Sticker Station – Easy Fine Motor Activity

sticker stationI love stickers and not just because of their power to reward kids with something small that isn’t sugar but because they pack a lot of punch in the fine motor skills department. Peeling those little suckers off the sheet is tricky for little fingers. This is a great fine motor activity to turn to when you don’t have a ton of time to play. Add in new stickers and the whole activity has new life. Add in some crayons and it’s like new again. After I shot some photos I got a load of laundry together, wiped down the bathroom , and got dressed while my little one was happily adding more and more stickers and unbeknownst to her she was working out her fine motor skills too.

 

Gather your materials. You will need some stickers, an envelope, some plain paper, and painter’s tape or thumbtacks. sticker station wall mural

Start by taping your paper to the wall. I like using blue painter’s tape for two reasons; first to save my wall from being wrecked, second because it gives children a clear boundary to the area where it’s OK to add stickers and where it is not.Sticker wall activity for kids set up

Put all your stickers in the envelope. Ours is plastic but a plain paper one would work just as well. You can attach it with painter’s tape too or if it’s really heavy use thumbtacks. Remember that thumbtacks are never safe with children who are still putting things in their mouths. Please use caution and know your child’s abilities and make any adaptations you may need to in order to make the activity safe for your child.adding the stickers

Add your little person. I didn’t explain anything. I just said ” I made you a sticker wall.” and she got right to it.peeling stickers good for fine motor

This is not a structured activity. If your child invites you to participate by all means do but don’t feel you must or should. While my daughter was adding stickers she created little stories to go along with them but if your child doesn’t that is OK. They may sort the stickers, line them up, or make an overall design.sticker wall They may also randomly add one or two and walk away. I wouldn’t give up but I wouldn’t push.  I would see if you had any stickers that better appeal to them , add some crayons to the mix, and leave it up for a few days before giving up. It’s OK for activities to tank too. While this simple sticker station was a big hit with my daughter doesn’t mean your child will love it or that you did anything wrong if they don’t. I have come up with many activities my kids haven’t adored. Move on and don’t worry.

sticker station cover

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade Bubble Solution and Whisk Bubble Wands

homemade bubble solutionThis was a completely kid directed activity. While I was finishing up a conference call my daughter was digging through the kitchen drawers and found her whisks. These were bought for her to play with and as I hung up she showed me that she had opened them up to make flowers. Immediately I said to her ” do you know what I think we could use those for?”

“Bubbles!” was her response and I was giddy to see that we were on the same page. I dug through my pantry to see if we had any corn syrup to make the bubble solution I used to make in day camps 400 years ago. It was hiding behind the cookies that I had hidden behind the pasta.

Here is my NOT AT ALL precise recipe for homemade bubble solution.

homemade bubble solution using stuff you have in your kitchen

1 tablespoon of corn syrup
1/4 cup of dish soap
fill the rest of the measuring up ( 2 cups) with warm water and stir.

homemade bubble potion

I made the first batch myself but she helped with the second.

whisk bubbles

She LOVED this. The bubbles weren’t great to blow out of the whisks but if you dipped them in and then waved your arms and they made huge big bubbles.bubbles collage

She practiced and sometimes they were little , but sometimes they were huge. What I adored about this incredibly simple activity is that she was attacking it like an experiment ( with zero input from me to suggest she should) and tried to recreate the big bubbles by following what worked and avoiding the actions that resulted in the little bubbles. big bubbles

Easy Outdoor Book Nook – Summer Reading Activity

summer reading ideas

 

Freshen up your summer reading with this fun and easy outdoor book nook. When Scholastic sent us a super fun summer reading party pack and asked us to share with our readers how we would add some extra fun to summer reading, we decided to have a little reading under the stars party in our yard. The kids tried to convince me to let them stay up until it was really dark out but around here it’s not dark until way WAY past their bedtime. Being the stickler for bedtimes that I am we came up with a fun solution so that we could still read under the stars.

Gather your materials. You will need some sheets or table cloths ( we used one of each) some glow in the dark stickers, fun props like flashlights, headlamps, camp blankets, and of course a basket of books. I also have some reading logs, a clip board, and pencils.summer reading under the stars

You can find a whole bunch of printables and other summer reading materials on Scholastic’s Summer Reading page. If you want to have a summer reading party they even have a digital invitation- check it out.

