Woodcut Printing { adapted for toddlers}

woodcut printing for toddlers 1While we were learning about China for Chinese New Year months ago we read about woodcut printing.  I was going to do it with my toddler with foam but my daughter didn’t have the strength or  dexterity to press hard enough into the foam to make a permanent designs so we adapted. This project will work for toddlers but older children will still love it. Woodcut Prints are normally carved and older children can do them with foam ( meat trays thoroughly washed were always my favorite!) , ivory soap and even erasers work . Did you carve yours in math class with your compass? No? Well if you did it’s the same technique. Our adaptation reverses the technique but for a toddler experience I think it was still fun intro into print making.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some card board, good double stick tape, popscicle sticks, paint, paint brushes, some glitter glue ( optional but everything is better with a little sparkle) and white paper. woodcut printing for toddlers 3
  2. Start by adding the double stick tape to the cardboard. wood cut printing for toddlersIt’s tricky but forgiving, even if the tape is lumpy everything will be OK.  I loved to see how hard she was working. You will need at least 4 or 5 pieces in random spots for popsicle sticks to stay on. You can absolutely use glue but make sure it’s all dry before moving on to step 4.woodcut art project for toddlers
  3. Next add the sticks.  Stick them on and press. wood cut printing for toddlers and kids
  4. Add your paint. woodcut painting for toddlers
  5. Flip and print onto the paper. Add more paint as needed and keep printing layering it if you want. toddler woodcut printing
  6. When your child is done printing add some flair if you want. My daughter was adamant about adding glitter. art projects for toddlers
  7. Let it all dry and display or use for wrapping paper!toddler wood cut printing

 

Snake Craft – Chinese New Year

chinese new year craft for kids year of the snakeThis year is the year of the snake and Chinese new year is always a great vehicle to learn about a different culture. Lately my daughter and I have been playing pretend play airplane always landing in China to explore the great wall ( my idea)  and local candy shops ( her idea) . This week we will make some Chinese food together , look at maps and read the books below. At the age of 2  the idea of New Year is still pretty tough especially when we already celebrated on January 1st. So instead I have explained it to her as a party  and the snake is the special symbol for it and used the theme to explore China with her.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some sturdy paper. I adore the canvas paper from craftprojectideas.com who graciously sent me this when I couldn’t find any locally. You will also need some paint, a paint brush ( we used a dish scrubber) , double stick tape ( if you need to tape the snake together) a googly eye, pipe cleaner, paint, glue and collage materials.chinese new year craft for kids
  2. Start by drawing a snake and cutting it out.chinese new year craft for kids snake 2 OK now I admit my snake looks like a worm at best but my daughter couldn’t care less so I stuck with it. I cut mine out in two pieces and taped them together. I used tape so we could get to the project right away but glue would be fine too.Chinese new year craft for kids 3
  3. Next step . Time to choose your paint colors.chinese new year craft choosing colors
  4. Next it’s time to start painting. First with the scrubber…. chinese new year craft for toddlersthen with your hands . My table was dirty so I didn’t bother covering it since I needed to give it a good scrub anyway. Have a damp cloth handy if like us you have to pass by carpet on the way to the sink.chinese new year year of the snake craft for kids
  5. Let the snake dry. We were short on time ( almost nap time) and usually I’d let it dry during nap and finish we had a doctor’s appointment after nap so instead I dried it carefully with a cool hair dryer while my daughter washed her hands and played in the sink. It worked so well.
  6. Time to glue!cheinese new year craft snake craft
  7. Add the collage materials.chinese new year sequins I love sequins and buttons because my daughter is so patient picking them up and putting them on to projects. She also loves peeling them off after the glue is dry so if you saw this snake now days later you’d see a sad no eye no sequin snake.  Interestingly my first thought was ” Well I can re-use those and it was great fine motor as she peeled them off too.”chinese new year adding buttons
  8. Add the eye.chinese new year add eye
  9. Poke a hole in the mouth area and thread a pipe cleaner through . Bend a Y in the end to make it look like a forked tongue.chinese new year snake craft for toddlers and kids
  10. Let it all dry .year of the snake craft for kids

Books about Chinese New Year

My First Chinese New Year

My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz is a simple introduction to Chinese New Year for young children. It’s a board book so if you have let’s say a 4 year old who , let’s say has decided he thinks board books are only for babies, you may want to have him be a reading helper for this one.I had to cajole my son into helping me read this book to his sister but once I started he was into it and enjoying the simplistic way the author illustrator explains the Chinese customs. Even adults may learn something new. Did you know that cutting hair for a fresh start for the new year is a tradition? I never did! The illustrations are bright and cheery and for those of you who aren’t fans of the baby lift the flap books from this author you may want to give the author another chance because her holiday books are really great.

