Jan 23, 2015

Usborne Books that Promote Fine Motor Skills

Happy Fine Motor Fridays! This week, I am switching it up a bit and bringing you a book list. An Usborne book list to be precise! One of the great things about Usborne (and there are MANY) is that a lot of their books are interactive. All of their interactive books have one thing in common, they are fantastic for developing fine motor skills! Usborne Books & More has so much to offer. Each of the books below offers something exciting and educational while helping to promote fine motor skills and other important education skills for your little ones. 

There's a Mouse About the House! - This adorable interactive book features a little cardboard mouse with a cute rope tail that you move throughout the book. On each page there is a slot to slip the little mouse through. This helps promote fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination as your little one is moving the mouse in and out of the different slots on each page. To get the mouse in the slot, your child will be forced to hold the mouse like a pencil which is great for developing pre-writing skills.  The story itself is really cute too!

A Squirrels Tale - This book is the exact same concept as There's a Mouse About the House, except with an adorable red squirrel! The story is equally cute and if you are a fan of TaMAtH, than you will be a huge fan of this one! 

Peek Inside Animal Homes - The Peek Inside series is one of our very favorites for babies and toddlers!! The pictures are absolutely gorgeous and the interactive parts inside are fantastic. As you read, your child can lift all sorts of different flaps to see what is underneath. There are cutout holes that your child can grasp to lift up some of the flaps. This helps develop their pincer grasp. This is a great lift the flap type book for beginners! 

Look Inside Our World  - The Look Inside series is a lift the flap series for older kids. There are SO many flaps filled with information. Flaps equal fine motor practice! There are some excellent titles in this series, all jam-packed with educational facts. 

See Inside How Things Work - The See Inside series is pretty identical to the Look Inside series. With tons of flaps, your little one will be able to get lots of fine motor practice in while learning about fantastic topics. This title How Things Work is a super fun look into different ordinary things and how they work. There are also tons of titles in this series!

Lift - the - Flap General Knowledge - The lift-the-flap series is similar to the above two series. Test your knowledge while developing fine motor skills! 

Slot-Together Castle with an Usborne Book - The slot together castle is beyond cool! It comes with all of the pieces to put together your very own castle. Working to slot together the small pieces is amazing for fine motor development! 

First Sticker Book Space - ALL of Usborne's sticker books promote fine motor skills; and they have tons of them! They have everything from "first" stickers books, to dolly dressing, to look and find sticker books and  more. All of the sticker books they have offer tons of learning, fine motor skill development, and fun! 

Under the Sea Jigsaw Book - Usborne has so many unique books. The jigsaw books are really cool collections of jigsaw puzzles embedded into each page of the book. Jigsaw puzzles are fantastic fine motor skill builders! 

200 Paper Planes to Fold & Fly - How cool is this book?! These books come with all different kinds of  patterned paper and the instructions to make several different paper airplanes. Folding and creating paper airplanes is a great way to utilize fine motor skills. 

Wind-Up Plane Book - The Wind-Up series is one of our very favorites!! They have planes, trains, pirate ships, race cars, tractors, etc. Winding up each of the vehicles and setting them on their tracks is certainly a fine motor workout! 

Build the Bones Whale - This awesome book and activity is incredibly educational! It comes with a book about whales, the largest animal on earth, as well as the pieces to create your own 3-D whale model. Putting together the whale is a phenomenal fine motor fete! 

Don't forget to check out all of the other awesome fine motor posts: 

Smashing ABC Moon Rocks from Stir the Wonder
Valentine Themed Button Snake from School Time Snippets
Crepe Paper Flower Cards from Powerful Mothering
Fine Motor Valentine’s Day Shirts for Kids from Lalymom
Groundhog Finger Puppet Craft from Still Playing School

Interested in purchasing one of the awesome books showcased above? Visit my USBORNE STORE to buy them, and take advantage of some great deals! Interested in hosting a party or joining my team, all of that information can be found there too! 

