Phonics Game for Kids Who LOVE Princesses

phonics game for kids princess toys I am glad I read the book Cinderella Ate by Daughter before my own daughter was “eaten” herself. My daughter loved princesses and tutus… and bulldozers too. My point is that instead of fighting these obsessions we can use them for a greater good, like learning! This is a quick phonics game that only took 5 minutes to set up ( 4 of which was me trying to find Jasmine in my daughter’s bedroom) and she played it 3 times in a row.  All I had to do was set it up and say ” I made you a game, and it’s got princesses!”

Here is how we did it.

Gather your materials. I grabbed all her Little People princesses, a sheet of card stock, a marker, a clip board, and a tray for the princesses. I set this up in our sun room right where we have to pop on shoes before leaving for preschool because that’s been a challenge for us lately. I decided to lure her to where I wanted her to be without a struggle. This did the trick. phonics game princess letter sounds

I wrote out the first letter of each Princess ( or prince) on the paper.

princess letter sounds activity for kids

All ready for matching!

letter sound activity for kids who love princesses

She played as she matched up. Belle and The Beast were very happy to see that their letters were so close together.

princess letter sounds match up

The second time around there was some debate about Aurora or Sleeping Beauty? Use these sort of questions to say ” If she is Aurora what letter sound would she make? What about Sleeping Beauty?”letter sound matching game with princesses

The other issue that popped up was that my daughter is starting to break words down and she wanted to match up the 2nd, 3rd, and last sounds she heard in the names. This derails the activity m but in a completely awesome way. Stop and chat about all the sounds if they do this. When children start noticing things like this jump on it but only when they are ready. With my daughter we talked about how she could hear a r in Aurora, and d sound in Aladdin.  Listen carefully and even if it’s not completely in line with the lesson follow their lead.princess letter matching

And make sure that you set this out with plenty of time to play before preschool… we were a little later than usual that day. I had no idea she’d play so many times.

princess letter sounds matching game

 

Princess Books For Kids

All our book lists include affiliate links.

TenBigToesandaPrincesNose

Ten Big Toes and a Prince’s Nose by Nancy Gow  is a story about two very different fairytale characters. They may be a prince and a princess but they are definitely different . I love the book’s rhyme ” I am what I am and that’s alright with me.” which is such a fantastic message to self acceptance and before confidence can be built we must accept who and what we are . The love story is pretty cute too, it is a fairytale after all.

Paper_Bag_Princess

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch has enchanted me for years. I bought it while volunteering as a leader in training at a day camp when I was a teen. It’s followed me to many schools, children I babysat and finally my own son. I can’t remember one child ever not liking it. It’s a story of Elizabeth a princess who outwits a dragon to rescue her prince. I love that the author has switched the typical damsel in distress and has the princess as the heroine. Some parents have expressed concern about Elizabeth calling the prince a “Bum” in the end of the book, personally I love it. I have always used it to explain why she was so angry, and as a reminder why calling names hurt. That said I think she is totally justified !

NotAllPrincessDressInPink

Not All Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane Yolen .This book is not so much about being different and facing adversity but about being yourself even if the world has decided you should fit perfectly into the mold it’s given you.  When we think of Princesses we think pink, sparkly and dry clean only! These princesses can’t be pigeonholed, they do what’s in their heart not what’s expected of them just because they are princesses. The princesses have all different interests, all different looks and I love that there are some with glasses too. Strong girls being themselves isn’t too different but for a book about princesses it is and it’s refreshing to read.

 

Quick Supply Links
This supply list contains quick affiliate links to items used in the post.
Fisher-Price Little People Disney Princess
Fisher-Price Little People Disney’s Aladdin and Jasmine
Fisher-Price Little People Disney 2 Pack: Belle and Beast
Solid Wood Tray ( part of a wooden food set)
Array Card Stock
Permanent Marker

 

Easy NO MESS Pumpkin Carving

no mess pumpkin carving for kids It takes a lot of skill to carve a pumpkin, it also takes a very sharp knife. Two things that young children don’t often have. I am all for giving children tools they can use to create what they want to create and in a few days I will be carving two HUGE pumpkins with my children’s help but neither of them are ready to do it solo yet. They were ready to help me design and cut out the foam pieces, and pop them on to the pumpkins. Not only does this easy no mess pumpkin carving craft let kids decorate them themselves, they also get to make something that would be very tricky even for me to do with a knife. Like a Minecraft creeper or princess. A huge bonus for us is that these pumpkins won’t mold before Halloween!

