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This week was full of sorting, painting all kinds of sensory play as we learned about stars with our shape themed baby bins. 
**This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure policy here.**

Here is a look at what we have planned for our 6 shape themed baby bins:

Here are the details for each of our activities:
 Star Theme Read Aloud:
We started the week reading Stars by Sarah L. Schuette. This was a great book for showing stars in the real world and we made it interactive by hunting for stars on each page.
 Star Themed Sensory Bin:
 Star Stamp Art:
For this star art project we used star cookie cutters and foam stamps to stamp rectangle shapes with tempera paint

**Aubrey is a painting pro now, so I chose to use our regular tempera paints for bright colors. If you have a baby that still puts everything in their mouth try one of these taste safe paint recipes from Can Do Kiddo.**
 Star Button Bin:
Our next activity is a repeat again just switching out rectangle shaped buttons for stars. If you've been following along with our previous baby bin themes, you know we love repetition. It may seem tedious to us, but little ones love predictable and familiar activities (Which is why your little one probably has a favorite book that you've read 752 times in a row before finally hiding it under the couch just for a break.  Yup, been there!)

This activity combines threading, stuffing and sorting for all kinds of fine motor fun. I filled our bin with star shaped buttonslacing thread and colored bowls with lids. I cut slots in the lids of each bowl large enough for the buttons to be pushed into.  Aubrey used the strings to thread button necklaces which required LOTS of concentration.  She also pushed buttons into bowls and even tried to sort by color a bit.
 Starry Night Sensory Bag:
We haven't tried sensory bags in a while because Aubrey usually isn't that into them, but this one was a hit.  I filled a resealable bag with clear hair gel and black food coloring then squished it all together to distribute evenly.  Then I sprinkled in star buttons, resealed the bag, and taped it shut. Then Aubrey used the bag to free play for a while. I also drew shapes for her to trace and practice naming.
Rectangle Play Dough:
Our last activity was making rectangles with play dough. (I know just like we did last week, repetition is good for little minds remember!) I rolled out a few colors of play dough and Aubrey used rollers, cutters, Mega BlocksLego Duplos, and star shaped buttons to create stars of varying colors and sizes. Easy peasy!

If you are looking for all of the plans and printables for this week's theme I will be posting them soon! If you'd like to be notified as soon as they are available please subscribe to my newsletter (in the sidebar to the right) and/or join our Tot School and Preschool Facebook group here:

Check out all of our Baby Bin themes here:
September:

October:

November:

December:

January:

If you are looking for space activities for kids, you have come to the right place.  Madelynn loved this week full of hands-on learning about planets, stars, the sun and moon!
**This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure policy here.**

Here were our plans for our space theme:
And here are the details for each activity:
 Astronaut Comprehension:
Our first book this week was I Want to Be an Astronaut by Byron Barton. After reading, we talked about all of the different things the astronauts did in the book. Then I asked Madelynn what she would do if she were an astronaut and had her draw it on the response page. Madelynn said she would blast off in a rocket.
 Space Vocabulary:
Next we read Me and My Place in Space by Joan Sweeney. While reading I used picture cards to reinforce new words. Then Madelynn made a space vocabulary book. She drew pictures to show the meaning of each word and used the picture cards and book as a reference.
Eight Spinning Planets:
One of my favorite books for teaching about the planets is Eight Spinning Planets by Brian James. Madelynn loved the raised planets on each page and the simple easy to remember information. After reading Madelynn used the book as a reference to color each of the planets. Then she cut them out. and glued them in the correct order from the sun.
Mousetronaut Predictions:
Our last story was Mousetronaut by Mark Kelly. Before reading, we practiced making predictions.

I asked "After looking at the cover, what do you think this story will be about?" 
Madelynn: "There's a mouse astronaut."
Then I asked: "What will the mouse do in the story?"
Madelynn: "He's going to fly a rocket to the moon."

