Happy National Crayon Day!



 
 
 

What a great day to be alive right! With the trend in adult coloring going strong and today being National Crayon Day, I have a few goodies for you all!

 
 

The wonderfully colorful people over at Crayola are taking this whole weekend to celebrate National Crayon Day with some awesome deals and, if you live in one of the cities below, a meet and greet with Dandelion, the retiring crayon.

You can visit with this iconic crayon in:

April 1, 2017- Times Square, New York
April 6, 2017- Orlando Crayola Experience, Orlando, Florida
April 13, 2017- The CN Tower, Toronto, Ontario
April 21, 2017- The Crayola Experience, Easton, Pennsylvania
April 23, 2017- Coca-Cola Minor League Baseball Stadium, Allentown, Pennsylvania
April 24, 2017- The Crayola Factory, Easton, Pennsylvania

 
 
 


 
 

And on top of that amazing opportunity, you can also get a free 24 count box of Crayola Crayons with and $10+ purchase! Just use code FREEBOX17!

 
 

Download Your FREE coloring pages here!

 
 
 

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I also have been working really hard to bring you all some beautiful coloring pages as well! So after you get your free box of crayons you can print these beauties out and get to coloring heaven!

Download Your FREE coloring pages here!

 
 

FREE Coloring Pages!

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I would love to see your work tag me on Instagram @imaginationsigning
 
 
 


Top 5 Gifts for Children on the Autism Spectrum

 

Fisher Price Think ; Learn Code-A-Pillar Gift Set

With the need to understand coding in this day and age this is a great toy for this Christmas. For children with autism sequencing, organizing, and prioritizing can either be very easy or very difficult. For both sides of the equation this toy is a fun way to reinforce that like or help your child learn the importance and skills of sequencing through play. And who doesn’t like making things move in all sorts of directions? This will be a hit for everyone in the family!


Little Tikes Big Waffle Block Set

Building things takes concentration and fine motor skills that some children with autism need help with. These blocks are easy o assemble and reassemble to make a fort, house, city, or whatever else your child can imagine. This also will help your child to communicate with you and other children and caregivers to create team work that will get to the end goal.


Melissa & Doug Self-Correcting Letter and Number Wooden Puzzles Set With Storage Box

The early years of teaching letters and numbers can be frustrating, especially when your child is not interested in it. These puzzles from Melissa and Doug encourage play and learning by having puzzle pieces that only fit with their corresponding piece. Children will have to go on a hunt to find the right pieces with the correct number, letter, or image in order to complete the mini puzzle. This toy is also a great fit for working on fine motor skills and patients.


Fisher Price Loving family Exclusive Holiday Dollhouse

I love pretend play! There are so many things that children can do and learn from pretending. Unfortunately, much pretend play has been lost do to TV and technology. These things are great, but pretending can be so much more beneficial for children. With the Fisher Price Doll House Series, you can bring back the pretend play which will allow you and other caregivers the opportunity to role play situations that your child needs help in, is afraid of, or is going to be new. There is a plethora of uses for therapy with this toy as well.


Little Tikes Go Green! Playhouse and Little Tikes Garden Table, Kids Play Table
 
What better way to talk about cause and effect than to discover how things grow! By pretending and role playing your child can learn how their actions effect the world around them. This will bring up great talking points about behavior and how to handle other people while your child plays.
 

Just Keep Swimming: Mess Free Sensory Bin

Sensory comes in all shapes and sizes and as we get towards the end of a beautiful summer, I would like to introduce you to a fun in the sun, or in the living room, sensory bin that is sure to please. With no water needed your little one can go on an under sea adventure to find Nemo and Dory!

My daughter was obsessed with this activity and her friends enjoyed finding the multiple Dory and Nemo figures we placed in the bin.

To get started you will need a long and shallow bin. I love the ones that fit under the bed or crib because I can leave my sensory gear in there or put things like diapers and clothes in them later! Here is the one I like best, and use often.

You will also need a good amount of blue toys. I love the ball pit balls we have for my daughter because I can use them for multiple sensory bins and they are just fun to play with! They are also great for little hands! Think of all the cool stuff you can do with these! I also put all our soft blocks in this bin to give a few textures and they built blue “water” cities with them.

