Quick & Easy Pompom Play

pompom sticky window boredom buster for kidsWe have a lot of pompoms which isn’t a bad thing because we like them. We use them for crafts like this octopus , we use them for apples trees and the letter c. Today though I want to share an activity with no agenda at all. There is no final product, no right or wrong way to do it it’s just about exploration. You child can explore textures, sizes , colors and even basic physics. Most of all they will be having fun. My daughter loved this and didn’t just explore with her hands,  you will see she got her whole body into it.

Gather your materials. You will need some pompoms ( you don’t need a vat of them like I have a handful will be fine too), some contact paper, painter’s tape, scissors, and a curious child.

quick pom pom play for kids

Start by hanging up your contact paper sticky side out on a window or wall. Secure it in place with painter’s tape. quick pompom boredom buster for kids

Pop some pompoms in a container and invite your child to explore. She started just adding the pompoms but when she added a really large one that was too heavy to stay on she noticed it left a residue of fluff. pompomstickywall

So she started stamping the contact paper with the pompoms to leave fluff. quick pompom activity for preschoolers

Next she dug out the smallest pompoms and added them giving her fine motor skills an even greater challenge. quick pompom activity for kids fine motor

Finally she decided to see what the pompoms felt like to sit in and sat in the bucket while continuing to add them to the sticky window. quick activity for pompoms

We kept this up for a while and have redone it since. It’s easy peasy and as long as you don’t find the inevitable spill or two of colorful pompoms it’s a lot of fun.

What’s your favorite way to use pompoms?

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Walnut Painting Easy Art For Kids

painting with walnuts for preschoolThis easy art for kids is an exploration of one part art and one part trying a new food. My daughter was never a picky eater as a toddler but lately she has been exerting her control. I am fine with that, kids don’t get to control much and I know the harder you push the deeper they dig in their heels. What I do try to do is find novel ways of introducing new foods. We plant veggies every year, visit the farmer’s market and take our time at the grocery store but we also play with food. It’s not for every family but it works for us.

Gather your materials. You will need a container , some walnuts in the shell, paint, and paper. walnut painting project for kids

Start by exploring the walnuts. We explored the outside noting how they felt and then cracked one open and explored the inside. It didn’t take long before she asked if she could eat it. She did and hated it but the desire to try something new is what I was going for. walnut tasting

Next add the paper into the container and choose some paint colors. walnut shell painting colors

Add the paint to the walnut.walnut shell art

Pop them into the container with the paper and roll it back and forth.walnut shell painting activity for kids While my daughter did this she started off frantically shaking it but then soon became much more controlled. Add more colors as you go. walnut paint activity

We made 3 different paintings before the paint ended up on feet instead. walnut shell paintingPainting inside once the weather turns cold and wet might get interesting with my wee girl who so loves to “hand paint” as she calls it. walnut painting to feet painting

Candy Apple Math Game For Kids

use candy for math Candy is a great motivator. It’s not the main motivator I want to use but from time to time it’s novelty is useful and a fun break from more everyday things. This is a simple math game for kids that works on sorting, estimation ,and counting. When working with kids and edibles my rule is that if you do not sneak any you get a small pile at the end of the activity. My son is a rule follower by nature and did this as we have in the past. His 3 year old sister did not. Every child is different but that rule has worked for me over the years much more often than not. Have pom poms or buttons on hand if you need to swap out or prefer not to use candy at all.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a sheet of paper with three trees on it ( you can print mine here) , cookie sheets to keep the candies from rolling away, candies ( our natural dyed red is sorta wine colored but the kids didn’t bat an eye), a small dish for each player, and a jar with a lid. candy apple tree math for preschool
  2. Give each child a sheet with three trees and a small dish. Shake up the jar with all 3 colors of candies in it and pour some into each child’s dish. candy apple tree math
  3. Have them guess which tree will have the most apples on it by estimating which color is the most prevalent in their dish of candies. candy apple tree math for kids
  4. Start sorting the candies and placing them on the matching trees.candy apple math game for kids
  5. Which has the most? Which has the least? How many do they all have? Count to find out.candy apple math counting
  6. Sneak a few candies… or every single green candy when mom is busy taking pictures of your big brother counting. candy eating
  7. Pour the candies back in the jar, shake, and repeat the game.  For my son I had him figure out how many more the tree with the most had than the tree with the least and do some other simple addition and subtraction by allowing him to eat a few and then telling me how many there were after eating them. For my daughter I had her simply count and sort. I loved how easy it was to adapt to both their levels.candy apple counting game

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Books About Apple Trees

apple picking time

Apple Picking Time by Michele Benoit Slawson  was not what I was expecting , it was so much more. I was expecting a basic book about picking apples at an orchard.  This book is anything but basic, it’s dreamy and while reading it I almost felt as thought I was back in time when a whole community would come to a stand still for something like apple picking.  The protagonist is Anna a little girl who works hard in the orchard along side her parents and grandparents . She isn’t as fast as her parents, but with hard work and the support of her family she reaches her goal and fills a bin! I loved this book,  I would suggest it for preschoolers and up.