Start by tying the sheets to some trees. Here’s the thing. In my head I thought this would look like some magical reading tent but the reality is that I do not have a degree in design or architecture and I just tied the sheets where I could. Does it look at cute as I hoped? Nope. Did my kids care? Nope.

reading activities for kids

Perfect isn’t perfect. Just have fun the important part is the reading not the structure. You are just offering your children some novelty to kick some new energy into their reading goals.

I used some rocks to hold the bottoms down.

Then my daughter went to town adding the star stickers. Even in the daylight you can read under the stars this way!summer reading outside summer reading challenge

Read. Flashlights might seem silly in the bright sunlight to adults but both my kids were totally into using them for this. They jumped right into pretend play but the rad thing is that even though they were pretending to be camping out on Mt. Rainer at night the reading they were doing was real.reading under the stars summer reading

 

Books to Read Under The Stars!

 

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Check out these great books ( link here or click the image above ) that are perfect to read with headlamps and flashlights! This year’s Summer Reading theme is Reading Under The Stars, and is powered by EVEREADY® to encourage families to discover new and fun ways to explore reading outside this summer.  If you don’t have the time to make a ( not as pretty as you hoped) outdoor book nook grab a flashlight or two and  read some of these great books under the blankets.  Making reading fun doesn’t have to be complicated.

 

Connect with Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge on Social Media here :
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As stated above this post is sponsored by Scholastic.

 

Books About Superheroes

books about superheroes for kids When my son was four he was obsessed with superheroes. If you dig through our archives from May through September 2011 you will see he is almost always in a Batman tee-shirt. This was more than just a little love of a hero it was about strength and security. We were selling our house, moving to a new one , and in his life there were a lot of changes. Kids aren’t impervious to big life changes even if they are resilient. That tee-shirt was his security along with this shield and a sword fashioned from a broken toy. This is why I LOVE books about superheroes, they help our children tap into their inner strength, feel invincible, and eventually face and work through their fears.

All our book lists include affiliate links.

 

Super Duck (Duck in the Truck) by Jez Albourough was ok, I liked it but my little man didn’t. The book is part of a series and we haven’t read the other books, we grabbed this one because of the superhero theme and Super Duck was only kinda super . I liked the rhyming text because it flowed well, the rhymes were never forced but it was just too young for my son who was 4.5 when we reviewed it.  He didn’t find Duck funny, but I am sure other kids would. It’s a fun silly book, just don’t grab it for a kid who is expecting body armor, x-ray vision, and golden lassos.

Supersister by Beth Cedena wasn’t full of x-ray vision or super powers either but my son adored it. Kids are unpredictable. This story though is sweet and also has a little but of mystery to it , which upon reflection could be one reason why my son liked it so much. Supersister is a little girl who is brave and helpful demonstrated by how she lovingly ties her moms shoes for her before zooming off to school. Okay so I preach about pre-reading books, but rarely do it and reading this I was so worried the mom was going to be in  hospital bed and that’s why she needs her daughter to tie her shoes. I lean towards the dramatic so I doubt you’d even be thinking that and my son didn’t either. No nothing tragic has happened to mom , she is just very very pregnant. Supersister is practicing her role as a caregiver and older sister! My son loved that since he takes his still fairly new role of big brother very seriously. Cute book for new siblings especially!

awesome man

The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man by Michael Chabon is a fun book with a little secret twist to keep readers engaged. I won’t ruin the twist but I will say that if you read this book you MUST read it with a silly announcer voice, it makes it so much more fun. In the book Awesome Man and Moskowitz the Awesome Dog fight off over the top villains and save the day more than once in this witty and surprisingly lengthy book. My children liked the book and it’s funny tone. It is not a scary superhero book at all and I love the vocabulary used throughout. The retro feel to the illustrations by Jake Parker were my favorite part !

Batman

Batman: The Story of the Dark Knight by Ralph Cosentino is rare a book about a comic book character that is in a picture book format. I am telling you it’s hard to find books about Batman that I feel is not too violent for my 4 year old. This one is great , and the illustrations will leave you breathless. It explains the gist of the Batman story without going into too many dark  details and the text is the right length for preschooler’s attention spans. My son loves it and had it memorized in just a few days. The author illustrator also has  Superman and Wonder Woman in the series.