 Tracking Print:
Learning vowel sounds can be tricky and are usually the last letter sounds I worry about preschoolers mastering.  So for our last book this week we read this O for outer space alphabet reader. I included a mixture of items that representing short and long O sounds. Madelynn identified the picture then pointed to each word as she read. Afterwards she colored all of the pictures in.
  Rhyme and Color Astronaut:
This week we focused on rhyme so we started with this color by code activity. Madelynn identified the pictures on the left side of the page, then searched the picture on the right for words that rhymed. Then she followed the directions to make each spot the correct color.  
King Sound Stamping:
Next, for more letter practice we used our dot stampers. We started out stamping inside the letter to make an O. Then Madelynn had to find the upper and lowercase o's in the outer space planet scene, stamp them and make the short "O" sound each time. Then she stamped the other letters different colors and tried to make the sounds for each one. 
Rhyming Moon Rock Toss:
To practice rhyming we played this interactive moon rock toss game. I printed and cut out  rhyming word pictures and attached them to aluminum foil "moon rocks" with  hot glue. Then I labeled 3 bins with brown, black and pink colored planets. Madelynn choose a moon rock and tossed it into the rhyming color planet. (ex. down/brown)
Rocket Name Craft:
For this week's name craft we created this rocket name.  First, Madelynn cut the rocket pieces out. Then she wrote the letters in her name on each square. After she finished writing, she glued the rocket pieces together in order to spell her name. Then she added star stickers to complete the scene.
 Space Journal Writing:
For our journal this week Madelynn chose to draw what she would do if she met an alien. She said "I would say I love you." So I drew lines for each word, then we worked on writing the sounds together. 
Space Number Tray:
Our first math activity this week was a space themed writing tray.  I filled our clear tray with black sand then placed it on top of our light pad. Then Madelynn used small star number cards as a model to write numbers in the snow with foam stars or her finger.
Positional Word Space Magnets:
Our second math focus this week was finding and placing objects in relative locations. I printed and laminate positional word cards and space object cards then attached a piece of magnetic tape to the back of each space object. Madelynn chose a positional word card and used the magnets to arrange the objects in space.
Roll & Go Astronaut:
For this positional word game we started out by using Magna Tiles and cans to build a rocket.  Then Madelynn rolled a die with positional words on it to find out where to put the astronaut.  We took turns practicing all of the different positions and problem solving how to put the astronaut inside the rocket (by lifting up the can) and below the rocket (Madelynn decided to put him under the table.)
Where is the Astronaut?
For our last positional word practice activity, I created this simple printable book with cut out pieces.  On each page I used a different positional word (above, below, behind, next to, between, etc.) and Madelynn cut and glued the astronauts in the correct spot on each page.
Star Number Sense Mats:
 We used these mats to practice numbers 11-20 this week. First, Madelynn identified the large number. Then she made it with play dough and counted the stars in the ten frame. Next, she used a dry erase marker to practice writing the number, and finally counted out star mini erasers to fill the night sky with the correct amount.

Light Table Constellations:
For this sensory activity, I placed a light pad beneath a clear tray and poured black sand on top. Then I printed constellation cards for Madelynn to use as a reference. She used star reusable ice cubes and her finger to create real constellations an her own formations


Bubble Print Planets:
This art project turned out so beautiful, I am in love! the first step involved bubble painting. First I mixed up batches of colored bubbles. 

To Make Colored Bubbles: 
•Pour 6 cups hot water in large bowl. 
•Add 2 cups of dish soap and stir well. 
•Add 3/4 cup of corn syrup to the water and stir well. 
•Separate into a few cups. 
•Add food coloring to each cup. (I wanted dark colors so we added about an entire vial of each color)
Then I placed the bubbles, bubble wands and paper inside a large plastic bin or box to contain the mess. Madelynn blew bubbles onto the planet outlines to cover them with splashes of color. After the paper dried, she cut the planets out and glued them to a large sheet of black paper. Finally she made star stamps with yellow paint and a star cookie cutter. So pretty!
Colorful Dancing Planets:

 Okay s this activity was a bit of a stretch to fit in with our theme but I've been wanting to show Madelynn the magic milk experiment for a while and figured this would be a fun way to tie it in. To make our dancing colored planet we started with a circular glass pie plate. Madelynn poured whole milk into the dish until it covered the bottom. Then she added drops of food coloring all over the top of the milk.  I added a drop of dish soap in the center of the milk and asked Madelynn to observe closely. She was mesmerized as she watched the colors swirl and dance around the plate to make a colorful dancing planet.

Icy Planet Painting:
We had a LOT of snow this week so I figured we would put it to good use with this open ended painting activity. I packed snow into shallow round containers to make 8 round planets. I placed our planets on a plastic tray. and Madelynn used liquid watercolors to paint each planet, mix colors, and make a unique solar system. 
*If you don't have snow, you could also freeze ice in round containers.*
Fizzy Planet Sensory Bin: 
In this sensory bin: baking soda dough (baking soda, black food coloring, small amount of water, and glitter), astronauts from our Space Toob, aluminum foil moon rocks, vinegar

This bin gets really messy, so be prepared to dump it all when you are finished, but it is totally worth it! Baking soda + vinegar = tons of messy fizzy fun.

