Age 2-3 years
When I asked my daughter what she wanted to do on her 3rd birthday she said “Eat candy” and “Make a fairy house.” We didn’t have any candy in the house but we did have these great little birdhouses that with a few supplies we had on hand transformed into a quick and easy fairy house craft for kids. I based this craft on the elf houses we made at Christmas.
- Gather your materials. You will need a small wooden birdhouse, some acrylic paint, glue, jewels, beads, sequins, a dish for paint , paint brushes, scissors, and painter’s tape.
- Start by deciding what sort of windows and doors you want your house to have. With older kids you could have them paint the windows on on but with younger ones I love using painter’s tape as a resist to make them. Use scissors to make your shapes. My daughter wanted circular windows and a rounded door. Remember you are making the back of the birdhouse into the front of the fairy house. I did the cutting.
- Time to paint! Pour the colors they choose onto a paper plate. When I use acrylic I like using paper plates to make clean up easier. Sometimes I need to pop paint up and away from little hands quickly and this paint dries fast so if life gets nuts half way through a craft having it on a disposable plate makes clean up easier. My daughter went with a pink theme… which pretty much matches her theme in real life lately.
- Let the paint dry completely. Acrylic paint dries fast so we counted some beads, had a quick snack and it was dry. If you have globs of paint it will take longer but in a pinch a hairdryer can help .
- Grab the glue and add on the extra bits. If you are making this house for outside make sure you use glue that will withstand all weather. I love that my daughter is past the stage where she put everything in her mouth because little bits and bobs like these beads and jewels really turn this into a fairy house. If your child is not ready for them yet try glitter glue for a safer option.
- Let dry. Our fairy house is staying inside but if you want yours to live outside spray it with an all weather protector like Mod Podge Outdoor to protect it from the elements.
Books About Fairies
The Very Fairy Princess by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton is a cute book about a little girl who loves all things princess related. What I like about this book is that it’s message isn’t heavy handed and it celebrates princesses while sneaking in some very positive messages too. In a world where many parents ( me included) have issues with this whole princess thing and struggle to find that balance this book has it. It tells you it’s OK to want to be a princess and to “let your sparkle out!” and talks about confidence in the process. I must admit though I am a total Julie Andrews fan and I am not sure I’d ever dislike anything
Maria , I mean Mary Poppins I mean Julie Andrews wrote.
Alice The Fairy is such a sweet book about a fairy who is still learning the ropes. I love the spells she casts and kids relate to her type of magic, I promise! I love that this book is about a fairy but not the Disney idea that we are so often bombarded with. It’s fresh, fun and my daughter absolutely loves it. I have been in love with this book for many years and to see my daughter connect with Alice so well just tickles me to pieces.
Princess in the Forest by Sibylle Von Olfers is more than 100 years old yet my toddler absolutely loved this book. The story is amazingly simple and the illustrations are what a fairytale should look like. The princess is met at different times of the day by various magical fairy children and forest creatures who care for and play with her. My daughter loves babies and the Dew Children who come to help the princess get dressed , the Moss Children who bring her food and the Star Children who illuminate her night enchanted her. She would immediately turn to each page with these angelic creatures and touch each one with her little fingers. This book doesn’t have a strong moral message but it’s simplicity is so peaceful and calming that it makes a wonderful bedtime book for young kids.This post contains affiliate links.
The best way that you can promote reading with your children is to read every single day starting as soon as possible. These 50 books are our favorite books for 2 year olds. It was tough to narrow it down to 50 and many of these authors like Eric Carle , Karen Katz , Byron Barton, and Sandra Boynton could have been listed many times over so check out all their titles. Is your favorite on the list? If not add the title in the comments and we’ll keep this list growing. Click through the links to see our original review!
- Planes by Byron Barton
- How Big Is a Pig? by Claire Beaton
- In the Town All Year ‘Round by Rotraut Susanne Berner
- Secret Seahorse by Stella Blackstone
- Doggies by Sandra Boynton
- Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton
- Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- Peek-a-Zoo! by Marie Torres Cimarusti
- Hooray for Fish! by Lucy Cousins
- Ladybug Girl Dresses Up! by Jacky Davis
- Dog’s Colorful Day by Ema Dodd
- Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert
- Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming
- Corduroy by Don Freeman
- Babies by Gyo Fujikawa
- Tip Tip Dig Dig by Emma Garcia
- Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino
- Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
- The Babies on the Bus by Karen Katz
- Hush, Little Alien by Daniel Kirk
- The Little Airplane by Lois Lenski
- It’s Mine by Leo Lionni
- Baby Says “Moo!”by JoAnn Early Macken
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.
