DIY Eye-Spy Book

When I saw this post by Jenae over at I Can Teach My Child ( who will be a guest poster tomorrow so don’t miss it! ) my head was running with ideas on how to make something similar. I would be lying if I told you it was easy, maybe it would have been with no kids but I had an infant in my arms while taking every picture and a 4 year old helper wanting to “help”. However the results were pretty cool and it’s a great book to take to church or somewhere else where talking is frowned upon.  It’s been tested out by a handful of friends already and our Eye-Spy Book  was quite the hit at a playdate last week. So the effort was worth it. Here is how we made it.

  1. Gather your materials. This is a long list so take notes! I gathered a bunch of categories of my son’s toys. You can use anything for the pictures but I went with themes because it was easy to just grab bins from his room and the family room. You will also need some back drops. I chose plain Jane construction paper, you will need some foam letters and a camera. A good camera would be better but my point and shoot was OK.  Once the pictures are developed ( or printed out) you will need some self laminating pages, a hole punch, and some binder rings.
  2. Start by using the foam letters to write Can You Find and take a picture. This will be the cover page.
  3. Next do the first lay out.  Lay the toys you are looking for on the page.  I laid out the whole search page first then picked a few out to lay on the can you find page. Take a picture.
  4. Replace the objects you used and take a picture of the full lay out.
  5. Repeat this is a bunch of different toys.  I always used the same black paper with ” Can You Find ” in foam letters for the search page. It made the process quicker.
  6. I took this picture for the back cover.
  7. Have the pictures developed or print them out on your printer. 
  8. Time to laminate.  Now in my dream house I have a craft room with awesome natural light and a laminator. But in reality I have my kitchen and these cool laminator envelopes that are sorta tricky but they laminate so clearly without a machine that they are worth it. I had a few bubbles but nothing too bad.  Remember to laminate in order so 2 pictures front and back to each page.
  9. Punch holes.
  10. Pop the rings through and you are done! I like using the rings because I have plenty of room to add more pages.
  11. Time to find things! 

More I-Spy Crafts

I Spy BottlesI-Spy Bottle

I-Spy Bag

Spelling Puzzles

My son has been asking how to spell words for a while, he knows his letter sounds and while I am not planning on formally teaching him to read yet I do want to keep him interested and learning , as well as offering some challenge . This activity evolved as we played and is easy to adapt to various abilities. You could even skip spelling as use it as a match game for younger children!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a cardboard puzzle ours was from trick or treating , and markers in various colors. If you are doing this with school age or more proficient readers you can use one color, but for beginners or children needing less challenge the single color per word will help the process.
  2. Start by putting the puzzle together.
  3. Next divide it into smaller pieces for the words.
  4. Using one color per word , write the word one letter per piece on the back of the puzzle. Out of habit Icapitalized two of the words. When we put those together we talked about Uppercase letters and when we use them.
  5. Now to play! The way we did it for my son was to pick out all the letters in one color and place them on the tray.
  6. Next we tried to decide which letter came first. This frustrated my son, it was too much of a challenge. So I found the first letter and he was golden from there.
  7. Once the pieces are all together he sounded it out without prompting .
  1. This is when he figured it out!

Outside Fun For Kids

Are you trying to get your kids outside as much as possible before the rain, snow and cold weather sets in? Or maybe you live somewhere warm that has just now burned off the heat of the summer and you are ready to enjoy the fall weather!  I brought together some of our favorite outside activities for kids for you to try and enjoy while the weather co-operates!

Spray Painting

Toddler  Olympics

Driveway Graffiti

Backyard Car Wash

Leaf Hunt and Scrap Book

Sound Safari !

Ice Fishing and Color Mixing !

To tell you the truth I didn’t plan this activity, I saw the fishing net , wanted to do something with it and didn’t have much for my son to catch so instead I made some ice.  To make it more fun we colored the ice, then to make it more educational we made them red and yellow to create orange ! It was a big hit and not as big a mess as I feared .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a bin or tub, a ice cube tray , food coloring , a fish net ( or soup ladle) and water. You will also need plain ice for the second part.
  2. Start by putting a few drops of food coloring in your ice tray – half one color, half the other. 
  3. Add water and freeze.
  4. Fill your tub with water – ours was too warm, the ice melted so quickly the color mixing was fast. When I do it again I will use cold water so it’s a slower mix.
  5. When ice firm, show it to your child and tell them you are going to put it in the water. Ask them to make a prediction about what will happen to the ice when it is in the water, what will happen to the water ?  Pop it in!
  6. Mix and catch with net.
  7. Pop in more plain ice to “fish” – my son had fun with the color mixing but the extension of the activity was the real fun.

Bubble Wand Painting

We were on vacation all last week and my in laws bought this massive bubble set for my son, which he loves. He’s already used up all the bubble solution and if you know my feelings about bubble solution you probably aren’t surprised when I found something else to do with the wands. I know I am a Scrooge but bubble solution skeeves me out. So if you are done with bubbles but the wands are hanging around grab them and make some art!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some construction or other heavier paper, a plate , paint in fun colors and some bubble wands.
  2. Put the paint on the paint and dip your wand in.
  3. Create!  This is an opened ended art project there are not complicated steps to follow or anyway to mess it up. If your child wants to make clear prints cool, if they want to spread the paint with the wands like a brush awesome. Just let them play.

Using unconventional tools to paint with has long been a favorite activity for me as a teacher and mom, it revives plain old painting as well as forces your child to think in a creative way. It doesn’t take many of these projects before your child will see a unconventional tool and suggest you try painting with it! Creative thinking at it’s best!