Kinetic Sand LEGO Stamping

By on Thursday, April 23, 2015 Be the first to comment!
We have been playing with kinetic sand a lot lately. Almost daily, actually. So to spice things up a bit, we added some LEGO duplo to the mix. The addition of LEGO to kinetic sand transformed this simple sensory activity into a fine motor stamping activity. And the boys loved it! Plus, they manipulated the LEGO stamping in ways that I didn't originally consider.

Fine motor activity for kids: stamping LEGO in kinetic sand from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

You'll only need two items for this fine motor activity:


Just dump the kinetic sand into a container and add some LEGO pieces. Voila! Easy, right?

The boys started off by stamping the tops and bottoms of various Duplo pieces


Fine motor activity for kids: stamping LEGO in kinetic sand from And Next Comes L

Stamping LEGO in kinetic sand - fine motor activity for kids from And Next Comes L

The impressions that the Duplo make are pretty neat by themselves, but then my boys had a brilliant idea that I never even considered! J had the idea to build a shape and then stamp the side of his object in the kinetic sand. K joined in too and they spent quite a few minutes assembling shapes and stamping. You could likely even make letters and numbers using the Duplo and then stamp those letters and numbers in the kinetic sand

Kinetic sand activity for kids from And Next Comes L

Stamping LEGO in kinetic sand - fine motor activity for kids from And Next Comes L

LEGO impressions in kinetic sand from And Next Comes L

Don't forget to try out these other simple activities that use kinetic sand!


Kinetic sand LEGO stamping for kids from And Next Comes L
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Buttons Soup {Water Sensory Play}

By on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 Be the first to comment!
The weather is finally warm so that means we have been busy doing a lot of water play. My boys love the simplicity of scooping and pouring water and it's great for their fine motor development. Every time that we play with water, I like to add something new and interesting. New textures, new colors, and new sensory experiences. This time I added a variety of colorful buttons to make this buttons sensory soup.

Button sensory soup: fine motor water sensory play for toddlers & preschoolers from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

For this buttons sensory soup, we used:

  • Water
  • Colorful buttons
  • Kitchen utensils - We like to use a ladle, a big spoon, a whisk, and bowl, but measuring cups and measuring spoons are great choices too!

I love sensory soups like this one because they are so easy to set up. Simply dump in the materials and go!

Water sensory play idea for toddlers & preschoolers from And Next Comes L

Then let the scooping, pouring, stirring, mixing, and fun begin! I love listening to the kids as they narrate while they are playing. This sensory activity was set up for my three year old, K, while his older brother was at school. K kept talking about making a button cake. He loves cooking so everything turns into some kind of food for him.

Water sensory play idea for toddlers & preschoolers from And Next Comes L

Water sensory play idea for toddlers & preschoolers from And Next Comes L

Want even more water sensory play ideas for kids? Be sure to check out these 20 sensory soup activities.

Button sensory soup: fine motor water sensory play for toddlers & preschoolers from And Next Comes L

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Dear Hyperlexia

By on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 Be the first to comment!
Dear Hyperlexia - a mother's open letter about hyperlexia from And Next Comes L

Dear Hyperlexia,

We've been friends for five years now, but only knowingly close friends for about 6 months because up until then, I did not know that you even existed. So I think it's time I tell you a few things.

First, I wish you were better understood. I wish there was more awareness so that parents like myself wouldn't have to fumble for years, trying to figure out what is going on with their child. And where are the resources for parents? I honestly feel like I was pushed out of the door with a message of "good luck and see you in a few years" after my son's diagnosis. It left me even more confused. I guess I was eagerly awaiting some random pamphlet like "so your child has hyperlexia...now what?" I even pictured myself being handed one of those ridiculous pamphlets like you see in the TV show Glee. I think any basic pamphlet would have been better than simply seeing your name written on a single piece of paper and then kicked out of the room.

