Traffic Light Sensory Soup {Water Sensory Play}

By on Saturday, May 23, 2015 Be the first to comment!
The warm weather has finally arrived here, which is funny because it snowed at the lake last weekend. It seriously did. Anyway, with the weather finally being warm and sunburn-worthy, we love to spend lots of time playing and learning with water. Sensory soups are a favorite around here because they are so versatile and easy to set up. Since my youngest is obsessed with all things car related, I created this traffic light inspired sensory soup for him. It's a great way to work on fine motor skills, colors, and traffic themed vocabulary.


Traffic light inspired water sensory activity for kids from And Next Comes L
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Kinetic Sand Rainbow Building {Fine Motor Fridays}

By on Friday, May 15, 2015 2 Comments so far
You may have noticed that we have been a little kinetic sand crazy at our house lately. It likely has something to do with the new book that I'm writing (hint, hint). Anyway, I set up this simple rainbow building invitation to play. It was such a great fine motor sensory activity for my three year old and he absolutely loved it! 

Building a rainbow: fine motor activity using kinetic sand from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

For this kinetic sand rainbow building activity, we used:



Fine motor activity for kids using kinetic sand and pipe cleaners from And Next Comes L

Practically a no prep activity, this fine motor activity was such a great way to check whether or not my three year old, K, knew the order of the colors in the rainbow. He certainly did! With no prompting or help from me, K assembled a perfect little rainbow, naming the colors as he went along.

Building a rainbow: fine motor activity using kinetic sand from And Next Comes L

Fine motor activity for kids: kinetic sand rainbows from And Next Comes L

Building a rainbow: fine motor activity using kinetic sand from And Next Comes L

It was so pretty while it lasted because shortly after, in typical little kid fashion, K smashed his rainbow to pieces...haha

Here are some other fabulous fine motor activities for kids from my Fine Motor Fridays co-hosts:


Fine Motor Fridays at And Next Comes L

Kinetic sand rainbow building: fine motor sensory activity for kids from And Next Comes L
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Cupcake Pretend Play with Kinetic Sand {Fine Motor Sensory Play}

By on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 Be the first to comment!
This kinetic sand activity is definitely the most popular one in the eyes of my three year old. Together we made cupcakes, sang "Happy Birthday," and engaged in lots of adorable pretend play. This activity only uses a couple of materials which you likely already have on hand. And like seriously, how cute is this photo of my son blowing out his birthday candle?!

Cupcake pretend play idea for toddlers and preschoolers using kinetic sand from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

For this cupcake pretend play idea, we used:


There is one thing my three year old really loves and that is cooking. For as long as I can remember, he has had an interest in cooking, whether it's for real or for pretend. So one sunny day, I paired his love for cooking with some kinetic sand and together we made birthday cupcakes.

Just fill up the muffin tin with kinetic sand and add candles. What a fun way to work on fine motor skills and engage in sensory play!

Kinetic sand cupcake pretend play sensory activity for kids from And Next Comes L

Kinetic sand cupcake pretend play sensory activity for kids from And Next Comes L

Kinetic sand cupcake pretend play sensory activity for kids from And Next Comes L

You can even pop out the cupcakes and hold them in your hands, which was easily my son's favorite part. He would sing "Happy Birthday," blow out the candle, remove the candle, and pretend to eat the cupcake. He even let his stuffed kitty cat join in on the fun. He would sing to the cat or let the cat remove the candle.

Cupcake pretend play idea for toddlers and preschoolers using kinetic sand from And Next Comes L

K also enjoyed filling up the muffin tin and pretended to put them in his pretend oven. He would ask me how long to cook it for, count, and then make a dinging noise for when they were done cooking. So much fun!

If you love kinetic sand as much as we do, then you'll love these other kinetic sand activities:


Cupcake pretend play with kinetic sand: fine motor sensory activity for kids from And Next Comes L
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1 Simple SEO Trick for Blogger That You Are Likely Not Doing

By on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 Be the first to comment!
If you use Blogger, then you probably know that it isn't super SEO friendly. However, there are lots of things you can do to make your posts more SEO friendly on Blogger, but I bet you are not doing this particular SEO trick. I wasn't until a few days ago. I'm going to show you how to put the Blogger post title before your blog name in search results and why doing so will help with SEO.

1 simple SEO trick for Blogger that you are likely not doing from And Next Comes L

Did you know that Google typically only shows the first 50-70 characters of your title in search results? Well, if you are on Blogger, then you have likely noticed that your blog appears like this on social media and in search results:

Blogger is not SEO friendly, but here's 1 SEO trick from And Next Comes L

You can see that the blog name is first (sorry to my friend Devany to use you as an example), followed by the title of the blog post. So if you have a very long blog name, it is reasonable that your post title is not being read by search engines. But if we switch the order of your blog name and post titles, then you will get search results that look like this:

How to put post title before blog name in Blogger to boost SEO from And Next Comes L

See how my post titles appear before my blog name now? That simple trick helps get me better seen in search engines. Well, in less than one minute (I promise it's easy!), you can instantly make your Blogger blog more SEO friendly too.


Important: Always back up your template before making changes to HTML.


How to Put the Blogger Post Title Before Blog Name in Search Results

1. Go to the Template section in the Blogger dashboard.

2. Click on Edit HTML.

3. Click anywhere inside the HTML box and press CTRL+F. Search for:

<title><data:blog.pageTitle/></title>

4. Replace the above code with this:

<b:if cond='data:blog.pageType == &quot;item&quot;'>
<title><data:blog.pageName/> | <data:blog.title/></title>
 <b:else/>
<title><data:blog.pageTitle/></title>
</b:if>

5. Click on Save Template.


That's it! Easy right?

