ABCs and 123s

Polka Dot Discovery
I have done this activity for years and never once called the eggs Easter eggs, they were polka dots with surprises inside. Obviously if you celebrate Easter there is no reason to call them anything else but if you don’t celebrate Easter you can still jump on the polka dot bandwagon and use them to have fun learning.
1. Gather your materials. You will need some plastic eggs that open with room to hide things inside, you can also use small gift boxes. Some paper, a marker, some scissors and basket or bag.
2. The great thing about this activity is that it’s versatile. If you are learning about shapes you can pop shapes in the eggs, if you are doing letters you stuff them with letters etc… So this next step is where you decide what to stuff them with and using a marker and paper make the surprises.
3. Stuff the eggs and either hide them for a hunt, or place them in a basket for your child to choose from.
4. When you child finds the egg make sure to ask them what color the outside is, and encourage them to open it up and find what’s inside.
5. If your child is a young toddlers you can simply put fun toys in and they will be kept busy finding them. Just opening the eggs are great fine motor skills practice!
6. One last note if you have an older sibling who is working on sight words at grade school you can pop those in some eggs for them too!

Egg Carton Number Match!

This is NOT an activity for toddlers, the pieces are small and a choking hazard
1. Gather your materials. You will need the bottom of an egg carton, some mini cupcake liners, some paper, a marker and a paper punch.
2. Write the numbers 1-12 on the inside of the liners, you don’t NEED the liners but it’s much easier than writing it on the egg carton directly. If your child is able have them write the numbers.
3. Place the liners in the egg carton.
4. Punch our your desired shapes with a paper punch. If you don’t have one handy you can cut out small shapes.
5. Count as you fill the cup cake liners.
Activity ideas

Now that you have made your tools here are some fun things you can do with it, depending on your child’s abilities.

1. With the cups filled , pull one liner out and count the pieces inside , ask your child if the number at the bottom is the same as they counted.

2. Empty out all the pieces and ask /help your child to fill them up, do this out of order for an extra challenge.

Can you dig it ?!

Dig and Find ~ Sensory Activity

**This activity kept my little guy happy for much longer than expected and a huge mess was avoided , although you may want to do this outside or make sure your dust buster is handy.**

1. Gather your materials. You can use rice, dried beans, or even unpoped popcorn but I am using oatmeal for two reasons, it’s handy and it’s easier to hide things in because it’s not slippery like the others. You will need a container, some scooping and digging utensils and some fun toys to hide.
2. Pour your oatmeal into the container and hide a toy for your child to find.
3. Dig it out and repeat! * I couldn’t get any pictures of my son grabbing the toy zebra, he did it so fast once he caught sight of it it was zoooom out of the oatmeal!

* Note about sensory activities: They are messy, but they are so important ! Children under five learn primarily through their senses. By feeling, seeing, smelling and touching during these activities they are learning spatial skills, fine motor skills among others. Also they can be very calm and soothing for kids which is a great thing!

Books!

My last trip to the library was a huge success, these are three great finds that would be great additions to any child’s bookshelf.

” Not Norman” by Kelly Bennet is a story about a little boy and his disappointing pet fish Norman. All great children’s books slip a lesson between the pages and this one is about how our first impressions aren’t always right. Friendships can take a while to grow but once they do they are solid, even with a pet fish named Norman.

” Edwardo the most horriblest boy in the whole world” by John Burningham is a must read for anyone who is in a position of authority among children, it is a poignant look at what happens when you scold and belittle a child and then what the outcome is when you praise. Great Book!

Peek-a-Moo” by Maria Torres Cimarusti is a great and simple book about animal sounds with flaps to lift for toddlers who need a little extra action to keep them interested.

Paper Bag Season Sorting

By nature most young children like to sort things, you may have noticed your child lining up blocks, or toy cars, or putting all the dolls in one place, and teddy bears in another. This activity takes that desire to sort and uses it to learn about seasons. This activity seems very bland but I have yet to have a class who didn’t love it.
1. Gather your materials. You will need some old magazines or catalogs, clothing catalogs work great for this. Scissors, crayons or markers, some construction or card stock paper, and tape or glue. You will need a paper bag for each season you are going to include. I suggest for children just learning about seasons to stick to Winter and Summer only.
2. Steps 3 and 4 can be done ahead of time or by a parent while the child is doing step 5.
3. Find pictures in your magazines or catalogs that show people in warm or cold weather clothing. In my experience it is easier for everyone if you do this step a head of time, or even just help things along by ripping out these pages and have the child do the cutting.
4. Once you have found enough pictures of both seasons, glue or tape them to the paper and cut them out.
5. Decorate the two ( or more) paper bags with scenes or things that represent that season. I drew pictures. Label each bag with the name of the season.
6. Sort your pictures into each bag. While sorting ask your child questions, and especially if they are putting something you think should go into Summer into the Winter bag, they may have a very good explanation to put you in your place!
**The subject of this activity can easily be changed to fit any theme, and length of activity lengthened by adding more pictures to sort. This is a great circle time activity for preschool and after playing it as a class you can put it on the shelf for free time and the students will enjoy re-playing it. **

Song!