Bringing in the new year

Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin is a wonderful book to explain Chinese New Year and some of the customs that comes along with it to your preschooler. The illustrations are bright and help explain the festivities and preparations that go into the celebration. The book culminates with a fold out page with a huge dragon briging in the new year. There is also a great explanation of the holiday for parents at the back of the book.

next new year janet wong

This Next New Year by Janet Wong is a great new to me book about Chinese New Year. I read it with my kids after dinner and they booth really enjoyed it. My daughter liked the illustrations and the text itself was short enough to keep my 2 year old interested too. What this book did a great job of doing was explaining a few of the differences between Chinese New Year and New Year of January 1st and lots of the traditions . My son related well to the main character, a little boy about his age, and had a ton of questions after the book that the author actually addressed in a authors note at the end. Great book for PreK and up.

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Paint & Paste Chinese Dragon Craft

Chinese New Year is almost here and today we made a Chinese dragon to celebrate the year of the dragon. When I suggested we make a dragon today my son said ” Okay but it has to be huge!” My request was that it was a project that we could all do together. I also wanted a longer project since we are stuck at home in the snow and needed a long project to break up the at home day.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some craft ( butcher block) paper, red, yellow and green construction paper , green paint, a rolling pin, cutting board,  potato masher ( optional), scissors, glue, bubble wrap and a googly eye. Oh and painters tape to hold it down while you create.
  2. Start by taping the paper down and draw a dragon. I free handed the dragon and while perfect it’s not , I am trying to model effort not perfection for my kids and we are focusing on making something fun, not something perfect.
  3. Using the construction paper make triangles for spikes on the dragon’s back and head, long strips of red and orange for fire . If your child is cutting make some long strips with guided lines or blank strips thin enough for them to hold and cut easily. My daughter isn’t cutting yet but she still enjoyed ripping so I made sure some of our construction paper was in strips the right size for her to rip and even made little rip to get her started. Set these aside for later.
  4. Wrap bubble wrap around your rolling pin and grab a potato masher – both will give a reptilian like print when your child uses them to paint.
  5. Spread the paint on a cutting board .
  6. Roll and paint.
  7. They were both into it. I moved my daughter’s booster around to different parts of the dragon and my son moved around the table painting and printing.
  8. She loved the rolling pin.
  9. Let dry – I popped this up in my bathroom to dry while we played , went out in the snow and had lunch.
  10. Rip
  11. Cut 
  12. Add glue
  13. Add the spikes!
  14. He had fun with the fire .
  15. Let dry and cut out.
  16. Hang up and celebrate the year of the dragon!

Books About Chinese New Year

D is for Dancing Dragon: A China Alphabet by Carol Crane is a in valuable book when teaching about China and Chinese New Year, it is more than a simple alphabet book, going into detail about lanterns, chopsticks, panda bears and so much more. What I love about these books is that younger children can be shown the pictures and given a easy to digest synopsis of the text, while older children can read the whole book. The illustrations by Zong-Zhou Wang will make the most reluctant traveler want to get on a plane to china, they are simply spectacular!


My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz is a simple introduction to Chinese New Year for young children. It’s a board book so if you have let’s say a 4 year old who , let’s say has decided he thinks board books are only for babies, you may want to have him be a reading helper for this one.I had to cajole my son into helping me read this book to his sister but once I started he was into it and enjoying the simplistic way the author illustrator explains the Chinese customs. Even adults may learn something new. Did you know that cutting hair for a fresh start for the new year is a tradition? I never did! The illustrations are bright and cheery and for those of you who aren’t fans of the baby lift the flap books from this author you may want to give the author another chance because her holiday books are really great.

Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin is a wonderful book to explain Chinese New Year and some of the customs that comes along with it to your preschooler. The illustrations are bright and help explain the festivities and preparations that go into the celebration. The book culminates with a fold out page with a huge dragon briging in the new year. There is also a great explanation of the holiday for parents at the back of the book.

