Onion Prints

 

I love using things I have on hand for art! Now if only I can find something to do with half eaten Annie’s Mac and Cheese!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need an onion , or large shallot would be great too! Some paint, a container to mix the paint in and some paper.
  2. Cut the onion in half – I started with ours in half and after it absorbed a lot of paint I cut it into quarters because it got slippery and harder for my son to handle. Also if your onion is really fragrant you may want to let it sit after cutting it, this will help avoid any crying or onion juice getting in little eyes!
  3. Pour some different colors of paint ( or just one) in a small dish and have your child mix it, this has become my son’s favorite part of art time!
  4. Dip your onion into the paint and go for it! I did the first few prints on the page to show my son what to do.
  5. Add a new color and if you want cut the onion into a different shape!


Books!

 

 

” Babar Learns To Cook” by Laurent de Brunhoff is an okay story for preschoolers, the story itself is not too special, but I love the end! When you read as many children’s books as most parents do sometimes finding something that tickles your funny bone is a breath of fresh air. At the end of the book everyone is given chef’s hats, well all the male elephants, much to the dismay of Flora who proclaims this unfair, and her mother Celeste backs her up! As I was reading the book for the first time I too declared this unfair out loud, so I was happy when it was worked into the story. The funniest part though is that the old lady decides against wearing the chef’s hat because she doesn’t think she’d look good in it. You can tell this is a French book!

” One Hungry Monster” by Susan Heyboer O’Keefe is a fun counting book that is great for all ages of young kids. My son will sit for the first 5-6 pages, even though the whole book is too long for him now. The book is a counting book and kids who are learning their numbers love these sorts of books, it also has a small lesson about manners since the monsters really lack any!

Paper Plate Elephant Craft


  1. Gather your materials. You will need a paper plate, some construction paper( 2 white, 1 black), glue , scissors, a paint brush, jar or cup and paint.
  2. I like to make the gray paint by mixing different colors, your child will love this.
  3. Paint the paper plate.
  4. While your child is painting , cut out 2 ears and a trunk using the white construction paper.
  5. Paint the trunk and ears.
  6. While your child is painting, cut out 2 black circles and 2 slightly larger white ones for eyes, and some black strips for the trunk.
  7. Let everything dry.
  8. Glue the ears , trunk, strips and eyes on!

* To make this elephant into a mask, you can cut eye holes and attach ribbons on either side or a stick to the bottom !

Note about crafts: As a teacher I love to do open ended art projects that provide a wonderful creative experience for children so as you can imagine all these crafts I have done have gone against some of my teaching instincts. However when you are working one on one with a child you have so many opportunities to follow their lead, and make even a structured craft like this elephant into something creative. My son loved mixing the colors to make the gray paint, so after we were done we got a few more jars out and continued. Watch carefully and you too will find ways to turn these crafts into a whole host of fun!

 

Song!
One Elephant!

One elephant went out to play,
upon a spider’s web one day,
he had such enormous fun that he called for ______ to come!

Two elephants went out to play,
upon a spider’s web one day ,
they had such enormous fun that they called for ______ to come!

* I like to use the child’s/ children’s names but if you are singing this alone with your child you can use their stuffed animals/ toys names or simply say ” another elephant ” instead!

Books!

123 to the Zoo Board Book by Eric Carle is fun counting book perfect for toddlers. Actually as I type this my toddler is reading it. There are no words, just pictures and numbers and that makes it perfect for toddlers who are just learning both numbers and animals because parents can read it slowly counting , naming the animals and making the animal sounds, or more quickly just counting!

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann is a silly story about a zookeeper and his charges that follow him home to bed. Luckily his wife is on her toes and gets those silly animals back to the zoo ! This book is good for the 1-3 crowd , after that most kids I know have lost interest in the limited text. I love to use this book as a bedtime story.
 Inside a Zoo in the City (A Rebus Read-Along Story) 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!

