Age 5 and older
This year when we came home from the county fair my son was the proud new owner of an archery set. After a few days of reminding my son not to point it at this or that I started looking for something to be a target he could shoot at to his heart content! This archery target craft was so easy to make and it’s been played with constantly and I haven’t had to remind him once to only shoot at the target because it’s all he wants to do .
- Gather your materials. You will need a suction cup archery set , some Styrofoam, duct tape, painter’s tape, a sponge roller or two, paint, a dish , hammer and nails. Oh and a tree or wall to nail it into.
- We started by cutting a square piece of Styrofoam and using the painter’s tape make 3-5 circles one inside the other. I was rushing to get this done before my daughter woke from her nap so I wasn’t at all careful but I loved how it turned out. Just make sure the tape is pressed down well. I placed it and my son pressed it.
- Next we picked the paint colors and painted. This is Martha Stewart craft paint and works on every surface- which is rad but it’s NOT at all washable so wear old clothes. The upside is that it’s also great for outdoors. Our target has been outside since we made it and it looks as good as new.
- We peeled the tape off .
- Added some duct tape at the top . I did this so that while nailing it the nails wouldn’t push right through.
- I nailed the first one in just enough to make it hold and let him go for it.
- Next it was time to try it out! Since making the target he pops outside almost everyday for target practice while his sister and I cheer. I love how it’s helped him deal with disappointment and frustration. When he first started playing with it he’d get really frustrated when he didn’t get a bulls-eye but now he can miss the target completely and let it roll off his back and try again.
Are you planting a Spring, Summer,Fall, or Winter garden this season? Obviously this depends on where you live. Here is a fun craft that helps teach your children about the different kinds of vegetables that grow in a garden. I got this idea from my son’s teacher and we did it at home with all of the kids.
You will need two paper plates (for each child), a paper fastener, markers, scissors, and glue.
Draw out some various kinds of vegetables. Be sure to make sure you have root veggies and surface veggies. Oh, and no laughing at the drawings. I never claimed to be an artist.
Let your child color in the vegetables. We got silly and I said that carrots are blue. She was quick to correct me and inform me that I must not know my colors well. Then she offered to teach them to me. So we went through all of the colors. It was fun.
Cutting these out can be a little difficult, so be sure to let your child know it doesn’t have to be on the lines.
Draw a line through the middle of both plates. Have your child cut along the line of only one of the plates. Close enough counts here, too.
For the other plate, color one half blue for the sky and the other brown for the ground.
Now glue the vegetables on the plate. This is a great time to talk about the different ways the plants grow. We also talked about the different ways they are harvested, too. Some are cut, some are pulled.
Take the plate that was cut and label the halves “Tops” and “Bottoms”.
Attach the halves to the decorated plate. Now the halves slide open and reveal the top growing vegetables and the bottom growing vegetables.
The kids are even more excited for our garden to start producing now. We are all prepared to pick/pull the vegetables. Some recipe ideas were also suggested by the kids.
Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.
I don’t usually re-do other bloggers ideas but when I saw this DIY Bird Bath , I knew my son would love it. We get a lot birds in our yard and we love making it more friendly for them. We had a great time painting this while my daughter took the longest nap ever . It was much needed mama and son time and I like how cheery the bird bath is in my back yard even if it does resemble the Stanley Cup.
To see the original inspiration and the how to pop over to The Culinary Cougar.
Here are a few other bird crafts we have done over the years .
Books About Birds
Birds by Kevin Henkes , illustrated by Laura Dronzek is stunning. I love this author but this book is absolutely about the pictures. The cover is beautiful but there are pages that I just wanted to look at the way I look at paintings at a museum. The book is perfect for toddlers and young preschooler, it’s non fiction , simple and has a great flow. The colors are so vibrant I would bet that infants would dig it too! Awesome awesome awesome!
