Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cinnamon-Applesauce Ornaments for Fine Motor Skills and Sensory Fun

 Cinnamon-Applesauce Ornaments:

1 part cinnamon (Go to Big Lots--real cheap!)
3/4 part applesauce (plain)
Extra cinnamon to "flour" the surface prior to rolling
Rolling pin or firm plastic cup
Wax paper
Aluminum foil
Cookie Sheet
Oven to 200 degrees F.

The clouds of cinnamon billowing out of the bowl as you pour the spice into the mix, the sweet smell of applesauce, the gross texture of the dough in your hands, the icky dryness of your hands after you've handled the dough, the difficulty washing it off your cuticles--it provides a perfect sensory opportunity for kids of all ages.
3/4 cup applesauce
1 cup cinnamon
That shaker flip-top is not easy to open.

Mix slowly and make sure you scrape the bowl.  Observe your student's power grasp.
How does your student respond to the cool, sticky dough?

Fine, graded pressure to carefully release the dough from the cookie cutter, without breaking the little bear's arms and legs.
Oops--out of sequence.  You do roll the dough out before using the cookie cutters.

How's that IP joint stability looking?

Turn your head to the left and observe the nice, gooey dough in the student's hands.  That's a sign of too much applesauce in the mix.

Sprinkle more cinnamon on top of the dough to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin.

Some students were able to plan an efficient layout for their cookie cutters.  Others used one pancake of dough for each cookie shape and just kept making additional "pancakes" from the leftover dough.

You'll be hanging these later, so make a tiny hole toward the top of the design.  Try to keep your pencil straight...

Gently transfer the cut shapes from your wax paper to the cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil.

Keep making more until you run out of dough.  Be sure to carefully pull away the dough from the edges of your cut shapes, especially the tiny ones.  You can use a thin piece of firm paper (like an index card) to loosen the shapes from the wax paper.

Almost ready to bake.  Two hours at 200 degrees F.
Cool about an hour, then decorate with scribble paint.  Using dots of paint usually works better than trying to draw lines.
  Dry a few hours and string with ribbon for hanging on a tree or other safe spot in class, or send home as gifts for parents.

These ornaments last pretty well over the years, even in a hot attic storage area.  I've had some for twenty years...

In a few hours our "Winter Holiday" break will begin.  Check back for more ideas on January 2nd!

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