Last month I heard Shashank (my husband) telling an interesting story to Shaunak about tow trucks taking broken cars to garage. Since then I had decided to make a DIY cardboard toy to make him understand the concept better. Not only this but many concepts related to roads and garage.

So, here is what I heard Shashank telling him and sketched my board ideas around this story.

Shashank: "One family wanted to go for a lunch. They used a car parked in the Parking. One car came down from the parking and took a right turn. It reached a "Dead End". The car was taking a reverse and just then the second car came down from the 2nd level parking. The cars didn't notice each other and - Crash! They called the Tow Trucks. Two Tow Trucks arrived, one for each car. The Two Trucks then took the broken cars to the garage where the mechanic mended the cars."

My goals were to help him understand the concepts like: 
1. Parking
2. Dead End
3. Accident
4. Tow Truck
5. Roundabout
6. Reverse gear
7. Garage

Garage elements like:
1. Spanner
2. Screwdriver
3. Hammer
4. Pliers
5. Spare tyre

And also to introduce him to few new opposite words (vocabulary development):
1. Up x down
2. Safe x dangerous
3. Left x :right
4. Broken x fixed
5. Clockwise x anti-clockwise
6. Route x dead-end

Here is how I made it.

Things you need:
1. Cardboard (I recycled a washing machine cardboard box)
2. Kitchen roll cardboard tubes
3. Black and white acrylic paint
4. Paintbrush
5. Toy cars and tow trucks
6. Toy garage tools

I decided where I want to place garage, two level parking and a round-about. I made a rough sketch on a paper which was further improvised by my husband who is an expert driver himself. Then I painted the roads black and the borders white.

I placed garage tools in the garage corner. Made 2-level parking using kitchen roll tubes. I also gave him toy cars and tow trucks. And then Shashank repeated the car crash story and helped him understand the concepts better.

We spent a wonderful family time full of quality conversations and learning.

Both indoor and outdoor play can be one of the best ways to strengthen gross motor skills. We regularly do various activities to keep fit. Shaunak learns gymnastics and karate moves at his preschool. At home we do basic stretching exercises, yoga asanas, games like 'get that to me', and he even accompanies me for Leslie walks. A child is always on its toes, physically active, moving around, and these interesting activities are a good add-on and make their play time even more joyful and fun.

We are currently working on Transportation theme at home. I was searching for a vehicles themed gross motor activity and I found these amazing movement cards which made our play time very interesting.

I downloaded these cards from Royalbaloo website. Here is the link: Construction vehicles themed movement cards.

Also, watch this video to see Shaunak in action! Please subscribe to my YouTube channel to watch more such videos.

I very excitingly showed my son the Fire Safety sensory tray and explained what it was filled with (tiny toy fire engines, pulses, paper fire flames cutouts, themed toys, etc.) The first thing he said after I finished was-"Mommy, let me first get ambulance, police car and rescue helicopters." In a second he made me realise that it was 'pretend play' only for me, for him it was a very 'real' one. A three year old made it so easy for me to learn what safety is about!

The themed sensory trays give great exposure to colors and textures. Grains are one of his favorite fillers for sensory tray but no, I don't waste these pulses, I use only those grains for sensory bins which can be washed, cooked and eaten.

All you need is:

1. A large tray/ container
2. Pulses (I used lentils, chickpeas and black peas)
3. Paper flames cutouts in yellow, orange and red color
4. Tiny toy fire trucks
5. Fire extinguisher toy (optional)

I put all the above things in a large tray and as I said before I explained him about the pulses in the tray, and we revised colors too. He also quickly brought his blocks to make buildings and made the entire fire scene alive. We re-discussed the dangers of fire and how to respond if he sees a fire.

Sensory trays are much easier to make than you might think. The container should be large enough to let your child explore without moving the filler out of the container.  You can always tweak it according to your theme and what material is available at home. It doesn't take more than ten minutes to put things together and provide opportunity for your child for a creative play.

Learning Opportunities:

1. Practical Life SKills
2. Cognitive skills development
3. Understanding of body senses
4. Exposure to colors and textures

Also watch the video at the end of this post.

A summer weekend afternoon and water, a match made in heaven! If its a water activity, the children get drawn and learning time becomes super fun.

I arranged a bathtub and a basket with things that my children see around the house everyday and the task was to sort floating and sinking things.

This activity was my first step towards introducing him the concept of buoyancy and how the air plays a role in it. This turned out to be not only a good activity for practicing critical thinking but also I could put both of them together, as I want them to have a large amount of exposure to one another, bonding time you see!

Things you need:

1. Bathtub/ Plastic tub/ Bucket
2. 20 things around the house, better if the child is familiar with them.
3. Two small baskets for sorting
4. Water! (Better to use warm water if doing the activity with small children)

I chose things with different textures and materials and so it also turned out to be a good sensory activity for my little one.

Things we used to sort:

1. Wooden block toy
2. Plastic block toy
3. Rubber toy
4. Steel spoon
5. Coin
6. Stone
7. Leather belt
8. Paint Brush
9. Pencil
10. Crayon
11. Steel towel handle
12. Toy car
13. Ball
14. Paper plate
15. Metal cloth clip
16. A glass bottle
17. Wooden circle toy
18. Plastic bottle
19. Synthetic foam piece
20. Sponge
21. Wooden ice cream sticks

All you need to do is:

1. Pour warm water into bathtub/bucket.

2. Give the basket to your child with 20+ things with different materials and textures and exaplain him what it is if he doesn't know about any. It's a good idea to choose things your child is familiar with.

3. Provide two more baskets to sort things that float and things which sink.

4. Let your child drop one thing at a time and carefully look if the thing floated or sinked. Continue doing this with all twenty things.

5. Once all the twenty things are dropped into the tub it is clearly visible which things float and which have sink to the bottom.

6. Ask your child to sort all the floating things in one basket.

7. And all the remaining things which sunk, can be put into another basket by your child.

Many of us believe that heavy objects sink and lighter objects float. Point out that some heavy objects like leather belt float, while relatively lighter objects such as coins sink.  Help your child to think why objects sink and float. Encourage them to make comparisons and connections. Such experiments get wired into little children's' brains.

Learning Opportunities:

1. Concept of sink and float
2. Concept of heavy and light
3. Knowledge about materials and textures
4. Sensory development
5. Concept of sorting

If done with a sibling or a friend

5. Peer relationship development
6. Communication opportunities

And most important

7. FUN!

Below is a video, my children in action, doing the float or sink science activity. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel for more videos. And please do a thumbs up if you like this video!

Hope you have a good time doing this activity and lovely summer afternoons with your little buds!

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