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Fine Motor Fridays Pinterest Board

99 fine motor ideas for ages 1 to 5
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Jan 22, 2015

Conversation Heart Sensory Play for Baby

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For our final post in our Show Me the Love series with And Next Comes L and Still Playing School, I wanted to focus on simple Valentine's activities for babies. Some of my favorite activities to set up are sensory activities for baby. For a baby, EVERYTHING is a sensory activity! They are brand new and exploring the world all day every day. It is SO easy to set up simple sensory experiences for them to introduce them to new concepts, textures, sounds, smells, etc. I used Conversation Hearts to set up two quick and easy sensory activities for baby Bentley! (Please excuse the overwhelming amount of pictures. I can't help it. My baby is DELICIOUS!)
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Jan 20, 2015

Bubble Wrap Heart Prints

Simple paint projects have been a big favorite around here lately. When I ask Kingston if he wants to do an activity he says, "Yes. Paint!" So, when we did our Bubble Wrap Heart Breaking activity the other day, I knew exactly how I would reuse the hearts that we had smashed. Some red washable paint and scrap paper and we were in business!

Kingston used the hearts to make prints on a table full of paper.

I love how they came out, and he loved making the prints. The texture from the bubble wrap made them extra cute! We are going to use them as Valentine's for all of K's friends at our upcoming Valentine's Day party! 

Don't forget to head on over to And Next Comes L and Still Playing School to see what they were up to today!

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Jan 19, 2015

Building Hearts with Blocks

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Valentine's Day is just around the corner! This week, we are pairing up with two of our very favorite bloggers, Devany of Still Playing School and Dyan of And Next Comes L for Show Me the Love (part 2!), a Valentine's series that will bring you 9 fun crafts and activities to do with your little ones over the next month. We ran this series last year too and it was so much fun. You can see my posts here, here, here, here, and here

To kick off the series, we attempted to build hearts using various blocks. 

Kingston has been on a total block kick lately, so I thought it would be incredibly fitting to attempt to put some hearts together. (I underestimated how incredibly hard this would be!!) I provided K with Lego Duplos in pink and red, bristle blocks (we are LOVING these ones lately), Mega Bloks, and red wooden blocks. We talked about how we could make hearts out of what was in front of us. Kingston was incredibly confident in his ability and went to work making various towers. However, I was stumped! We put various blocks together, and talked about the different shapes we would need to create hearts. 

We made something that somewhat resembled a heart with the bristle blocks, but K made the observation that it looked more like "Mickey ears". True story. It really did! 

We managed to build some decent hearts out of Duplos together! Kingston was being silly and hiding behind them. 

With the wooden blocks, we made several abstract heart shapes using circles, rectangles, and squares. This was a great activity for shape recognition. Learning how to build hearts out of unconventiona materials caused us to think outside of the box and explore shapes in a different way. 

The Mega Bloks proved to be pretty impossible for us to build hearts out of. K had a great time playing "Little Heartbreaker" and breaking the various hearts that we created. He is getting to be quite the little heartbreaker,,, did you see our fun Bubble Wrap Heart Breaking activity from the other day? 

This was a great activity for problem solving and critical thinking skills! Even Mama got to exercise some skills trying to help K create them. Have you ever tried to make unconventional shapes using blocks? Tell us about it in the comments!

Don't forget to check out the other fantastic posts for today over at Still Playing School and And Next Comes L! 

Scented Felt Hearts from And Next Comes L
Waterproof Sand Heart Sensory Play from Still Playing School

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Jan 18, 2015

Bubble Wrap Heart Breaking

Today I am partnering with some of my favorite fellow bloggers to bring you a fun blog hop: Little Heartbreakers! We are bringing you 8 fun activities that have to do with BREAKING HEARTS (literally that is!) just in time for Valentine's Day! 

Our activity was super simple and is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. I cut ten hearts out of bubble wrap and lay them out in front of Kingston. I gave him a meat tenderizer (this is one of our favorite tools to use during activities, but if you feel that your child cannot practice self control with this, you may offer something smaller like a rubber mallet or a wooden/plastic toy hammer). The reason why I chose the meat tenderizer was for the awesome metal bumpy part that is perfect for bubble wrap popping! 

