Paint Chip Flowers

Now that school is out for most of you I have been brainstorming crafts that are a little more challenging but that can be adapted for younger kids as well. This was fun to make and by no means do you or your child have to make flowers, the sky is the limit with these fun vibrant colors. Also you can take this opportunity to talk about shades and hues ! Don’t miss the matching activity after the craft for younger kids either!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paint samples, scissors, paper and glue.
  2. Start by deciding what to create, or deciding to make an abstract creation.
  3. I started with some grass and glued it on my paper.
  4. Next I made flower stems and leaves, and added them.
  5. Time for some pretty colors, I chose to make pink and purple flowers.
  6. Cut out the petals and glued them on.
  7. Now was the more creative part – the “extras” I decided to make some clouds with a dusty blue.
  8. Then my favorite a butterfly!
  9. As it dries the glue will stick but the paint samples will pull away some. I personally LOVE this, I like how 3 dimensional it makes the craft. If you don’t like this just pop a piece of wax paper over it and lay a heavy book on top for a few hours.

Paint Color Match

This activity is not just a color match it’s also a wonderful fine motor challenge for toddlers and preschoolers.
Here are the instructions.

Finger painting with a twist

finger painting

Taking old standards and finding ways to make them fresh and new is something I have always relied on in classrooms and at home with my son. This activity was a big hit, simple and allowed him to make whatever he wanted. I kid you not when he started painting he said ” It’s just abstract.”  I have been lounging  in bed with my art books a lot and someone likes to cuddle and look at the pictures with me , glad to know he’s listening.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paints, a dish, paper and an exfoliating glove or mitt. finger painting
  2. Put the paint on the dish.
  3. Get your glove on , this took some time but try not to offer help unless they ask.  I step in too early and need to work on that or my son will be 12 and I will still be putting his shoes on.finger painting
  4. Dip into the paint. finger painting
  5. Go for it. finger painting My son decided that smacking the paper hard was his technique , there is no wrong way. The glove did get stuck to the paper a few times but no biggie. finger painting Also the glove made really cool sounds when he scrapped it against the paper. I loved all the different senses that came into play during this activity. finger painting

Books About Colors

Hello, Red Fox

Hello, Red Fox by Eric Carle is a fun interactive book about colors and the color wheel. Kids will love the “trick” on each page. The trick being that if you stare at a color for long enough then stare at a blank page the complimentary color will appear! This book is great, but not for a group, a class will disintegrate into “Let me!!” and “My turn!” quickly so this is really is best read one on one!

Little Blue and Little Yellow is a profound book with underlying commentary about race relations while the surface story is about little blobs of color who when squished together turn into one green blob! You’ll be surprised by how easily your preschooler will pick up on the connection between the two. In my PreK class I had more than a few kids make the connection all on their own.

Lemons Are Not Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger is a clever book each page offers a sneak peek at what it next, which my son thought was genius and I have to agree. Soon my son was making his own predictions about what object would be revealed when we turned the page. The book offered so many chances for me to step in and ask my son questions about what we were reading without stalling the momentum of the book.

Sort and Shape Heart!

Marshmallow Valentine's Treat

My son will do anything for marshmallows and he loves sorting. Since this craft itself is super simple I made things more challenging by creating a pre-activity of sorting the colors with bamboo tongs.  Yes many were eaten, we did this on a no nap day and the sillies were at an all time high but we still had fun.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a divided tray, mini marshmallows, some paper or foam , glue and tongs.Valentine Marshmallow Treat
  2. Start by sorting a few of the marshmallows in a tray. I put a few in each section to provide a guide.
  3. Hand your child the tongs and let them sort.Valentine's Marshmallow Treat
  4. And eat.Valentine's Marshmallow Treat
  5. When they are all sorted ( and yes I asked if I could help and sorted a few as well) add glue to the foam/paper in a heart shape.Valentine's Day Marshmallow Treat
  6. Start adding the pink marshmallows.Valentine's Marshmallow Treat
  7. Count as you go! We did 13, 5 and 9 before gobbling up a few yellow and green ones.Valentine's Day Marshmallow Treat
  8. Let dry. Build Your Own Snowman 002

Color Sorting Goes Green

Table Top Recycling Center

Color Sorting Activity

Garbage and recycling and their respective trucks are big hits at our house, as is Duplo. So I mixed the two together for a fun color sorting activity that went on and on ! The simplest things are usually the best. Activities like this mix imaginative play, color recognition, and counting and will appeal to a wide range of ages. You can change up the theme to fit your child’s particular interests too!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some craft paper ( or use the underside of wrapping paper) , markers, painters tape , and some multi colored blocks or toys to sort.Recycling Center Activity
  2. Tape your paper to a table, add a title! As kids get interested in spelling make sure you spell out loud when adding things like titles to crafts and activities.Recycling Center Activity
  3. Draw a conveyor belt – every sorting center needs one!Recycling Center Activity
  4. Draw bins for the recyclables ( each color). I asked my son what colors we needed, he looked in the bin of Duplo and as he called them out I drew the bins.Recycling Center Activity
  5. Start sorting!Recycling Center Activity
  6. Play, we grabbed a recycling truck for added oomph! Count how many blocks are in each bin , find out which bin has the most, which has the least … there is a lot of learning hidden in this game.Recycling Center
  7. We even came back after lunch  for some more fun!Recycling Center Activity