Chinese New Year Crafts and Books

Ring in Chinese New Year with these fun kids crafts and my two favorite books about Chinese New Year. This year is the year of the rabbit so grab your cotton balls for some fun rabbit crafts. After being away all week I planned to have a Groundhog Day craft and book post ready but my head is still on Tennessee time and so is my baby, which  changed my plan. So if you have a ground hog day craft and want to be featured in tomorrow’s post ( I have books), please email me a link and I will be happy to add it.

Rabbit Ears

Paper Lantern

Cotton Ball Rabbit

Panda Bear Snack

Chinese New Year Picture Books


My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz is a simple introduction to Chinese New Year for young children. It’s a board book so if you have let’s say a 4 year old who , let’s say has decided he thinks board books are only for babies, you may want to have him be a reading helper for this one.I had to cajole my son  into helping me read this book to his sister but once I started he was into it and enjoying the simplistic way the author illustrator explains the Chinese customs. Even adults may learn something new. Did you know that cutting hair for a fresh start for the new year is a tradition? I never did!  The illustrations are bright and cheery and for those of you who aren’t fans of the baby lift the flap books from this author you may want to give the author another chance because her holiday books are really great.

Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin is a wonderful book to explain Chinese New Year and some of the customs that comes along with it to your preschooler. The illustrations are bright and help explain the festivities and preparations that go into the celebration. The book culminates with a fold out page with a huge dragon briging in the new year. There is also a great explanation of the holiday for parents at the back of the book.

Panda Bear Rice Balls

panda snack

I am so blessed , after giving birth I have had so many wonderful friends offer help and guest posts for No Time For Flash Cards. This one is from a dear friend Amanda from ohAmanda and Impress Your Kids , she is sure to impress you with this cute and tasty edible activity!

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Is this the yummiest, cutest and most fun thing you have ever seen?! I saw this idea in a magazine and knew I had to try it. Well, after the panda-monium and panda-venture in the kitchen, I knew I had to share it with you! It’s an easy fun snack (or a full meal when coupled with some stir-fry) that introduces kids to new tastes and flavors, helps them with handling a knife and opens up conversations about pandas, other countries and cooking!

All you need is 1.5 cups of uncooked sticky/sushi rice, some celery stalks and a can of pitted black olives.

sticky rice

Cook the sticky rice according to directions. (We actually made ours with long-grain white rice by adding 3tb of rice vinegar, 1tb of sugar, 1.5tsp of salt after it was cooked)

While you’re waiting for it to cook, set aside a few whole olives for your panda’s ears. Then, give kids a butter knife and let them work on slicing the olives around its’ equator. My 4 year old could get about 3 cuts total on the olive.

panda snack

My almost 2 year old? Well, he tried!

panda food craft

Then take a 1/4c or 1/2c measuring cup and firmly pack rice into it. Turn them over on a plate or waxed paper and carefully remove to leave a mound of rice!

rice for kids

Use your whole olives as the panda’s ears. Then take your slices and use as eyes, an tiny down nose and an upturned smile! Cut a few pieces of celery to resemble bamboo and you’ve got your own panda playmates!

panda snack

My kids loved eating their pandas for dinner (along with soy sauce, broccoli and chicken). While they ate I read them two panda books that I just happened to have in our stash:

rosalie seidler

Panda Cakeby Rosalie Seidler

This is the cutest story about a Mama Panda who is making a special panda cake “that only pandas can make”! She sends her two sons to the market to buy the ingredients. The oldest panda decides to steal the ingredients from his animal friends (cherries from the birds, eggs from the duck, etc.) and then runs off to the fair to spend Mama’s money. While he’s gone, the animals visit Mama and demand their food back. But it’s too late—the panda cake has been baked. So, they all sit down to tea and cake! The animals are happy but when the young panda returns home, he’s sad to see his cake eaten up! This book has sweet illustrations and a fun cadence. It looks like it is out of print but I found it at the thrift store a few weeks ago and couldn’t pass it up!

panda book toddlers

Panda in the Park by Anna Milbourne

This was my daughter’s very first book. It’s an Usborne Look-Through book and tells the story of a panda playing hide-and-seek with his animal friends. It’s perfect for toddlers because of the bright colors, the bold questions and the fun holes and layers on the pages. It’s still one of my favorite books to read!

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Amanda is a former Children’s Pastor turned stay-at-home mom. She blogs her crafty parenting endeavors at Impress Your Kids and her daily life at ohAmanda. She is also a 2010 Disney Mom, a bibliophile and long time lover of purple!