Monday, April 3, 2017

Dollar Store Sensory + Activity Bin Ideas for Toddlers

I made a trip to the dollar store today to gather some materials to make activities + sensory bins for Ronan (who is 14 months and needs to be occupied at.all.times.). With baby girl on the way (post coming soon about that too!), I am definitely going to need to have quick + easy ways to keep Ro entertained on the fly. As I present the activities to Ro, I'll update this post and share them here too! I hope you find them helpful, and as always, be sure to share if you do!

Why Sensory Bins? 
As an occupational therapist, I work on a daily basis with children who are delayed in development. Whether for typically developing children or those with disabilities, the benefits of sensory bins are endless. They promote and encourage: fine motor skills (i.e. bilateral hand coordination, grip strength, finger dexterity), eye hand coordination, language development, independent play skills, sensory awareness,  cause and effect, and SO many more skills. There really isn't a reason NOT to use them ;)

**all items in this post were either purchased at the dollar store OR I already had at home. Total cost for EVERYTHING was approximately $50.

Prehistoric Sensory Bin
Ronan is currently OBSESSED with dinosaurs, so it was a no-brainer to pull this bin out first for him. He was "roaring" the whole time. He loved opening and closing the eggs, making the dinosaurs stomp around in the rocks, and staring me dead in the eye as he brought the rocks to his mouth waiting for me to yell NO at him (insert eye roll here). Ohhhhh boys.

Obviously, you can use your imagination and switch out the dinosaurs for other toys that your child is currently interested in (dolls, cars, animals, etc...). I like the size of the rocks + gemstones for this activity, though, because they are the perfect size for little hands and encourage exploring an element that is found in nature.

2 bags of medium-sized assorted rocks (in the floral section)
1 bag of gemstones (also in the floral section)
plastic dinosaur toys
plastic easter eggs

Beans Sensory Bin
This one is pretty simple and straight forward. Simply fill a bin with dry beans, add any type of "accessories" you want, and let them go at it! Ronan liked pouring the beans in and out of the container I put in there, mixing them around with the utensils, andddd we ended our play time when he started deliberately pouring them all over the floor haha.

2 bags of dry beans
any additional "accessories" (I used plastic easter eggs, play utensils, and an empty container)

Rice Sensory Bin
This one is also pretty simple and straight forward. It is the same concept as the dry beans, but with rice! Ronan was also a fan of this one, and again, it ended when he started spilling them all over the floor on purpose. And for those of you asking if he puts anything in his mouth while he plays.... the answer is yes. Haha I just have to monitor him to make sure he doesn't choke or do anything dangerous!

2 bags of rice
any additional "accessories" (I used plastic easter eggs, play utensils, and an empty container)

with love,

kellie ann

Monday, January 30, 2017

Ronan's First Birthday 1-31-2017

Dear Ronan,

You are the one who made me a mother. You are the one who I wake up to and for every morning. You are my first born, my baby boy, my heart + my soul. Your first year of life literally flashed by in the blink of an eye. It seems like just yesterday I was holding you in my arms at the hospital, thanking God for entrusting me with the most perfect little human. You light up our lives every single day. Your sweet + funny personality, your inquisitive nature, and your stubborn streak make us proud to be your parents. You make us laugh, you make us smile, and even when you make us tired, we could not imagine a single moment of life without you in it. Thank you for being you. We cannot wait to see what else you have in store for us over the next several years. We love you, our little man Ronan.

Mama + Dada





with love,

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tuesday Morning Cinnamon Rolls

Recently J found his great grandmother's (which would make her "great great grandma" to Ronan) recipe for homemade cinnamon rolls. There was just something special about the torn and fragile state of the paper, the fading ink, and the idea that years ago his grandma would wake up on any given morning to make these for her family. And now, my husband is making them for our family. Family recipes are something special that can't be replaced by anything other than generation after generation continuing the legacy of those comforting smells filling the kitchen. So Ronan, J, and I spent this chilly winter Tuesday morning in the kitchen together to do just that. (recipe found at the bottom of the post)

Great Great Grandma's Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons soft/melted butter

1/4 cup brown or granulated sugar
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 cup confectioners sugar (sifted)
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1. Sift dry ingredients into a mixing bowl
2. Add shortening and cut in until fine
3. Add milk all at once and stir until dough sticks together. Form a ball.
4. Turn out on lightly floured board
5. Knead 5 or 6 times. Handle dough lightly and work quickly!
6. Roll dough to about a 12"x8" rectangle- 1/4 in thick
7. Brush with melted butter or spread on soft butter
8. Sprinkle on cinnamon sugar mixture
9. Roll up like a jelly roll; pinch edges together and shape into an even roll
10. Cut into 12 even slices
11. Place in greased pan (cake, ring mold, or cookie sheet) closely
12. Brush tops with milk or melted butter
13. Bake at 450* for 15 minutes
16. Pour icing over rolls
17. ENJOY!

with love,
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