Valentine’s Day Lego Challenge For Girls and Boys

lego challenge for girls Lego Challenges have become a great way for me to get a few minutes to check email while completely thrilling my daughter. She loves these simple challenges and for good reason, she is really good at it, and it gives her such confidence to complete the creations without any help. I love how deeply she concentrates and that I can do this with her pretty much anywhere in our house. She liked being close to me and I can set this up in the kitchen if I am prepping dinner like in this post, in the family room if I am reading or on my office floor if I am on a conference call. These are not only easy to set up they are fun, I love creating the shapes and don’t worry you don’t have to make specific items you can do super simple ones like these in our first Lego Challenge post. Here is how we made our Valentine’s Day Lego challenge for girls and boys.

Gather your materials. You will need some Lego bricks ( just make sure you have two of each that you need) , and some sort of tray to contain the bricks. I used a cookie sheet from the dollar store.

Sit down and create some shapes or you could do a pink heart, arrow, rose and red heart like I did for a Valentine’s Day theme. When I make these challenges I always make two exact items then take one apart to make sure I have all the right pieces.lego activities for girls

Pop all the guides and the pieces on a tray and invite your master builder to come and get challenged!

She dove right into the challenge! lego challenge for preschool heart

Challenges like these aren’t just great for fine motor skills and building confidence they are also working the same pathways as puzzles. valentine's day lego challenge buildKids tap into their spacial skills, Lego is a great way to build these skills that are used for daily tasks for our children like packing a lunch box and more far off endeavors like computer engineering and other STEM jobs they may one day have. It’s no surprise that we call my daughter our ” Little Engineer”. lego challenge roses

I loved to see how she lined her roses up to see if they were matching.

fini lego challenge pour sainte valentines

After she was done with the challenge she starting taking it apart to do it all again!

Chocolate Gluten Free Play Dough

gluten free chocolate play dough recipe

Cooking together is one of my daughter’s absolute favorite activities and the only thing that makes it better is to cook play dough we can play with after! This chocolate gluten free play dough recipe was a bit of an experiment because our tried and true Bisquick play dough recipe needs a microwave and we don’t have one. So we changed it a little and the end result was a yummy smelling , soft , and gluten free.  While we don’t have any issues with wheat or gluten many kids do so we wanted to create a fun and easy recipe for everyone.  After making the dough play with it – have some fun chocolate themed tools and materials ready to play.

gluten free playdough recipe

Gather your materials. You will need Gluten Free Bisquick, cooking oil, salt, unsweetened cocoa powder, and water. You will also need a cooking pot, spoon, and all your accessories for playing like some mini cupcake liners, sprinkles, a mini rolling pin, cookie cutters, and empty chocolate boxes.

Recipe :

1 1/2 cups of Gluten Free Bisquick
1/2 cup of salt
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
2 tablespoons of oil

gluten free playdough recipe for kids

Start by reading the recipe and measuring out the ingredients with your child. I can’t do this AND take her photo so we measured them out together and then she patiently waited for me to scurry around the island and grab my camera.

homemade gluten free playdough

Add the Bisquick, salt, and water together in the pot and let your child mix it until it’s thick. Add in the oil and cocoa powder.stiring play dough gluten free play dough

Pop it in the stove on medium low and mix. It’s ready to come off the stove when it forms into a ball.chocolate gluten free playdough

Time to knead it. We added a little more Bisquick and oil as we kneaded it. It smelled SO good!kneading play dough choclate factory

Then it was time time to play. chocolate gluten free play dough candy factoryShe made me some cookies, chocolates for Valentine’s Day, and more with the play dough SHE made. chocolate gluten free playdough recipe

Quick and Easy Reading Puzzles

reading puzzles

Creating activities for your child at home or students at school shouldn’t take you all night. Whether you are a teacher or a parent ( or both ) you are busy. Creating fun holiday themed activities can wipe you out. These simple 5 minute reading puzzles can be done with ANY theme. You can find foam cut outs in pretty much any shape ( right now there are 3 different holiday ones available at the dollar store ) and together with stickers you can make a fun activity for free choice, literacy centers, or as a before lunch activity for a day when we didn’t have school.  I like using stickers because drawing is not a talent I posses and I want my daughter to focus on the word not sit there trying to decide if Mommy drew a cat or a pig. If you can draw grab a sharpie and go for it!

Gather your materials. You will need some foam shapes, we are using hearts because someone is getting very excited about Valentine’s Day, some stickers of things like animals, household items etc… and more stickers with lowercase letters. If you are going to focus only on the beginning sound  ( matching bear to B ) you could use uppercase but now that my daughter has been asking about spelling and sounding words out I have shifted to all lowercase as much as possible. Different teachers ( and districts) will teach letters in different sequences but I have never had a hard time teaching letters in tandem. In my 2 & 3 year old classroom I point out both naturally like when they see their name we take time to mention that their name has one uppercase letter and the rest are lowercase. I use both when playing games and already I have students who easily recognize both as different forms of the same letter. reading puzzles

Stick the object sticker on one sidequick & easy reading puzzles

The word on the other. easy reading puzzles

Cut. I cut each heart differently so that these simple puzzles are self correcting. If the heart doesn’t come together the child knows to keep trying.

