Sandbox!!! and The Outdoor Play Party

Friday, March 30, 2012

A big welcome to readers from Apartment Therapy Family.  If you would like to follow more of the Golden Gleam's ideas, please like my Facebook Page or follow the Golden_Gleam on Twitter.  For more reading, you may enjoy my Spring Nature Table, Prepare a Meal for Earth Day , and Toy Storage Ideas.

This is The Outdoor Play Party hosted by Mama Pea PodGreening Sam and Avery, and Learning for Life.  I hope our play party inspires you to get outside more with your kids.

This past weekend I built a sandbox for my daughter.  She loves any type of sensory play especially sand, and this will be a great backyard feature to encourage play.


25 Ways to Keep Our Kids Feeling Beautiful

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Like most mothers, when I look at my daughter, I believe she is the most beautiful child in the world.   When I ponder her future, it saddens me that someday she might not believe me when I tell her she is beautiful.  Someone may call her ugly.  She may hate her head full of dark, curly hair because it makes her different than most of her classmates with blonde hair.  She might feel awkward being one of the tallest girls in her class.  As she develops, she may want to hide those womanly changes with oversized clothing or cover facial blemishes with layers of make up.

"The Easter Egg" - Free Printable Memory Game

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Along with many other bloggers, we are participating in Toddler's Approved's Virtual Book Club for Kids. Each month we all read the same book with our children, and each blogger develops an activity for that book.

This month's book is Jan Brett's The Easter Egg.  Since many types of Easter eggs are featured in this book, I created a memory matching game for the story.


Sensory Story Box- Rainbow Fish

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I created a sensory story box for the picture book, The Rainbow Fish, by Marcus Pfister for this month's Color Theme.


Joy in Minutes #11

Monday, March 26, 2012

Write a Letter to a Friend


Tape Resist Geometric Art - Favorite Friday

Friday, March 23, 2012

Every other Friday, I feature an activity that was inspired by another blog.  Mansi from Experimenting Mom created abstract art on a cardboard box with her daughter.  They made blocks of color by using tape to create the design.  Please click here to read about how Mansi creates a masterpiece with her daughter.  I love how children can create a sophisticated piece of artwork with just cardboard, painter's tape, and paint.

Since Easter is coming soon, my daughter and I used the tape resist method to create a picture of a cross with geometric shapes.

First, I traced the shape of a cross in the middle of a piece of cardboard. I surrounded the perimeter of the cross with painter's tape.  Around the cross, I created squares and rectangles by blocking off areas with painter's tape.  Older children could tape off the geometric sections on their own, but my daughter is still a bit young to complete the taping step to create shapes.

Papa Plays - Coin Sorting

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Miss E and her Papa love to play together.  Usually they are playing with her toy animals, but Papa creates other fun experiences for her too.  This past week they decided to dump out the coins in her piggy banks because they plan on depositing them in a bank account for her.


Washing Toys with Dyed Water - Color Theme

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Some of the chores Miss E helps with are cleaning counters and doing laundry.  Washing toys is another chore she helps me complete.  For this months Color Theme, I thought I would make washing toys more fun by using colored water to clean them.

Here is the cleaning station I set up.  If your child is not tall enough to reach the counters with a stool, this could be set up on the floor over a blanket.  


Decorating Easter Cookies- Color Theme

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

painted cookies

We decorated sugar cookies inspired by the Cookie Paint recipe found at The Chocolate Muffin Tree.

I prepared a sugar cookie dough using this rolled sugar cookie recipe.  This has been my favorite sugar cookie recipe, and the cookies are a fluffy, soft, and not too sweet.  I cut out circles from the dough using a cup as a cookie cutter.  

Kites!!! and The Outdoor Play Party

Friday, March 16, 2012

Welcome to The Outdoor Play Party hosted by Mama Pea PodLearning for Life, and Greening Sam and Avery.

Our city hosts an annual kite festival.  We have made a tradition of going to the event with our daughter for three years in a row.  It's held on a grassy lawn with thousands of people and hundreds of kites floating in the sky.


St. Patrick's Day Window Decorations

Thursday, March 15, 2012

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contact paper craft

We have been working with the colors of the rainbow for our Color Theme this month.  We created more rainbows to decorate our windows for St. Patrick's Day.  We added shamrocks to our window art, too.