Want all of this week's printables and plans?  You can grab them here:

Or you can grab our entire year of themes and plans here:

And that's it for this week. I can't wait to share all of our learning and fun with you this year! Here are our tentative plans for weekly themes if you want to follow along!
September:

October: 

November:

I am so over snow and cold, so anytime winter wants to come to an end that would be great... But hey at least we have fun holidays to celebrate while we're waiting for spring to arrive.  This week we took a break from our shape themed baby bins to have all kinds of red, pink, glittery, sparkly fun for Valentine's Day.
**This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure policy here.**

Here are the details for each of our Valentine's theme activities:
Valentine Read Aloud:
Laura Numeroff is one of our FAVORITE authors  around here so when I saw this cute board book with all of our favorite "If You Give a..." series characters I had to grab it for our baby bins. In Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse, Mouse makes valentines for all of his friends and tells why he loves them, leading to a great chat about what we love about each other.
  Valentine's Themed Sensory Bin:
 Valentine Play Dough Cookies: 
 Mailing Valentines:

This activity was super easy to set up and Aubrey LOVED it.  She is starting to get really good at peeling stickers so this tray kept her so busy!
 Valentines Water Play:
In this bin: pink dyed water(use food coloring), heart sponges, mini heart boxes, mini cups, scoops,  silicone cupcake cups and eye droppers

Heart Stamping:
This is one of those art projects that totally looked different in my mind, but I am still loving how they turned out. First I hot glued a few foam hearts to clothespins to make heart stamps.  You can also find heart stampers here, but we didn't have any on hand so I improvised. Then I used removable double sided tape to stick a large foam heart in the center of a piece of cardstock.

Then I set up a tray with pink, red, purple and white tempera paint. Aubrey used the stampers to make hearts all around the page. This is where I envisioned a whole page full of hearts, but with her little hands they ended up more like blobs of paint smooshed all over the page.  Regardless, when she was done and I pulled off the foam heart, there was a beautiful heart left in the center, so I'd still call this a success!

**Aubrey is a painting pro now, so I chose to use our regular tempera paints for bright colors. If you have a baby that still puts everything in their mouth try one of these taste safe paint recipes from Can Do Kiddo.**


If you are looking for all of the plans and printables for this week's theme I will be posting them soon! If you'd like to be notified as soon as they are available please subscribe to my newsletter (in the sidebar to the right) and/or join our Tot School and Preschool Facebook group here:

Check out all of our Baby Bin themes here:
September:

October:

November:

December:

January:

February:
TriangleRectangleValentinesStar

Our Valentine’s Day theme was be filled with friendship and love. I can't wait to share all of our preschool Valentine’s Day fun and learning.  Get ready for pink, red, glitter and sparkle overload. ;)
**This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure policy here.**

