Make Ice Cream in a Bag with Your Toddler!

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The following is a simple way to make ice cream in a ziplock bag with your toddler at home:

Things you will need:

Gallon zip lock bags

Sandwich zip lock bags

Half and Half

Sugar

Vanilla

Crushed Ice

Salt (rock salt is best if you have it)

In a mixing bowl, have your little ones help you put in

1Tbsp Sugar

½ cup half and half

¼ tsp vanilla

Mix this and pour into 1 ziplock sandwich bag

In the gallon bag, place 1/3 cup rock salt and 3 cups crushed ice and the sealed sandwich bag. Seal the large bag and play a game of toss with the bag. As you grab the bag, have the person holding it squish and squeeze it a few times. In about 10-15 minutes you will have soft homemade ice cream. If you are doing several at a time, each person can hold and squish their own and you don’t have to play toss with it—this will strengthen hand muscles as well. This game helps children use both hands equally as well.

Have fun making ice cream in a bag with your toddler–or all the kids in your home! This was a year-round favorite in our home!

For information on available books for more ideas, click HERE

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5 Simple Easter Egg Ideas to Improve Gross Motor Skills

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Easter Egg hunting can be used for a LOT of different reasons. The general squat to stand work of picking up the eggs is excellent for general strengthening and it’s FUN! Try some of these INSIDE games to use your egg hunting skills all year round! The following are five simple Easter egg ideas for improving gross motor skills:

1.) Try putting some up high on the back of the couch to have your child climb up and down to get them. This creates a fantastic way to improve strength and motor planning. An alternative is to create “steps” by placing couch cushions down on the floor and have your child climb or step up and down.

2.) While inside, have your child step over a row of stuffed animals or blocks (you can even use your own leg) to get the “eggs” and return. This game works on the general strengthening for squat to stand work but adds the balance element of stepping over something.

3.) Use other items besides eggs. Have your child retrieve parts to a puzzle or maybe blocks to stack. Get siblings involved with the game by letting them hide the toys (in plain sight for younger kids) or let them have a turn too. Now you are adding more complex cognitive and fine motor work at the same time.

4.) Create a simple obstacle course to get back and forth to retrieve the items. Have your child climb over pillows and under a “tent” made with two chairs and a blanket. This variation gives your child a chance to work on more complex movements.

5.) Easter egg toss: use a box or laundry basket as your target and have your child toss eggs inside. When you get them all in, let your child dump the eggs on you! This game can be modified as a race with siblings to fill their container first.

Below are some other reasons and ways to use this great activity all year long.

For Toe Walkers, the motion of a squat to stand helps these children develop a deeper squat to stretch their heel cords and help reduce toe walking.

For Sensory fun try using Eggs to play in the water, sand, or a rice and bean mixture for scooping to add sensory feedback as well.

Ideas for things to place inside other than candy: Our family used money or stickers, but get creative. One idea is to fill the eggs with puzzle pieces and when you are through hunting, put the puzzle together. The added bonus is that you know an egg is missing if you have missing puzzle pieces.

Here are other great ideas (non-candy)–some of these can be choking hazards so judge this according to the age of your child:

–gift certificates

–party size play dough

–matchbox car

–small hard animals or rubber bugs, etc

–chapstick or small lip gloss

–small non-toxic nail polish

–erasers or pencil toppers

–hair bands or clips

–socks

–rings or earrings

–balloons

–gummy snacks or goldfish

–colorful shoelaces

–glow in the dark stars

–character bandaids

There are many other things that will fit but just make sure that they are appropriate for the ages of your children. The dollar store is a great place to hunt for good items to use.

Make this a regular activity–use just about anything to “hide” and seek!

For more information about available books, click HERE

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