Magna-Tiles Dominoes

By on October 27, 2014 Be the first to comment!
I mentioned the other day that we spent almost four hours playing with Magna-Tiles and dry erase markers. During that time, J came up with the idea to create dominoes, which I thought was an absolutely awesome idea. He asked me to make them for him, so I obliged.

DIY dominoes for math and number learning - made using Magna-Tiles from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

These DIY dominoes are super simple to make. I just used two square Magna-Tiles per domino. I then drew dots on each square using a dry erase marker. However, the dry erase markers rubbed off so easily, so I think that using dot stickers would be an even better alternative.

DIY dominoes for math and number learning - made using Magna-Tiles from And Next Comes L

Anyway, after I spent about 10 minutes drawing dots on the Magna-Tiles for J, he quickly exclaimed, "Okay, now I erase them!" 

And he did.

So even though it was his idea to make them, and a brilliant idea at that, he had absolutely zero interest in using them to play dominoes with.

Did you know that Magna-Tiles can also be used for these other math activities? Why not give them a try too!


Turn your Magna-Tiles into dominoes to encourage math and number learning for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

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Tie Dye Soap Foam Sensory Play

By on October 26, 2014 Be the first to comment!
Soap foam sensory play is so much fun, especially with a little color or even with a fun scent added. One day this summer (yes, I am like 3 months behind on blogging about this activity - oops!), I put together this colorful tie dye soap foam sensory bin for my boys. Things got a little messy (not that we shy away from messy play around here), but thankfully, we played outside.

Sensory play for toddlers and preschoolers with colorful tie dye soap foam from And Next Comes L

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To put together this tie dye soap foam sensory bin, I added a generous amount of dish soap and some splashes of water to a bin. Using an electric hand mixer, I mixed up the soap and water until it was super fluffy and foamy. I then added drops of liquid watercolors in a variety of colors. I scattered the drops of colors all over because I was trying to create a tie dye effect. I then used the electric hand mixer on a slow speed for a second or two to create a marbled, tie dye effect. I would pick one spot, mix a bit, and stop. Then pick a different spot, mix a bit, and stop. Soon we had a colorful sensory bin!

Tie dye soap foam: simple sensory play for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

Tie dye soap foam: simple sensory play for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

Tie dye soap foam: simple sensory play for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

The boys loved swirling the tie dye soap foam around, talking about how mixing one color with another made the soap foam change colors.

Sensory play for toddlers and preschoolers with colorful tie dye soap foam from And Next Comes L

Sensory play for toddlers and preschoolers with colorful tie dye soap foam from And Next Comes L

Soon the tie dye soap foam was a full body sensory experience. The boys ended up covered from head to toe in soap foam, which required extra careful rinsing to avoid getting it in their eyes. Lots of towels and lots of water from the hose in the backyard were required for clean up, but judging by the smiles on their faces, the mess was worth it!

Messy sensory play with tie dye soap foam from And Next Comes L

Messy sensory play with tie dye soap foam from And Next Comes L

Be sure to check out these other messy sensory play ideas:


Tie dye soap foam sensory play for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

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Shaving Cream Dot to Dot on the Light Table & 99 Fine Motor Ideas Book Launch! {Fine Motor Fridays}

By on October 24, 2014 2 Comments so far
Just over a year ago, Fine Motor Fridays was launched so today, we are celebrating it big time! In addition to today's light table fine motor activity, we're launching a brand new book called 99 Fine Motor Ideas for Ages 1 to 5. It's a fabulous collection of fine motor crafts and activities, making it a perfect resource for parents, educators, and caregivers. Each activity in the book can be easily modified to suit your needs. So to show you what you can expect from our book, each member of the Fine Motor Fridays group took an activity from the book and put their own spin on it!


Fine motor sensory play on the light table from And Next Comes L

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The original activity from the book was a shaving cream dot to dot. When I first looked through the book, it was the first activity that popped out at me. I knew right away it would be something that my boys would enjoy. I put little squirts of shaving cream all over the light table. The shaving cream we had on hand starts off as a clear blue gel, but turns white as you lather it up. That's why my dots look sort of blue.