Eliot Jones, Midnight Superhero by Alex Cottringer was exactly the kind of superhero book both my son and I were looking for. Eliot is just a calm quiet boy by day but by night he saves the world! It tapped into my son’s imagination right from the start and he was hooked. He loved the action and I loved that unlike the more character driven superhero books the plot is high on action and saving and low on violence and aggression. My son loved that scientists were working with Eliot, and that he had to travel to the Himalayas as part of this mission to save the world. I loved it to because it totally promotes and makes science and geography extra cool! All in all a great book although the text would have been too long for my son a year ago at 3. I’d keep this one for the 4 and up crowd.

ladybug girl

 

Ladybug Girl Dresses Up! by Jacky Davis is one positive girl book that my daughter adores. In this board book Lulu dresses up in a handful of different costumes including both “girl” ones and “boy” ones. She is equally happy in a princess dress as she is as a pirate. The one costume she loves above all the rest is her Ladybug Girl one, because as Ladybug Girl she can do anything. The message I want to send to my daughter more than any other, she can do anything even if she may have to work as hard as a superhero.

superpowers

The Day I Lost My Superpowers by Michael Escoffier is a sweet look at a child’s imagination and how she sees the world and her place in it. I love the how the super powers include things like “going back in time” at nap time and flying… off the slide. The best part though is when all the super powers disappear. All kids have rough days and this book recognizes that and tells them it’s OK not to have super powers every day.

awesome dawson

Awesome Dawson by Chris Gall was an instant hit with both my children. Dawson is an amazing little boy who invents new things from other people’s trash. Dawson is just like other children who try to find ways to get out of their chores so he can get back to the important work of play. He’s one step ahead of most kids though and invents a robot to take care of this chores, but things don’t go as awesome as he hoped. That’s when he must re-invent himself into a superhero to save the day. I really love this book and how inspiring it is for kids exploring the idea of invention and tinkering.

traction man

Traction Man Is Here! by Mini Grey tickled me. I loved this slightly absurd book about Traction Man an action figure superhero. The excitement begins with Christmas when Traction Man is given to a little boy and they immediately dive into action. He saves the day over and over until the day includes a hand knit outfit made by Granny. The page where Traction Man puts on the outfit and matching bonnet made me snort I laughed so hard, but my daughter only smiled. While she liked the book much of the humor was above her head at 4. The very end is hilarious and everyone at the lunch table was giggling as I read it. The story is fresh and fun and in the end Traction Man saves the day.

My First Batman Book

My First Batman Book: Touch and Feel by David Katz. This is a  rare find. A board book , a touch and feel no less,  about Batman. Trust me it’s rare, I squealed when I found it at the library and could not believe what a treat it was to read with both my kids. It’s not secret my son ( the one in the improvised Batman mask above) is into superheroes, he is also into books and I want to encourage that. However some of the books are so violent and I don’t want to expose him to all that at 4.5 , he is just too young for my comfort zone. For beginning readers there are some great I Can Read books but for even younger children pickings are super slim. Luckily there is this book. It’s sturdy, it’s age appropriate and it even glows in the dark

super princess kitty

Princess Super Kitty by Antoinette Portis is fun little book about a little girl playing pretend. She starts out as a kitty and as the play continues she evolves into superhero and finally adds princess to her title before playing with her siblings.  This book captures pretend play and how so much of it is about trying on powerful roles. For my daughter this was a very familiar tale because her pretend play often includes a princess ballerina superhero. We read the book three times in one sitting and have yet to return it to the library because “It’s just so fun Mama!”

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Batman Classic: Meet the Super Heroes: With Superman and Wonder Woman by Micheal Teitelbaum is another Batman book that both my son and I really liked. It’s an easy read for independent readers and not too long for kids not yet reading alone. What I really appreciated about this book was that the super heroes used teamwork to defeat a dragon. Here is why I liked this, because it wasn’t person on person violence , no guns, and all the heroes pitched in.  It’s hard finding books that satisfy your child’s love of a character while still fitting your comfort zones. This book does it.