Color Math

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

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We made baked cotton balls for our Color Obstacle Course, and I decided to use them as manipulatives for math play to tie into our Color Theme.  You don't need baked cotton balls to do these activities.  Any collection of items with different colors could work as a math manipulative such as Legos, toy cars, crayons, or bracelets.

I made a masking tape graph inspired by Our Feminist Playschool.  Miss E sorted the cottons balls by their color into the graph.

Color Obstacle Course

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

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For this month's Color Theme, I created a Color Obstacle Course for my daughter to enjoy moving, playing, and learning more about colors.

Miss E walked across the rainbow bridge by balancing herself across a plank of wood.  I placed colorful sheets of construction paper on either side of the wood.  If you don't have a length of wood, you can use a strip of masking tape for a bridge.

Joy in Minutes #9

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hug Your Children When They Cry

Color Mixing with Hands - Favorite Friday

Friday, March 9, 2012

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We have been learning about colors this month with our Color Theme, and Teach Preschool's activity about  handprint color mixing fits perfectly into our color theme.  Please visit Teach Preschool to see how she facilitated the activity with her preschool class, and her site has many other amazing preschool learning activities.

The only materials needed are the three primary paint colors (red, blue, and yellow), paintbrushes, and  paper.  I knew my daughter would relish the experience of getting her hands messy with paint.

The process is simple.  Paint each hand a primary color.  Mix the two primary colors together by rubbing the hands together.  Make hand prints on paper with the secondary color created by mixing the two primary colors.


I placed a large sheet of butcher paper on the floor to create a color handprint mural, but this activity would work with large sheets of construction paper for each color created like Teach Preschool showed how to do with her activity.  


At the end of the activity, I allowed her to have some delightfully messy fun by mixing all the colors together, and she decided to display her artwork on her shirt.  If you aren't comfortable with this level of mess, your child can still have fun decorating only the paper.  Miss E was wearing her play clothes, and I am okay with those clothes getting VERY dirty.  


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Leprechaun Hunt - Color Theme

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I created the following story to play a game of leprechaun hunt with my daughter for a St. Patrick's Day activity and to learn about camouflage for our color theme.

Rainbow Mandala - Color Theme

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Miss E and I created this rainbow mandala for Holi, the Hindu Festival of Colors, and to learn more about colors.  It took a bit of trial and error to achieve our beautiful mandala, so I will share our process.

This was our first stab at making a rainbow mandala.  


  • Draw circles on a large sheet of paper using various sized bowls to represent each color of the rainbow. 
  • Paint the colors of the rainbow onto each ring in the mandala.   You can use premixed colors to make the colors of the rainbow - Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet.   We used the primary colors red, yellow, and blue to make the other secondary colors in the rainbow.  Just in case there are others who are artistically challenged like me, violet is purple.  Indigo is a mix between blue and purple. 
  • Allow paint to dry.  
  • Match toys to colors of the rainbow and place on mandala.  We used items found in my daughter's junk box for this activity.
My daughter enjoyed this activity, but she complained that it didn't look like a mandala.  While this was a fun activity with lots of learning, we both wanted something we could use for a decoration.  I knew my daughter really didn't like the look of the project because she cleaned it up by herself at the end of the evening.  If she had liked it, she would have insisted the mandala stay displayed on our coffee table for longer.  

Here is our second attempt at making a rainbow mandala, and you can see the finished piece at the top of this post.  Depending on your child's developmental level, they may able to help with some or all of the steps.  

How to Make a Rainbow Mandala
  • Draw circles on sheet of paper with various size bowls to make rings of rainbow.
  • Paint each ring the color of the rainbow. Miss E suggested that this time we start with the red ring on the outside, and her suggestion improved our mandala.  
  • Gather small items that are the colors of the rainbow that can be glued to the mandala.  We used items from our art collage jar and my daughter's junk box.  With our first attempt shown above, we ended up with several items that were too large to fit on the mandala.  
  • Spread glue over the mandala.
  • Match the color of the items to the ring colors and place on mandala.
  • Allow mandala to dry overnight.  
Other Beautiful Rainbow Ideas
Hands on as We Grow created a rainbow with toys.
Toddler Approved made a fruit snack rainbow.
Happy Hooligans decorated with rainbow garlands they painted.  

Kids' Activities about Weather

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

It's that time again where the seasons are changing.  As the season changes, our weather changes, and it's a great opportunity for kids to learn more about the weather.  The Golden Gleam along with many other kid friendly bloggers are bringing you the Weather Blog Hop full of kids' activities to learn about the weather.