We used the "hammer" to hit each heart, counting as we went (there's a reason I chose to cut out ten!). After we counted them, I let K go wild smashing and pounding the bubble wrap hearts to pop them. This was a great use of his gross motor skills. Then he spent some time popping the bubble wrap with this fingers to get some fine motor exercise in there also! 

This activity was easy to set up, simple to do, and got some of my spirited toddler's energy out on a lazy indoor day. Stay tuned for an art project that we did to reuse the hearts after this activity was over! 

Don't forget to read ALL of the posts in the Little Heartbreakers Blog Hop: 

Breaking Hearts: Fine Motor Play from Still Playing School

Catapult Science for Kids- Can You Break My Heart? on Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tail

Bubble Wrap Heart Breaking from House of Burke

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Jan 9, 2015

Gross Motor Learning Hop

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We live in New England where the Winter months are typically snowy, dreary, and incredibly cold. I could easily snuggle up on the couch with a warm blanket, a hot beverage, and my favorite cuddly boys watching movies all day, but usually my high-energy toddler would prefer to be doing something else. After being cooped up inside all day, his interests are mostly of the running, jumping, screaming variety. As part of the Gross Motor Activities from A to Z series hosted by one of my very favorite bloggers Still Playing School, Our letter is H! H is for hop, currently one of my toddlers favorite gross motor movements. Because of this, I put together a super fun and easy gross motor learning hop. 

I am super excited to share this activity because of its versatility. This really only requires some papercrayons/markers/colored pencils, tape, and some toys you have around your house! (We used animals from the Fisher-Price Little People Zoo Talkers Animal Sounds Zoo, the Fisher Price Little People A to Z Learning Zoo Playset, and Wild Republic Polybags)  To create the activity, I wrote out the alphabet and numbers 1-10 in different colored crayon. Then I taped them all to the floor in a maze design. You can tape them however you choose! Then we were ready to start our gross motor activities. There is so much you can do with this set up. Kingston likes activities dealing with letters, numbers, colors, and animals, so we got right to it! 

Alphabet Hop 

The first activity we did was hop the alphabet! I called out the letter, K repeated the letter, and then he hopped to it. This was a fantastic activity for letter recognition and he enjoyed following the maze pattern around our living room.

Alphabet Recognition Hop

I called out different letters, and K had to find them and hop onto them. He would call out the letter as he hopped! This worked on recognition even further by making him seek out a particular letter out of order.

Alphabet Color Hop

For this activity, we combined both letter recognition and color recognition. We did this activity two ways. The first way, I told him to find all of the letters that were a certain color. For example, "Kingston find the orange letters." As he found one, he would hop on it and say its name. Then we played a less structured game where he jumped on any letter he wanted and called out its name and color.

Number Hop 

Numbers are something that we still struggle a bit with, so our number hop was pretty simple. K hopped from each number and we called out its name. After he was done, we went through and looked at the spelling of each word (included underneath the number).

Animal Alphabet Hop

This activity was by far his favorite and is perfect for any animal lover. You could easily use items around your house that begin with that specific letter if you don't have a wide variety of animals!

To play, K selected an animal and we named it. Then we sounded out the first letter, and I told him what it started with. Then he set off to find that letter and place the animal on it.

He had a really fun time running back and forth, hopping over animals, and finding their homes! It was a great indoor energy buster. 

We had an animal for every letter, so the effect at the end was great. We went through and called out the different animal names and letters they started with. K loved that they each had a "home" on their letter square. 

Animal Counting Game

The last activity we did was an animal counting game. We found the animals we had that were in specific families and grouped them on their number. Some of the animals had babies attached to them which were included in the counts. You could do this with colors too, sorting coordinated colored objects on the different numbers.

Don't forget to check out the 24 other gross motor activities in this amazing series! 

On top of all of these exciting activities, Discount School Supply is giving one lucky winner a Parachute Play Pack! This is just perfect for all of your gross motor fun! Enter using the Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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