Finally, you will need at least one Nemo and Dory toy. If your child is as obsessed as mine this will be an easy find, which is why we had multiple Nemos and Dorys in our box. You can get a bath toy set (great for real water fun) or this figure set to find even more friends!

Now just have fun under the sea finding all your fishy friends! And don’t forget, “Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming, What do we do we swim, swim.”

 

Show me some of your sensory bins and interesting things you put in them!

 

*This post contains affiliate links, which I receive compensation from if you purchase the item(s). You will be redirected to the affiliate page after clicking on the link, which may be highlighted words, pictures, or other format link. Thank you for your support of this site!

The Forgotten Stones-Joshua 4-GMG

This chapter was a difficult one to write about because there is the reminder of getting across the Jordan, however there are also the 12 stones that are left at the bottom of the Jordan River that the Bible says are still there.

So let’s talk about the memorial 12 stones first because we know for sure what those mean. God wanted the people to remember for all future generations how they came to the Promised Land as well as the struggles that God helped them through supernaturally to get there.

The generation that wandered in the wilderness was not very good at remembering what God had done for them even though they had A LOT of cool things happen. (The cloud and fire were really neat!) Joshua explains to the people that they will tell their children about what God did for them and the pile of stones was the reminder.

Now the hard part! After reading several weird ideas and re-reading that section of chapter 4 several times, here is my idea of what it means.

I think the 12 stones that are at the bottom of the Jordan symbolize the 12 tribes of Israel that didn’t get to the Promised Land. It was a clean slate, but also a way to almost mourn for them as well. If you really think about it the people that are going into the land were young, just born, or not even a twinkle when Israel was told they would wonder for 40 years (which may be why they needed to see the water part as well in order to understand the greatness of God they had heard about because they had not seen all the awesome miracles God had done for their parents).

The fact that we are told the stones are there to this day shows that there was a distinct group of people who didn’t get to the Promised Land because they didn’t believe they would make it or that God would come through.

You could take that all the way out to salvation saying we all have the opportunity to get to the Promised Land (Heaven), but some will not believe and be left behind.

It is interesting to think about, but not even scholars who are WAY SMARTER than I can agree, so I pose the question to you…What do you think the 12 stones in the Jordan mean?

Reminders of Victory-Joshua 3-GMG

Remember how when God goes before us good things happen? Well chapter 3 is a great illustration of that! The Ark of the Covenant (God) literally went before the people. Did you catch the part where God was going before them because they hadn’t been that way before? (verse 4)

He was paving the way for them to take the Promise Land and claim victory. They just had to show up and follow God!

God goes a step farther and parts the Jordan so they can walk across on dry land, not muddy ground—dry ground. Water moving and it being dry instantly if a big deal! I think this was really to remind Israel how and by whom they gained their freedom from Egypt, as well as foreshadow victory for the nation.

How are you reminded about God’s victory in your life? Is there something special that reminds you? Is there a moment you will never forget?

For our family it is moving into our house. My husband and I were not sure we would ever be able to own a home with me staying at home with the littles and him working his way up the ladder. It was stressful renting and moving and renting and moving again. We felt like we were stuck! But you know what, God came through in His timing. If it had been my timing of what I thought was right, we would not have found our perfect house, we may have had a roadside baby (crazy right?!), and it may have taken us a lot longer to move.

Thank God, God is God and I am not! I had nothing figured out the whole time, everything happened and there is no way we could say it wasn’t God. I still walk in the door and can’t believe that this place is ours!

But enough about me, I want to hear your story… Comment below and tell me what reminds you of the victories you’ve seen in your life.

Holy Ground Flashbacks-Joshua 5-GMG

Did anyone else do a double take at the end of this chapter!? When I read that Joshua was told to take off his sandals because he was on holy ground, I had a flashback to Moses with the burning bush. Isn’t it cool that God was making Himself so known to the people of Israel!

I find it interesting that He is also the Commander of God’s army (Jesus?). We know Joshua worshipped Him and (at least in my NKJV Bible) every term referring to this Commander is capitalized, which references God, so either God is the Commander of God’s army, OR Joshua is totally meeting Jesus face to face (which is more likely because 1. Joshua calls Him Lord, 2. Joshua worships Him, and 3. Joshua doesn’t die at the sight of His face{Exodus 33:20})

(Humming “I’m in the Lord’s Army)

But, back to the first part of the chapter… Joshua is commanded to circumcise all the men who were born in the wilderness because it had not been done yet. This is part of the new beginning we talked about before, and it was a reminder of the covenant God made with Abraham, which is where the circumcision started.