- Chicka Chicka ABC by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
- Dig Dig Digging by Margaret Mayo
- Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers and Marla Frazee
- I Love Colors by Margaret Miller
- Mortimer by Robert Munsch
- The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
- The Family Book by Todd Parr
- Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
- Curious George Goes to the Hospital by Margaret and H.A. Rey
- One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root
- Yum Yum Dim Sum by Amy Wilson Sanger
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
- No, David! by David Shannon
- Dinosaur vs. the Potty by Bob Shea
- One, Two, Three by Tom Slaughter
- Dinosaur Roar! by Paul and Henrietta Stickland
- I Love Trucks! by Philoemen Sturges
- The Loudest Roar by Thomas Taylor
- Owl Babies by Martin Waddell
- Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
- Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington
- Mr. Cookie Baker by Monica Wellington
- Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems
- Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha
Quick and easy crafts seem to be our thing right now because free play in our yard , reading under our maple tree ,and drenching each other in water fights is occupying most of our time. It’s summer and we are soaking it all in. That said I still want to do some fun summer themed learning activities and this one fits the bill. This is part of our Alphabet For Starters series that exposes children to letters through fun and creative activities instead of drill and flashcards. You can see all the posts in the series here.
- Gather your materials. You will need some black letter stickers, pink and green crayons, scissors and paper plates.
- Start by coloring a full plate pink in the middle and green on the edges. Paint would give you better coverage but this is a fast craft so we used crayons. Coloring on the edge was a really fun sensory experience. It’s bumpy and makes a fun sound.
- Cut in half.
- Add the seeds! In this case the seeds are alphabet stickers but you could do numbers too. My son did numbers while my daughter did random letters on one and her name on another. Older kids could spell words too. Something you will likely notice with a young child still discovering letter is that they will naturally name each letter and or ask you to name it as they apply it to their watermelon. I love that. You don’t have to drill them because they are exploring on their own.I was about to write let dry but since we used crayons there is no drying time at all. Perfect quick summer themed craft with just a short burst of letter recognition.
Taking kids to an art museum can be an unpredictable adventure. They might love it, browse the art along with you and beg not to leave. They may also barely scan the art, try to touch everything and use the voice you begged them to only use on the soccer field the whole time. Kids are kids and expecting them to adore things that aren’t completely designed for them and then being angry or disappointed when they act their age is not really fair. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t expose our kids to art at art museums or give them expectations to live up to. What it does mean is that we help them reach these goals by giving them some tools.
Here are 5 simple games you can play with your kids at the art museum to keep them engaged in the art .
This game was created by my 6 year old on the way to the museum on Friday. I was explaining the next game on our list when he announced from his car seat that he had a better idea. I ran with it.
How to play :
One player chooses a work of art in a room/gallery but does not tell the other players which one it is. The other players try to guess which work of art is the secret one. You can ask for clues that give a yes or no answers just like in the game 20 questions. Whoever finds the secret one first gets to choose the next one in the next room/gallery .
I’ll Take That One !
How To Play:
Each player chooses one piece of art in each room/gallery to pretend they are going to buy from the museum. They must also say where they would put the art in their own home.
Build A Rainbow
How To Play :
This is essentially a color hunt. In each gallery see if you and your kids can find every color of the rainbow. To make it more challenging you can add a rule that you can only find one color per painting. So that painting with the rainbow … yeah not going to cut it! This is a great game to play with toddlers, just make sure that they know that art is for looking at and not touching ( we are still working on that too ).
How To Play:
Choose a color from inside a painting and the players can make guesses to what element it may be. For example if there is a brown dog in a painting the spyer will say ” I spy something brown” and the guessers will look for all the brown items in the painting, hopefully guessing the dog. This works great with kids of similar ability levels. My kids are just getting to the point where they can play games like this together and I love it. With older children you could do this with artists or genres saying ” I spy a Jackson Pollock” or ” I spy an impressionist painting.”. Adapt it to your kids.
10 Tips For A Fun Museum Trip ( even with toddlers )
- Go early when there are fewer crowds and your kids are fresh and open to learning.
- Go on a full belly.
- Look at the map together and find the bathrooms on the map. Suggest you check them out right away.
- Go on a free day so if you must abort ship when a meltdown arises you aren’t out an admission price . It can be busier but if your child isn’t the quietest ( I know mine aren’t) the crowds tend to make a loud toddler voice less distracting and make your trip more pleasant. You can talk to your kids in a regular voice and not worry about your kiddo being quiet.
