Back-to-School Crafts

Kids are heading back-to-school and it’s time to celebrate whether you wave goodbye as they get on the bus or sit down to teach them at the kitchen table. These are fun crafts for a new school year!

School Bus Craft

Kissing Hand Necklaces

School Year Journal

Personalized Pencils

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Recycled Apple Craft

apple craft for kidsI warned you I am crazy about apples right now, I can’t help it as more kids head back-to-school apples jump to my mind !  This week won’t all be apple themed here but over at my FamilyEducation.com blog it is. So if you are looking for more ideas check it out!  This craft is awesome because it requires almost no supplies, and it’s safe to assume most of us have paper rolls around the house. Oh and it’s so cute! These could also be used for cute apple napkin rings, a useful craft.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a toilet paper roll, red and green paint, a sponge paint brush ( any brush or even fingers will work but sponges work best!), scissors and glue.
  2. Start by cutting your roll into rings, you can make think or thin.
  3. Cut 1 or 2 into strips ( these will be made into the leaves).
  4. Paint the rings red, inside and out. Let dry.
  5. Paint the strips green. Let dry.
  6. When the paint is dry cut the strips into leaf shapes.
  7. Bend the bottom.
  8. Add glue
  9. Stick it on the red ring!

Books!

The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall is a cute look at a year in the life of an apple tree from the perspective of a little girl. From the bare branches of Winter to the pretty flowers in Spring we follow along not only with the tree but with a family of robins as they develop along with the fruit. The illustrations by Shari Halpern are so expressive that a child could easily read the pictures and enjoy this book independently even if they aren’t reading yet. I dare you to read this and not consider making apple pie after, if you need a recipe there is one at the end of the book!

Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace will not be returned to the library on time. We got it out today and my son has had me read it to him 3 times, and his dad read it twice. Clearly it gets the 3 year old seal of approval. It also gets mine. The story is more than just a story about a family going apple picking at an orchard. It explains all sorts of apple facts but what I really love is that it also explains that there are different kinds of apples and each are used for different things. Since each member of the family is using their apples for different purposes that fact is driven home . Great book for preschoolers going on a apple picking field trip , making applesauce or apple prints ( psst check back for a craft in a few days!).

One Red Apple by Harriet Ziefert is stunning. I really enjoy this author but most of my praise for this book lands squarely on the illustrator Karla Gudeon’s shoulders. WOW. I just adore the look, and creativity of this book. The story follows the cycle of one apple from orchard, to market back to seed, tree and back into the hands of a child. I enjoy books like this that simply explain the cycles of the natural world to young kids , but you can’t miss this one.  As I turned each page I gasped, it’s one of those books you just need to sit and look at because each time you do you find some little detail you missed before.

Back To School Kids Craft

This apple craft can be done two ways, lacing it for older more dexterous children and simply using a stapler for younger kids and toddlers. Either way there is something I just love about apples made from brown craft paper or my low cost alternative – grocery bags!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a brown grocery bag or craft paper, newspaper, hole punch ( or stapler if you aren’t doing the lacing), ribbon, red, brown and green paint, scissors and paint brush.
  2. Start by drawing an apple on the paper.
  3. Cut out 2 apples ( back and front).
  4. Paint.
  5. While the paint dries crumple up your newspaper.
  6. When dry punch holes in the apple ( make sure you punch them in the same spot on both front and back).
  7. Tie your ribbon on. You can also use a button to act as a stopper.
  8. Start lacing.
  9. Stuff with your newspaper.
  10. Finish lacing.

Back to School Books !

Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come by Nancy Carlson did not live up to my expectations. It was written in 1999 but the information seems out dated, the little mouse in the story is entering kindergarten but is still unsure of his ABCs and could only count to 10. I know this seems like a minute detail but it bugs me because most kids entering kindergarten are well aware of the alphabet and can count past 10 with ease. I felt like it covered the basics about what a child can expect but it doesn’t go into any depth and I doubt it would ease any anxiety or fulfill any honest curiosity. I hate giving bad reviews but I just don’t like this book.

Miss Mingo and the First Day of School by Jamie Harper is a delightful book. Miss Mingo is a flamingo and teacher who wants to know about her students on the first day of school. She starts the exercise by sharing some fun facts about being a flamingo , like why she is pink, and before you know it the whole class of different animals are sharing. This book not only shows kids that it’s okay to share about themselves but it is full of fun facts about animals in the fine print. I learned something I never knew about a Narwhal! It is a bit long for a toddler but each page highlights new animals and it’s easy to skip a few for those that aren’t ready for a book of this length. This is going on my buy list!

The Kissing Hand by Audry Penn is an absolute favorite . Chester is a raccoon who like most of us doesn’t like change. In his case it’s starting school. He wants to stay home with his mama and play with the friends he already has instead of going to school away from her and his friends. So his mama explains to him the magic of the kissing hand . The real magic is the message that we have to do things that scare us sometimes but that the love of our family is always with us to help us through. Go get this book.

