Galaxy Sensory Bottles

galaxy-bottles
At this month’s My Petite Picassos’ Playgroup we created projects under the theme of the galaxy. We made galaxy sensory bottles for the babies, paper craft rockets, and we did galaxy marbling papers to make valentines.


We made our galaxy bottles using cotton balls, watered down tempera paint, kabob skewers, and glitter.  I highly recommend if you do this activity you use a short water bottle otherwise you will be very busy for a long time creating your galaxy bottle!  I saw a few videos on YouTube on how to do this and the toddlers enjoyed putting the galaxy bottles together so much!

Basically it’s very simple, but time-consuming. Take your cotton balls one by one pulling them apart and placing them inside of your bottle. When you think you have a lot of cotton balls take your blue watered down paint mixture and pour a little bit over the cotton balls.  Then use the kebab skewers to mix the paint and the cotton together. The water will be absorbed by the cotton and the cotton balls will shrink up so you will probably want continue another layer or two of blue cotton before you move onto the next color.  I did my layers as blue on the bottom purple in the middle and pink on the top. As I moved up the bottle I continued putting in the cotton and adding my water. In between layers put a little bit of glitter not too much or you’ll get clumps!  We also tried doing this with food coloring and water and that turned out excellent as well as you can see from my friend’s bottle on the bottom of the page.  If you don’t have paint at your house but you have some food coloring you can do this craft easily.  My friend had a really good point that the bottles do get a little bit heavy with all of the water and so it is a good idea to keep them small even if you think a big bottle would be a stand out if you want a baby to hold it and left it with her hands and inspect it and it’s needs to stay small.

Like I said earlier the toddlers loved this craft! They were very engaged with ripping apart the cotton and pushing it through the bottles.  One of the moms made the comment that her son never does arts and crafts projects but he loved this craft.  They filled up even large bottles with cotton. You could see they were fully concentrating on the activity and they were immersed in the process.

Ice Fishing Sensory Activity

ice-fishingWe don’t get a winter vortex in Las Vegas-and I don’t miss the 23 years I scraped windshields in Buffalo.  I do miss the beauty and quiet of snow.  Snow insulates sound.  I grew up next to a busy four lane street and when it snowed there was hardly any sounds from the traffic.  It’s peaceful and there’s nothing more fun as a kid than playing in the snow.  I went sledding and snowman making every winter. My friends and I threw snowballs at each other in the school yard.  My boys will be growing up with palm trees instead.

Since the boys won’t be seeing much snow or feel bitter cold I thought it was time to try some cold sensory art experiences out.


We did this activity with the My Petite Picassos Playgroup and t was a hit.  I used Swedish fish silicone trays from Ikea and filled them with water. After, I added a drop of gel food coloring.  I mixed it using a baby foods phone. You can also use a toothpick or straw.  I pop them in the freezer for about an hour and a half and they were all set. We used it on card stock so the paper wouldn’t buckle. The kids had so much fun!  One little boy painted for an entire hour!

Tips for a Successful Arts and Crafts Playgroup 

successful-playgroup

This time last year I would be teaching 25-50 elementary aged students in a public school setting.  Everything was as accessible and easy as could it could be for a person to do art with large groups of young kids-I had two large sinks, big tables for them to sit at, and custodians to clean at night.  Having an art playgroup is actually more work, but a ton of fun too!

1.  Choose an age range. Decide what age range of kiddo you’re gearing this toward.  Too wide of an age range would mean projects at different levels to please the kids, plus a similar age is nice for the kids to play together.

2. Send out an invite at least two weeks in advance. I do my invites via Facebook event and this way I can send out notifications to the moms leading up to the playgroup.

3. Decide how you want to pay for materials. Do moms give you a flat fee to attend?  Do they bring their own materials? I run mine like a co-op.  Everyone brings a treat and everyone brings a material to share.

4. Decide what activities you will do with the littles.  I aim to do 3 art activities in 1 hour.  Usually we do a messy project like pumpkin play dough, a paper craft, and a sensory project.

5. Set up all of your materials and projects before. Often I do all of the assembling prior to the playgroup so the group runs more smoothly. Sometimes Ben does his projects the weekend before.

Cake for the moms and applesauce squishes for the kiddos.

Fully assembled rain sticks before playgroup.

6. Have snacks and drinks available. Applesauce packets are great to have on hand.  Don’t forget some paper plates and cutlery!

7. Clean and set up your home.  I put the dogs outside with water, clean the floor, kitchen and restroom. I make an easy dinner too, so it’s done and out of the way.  Put away any toys or activities you don’t want kids to take out.  I put away the Playdough and thin out the toy offering.

8.  Set up a drying area for wet projects. I have a large kitchen counter that we use.

9. Have examples ready and show moms what to do as they arrive.  Art is a visual language so it makes sense to visually present each project.

10. Tidy up a little as the group creates and plays. Ask a mom or two to help or stay after a little longer to help.
Most importantly have fun and watch your kid(s) have fun learning!  Play is so important in childhood development.  It teaches them social skills and creativity-they can’t get that sitting in front of a tv!  I love using the play group as a chance to reconnect with my busy mom friends, get my boys busy, and share my passion.  Have fun creating!