Riki’s Birdhouse by Monica Wellington. I have known about this book for ages but today was the first time I had the pleasure of reading it with my daughter. Like her brother she immediately loved the author/ illustrator and it’s not hard to see why. Wellington’s illustrations are bright and practically tell the story so even toddlers can follow along independently. This story is about Riki who loves and cares for the birds in his yard. He makes them a house, leaves scraps for them to pick up and nest with and of course feeds them. I love how this author keeps the main story simple but interesting while adding in informative asides for older kids or adults. At the end of the book there are instructions for all the projects Riki participated in in the story. You can see more books by this author on her author showcase.
We’ve been having fun with recycled materials and a few days ago when I heard my son say ” I’m bored!” I replied with ” Want to throw some eggs off the porch? ” He’s 5 so of course he said yes! I told him there was one rule we had to make a escape pod and try to protect the egg from cracking.
- Gather your materials. We rummaged through our recycle bin, my art closet and playroom. This is what we decided we might use. Immediately there was talk of a parachute. When I found a treat box it was quickly tagged as a possible parachute. We also used bubble wrap, an egg carton, some tape, cotton balls, party streamers and yarn. Use what you have that’s the whole idea, to use what you have to make something useful to protect the egg .
- First he lined the carton ( that we cut in half) with cotton balls and bubble wrap and added strips of party streamers.
- Then we poked holes in the treat box to make a parachute and threaded yarn through.
- Tied it on to the carton.
- Added the egg. Closed it up and used a little tape too.
- Then we trekked out to the porch and …. wait wait first we made predictions. My son predicted it would be OK. I thought it would be smashed. Then he dropped it .
- It didn’t crack!
- ” Let’s do it ’til it cracks!” OK!
- 2nd time it hit the flower box … as soon as it did my son said ” I bet that made it crack!”
- He was right. I asked him to explain why it would make it crack but the ground wouldn’t. He explained it simply but logically. ” The parachute didn’t have time to help yet and it hit hard.”
This wasn’t a planned activity but it was a blast. It would be so fun in a class to keep throwing them until only one survives!
There is a growing body of evidence which indicates that direct experiences with nature are essential for a child’s physical and emotional health. Studies have also shown that exposure to nature can increase a child’s resistance to stress, anxiety, and depression as well as build up their immune system. Ask your child if they would like to go on a nature scavenger hunt or go bird watching. Their answer may surprise you.
Become as a child yourself as you rediscover the wonder and mysteries of flowers, ants, worms, birds, or critters in a pond. Take a free walk around the neighborhood meeting friends, relaxing, and building muscles as your child leads you on an adventure of learning and awe. Bring a sack or basket to collect some of the treasures that you discover.
My friend Katie from Mommy with Selective Memory took these photographs of her twenty-two month-old Little Buddy and three-year-old Munchkin Girl on an outdoor adventure.
Little Munchkin and Buddy took a nature walk with mom, gathering some of nature’s beauty.
When they returned home with their sack of treasures, they helped mom make a Salt Dough mixture so they could make a keepsake.
The children enjoyed combining the ingredients and feeling the texture of the salt dough.
Then they pressed their nature objects into the dough.
Mom baked the keepsakes to harden them. Now they can be used as a gift to grandma on Mother’s Day or kept in their special Treasure Box as a reminder of a fun outdoor adventure.
I asked Katie if the nature walk and salt dough recipe was enjoyable for her children. This was her response: “Yes, they had so much fun they wanted to go back outside and collect more stuff! They spent the next 30 minutes happily collecting outside and talking to each other about all the things outdoors. It was really cute.” If you need a laugh, click here to see what Little Buddy collected the next time Katie gave him a sack.
Salt Dough Recipe:
1 cup of salt
1 cup of flour
½ cup water
In a large bowl, combine the salt and flour.
Make a well in the salt/flour mixture and add the water.
Knead until smooth and shape into a ball (can wrap in plastic or store in airtight container for later use).
Press flat and add objects.
Put on baking sheet in oven at 100 degrees C or 200 F for 2-3 hours, or if hot weather, may dry outside for several days in the sun.
Check out these posts that have more ways you can use your nature collections. Pattern Naturally has ideas for children to learn math by using objects found in nature. Also, Why Craft? Why Art? will give you more ideas and reasons why the art process is so important for children to experience.
Susan Case is a retired teacher, now author and blogger. You can visit her at Kindergarten for Teachers and Parents.