I also wish you were a stand alone diagnosis. I do believe you could be one. Dyslexia is the opposite end and it is its own diagnosis, so why can't you be? After spending the past few months immersed in reading everything I can about you, which I must admit, isn't much to begin with, I feel like you deserve to be free from other diagnoses. Besides, I have even seen the autistic like symptoms in my son "disappear," so does the autism diagnosis really fit him? I feel like it was slapped on him simply because he fit the description of hyperlexia to a T (pun intended) and because hyperlexia often diagnosed alongside autism.

I find you isolating, hyperlexia. I really do. There seems to be no local community for me to join. No hyperlexia support, except for a few small online groups. I feel like I have to advocate ten million times more for you than I do for autism, simply because the educators and support people I do encounter have never even heard of you!

But you know what, hyperlexia? I am completely fascinated by you.

The gifts that you have given my son (and that I see glimmers of in my younger son) are really astonishing. To see a small child decode written words like he does, makes me pause and wonder. It makes me realize how special he really is. You alone make me realize how different he sees the world than I do and I think that's really awesome. I appreciate his literal view of the world. I appreciate his honesty. His rawness.

I love how things like math and spelling just come so naturally to him because of you. Sure I have to teach him other things like social skills and how to talk in first person, but he will never struggle with math, spelling, or learning to read like most kids his age will. And that is fascinating.

You may frustrate me many times per day, like when my son is rattling math question after math question and I am tired of answering them, but you also make me appreciate letters as an art form. Swirly fonts, chunky fonts, bubble letters, and more. He writes in them all. He mimics the fonts he encounters in the books that he reads. Clearly, he sees each and every single letter as a mini work of art because of you. Before you came along, I just thought all letters and words were merely just a means of communicating. But you have shown me that there is beauty in appreciating little things like fonts.

You have also taught me to slow down, observe, and appreciate.

And most importantly, you have taught me how to best connect with my son and I am forever grateful for that.

Sincerely,

Bubble D, swirly Y, bold A, and chunky font N
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Kinetic Sand Dot to Dot {Fine Motor Sensory Play}

By on Monday, April 20, 2015 1 Comment so far
Kinetic sand is a go-to sensory item in our house. My three year old particularly enjoys it and requests to play with it at least a couple times per week. Kinetic sand is fascinating to play with by itself, but by adding one or two items from around the house, you can sneak in some extra learning. This kinetic sand dot to dot activity encourages writing skills and reminds me of that box drawing game from my childhood. I don't remember what the game is called, but you take turns with another person drawing lines on a grid with the goal of making as many boxes as you can. So this activity was a great way to stamp, draw, and write.

Fine motor sensory play with kinetic sand from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

For this kinetic sand dot to dot fine motor activity, we used:


First, we stamped the geoboard onto the kinetic sand so that when the geoboard was lifted, there was a 10 x 10 grid. And yes, we are full swing back into temporary tattoo mode at our house (note the Super Mario themed tattoos!).

Stamping in kinetic sand from And Next Comes L



Once we had the grid, the boys started connecting the dots. K is still mastering straight lines, but he loved using the dots to build his letter writing and shape drawing.

Kinetic sand dot to dot - fine motor sensory play for kids from And Next Comes L

Five year old J was more precise. He drew boxes and wrote teeny tiny numbers in the boxes as he went along. He definitely did this activity like I remember playing as a kid (only I used paper and a pen).

Kinetic sand dot to dot - fine motor sensory play for kids from And Next Comes L

Fine motor sensory play with kinetic sand from And Next Comes L

Don't forget to try out these other awesome kinetic sand ideas!


Kinetic sand dot to dot - fine motor sensory play for kids from And Next Comes L
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DIY Metallic Dyed Mini Blocks

By on Saturday, April 18, 2015 2 Comments so far
I've already confessed my addiction to metallic liquid watercolors when I shared these metallic dyed beans, but then I went on dyeing more and more stuff. This time I transformed some mini wooden cubes into some metallic dyed mini building blocks. They're great for building with or for using as a math manipulative. Plus, they're shiny, shimmery, and oh so pretty!

