Tag Archives: motor skills

“Mini chef in the kitchen” 4 – delicious brownies with M&M

M&M browniesThis simple and quick recipe is packed with chocolate flavor just as your kid loves it! It’s a basic recipe every mom should share with her mini chefs!

M&M brownies nadyYou will need:

  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • M&M for sprinkling on top

Mix all dry ingredients; flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Let your mini chef sift the cocoa powder.

sifting cocoa

In a separate bowl mix eggs, vanilla and oil then add them to the dry ingredients.

mixing the batterMy son loves mixing! It is the best part for him, but don’t over mix, just the time to let all ingredients combined.

whisking the batterYou can’t imagine how beneficial this exercise is, especially on the cognitive and motor skills. Click benefits of cooking with your kids to learn more about it.

Back to our delicious brownies, pour the batter in a greased baking dish (8×12”) and sprinkle the top with M&Ms.

sprinkle M&MPreheat oven (200°C) and bake for 20-25 mins or until skewer comes out clean.

M&M basic browniesYou can add more M&Ms after baking, some might drown in! My mini chef suggestion!. Wait until is set to room temperature and cut. Get ready, by this time you will be asked thousand of times if it’s ready to be cut!

M&M brownies piecesM&M brownies nady2As i always say, the best part is when your kids taste the reward of their efforts. Now it’s time to pack some for the teacher in the nursery, friends and uncle to taste Nady’s chef d’oeuvre. He loves to share being proud of what he did!

M&M brownies - little chefI can assume it’s one of the best brownies i tasted. Crispy edges with chewy inside. Can’t get enough of it. It’s going to be the brownies recipe from now on!

M&M brownies biteTry it also with ice cream or chocolate sauce! Enjoy your time with your kids and have loads of educational fun !

brownies and M&MIf you like this post give it some likes and shares to spread the joy. Don’t forget to like marmite et ponpon facebook page and follow on twitter. More interesting posts are yet to come.

3 fun games to teach your toddler the geometric shapes and colors (free printables)

shape cards

Teaching your child about shapes and colors is greatly important. This knowledge manifests in their daily life. It helps:

  • Improving the verbal communication: by providing them the exact descriptive vocabulary we are offering an opportunity to communicate more effectively. By that we avoid their frustration of being unable to ask for a specific thing. ex: “i want the blue car not the red”, “i like the square biscuit more than the round one”…
  • Building up the logic skills: do you know that when your kid is able to build a balanced lego tower, means he is making use of his geometry skills?
  • Improving pre-reading skills: Children will apply the same skills that they used in recognizing circles and squares to recognizing and naming all of the letters, as letters are just more complicated shapes.
  • Being creative: the knowledge of shapes and colors will help them to create what they imagine in their minds when drawing or creating shapes with playdough….  Also the use of colors can express feelings and emotions that young children may not have the words to describe. Ex: using the color red to express anger.
  • Teaching perspective: realizing that shapes not only exist in flat form on paper but as objects in everyday life, will give them a new perspective of their surroundings.

First comes recognizing the shapes and then drawing, tracing or coloring them is a plus. And maybe building 3D shapes in an advanced stage.

12 cards

I created series of cards for the most common shapes that a child will encounter in his daily life (square, rectangle, circle, oval, triangle, heart, star…..). Total of 12 colorful shapes with animals, to make it more fun. This way we are learning shapes, colors and animals.

Click on french cards  or english cards to download a high resolution file.

As Nady loves singing, we were spending time on each animal to sing a related song and name its benefits.

We played 3 games with these cards:

Game 1: Tracing the shapes with colored pencils

tracing the shapes

A smart way to enhance his motor skills and practice the pre-writing ability by learning how to hold the pen and draw, beside naming the colors and the animals

Game 2: Making the shapes out of playdough

playdough tracing 1

playdough tracing 2

This game couldn’t end without using the cutters! The favorite activity of Nady 🙂 We found a way to make it beneficial, by cutting same animals to make assimilation!

playdough tracing 3

A great way to build fine motor skills while the child rolls out the dough to trace around the shapes while learning the shapes, colors and animals.

Game 3: Coloring inside the lines


A different type of exercise, teaching a tough skill that needs time, drawing inside the lines! My son is a reluctant artist, he doesn’t like to follow rules he wants to be a free!  Without forgetting that this exercise aims also to learn shapes, colors and animals.

We had a new experience each time we played with those cards. The sky is the limit. You can create your own games depending on what is your aim from the exercise.

Don’t forget playing and having fun is very educational! Enjoy every moment with your children, they are precious.



This is what i call a way to play! If you like this post give it some likes and shares to spread the fun. Don’t forget to like marmite et ponpon facebook page and follow on twitter. More interesting posts are yet to come.


straws sculpture – fine motor activity

straws statue- fine motor activity

This Fun play was totally inspired by my son. Since he was a baby he shows interest in straws, he likes to pull it out of my drink, then put it back. Every time we are in a restaurant we order extra straws for him to play so i can save my drink 🙂

To encourage his interest and his motor skills, i got a bunch of colored straws (to add more fun to the play) to play with.

straws statue- fine motor activity

He got so excited when he saw the quantity!

straws statue- fine motor activity

But this time we are not inserting the straws in a cup, we are poking them in a homemade playdough. Click here for the safe homemade playdough recipe that i posted earlier.

straws statue- fine motor activity

straws statue- fine motor activity

He started by sticking the straws one by one. The sculpture started to shape out.