Gather your materials. You will need some sticky back foam, scissors, and pumpkins. You may also want a tray to pop all the face pieces in. We decided what we wanted to make ( classic Jack-O-Lantern, princess, ghost, and creeper) before we picked out our pumpkins but you can do it anyway you want.no mess pumpkin carving for kids

Cut out the shapes you need for the faces and pop them in a tray.no mess pumpkin carving for kids and toddlers

Start creating.no mess pumpkin carving for children In a classroom I would have all sorts of face pieces available with zero pre-planned designs. no mess pumpkinsMy kids and I thought this activity up together so they had ideas set before we made the shapes. Have a mix of everything if you are doing this with a group.no mess creeper pumpkin

Peeling the backing off and placing the sticky foam is not without worth, it uses fine motor skills and takes concentration to place it properly.no mess ghost pumpkins

My son was thrilled to find a green pumpkin to make his creeper.no mess creeper jack-o-lantern

And look NO MESS!no mess pumpkin carving for kids & toddlers

 

Quick Link Supply List

This list includes affiliate links to items used ( or very similar items) in the tutorial above.
Sticky-Back Glitter Foam
Sticky Back Foam Sheets

Easy Bat Craft

easy bat craft This Halloween craft was so much fun to make. It’s quick which is really our only option most days, is it just me or do you get exponentially busier the older your kids get?  We’ve been meaning to get all Halloween crafty but time has been super short. This easy bat craft is the perfect quick Halloween craft for busy families. Don’t miss out on the books about bats after the craft tutorial.

Gather your materials. You will need some black paper or card stock, some googly eyes ( if you have red ones all the better), scissors, clothes pins, a silver sharpie or crayon, a black crayon, and glue. easy bat craft for kids

Start by having your child color the clothespin with the black crayon. Easy Bat Craft by no time for flash cardsThis is tricky for little guys but encourage them to try because it’s great practice controlling a writing tool. My 4 year old thought that it might be easier to peel the whole crayon but it wasn’t. Still I never stop her from peeling crayons because it’s such a great fine motor activity.bat craft for kids

While they do that you can cut out some bat wings and a bat head.I folded my black paper and made cut out the wings free hand the head is just a circle with two pointy ears. Do not worry about perfection. Older kids could  draw the head and wings and cut them out problem.easy bat craft for kids

Time to decorate the wings! A silver sharpie is a coveted item at our house and she loves using it for crafts, I love how it looks against the black paper.easy halloween bat craft

Glue eyes on the head. She opted to hold each tiny eye and add glue to it.simple bat craft for Halloween Such a change from her brother who would drop huge globs of glue onto things calling them bombs. easy bat craft for preschool

Clip the wings on and then clip on the head. The extra glue from the eyes should glue the clothespin shut but if there was no extra glue you can add a little dab to the clothespin.clothespin bat craft for kids

Let dry and display!clothes pin bat crafts I love using kid made Halloween crafts for decor, not only is it fun to bring them out year after year but it let’s your children show off their creations. Easy bat craft for kids

 

Books about Bats

All book lists include affiliate links.

stella luna

Stellaluna by Janell Canon has long been a favorite when teaching about bats. I will warn you it’s a little long for fidgety toddlers but they will still enjoy it even if you skip a few pages. The story follows a little bat who loses her mother and is adopted into a family of birds. She never really feels like she belongs even though she likes her bird family. That’s not the end though, there is a surprise reunion and Stellaluna saves the day before the end of this book.

rp_there-was-an-old-lady-who-swallowed-a-bat-240x300.jpg

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat! by Lucille Colandro was a huge hit! It’s a reworking of the classic song ” There was an old lady who swallowed a fly” only this one swallows a whole bunch of Halloween creatures, like a goblin, ghost, and of course a bat.  She continues to swallow bigger and bigger things much to my son’s amazement! He was giggling through the whole book and the end when the old lay belches he laughed hysterically. It was predictable but I have to admit was a really fun , silly read. { Reviewed originally in 2009 when my son was 3 } 

My First Batman Book

My First Batman Book: Touch and Feel by David Katz. This is a rare find. A board book , a touch and feel no less,  about Batman. Trust me it’s rare, I squealed when I found it at the library and could not believe what a treat it was to read with both my kids. It’s not secret my son ( the one in the improvised Batman mask above) is into superheroes, he is also into books and I want to encourage that. However some of the books are so violent and I don’t want to expose him to all that at 4.5 , he is just too young for my comfort zone. For beginning readers there are some great I Can Read books but for even younger children pickings are super slim. Luckily there is this book. It’s sturdy, it’s age appropriate and it even glows in the dark. { Originally reviewed in 2010 }

Quick Link Supply List

Here are links to the supplies ( or similar ones) I used in the post above.  Supply lists include affiliate links.

