Spring Herbs Play Dough

Last week the girls were begging for new play dough. Having recently seen some beautiful invitations to play on Imagination Tree, it didn’t take long to gather supplies to let them explore the abundance of herbs blooming in our garden.

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Snip some fresh herbs from the garden (peppermint, spearmint, oregano, and chive blossoms. There might be some sage on the tray, too).

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Fresh batch of green play dough, plus tools to explore.

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Lots of time to freely explore the scents, colors, tastes (herbs only!), and textures.

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They quickly transitioned into their favorite game – Princess in a Castle.

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Play dough is excellent for fine motor practice.

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It’s all kinds of beautiful! Especially the purple chive blossoms against the green dough.

I kept this play dough for a week after our activity. The girls love it and have been using it to play ice cream stand. It was still in great shape and would have lasted longer, but I can’t handle the smell of the oregano anymore… so to the trash it goes, replaced with normal grape kool-aid glitter dough.

Original inspiration credit: Natural Mint Play Dough; Natural Herbal Play Dough. Except I use my basic cooked dough recipe as follows:

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 T cooking oil
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup water
Food coloring or 1 Kool-Aid mix

Stir together and cook over low heat until dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the pot.

Roller Skates Come in Pairs

So many good things come in pairs.

Pants.

Shoes

Twix bars.

Mittens.

Chopsticks.

And… ROLLER SKATES!

Back in the day, the Skate Corral was The. Place. to be. We’re talking the epitome of grade school coolness. For just a couple bucks you could spend hours skating in a circle inside a somewhat smelly cinderblock building that had essentially no ventilation with all your other cool seven year old buddies. And maybe popcorn if your mom sent an extra dollar.

Oh, the memories. The “classic” skating time where you could chat. The dice game that I still don’t understand, but someone won a soda. Partner skates (but NEVER with a boy. Boys had cooties). Hokey Pokey. Backwards skate. And that crazy skate that may or may not have had a name when they turned the lights off and the music loud, then ran the smoke machine and the disco ball.

In honor of all those nights (or afternoons… we were seven after all), I made Grace a pair of Roller Skate Dresses for spring. Just like that plain cinderblock building (which has since been bulldozed into a Lowe’s parking lot), this pattern may not look like much. Until you get started! I’m in love. It’s simple to sew with super clear directions – a given from Oliver + S. But once you get going there’s so much potential. Something as simple as fabric choice changes the look completely.

The “Classic” Skate

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This dress is straight from the pattern – view A, no changes except length. Any more, if I’m going to make a dress for Grace I’m going to make it really long. She’s growing like a weed!

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I love how regency-inspired this dress turned out. If anyone knows me, they know I’m more than a little fascinated by Jane Austen and the culture of that era. I’ve spent longer than I will confess to studying the fashion history of Regency Britain. I hadn’t started this project intending to make Grace a regency dress, but hey! The Roller Skate pattern skates that way, too!

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The outer is a white eyelet from my stash – I’m pretty sure it’s 100% cotton but I didn’t do any tests to confirm that. The baby blue lining is broadcloth, 65% poly 35% cotton. I’m crazy about the way the blue shows through the white. My plan is for this dress to be Grace’s church dress through spring and summer.

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Oh, and shorts out of leftover broadcloth. Because she’s a preschooler and thinks her tummy is cute and the whole world needs to see it.

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The “Crazy” Skate

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Same pattern, completely different dress. Introducing: view B with several key modifications. First, I added a hem band at the bottom. This serves two purposes – to lengthen it a little in a different way, and to keep me from having to hem. I don’t know why I hate hemming so much. It also makes the hem very strong for when she does things like this:

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The other big modification is that I only lined the bodice of the dress. This is a summer play dress. Our summers get pretty hot and extremely humid. I decided that one less layer would make Grace a happier girl. To achieve this, I cut the pattern off 1/2” below the lower casing line. I turned that ½” up with my iron then sewed the casing per pattern directions, which placed the lower line just at the edge of the lining.

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Grace picked the fabric, can you tell? It’s from Anne Kelle’s Urban Zoologie line. I’ve had it around for about a year but couldn’t decide what to sew with it. The dress is crazy bright, but so is my little girl. Never a dull moment around here!

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There will probably be more Roller Skate dresses in my future. I started out just wanting to get my use out of the pattern before Grace outgrows it but now I’m in love. It’s easy to sew and easy to wear. I’d love to make her a tunic version to wear over capris, but Grace is still in her hating pants phase. That’s ok – dresses are awesome anyway 🙂

Details

Pattern: Roller Skate Dress from Oliver + S. White – view A. Cats – view B

Fabric: White: Eyelet from unknown source. Blue broadcloth from Joann’s

Cats: Anne Kelle Urban Zoologie Cats in Spring colorway, from Fabric.com (not available). Pink quilter’s cotton from stash

Spring Flowers Sensory Bin

Have you heard of sensory bins? I’m completely in love! The basic idea is a plastic tote filled with things for your child to explore using all of their senses – things to touch, rattle, stack, bang, squish, study, sort… I started making them for Grace in the fall when she was about 15 months old. They’re usually organized around a fun theme, but I’m also intentional about adding teaching concepts in, too. This is her first new one since January!

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Spring Flowers sensory bin

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Flower gems for counting and sorting

 

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Small, medium, and large

Contents:

  • Easter grass base – 3 different types stirred together
  • Small, medium, and large boxes
  • Silk flowers
  • Gardening gloves
  • 20 flower counting gems
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I don’t usually allow dumping but she was SO excited

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Trying on the gloves – another skill to practice

 

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Counting 🙂

She was so excited! I told her the new box was in her room and she took off sprinting to find it. Usually the base item (grass this month, beans, rice, pasta, etc) must stay in the bin. I’m not a fan of cleaning up little bits for months on end. But this time she was so happy and fast I didn’t stop her. I need to buy a flat sheet to store with the bin for making clean-up easier.

I budget $10 / box and came in a little under this month which is always nice. I can usually find what I’m looking for on clearance or at a dollar store – this time I went out the day after Easter so all the springy decorations were on clearance. I tend to get intimidated when I see sensory bins online as many of them are expensive or time consuming (rainbow rice, anyone?!).

Analyzing a piece of the grass

Analyzing a piece of the grass

Today I let her free-play in the bin. We will also have some directed play to practice specific skills:

  • Small, medium, and large – Using the boxes, we’ll see which fits inside the others and stacking. If she isn’t grasping, I’ll remove the medium to just practice small/large
  • Sorting – grass colors, flower colors, etc
  • Counting – There are 10 each color of the small flower gems to practice 1-10
  • Fine Motor – Putting on gloves and manipulating objects while wearing them
  • And most importantly, cleaning up!

Happy Exploring!