones.  You really have to do it to truly appreciate it.  Best thing is, it’s totally easy to set up and do, and the clean up is easy as well, as everything just rinses clean under the tap.

supplies: shaving cream and food colouring

What you’ll need:

  • Shaving cream
  • food colouring (liquids or icing gels)
  • eye droppers or pipettes (optional)
  • stir sticks
  • plastic gift card or a piece of cardboard (for scraping)
  • something to make your print on: white paper or cardstock, white cardboard, doilies etc.

This isn’t a terribly messy activity, but because there’s food colouring involved, which can stain, you should protect your work surface.  We always use an inexpensive vinyl tablecloth for messy crafting.

You’ll also want to protect your child’s clothing with an apron or a smock.  You may have noticed the aprons that the hooligans wear when we’re getting messy.  I make them from the legs of our old jeans.  re-purposed denim aprons - happy hooligans

You can get the tutorial for my  repurposed denim aprons here.

How to marbleize with shaving cream and food colouring:

Have your little one squirt a generous amount of shaving cream onto a baking sheet.  As much as it may be tempting to do this step yourself, let your child give it a try.  It’s great for muscle control and co-ordination.

squirting shaving cream - good for muscle control & co-ordination

With an expired gift card or credit card or even a sturdy piece of cardboard, smooth the shaving cream over the surface of the pan.

smoothing the shaving cream with an expired gift cardLet your child have a go at this step as well.  It’s very satisfying to smoosh and spread the shaving cream around, and you can always go over it one last time yourself to smooth it out.

Now things get really fun!

If you’re using liquid food colouring, simply dribble your colours all over the surface of the shaving cream.

We used Wilton icing gels today.  You can order yours right here from my Amazon.

I mixed 4 colours (pink, purple, red and turquoise) ahead of time with a bit of water.  I added a generous dab of gel to 2 or 3 tbsp of water so our colours would be really intense, like this:

icing gels and water

I gave the hooligans some droppers to transfer the colours to the baking sheet.  This was also a great test in fine motor control, as they had to squeeze the dropper in order to fill the dropper, and to release the drops of colour onto the shaving cream.  This took them quite some time, and I let them work away at it, until the baking sheet was well covered.

Next, grab a stir stick (a craft stick, a skewer or even a plastic knife), and let the magic begin!  This next step is a fascinating lesson in creating designs and colour blending.

stir stick to swirl shaving cream and food colouring

Stir and swirl the drops of colour together, and watch the transformation…collage - shaving cream and food colouringNow, take your white paper or cardboard or whatever it is you’re making your print on, and gently press it into the marbled shaving cream.  Don’t press it in deep because you don’t want to disturb the pattern of colours that you’ve just created.

Lift your paper off, and let it sit for a half a minute or so, and then with your credit card, gently scrape the shaving cream off to reveal THIS:

marbleized doily - shaving cream and food colouring

Isn’t this just the coolest thing you’ve ever seen?heart and doily shaving cream and food colouring

So simple, but it never fails to completely WOW me!

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Painting with Shaving Cream: Outdoor Art for Kids

Painting with shaving cream is an amazing sensory play idea for indoors or out!  Use it in the bath or take it outside to paint on the sliding glass doors like we did!

painting with shaving cream

We love playing with shaving cream!  I always have a couple of cheap cans of Barbasol shaving foam set aside for play activities. We frequently use it to create art and for sensory play.  

If you only have one or two little ones, the shaving cream paint is a fabulous bath-time activity.  I play with a sightly larger crowd though so we use our sliding glass doors as a large “canvas” for everyone to gather around.

Making your shaving cream paint:

Squirt some shaving cream into a muffin tin and add a few drops of food colouring.

Let your little ones stir up their colours.

 

Painting with shaving cream:

Grab your paintbrushes and go nuts. :)

They LOVED this activity!  Even my twelve year old, who was home this morning because he was heading out to a hockey tournament, got in on the action.

Honestly, they had a blast.  They were at it for about an hour, and when 3 of them finally finished up and moved on  one of the youngest ones stayed at it for a good 15 or 20 minutes more.  Who knew something this simple would keep them entertained for this long?  It was a great way to spend the morning.

And when they were done, I filled up a bucket with warm water and handed out sponges, and we had a whole new activity on our hands (not to mention squeaky-clean sliding glass doors). ;)

 

The amazing Anna from The Imagination Tree made shaving cream bath paint last winter and I love how she served hers up.

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Mud Play – More Fun In Our Back Yard {Portable} Mud Pit

Mud Play - Portable Mud Pit in the Backyard

You may recall that last year,  after seeing all of the awesome mud play ideas and mud kitchens out there in the blogosphere, I used our wheel-barrow to create a mobile mud-pit last year for the Hooligans.

Well, re-creating that mud-pit has been on my mind for days, and yesterday when my feet hit the floor at 6 a.m., and the air in the house was already thick and muggy, I knew the day to do it had arrived.

When the Hooligans arrived, I hauled out the old wheelbarrow and dumped a generous amount of clean potting soil into it.  Then I called to the Hooligans bring some sand from the sand-box.

muddy play - more fun in our mobile mud-pit

 They’d been watching me, and were oh-so-curious about what I was doing, so they were only to happy to jump into action.They ran back and forth from the wheel barrow to the sandbox delivering and dumping small pailfuls of sand until we figured we had enough.

Mud Pit - backyard mud play

Then they stirred it all up with their shovels while I was setting up their water supply.

running water for play in the backyard

A water jug with a spigot is without question one of the best things we’ve ever added to our outdoor play-space.  I often see them at our local thrift shop.  We don’t have it ours often (although I suppose we should in this weather), but it comes out on days like these, and the Hooligans LOVE it.  The spigot is a bit stiff and provides a challenge for little hands to manage, (think muscle development and motor control) and they love having complete control over their own tap and water source!  Look for one at the thrift shops.  They usually have them.

Running water in the backyard play space

After adding enough water to make a great, sloppy mess, they brought cars, trucks and tractors from the sand box to add to the mud-pit,

playing in a  wheelbarrow full of mud

and  I set up a “baking counter” by placing a long board and some baking utensils and “ingredients” at one end of the wheelbarrow.

Mud pit for play in a wheelbarrowKids playing in wheelbarrow of mud

What great, messy fun!   At the end of the day, the mud-patch gets wheeled away to the shed, and we can pull it out another day.

mud play in the backyard

Now what to do with those muddy kids?  Click here to see how they cleaned up. :)

Shaving Cream Car Wash For Car-lovin’ Kids!

shaving cream car washIt’s been absolutely gorgeous here this week!  Hot and summer-like and it’s only March!  We’ve been spending our days outside, and these temps have been perfect for getting messy and playing with water, so we set up a shaving cream car wash yesterday.

I covered the lid of a storage container with shaving cream.  This served as the actual car-wash.

Next to that, I turned over a laundry basket, and set a glass dish on top.  I had a couple of non-slip rubber pads that I put underneath the dish to keep it from sliding around.  I filled the dish with warm water and added a couple of drops of blue food colouring.  This was the rinse-station.

Then a stool with a tea-towel draped over the top served as a place to dry the cars.

The Hooligans played together at the car-wash for an hour: washing, rinsing, drying, and starting all over again.  This little guy was at it for an hour and a half!   I think that’s a sure sign that it was a hit!

Want some more great shaving cream activities?  Check out our marbled hearts and shaving cream and food colouring posts!