In the blog hop, I am sharing a hands on, Science activity about how the wind transports seeds.

How Seeds are Moved by the Wind

A big thank you to all my fellow bloggers who made this blog hop possible!  

If you have blogged about a kids' weather activity, please share in the linky party below.  Please only share one idea.  If you share, please try to visit and comment on several other ideas posted in this blog.  

MUD!! - The Outdoor Play Party

Friday, March 2, 2012

Welcome to The Outdoor Play Party brought to you by Mama Pea PodGreening Sam and Avery, and Learning for Life.  This is a place to share our outdoor play ideas for kids.

We have a small corner of our yard we call our outdoor kitchen.  It's a place stocked with kitchenware like bowls, spoons, pails, plates, and cups.  Our daughter uses natural items from around the yard to mix up her concoctions.  We have had a tray of mud in the kitchen for awhile, and Miss E loves making chocolate treats with it.

This past week, she found a new use for the mud.  As she was whipping up her latest culinary creation, she accidentally spilled a bit of it on herself.  A sly smile spread across her face as she looked at me with mischief.  I smiled back realizing muddy clothes can be washed.

She continued scooping mud on herself.  Covering yourself with mud is serious work.  

I just love her to bits even when she sports a muddy look.  

Clean up wasn't as bad as it looks.  She ran around in the sprinklers and took off her clothes before running throughout our carpeted house.  In addition to playing in our outdoor kitchen, we have done a flower photo hunt, created a land art heart, and made a nature collage heart.

Thank you to those who participated in the last Outdoor Play Party.  I enjoyed reading through your ideas.  The idea I am featuring this week is the sledding party from Kitchen Counter Chronicles.  She gives helpful tips for throwing a simple and successful birthday party.  I just love how she allowed an opportunity for the kids to play outdoors during a birthday party, and it also makes me wish we had a bit of snow down here in Central Texas.  

Photo by Kitchen Counter Chronicles

What have you been doing outdoors with your kids?  I would love for you to share your ideas in our Outdoor Play Blog Hop.  If you don't have a blog, let us know in the comments how your children have enjoyed playing outside.  

This post is linked up with Tuesday Tots.

A Flower Color Wheel- Color Theme

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Spring seems to be arriving early, and the warm weather is bringing us the year's first blossoms.  Miss E and I explored the neighborhood hunting for flowers.  She carried her camera, and took a picture of every flowering plant along our walk.  Here are couple of her many photos.

Since Miss E has been a toddler, it is common for us to talk about the colors of flowers when we are admiring them, and I decided to use her interest in flowers to learn more about colors.  We made a flower color wheel using her photos.  Depending on your child's development level, he may help with some or all of the project.  I guided my 4 1/2 year old daughter and discussed ideas with her, but the completed project is mostly her work.

Photos of flowers - We used the photos taken by Miss E. If you can't print out photos, you can cut pictures from a magazine.
Large sheet of paper
Pastels for coloring - You can use crayons or markers, but they won't mix well like the pastels.

-Create a color wheel on a circular piece of paper or a paper plate.  Your child will color in the 3 primary colors (red, blue, yellow)first.  Explain how mixing two primary colors makes a secondary color.  Using the pastels, your child will mix two primary colors together to create green, purple, and orange.

-Cut out the triangular color shapes on color wheel and arrange in circular pattern on a poster board or large sheet of paper.  Glue colors on paper.  Leave space in the middle for white because white is not often found on basic color wheels, but we found a lot of white flowers.
-Cut out pictures of flowers.

-Sort pictures by color of flower.  At this point, there may be a lot of discussion about colors because not all flowers are easily identified by a pure primary or secondary color.  Allow child to arrange flower pictures however she chooses next to the color wheel shapes.  
-Once pictures are organized, glue the pictures onto the paper.  

Once your child has completed the flower color wheel, discuss which colors were more prominent and which colors were more rare.  Your child can count how many flowers of each color she found.  When my daughter realized there were no green flowers, she added some pictures of leaves to the color wheel.  We wondered together why there were no orange flowers.  

This activity covers the subject of art by learning about color theory by creating a color wheel and sorting flowers by color.  Mathematics is supported by sorting, counting, and comparing.  Children learn more about science by observing the natural world around them and describing it.  

This post is shared on the Kids Co-Op Linky Party.