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I think my girls would live in their swimsuits all summer long if I let them. My little fishies sure do love water play so I was excited to plan a few activities to spice up our normal water play.  Here are our 10 ways to play and keep cool with water and ice!

If you want to gather all of your materials before you start, we found almost everything we needed at Target, The Dollar Tree or on Amazon. Here are all the materials we used:

**This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure policy here.**
Switch up your water table or water filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
Water Scooping and Dumping:
We started out the week by filling our Under Bed Clear Storage Bin with water. Then I added some fine motor toolscolored bowls, and colored cups for simple scooping, dumping and exploring.
Switch up your water table or water filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
Pom Pom Splash:
For some reason little Miss Aubrey is obsessed with pom poms or "fuzzballs" as Madelynn likes to call them.  I thought it would be interesting to explore with them in the water.  The girls liked to swim with them, squish them between their toes, squeeze out the water and sort them by color. 
Switch up your water table or water filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
 Water Balloons:
So my girls have never played with water balloons before because the choking factor freaks me out a little bit, but I decided to give it a try this week and keep a close eye on Miss Aubrey. I grabbed a pack of these Water Balloons from Target and goodness gracious the inventor of Bunch O' Balloons is a genius! It was seriously amazing being able to fill 20 balloons in 5 seconds. They squirted each other a bit, but mostly had fun smashing them on the ground while I quickly picked up all the pieces so Aubrey didn't try to eat them ;)
Switch up your water table or water filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
Water & Ice Kitchen:
Next, I used food coloring to make lots of colored water which I froze in different shaped ice cube molds. I threw all of the frozen shapes into our water filled bin with play dishes and the girls made all kinds of delicious concoctions for me to taste.
Switch up your water table or water filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
 Icy Alphabet Soup:
For this activity I froze alphabet beads in ice cube trays and dumped them in our water bin.  The girls scooped, mixed and watched as the letters slowly melted into their alphabet soup.
Switch up your water table or water filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
 Ice Castles:
This was definitely the girls favorite activity of the week. If you have princess fans in your house they will LOVE pretending with these frozen ice castles. First I froze water in sand castle molds overnight. Then we added our small princess toys and the girls loved every minute of it!
Switch up your water table or water filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
 Ice Painting:
After we were a little tired of playing with princesses, I added some liquid watercolors and paintbrushes to our bin and we painted the castles before they melted down too much.
Switch up your water table or water filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
  Ice Painting:
For some more painting fun I made colored ice cubes with Jello! I didn't want to use liquid watercoloring because I knew the girls would be tempted to taste them.  I mixed 1 cup water with 1 packet of Jello, then froze them in trays with popsicle sticks for handles. Then I taped a sheet of butcher paper on the ground and let the girls paint and taste away! Lots of sticky messy fun that smelled amazing!
Switch up your water table or water filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
 Color Mixing:
For our color mixing activity, I set up cups with a rainbow of colored water.  This activity didn't last long before all the water was brown, but the girls enjoyed the dumping and scooping the water even after all the pretty colors were gone.
Switch up your water table or water filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
Car Wash:
This was a close second for favorite activity of the week. We needed to clean up our sensory bin and patio from all the color play anyways so this made a perfect ending activity. I filled our bin with fresh water, spongesscrub brushes, and soap. Then I turned out hose on low and the girls scrubbed and washed their Cozy Coupe Car until it was sparkling and new!

Do your kiddos live in the water all summer long? What are your favorite ways to keep water play interesting?

If you missed our  previous themes, you can catch up here:

This summer we are spending a whole week at a time using the same sensory bin full of materials and coming up with different ways to play every day. See you next week for our last bin of the summer, water beads!
Fall will be here before we know it and with fall comes all kinds of things we love! Pumpkins, hayrides, leaf piles and APPLES! If you are planning an apple theme for your classroom or homeschool this fall, you’ll definitely want to check out these great apple picture books!

**This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure policy here.**
 1. Under the Apple Tree by Steve Metzger: "Come along and sit with me, underneath my apple tree!" This book is about all of the fun one little boy has around his backyard apple tree. It is nice and simple and we love the rhymes and artwork.


 2. The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall: In this book, two children follow the cycle of an apple tree through the seasons. The story ends with a warm apple pie being taken from the oven and includes a recipe to make your own! We love the paint and paper collage style illustrations.

 3. Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie by Herman Parish: In this Amelia Bedelia book, Amelia visits her grandparents and makes a pie with her Grandma. In true Amelia Bedelia fashion, she mistakes Granny Smith for a person and thinks that a farmer's market is a place to buy farmers. This book had us giggling the whole way through.