Apples, Apples, Apples

Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace will not be returned to the library on time. We got it out today and my son has had me read it to him 3 times, and his dad read it twice. Clearly it gets the 3 year old seal of approval. It also gets mine. The story is more than just a story about a afmily going apple picking at an orchard. It explains all sorts of apple facts but what I really love is that it also explains that there are different kinds of apples and each are used for different things. Since each member of the family is using their apples for different purposes that fact is driven home . Great book for preschoolers going on a apple picking field trip , making applesauce or apple prints.

One Red Apple

One Red Apple by Harriet Ziefert is stunning. I really enjoy this author but most of my praise for this book lands squarely on the illustrator Karla Gudeon’s shoulders. WOW. I just adore the look, and creativity of this book. The story follows the cycle of one apple from orchard, to market back to seed, tree and back into the hands of a child. I enjoy books like this that simply explain the cycles of the natural world to young kids , but you can’t miss this one.  As I turned each page I gasped, it’s one of those books you just need to sit and look at because each time you do you find some little detail you missed before.

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Egg Carton Math by Teach Preschool

{ Please welcome Deborah from Teach Preschool who has come to my aid and offered this great activity for you all today so I could ( and did) have a mostly laptop free vacation with my family. If you aren’t familiar with Deborah’s blog Teach Preschool go now because it’s amazing. I wish I could be a fly on her classroom wall and just learn from her. }

 

Simple Egg Carton Math Games

Start by making sure you are using clean egg cartons. You might even run the egg cartons through the dishwasher if you have any doubts. Next, look around the house and gather up a few sets of small objects that will fit inside each egg cup…

Simple Egg Carton Math Games

I used small cars, buttons, pompoms, and soft blocks for my first set of egg carton math boxes and then set them out with the lids closed and just waited for my grandson to find them and want to open each of the cartons up to see what is inside…

Simple Egg Carton Math Games

As young children are given the opportunity to explore an open ended process such as egg carton math – they are being exposed to such mathematical concepts as sorting, matching, counting, subtracting, adding, comparing, and contrasting…

Simple Egg Carton Math Games

Perhaps the play looks like nothing more than putting something in and out of a box but if you look closely, you will see that the thinking wheels are turning and that is the first step towards genuine mathematical thinking…

Simple Egg Carton Math Games

To read more early learning tips from Deborah

 

Hop over to Teach Preschool!

Deborah Tall

Color Matching Activity

color matching game with butterflies for kidsThis simple color matching activity works on more than just color recognition. It also works on fine motor skills and even counting. I used a butterfly theme because my daughter adores them but if your child is not into butterflies use whatever theme they are into . I wasn’t planning on her coloring the butterflies at first but as I was setting the activity up she wanted to help so I started over and she colored as many as she wanted. When we do activities like these I usually play once with my children and then leave the set up on the table in the playroom for a few days ready for them to play independently.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper cut outs ( our butterflies were pink on one side and white on the other ) , markers in a variety of colors, crayons on the same, and a mix of small items like buttons, beads, and pom poms. color and match color matching activity for kids supplies
  2. Start by writing the color names on your butterflies. As you do the activity you can point out the word and individual letters as well. color and match color match activity color words
  3. Color the butterflies. My daughter colored pink and green and I colored the rest with the crayons. color and match color matching coloring the butterflies
  4. I taped the butterflies down with painter’s tape to help avoid any slipping while playing.color and match color matching preparing to play Nothing like a spill or slip to frustrate a three year old and end the activity.color and match butterflies coloring matching game
  5. Add your bowl of bits and pieces and start matching! color match game for kidsI loved listening to her dialogue with herself when she found a bead that wasn’t in one of the colors we chose. ” Oh so sorry we don’t have your color.” and ” Too bad no brown.” it also presented a choice does she try to find the closest color or just leave them in the bowl? She soon focused almost all her energies on finding pink and only pink beads and buttons. color match activity for kidsThis activity also lent itself naturally to counting. color matching butterfliesCount the colors, count the beads vs pom poms … there are lots of opportunities for learning. color and match color matching activity for kids

Books About Colors

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Hello, Red Fox

Hello, Red Fox by Eric Carle is a fun interactive book about colors and the color wheel. Kids will love the “trick” on each page. The trick being that if you stare at a color for long enough then stare at a blank page the complimentary color will appear! This book is great, but not for a group, a class will disintegrate into “Let me!!” and “My turn!” quickly so this is really is best read one on one!

Dog's Colorful Day

Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd was a huge hit at our house. My son loved identifying the colors of all the drips of paint, ice cream and more that Dog gets on him throughout the day. This is a great book not only because it has counting and colors but because of the language it uses while the spots of color are splatting, squashing ans squishing onto his beautiful white fur. My son loved repeating these words with enthusiasm as he noted how poor Dog was getting so messy! It’s a fun book to read and one that I have added to my wish list !

Brown Bear Brown Bear

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. is a book that can go with a baby from infancy through toddlerhood and into the preschool years. The bold colors of the illustrations by Eric Carle are perfect for catching infant’s attention and will continue to grab it through the years. With the turn of each page the reader is left wondering what’s next, and if the reader is my son he will cut you off to tell you what’s coming next before you have a chance to turn the page. There are other titles in the series , including ; Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?, Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? , and Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? but this one is my very favorite! My daughter has loved this book for years and it was the first book she memorized and “read” to us.

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