Story Cubes

I’ve mentioned these before and how much the kids loved them.  I recently found a set with 3 cubes from 3 add on sets for sale at our local toy store and had to get them.  They sparked a renewed interest.

From the Story Cubes website:
As the brain thinks in pictures but communicates in words, having a visual aid to creative problem solving would be advantageous. Using images to trigger stories would help the brain think in new ways.

 

Story telling is beneficial in many ways whether the parent is telling the story or the child. Listening to story telling increases vocabulary, encourages the child to visualize the story in their head, promotes auditory skill and challenges their memory.  For a child telling a story it helps them develop linear progression in thought, creativity, imagination, speaking skills, memory, brain connections and more.  It’s also a great way discuss and work through anything the child is struggling with.  A parent could make up a story on the subject giving words for the emotions and ideas for solutions.  Story telling is used often in Waldorf pedagogy to address issues with children.  The book, “The Whole Brained Child” talks about getting children to tell the story of something that happened to them to help their brain integrate their emotions with the reality.  A child who is scared to relive a traumatic incident can project those events into a story about someone else.

The more stories your child tells and hears the better they will get at doing it.  You’ll also find your own brain being stretched as you come up with stories.  That’s great for preventing dementia later in life.

Here’s some snippets of a story Pumpkin 1 was telling me.

 

The Best, Most Awesome, Softest, Non-sticky Playdough ever

awesome-homemade-playdough-recipe-homemade-playdoh-playdough-recipe

What kid doesn’t like playdough?  What adult can’t resist squishing playdough as well?  Playdough is great for developing hand strength and fine motor skills as well as creativity.  But the store bough stuff stinks.  Like literally, smell-wise.  My husband even complained about it the other day.  Making your own playdough is simple and easy and non-stinky.  I’ve made our own before but recently I tried this recipe http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2012/12/08/best-homemade-playdough-recipe/ and it is awesome.  I have to admit, I had a hard time giving it up so that the kids could play with it.  The secret is to use coconut oil.  Usually you can find coconut oil in the oil section or in the natural products section of your grocery store.  The coconut oil makes the playdough extra soft and it doesn’t stick to your hands as much.  You don’t need a lot.  Get the virgin kind and use the rest for cooking.  Coconut oil is great for your health, and is a wonderful body moisturizer and even for your scalp and hair.  So make up a batch of playdough for your kids to entertain them while you treat yourself to a hot oil treatment.  For a full sensory experience add some lovely scents to your playdough.  We added cinnamon, clove powder and nutmeg to ours for a Pumpkin Spice playdough which my children and daycare children adore. You could also add vanilla or mint or essential oils.

Anyway, here is the recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/4 c. salt
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar (find it in the spice section)
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • assorted glitter (optional)
  • assorted essential oils (cinnamon for red, sweet orange for orange, lemon for yellow, lemongrass for green, peppermint for blue, lavender for purple)
  • bags, ribbon, mini cookie cutters & gift tag for packaging

Instructions

  1. Measure flour, salt, cream of tartar, water, & oil into a saucepan. You can easily double, triple, or even quadruple the recipe for a bigger batch.
  2. Place saucepan on stove with burner set to low and begin stirring. The time it takes to turn into playdoh varies, but expect it to take between 10 and 20 minutes to become solid. A bigger batch will take longer.
  3. Once the mixture begins to thicken and look less lumpy, add the food coloring and essential oil. It is not necessary to measure–just keep adding color and scent until it looks and smells good.
  4. Keep stirring. If your kids are old/careful enough you can help them stir until it gets too thick. Once larger lumps begin to form, you’ll know you are getting close. Keep stirring!
  5. Towards the end it will begin to get really thick and difficult to stir. Don’t worry if there are small lumps in the dough. It will be sticky but keep stirring. The play dough is done when it pulls away from the sides and all sticks together in one big lump.
  6. Set on silicone mat or other heat-proof surface to cool. If dough seems too sticky you can knead it with a little flour.
  7. To add sparkles, sprinkle dough generously with glitter, then knead dough until sparkles are evenly dispersed, adding more glitter if necessary.
  8. Repeat process for additional colors; store in airtight container or bag.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)