Want to make your Blogger blog even more SEO friendly? You have to make sure you are doing tips 4 and 5 from this post too.
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LEGO Sensory Soup {Water Sensory Play}

By on Monday, May 11, 2015 Be the first to comment!
Sensory soups have been a favorite in our house for quite some time. What I love about sensory soups is that they are super simple to set up, encourage fine motor skills, and end up engaging the boys in hours of quiet sensory play. I recently made a LEGO sensory soup for my three year old and I have to admit that it is one of my favorites. It has the perfect punch of color from the LEGO and it encouraged so much learning and imaginative play. And goodness, it was so hard to narrow down the photos on this one! I had so many beautiful photos!

LEGO sensory soup - water play for kids from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

For this LEGO sensory soup water play idea, I used:

  • Water
  • LEGO bricks
  • Kitchen utensils - We always use a big bowl, a ladle, a whisk, and a large spoon. 

Simply dump the LEGO bricks into some water and serve it up to the kids!

LEGO sensory soup - water play for kids from And Next Comes L

Using kitchen utensils, such as the large spoons and a whisk, encourage lots of scooping, pouring, and measuring, which is great for fine motor development.

LEGO sensory soup - water play for kids from And Next Comes L

And I like I mentioned, there were too many beautiful photos to pick from so I'm sharing a bunch of the scooping and pouring close ups. They're just all too lovely not to share!

Working on fine motor skills with LEGO sensory soup - simple water sensory play for kids from And Next Comes L

Working on fine motor skills with LEGO sensory soup - simple water sensory play for kids from And Next Comes L

Fine motor water sensory play idea for kids using LEGO from And Next Comes L

Fine motor water sensory play idea for kids using LEGO from And Next Comes L

And don't forget to stir it all up! Stirring the LEGO around with the whisk ended up creating a lot of "music" or noise. Just adds a nice little auditory component to this sensory activity.

Working on fine motor skills with LEGO sensory soup - simple water sensory play for kids from And Next Comes L

Want to try out some more sensory soup ideas? Then try out these great ideas:


Fine motor water sensory activity for kids using LEGO from And Next Comes L
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Button Music Note Art {Fine Motor Fridays}

By on Friday, May 08, 2015 2 Comments so far
We recently combined music theory with an easy fine motor project to make some button music note art. It turned out quite lovely and reinforced some basic music theory concepts in the process. So if you have a child currently learning to read music, try this simple art project with them as an alternative to traditional theory worksheets.

Fine motor music craft for kids from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

For this music themed art project, we used:


Neither of my boys have begun formal music lessons yet, but they have been listening in on my piano lessons since they were babies. I'm always shocked at how much they have learned simply by being present during the lessons and listening to me ramble on about music theory. My three year old, for instance, can name most piano keys independently. Anyway, this button music note art project reinforces concepts like stemming, note value (quarter notes vs. eighth notes, for example), and lines and spaces on the staff. You could also spell specific words on the staff using the musical alphabet. But since my boys are only 5 and 3, I let them place their notes anywhere that they wanted.

First, add dabs of glue to different spots on the staff. Then add the colorful buttons.

Music theory for kids: make button music note art from And Next Comes L

Music theory for kids: make button music note art from And Next Comes L

Then the boys drew stems for the notes using black pencil crayons. Even three year old K attempted to draw stems on the notes and he did pretty good! I was quite impressed by how much he liked this activity. He got quite into it! I was able to talk about quarter notes vs. eighth notes with J and he experimented with drawing both types of notes.

Fine motor music craft for kids from And Next Comes L

Music theory for kids: make button music note art from And Next Comes L

When all is said and done, you'll be left with a colorful sheet of button music notes. And I think it turned out great!

Button music note art: easy fine motor craft for kids from And Next Comes L

Don't forget to check out these other fabulous fine motor ideas from our friends!

Straw Painting Fine Motor Butterflies from Still Playing School
Play Dough Invitation with Ants from Stir the Wonder
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Flower Mandalas on the Light Table {Light & Reflections Series}

By on Thursday, May 07, 2015 6 Comments so far
We haven't been playing with our light table as often as we used to, especially as the weather warms up, but one rainy day, we were able to sneak in some simple flower themed light table play. The boys created colorful flower mandalas on the light table using free printable flower templates. And they turned out lovely!

Creating flower mandalas on the light table from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

For this activity, we used:


I printed the flower templates on normal printer paper, but vellum or printable transparencies would be great alternatives if you have them on hand. I then set out the materials like so:

Creating flower mandalas on the light table from And Next Comes L

Five year old J went straight for the yellow stones and declared that he was going to make a sunflower. Well, he eventually ran out of yellow stones and ended up with the most colorful sunflower ever!

Simple light table activity for kids using glass gems and a free printable from And Next Comes L

Creating flower mandalas on the light table from And Next Comes L

Simple light table activity for kids using glass gems and a free printable from And Next Comes L

Simple light table activity for kids using glass gems and a free printable from And Next Comes L

K ended up making a very Christmas colored flower. I was surprised at how much he loved this simple light table invitation.

Creating flower mandalas on the light table from And Next Comes L

Creating flower mandalas on the light table from And Next Comes L

Simple light table activity for kids using glass gems and a free printable from And Next Comes L

What kind of flowers will your kids create?


Be sure to check out what my co-hosts came up with for the flower theme!

Sticky Window Flower Garden from Still Playing School
Mosaic Flower Art Window Collage from Where Imagination Grows
Sticky Flowers on the Light Table from Happily Ever Mom

You can find all the previous posts in this series on the Light & Reflections Pinterest board. Tune in next month for our flowers theme.

Light & Reflections Series 2015 lineup at And Next Comes L

Simple light table activity for kids: creating flower mandalas (comes with a free printable!) from And Next Comes L
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