Cotton Ball Bunny

Cotton Ball Bunny

Bunny crafts aren’t just for Easter time, toddlers and preschoolers readily identify with these animals because so much media is directed towards them with bunny themes: books, TV , even clothing for little ones often have fuzzy little bunnies on them. So grab some cotton balls and enjoy this activity from our contributing writer Katy.

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This is a great, easy activity that you can do with your child if they have the motor skills or you can create it and then share it with them if they don’t.

You need a heavy piece of white paper, cotton balls, scissors, and glue.
1. Cut out the shape of a rabbit out the white paper.  If your child is able, you can have them do it themselves. Cotton Ball Buny Craft
2. Sit down with your child, add a line of glue, and then add the cotton balls.  We also practiced taking turns for this activity.  We had to move Charlie’s arms into the position at first, but he quickly got the hang of dropping the cotton balls into place.cotton ball bunny
3. Cover the paper with cotton balls.  We took turns since Charlie can be a little slow all by himself. Cotton Ball BunnyCotton Ball Bunny Craft
This activity could easily be done with almost any animal and cotton balls of all colors are available at craft stores.

Book We Enjoyed

It's Spring

It’s Springby Samantha Berger and Pamela Chanko. Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

This is a simple book with a rhyming rhythm about the arrival of spring.  The illustrations are precious.  Definitely for younger kids.
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Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.

Scented Painting- 5 senses activity!

Smelly Paints

I am already trying to implement some of the suggestions you have made in the Reader Survey ( take it now if you haven’t yet!) , one being a desire to see more activities for younger children. This one stretches from the very youngest well into preschoolers. It also opens a dialog and curiosity into the sense of smell!  If you are looking for more activities for those under 2, we have a ton! Check out the Beginners tab on the Crafts drop down menu or the ” Age Under 2 Years” category in the categories  side bar.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paints ( we are using finger paints but any liquid paint will do), imitation flavors ( we are using strawberry, banana and cherry), a bowl, brushes and paper.  I am using imitation flavors because they had a lower alcohol content and just smelled better to me than the real stuff which all had much higher alcohol content and smell.Smelly Paints
  2. Pour the paint in the dish. We made “purple” by mixing blue and red… sorta . It was more like black but my son didn’t mind one bit.Smelly Paints
  3. Add one drop of flavor – a little goes a long way.Smelly Paints
  4. Mix the flavors in.Smelly Paints
  5. Paint.Smelly Paints
  6. He painted 2 pages while I unpacked groceries and made lunch. All the while saying ” Yumm I am pretending it’s strawberry jam, and banana smoothies!”  If you are doing this with really little guys watch them more carefully and talk a lot about smell, how we smell the paint not eat it!Smelly Paints

Books

my five senses

My Five Senses Big Book by Aliki is a great non fiction book about the 5 senses for toddlers and preschoolers. It’s simple but informative with clear pictures to help support the text . The author uses common things to help teach about the 5 senses like ice cream for taste, feeling a soft bunny for touch and hearing sirens. I like that is explains that sense can be used alone or all together and that the gift senses give us is awareness about the world around us.

five senses

Green Start: The Five Senses by IKids is a sweet book that focuses on the senses we use throughout our day as we explore our home and nature. Although the text covers all 5 senses it is not discussed overtly as ” And when you smell this you are using your sense of smell…” it’s a great little book to share with a toddler or young preschooler not ready for the more fact based non fiction books.

Sniff Sniff

Sniff, Sniff: A Book About Smell (Amazing Body) by Dana Meachen Rau is another step up in non fiction than the rest of these books. It starts with a little girl waking up to the yummy smell of breakfast and dives into some not so pleasant smells and how the sense of smell works.   My 3 year old likes it but I could feel his attention slipping near the end. This book is devoted to smell and the unlike so many non fiction books, it’s illustrations are fresh and funky! It’s packed with information too, and includes fun facts, a glossary and even links for more learning!

Contest Reminder!

Gratitude is not one of the 5 senses but it is an important value we as parents and caregivers can teach our children. My dear friend Lee from My Sentiment ExactLee is hosting a fun and worthy giveaway that benefits our troops while teaching our children gratitude! Click her for details!