Another important quick detail is that the manna stopped coming. This was one of the first steps of taking in the land because they were able to eat of the land that whole year.

These last few chapter, in hindsight, are preparation for the people before they take over Jericho.

Music and Movement Sensory Play- 2 & 3 Year Olds

Music is a wonderful thing that can be soothing at any age. When it comes to sensory play, music can be used in a variety of ways to help your child further understand the world around them.

For example, singing to your baby and doing finger plays helps your child develop rhythm and vocabulary. Today we will focus on 2 and 3 year olds and their need for music and movement simultaneously.

This activity will use a variety of senses including touch, sound, speech, and sight, which will make the play fun as well as educational.

For this activity you will need:
~A device to play music on, such as a phone, CD player, etc.
~Children’s Music
I suggest Raffi, The Laurie Berkner Band, or if you are looking for more music video songs Praise Party by Yancy is fantastic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~Instruments-you can always use pots, pans, and spoons as well or here is a set I like from Melissa and Doug

 

~An open space

Directions:
You will want to have all your materials together before you tell your toddler what you are doing so they don’t get distracted. Have them stand in the middle of the room and turn on 2 or 3 of your/their favorite songs. (Or more if they like it!) Have the instruments out so they can play with them as you

Some of the ones I like to do:
We Are The Dinosaurs– The Laurie Berkner Band

For this one you can march around like dinosaurs and pretend to be a big dinosaur or a little dinosaur! Littles have a great time making big dinosaur roars as well!
Fast And Slow (The Rabbit And The Turtle)– The Laurie Berkner Band

This song goes back and forth between fast and slow, which helps your toddler understand opposites. When you are talking about the turtle walk, dance, and skip very slow, and when you are talking about the rabbit run, dance, and skip really fast!

Junior Ragtime– Raffi

I love this as a way to introduce fun styles of music that kids do not usually hear and it is so fun to dance to! Maybe you can teach your little how to do the Charleston!

Shake My Sillies Out– Raffi

I use this in almost every class I teach to toddlers because it is a great way to get them moving and then settled down right before you start talking about something else.

This is a great activity to do to get your child moving, get that little extra energy out, or a fun thing to do inside on a rainy or snowy day!

What songs did you use? What part of this activity did your child like best?

 

*This post contains affiliate links, which I receive compensation from if you purchase the item(s). You will be redirected to the affiliate page after clicking on the link, which may be highlighted words, pictures, or other format link. Thank you for your support of this site!

Playing Together: The Importance of Sensory Play (Guest Post Featured on Rookie Parenting)

As a parent helping your child learn is one of the most important things to you, and sensory play is a fun and engaging way for your child to excel in many different areas. Sensory play encourages scientific processes because problems are solved using the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. By stimulating your child’s senses, you are helping them develop creatively, socially and emotionally, cognitively, linguistically and physically through simply playing with them.

You have probably seen your child play with the most inexpensive “toys” like a paper towel roll, a pot and a spoon, or straws. Your child is using anything and everything to explore the world around them and encouraging this behavior will benefit you and your child by letting your child explore and create and giving you the opportunity to discuss what is happening in any given project.

boy-958457_1280By stimulating your child’s senses you are helping their brain develop because when a sense is engaged neural pathways are being created to assist with further learning in later years.

Sensory play is not only important for babies and toddlers, who often have the time to play and explore at home, but also for preschoolers and elementary children. When your child is allowed to use multiple senses to accomplish a task, they will learn more from the experience and retain more information. This ideal does not change as you get older, even adults retain more information when multiple senses are engaged! Even you are creating new neural pathways in your brain when engaging in sensory play, which can help negate Alzheimer’s(1), assist in creative thinking, problem solving, and time needed to respond to a catastrophic situation (2). Creating time for your child, of any age, to engage in sensory play is imperative for their long-time learning and health.

