Spring Sensory Play

Spring Sensory Play

Let’s embrace that spring fever with some sensory play for the kids! Sensory bins are a favorite for kids of almost all ages. From young toddlers to elementary age, sensory play is not only fun but educational. Making a sensory bin for your kids is simple and easy. Take a look at the one I created for my preschooler and elementary aged kids.

Start With a Base

First, you need to decide what you’re going to use to hold all your items. You want something that isn’t too deep but is wide. I have this table, but you could also use a baking tray or something you have around your house. For the base of your sensory play, you want something that is smallish, that can easily be scooped and poured. You also want something that can be easily cleaned up, because let’s face it, sensory play involves a lot of clean up (stay away from sand!). I really like to use rice or beans. They sweep up easily, and they aren’t dangerous if a child accidentally tries to eat them. For our spring bin, I chose a mixture of pinto and garbanzo beans. I like that these have varying shapes and textures. Little pom pom balls are also fun, especially if you’re looking for a quieter option.

Add Some Interest

It’s fairly easy to keep your sensory play base the same at all times. However, I highly encourage you to change up the items in the sensory bin every season, or every month if your kids play with it daily. I am going with a spring theme here. I’ve added some plastic Easter eggs, artificial flowers, and several small flower pots.

Add Some Tools

Adding tools to your sensory play is adding the fun. Kids love so much to scoop and pour. This provides a huge learning opportunity too. Young toddlers learn things like cause and effect, while older kids are visualizing and estimating volume. You want to add small containers or cups (remember those little flower pots?) as well as spoons and scoops of varying sizes. I have this set, and my kids absolutely love it. You can also add in things like tweezers or magnets.

Sensory play is so much fun for kids. Have you ever made a sensory play area for your kids? Let me know what you like to put in your sensory bin in the comments below. As always, please like and share this post if you found it helpful and encouraging.

The Easiest Way to Start a Garden

The Easiest Way to Start a Garden

The easiest way to start a garden is to just jump right in and do it. Gardening is one of those things that feels really complicated and intimidating. It’s easy to get swept into the rabbit hole of soil composition, fertilizers, pest controls, and then quit before even starting. But friend, I am here to tell you that starting a garden is not complicated. You just need four ingredients. They are seeds, sun, water, and dirt. That’s it. It really is that simple.

Seeds

The first question you need to ask yourself is whether you want a flower garden, vegetable garden, or both. If you want to grow vegetables, I still recommend planting a few colorful flowers to attract the pollinators. You can order seeds online from a place like Botanical Interests, or you can buy them from your local box hardware store. You will find lots of choices at both places, whether you’re looking for vegetables, flowers, organic, or conventional. It really doesn’t matter. It’s important to know when to plant your seeds. To determine this, you need to know your planting zone. All you have to do is google your city and planting zone. Zones are labeled by a number and letter. If you are on the edge between two planting zones (I live close to 5b and 6a), go by the dates for the colder zone (so 6a for me). There is nothing sadder than when your new baby plants freeze because you planted them in the ground too soon. I actually plan to start my seeds inside this year, and then will transfer them to the ground in the beginning of May.

Sun

Almost every vegetable will need a considerable amount of day time sunlight to grow well. That seed packet you just bought – flip it over and read that back. That is where you will find exactly how much sun your plant needs. Knowing that you need access to a lot of light, it matters where you decide to place your garden. If your yard is mostly shaded, you can use large pots (or even buckets) in a sunny spot on your porch or edge of your driveway.

Water

When determining where to place your garden, you need to consider your water source. The easiest thing is to have your garden be close enough to your water hose, so you can easily use that. Once you get into the summer months, you will need to water your garden almost daily. If you live in a place with extreme heat, you will want to put a sprinkler on your garden for several hours if you go through a spell with no rain. I can attest that filling up a watering can and walking it to your vegetables multiple times each day get real old real fast. So yes, your plants need to have access to lots of sunlight, but they also need to be close to your water source.

Dirt

Next, let’s talk about dirt. This is where I see a lot of new gardeners get overwhelmed. Dirt composition is a whole thing if you make it one. But you can have a healthy and thriving garden without knowing too much about what type dirt you have. Don’t overcomplicate it. If you are using containers, just pick up some bags garden soil (or maybe find someone with extra topsoil). If you are worried about the soil at your house, you can also use store bought soil and mix it in with what you already have. This is a great options for those in the south who’s yard is mostly that hard red clay dirt.

Bonus Tips

Don’t forget about pest control. If you are using containers or have a raised bed garden, you won’t have to worry too much about rabbits. But if you think some furry critters will be interested in your veggies, then surround your garden with some type of fencing (I just use chicken wire). As far as bug control, your best resource are the employees at your local nursery. They have a wealth of knowledge about the pests in your area, and they will recommend effective measures to combat them.

Lastly, it’s important to note that starting a garden takes the most time and energy in the beginning. Once things are in the ground, pests are controlled, and you have a watering routine, the hard work is over. Then you get to reap the harvest of that work. You might have some bumps along the way, but takes the lessons from the garden all in stride. Have you ever had a garden? Do you plan to start one this year? Let me know in the comments below. And as always, if you liked this post, please share it with your friends.