straws sculpture - fine motor activity

He had a good time building and rebuilding the sculptures. Every time i think it’s over, he removes the straws and starts again!

straws sculpture - fine motor activity

straws sculpture - fine motor activity

Constructive play begins in middle to late toddlerhood, when the child becomes motivated to combine and arrange objects to construct something new. At this age there is no rules for the play, you can show your kid how to play, but he always has his own way. Conventional toys are very interesting, but kids like to use items in the house to discover the environment around them. You see kids playing with tupperwares, lids, spoons… Sometimes simple things at home can be instructive and entertaining. With these simple straws we played for more than an hour and he was extremely happy and entertained!

straws sculpture - fine motor activity

straws sculpture - fine motor activity

And here is Nady’s beautiful straws sculpture. Isn’t it beautiful?

straws sculpture - fine motor activity

Homemade colored sand – fine motor skills and messy sensory fun

cracked wheat sand

Homemade sand for hot days (or rainy, but it’s not the case in doha), when it’s not convenient to play outdoor.

Very easy and low-budget activity. All you need is cracked wheat and colors ( i always recommend wilton icing gel). One kilo bag of cracked wheat needs one tsp of the coloring gel. Mix well until the color is even and let it dry.

cracked wheat sand

To kick off the fun, I put them in a container and hide the small animals for Nady to dig in.

Children have always been intrigued by sand play. They dig in, pour it, enjoy the feeling, pretend with it and explore how it moves.

cacked wheat sand

cracked wheat sand

Sand play is open-ended, there is no right way to play with, it stretches the imagination of the kid, provides a soothing sensory experience and it’s an excellent avenue for children to learn physical, cognitive and social skills.

cracked wheat sand

Children are not born with a know how to play, parents should teach them! that’s why at the beginning children just observe before starting to explore.

What does this feel like when I touch it? What does this sound like when I squeeze it? What will happen if I push this or pull that? Crawl over there? Pull myself up on this?

cracked wheat sand

Get down on the floor with your child. You are the ultimate plaything, and any activity will seem more fun if your child can share it with you. Talk to him while you play and you’ll help boost his language skills. Let your child choose how to play, you can suggest new things or present new options, but he should be the boss.

cracked wheat sand

cracked wheat sand

Now it’s time for messy play! It’s an important part of early education:

  • Physical development: Children will be given the tools to develop and practice fine motor skills and eye hand coordination, such as pouring and spooning and will provide opportunities for children to compare textures such as smooth, rough, hard and soft.

cracked wheat sand

  • Communication and language development: During messy play, children will be given many opportunities to speak and listen.


  • Personal, emotional and social development: Messy Play is designed with children’s natural curiosity in mind. It encourages a positive approach to new experiences. There is no “right” way for children to do messy play. This builds self-confidence and self-esteem. They develop concentration, problem-solving and planning.

cracked wheat sand

  • Intellectual development: Children will investigate, explore, design and create leading to a better understanding of the world around them. They will learn to group and classify, arrange items in a logical order, identify and match and understand cause and effect.

cracked wheat sand

  • Mathematical development: The children will sort objects, fill containers and create patterns.

cracked wheat sand

Creative development: Children are given endless opportunities with a variety of materials to build imagination and creativity. Through sensory experiences, they are able to respond to what they see, hear, feel, touch and smell. They will express their feelings and thoughts through color, texture, shapes and forms in two and three dimensions.

cracked wheat sand

It was a successful fun activity, Nady was extremely happy and enjoying every second! we played for 90 minutes non stop without loosing interest or getting fussy.

cracked wheat sand



jungle playdough – Introducing the playdough to your toddler for a great sensory learning and fine motor skills

jungle playdough

Today we are using the playdough we made yesterday. Click playdough recipe for more details.

Playdough brings out the fun and creativity in your kids, there are open ended games great for hands on, sensory learning. The first very basic game with the playdough consists of introducing the texture to just squeeze and poke . We are all sensory creatures, especially kids they use all their senses when learning something new.

Introducing playdough to your kids can start from age of 15 months. At this age they are not able to create shapes yet, so don’t expect your baby to grab it and start playing. It’s a bit disappointing in the beginning, he can throw it or reject it. Nady was giving me faces and keep on throwing it! You need a gentle introduction, that’s why putting his favorite toys with it can help for more fun.

Nady is learning colors and animals. Jungle playdough is a great fun idea for his first experience.

jungle playdough

We started by creating the jungle and introducing the animals one by one inserting their legs in the playdough!

jungle playdough

Adding some broccoli trees created a realistic atmosphere. As said Nady likes to taste everything, and he loves broccoli!

jungle playdough

Poking sticks in the playdough was so much fun we used popsicle sticks. It’s a great way to encourage his motor skills.

jungle playdough

jungle playdough

We were shaping balls for him to poke with the sticks.

jungle playdough

Mommy loves playdough too! It’s important to talk while playing and introducing new words like squeeze, poke, naming the colors or the things around us. Nady loves the music, we were singing all the time too 🙂

jungle playdough

jungle playdough

Daddy decided to introduce the legos as well (his favourite).

jungle playdough

First he was showing him how to print the lego pattern then he filled them with the playdough and Nady was trying to take it out.

jungle dough

jungle playdoughThis way we extended more the fun, and we all participated in the play!

jungle playdough

When you decide to introduce playdough to your baby or toddler, just make sure it’s safe and at a right pace without pushing too fast.