Books

I Am A Garbage Truck by Ace Landers is okay, the story is a little disjointed, when my husband read it to him for the first time he looked over at me in my son’s bed and said ” Am I reading this the right way? It seems like I should have started from the last page?” my son didn’t care, he loves the illustrations and the way the book is in the shape of a garbage truck. I like that it covers both garbage and recycling, and toddlers will love it!

day in the life of a garbage collector

A Day in the Life of a Garbage Collector by Nate Leboutiller is presently my son’s favorite book.  Unlike the next book that focuses on the process of garbage collection and recycling this book focuses on the workers that make it all happen.  From what time they have to get up, the safety measures they take, clothes they wear and how they drive the trucks it covers it all. Perfect for kids like mine that are curbside waving at the garbage collector every week!

Trash and Recycling

Trash And Recycling by Stephanie Turnball is a great book ! I learned more about garbage and the recycling process reading this to my son over lunch than I ever knew! He loved it and despite being a pretty sophisticated book for a 3 year old immediately asked to read it again as soon as I closed it. It explains the whole process from curbside pick up, land fills, incineration and recycling. The idea for today’s activity came from the sorting of  recyclable garbage from this book!

Nature Color Hunt

This is so simple to make, and can be used over and over again. Learning colors in a book or while using paints isn’t bad, but when you are able to go outside and find colors in the natural world there is a spark! I was overjoyed to see my son yell “Look mama flower is yellow”. I love bridging learning from inside to outside and incorporating all different ways to learn into one activity.

  1. Gather your materials. We used a baby food freezer tray but an ice cube tray, or egg carton among other things would work well. Also scissors and a color of foam ( can you tell I bought a big thing of foam a few weeks ago?) or construction paper for each section. A backyard, beach, park…
  2. Cut your foam/paper into pieces small enough to line the bottom of the tray/carton. For younger kids choose colors that you kn0w they have a chance of finding a match. You don’t want it to be too easy , but too much of a challenge just frustrates everyone. If a child is frustrated they won’t learn, our goal is to challenge and learn!
  3. Head outside – my son couldn’t wait to get outside so as you can see he’s as per usual in his pjs!
  4. Start finding things to match. Start off by choosing a color with your child and both go looking, if they have a hard time finding a match find one, and go to it but don’t announce you have found it. Say something like “Hey Bug I think there is a match over here, can you find it” narrow down the are for them, if they still can’t pick up the object and have them match it in the tray.
  5. Continue working together or if they want to work all alone, watch your child explore and make connections, that is exciting and fun too!
  6. After you have made all your matches, talk about what you have found- how it feels what it does ( rock lines a path for us to walk on, a flower provides pollen for bees etc…).

Books!

These books aren’t related to the activity at all, they are just some books that caught my eye at the library and I was eager to share!

“19 Girls And Me” by Darcy Pattison fell short of my expectations which I admit were high. The overall message was great, that boys and girls don’t need to be labeled “tomboys” or “sissies” just friends. The adventures the kids get into are great too. What I didn’t like was that every adventure was suggested by the lone boy. Why couldn’t he take the backseat? There were 19 girls you’d think one of them would have a suggestion. In the author’s defense the girls did suggest things part way through each adventure but I resented that he was always the ring leader.

“Scaredy Squirrel : at the beach” by Melanie Watt is so funny. I love books like this that have absurd humor thrown in. Before you even read the story on the inside flap you will notice a blurb that ends with “This story is not suitable for pirates” it just makes me giggle! The story follows the most anxious squirrel you’ll ever encounter as he tries to make his own beach, only to end up at a busy one! What I love about this book are the details, the small asides will have you laughing and the main story will keep even young ones totally entertained. My son loved it especially the part about the pool being the ocean and the flashlight being the sun, even at two he was trying to tell the squirrel how wrong that was. Super fun and a great message about overcoming fears as well.

“Bernard : The Angry Rooster” by Mary Wormell was a huge disappointment to me. Bernard is proud and when a rooster weather vane is put up on the roof of the barn he is jealous and takes out his anger on everyone he encounters. Here is my issue with this book.I like that the author is writing about anger, I think it’s essential we talk about that with toddlers and kids. What made me feel disappointed was that although people ask him why he is angry , and an adult can see through the illustrations that the weather vane is being put up and he is looking at it, it’s not obvious to a child. I had to really look to notice it. No one takes Bernard on saying his behavior is not acceptable or demands he explain why he hurt others. I want to label and recognize my child’s anger but it alone is not an excuse of bad behavior and that was the feeling I was left with after reading this book. My son just kept saying “Mean rooster!” I explained he was jealous and angry but I wish the book had explained it more as well.