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

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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

 

Fall Art For Kids – Pom Pom Tree

autumn leaves art I love using contact paper for murals. I did zero instruction during this fall art for kids activity. My daughter counted pom poms, called out colors, and even noticed the size difference of the pom poms. Your child may not label all this learning and verbally clue you into what they are learning but trust me they aren’t just mindlessly adding them. They notice the different textures, they connect the colors to the changing colors outside ( our maple tree is already home to many red leaves), and they create! They are learning even when we don’t say a word.

 

Gather your materials. You will need some contact paper, painter’s tape, pom poms in fall leaf colors in various sizes if possible, and something to pop them in.

fall mural pom pom tree

Start by attaching the contact paper to a wall or window. pom pom sticky wall fall tree

Draw a bare tree on it with a permanent marker. fall pom pom tree for preschool mural

Place the pom poms where your child can reach them and invite them to create.

pom pom fall tree for preschool

She invited her dad to play too.  fall pom pom tree family activityThey played a game where he’d give her a number and she’d add that many pom poms. fall pom pom tree for kids

After  while I was cooking dinner she took them all off noting that the pom poms left “fuzz prints” but only if they were stuck on for ” a little bit of a long time”. She was right when I tried to make the fuzz prints just by placing and removing a pom pom right away it didn’t work. Loved these observations. pom pom tree deconstruction

 

Books About Fall Leaves

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leaf man lois elhert

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert  will leave you trying to find all sorts of things like butterflies, chickens and fish in leaf piles. The book is about a leaf man who blows away in the wind and the reader is taken past all sorts of animals like chickens and ducks, past rivers filled with fish and butterflies in the air. All are leaves pieced together to make these awesome images , some are obvious, some take concentration to see the animal among the leaves. Wonderful creative book to welcome the changing seasons.

Leaf Jumpers

Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber is a beautifully illustrated , informative book that all all about leaves in autumn. It’s not the most exciting book but is a good teaching resource and tool when you are teaching your child about the changing seasons.  I can’t say this is a must read, but it’s useful and worth a look at your local library and will probably make you and your children want to jump in a few giant piles of leaves!

When_Autumn_Falls

When Autumn Falls by Kelli Nidey is a stunning book, the illustrations which are painted paper collages, by Susan Swan are so richly colored you will want more after turning the last page. The text is clever as well. Readers will discover that fall is well named not just because of falling leaves, but also pumpkins falling from the vines, temperatures falling, seeds falling from their leaves and even football players falling! The text is the perfect length for toddlers but not too short for preschoolers too.  Cute book for this time of year.

Backyard Safari and Map Activity

map activity for preschoolThis map activity was a huge hit because it included pretend play. Preschoolers love jumping into a fun pretend play scenario and adding a big dose of imagination to a regular old activity. My daughter loves going on safari when she plays dress up so I used that love to turn a simple hunt into a map activity. Reading maps is an important skill not just for the future but it teaches directions ( as we played we practiced left and right)  and uses spatial thinking skills . This took less than 5 minutes to set up and even if you don’t have a yard you can pop the toys in a backpack and try this at the park, beach, or even inside your home.

 

Gather your materials. You will need some toy animals, toy binoculars ( or make some like these binoculars), safari dress up, a clip board, markers and paper for making the map.backyard safari supplies

I started by mapping out our yard. It took me two tries before I got a somewhat accurate map. You could probably google earth your house and get a great shot of your yard but I don’t plan that far ahead so I free handed it.map activity for kids backyard safari

Then I added and X for each animal. Some spots have two Xs because there are two animals together.safari map for kids

Invite your little explorer to get ready for the safari!backyard safari dress up

Show them the map and go over it with them by asking them if they know what it is. What each part represents etc… don’t explain it all to them, let them explain it to you and you can fill in any big blanks if they arise.safari map activity for kids

Get ready to find some animals. I only helped once when she was really getting frustrated. The little alligator was tiny and well hidden. backyard scavenger hunt for kidsEvery time she found an animal she kissed it and put it back. gross motor safari game for preschoolI explained that when you go on Safari you observe the animals but you don’t take them with you.map activity for preschool  As we went along she found them even faster as well as got into the character , she was running so fast from one to the next.gross motor map gameMake sure you take a few moments to talk about what kind of animals they are and a little bit about them. We talked about herbivores and carnivores and how they are different.  She was very proud of herself for being able to read a map. For older kids have them create their own maps of the yard and add the Xs on after.back yard safari scavenger hunt

Story Books Featuring Safari Animals

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books about being different

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae is a very sweet story about a giraffe who gets laughed at because he doesn’t know how to dance. A cricket gives him some great advice and with new found confidence that different isn’t always bad he starts to dance!  This has been a favorite in our house for years!

Elmer
Elmer by David McKee is another book with a great message. Elmer is different, he isn’t gray like all the other elephants, and he’s a little bit of a goof too! He’s not so sure he likes that though. Like all of us it takes some time for Elmer to accept who he is but in the end he sees that patchwork is just who he is!

Hilda Must Be Dancing

Hilda Must Be Dancing by Karma Wilson is a lovely story about a big hippo that loves to dance, although her neighbors aren’t as keen. See Hilda is bog and when she dances she shakes and rattles everything, it’s noisy and disruptive and is making her friends very angry. They suggest that she try new hobbies, but knitting and singing won’t do it’s simply not in her heart, Hilda needs to move and groove!  I loves that a solution is found that makes everyone happy, that Hilda doesn’t have to give up her passion, but that she isn’t so selfish as to simply say ” too bad” to her friends either.