Creating time for your child, of any age, to engage in sensory play is imperative for their… Click To Tweet

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So how do you start integrating sensory play into your everyday life? The good news is it is simple! By taking objects that you already have in the house you can create many fun experiences for you and your child. For example, take a colander and spaghetti noodles (or pipe cleaner) and challenge your child to put the noodles in the holes. They will be drawn to this experience and will start to develop basic motor skills as well as problem solving skills when they break IMG_20160824_210528the spaghetti noodles.

 

For older children play-doh and fondant are great ways to teach sensory play, as well as skills that your child can

use in the future such as baking a cake. Fondant can be used to make beautiful designs, but it takes time and patience to get the results wanted, both are needed skills in everyday decision-making and life.

 

 

Don’t be afraid to try something new and make a mess! This is a great time to bond with your child and create fun memories that will last a lifetime!

For tips on handling the mess, more sensory ideas, and using American Sign Language with your child (also great for sensory play!) visit imaginationsigning.comis designReferences:

(1) How to Help the Ones We Love Symptoms and Strategies for:. (2016). Retrieved August 25,
2016, from http://www.alzheimershope.com/stop_delay.php

(2) Center for Brain Health. (2013, September 9). Retrieved August 25, 2016, from
http://www.brainhealth.utdallas.edu/blog_page/study-finds-brain-training-enhances-brain-health-of-adults-over-50

Other Resources:

Good Habits Make You Feel Like You’re Gonna Die. Published on May 31, 2012 by Loretta Graziano Breuning, Ph.D. in Your Neurochemical Self

Getting Messy: Childs Play, the Mess It Creates, and How to Handle It

What is Sensory Play?

0-3 Months Sensory Play: Lighting

Babies are really fun to play with, if you know what to do. One of these technics is using different variations of lighting to let your baby explore visually the world around them. This will also help your child start to develop the idea of night and day based on the lighting in the room and outside.

This sensory play topic is very easy because you only need what is in your house already!

Day Time:
Place your baby in a safe place, like in a bouncer, and turn off all the lights. Open the curtains at different lengths and let your baby look at the light on the wall. It is great to talk to your baby about the light as well explaining whether it is dim or bright. They are getting to the point where they will start to coo and have “conversation” with you so have a camera ready because it gets pretty cute!

Night Time:
This one is really fun in our house. If you have a bathroom attached to your bedroom, turn on the light in the bathroom and the light off in the bedroom. This will create a different atmosphere for baby to explore with the room half dark. The light will be making shadows on the wall that you can talk about with your baby. If you do not have a bathroom attached you can always turn on a light of an adjacent room as well.

Sensory Development AreaIs It Used?
CognitiveVisual Stimulation
LinguisticBeginning Vocabulary Development
Social & Emotional
Physical
Creative

Newborn Sensory Play: Soft Toy Stimulation

Material Needed:
➺ Large Pom Poms or other soft baby toy
➺ Safe place to lie baby on back

Note: If using Pom Poms, remember to never leave small objects with a baby or to leave soft toys with a baby in their crib. These can become a suffocation hazard.

The thing that amazes me the most about newborns is the fact that they are a blank slate. They have no comprehension of object permanence and do not know how objects move about in the world around them.

This activity will focus on cognitive and visual development through moving a Pom Pom or other soft toy up and down, side to side, and touching baby’s tummy, hand, cheek, and/or nose.

First take your toy or Pom Pom and lift it about 10-12 inches above your baby. Slowly move the object from side to side as you baby tracks the object. This will be slow at first, so take your time before moving on. Continue by moving the object up and down touching baby on the tummy, hand, cheek, and/or nose. I like to make a cute little sound like “boop!” when the object touches to give the baby some noise to associate with the action.

As your baby gets a bit older this is a great activity to do using opposites such as left and right, up and down, as well as learning the different parts of the face.

Click on the picture below to view some good options for Pom Poms from Amazon

If you are looking for a baby toy that would work well with this activity a soft rattle would do well. Our favorite has always been the Jiggly Giraffe by Little Learners, but it is out of print as of this writing. I will continue to look for a better item or you may see the perfect fit coming to our store at the end of September 2016!

 

Sensory Development AreaIs It Used?
CognitiveVisual Stimulation and tracking objects as well as visual development
Linguistic
Social & Emotional
PhysicalTactile Stimulation through touching baby's face, hand, etc.
Creative
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