Halloween Sensory Tub

We Dig Halloween!

Halloween Activity for toddlers

I bought these black beans and orange lentils for another Halloween craft  but when we made it the real hit was scooping and pouring… and spilling! So we ran out to the dollar store got some fun plastic creatures to add to it to complete this easy DIY sensory tub that is small enough for even the tiniest apartment.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a plastic container,  some dried black beans, some dried orange lentils, we added macaroni for bones,  a spoon/scoop, some plastic spiders, snakes and other spooky creatures!Halloween Party Idea
  2. Have your child help pour the beans and lentils into the tub.
  3. Grab the creatures and hide them under the beans.Fall Sensory Tub Ideas
  4. Explore!

Five Senses : Yummmmmmy!

Chocolate Covered
Frozen Bananas

To end our week of “Five Senses” I decided to make my son a fun and not too full of crap treat. We had theses at our friends house a few weeks ago and loved them, so thank you Mandy for the inspiration! For taste and smell ideas for preschoolers scroll down past the bananas, these two senses are tricky for really little ones so a cooking activity where you can give your child lots of chances to taste is a great option for both smell and taste!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need bananas, baking chocolate ( for 4 treats I used .25 lbs) , butter , popsicle sticks, wax paper, a dish and a freezer!
  2. Start by peeling your bananas , cutting them in half and insert the popsicle sticks.
  3. For every .25 pound of chocolate or chocolate chips, add 1/2 tablespoon of butter to make it easier to spread. Melt . I put it in the microwave for 20 seconds, stirred it and then another 20.
  4. Ooops have we been learning anything? If you want you can have your little one “taste” the bowl, ask them how it tastes, I think my son liked it!
  5. Spread over bananas and put them in the freezer.
  6. Let set

Preschool
Taste & Smell Activity

In years past I have done taste tests in my classrooms. They were always a hit and made big impressions, always a plus in a learning environment. Here is what I did:

  1. Make a chart- simple or big depending if you are doing this for one child or a class. On the chart list ( pictures for preschoolers, written words for school agers) 3-5 flavors of food ice cream, yogurt, and jelly bellies have all worked well for me. Make sure the flavors are simple like strawberry, lemon, vanilla etc…
  2. In identical cups put the food to taste.
  3. Have your child smell the first cup, ask them to predict the flavor- choosing from the chart’s list. Make a note of their prediction.
  4. Have them taste it. Ask them if they want to switch the prediction or keep it as is.
  5. Reveal the flavor.
  6. Repeat.

On paper this seems very simple but it’s fun and a fun way to learn about taste and smell as well as introducing young children to the process of a real science experiment !

Five Senses: Sound Safari

five senses activity sound
I had no clue how well this sound safari would work with my 23 month old, I have done it with 3- 5 year olds in the past but never with toddlers. It was a huge hit. He understood the chart and that we were listening to for the things listed and got very excited to earn each star. We chose to go for a walk in our neighborhood but you can do this inside or in your backyard as well.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some construction paper, plain paper, markers, a ruler, scissors, stickers and glue or double stick tape.sound map edit
  2. Make a simple chart , one space for the sound you are searching for and a small box for a sticker or a check mark.
  3. Add things you hear often around your neighborhood or where ever you will be listening. We did sirens, dogs barking, birds, cars, etc…sound
  4. Tape or glue the paper on the construction paper and head off on your walk.
  5. I gave the chart to my son and told him we were looking for all those sounds, we talked about hearing things, and although he was quite convinced we hear with our eyes, he still got it.sound activity for kids
  6. I helped start things off my closing the garage door and asking him what he heard. when he said the garage door , I asked him to look on his chart to see if that was on it. When it was we got a sticker and put it in the box.sound safari

The next up was our neighbor’s barking dogs! sound lesson for kidsThen birds… we were only a few hundred feet from our door and we already had half the items on our safari.As we kept walking we found more and my son pointed out ones we didn’t have like the lawnmowers the gardeners were using. That tickled me because that was the point of this whole exercise to learn about using our ears to hear and identify sounds. These were our final safari findings:

sound safari for toddlers