Strawberry Play Dough Sensory Play

fine motor play dough activity strawberries Our house sits on what used to be a huge strawberry farm. Our soil is amazing, it’s really a pity I don’t have anything close to a green thumb. Still learning more about our neighborhood’s history was part of the spark that inspired this activity. Originally we were going to draw the strawberries but my daughter suggested making strawberry play dough. I grabbed the black rice and we were all set. What I love about creating with play dough isn’t just the hand strength it works on , or even the ability to squish “mistakes” and start over, it’s how I have yet to do a simple planned activity that didn’t end in a completely different but equally fun ( albeit messier) play.

Gather your materials. You will need some play dough ( ours is actual Play-Doh because the only homemade stuff we have right now is scented with mint and my daughter made it very clear that strawberries do NOT smell like candy canes… so we grabbed some of our pre-made stash). You will also want a cookie cutter, we didn’t have a strawberry so we used an acorn, as well as some black rice.strawberry playdough supplies

Place all the tools together and let your little creator create!Strawberry playdough play activity for kids

She started creating berries right away. Strawberry playdough for kids

I didn’t even have to tell her what the black rice was for. I loved watching her carefully add them on top. Great fine motor play!fine motor activity strawberry playdough for kids

After she made a handful of strawberries she created a coffee shop. I was lucky enough to get more than a few cups of yummy black rice coffee! This is exactly what I want to see her do with activities, use them as a launching pad to even MORE creativity! strawberry playdough and sensory exploration

UFO Math Tray Activity {FREE PRINTABLES}

math tray actiities preschool  space themeFor a while now my daughter has been writing out numbers on anything she can. My mother’s day card included the numbers from 1-10 after her name. I had a feeling her next question would be how to read and spell the number words. I  was right. For days, she asked me how to spell the words and I would reply with what do you think? That worked a few times, but it eventually frustrated her. I wrote out the words for her and she used it as reference. Soon she was recognizing the words in stories so when I saw these little aliens I knew I wanted to use them for counters and I decided to make two sets of number mats for this tray activity one with digits and one with the number words. The reason I am telling you this long drawn out story is to illustrate that this activity followed her lead. There is no rush to teach specific concepts like this but don’t ignore your child interests either. Print both out and use them as they fit with your child. If you can’t find these little alien guys you can laminate the cards and draw them on with dry erase markers!

Gather your materials. You will need the UFO Math mat cards, some alien counters, scissors, and contact paper or a laminator ( you lucky dog!).math mat UFO

Print out the UFO Math Mats here – click on the image, save, and print.

Digits  1-4

ufo number cards digits 1

 

 

 

 

5-8

ufo digits 2

 

9-12

ufo digits 3

Number Words

one – four

ufo number cards

 

two – eight

ufo number cards sheet 2

 

nine – twelve  ufo number cards sheet 3

Print them out. If you think your child needs more support with counting add dots to the mats with a marker before you laminate or use contact paper to protect them. Cut out.free printable math tray activity

Pop them on the tray with the little aliens ( did I mention these glow in the dark? ).math tray activity

Read and count. UFO math I didn’t give her all the mats just a mix to play with.UFO math printables

After she counted them out she tried to balance them and  make towers with them too.

alien math for kids

Color Mixing Activities For Preschool

Color mixing activities for young children. Great hands on ways to discover color.When I teach my students about colors one of my favorite ways is to call them to the table where we all get to make our own colors. Creating their own colors is a wonderful mix of science and art and allows children to learn through a meaningful activity. These color mixing activities are all fun ways for children to learn about colors as well as get a chance to be what I call a color scientist!

color mixing mystery baking soda and vinegar volcano

Color Mixing with Baking Soda and Vinegar 

Color Mixing With Shaving Cream

NO MESS Shaving Cream Color Mixing 

color mixing with play dough

Color Mixing with Play Clay 

rp_color-mixing-lesson-with-ice-768x1024.jpg

Color Mixing with Ice Cubes 

TURKEY BASTER COLOR MIXING

 

Color Mixing with Turkey Basters 

color lab water

Color Lab Science Play 

NO MESS COLOR MIXING IN PLASTIC BAG

NO Mess Color Mixing ( I do this in my class with snack sized bags)

Water Balloon Art

Color Mixing Canvas with Water balloons. 

broccoli painting outside

Color Mixing and Painting with Broccoli 

 

 

Paper Doll Sticky Wall

sticky wall paper doll activity Paper dolls are a ton of fun but if you think back to when you were a kid you might remember that they were also tricky to keep clothed. Their outfits are kept on by folding the paper and inserting a teeny tiny tab into the doll. I remember having a lot of naked paper dolls. My mom picked up this super cute paper doll set for my daughter when she went on an Alaskan cruise but after playing with it once the frustration was more memorable than the fun. Then I devised a way to play frustration free!

paper doll activity

Gather your materials you will need some paper dolls, painter’s tape, and contact paper.

sticky wall activity

Start by mounting your contact paper on the wall with painter’s tape. Don’t forget to have the sticky side on the outside.

paper doll activity

Next trim your dolls a little. I hated doing this because I liked that the girls were such normal proportions but if we want the clothing to attach to the contact paper we’ll need to trim.

paper doll wall ready to play

Add the dolls, their clothing and accessories to the wall. I put the clothing for each doll on a separate side and had the dolls in the middle.

paper doll wall playing

Invite your child to come play.

paper doll playing

Play.

paper doll wall playing with the dolls

I love paper dolls as a play item because they encourage storytelling so naturally. My daughter started making up stories about these two little girls immediately. I loved hearing the story she created for them, but best of all, I loved that she could play frustration free.

