Toddler Butterfly Craft

spring craftsMy toddler is in the eating paper phase and the fling the paint phase. We are still having fun with paint but when we do my camera is safely on a shelf since I need two hands to wipe down the playroom walls. Today while her brother was at school we made this mess free butterfly craft with ribbons something she has no desire to eat or fling. If your toddler’s reaction to an activity frustrates you find a way to connect and create with them that doesn’t push your buttons. I say all the time how if we make the challenge too great for our kids they shut down and stop learning well it goes for us too. If I am frustrated I am not connecting with my child and getting angry about exploration serves no one. Don’t give up on the messy stuff (they need it) just try it again when you have the patience to deal with their exuberance.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some sturdy paper , contact paper , ribbons in your choice of colors , scissors and crayons.
  2. Have your child color the paper first. I forgot. For really little guys skipping this like I did is probably best, it’s another step that might make it too long. While they do that cut the ribbon.
  3. Fold your paper and cut out a butterfly shape.
  4. Cut out the middle.butterfly craft
  5. Peel the back off your contact paper and press your butterfly on sticky side up.bug theme for daycare
  6. Trim.
  7. Give the butterfly to your child. She just felt it for a minute or two. I just let her explore.bug craft
  8. Hand them the ribbon. She immediately started adding it to the butterfly.toddler easy crafts
  9. No need to help unless they seek it, every now and then I would say ” That’s a nice red ribbon.” or ” You found a yellow one.” but it wasn’t a constant dialog.
  10. They will let you know when they are done. Activity will slow, items may start finding the floor… just know that toddlers typically won’t spend long on a structured activity like this and don’t feel like you are doing anything wrong . We spent about 5 minutes total. This is her “done” she claps her hands once and says “un!”
  11. Put it up where your little one can see what they made and know you think it’s fantastic!

 

Beach Learning

by Katy


Going on vacation is wonderful–you escape from the everyday stresses of ringing phones and errand running. You can keep learning with your kids, though, even if you are on vacation. Kids love learning and most will see these activities as fun rather than work.

We spent a week at the beach with my son Charlie who has special needs. The activities we did were pretty simple because of his physical limitations, but there are all sorts of fun ways to incorporate learning into your trips and I’ll include some more suggestions at the bottom of this post.

One of the simplest and easiest things you can do is collect sea shells.

Don’t just pick them up, though, observe them. Talk about different sizes and colors. You might try sorting them into different piles. I sorted these sea shells into piles based on their shape in front of Charlie. Then we guided him through counting the different piles. If your child can speak, have them count out loud with you–we counted out loud for Charlie since he’s non verbal.

Sand writing is another great way to take advantage of your surroundings. I’ve blogged about the benefits of multi-sensory activities before. Here, mother nature is giving you the perfect pallet for practicing writing. Guide your child through writing letters in the sand, taking time to tell them the name of the letter and the sounds that it makes. We enjoyed showing Charlie the letters of his name and let mother nature do the erasing for us!

As a final activity, you can teach your child about simple machines with a little purchase from the discount bins at Target. For $1.50 I got this “sand sifter.” You pour sand in and then watch as it spins the wheels below.  You can talk about how the weight of the sand makes the wheels spin as it falls through the machine. Something as cheap and easy as this is really the beginning of much bigger scientific topics like physics. I was always lousy at physics–maybe if my mom had gotten me a sand sifter I wouldn’t be in the shape I am today. Kidding!
There are many activities you can do with your children at the beach. I chose simple ones because of Charlie’s disability. Here are a few more ideas you can try if your child is better at talking, walking, standing, etc.:

You can observe local birds and talk about their characteristics. For example, sea gulls have webbed feet, which makes them better adapted to the water.
You can experiment with what types of items sink in the pool or ocean, and which float.
With older children, you can talk about endangered species–our area has brown pelicans and sea turtles which are both endangered species.
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Here are some great books about the beach you may enjoy.

Stella, Star of the Sea by Marie Louise Gay is a little long for my easily-distracted child, but I absolutely loved it and we’ll definitely be trying it again when he’s a little older. It’s all about a little girl named Stella and her adventures at the beach–some of them traditional and some of them less so (think riding a seahorse). The illustrations are gorgeous too.