Shaving cream dot to dot on the light table messy fine motor sensory play for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

The idea is to use the fingers to connect the dots, but my boys had other ideas. Like J, who smeared the dots.

Shaving cream dot to dot on the light table messy fine motor sensory play for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

K was kind of hesitant to play with the shaving cream, but I did manage to get him showing off his shaving cream hands.

Messy shaving cream fun at the light table from And Next Comes L

Once all the shaving cream was good and smeary (is that a real word?), J started drawing letters and shapes. He wrote his name.

Fine motor sensory play on the light table from And Next Comes L

And he wrote some words and numbers. I believe he was writing 32 million here because you know, only my 5 year old would do that. 

Prewriting messy sensory play on the light table for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

Some more number writing (and erasing) led to...

Prewriting messy sensory play on the light table for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

Exploring math concepts of greater than or less than. "Seventy-four is greater than seventeen." True story! And I have no idea why J sometimes writes his number 7 like that. Not even sure where he picked it up from!

Exploring math with messy sensory play on the light table from And Next Comes L

Want more more fine motor fun? Be sure to check out these other Fine Motor Fridays posts or purchase our brand new book 99 Fine Motor Ideas for Ages 1 to 5!

Buy the book 99 Fine Motor Ideas for Ages 1 to 5 from And Next Comes L

Snack Hunt from Craftulate
Sewing Spider Webs from Still Playing School
Sight Word Crayon Rubbing Plates from P is for Preschooler
Flower Garden from Powerful Mothering
Play Dough Alphabet Search & Sort from Stir the Wonder
See & Spray Game from School Time Snippets
Unwrapping Activity from House of Burke
Sight Word & Name Game Activity from Little Bins for Little Hands

Fine Motor Fridays at And Next Comes L

Fine motor dot to dot sensory play on the light table inspired by an activity from the book 99 Fine Motor Ideas for Ages 1 to 5 from And Next Comes L

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Halloween Sensory Soup {Water Sensory Play}

By on October 22, 2014 Be the first to comment!
When I think of Halloween, I think of black and orange, ghosts and pumpkins, and oodles of red candy (PS: they're my favorite!). So I tossed all of that together (minus the red candy because, frankly, I want to hoard it and eat it all when the kids aren't looking) into this super simple water sensory binGet the full details over at CBC Parents.

Halloween sensory soup: simple water sensory play for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

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Halloween Sensory Play on the Light Table {Light & Reflections Series}

By on October 19, 2014 4 Comments so far
For this month's Light & Reflections series, the theme is Halloween. So, inspired by candy corn, I put together this super simple sensory bin for the light table. Although a bit messy, this sensory activity is a great way to practice mark-making and writing.

Candy corn inspired Halloween sensory play on the light table for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

To put together this candy corn inspired sensory bin, I used:


I used the leftover tapioca from this spider sensory play to create the candy corn sensory bin. I simply divided it into three portions and colored one section orange, one section yellow, and left the other section plain. I added a couple squirts of liquid watercolors to the tapioca until it was well combined. Then I arranged it in a glass dish as follows:

Halloween sensory play on the light table for toddlers and preschoolers that's inspired by candy corn from And Next Comes L

The boys loved to draw in the tapioca using their fingers, making this activity a great fine motor prewriting activity.

Drawing in a candy corn inspired sensory bin for Halloween on the light table from And Next Comes L

Drawing in a candy corn inspired sensory bin for Halloween on the light table from And Next Comes L

K lost interest quickly when his hands became sticky, but J, on the other hand, fully embraced it. J swirled and mixed the colors together, which caused the tapioca to end up looking like lava. So pretty, right?

Messy Halloween sensory play on the light table for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

Messy Halloween sensory play on the light table for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

And I love that J left a handprint in the tapioca before declaring that he was all done. It looks so cool!

