Fun Activities

This painting project provides tactile, visual and scent experiences galore! As your child explores the different paints, you can enrich the language experience by describing how the paint looks, feels, smells (and tastes if using one of the edible choices). Active participation in different sensory experiences solidifies the vocabulary by making the words relevant and meaningful. Here are a few ideas to get you started; let your imagination run wild!

To ordinary finger paint, pudding, gelatin, whipped cream, yogurt or even mustard add things that feel, look and/or smell such as:

  1. Sand
  2. Packing peanuts
  3. Coffee grounds
  4. Cinnamon
  5. Vanilla extract
  6. Corn meal


1/4 c. cold water
1 c. powdered laundry detergent
5 c. boiling water
1/2 c. soap flakes
Food coloring

Mix the starch and the cold water in a saucepan until it is a smooth paste

Add the boiling water and cook until mixture is shiny

Remove from heat, add food coloring and cool

Will keep in sealed containers for a week.

(this mixture is from "Cooking Gluten-Free!" by Karen Robertson)

1 cup brown rice flour
1 1/4 cups white rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch flour
2/3 cup tapioca starch flour
3/4 sweet rice flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons xanthan or guar gum

This is a good base mix for most cookie recipes; you may want to add a tad more flour than the recipe calls for and an additional egg. Also, if the recipe calls for milk or cream, try almond milk.

Here is a Snicker-doodle recipe:

1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla (make sure your vanilla doesn't have caramel color)
2 eggs

Cream the above wet ingredients together

2 3/4 flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt

Mix, then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Roll into balls, roll in cinnamon and sugar. Bake 8-10 min. at 350 degrees.

This is wonderful, soft dough that smells great. It's also safe if your child decides to take a taste.


.3 oz sugar free Jell-O
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
4 Tbsp cream of tartar
2 cups boiling water
2 Tbsp cooling oil


Mix the dry ingredients together in a cooking pot. Add the boiling water and cooking oil. Stir the mixture on the stove over medium-high heat until it forms a ball. Place the ball on waxed paper and cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container.

If you have access to Envirokidz Koala Krisp cereal (gf/cf chocolate rice krispies) you can make rice krispie treats. The recipe is on the box:

6 cups Koala Krisp cereal
3 tbsp gfcf butter (we use Earth Balance)
One bag marshmallows (Check label for gf/cf status)

melt butter and marshmallows over low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in cereal until well blended. Press into a 9 x 13 pan and cool.

If you would prefer to make your own marshmallows, try this recipe at Recipe Gullet.

For more gf/cf recipes, please visit the Gluten Free Pantry.


Lotion of various thicknesses and scents

Place a dollop of lotion on the table and encourage the child to play in it like finger paint.

Play some soothing music and smooth the lotion slowly.


  • Play faster music and rub/swirl faster.
  • Put lotion in refrigerator and use it cold
  • Use different colors and scents of lotion
  • Add glitter for some sparkle


1/2 c. cornstarch
1/4 c. water
Food coloring
Plastic bowl

Place cornstarch into bowl. Slowly add water, 1 teaspoon at a time and stir. Feel the mixture with your hands. Continue adding water 1 teaspoon at a time until the mixture is a thick paste. Pick up the mixture and squeeze it. As it gets warm, it will ooze through your fingers.

Without mixing them in, add a few drops of food color and watch as the mixture absorbs the color.

This will keep for several days in a sealed container.



Large baking pan or shallow cardboard box
Ping-pong balls
Water-based tempera paint
Small bowls for paint
Paper to cover bottom or pan/box

Put about 1/4 cup of paint into each bowl.

Add a ping-pong ball to each bowl and roll it around to coat it with paint.

Place balls onto pan/box.

Blow the balls around and watch them form beautiful designs!


1 c. flour
1/2 c. salt
2 t. cream of tartar
1 c. water
2 T. oil
1 t. food coloring

Mix together all ingredients in a pot and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it forms a ball.

Remove from heat and turn out onto board to knead

Store in an airtight container for several weeks.

Gluten-Free Play Dough


1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon cooking oil
Food coloring, if desired


Mix ingredients. Cook and stir on low heat for 3 minutes or until it forms a ball. Cool completely before storing in a sealable plastic bag.

Making Books Come to Life

Read to your child each day. This is a wonderful opportunity to get close to your child and teaches your child language, new vocabulary, listening and attending skills and school readiness. Reading to your child is probably the most beneficial structured activity that you can do with your child!

Even very young children enjoy books. Look for board books and interactive books with flaps and moving parts.

Build reading time into your child's daily schedule will become something that he looks forward to. If your child appears to be uninterested in the story, "read" the pictures, by talking about them to your child. Talk about the events, actions and objects on the pages to build your child's interest and attention. This works wonders for vocabulary, too. Even "resistant" children learn to love this time!

Provide a variety of books and allow your child to select the one that she wants to read. Most children enjoy hearing a favorite story over and over and over again! This is natural, and even desirable since repetition provides opportunities to learn the story.

Books with repetitive passages are particularly appealing to young children. Once the child becomes familiar with the repetition, he will start to join in the reading with you. You can even say part of the phrase and allow him to complete the rest, such as "Red Bird, Red Bird, what do you….?" (see)

For more advanced listeners, ask simple questions about the story. Making predictions based on what has happened or the events in a picture develops good language and reasoning skills.

Try some follow-up activities, then read the books again. For example, when reading the Gingerbread Man, bake some cookies, then read the story. This will add another personal level of meaning to the story for your child.

Above all, pick books that both of you will enjoy, and have fun!

This putty is unusual because it is elastic, stretchy, moldable and can be bounced on the floor like a ball. Have fun!

Liquid Starch
White school glue
Food coloring
Measuring spoons
Small bowl
Mixing spoon
Airtight container


  1. Mix together 4 Tb. Liquid starch, 8 Tb. Glue and 1/4 tsp. food coloring in small bowl.
  2. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  3. Knead the mixture by hand until the starch is completely dissolved and the color is even.


  1. Stretch and mold the Silly Dough. The more it is kneaded and played with, the better it gets!
  2. Bounce it against the floor for fun - the rounder the shape, the straighter the bounce. Odd shapes bounce in odd directions!
  3. Blow bubbles into it with tubing or straws.
  4. Press the dough onto the Sunday Comics and peel off to see the image.
  5. If the dough dries, dip it into warm water and re-knead.

This is a fun adaptation to the classic favorite game of Hide and Seek. Give each of the "hiders" a whistle, shaker, pot and spoon or other noisemaker. After each person has hidden, they make their "music" and the seeker follows the sounds to find the hiders. This is a wonderful way to improve auditory skills which are critical to processing spoken language.



Drinking straws of various diameters
Water based tempera paint in fun colors

Drop a dollop of paint on the paper and have the young artist blow it into spectacular designs. Add additional colors and watch what happens.

Straws of different lengths and diameters will offer more or less blowing resistance, so experiment with what you child can do.

Using a tire swing in your yard or at a local park, have the child lie on his/her tummy across the swing.

Place a large sheet of butcher paper, old sheet or flattened cardboard box on the ground under the swing.

Give the child a marker or paint dabber for each hand.

Push the swing while the child swipes the markers/paint across the paper. He/she will make different designs as you push the swing in different rotational patterns.