Aluminum Foil Art

Aluminum Foil Painting (7)Something as simple as switching up the canvas can make an everyday activity like painting feel new again! Recent shiny mirror play prompted me to have Travis paint not on paper but on… foil!

I put the foil against a sturdy cardboard backing, and used snack bag clips to hold it securely.

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At first I thought he might want to use permanent markers on the foil. These made not only vibrant colors, but also fun texture where it indents the foil slightly.

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He was instantly designing a Star Wars ship (of course), but quickly decided to move on to paints.

I mixed tempera paint colors with a couple drops of dish soap in each (which supposedly helps it adhere to the foil better).

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Now he was off and running!

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He mixed colors, made fun designs, and wasn’t content until the whole surface of the foil was finished.

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What novel canvas has your child used for art? Please share in the comments!

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Rice Cereal Sensory Tray

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One-year-olds are a tough age when it comes to devising activities. They’re old enough to want variety and to do things with those little hands and bodies, but not skilled enough yet for the games and projects they can enjoy once true toddlers (closer to 15 or 18 months).

Here’s a fantastically easy sensory bin that’s sure to engage a baby at just this age. If you have a box of rice cereal, just dump it in a bin! I added a few of her favorite little toys (Duplo figures, plastic farm animals) and buried them somewhat in the cereal. Now everyone was hiding in the rice paddy!

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I also added a rake for her to explore with, thinking this would make less of a mess than shovel. This wasn’t necessarily the case, but the rake became a fast favorite, and she trotted over to her playroom with it once the sensory play was done!

I also added a spritz bottle. Toddlers can practice squeezing the handle themselves. For Veronika at age one, I spritzed the water so she could watch the droplets in the sun-lit room.

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The instant the water hits the rice cereal, you’ll also get a scent sensory bin, with the homey smell of cereal for breakfast wafting up.

The water also means the rice cereal will clump together. She delighted in handfuls, picking them up, marveling when they stuck to her little palm, and shaking them loose with glee.

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And of course, trying a taste!

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She had fun raking through and finding the toys.

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Then it was lots of scattering the rice cereal around for ages.

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But don’t worry about clean-up. The rice cereal (even when wet) sweeps up like a charm with a simple dustpan.

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This was definitely a winner!

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Circle of Objects

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If you’re looking for a simple way to encourage your one-year-old to start using nouns and names of favorite toys, a circle of objects is a fantastic idea.

I cleared other distractions from the room and set out a few items for Veronika in a big circle, keeping the number manageable (aim for 6 to 8 things). I included: a box, stacking rings, a ball, a scarf, a toy car, a small book, and plastic cow. The idea was to have a variety, but also things that could be named with one word.

I placed her in the middle, and the choice was hers! When she trotted over to the box first, I named it. “Yes, that is a box.”

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She wanted to put the stacking rings inside it. More great opportunity for talk! “You found the ring. You found the green ring. Can the green ring go inside?

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Next the scarf caught her eye. “You found your scarf. The scarf is soft.”

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I draped this over a few of the items in the circle that she hadn’t made it to yet, to draw her attention. Soon she was happily uncovering and then playing with the car and small book.

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“The car goes fast!” I chimed in, as she spun the wheels and drove it around. This could go inside the box, too!

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You get the idea. Whatever it is your baby picks up from the circle, say the noun and some simple sentences to go along with it. And wait for that thrilling moment when your baby says the word back!

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