Handprints in simple Halloween sensory play for the light table from And Next Comes L

Check out these other great Halloween ideas for this month's Light & Reflections series:

Five Little Pumpkins on the Light Table from Still Playing School
Halloween ABC Learning on the Light Table from Where Imagination Grows

Join me and my fellow L&R ladies next month when we focus on science and cooking. You don't want to miss it, so be sure to follow along with Light & Reflections Series board on Pinterest.

Light & Reflections Series Lineup for 2014 at And Next Comes L

Candy corn inspired Halloween sensory play on the light table for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L
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Mix & Match Creature Puzzles with Magna-Tiles

By on October 18, 2014 4 Comments so far
Yesterday, my boys and I spent nearly four hours playing and learning with Magna-Tiles. One of the things that we did was create some mix and match creature puzzles. It's purely a silly and fun way to make my kids smile and laugh. They're reminiscent of those mix and match flap books where you can create ridiculously looking monsters or creatures, but I do remember my dad drawing and creating some homemade books for me and my brothers when we were little. And hopefully someone will know what I'm talking about because, frankly, I cannot remember what those books were called.

DIY mix and match creature puzzles for toddlers and preschoolers using Magna-Tiles from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

To make these mix and match creature puzzles, I used:


I simply drew some random heads, bodies, and legs on the small square Magna-Tiles. Then you can create crazy cat-spider-alien combinations like below.


DIY mix and match creature puzzles for toddlers and preschoolers using Magna-Tiles from And Next Comes L

J didn't really have much interest in this activity, but I'm not surprised. He's not really into silly, abstract things. Heck, he gets upset whenever someone creates a sad monster with this mix and match felt set. They always have to be happy monsters. So like I said, I wasn't surprised when he showed zero interest in playing with my cute little puzzles.

K, on the other hand, played with it for a little bit (like 5-10 minutes), giggled a few times, and then moved on. So while I thought they were cool, my boys weren't really that interested. At least not on this particular day.

Simple DIY mix and match puzzles for toddlers and preschoolers using Magna-Tiles from And Next Comes L

I will be trying these puzzles again in the future, but to vary the presentation, I may put them on our freezer or fridge so that they can play on a vertical surface. They would also be a fun light table activity!

Love Magna-Tiles as much as we do? Then check out these other fun activities that use Magna-Tiles:


Mix and match creature puzzles using Magna-Tiles are a silly way for toddlers and preschoolers to play on or off of the light table from And Next Comes L
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Spider Sensory Play on the Light Table

By on October 17, 2014 Be the first to comment!
This spider sensory play idea for the light table is so simple to put together and it has just the right amount of spookiness for Halloween. It kind of creeps me out, mostly because I don't particularly like spiders. And when I showed the pictures to my husband, he was like, "That's really creepy." So if you don't like spiders, prepare yourself for colorful, glowing spiders plastered all over your screen.

Spiders and spider eggs Halloween sensory play on the light table from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

This sensory tray is so easy to put together. I used:


I filled a glass dish with the quick tapioca and put in just enough water to cover it. When it was fully absorbed, I added a touch more until it was a slime-esque, mushy mixture. How's that for official measurements and directions?! Haha...my husband hates that I never measure things, especially when cooking.

Then I added the spiders and put it on the light table. Looks spooky doesn't it?

Spider sensory play on the light table for toddlers and preschoolers - great activity for Halloween from And Next Comes L


Spiders and spider eggs Halloween sensory play on the light table from And Next Comes L

The boys liked to drag the spiders through the "spider eggs." They also plucked the spiders out of the dish and counted them. They also enjoyed writing in the tapioca with their fingers. At least J did. K touched the tapioca, said "yucky," and then declared that he was all done.

Playing with spiders in a Halloween sensory tray on the light table - perfect for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

Playing with spiders in a Halloween sensory tray on the light table - perfect for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

Playing with spiders in a Halloween sensory tray on the light table - perfect for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

Be sure to check out this other spider light table idea:


Spider sensory play on the light table for toddlers and preschoolers - great activity for Halloween from And Next Comes L
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