Black Paper
Clothespins
Googly Eyes
Scissors
Elmer’s Washable No-Run School Glue
Sharpie Metallic

 

Halloween Lego Challenge

Halloween Lego Challenge for kidsSince we posted our first Lego Challenge for preschoolers my daughter and I have been doing these little challenges a lot. They are simple to put together and she loves them. I decided to kick it up a notch and try a themed challenge. Halloween is just around the corner so I decided to go with a Halloween theme. It took a little bit of trial and error to get the items built , I think they were harder for me than her! I made 4 different challenges and she did 3 first thing in the morning and then the last before we left for preschool. When you child is doing a harder challenge be on hand to help but try to attack it as a team. I find that frustration levels are much lower for us when I say ” This is tricky what do you think we should do next?” vs ” Let ME see if I can help you.”

Gather your materials. You will need some Lego – when I create these little challenges I build both at the same time then dismantle the one I want her to build. I just grabbed all the Lego I could find in our bucket that were the colors I thought I needed.  You may also want a divided tray too.

halloween lego challenge supplies

Make your scary Lego creations! We made a pumpkin, ghost, Frankenstein, and candy corn. I am not including patterns because these are all odds and ends pieces. I just want to INSPIRE you to make your own and present the activity the same way. Halloween Lego Challenge big

After you have made your creations make sure that you have the exact pieces to create another. As I said above I create them at the same time which means I often run upsatirs to dig through my son’s room for more so everything is exactly duplicated.

Present the Lego with one guide and all the pieces to create the matching piece.

halloween Lego challenge for preschool

Challenge accepted!

Halloween Lego challenge for kids

She needed a little help with some of the building but not as much as I thought she would. She is methodical about where she starts and how she builds them up. I know who will be putting together all the IKEA furniture in our house in a few years! I thought the ghost was going to be the hardest but the candy corn was not because of the pattern but because the pieces were small and her four year old fingers had to work extra hard to get those tricky pieces together even though the pattern was simple for her to follow. Halloween Lego challenge for girls and boys

After a quick change for school it was time to make “ghosty”.

LEGO challenge for halloween

When she was done she immediately started taking them all apart so she could make me a challenge. Taking apart Lego is great for building hand strength too so I am all for it!

Word Building With Letter Magnets & Word Families

word family activity with letter magnets As children get a firm grasp on letter sounds they will be able to manipulate those sounds to create new ones.  My daughter has been playing with letter sounds for a while ( I think she is desperate to catch up to her big brother) and rhyming is one of her favorite things to do. All of her time rhyming has definitely helped her be able to isolate and substitute sounds and I wondered if she was ready for some word families. She was. I chose the word families that we used in this activity ( all, ap, at, it ) because she can sound them out without help. I wanted her to be able to build the words without me, because you are using masking tape you can easily switch up the word families as your child develops.

 

Gather your materials. You will need some masking tape, some letter magnets ( try to find ones that are fully magnetic instead of having little magnets glued on the back to be safe) , a cookie sheet, and a marker. The older brother overseeing the activity is completely optional. word building word families with magnets supplies

 

Add a few strips of masking tape on your cookie sheet.Write the word families you want to work on with your child. You can do a few or stick to just one. Here is a list of the 37 most common word families. word building with magnets

Take a few moments to have your child sound out the word families for you to make sure that this activity will be challenging but not impossible. When we give children challenges they grow but if we give them impossible tasks we end up discouraging them and sending them the message that learning is too hard for them. word building with magnets

 

Add a bunch of letter magnets ( I had 3 packs available) and help your child do the first modeling sounding out the word family and then adding the first sound and sounding out the word again.  Then let them at it.word building with word families

She started adding the magnets then sounding them out with her brother overseeing under strict instructions “To let her do it herself.” Sometimes she’d add one that didn’t make sense, he’d shake his head ,  and she’d just remove it and try with another letter. After a few letters he declared he wasn’t needed and left. I left words that she sounded out but might not know the definition of like pall. Even though should couldn’t tell me what a pall was she was sounding out the words correctly so I decided to leave it be. When kids are a little older I would ask is that a real word? Then ask them to look it up to find out.word building with letter magnets

I am so happy I caught this picture. After she made a word it was so amazing to her she turned to me saying ” Mama I did it again!” as if the other times were just flukes. I LOVE moments like this when kids take ownership of their abilities. She KNEW she could do it at that moment and continued to build the rest of the words.word building learning is fun

We will do this again soon with a few of these word families and mix in one or two new ones. Remember kids love repetition, it feels good to know what to expect and it gives them a chance to master something.word building with magnets and cookie sheets