Fall Sensory Bin with Apples & Acorns!

fall sensory bin for preschool This fall sensory bin is a great way to welcome the best parts of the coming season, by scooping, pouring and pinching up beans, apples and acorns.  I usually keep a sensory bin theme for a month or two pulling it out every few days and letting my son explore.  Now that he is a little older my son prefers to use the tongs to pick things up . Using a small dish to hold the material he pinches up is a great way to encourage counting and sorting with a sensory tub.Don’t miss our books about apples

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some beans ( we are using pinto and navy), acorns ( real or artificial), some fake apples, scoops and tongs. I use the same container for my sensory tubs usually , and keep the materials in ziplocs while not in use.  I got the acorns and the apples in the potpourri section of a home decorating store. 
  2. Start by pouring the beans into the container.
  3. Add the apples .
  4. Add the acorns.
  5. Add your tools and invite your child to play!apples and acrons sensory play edit
  6. Pinch and count! apples and acorns play edit4

Books About Apples

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Apples by Jacqueline Farmer is not a book to snuggle up and read before bed or really anytime with a toddler but wow it’s a wonderful resource. I didn’t know how much I didn’t know about apples until I read this book. It’s packed full of detail about how they are grown, where they came from originally, varieties and more! I urge teachers and homeschooling parents to check this out if you are doing any study about fruit, or apples.

iknowitsautum

I Know It’s Autumn by Eileen Spinelli  is  age appropriate for young preschoolers and  toddlers. The book is a simple look at all the things that tell a small child that Autumn is here. Pumpkin muffins, apple picking, cooler weather,  hayrides and more all signal that the summer is gone and the fall has arrived. I like this book because there will be something a child will relate to and be able to identify with. I also love that the family is biracial and there is no mention of it at all. It’s nice to see and I wish more books were so non challant about representing all kinds of families.

 


Apple Farmer Annie
by  Monica Wellington is another  favorite in our house. My son loves this author and I like how simple but informative this book is. Your little reader will learn about the basics of what happens at an apple orchard , but you can take it further if you want. On many of the pages there are chances to learn more, like the page about sorting and classifying, where there are apples ready to count 1-10, and sorted by colors. I love the last page that says that Annie is so happy to have her own apple farm. I loved that message and think it’s a lot more powerful than some may think, women on farms in most books are “farmer’s wives” and I love that there is no one but Annie doing her own thing.

School Bus Craft

kids craft


I love doing crafts with pictures, it personalizes the creation that much more when your child’s face or family is on their creation. Today was the first time we’ve used a glue stick, the reason I’ve waited this long is that my son put everything in his mouth for a long long time. I was worried about him biting off the glue stick and choking or swallowing it. Now that he is over that we had a blast using it.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 3 pieces of construction paper ( one yellow, black and a third of your choice) , 3 wallet size or smaller picture of your family, a marker, some crayons, scissors, glue, and letter stickers.bus 005
  2. Start by drawing a bus on the yellow paper, make a window for each picture you are including. Don’t worry it it’s not perfect, mine was far from it.  Set aside.bus 006
  3. Hand your child the green ( or other color) paper, have them draw the background. My son drew our street, we have a bus stop in our front yard.bus 012
  4. While they do that cut out 2 large black circles for the tires and 2 small yellow ones for the hub caps.bus 007
  5. Hand your child the bus when they are finished with the background and let them go nuts- he’s really into using all the crayons at once right now.bus 014
  6. Cut a long black strip ( to go along the side of the bus).bus 013
  7. When they are done drawing add stickers to the black strip, I wrote out the word BUS and then my son decided to add a ripped T, cool!bus 016
  8. Add glue to the bus and the strip.bus 017
  9. Time to cut out the bus, cut out the windows. While I cut my son sung “Wheels on the Bus”- although we had some interesting bus riders, like his garbage truck, his preschool teachers and my sister’s dog.  bus 020
  10. Before gluing it down add the cut out bus to the paper and make x’s in the window openings so you know where to place the glue and pictures. bus 021
  11. Add the glue.bus 022
  12. Add the picturesbus 023
  13. Add the busbus 024
  14. Add the glue for the wheels and pop them on.bus 025
  15. Don’t forget the yellow middles.bus 027
  16. Let dry.

Books

Cheech

“Cheech The School Bus Driver” by Cheech Marin was one of those books that you read the authors name and think , really they wrote a kids book?  I am here to say this book was thoroughly enjoyable and had a fantastic message about being yourself amidst pressure to be something else.  The book starts out with Cheech being funny but soon you find out the children he drives are all in a Mariachi band and in a big competition! They question themselves and how hip or not hip they are but in the end they are true to their music and themselves.

wheelsonthebus

“The Wheels On The School Bus” by Mary-Alice Moore has been read over and over and over again in our house.  My son loves this adaptation of the classic song so much he exclaimed that we forgot to add a nurse on out school bus today. see in this book not only are there children, but  all sorts of teachers, lunch ladies, a nurse and custodian too. The bus driver even swaps out his driver hat for a principal one as the bus arrives at school!  Cut book and clearly approved by my little book reviewer!

BlackLagoon

“The School Bus Driver From The Black Lagoon” by Mike Thaler is one of a very popular series that includes other school professions like teacher, school nurse and gym teacher! The book is really about one little boys anxiety about going on the school bus.  He imagines the driver as a dinosaur, who races the bus and forces the children to give him their lunch money.  When the bus arrives the driver turns out to be nothing like he expected! I was worried this book would be too scary for my little guy but he liked it , I think the ridiculousness of a T-Rex driving a bus made it all ok and not scary.