 4. Johnny Appleseed by Jodie Shepherd: This book tells all about how Johnny Appleseed grew from a young boy who loved the outdoors into the well known man who planted apple trees all across the county. A great biography for little learners.

 5. Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace: Minna and her family visit an apple orchard and learn all about apples. The book shows how apples are grown, different varieties, proper picking techniques, and different foods that can be made with apples. This was more of an informational book than a story, and we loved the cut felt style illustrations.

 6. Ten Apples Up on Top by Dr. Seuss:  A lion, a dog, and a tiger show all of the fun things they can do all while balancing apples on their heads. Practice counting over and over again while the animals hop, balance on wires, and even roller skate! These adorable characters will have little ones reading, counting, and giggling along!


 7. One Green Apple by Eve Bunting: This is a different kind of apple themed book but I had to add it to this list because of the message it teaches. Through one Muslim girl's experience, this book shows how a community can be kind and welcoming to strangers and newcomers. The illustrations are stunning and the topic so important.


 8. Apple Fractions by Jerry Pallotta: Really cute book for teaching literature and math together. It would be fun to use actual apples to cut into pieces along the way for some delicious hands on learning.

 9. Apples by Gail Gibbons: I LOVE Gail Gibbons books for introducing nonfiction concepts. This book does not disappoint and covers everything from pollination to picking and eating.

 10. Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins: This book combines rhyming, counting, repetition and animal sounds for a fun apple themed read aloud with a surprise ending.

 11. The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons: This book describes the changing seasons and the way an apple tree changes and grows. Arnold shows all kinds of seasonal activities that he loves to do around his apple tree. At the end of the book there is a recipe for apple pie and a description of how an apple cider press works.


12. How Do Apples Grow? by Betsy Maestro: This is another great non fiction book about how apples grow.  A great book for comparing with The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons:

If you are still a little overwhelmed trying to decide which books to use and what skills to practice, I am taking all the guesswork out of that for you!

I created this Apples: Read & Respond resource to go along with 5 of my favorite apple books above. It is the perfect way to strengthen comprehension and writing skills along with some fun craftivities to keep your kids engaged! And all of the activities are differentiated for K-2 and Common Core aligned.

Practice visualizing and narrative writing with Under the Apple Tree by Steve Metzger.
Plus create this fun Apple Tree Craft!
We love reading and learning about apples in our kindergarten classroom, but planning meaningful comprehension activities can be a challenge. This Apple: Read & Respond pack made it super easy to teach 5 comprehension skills for 5 of our favorite picture books. Students especially love the themed crafts and writing prompts too!
Sequence a story and write an acrostic poem with The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall.We love reading and learning about apples in our kindergarten classroom, but planning meaningful comprehension activities can be a challenge. This Apple: Read & Respond pack made it super easy to teach 5 comprehension skills for 5 of our favorite picture books. Students especially love the themed crafts and writing prompts too!

We love reading and learning about apples in our kindergarten classroom, but planning meaningful comprehension activities can be a challenge. This Apple: Read & Respond pack made it super easy to teach 5 comprehension skills for 5 of our favorite picture books. Students especially love the themed crafts and writing prompts too!
Teach character traits and how to writing with Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie by Herman Parish.
We love reading and learning about apples in our kindergarten classroom, but planning meaningful comprehension activities can be a challenge. This Apple: Read & Respond pack made it super easy to teach 5 comprehension skills for 5 of our favorite picture books. Students especially love the themed crafts and writing prompts too!

We love reading and learning about apples in our kindergarten classroom, but planning meaningful comprehension activities can be a challenge. This Apple: Read & Respond pack made it super easy to teach 5 comprehension skills for 5 of our favorite picture books. Students especially love the themed crafts and writing prompts too!
Learn to identify important information and compose informative writing with Johnny Appleseed by Jodie Shepherd.
We love reading and learning about apples in our kindergarten classroom, but planning meaningful comprehension activities can be a challenge. This Apple: Read & Respond pack made it super easy to teach 5 comprehension skills for 5 of our favorite picture books. Students especially love the themed crafts and writing prompts too!
Practice using text features and crafting opinion writing with Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace.
We love reading and learning about apples in our kindergarten classroom, but planning meaningful comprehension activities can be a challenge. This Apple: Read & Respond pack made it super easy to teach 5 comprehension skills for 5 of our favorite picture books. Students especially love the themed crafts and writing prompts too!
Plus make this adorable Apple Labeling Craft!
We love reading and learning about apples in our kindergarten classroom, but planning meaningful comprehension activities can be a challenge. This Apple: Read & Respond pack made it super easy to teach 5 comprehension skills for 5 of our favorite picture books. Students especially love the themed crafts and writing prompts too!
You can grab all of these activities here Apples: Read & Respond, happy fall!
We love reading and learning about apples in our kindergarten classroom, but planning meaningful comprehension activities can be a challenge. This Apple: Read & Respond pack made it super easy to teach 5 comprehension skills for 5 of our favorite picture books. Students especially love the themed crafts and writing prompts too!