Hurry, Hurry, Seasons Changing

Hurry, Hurry, Spring is coming
See all the flowers blooming
Hurry , Hurry Spring is coming
Baby animals everywhere!

Hurry, Hurry, Summer’s coming
See how the sun is shining,
Hurry , Hurry, Summer’s coming
At the beach and at the pool!

Hurry, Hurry, Autumn’s coming
See all the leaves falling,
Hurry, Hurry, Autumn’s coming
Grab a sweater it’s getting cold!

Hurry, Hurry, Winter’s coming
See all the snow falling,
Hurry, Hurry Winter’s coming
Bundle up like a polar bear!

The Royal Treatment!

Custom Crowns!

Kids love to dress up, and play make believe and more and more research suggests kids these days aren’t getting enough old fashion play like make believe, so make these crowns and get to it!

1. Gather your materials. I am using 2 pieces of card stock scissors, glitter, foil star stickers and crayons. You can use glue or even staples to fasten the two pieces together but I am using double stick tape because in my experience no kid wants to wait for their crown to dry!
1. Have your child young or older decorate the crown with the crayons and stickers. Wait on the sparkles though. *** Please do not let little toddlers play with stickers, they need to be past the things go in the mouth stage for them. They are a choking hazard. I know my guy choked on one a few months ago , so learn from my stupidity and put them on yourself if your children or skip them all together.
2. After they are done decorating you can put the two pieces together, decorated side down and draw your crown design on the back, and cut it out. The reason I do it this way is that many a crown has ripped while coloring it where there are sharp edges to catch.
3. Fasten the pieces together, add glitter!
4. Fit it to your child’s head and fasten the other edges.
Song!

The Grand old Duke of York!

The Grand old Duke of York,
he marched them up to the top of the hill,
and he marched them down again!

When they’re up they’re up,
and when they’re down they’re down,
and when they’re only half way up,
they’re neither up nor down !

* I normally sing this one time fast, then slow then super fast !

Books!

“The Paper Bag Princess” by Robert Munsch is a girl power book about a princess who saves her prince before realizing a crown does not make a prince!
“Where the wild things are “by Maurice Sendak is a classic about imagination and the power of childhood. Max imagines himself the king of his own land!

D is for Drum

Drum!
1. Gather your materials. You will need an old beverage mix container, or coffee can. We are using a huge Lemonade can because my husband drinks far too much of it. You will also need some tissue paper, glue, some tape, a pastry or paint brush and a small plate or plastic lid.
2. Tape or glue down the plastic lid to the drum.
3. Pour some glue onto a plastic lid or plate , you will be brushing on the glue with the paint brush .
4. Have your child paint on the glue. I was shocked how well my little guy did, as long as no glue was dripping off the brush he didn’t even try to eat it. Normally he has a hankering for glue.
5. Cover the can in big pieces of tissue paper. I used a dark color so you couldn’t see the writing on the container but if you are using a container that is free of all that you can skip this step.
6. While your child is covering the can with big pieces, cut out some smaller pieces of tissue in contrasting colors.
7. Glue those on.
8. Let dry.
9. Start making music! ( I swear my child isn’t always in sleepers, we usually do art in the early am , and he was drumming away right before nap. )

Books!

D is also for Diggers!

I know I have reviewed some Digger books before but my son is still in LOVE with diggers so I have a bunch of them. Now that I am back from vacation I will head to the library for a new stack tomorrow!

” Dig Dig Digging” by Margaret Mayo was an instant favorite as soon as my son opened it last night. I bought it without pre reading it at all , hoping that just the fact there was a digger on the front my son would love it. The book is so much better than I expected. It goes through all different types of vehicles, not just diggers and the text uses a repetitive format that kids love. The best part is the opening line of each page where is says what each vehicle is good at. ” Diggers are good at dig dig digging!” ” Tractors are good at pull pull pulling!” are just two of the many. I love this because it had my son trying to say it and by the 3rd reading he was saying it along with me. Great book for toddlers and preschoolers!

” Good Morning Digger” by Anne Rockwell is not going to be put onto my must buy list. It just seemed flat and boring. The story follows a vacant lot and the digger that comes it to start construction on what will transform into a community center. There really weren’t any characters and the text seemed unenthusiastic. To make matters worse I think I have to pay a late fee at my library on this one.