- Find out if photography is allowed and if it is hand your kids a camera to document their trip.
- In and out. Most museums will allow you to have in and out privileges so if your kids need a breather take one.
- Play games to keep kids engaged . Some museums will have kid friendly maps or guides .
- Bring a sketch book.
- Know when they are done and find the nearest exit. Don’t try to see just one more thing. If you see the signs of a meltdown just go.
- Visit the gift shop and after you return home read about art, museums and artists to keep the learning going.
Books About Art Museums
Babar’s Museum of Art by Laurent de Brunhoff is one of my favorite art books for kids. My son has recently decided he hates it because he doesn’t want to see the elephant versions of the art. All the art in the museum are masterpieces that you will recognize redone with elephants. He slams the page in the way only toddlers with a definite sense of justice can and says ” No elephant paintings Mama, real ones!” Trust me though this book is awesome and he loved it a few months ago. The story is about how Queen Celeste wants to change the abandoned railway station into a museum to house all their collected art . The museum itself looks just like the Musee D’Orsay in Paris and the story also explains art for children.
Meet Me at the Art Museum: A Whimsical Look Behind the Scenes by Davis Goldin was a gift shop find at the museum we visited last week and the perfect book to keep my kids learning and interested. I read it to them while they ate lunch after our morning visit and they both really liked it. The book is a behind the scenes tour of an art museum. My daughter liked the inanimate objects that were turned into characters like the ticket stub and name tag while my son loved the insider info like how they choose paintings to display , check to make sure they aren’t fakes, and the security devices they use. I loved how it really explained the different jobs at the museum from docent to archivist to director and curator. The book held both their attention and reading it right after out trip gave us a fresh experience to relate it to.
Museum Trip by Barbara Lehman is fantastic. This wordless book has a clear strong message – that if exposed children can loose themselves in art, it opens a new world with new adventures before unseen! The story opens with a little boy on a school field trip to a museum, he looses his group , and soon finds himself in the art. After completing many mazes he is given a medal before he rejoins his group. My favorite part is as he is getting on the bus with his class he is wearing his medal and so is the museum curator. Love it!
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My daughter loves matching things and has done well with simple pattern match activities like this one so I decided to make it a little more complicated. These animal print puzzles for kids are quick to make ( they honestly took one minute to make all four) but for young kids matching the patterns up so the prints line up can be a challenge. This is a great activity to develop attention and concentration but because there are only two pieces to each puzzle it shouldn’t create too great a challenge and end up frustrating your child.
- Gather your materials. We used animal print foam sheets but you could use scrap book paper instead just make sure that the pieces are sturdy enough for your child to handle. If they get crinkled or ripped it will be harder to match up . You will also need some scissors.
- Cut your foam into squares and then cut the squares into two halves using different cutting patterns. I made 4 puzzles for my daughter who is just 3. For older children try 2 in each pattern to create a bigger challenge.
- Present the puzzles to your child and ask them to put the squares back together. If they are struggling you can also make a square out of painter’s tape on the table to give them a guide. When I make puzzles like these I pop them on a tray and leave them out for a few days after our initial play and then pop them in a ziploc and into storage for a while. After a trip to the zoo or when we read one of our favorite books about the zoo I pull them out and we play again.
Books About The Zoo
Inside a Zoo in the City by Alyssa Satin Capucilli is a rebus read along , so children who can’t read words yet can help read this with pictures put right into the text! The story is repetitive and builds with one animal and page at a time. Preschoolers love these books and the repetitive nature of it makes it interactive and fun!
Peek-a-Zoo! by Marie Torres Cimarusti is a vibrant lift the flap book that goes through sounds different animals make while playing peek a boo with the reader. What I like about this book is that the flaps offer a chance for your baby or toddler to anticipate what animal it hiding as well as the sound , so it grows with them. Also the flaps are large enough that little hands can grab them and won’t get frustrated.
Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann is simply one of my favorite books ever. I love it and love that my daughter doesn’t fuss when I read it to her because it was a special book for my son when he was little and it’s a book he will still curl up and read quietly with us, making it fun cuddle time for all three of us. If you aren’t familiar with this book it’s all about a sneaky gorilla who unlocks all the animals at the zoo and they quietly follow the zoo keeper home and climb into bed with him, until his wife wakes up! I love this book cause I relate to the zoo keepers wife , when I wake up there is always a sneaky 3 year old gorilla in my bed!This post contains affiliate links.