Here were our plans for our Valentines theme:
And here are the details for each activity:
Love, Splat! Comprehension
It's no secret that we love Splat the Cat in this house, so we started off the week with Love, Splat! by Rob Scotton. After reading, we talked about why we give valentines. Then I had Madelynn draw and write to show what kind of valentine she would make? And who she would give it to.
ValentinesLady Retelling:
Our next story was all about our favorite silly old lady, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose by Lucille Colandro. We started by reading the story.  After reading I gave Madelynn 8 pictures from the story with simple sentences underneath. We read through them all together and then I prompted her to find what happened first, second, third, etc. She then glued them to her page in the correct order to retell the story. I kept the book nearby so she could check the pages if she was stuck, and it was also an easy way to double check her work.
Valentines Learning:
Next we read The Story of Valentine's Day by Nancy J. Skarmeas which is a nice little board book introduction to why we celebrate Valentine's Day. After reading, we talked about what we learned. Madelynn drew a picture of a card to show that we send cards to people we love.
Valentines Comprehension:
Next we read How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague. After reading, we talked about the ways the dinosaurs showed they loved each other. Then I asked Madelynn, who she loves and what do they do to make her feel loved? She choose her Daddy, so we made him a card and she wrote " I love you because you give me hugs." Mommy heart melted. :)
Tracking Print:
Our last book was this letter V for Valentines alphabet reader. Madelynn identified the picture then pointed to each word as she read. We switched to the more difficult version this week so that she could work on learning new sight words each week. Afterwards she colored all of the pictures in.
Valentines Letter Writing Tray:
Our first literacy activity this week was a Valentines themed letter writing tray.  To make this fun sensory activity I filled our shallow tray with pink scented rice. Madelynn used heart letter cards as a model and chose which ones she wanted to practice.  Then she used a light up heart wand and/or her finger to write letters in the pretty themed tray. We found our light up want in the Target dollar spot but you could also ouse heart stir sticks instead!
 Valentines Sound Stamping:
Next, for more letter practice we used our dot stampers. We started out stamping inside the letter to make a V. Then Madelynn had to find the upper and lowercase v's in the heart, stamp them and make the "V" sound each time. Then she stamped the other letters different colors and tried to make the sounds for each one.
Valentine Syllable Sort:
I found these adorable mailboxes in the Target Dollar Spot this week so I knew I had to find a fun way to use them. Since we are working on syllables this week I printed small valentines with pictures on the front.  Madelynn chose a valentine and clapped the syllables for the picture. Then she wrote the number of syllables on the inside of the card. Finally she placed it in the correct mailbox. 
Valentines Name Craft:
For this week's name craft we created a valentines themed caterpillar craft.  First, Madelynn cut the craft pieces out. Then she wrote the letters in her name on each heart. After she finished writing, she glued the caterpillar pieces together in order to spell her name. Then she added the legs and antennae. Finally she used a marker to draw a mouth and glue googly eyes to the heart to complete the face.
 Valentines Journal Writing:
For our journal this week Madelynn chose to draw something that makes her heart full. She decided to draw food, haha. She might have been a little confused about the concept of a full heart vs. full tummy, but I can't blame her, food makes my heart full too. 😍  After drawing I asked her what she wanted to write about her picture. She said, "I eat food." So I drew 3 lines, then we worked on writing the sounds together. She wrote "i e FF." 
Color By Shape Valentines:
We worked on identifying more shapes for our color by the code activity this week. Madelynn worked on identifying and naming 5 different shapes, including hexagon this week for a little challenge. I told her the color for each shape and she had to search and color each one in the picture.
3D Shape Puzzles:
We started learning about 3D shapes this week with this set of foam shapes and a few shape puzzles. After exploring the foam 3D shapes and talking about the names, I printed and cut apart 8 heart puzzles. Madelynn matched the 3D shapes to the real objects and we practiced reading the names of each shape.
3D Shape Bingo:
For more 3D shape practice we played a few games of 3D shape bingo with valentines candy to make things festive. Madelynn and I each chose one of the 3D shape bingo cards. Then we took turns choosing a a shape card and identifying the shape. Each time we chose a card we found and covered an object on the bingo card with the same shape. We continued to play until someone got 5 in a row before having a little candy as a treat.
Valentines Bingo:
Our last 3D shape activity was some Valentine's themed hands on 3D shape building. I printed 3D shape cards for Madelynn to use as a model and she used jelly hearts and toothpicks to create each shape.
Valentine Number Sense:
 We used these mats to practice numbers 11-20 this week. First, Madelynn identified the large number. Then she made it with play dough and counted the hearts in the ten frame. Next, she used a dry erase marker to practice writing the number, and finally counted out heart candy to cover each heart.
Valentine Slime:
If you are slime challenged like me, I have the BEST no fail slime recipe for you. Because for whatever reason borax and/or liquid starch recipes just don’t work for me. 

Here is what you need:
•1/2 Tbsp Baking Soda 
•1 1/2 Tbsp Contact Lens Solution (w/boric acid & sodium borate in it)
•6 fl oz Glitter Glue 
•Heart Cookie Cutters

How to make your amazing slime:
•Pour the entire bottle of glitter glue into a bowl. 
•Add 1/2 Tbsp baking soda to the glue and stir. 
•Add 1 Tbsp contact solution to the glue mixture. 
•Mix until slime begins to form. 
•Take slime out of the bowl and use hands to finish mixing. 

If slime is too sticky, add few more drops of contact solution. Then use cookie cutters to pretend and play.
 Valentine Play Dough Cookies: 
Blow Paint Hearts:
For this fun art project we started out tracing and coloring in hearts with white crayon on cardstock.
Next, Madelynn used an eye dropper to drip liquid watercolors on the paper. After the paper was covered in drops she used a small straw to blow the drops of paint all over the page.  Then, she continued to add more colors and blow until the whole paper was covered and the hearts began to show through.
Valentines Water Play:
In this bin: pink dyed water(use food coloring), heart spongesmini heart boxes, mini cups, scoops,  silicone cupcake cups and eye droppers
Heart Stamping:
Our last project for the week was a heart stamping and resist picture.  First I hot glued a few foam hearts to clothespins to make heart stamps.  You can also find heart stampers here, but we didn't have any on hand so I improvised. Then I used removable double sided tape to stick a large foam heart in the center of a piece of cardstock. Then I set up a tray with pink, red, purple and white tempera paint. Madelynn used the stampers to make hearts all around the page. When she was done, I pulled off the foam heart, there was a beautiful heart left in the center.

Want all of this week's printables and plans?  You can grab them here:

Or you can grab our entire year of themes and plans here:


And that's it for this week. I can't wait to share all of our learning and fun with you this year! Here are our tentative plans for weekly themes if you want to follow along!
September:

October: 

November:

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