easy reading puzzles for kidsI set them up so that the items were out and she had a pile of the words. I did this on purpose. I wanted her to read the word, then find the item. I didn’t want her to see the bear and then scan for a word that started with b. Can you see the difference? How you set it up will depend on what your goals are. My daughter has made the big leap from sounding out CVC words like cat, mop, and fan to much longer words with more syllables and complicated phonetic rules like r controlled vowels. This game lets her do that without the pressure of an adult over her shoulder but with the self correcting feature built in she can get back on track herself if she makes a mistake. reading puz

Put the puzzles together! easy reading puzzles for children

She had no trouble starting with sounding the words out then finding the match. Some of the words were challenging but she’d sound it out initially then look at what other half might make sense. This is NOT cheating this is a perfect example of how children can and should use illustrations in text as a scaffold.

easy reading puzzles for literacy centers

All these strategies in a quick and easy to put together activity.

Easy Valentine’s Day Craft

easy valentine's day craftThis easy Valentine’s Day craft was inspired by these hole punch snowflakes we posted years ago. What I love about these hearts aren’t just that they are pretty , they are so simple and are a craft that you can put down and start dinner, run to the bust stop to pick up a sibling, or put away until the next day. Using a hold punch is a wonderful tool for building hand strength but make sure you have the right size punch that your child can maneuver to avoid any frustration.

Gather your materials. You will need some paper ( great way to use up scrap paper! ), hole punches, scissors, and some ribbon. You will also need some painter’s tape to hang them up without leaving too much gunk on your walls or windows. easy valentine's day craft

Start but folding some paper in half and cutting hearts. easy valentine's day craft for kids

Time to punch, hole punch heartI am telling you this one was tricky. hole punch heart craft for valentine's dayEveryone helped punch the holes. hole punch heart valentine's day craft

Make sure there is a hole in the middle of the top to thread the ribbon through. hole punch hearts

Thread it through and tie a double knot. This was too tricky for my daughter. The hearts are fragile and rip easily on this step. We decided we were a heart factory and the kids punched most of the holes and Mama tied on the ribbon. hole punch hearts in window

Hang them up in the window using painter’s tape. easy valentine's day decor

 

Books About Love & Friendship

books about love

Check out these 14 wonderful books about love and friendship after you make these fantastic hole punch hearts Valentine’s Day craft!

Winter Math Game Inspired by Frozen

frozen party game I had no clue what to name this game. After watching Frozen for the 15th time and yes if you must know I still cry when Anna steps between Hans and Elsa, my daughter and I brainstormed some ideas. We thought about making a Sven craft, then some snowflakes but we already have so many snowflake crafts … then this popped into my head. What if we used my daughter’s favorite movie EVER as inspiration for a gross motor math game? I wasn’t sure it would work but I knew we had to try. Well it did work and she loved it! Using your child’s interests is so important when doing educational activities at home. At school they won’t always get a chance to have such targeted ideas presented to them and at home it’s a great way to entice them to do something educational , how can they resist when it’s all about their favorite movie/book/character… etc… Also worth noting is that this would be a FUN Frozen party game for birthday parties. I’d write names on the snowflakes and have the party goers retrieve their own and the birthday boy or girl grab the frozen heart in the middle.

This could easily be adapted to any theme – you just need a basic shape, some things for the numbers, and stuff to walk over. You’ll see.

frozen party game

The Rules Of The Game:
*Roll the die and retrieve the number snowflake you rolled without falling off the snowflake ( you can decide what constitutes falling off the tape).
*Walk back to the start and drop the snowflake.
*After they have retrieved a designated amount of the snowflakes ( we did 3) they can go retrieve the frozen heart at the middle.
*If they step off the snowflake or step on any of the pom poms they must start all over again.

frozen inspired snowflake game

How To Set It Up

Gather your materials. You will need some painter’s tape, some pom poms, snowflakes, a marker, and a die or two.  You may also want a heart gem to make the center heart. The one we are using was a tree ornament my daughter created herself but seemed perfect for this activity.frozen party game

Start by making the number snowflakes we were just doing 1-6 to match the number she rolled but if  you are playing with 2 dice and working on addition or subtraction you’ll want all the possible sums/differences.frozen inspired math game

Pop the tape on your floor. snowflake gross motorI am too nervous to use this on my newly re-stained wood floors so I stick to our living room carpet. My daughter even helped.frozen birthday party games

Now place the pom poms randomly. These are ice bombs and if you step on one you must return all the snowflakes you have earned and start again. don't slip off the snowflake

Place the numbered snowflakes on the tape. snowflake game for preschool

Make a little snowflake to act as the starting point.

frozen party game

Play! frozen inspired math game

Roll. snowflake game for kids

Walk.

Pick up the snowflake. slip snowflake

Avoid those ice bombs!Slip off the snowflake

Roll again and again until it’s time to gather the frozen heart in the middle. There are so many ways to play with this idea. I hope we’ve inspired you to create something for your kids!

This was the perfect game after a few sick days to just get up an move a little. By using something she is great at ( numbers are her thing) mixed with something she is not… balance not so much her thing… I created a challenging but fun activity.