Category Archives: Sensory Play

Activities for September

September is here, and so is Autumn. In India, autumn is usually not taught as a season to students. But it should be, because just like the rest of the world, India experiences its version of autumn. Golden or brown leaves are usually a sign of autumn or fall. While we don’t often get to see autumn leaves in India, we do experience other changes, like the days become shorter and nights become longer. The days are sunny, but the sun’s rays are not as hot as they are in the summer.

Autumn in New York

Autumn in New York (Photo credit: blmiers2)

Weather in Autumn Activity:

I took a globe and positioned a flashlight on one half of the Earth. I asked Big A to place her hands on different parts of the globe, to tell me which felt hot and which part felt warm. Then, I took a ball and held it straight (not titled like the globe), and I placed the flashlight on one half of the ball. I asked her to tell me if there was a difference in the heat across the different parts of the ball. Except for the top and bottom, where the flashlight rays don’t hit directly, the rest of the ball will be of the same temperature.

We concluded that because the earth is tilted, areas that get direct heat feel hot and those that do not get direct heat feel warm, and this is why we have seasons. In September, India does not receive direct sunlight, hence the days are warm, and are shorter than nighttime.

Here’s a list of other activities I’ve planned for this month:

  1. Talk about the weather in September and decide what type of clothes to wear for the weather. Work with your child to place clothes for September at the front of the cupboard shelf. By doing this, children realize how clothes are designed for seasons. And when they grow big, they are likely to be fashion conscious and  will dress up for the season.
  2. If you have fashion magazines at home, show pictures of the Autumn/Fall collection and discuss the trends in fashion with your kids.
  3. Autumn begins with Janmashtmi celebrations. Tell your kids a story about Krishna and then show them how to make butter.
  4. September is also a month of harvest festivals – Onam in Kerala and Nuakhai in Orissa. Discuss the meaning of harvest, and why farmers celebrate the harvest festival.
  5. Ganesh Chaturthi is another big festival that comes in September this year. Newspapers are going to be filled with photographs of the Elephant God. Have your child skim through the papers each day and cut pictures of Ganesha and create a collage.
  6. Take a nature walk, collect some leaves and make leaf skeletons.
  7. Collect fallen leaves and flowers, trace their designs on paper, cut the paper drawings and thread them together to make a toran. You could also make a toran with real leaf and flowers, but it will stay fresh only for a few days.
  8. Download and print fall theme worksheet set 1 and worksheet set 2 and have kids fill them up.

If you have fun ideas to do with kids in September, please do share them.

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Play Dough Pizza & Fractions

Play Dough is hours of quiet fun. Kids love mixing different colored dough (as much as you tell them not to) and molding it into different shapes. Play dough is a good sensory play item and by kneading the dough, punching it and pinching children also develop motor skills. It definitely seems like a great item to have at home, but buying it from the market is expensive at times, especially if your kids play with it regularly, mix it all together and then start asking for new colors.

So, I found a way to make play dough at home. I found many recipes on the Internet, tried and tested a few, and finally found one that worked for me. So here it is. To make play dough at home, you need:

  • 2 cups flour (I used maida)
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar/vinegar (optional for improved elasticity)
  • Food color (if you want to be child-safe) or water color will do too
  1. Put all the ingredients in a bowl, mix them together and stir over low heat. The mixture will begin to thicken slowly.
  2. If it is sticky, continue cooking, until it leaves the sides.
  3. When the mixture pulls away from the side, remove it from the heat and leave it to cool until it reaches a temperature that is easy to handle.
  4. When its cooled down, knead it with your hands, until it appears smooth and shiny.
  5. Make small balls. Dig a hole in the center of each ball and a drop of color and knead it again to merge the color into the dough.

Hand it over to the kids and read a book or watch a movie, while they get busy in their play dough world 🙂

Or, you could make a pizza with them and teach them a little about fractions.

I asked Big A to make a pizza with the dough. After she made the base, I showed her how to slice it, and she made 8 parts. I explained to her that one small slice was called 1/8 part of the pizza, because it was one of the eight parts. Like wise I asked her to show me 2/8, 3/8 parts of the pizza. Then, came the fun part of putting toppings over the pizza. Both were creative in mixing up colors and crating funky toppings for the pizza.

While we were busy learning fractions, Little A used cookie cutters and made wonderful play dough art pieces.

Camera roll5When we ordered pizza the next time, Big A quickly opened the box to count the number of parts in the pizza, and told me how many parts she wanted to have :D. Who knew Math could be so much fun!

Homemade Snow

This Sunday I decided to experiment with homemade snow. I found a super brilliant Clean Mud recipe at Glowing a Jeweled Rose blog. I love it because it is so very simple, all it needs is baking soda and water and within a few minutes you will have soft, mushy snow ready.

I made two batches and gave them to A & A in separate bowls, I did this was to avoid any fights :). They loved feeling the soft texture and quickly got to making shapes with it. And needless to say, where there is snow, there will be snowman!

Feeling soft snowLittle SnowmenMixing snow

Our snowmen were small, because I only bought 200 grams of baking soda from the shop. I am going to experiment with a larger quantity next week, in the hope of making a decently sized snowman.

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