We needed some extra happy cheer in our playroom after a week of cold, gloomy weather. My kids had fun making something cheerful for their playroom while working on fine motor skills, color recognition and counting. Oh and cooperative projects like these were always the very first thing I’d set up for my class ( and now my kids) when bickering started popping up. Working together has a great way of allowing them to work out their differences and feel like a team again.
- Gather your materials. You will need some contact paper ( or craft paper with double stick tape ) , many sheets of all different color paper, a heart punch, and markers in every color of the rainbow.
- Start by pinning the contact paper to the wall sticky side out. I prefer contact paper because it allows kids to change where they put a heart if they don’t like their original placement. I pop the paper on with the backing still on then peel. I find it way easier than putting in on with the sticky already exposed.
- Next punch out a whole bunch of hearts. My kids helped with some but I did most of the punching .
- Draw the rainbow with markers directly on the contact paper.
- Set up a heart station ( ours was a plate and a stool) by the contact paper.
- Let them at it.My daughter liked taking her time finding the exact right spot for each heart. My son liked gathering a handful of one color and adding them on in a bunch. Clearly they weren’t having any fun at all.
- My daughter fizzled out about half way through, if I was making this for just toddlers I’d make a much much smaller rainbow and maybe larger hearts as well. My son and I had a race to see which colors could be filled in first. I was reminded how much I love just working on something like this with my kids. It really does make you feel more like a team and is by far the number one reason we do projects together. He counted each color to see which won and noticed that of course the first few colors would have more than the last few. I love it when learning like that comes so naturally in a self directed way.
- All done. Now our gloomy winter weather can’t bring us down.
I was going to wait a few days to post this because it’s similar to our Sticky Wall Christmas Tree but after posting this picture on our Facebook wall I had so many questions about what it was I promised to post it asap. This color matching activity has a Christmas theme but could easily be simple polka dots for any time of year. My toddler loved this and we have played with it multiple times . I think her favorite thing is all I have to do is set it up after that she is good to go.
- Gather your materials. You will need some wrapping paper for the background, ribbon, double stick tape, painter’s tape. scissors, contact paper, jar lids in various colors and paper in the same colors as the lids.
- Start by tracing the lids on your colored paper and cutting out.
- Put your wrapping paper on the wall with painter’s tape. Using the double stick tape stick the ribbon on in various lengths and add the colored paper circle on the end.
- Cover with contact paper **sticky side out**. The trick to doing this is to peel a little of the backing off and use push pins to keep is secure while peeling the rest off. Trim if you need to.
- Pop the lids in a box or basket as an invitation to play. I left 2 lids on their match as a guide for my daughter.
- She immediately started matching them up. The one thing I did have to help her with was to make sure she put the lids on with the outside on the wall. The other way will result in many falling lids , a very frustrated 2 year old and not a lot of learning. She was so proud she yet again asked for a all done picture, this may be a start of a trend.
- Interestingly she quickly noticed that there were extras in the box and started adding them to the wall . Simple matching turned to sorting naturally. I loved it!
My daughter is a natural color matcher. Although you most often see her in her PJs my daughter is a stickler for matching accessories and can be heard saying ” It matches , look Mama dat toy matches me dress!” often. I knew she would like this activity but I was still happily surprised by the concentration she showed while doing it .This activity not only for color recognitions it is great for both fine motor development and eye hand coordination too.We called it a turkey feather match since we’ve been talking a lot about turkeys and Thanksgiving but you could do this any time of year.
- Gather your materials. You will need some styrafoam ,colored feathers, permanent markers in colors that match your feathers. That’s it!
- Start by making dots on the styrafoam with the markers.
- Invite your best color matcher to do their thing! I showed her how to do the first one and then she was off!
- She pointed out extra dots that we had no feathers for. Luckily I hadn’t put all the feathers out and was able to get a few more for her to match.
- And she did.
This is a fun and easy Easter craft for kids. We did this at a play date where the ages ranged from 20 months to 8 years old and every kid loved it! I am going to do a variation of this with and Easter Egg and more paint colors for the Sunday school class I am teaching this week. Kids love using silly things like big marshmallows to paint and that novelty is a great way to make holiday crafts like these a little more special.
- Gather your materials. You will need some big marshmallows. construction paper, scissors, white paint, glue, a plate or two and some Easter grass.
- Start by drawing and cutting out an outline of a bunny in a few different colors of construction paper. I let the kids choose the colors.
- Spread some paint on a plate and pop in the marshmallows.
- The marshmallows were stamping like crazy!
- My daughter ( who was the youngest) spent a good amount of time squishing her marshmallow but amazes us all that it never even grazed her mouth.
- After painting the kids chose another sheet of paper , added glue and popped the bunny on.
- Then we added a little more glue for the grass at the bottom. My son and his buddy worked together to get the stubborn glue from the bottle. This craft time was packed with the kids helping each other , both of us moms were taken aback by how we really had nothing to do but take pictures and get a paper towel for one glue spill.
- The grass got added on and my daughter peeled her bunny off a few times. Apparently she wanted to add the grass then the bunny, once that was understood it was all good. Then we let them dry while the four played. I love how each bunny was unique.
Easy Easter Color Match
After we did this I had a few bunnies left over, silly me wasn’t expecting my son or his buddy to want a black or red bunny so we had a few more traditionally colored Easter ones left over. I grabbed them and a few plastic eggs and my daughter and I played color match. Short little games like these are really the bulk of our Mama directed learning. We spend a few minutes here, a few minutes there with my ideas and the rest of the time I follow her explorations. She is just starting to learn her colors so small bursts are a perfect way to introduce it.
Stars , space and rockets are a theme that has never really lost it’s luster at our house. My son who is 5 1/2 is not as keen on sensory tubs as he once was ( or so I thought) so I set this one up with a little reading and matching activity. If I was doing this for younger kids I would have a few rocket ships and a few cups for pouring and transferring and skip the matching activity completely. As it turned out I misjudged my son and you will see that even at 5 1/2 that simple is wonderful.It’s great for space themes, learning about shapes and even fine motor practice!
- Gather your materials. For the sensory tub you will need dried black beans, bright star buttons and some tools like spoons and containers to dig and pour. For the matching activity I also used a chocolate box liner, some paper, scissors and marker.
- Pour the beans and the buttons in. You could add sparkles but you will never be able to use the beans for another non sparkly tub again and cleaning it off the buttons if you want will be impossible. I like to re-use my sensory tub innards so we kept it simple.
- If you want to make the matching container you can do it a few ways. For my son I wrote the words including light and dark blue and hot pink because we’ve been talking about different shades of colors. For pre readers simply use a marker in each color to write the word.
- Other than setting up I just let him go. He read all the words to start.
- Then got down to business sorting and matching. Don’t be surprised if they start counting while they sort. Everything is a competition at our house right now and so as he was sorting he was keeping me updated to which color was in the lead.
- After he’d had enough he filled the extra squares with beans using his hands , then grabbed a spoon, dumped the buttons out and and started carefully scooping the into the little squares one by one.
- Then we got a big container and filled it ( with the pot from our play kitchen) so his little sister could enjoy the stars too. She loves rolling it around and how loud it is when she does.
So even though I had a more directed activity ready I am thrilled he used it as a start but then directed the rest himself. I am just glad we had all the tools he needed.