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Spice up your sand table or sand filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
What kid doesn't LOVE playing in the sand. Well I have a confession...I kind of hate sandboxes. And yes we have one in our backyard, but I'm a bit OCD and there's something about sand that drives me insane. I mean it gets eve-ry-where! My littlest is at the prime sand eating and throwing age so any time spent in the sandbox = sand in mouths, hair, diapers, shoes and my entire kitchen floor. 

But sometimes I have to suck it up and take one for the team, because they are only little once and boy do they love playing in the sand. So I scooped a good chunk of sand out of our sandbox and filled our bin for some Sensory Summer fun! Here are 10 fun ideas to try to keep them so busy they'll forget to throw sand ;)

If you want to gather all of your materials before you start, we found almost everything we needed at Target, The Dollar Tree or on Amazon. Here are all the materials we used:

**This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure policy here.**

Empty Water Bottles
Spice up your sand table or sand filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
Sand Pies:
We started out the week by filling our Under Bed Clear Storage Bin with sand. (I could have just let them play in our sandbox each day, but I knew our last activity was going to be adding water and I didn't want to deal with a muddy sandbox for weeks.) We just watched a Daniel Tiger episode where they made "sand pies," so we made a little bakery with wooden spoons, mini baking panswhisksspoons, and cups. The girls had lots of fun baking and pretending just like their buddy Daniel Tiger!
Spice up your sand table or sand filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
Build and Smash:
While Madelynn loves building, Aubrey loves smashing, so to encourage them to play together I pulled out our sand castle molds and sand shovels and rakes. Madelynn built elaborate castles, and then I had them hop in the bin to stomp and smash each one.
Spice up your sand table or sand filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
Sand Measuring and Mixing:
My girls love to pretend to make all kinds of concoctions so I threw our whisksmeasuring spoonsmeasuring cupswooden spoons, and bowls into the bin with the sand. The girls loved measuring, mixing, dumping, and scooping, all morning long!
Spice up your sand table or sand filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
Sand Filling:
Next, I added in some empty bottles, funnels, and scoopsMadelynn used the funnels to fill the bottles, while Aubrey tried to shake all of the sand back out.
Spice up your sand table or sand filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
 Sand Construction Zone:
For our next activity, we used our construction vehicles to scoop, dump, and make tracks in the sand.
Spice up your sand table or sand filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
Sand I-Spy:
Next, I dumped a bunch of small plastic Toob toys (dinosaurs, insects, and planes) inside. I gave Madelynn clues and she had to find the item I was describing. For example: "I spy something green with 6 legs and antennae." or "I spy something white that flies in the air." Adding the magnifying glass made it even more exciting.
Spice up your sand table or sand filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
Sand Writing:
We did a little easy peasy writing with sticks in the sand. I modeled and Madelynn attempted to copy. We practiced all different types of lines to perfect our prewriting skills as we get ready to start preschool next month.
Spice up your sand table or sand filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
Build a Sand Forest:
This activity wasn't an original part of my plans but Madelynn came up with it all by herself, and Aubrey was all kind of excited to join in. We found leaves and sticks and tried to pack sand around them to make them stand up.
Spice up your sand table or sand filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
Sand Light Table:
For this activity we brought a bit of our sand indoors to play with on our favorite clear tray. Then I placed our light pad underneath the tray for an engaging way to practice some more prewriting skills. We tried using a paintbrush and our fingers.
Spice up your sand table or sand filled sensory bin with these 10 play ideas. Perfect activities for summer tot school, preschool, or kindergarten!
Sand & Water:
Okay OCD mamas, try not to freak out for this one. Both the girls and our bin were a muddy hot mess when we finished with this activity, but it was our last activity for the week so I just hosed everything (kids, toys, patio, etc.) down afterwards and I survived ;) They LOVED getting messy and muddy so it was all worth it for some quality play time.

Do you have a sandbox in your backyard? What are your favorite ways to encourage sand play?

If you missed our  previous themes, you can catch up here:

This summer we are spending a whole week at a time using the same sensory bin full of materials and coming up with different ways to play every day. See you next week when we explore, play, and get learn with...water and ice!  Here are the themes and plans coming your way all summer long:

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