5 minute sparklers
This activity came about because my son was in trouble and had to clean his room before he was allowed to do anything else! While cleaning his usually Lego littered room we found these melty bead pegboards and I knew immediately what we were going to do with them. These pegboard rubbings are as simple as it gets but actually packed with learning and lessons that focus not only on concrete physical skills but also on patience and caution. For my toddler who loved the feel of the boards and sound of the crayon rubbing over them it was a great sensory activity.
- Gather your materials. You will need some plain paper, melty bead pegboards, crayons and painter’s tape.
- Start by occupying your toddler if they are with you , which if yours is like mine they are always with you or on you. I grabbed a basket and threw in some animals. I asked her to take them all out , then put them all back in. It took her just the right amount of time for me and her brother to do the next 3 steps.
- Peel the crayons. If you are doing this craft with a child who can’t peel them yet do this before you invite them to create. If they can do it, please make them do at least half. It’s wonderful fine motor development and patience.
- Next flip the boards over and add painters tape. This will keep them in place while rubbing. Nothing wrecks learning or creativity than something going haywire like a pegboard sliding out from under paper. This will prevent that.
- Add the boards to the table. Explore the texture of them.
- Place the paper over the boards and using the side of the crayon rub. My son started with the crayon angled and going way too fast.
- Soon he discovered that if he went slowly and made sure that the crayon was horizontal that it worked much better. For a little guy discovering that slow and steady is better than getting done fast and first is a big deal.
- Next add more colors if you want.
- For my toddler I pulled her onto my lap and we did it together. She was not coordinated enough to hold the paper and rub at the same time. By being on my lap it let me hold the paper tightly and help her with the crayon too. She loved the sound .
Books About Shapes
Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh is a cute book that not only helps teach shapes it is also entertaining! The three crafty mice use the shapes to protect themselves from one hungry cat finally using them to make scary mice to frighten the cat away! Kids love to help find which shapes are used in the illustrations and older ones can even anticipate what the mice will make next!
Dinosaur Shapes by Paul Stickland will delight you and your dinosaur fan. The book is geared towards toddlers and young preschoolers who are still mastering finding basic shapes. A shape is displayed on one side of the page and then those silly dinosaurs are playing with it on the other. My son loves dinosaurs so even though he’s known these shapes for ages it’s an enjoyable book with fun text and adorable illustrations by Henrietta Stickland.This post contains affiliate links
I usually brainstorm general ideas from interests my kids have , lessons I want to teach them or themes from books we’ve discovered. Then some days your toddler is antsy and you grab window markers and decide to color and clean the ride on toys you have on your deck. This car wash play was so much fun. We have washed toy cars and trucks many times before but this was a great way to mix in some creativity . My one disclaimer is to please test the window markers on your toy cars before assuming they will wipe off. Ours did without any issue even the bits that weren’t wiped right away but I’d hate for any toys to get ruined so please test first!
- Gather your materials. You will need some window markers, some warm water, a soapy sponge and some plastic riding toys.
- Start by coloring the cars.
- Don’t mind the dirt , that car is used as a tank in my son’s imaginary WWII play with pine cone bombs and is more than ready for a wash.
- She loved making dots. One tip is to use dark colors that show up well first to give your toddler a good sense of making marks. The pale ones may frustrate young ones when they are hard to see.
- Dip your sponge in the water . To be honest I think she liked wringing out the sponge more than anything and I liked that she was having fun.
- Wipe away the coloring.
We will definitely be doing this simple activity again and again! I already have ideas for my son that include spelling words.
My son loved the 3D Word Search I made him a while back so when I saw that the dollar store had pink and purple foam letters I grabbed a few packs and headed home to make another for him. The great thing about this activity is that it incorporates different senses . Kids can see and feel the letters that make up the words. I kept the words easy to find by making them all a uniform color for my beginning reader but make it as tricky as you want. Also even if your child isn’t reading you can still make this , just turn it into a letter search .
- Gather your materials. You will need a canvas or other stiff cardboard base, contact paper, foam letter stickers , scissors and a marker. Depending on which contact paper you get you will want to either use a dry erase marker or a regular washable maker if you want to use the word search as a write and wipe surface. I bought a new type of contact paper this week and dry erase is a pain to wipe off it, but washable markers do great with a baby wipe. If you want this to be a one time only activity you can skip the contact paper and just add the letters to some construction paper.
- Cover the canvas with contact paper- this makes the surface wipe able.
- Add your words. I tried my best to stay lined up but I never worry about it being exactly perfect. I took words from classic conversation hearts but you can do any thing , even names of people you love. I find it easiest to add one row vertically and one horizontally first then fill the columns in .
- Write the words out on some paper .
- Add a marker and a kid and watch them amaze you with their skills! As my son was doing this I noticed he touched the letters, squished them and traced a few with his hand. My cuddly guy ( he’ll hate that I said that in a year or two) seems to have a real need for kinesthetic elements in his lessons.
- I also noticed how he was holding his marker, after I took these pictures. He has a natural tendency to twist his wrist like that for cutting but it’s the first time I have witnessed it for writing. Not sure if it was just because of the raised letters but I am going to watch him much closer … Any tips of correcting this ? Experience with this particular tendency? I am going to have him write on the wall more ( forces proper grip) but if you have any other awesome ideas please share !
As I prepare for even more family to arrive at our house, double check recipes and check my 100 lists for the 100th time I can’t forget about my kids. They still need fun fast things to do bewteen gazing at the Christmas tree and shaking presents. Here are some great fast fixes and quick fun for the days ahead.
Train Track Painting ( above)
” Mom how do you spell ______? “ is that a common phrase at your house? Since my son has started reading more and more fluently he has been eager to spell words as well. The catch is he’s not the most enthusiastic writer. I want to fill that desire to spell without creating crazy stress over writing . This is an easy way to make spelling into a puzzle and not a test. If you are a long time reader you probably know I am a terrible speller and I so want my kids to love the challenge of spelling that I never had for fear of being wrong. Games and activities like this are a great way to start.
- Gather your materials. You will need some( many) letter stickers ( you can just write on the blocks but I prefer to do something temporary), blocks, a spinner, animal stickers and time to sit down and play with your child.
- Start by placing animal stickers on the spinner. I chose animals my son would be able to spell with encouragement. Which means a parent helping him sound out when he got stuck. Not quite all by himself, there needs to be some challenge.
- Now add the letters. Spell each word yourself to make sure that you have them correct, remebering that some letters can be used for multiple words… it’s only a little tricky.
- Time to play . It’s simple, they spin the spinner then spell the word corresponding to the animal the spinner landed on.
- Spin and spell! My son kept landing on lion, after a few I thought he’d get annoyed but instead he said ” I know this word L-I-O-N ”
Remember you can break this down for non readers too by looking for the first sound, or for even younger children by providing a basket of toys with matching animals. Lots of options.