DIY Geoboard

by Kim

My son had these in his preschool class. I thought they were really neat and wanted to have one at home. Have you seen the prices of these? I know they are worth it, but if I can make one inexpensively…why not?

All you need are colored rubber bands, black paint (helps the rubber bands show up better), ruler, rounded tip nails, hammer, and a wood plaque. You can use any piece of wood, but the store bought plaques are already have smooth routed edges.

I bought the rubber bands, plaque, and nails at Walmart and spent only $5.50. Your prices may vary, but it should be close. Here are the exact nails I bought. I had a hard time finding adequate ones at the home improvement store.

I had my son paint the plaque black with a small roller. This provides a nice even coat with quick drying time.

While he was painting I marked the nails with a red marker. This way I could keep the height of the nails even. I just lined a bunch up and made one mark across then at once. It was very easy.

Once the paint dried I made a grid on the board of 1 inch squares. [When I make another one I will make 1.5 inch squares, to give a little more space.]

Then I hammered the nails until the red line was in the wood. This is what it looked like all done.

It looks a like a medieval torture device, but it isn’t sharp at all. It could still hurt someone if not properly supervised, though.

This is definitely for preschoolers and not toddlers. I would suggest supervising, at least the first few times it is played with.

My son had a great time with it. He was so excited and recognized this from his classroom. What a great way to practice fine motor skills and experiment with shapes.

We plan on making a few more for friends. They were such a hit.

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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.

Shell Picture Frame

One of the best parts of creating with your child is the time you spend together. Parent and tot projects like this Beach Shell Picture Frame  are a special time to not only work together on something but also to practice taking turns something that can never be done too much . Ironically I did this without my son, he was at summer camp all week hopefully practicing taking turns with other kids, and exhausted when he got home. I will be doing this with him when we get back from our beach getaway next week though!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cardboard ( 2x as large as you want the frame to be) , a large magnet , crayons, shells, hot glue gun and glue, scissors , tape and a picture.
  2. Start by cutting your cardboard in half, then cutting an opening in one piece for the frame.
  3. Tape your picture ( I trimmed mine) on the other half  of the cardboard. Trim the cardboard so that it’s no larger than the frame piece , you don’t want it peeking out from underneath.
  4. Have your child decorate the frame with crayons.
  5. Heat up the glue gun. When I do crafts that require the glue gun but I want my son’s input of where to place things like these shells I will ask him before I add the glue where I should add it and what I should put on it. At the very least have them choose the shells to add.
  6. Glue the shells on.
  7. Glue the magnet on the back of the piece with the picture.
  8. Glue the two pieces together and let cool.

More Shell Activities

Shell Sorting

Beach Sensory Tub

Gumball Run!

by Kim

I saw this idea originally here on mumma made it and have been wanting to do it ever since. We have had thunderstorms for a few days so what a perfect opportunity to try it out.

All you will need are pool noodles, gumballs, and a serrated knife.

I cut the pool noodles into different lengths and then cut them in half. You can use scissors for this, but a serrated knife made it so easy (be careful, though).

I set up a system of the “slides” on the furniture. My kids were tickled pink.

I had them guess whether the gumball was going to make it to the bottom or not. This time it didn’t make it.

We played around with a few different ways of putting the slides and connecting them. I challenged Cole to make a system using at least 3 different colors. Here is what he very meticulously made.

He was hoping the gumball would shoot up at the end and into his mouth. You and I know that it didn’t do that, but didn’t understand why. So I had the opportunity to explain (in preschooler terms) about speed, force, and gravity.

We also set up slides next to each other to race. We wondered if certain colors would go faster than others. We had to test it out and talked about why they went equally fast.

We tested out whether the incline would make a difference on how fast it went. My son was really into trying all sorts of angles. I think we did this experiment at least 20 times on different pieces of furniture.

While my daughter didn’t really get into the hypothesis and explaining part, she loved participating in the testing. She would squeal as the gumballs went shooting down the slides.

This can easily be modified using a marble, but I know my toddler and I know she would put it in her mouth. So I opted for gumballs. If I know it is going in her mouth I might as well use something that is meant to be there.

While gumballs are a suitable choice for preschoolers with supervision, they are choking hazards for under 3 years of age. My house has gumballs often (thanks for the gumball machine Grandma) and my children are very familiar with them. I was very confident doing this activity with my daughter. You know your children and if you are not comfortable doing this with them, it is better not to.

This activity was a great opportunity to discuss all sorts of different science concepts with my preschooler. I took advantage of the different colors of pool noodles and gumballs and showed them to my toddler. Overall it was a great activity for both age levels. We had a lot of fun doing it.

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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.

Preschool Math Lesson : Lego Measurement

lego math

Using non-standard units ( like lego blocks, your own feet, etc…) to introduce children to measurement is a fun and functional way of doing it.  They are comfortable with the items they are using to measure, and it’s a little less abstract than a standard unit like an inch or centimeter. They can see and manipulate these units and are familiar with them as well.  My son loved this and has been asking to measure his sister in Legos too.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some blocks ( we are using Lego Duplo), a sheet of paper, marker, and items to measure.
  2. Start by making a chart with 3 columns. Item , Prediction and Result.
  3. Draw the items for children that can’t read independently yet, but also write the item name with the drawing.
  4. Go item by item asking for a prediction before measuring.
  5. Time to measure! Count how many Legos tall it is.
  6. Write the result.
  7. Keep going!!

Math Pretend Play

This simple elevator activity not only boosts number recognition it also uses your child’s imagination !

This post contains an affiliate link .

Bird House Garland

I love pretty paper and before I started blogging I used to make greeting cards and sell them on Etsy.com I still have many supplies and I decided to make this garland to add some more color to my daughter’s nursery, but it would be a cute craft for any kids room, just adjust the colors to match the decor.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cards stock in a plain color, and various sheets of patterned card stock, scissors, a circle paper punch ( ours in 1″) , glue, ribbon, and a hole punch.
  2. Start by cutting your plain paper into squares. I purposefully made mine imperfect. There is something about birdhouses that suggest that imperfections are the way to go.
  3. Next cut the patterned paper into triangles for roofs.
  4. Punch the holes.
  5. Glue the roofs and circles on. Let dry.
  6. Punch a hole at the top of each house.
  7. Thread onto your ribbon, either randomly or in a pattern.
  8. Hang up!

This too sophisticated a craft for your little one? Try Feather Painting!

Bird Books

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!

Bird Talk by Ann Jonas was enjoyable but I didn’t get it at first. I thought that the book was what the author imagined the birds would be saying while observing humans daily lives. In actuality what the birds are saying are the “memory phrases” that bird watchers use to remember the bird calls. The author has matched these up with scenes where they fit. My son laughed at the Common Night Hawk who’s saying was “Pork and Beans” and kept repeating that after we read the book. There is a full guide in the back of the book of all the birds included.


A Poet’s Bird Garden by Laura Nyman Montenegro is an enjoyable book about a little bird who escaped his cage and the poets and little girl who try and try to catch him. The poets come to help bring Chirpie back and each have lovely but unsuccessful ideas to bring him out of the tree. Finally Claude the cat comes out of the tree and then Chirpie and many other birds enjoy all the poet’s efforts ( seeds, yarn for nests , etc… ).