Paper Bag Frog Craft


  1. Gather your material. You will need a paper lunch bag, some black, green and red construction paper, glue , scissors, a paintbrush and green paint.
  2. Start by cutting a few inches off the bottom of the paper bag, this will make the bag look more like a short chubby frog!
  3. Paint the paper bag with the green paint.
  4. Get more paint and paint the back, and let dry.
  5. While your child is painting cut out two large green circles , and two smaller black ones.
  6. Cut out a long rectangle from the red paper for a tongue.
  7. Glue the black circles onto the green ones to make the eyes.
  8. Roll the red paper tightly to make a curly tongue.
  9. When the bag is dry glue the eyes and tongue on!

Song!


Little Green Frog

Um um! Went the little green frog one day,
Um um , went the little green frog.
Um um went the little green frog one day,
and they all went um um ahhh!

But we all know frogs go ,
la di da di da,
la di da di da
la di da di da
We all know frogs go la di da di da,
They don’t go um um ah!!!


Books!

” Why Frogs Are Wet” by Judy Hawes is good fact filled non fiction book all about frogs. This book is great for the 4-5 year old crowd but the pictures are wonderful for all ages. The text is long so I would suggest reading a few pages at a time . It covers the evolution of frogs, life cycle and more!

” An Extraordinary Egg” by Leo Lionni is a very cute story about three frogs who find a wonderful egg, thinking it must be a chicken egg they are excited to have a new friend when the chicken hatches, even though it’s really an alligator! Kids love this story because they think these are the silliest frogs ever for not knowing that the chicken isn’t a chicken at all!

Earth Day Craft


  1. Gather your materials. For this craft you will need some recycled card board and either news paper or a paper grocery bag, paint, a paint brush, glue and scissors.
  2. Draw a circle and some continents on your cardboard, cut out the circle only.
  3. Paint your newspaper or grocery bag blue using a paint brush and let dry.
  4. Finger paint your continents but wait until they are dry to cut them out, this is because it’s much easier to get toddlers and young children to paint larger things, than small cut out pieces. Let dry.
  5. Wrap the dry blue newspaper around the cardboard round and glue on the back.
  6. Cut out the dry continents.
  7. Glue on and enjoy your recycled world!
Note to Parents: If you are doing this craft with older siblings, you could roll a geography lesson into it as well, tracing the continents from a map so they are accurately shaped and place them properly on the earth!


For additional Recycled Projects Click Here

Books!

Here are just 2 of the many good books out there from children about the environment.

” The Berenstain Bears Don’t Pollute ( anymore) “ by Stan and Jan Berenstain provides an excellent overview of a whole bunch of concerns for our world. It touches on recycling, deforestation, air pollution and more. The text would be far too long for the younger crowd but Pre-K on up would be an appropriate age range.

” The Whole Green World” by Tony Johnston is a celebration of the Earth and it’s beauty. The text is short enough to hold young children’s attention and the illustrations by Elisa Kleven are bright and so detailed you will fall in love! I think it’s important to teach our children to see the beauty of the Earth, especially when we are teaching them to conserve it!

Shape Detectives!

Can You Find The Triangle?

This is a fun and easy activity to do with children who are learning their shapes. You can use any shapes according to what your child is presently learning. This however is too sophisticated for toddlers and may be frustrating for some younger preschoolers too. I used it often as a after lunch , before outside time activity with my Pre-K class with great success!

  1. Gather your materials. All you need is some paper and markers. One color for the outline and one color for each shape.
  2. Draw a picture using obvious shapes. I made a house and a sun, but I have also made shape people, snow men, trains and cars- the sky is the limit. I wouldn’t make too many shapes on one sheet though, you want it to be a challenge but if you make it too hard the challenge turns into frustration and you miss the window for learning!
  3. Make a legend clearly stating that each shape has it’s own color.
  4. Explain it to your child/class by either helping them with the first shape or doing a big version of this at circle time on a dry erase board or large poster paper.
  5. Start finding the shapes and coloring them in!

* I would often tell my students that I wasn’t sure which shape was which and I needed help and then ask them to be my detectives! Also if you are doing this for a class, make one black line master and photocopy the rest, then simply make color dots on the legends.