My baby boy is starting preschool in less than three weeks!! How did that happen?! I have been a stay at home mom since he was born and he has never been involved in any activity where I wasn’t right next to him…he has never even had a babysitter. Needless to say I am extremely nervous for how he will handle going to school without me! We attended a few classes together at the end of the last school year so he is familiar with the school, as well as the teacher, but is not prepared to go it alone. I am focusing our activities around getting ready for school through play! This is challenging my creativity a bit so any suggestions would be greatly welcomed! Check out the Get Ready for K Through Play series by Mama Smiles for some fantastic ideas as well! Because sensory play is always to easy to throw together and something that both of my kids really enjoy, I figured that it would be a natural first step. We also started the day with a trip to the library; I have found that the best way to get Mack used to a concept is through story.
On to the sensory play…I based the bin around a classic preschool activity….raw pasta necklaces! I’m pretty sure just about every preschooler has done this before right?? Or am I alone in thinking that… Anyway, dyeing raw pasta is incredibly easy; I like to follow the same process that we use to dye rice, although it is probably the less-conventional method.
What you need:
-Rigatoni Pasta (Penne works well too; basically any kind that can be used for stringing. Rigatoni is great for little hands)
1. Separate the pasta into baggies (as many bags as colors you would like).
2. Add a pump/squirt of hand sanitizer. Most people use vinegar, I like to use the sanitizer because if you use a scented one, we used lemon, your ingredients smell lovely. Which adds another sensory experience to your bin. This just helps the food coloring to spread around.
3. Add a few drops of food coloring. You don’t want to use too much because it will make your pasta a bit soggy. I like to err on the side of too little food coloring because you can always add more.
4. Shake the bags up to distribute the ingredients evenly.
Ideally you want to let this dry overnight. I wanted to use the pasta today so I just spread it out on a baking sheet and threw it under the broiler for about 5 minutes. It dried out pretty quickly!
I started with the base of the colored pasta and some string. Then I scoured our playroom for anything that reminded me of school. I found a couple of boys, a school bus puzzle piece, a wooden building, and some pedestrian crossing signs.
That was really all we needed to spark some great play! This bin was fantastic because it offered a great sensory experience, fine motor stringing, and some fun role play (very important for our school readiness goal).
We made up a song about the kids going to school and saying goodbye to their mom (the song ended with the mom coming back).
We also put a dollhouse near the bin where the mom was waiting for the boys while they were at school. It was the first time that we had talked about going to school where Mack seemed ok with the concept of me dropping him off and picking him up. This gave me confidence that not only he, but I too, will be okay!
Stay tuned for more ‘Getting Ready for School Through Play’ posts!