Dinosaur Plates – Make Snack Time Fun!

dinosaur snack plates This post is part of paid campaign with Yahoo! and Blueprint Social.

When I want my kids to take a big bite of food I say ” No not a little bite, take a DINO bite!” it started when my son was very little and it’s become one of those things that finds it’s way into our family lexicon. Well when I was asked to re-create a craft project from Yahoo! Makers I immediately found this Dinosaur Plate idea and fell in love.

It look complicated right? It’s not. For the full tutorial pop over to Yahoo! Makers and see but here is how I did it, and even though I may do a lot of kids crafts I have to be honest I am kind of a dud with adult ones ( patience is a problem for me). So you have to know that this was a cinch!dino plates 2

The hardest part was deciding on what color to make the plates. I decided on pink for my daughter because I have never met anyone who loves pink more than my youngest! I decided on bright green for my son and just because I usually put out three different kinds of foods for snack time I made a third and chose my favorite color aqua.dino plates 3

How awesome is plastic spray paint?dinosaur plates 5 Don’t forget to use it in a well ventilated area!  Our paint took a long time to dry because it was cold, this would be perfect for a spring break project when it’s a little warmer.

Ready for one more quick spray!dino plates 6

Ready for BIG dino bites!  The original tutorial also mentions using wax paper to line the plates for wet or oily foods. I think I will line them no matter what but that extra step is well worth the smiles after school at snack time.dino plates 8

Cat In The Hat Word Search FREE PRINTABLE

dr.seuss free printable You can’t throw huge parties for every little event but recognizing fun days like Dr.Seuss Day is a fun way to promote literacy in your home. This Cat in The Hat word search FREE printable is a great after school activity for school age kids perhaps served with green eggs and ham or one of these other Dr. Seuss inspired snacks.  Click on the image below and save the image to your computer then print. It’s that easy!

cat in the hat free printable

 

Need some Dr.Seuss ideas for younger kids? Here are 55 sorted by the book they are inspired by to check out. Click here to see them all

Seuss Activities for class

How are you celebrating Dr. Seuss Day on March 2nd? Tell me by leaving a comment! Or come share on our Facebook page.

9 Tips For Finger Painting With Your Toddler

finger painting for toddlers Of all the questions I get one of the most common is “How do you deal with the mess?” This is often followed by “I just can’t do messy stuff with my kids.”  If messy things really honestly upsets you I am here to tell you that it’s not worth the upset. If you will spend the whole time cleaning up after them, telling them to not do this or that it’s not worth it as an activity at your house. That’s OK. We all have our limits and not allowing messy art in your house doesn’t make you a bad parent.

If you are just nervous but eager to try it than these tips are for you. Over the years these have been my go to ways to make messy art like finger painting a wonderfully creative experience for my kids without me budding in every two minutes with a wipe interrupting their play. When we break up their play with wipes and cleaning up under them what we are saying is ” What you are doing is wrong, let me fix that.” or ” This is annoying me, let me make it right.” Sure this won’t register with every kid but most pick up on it and by nature most children want to please us. If we are going to let them be creative we need to find ways to make it work for all of us so we aren’t stepping in constantly.

These tips will help! These are old pictures of my now four and a half year old daughter, she was just under two when we did this activity.

finger painting with toddlers

1. If possible strap them in. If you use a booster seat for meals use that same chair for the activity. When their hands are covered in paint you don’t want them free to roam. If this isn’t an option position yourself so that you are between them and the area you do not want them to reach until their hands are clean. For us that’s the family room ( specifically the new couch)  only a few feet away from the kitchen where we were creating.

2. Tape their paper to a cutting board, or right to the table if the table is easily washable. This prevents the picture covered in paint from hitting the floor and other things on the way down. toddler finger painting tips to avoid mess

3. Dress your child in old clothes/ Pajamas. Little toddlers and smocks don’t really make a great pair. Avoid the dramatics and just let them wear something that you don’t care if it’s stained.

4. Use an old table cloth to protect your table. If you need to protect your floors try a shower curtain under your child’s chair.  happy tips for toddler finger painting

5. Give them control and let them have small dishes of paint to explore with. Toddlers are on the verge of a lot of new independence and giving them some control during activities is a great way to support this development. You don’t need to direct this activity at all!

6. Have extra paper ( and anything else you are using) on hand so you don’t have to leave them unattended for a second. tips for finger painting

7. Have wipes or a wet wash cloth, and a towel ready. Also don’t unbuckle the booster until after they are all the way clean.

8. If they are super messy my favorite trick is to have a big old bath towel ready and wrap them up in it, and go directly to the bath. toddler finger painting

9. After the painting is dry display it with pride! This seems obvious but it’s really important. Children need to their their art to complete the process. They are artists and should be proud of their work!

 

 

Need a great finger paint recipe? Try this one that your child can help make with you in the kitchen! Click on the image to find out how to make it.

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Listen & Erase – Listening and Reading Game For Kids

reading games for kids

This is a mini version of a game I played with my son and before him with my 6th grade class when I was student teaching many many years ago.  I created the game for my 6th grade class because the kids weren’t paying attention while I read Holes aloud to them. A day after the class started playing the game while I read the kids were hooked. I knew they would love the book if they actually listened to it! This little version of the game gives younger children a chance to have some say in the game ( they pick the book) and you can make it as easy or difficult depending on who is playing. Reading games like these should be very short for little ones, not pose too much of a challenge if reading is still emergent and above all else be fun. Reading can be a big challenge and making it fun at the start can help color your child’s view of it being a great activity vs being one filled with frustration.

 

Gather your materials. You will need a little chalk board or little white board, some chalk or dry erase markers, an oddball sock ( please tell me I am not the only mom with more oddball socks than ones in pairs! ), and a book of your child’s choosing.listen and read reading game

Start by flipping through the book and finding words that your child can read. They can be anything from the book. For my daughter I chose six total, five I knew she could read because I’d seen her read them recently and one I wasn’t sure but was prepared to help her with. Lots of opportunity for success and a little challenge too.

Write the words on the board.listening reading game

Invite your little reader to snuggle up and read with you. Read over the words together. Let them try to read them all, if any are too tricky adjust the list before you start the game.

As you read the book tell them they need to listen for these words and erase as you read. Pop the sock on their hand and get ready to read.reading game

Read the book , making sure you don’t read it too quickly and they miss a word or two. listening game for books reading gameMake sure to use clear annunciation as you read. I never realized how much I mumble some words until I started reading aloud so often.reading game listening game for kids

Read , listen, erase!listen and erase reading game

After it’s all erased it’s time to draw with the chalk!reading and listening game reading game

 

Fun, simple, and it uses a book they already love and feel connected to. All of these work together to deepen learning by making a memorable and positive experience.

 

Link & Learn – Crafts and Activities For Kids

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Hello from Disneyland !

My family and I have been here all week and are heading home today. I know that if you follow my Instagram I have flooded you with pictures but those are just a FEW of the shots I took of my little ones enjoying the (mostly) happiest place on earth.  We are exhausted, but happily exhausted and I think I will be going to bed when the kids do for the rest of the week.  Don’t be surprised if there aren’t a long list of new posts until next week because I have  HUGE pile of laundry, and a to do list just as long waiting for me at home.

That doesn’t mean you won’t have great new ideas available. Our Pinterest is packed with good ideas especially our Early Literacy and Spring Activities For Kids and my favorite My Classroom boards.

Have a rad week and catch me up on everything you’ve been doing while I have been riding those teacups and meeting those Princesses!