Seashore Baby by Elise Broach with its ryhming rhythm and liftable flaps was more Charlie’s style. Definitely for younger children, but really cute.
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Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.

Playdough Earth

playdoh earth
This post from contributing writer Katy is great  for toddlers and preschoolers of any ability but especially geared towards children who are resistant to textures, either because of having special needs or simply being resistant to new sensations. Having a purpose to make something like the earth makes an exercise in textures more authentic instead of simply touching something squishy. I love it!
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Before I do any craft with Charlie, I get all of my supplies ready to go. For this project I rolled three large balls of blue craft clay and then several small balls of green craft clay.Play-doh Earths
I placed a ball of blue clay in Charlie hands and then took a piece of green and helped him smash it into the blue. play-doh earth
We did this several times for each ball creating something that looks a lot like Earth.play doh earth
Charlie, like many kids with special needs, can be resistant to new textures.  He did not like the feel of the clay, but we kept at it for a as long as we could. I had wanted to create a total of four Earths, but we stopped at three in order to prevent a meltdown.  It’s good to push your child, but not so far that they become resistant to all new activities.
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Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.

Napkin Ring Necklace

Napkin Ring Necklace

We were at the dollar store getting art mats ( the plastic place mats I use) when I spied these napkin rings. Perfect for beading when hands are still not nimble enough for smaller beads. This is a quick craft to make but one that is fun to play with long after. Make one for grandma or mama for Valentine’s day or use it as a basic patterning lesson.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some napkin rings, ribbon and scissors. Napkin Ring Necklace
  2. Start by cutting your ribbon into a piece log enough to comfortably fit over your child’s head.
  3. Tie one ring on to make a stopper for your rings. Make sure to leave enough room to have some ribbon to tie.Napkin Ring Necklace
  4. Thread them on.Napkin Ring Necklace 003
  5. Loop the last one through is you want, this is just a astetics thing for me I like them all squished together . Napkin Ring Necklace
  6. Invite your child who announced that ” I am too big for this craft.” to model the necklace for all the “Other kid’s mommies”.Napkin Ring Necklace

Books

Norman Noggs

A Valentine For Norman Noggs by Valiska Gregory is a quite cute , it is about a new girl in school who has caught the eye of all the boys. Normal hopes and dreams that she will look at him and fall in love, but all the other bigger, stronger boys seems to be catching her attention. He is kind to her in class though, offering help without being boastful and although he doesn’t notice she does notice him. When he is made fun of by the bigger boys about a Valentine he made her she comes to his rescue. I like that her character was strong but didn’t like that she physically hurt the other boys. This is a longer picture book , my son zoned in and out while reading it, but would be great for 4-5 year olds.

IfYou'llBeMyValentine

If  You’ll Be My Valentine by Cynthia Rylant is a great book for preschoolers because it doesn’t just focus on romantic love or love of a parent and child but rather love of all the things this little boy is grateful for. He writes little valentines to his family members, teddy bear, even the bird and tree outside. It’s very sweet and cute without making you cringe one bit!  My son loved this one , it was perfect for a 3 year old.

Easy Valentine Craft!

Toddler Valentine's Craft

I love tools that help even the littlest child make recognizable shapes, especially for holiday or special occasion crafts. This Valentine’s Day craft could be done with paint and plain paper for the smallest artists or for older kids you could use glue like us, then cut each out and glue them on a contrasting piece of paper for a even more polished look. The sky is the limit, the materials are simple and the result is fun and cute! My son loved it because he needed no help and got to use “sprinkles” which is perfect for a 3 year old!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some heart cookie cutters, a dish,  glue, sparkles, pinking shears,  and paper. Easy Toddler Craft
  2. Start by pouring some glue onto your dish and dip it in.Toddler Craft
  3. Add to your paper.Easy Valentine's Craft
  4. Use a smaller cookie cutter and repeat!Heart Art Project
  5. Time for glitter ( have your dust buster ready… just sayin’) Kid's Craft
  6. Shake off extra.Heart Kids Craft
  7. Let dry and trim with pinking shears.Heart Kids Craft
  8. Glue or tape to a 2nd piece of paper.Toddler Valentine's Craft

Last weekend we featured some of our favorite

Children’s Books About Love!