How To Make A Bird Bath

DIY bird bath

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 .

crafts for kids

Bird Treats
Yarn Nest
Bird Collage
Paper Birds
Recycled Bird Feeder

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.

Egg Drop Science Project

science for kids with eggs

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. This is a classic egg drop science project but my bet is your kids have never seen it so go grab some eggs, and your recycle bin and experiment!

  1. 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. egg toss 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 . egg toss craft for kids
  2. First he lined the carton ( that we cut in half) with cotton balls and bubble wrap and added strips of party streamers.egg toss craft for kids
  3. Then we poked holes in the treat box to make a parachute and threaded yarn through. egg toss craft
  4. Tied it on to the carton.egg toss craft for kids
  5. Added the egg. Closed it up and used a little tape too.egg toss
  6. 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 .egg toss craft
  7. It didn’t crack! egg toss
  8. ” Let’s do it ’til it cracks!”  OK!
  9. 2nd time it hit the flower box … as soon as it did my son said ” I bet that made it crack!” toss craft
  10. 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!

 

Kid Made – Nature Gifts

Guest Post by Susan Case

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.

 

Scratch-Off Chore Chart For Kids

by Kim
chore chart for kids
 
 
My children actually do chores around the house easily. Recently my son has learned about allowances. Great. So I made up a chore chart that are things he can do towards his weekly allowance. I decided to try out a recipe I had for homemade scratch off paint to make this chart a little more fun. kids chore chart

 

Supplies needed:

  • cardstock (this is 65 weight cardstock)
  • Marker
  • Masking tape or painters tape
  • Metallic acrylic craft paint
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Paint brush

 

Cut strips of masking tape and let your child place them on the paper. You can guide them or draw some lines for them to place to the tape on. The tape does not have to be lined up perfectly (as you can see). This is about making something extra fun. ;)

kids chore chart

 

Write down different chores your child can do in each box. Other than the folding towels one above, all of these can be done at any time and without my help. So whenever he feels like scratching off a chore and doing it he can. Good choices are cleaning light switches, wiping off doorknobs, wiping off the front of the fridge, oven, or dishwasher, etc. how to make scratch off paint scratch off chore chart

 

 

Now it is time to mix the scratch off paint. The ratio is two parts paint to one part dish washing liquid. I used 2 tbsp of paint and 1 tbsp of soap. It made a LOT! I would recommend doing a teaspoon ratio instead of tablespoon. Let your child pour in the ingredients. It is really fun to watch them come together. kids chore chart

 

Next have your child stir it up thoroughly. Don’t go too fast, though. This is dishwashing liquid and it will make bubbles if stirred too fast.

 

It is time to paint. Fill in each box with the paint mixture. If this gets on the table or on the skin it is super easy to clean up. It has soap built right in it! I love this stuff.chores chart

 

Let it dry and remove the tape. As you can see, you might want to press down the tape to create a nice tight seal after your child makes the tape grid. Ours is a tad sloppy, but it isn’t getting hung in a museum, This baby is getting used.kids chore chart

 

Don’t be surprised if the first thing your child wants to do is scratch off a square so they can do the chore. I swear, why didn’t I think of this earlier?chore chart for kids

 

I may never dust again. At least I am hoping. ;)

 
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.

Word Family Game

how to teach your child to read

Reading isn’t the only way you can work on reading skills ( although please do read as much and as often as you can ! ) you can also play games to build skills and confidence. This game is designed to work on word family knowledge. Word families are groups of words that share common combination of letters and similar sound.  When new readers play with word families they become more confident as they see the common ending and can quickly read the new word. This game was great as my son read words without surrounding context successfully because of the other words in the family acting as a scaffold.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some magazines or family photos you can cut up, construction paper, double stick tape , painter’s tape, scissors and a marker. teach your child to read
  2. Start by making your frames. Simply fold the construction paper in half and cut the middle out.
  3. Next cut moms, dads, babies and kids out.  Tape them to construction paper making sure you leave room on the bottom to write the words under the people.
  4. Cut out and write the words. The best list of word families I have ever found was here . I tried to do some words I knew he’d find “easy” and others that would be more of a challenge, his reading ability is changing so quickly I was honestly unsure of exactly what would be sweet spot for his learning. Do not be afraid to try something , you can change it as you go if need be. reading game
  5. I taped the frames to the table using painter’s tape. Then I wrote out the family name but when we do this again I will be leaving these off and instead placing one word /family member in the frame to start. These titles really confused my son . After he matched up a person into the family he was golden. I’d suggest skipping the names and just taping the frames.
  6. Play.reading game
  7. He was unsure at first .
  8. But he did it ! The confidence grew quickly.
  9. Soon he was being his old goofy self saying ” Here is your Mama baby !”
  10. The ail family was the tricky one for him and when he completed the family he exclaimed ” I did it!” which is music to any parent or teacher’s ears.

To make this simpler try having 2-3 family members already in the frames and only fill in the blank with a missing family member instead of having to create the whole family.

To make it more challenging provide the frames and family members with no family names ( an, ack, ail…) at the start. Let your child sort and group with no starting point.

Books About Families

Sometimes It’s Grandmas and Grandpas: Not Mommies and Daddies by Gayle Byrne is a wonderful book about grandparents who are raising their grand daughter.  There is no long drawn out explanation about where her parents are, or what led to her grandparents having custody and I don’t think there needs to be. They are her parents, love her, snuggle her, read with her and love her just like any parents.  She does wonder about her parents and shows signs of feeling different but the security and love her grandparents provide overcome those insecurities. The author’s note at the back of the book explains that she herself is raising her grandchild and offers more resources for grandparents who are primary caregivers as well.

Daddy and I… by Eloise Greenfield is a great little board book about the every day things that a toddler son may help his dad with.  From painting, to shopping to stopping for some hugs this book is great for toddlers to see all the things that make up being a dad and caring for your family. It also has a great lesson about children pitching in to help keep a family going too.

Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers and Marla Frazee . The concept is simple but the results are wonderful. The book celebrates all sorts of babies and all the every day things babies do.  My daughter ( who is 14 months) points out all the babies on each page as I read the rhyming text . So maybe you are thinking ” What’s so great about babies and text that rhymes?” nothing, that isn’t what makes this book so awesome. I love this book because of it’s diversity, inclusion, and acceptance of all babies and families.  The illustrations are full of depictions of all sorts of families showering their smallest most precious member with love . What I adore about the diversity of the illustrations is that readers are left to put whatever assumption we wish on the families in the book. What I assumed were two mommies my husband thought was a husband and wife, I thought a lady was a grandma and my son said it was just a older mom. This is why I love this book, my 14 month old doesn’t see why this message is outstanding, what she does see is all sorts of happy babies in all sorts of  families being the norm and this is the world we want her to know.