Pinecone & Cinnamon Sensory Soup {Water Sensory Play}

By on September 17, 2014 Be the first to comment!
Water sensory play is always a favorite activity for my boys and we have certainly been enjoying our fair share of them in the past few weeks. In particular, we have been enjoying some fall inspired sensory soups, such as our apple sensory soup and fall leaves soup. Our most recent sensory soup combines natural elements (pinecones!) with the wonderful scent of cinnamon. Mmmm...

 Pinecone & cinnamon water sensory play for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

For this scented, pinecone water sensory bin, we used:

  • Pinecones - The same ones we used for this Reggio math tray.
  • Cinnamon
  • Water
  • Kitchen utensils - I added some plastic cups and bowls, a whisk, a ladle, and a large plastic spoon. Other items to consider adding: measuring cups, measuring spoons, or a funnel.

I know the water appears dirty, but I prefer to call it rustic. And when I showed my husband the pictures, he described it as "definitely fall colored." Ha!

Scented water sensory play for toddlers and preschoolers using pinecones and cinnamon from And Next Comes L

But look at the close up! Aren't the pinecones lovely?!

Close up of pinecones in a cinnamon scented water sensory bin for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

Close up of pinecones in a cinnamon scented water sensory bin for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

As with our other sensory soups, the boys loved scooping and pouring using the big spoon and ladle.

Scooping pinecones in a scented water sensory bin from And Next Comes L

Scooping pinecones in a scented water sensory bin from And Next Comes L

They also loved to mix up their concoction with the whisk.

Stirring up pinecones in a scented water sensory bin from And Next Comes L

And, of course, dumping the entire soup out so that they could make a new batch is extremely fun too!

Playing with pinecones in a scented water sensory bin from And Next Comes L

If that doesn't entice you, maybe this bowl of freshly prepared pinecone soup will do the trick. I decided to swap my camera lens to my new prime 50mm lens so that I could practice with it. I managed to capture this gorgeous photo. And I'm just a wee bit obsessed with how it turned out so please tell me it's awesome. Thanks.

Pinecones in a scented water sensory bin for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

Be sure to try these other sensory soup ideas:


Scented water sensory play for toddlers and preschoolers using pinecones and cinnamon from And Next Comes L

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8 Simple & Colorful Sensory Activities for Babies & Toddlers

By on September 15, 2014 Be the first to comment!
I vaguely remember what having a toddler and a newborn was like. Hard to believe it was already three years ago! My boys generally play amazing together, but in case you need some help in the sibling bonding department, I'm here to hook you up! My friend Blayne from House of Burke recently had her second baby, so I'm sharing eight simple and colorful sensory activities that help promote sibling bonding. Each sensory activity uses three or fewer materials and most of the sensory bins can be reused again and again. How's that for simple? Click here to read the full post on House of Burke.

8 simple & colorful sensory activities that encourage siblings to bond. Only 1-3 materials are needed for each activity! from And Next Comes L & House of Burke

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Messy Pretend Play with Lemon Play Dough

By on September 10, 2014 2 Comments so far
Play dough is our go-to sensory activity for when I don't have any sensory activities planned or I need to keep the boys busy while cooking supper. That's why you will always find a bag of homemade play dough in our fridge. Recently I made lemon scented play dough, which ultimately led to this messy lemon meringue pie pretend play prompt.

Fine motor pretend play prompt for toddlers and preschoolers using lemon scented play dough and shaving cream from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

For this play dough invitation, I set out:

Playing with play dough, using the rolling pin, and whisking are all great for fine motor development. Plus, the boys get to play with real kitchen utensils. Not that kitchen utensils have ever been off limits for them.

J preferred to roll the play dough, while K commanded the whisk.


Fine motor skills with lemon scented play dough pretend play invitation from And Next Comes L

Fine motor skills with lemon scented play dough pretend play invitation from And Next Comes L

Fine motor pretend play prompt for toddlers and preschoolers using lemon scented play dough and shaving cream from And Next Comes L

Now let's check on the progress of that meringue...ah, a stiff peak! Good whisking, K!

Fine motor skills with lemon scented play dough pretend play invitation from And Next Comes L

Then just like regular baking in our house, things got messy quickly.

Messy sensory play for toddlers and preschoolers with lemon scented play dough and shaving cream from And Next Comes L

Messy sensory play for toddlers and preschoolers with lemon scented play dough and shaving cream from And Next Comes L

Messy sensory play with lemon scented play dough and shaving cream from And Next Comes L

No pie was ever made, but it was a lot of fun to play with!

Be sure to check out these other shaving cream ideas:


Messy sensory play for kids with lemon scented play dough from And Next Comes L

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Fall Leaves Math Tray

By on September 08, 2014 Be the first to comment!
We are all about math and numbers in my house. As a result, we do a lot of playful math activities with loose parts. Since the leaves are changing colors here, we have been in full fall mode. This no-prep math tray was the perfect way to explore counting, grouping, and color sorting. And clearly, little hands just couldn't wait to play!

Simple math play for kids with fall leaves from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

I set up a tray for both of the boys. Each tray consisted of 10 white shower curtain rings and 40 acrylic leaves (10 leaves in each of the four colors that I had). 

Simple math play for kids with fall leaves from And Next Comes L

J sorted his leaves by color first. He noted that there were 10 of each color and promptly told me there were 40 leaves altogether.

Sorting fall leaves by color from And Next Comes L

J then put out seven rings and practiced some grouping (and multiplying!). He put three leaves inside each of the shower curtain rings. "That's 21, mom!"

Fall math tray: practicing grouping with leaves from And Next Comes L

K also attempted some grouping.