Egg Carton Caterpillar Craft

egg carton caterpillar craft We love egg carton caterpillars, they are possibly the most classic of all crafts. We decided to make a fresh twist on an old favorite. Our egg carton caterpillars are a little different. No glue or paint means your child can play with their creation right away or if you are a teacher your students can pack them up and take them home that day. This is a fast craft that can fit into pretty much any schedule. So next time you are picking up eggs grab some in a plastic carton and make some egg carton caterpillars.

egg carton caterpillar craft for kids

Gather your materials. You will need a plastic egg carton, sharpies, scissors, adhesive googly eyes ( our friends at craftprojectideas.com sent us these!), and some pipe cleaners.

egg carton crafts

Start by cutting the carton into caterpillars. Take a second to check for sharp edges and use your scissors to round any you find.egg carton craft for kids

Get out the Sharpies and color. The eye shadow and facepaint are optional. My daughter and our little friend who is three both took great care with the “big kid” markers. They were careful and loved being given the responsibility of something for older kids. sharpies in preschool age crafts egg cartonsYou may still want something to protect your table.

egg carton caterpillar craft for camp

After that, it’s time for the eyes. egg carton caterpillar craft for childrenThese adhesive googly eyes rock- the kids popped them on themselves easy peasy!

egg carton caterpillars for kidsThe antennas were my job, poking it through the plastic was really hard when I tried to do it through the bottom, but the side of the carton was super easy to poke through. If you can’t just poke through with your pipe cleaner try a thumb tack to make a small hole then thread it through.egg carton caterpillars arts and crafts

Play!

Books About Caterpillars

All book lists include affiliate links.

 

percival the plain caterpillar

Percival the Plain Little Caterpillar by Helen Brawley is one of my son’s favorite books right now, due to the fact that there are shiny and shimmery pictures throughout! The story though leaves something to be desired, as the message seems to be that being plain is bad and the only fix for poor Percival is when he turns into a beautiful butterfly! When reading this to my class I would often interject with questions to my students about what they thought was cool about Percival, and that combated the undesirable message that you have to be beautiful to be worthy.

 bob and otto book

Bob and Otto by Robert O. Bruel is a lovely story about 2 friends who must part ways , in this case because one is a caterpillar who needs to build a chrysalis and the other an earthworm who needs to dig deep into the ground. What I like about this book is that it goes on to explain that the earth worm’s digging is vital for the trees to grow so that the caterpillar can eat the leaves and turn into a butterfly. I like the lesson about how we all play a part!

the crunching munching caterpillar

The Crunching Munching Caterpillar by Sheridan Cain is another story about a caterpillar who is not happy with his lot in life. There is a fair bit of language that some parents would object to. This caterpillar is often reminded that he is too fat to fly- so that poses a few challenges to parents like myself who are trying to instill healthy body images as well as using respectful words with others in our children. I have dealt with this book in two ways, first by saying that the caterpillar is getting fat but it’s a good thing because he will be sleeping for a long time in his chrysalis and needs that fat to live. Also, I have simply replaced fat with big, a word that is much less ugly to many people’s ears.

very hungry caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a classic, that most preschool teachers like myself can recite from memory. It really is a fantastic book, not only does it explain the life cycle of a caterpillar/ butterfly it also is useful for a lesson about the day of the week and healthy eating! It was a childhood favorite of mine and if the fact that he fell asleep holding his ” Pillar” is any indication it is already one of my son’s favorites too!

From Cateroillar to Butterfly

From Caterpillar to Butterfly by Deborah Heligiman is part of my favorite non-fiction for kids series ” Let’s Read and Find Out Science”.  I always grab these books at garage sales and thrift stores. In this edition, you follow a classroom of students observing a caterpillar as it metamorphosis into a butterfly. A classic spring activity for preschool age children to discover and learn about life cycles. Also a perfect match for your own Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden which I highly recommend and will be doing this year with my son. Reading non-fiction with your preschoolers is important as it teaches them seamlessly that writing and reading are not just for stories but for information too.

caterpillar and polliwog

The Caterpillar and the Polliwog by Jack Kent is a sentimental favorite. I remember being read this book in elementary school when learning about life cycles. It’s more than just about life cycles of butterflies and frogs, it’s about becoming comfortable with who you are. I remember thinking it was hilarious when the caterpillar tells the turtle that she will be changing into something else not just getting bigger and bigger and he replies with ” I don’t blame you.” It made me snort as an adult too. Good for preschool through the early elementary years and if like me you read it as a child there is, of course, the sentimental factor. I love sharing books from my childhood with my kids.