DIY metallic dyed mini blocks for kids from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

To make these DIY metallic dyed mini building blocks, we used:


To dye the blocks, we followed Fun at Home with Kids' instructions from these gorgeous DIY dyed rainbow blocks. After leaving the mini cubes to dry on some paper towel for a few hours, we were left with these itty, bitty metallic blocks.

DIY metallic dyed mini blocks for kids from And Next Comes L

DIY metallic dyed mini blocks for kids from And Next Comes L

Metallic dyed mini blocks - homemade toys for kids from And Next Comes L

These metallic dyed mini blocks are great math manipulatives, but they are also great for working on fine motor skills while stacking. They can also be used for color sorting activities.

Stacking up metallic dyed mini blocks from And Next Comes L

Building towers with DIY metallic dyed mini blocks from And Next Comes L

Please note that these mini cubes work great for preschoolers and up and are not recommended for children who are still mouthing, especially since the dye is not set.

If you have more mini wooden blocks, then try out these other ideas:


Homemade toys for kids: DIY metallic dyed mini blocks from And Next Comes L
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20 Sensory Soup Ideas for Kids {Water Sensory Play}

By on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 2 Comments so far
One of the quickest, cheapest, and easiest ways to engage in sensory play is to use water. Playing with water is a great way to work on fine motor skills. Plus, it's a great way to cool off when the weather is warm. However, we enjoy playing with water year round so I have rounded up the best sensory soup ideas that I could find. Some include colored water. Some engage the sense of smell. Some use fresh herbs and flowers. Yet, all of them are super easy to set up. These 20 sensory soup water play ideas for kids should keep you busy all year long.

20 water sensory soup ideas for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

Colorful & Scented Water Sensory Play Ideas for Kids



Polka Dot Soup from Fun at Home with Kids (pictured)


Bottle Top Soup from Learning 4 Kids (pictured)


Fall water sensory soup ideas for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

Fall Water Sensory Play Ideas for Kids

Apple Sensory Soup (pictured)


Googly Eye Soup from Fun at Home with Kids (pictured)



Winter water sensory soup ideas for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

Winter Water Sensory Play Ideas for Kids


Sick Kid Sensory Soup from Mama. Papa. Bubba.

Jingle Bell Sensory Sound Soup from Kids Play Box (pictured)

Winter Nature Sensory Soup from Mama. Papa. Bubba. (pictured)

Valentine's Day Soup from Fun at Home with Kids (pictured)

Spring/Summer water sensory soup ideas for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

Spring/Summer Water Sensory Play Ideas for Kids

Easter Egg Water Sensory Play from Things to Share & Remember

Sensory Soup with Fresh Herbs from Happy Hooligans (pictured)

Frozen Fractals Sensory Soup from Happy Hooligans (pictured)

Spring Flower Sensory Soup from Crafts on Sea (pictured)

Fairy Sensory Soup from Happy Hooligans (pictured)

20 water sensory soup ideas for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L
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8 More Inspirational Autism Quotes

By on Monday, April 13, 2015 Be the first to comment!
I've become a little bit addicted to making photos quotes. Just a little bit. It's such a fun way to combine my interest in photography with my interest in autism. And since it is still Autism Awareness Month, I thought it would be appropriate to share more inspirational quotes about autism

One of the best quotes that I have found in the past week was definitely not written about autism, but when I heard the particular line "What's going on in that beautiful mind?" from the song "All of Me" by John Legend, it struck a chord (nice music pun, right?!). I ask this question a lot. I am fascinated by the way my son thinks and, as a result, I would absolutely love to know more about what is going on in his mind. 

And of course, no collection of autism quotes would be complete without a quote from Dr. Temple Grandin. So I've included one from her too! PS: She's totally cool and I met her recently.

8 inspiring quotes about autism from And Next Comes L

8 inspiring quotes about autism from And Next Comes L

8 inspiring quotes about autism from And Next Comes L

8 inspiring quotes about autism from And Next Comes L

8 inspiring quotes about autism from And Next Comes L

8 inspiring quotes about autism from And Next Comes L

8 inspiring quotes about autism from And Next Comes L

8 inspiring quotes about autism from And Next Comes L

Want more inspirational photo quotes? Try theses:

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