Fall themed math tray for grouping and color sorting from And Next Comes L

Fall themed math tray for grouping and color sorting from And Next Comes L

And he did manage to successfully group his leaves into groups of two, as you can see him starting to do here.

Playful math for toddlers and preschoolers using fall leaves from And Next Comes L

How's that for simple, meaningful math?

Be sure to try these other fall activities too!


Simple playful math tray for kids with a fall theme that works on grouping and color sorting from And Next Comes L

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Fine Motor Light Table Play with Ice Cube Trays {Fine Motor Fridays}

By on September 04, 2014 2 Comments so far
When it comes to light table play, glass stones are a staple. We've used them so many times. Too many times to count. I also love that I can buy them at the dollar store. Another awesome light table accessory that you can find at the dollar store is an ice cube tray. Combine the two dollar store finds and you'll end up with a simple fine motor color sorting activity for on (or even off) the light table.

Fine motor light table play with ice cube trays from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

For this light table activity, we used translucent ice cube trays (pink, blue, and orange in color) and glass stones in corresponding colors (red, blue, and orange). I had also set out some tweezers and tongs, but neither of my boys wanted to use them. Instead, they used their fingers to sort the glass stones by color.

Fine motor light table play with ice cube trays from And Next Comes L

Close up of ice cube trays on the light table from And Next Comes L

Close up of ice cube trays on the light table from And Next Comes L

This activity also encourages working on one-to-one correspondence by putting one stone into each spot in the ice cube tray.

Fine motor color sorting on the light table using ice cube trays from And Next Comes L

J also did some grouping. He liked to put two stones into a spot, then three, four, etc.

Fine motor color sorting on the light table using ice cube trays from And Next Comes L

Light table activity using dollar store ice cube trays for fine motor practice from And Next Comes L

The boys also enjoyed dumping out all of the glass stones and flipping the ice cube trays upside down. These particular ice cube trays looked like buttons when upside down. So the boys spent some time pressing the "buttons" and counting. Don't they look cool?

Ice cube trays on the light table from And Next Comes L

PS: This activity was the first activity that I shot in manual mode with my camera. I'm pretty proud of how the photos turned out!

If you're looking for more fine motor fun, be sure to check the others posts in this week's Fine Motor Fridays series.

Fine Motor Fall Acorn Sensory Play from Little Bins for Little Hands
Easy Fall Tree Activity from Powerful Mothering
Fine Motor Fall Leaves Sorting from Still Playing School

Fine Motor Fridays at And Next Comes L

Fine motor light table play using items found in the dollar store from And Next Comes L

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Apple Sensory Soup {Water Sensory Play}

By on September 03, 2014 2 Comments so far
The other day I mentioned that we have been doing a lot of fine motor water sensory play activities lately, primarily in the form of sensory soups. As part of our fall festivities, I created a fall leaves sensory soup, which was a huge hit. So I put together this apple themed sensory soup as a follow up.

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

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

This apple sensory soup bin was just as quick and easy to prepare as the fall leaves one. I used:

  • Water
  • Liquid watercolors - I used green, as you can see. If you don't have liquid watercolors, then try using food coloring instead.
  • Acrylic apples - I found these at Michaels last year, but I haven't been able to find them this year or anywhere online. You could always substitute red and green glass stones for the apples.
  • Kitchen stuff - I added a whisk, a ladle, a large spoon, and a white plastic bowl. You can add measuring cups or measuring spoons too.


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

As simple as this sensory bin is, it certainly was engaging! I love the way the apples look in the water. They look crisp and refreshing just like a real apple.

Apple themed fine motor water sensory play for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

Apple themed fine motor water sensory play for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

I also loved that this sensory bin encouraged lots of fine motor practice. All that scooping, pouring, stirring, mixing, whisking - it's all great for fine motor development!

Fine motor water sensory play with apples from And Next Comes L

Fine motor water sensory play with apples from And Next Comes L

Fine motor water sensory play with apples from And Next Comes L

Be sure to check out these other apple-licious ideas! Yeah, I totally made up a word...


Apple themed fine motor water sensory play for toddlers and preschoolers from And Next Comes L

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Stamping with Alphabet Sponges {Water Sensory Play}

By on September 02, 2014 Be the first to comment!
My boys love playing with water. It doesn't matter what season it is outdoors, but if water is involved, then my boys are all over it (see this math water sensory bin, this fine motor cup play, or this colorful magnet sensory bin, for example). So when I found some mini alphabet sponges at the dollar store, I was beyond excited! I knew that my boys would love them for bath time or for some water sensory play. Here's how we took the alphabet learning outdoors!

Water sensory play using alphabet sponges from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

A bucket of water, some colorful alphabet sponges, and a hot, sunny day were all we needed to do some fine motor, literacy-based sensory play. Then they (okay, I did too!) stamp away!

Stamping with alphabet sponges {water sensory play} from And Next Comes L

Stamping with alphabet sponges {water sensory play} from And Next Comes L

K preferred to squish, smash, and squeeze the alphabet sponges, but not without naming the letters first!

Fine motor water sensory play using alphabet sponges from And Next Comes L

Fine motor water sensory play using alphabet sponges from And Next Comes L

J started off stamping, but eventually switched to drawing letters with the sponges instead.

Writing letters with water - fine motor water sensory play with a literacy twist from And Next Comes L

Writing letters with water - fine motor water sensory play with a literacy twist from And Next Comes L

Writing letters with water - fine motor water sensory play with a literacy twist from And Next Comes L

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


Fine motor water sensory play using alphabet sponges from And Next Comes L

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