My daughter isn’t a toddler anymore and my son is almost as tall as me, but I am preparing to jump right back into the world of toddler art projects as a teacher. I was going over some of my favorite easy toddler art projects and decided to turn the list I am using into one for you to use too. These toddler art projects are all focused on play. Some have an end product but even those few have wide boundaries and stress the experience and not that there is only one way to create the art.
We’ve been doing a lot of home renovations and have a lot of remnants of them around. We decided to use one of these paint stir sticks that always seem to arrive with new cans of paint even though we say we don’t need them. Instead of letting this stir stick go to waste we turned it into a caterpillar craft. You don’t need to sneak into Home Depot to get a stick if you don’t have one laying around, you can use old rulers or even just a piece of cardboard cut in a strip.
Gather your materials. You will need a paint stir stick, pom poms, glue, googly eyes, a pipe cleaner and paint. We used paint daubers because they dry so quickly and we didn’t want to take a break in our art time. You may also want some scrap paper under the stick to keep the paint from getting on your table. My daughter helped me set up the shot.
Add on the eyes. If your child adds the eyes in the middle of the stick resist the urge to peel them off. Let them create, crafts are wonderful opportunities to create while working on so many other skills and there is NO need for perfect little facsimiles. One tip is to provide materials but no example. When you show kids what you are making they will likely duplicate it but if you give them materials to create it remains less structured , the more options for materials the more open it becomes. I usually ask my daughter what she wants to make and have her help me choose what we use, which is why so much of it is pink.
As soon as this was dry my wee girl popped it on her bedside table so it can watch her sleep. I think it may a bit like a dream catcher, watching over her at night. When she attaches so deeply to something she created I can’t help but smile. Excuse the iPhone photo but after so many years with terrible sleeper I had to sneak in and get a shot in the pitch black! Thank you Instagram for your magical filters.
Caterpillar Books For Kids
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Bob and Otto by Robert O. Bruel is a lovely story about two friends who must part ways , in this case because one is a caterpillar who needs to build a chrysalis and the other an earth worm who needs to dig deep into the ground. What I like about this book is that it goes on to explain that the earth worm’s digging is vital for the trees to grow so that the caterpillar can eat the leaves and turn into a butterfly. The message being that everyone has an important job to do even if they aren’t the same.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a classic, that most preschool teachers like myself can recite from memory. It really is a fantastic book, not only does it explain the life cycle of a caterpillar/ butterfly it also is useful for lesson about day of the week and healthy eating. The simple cut outs in the illustrations where the caterpillar ate through different foods is just the right amount of novelty to grab kids attention for this simple story. It was a childhood favorite of mine and both my children have loved it as much as I do.
The Caterpillar and the Polliwog by Jack Kent is a sentimental favorite. I remember being read this book in elementary school when learning about life cycles. It’s more than just about life cycles of butterflies and frogs, it’s about becoming comfortable with who you are. I remember thinking it was hilarious when the caterpillar tells the turtle that she will be changing into something else not just getting bigger and bigger and he replies with ” I don’t blame you.” It made me snort as an adult too. Good for preschool through the early elementary years and if like me you read it as a child there is of course the sentimental factor. I love sharing books from my childhood with my kids.
I have wanted to do this melted crayon art project for ages. I did these decades ago in a day camp but never felt my kids were ready for this activity until now. This is not something I would try in a busy class because you need to be able to really watch the kids 100% of the time. I changed a few things from how I did it years ago to make it a little safer for my kids as well. The first one was to place the rocks in individual bowls. The bowls were safe to touch to move the rock and stopped my kids from reaching for the rock to move it. I also didn’t peel all the paper off the crayons so that there was a “safe section” to hold onto and if they got down to that part they knew to switch and get a new crayon.
This was a very fun and dynamic art activity and I hope that even if your kids aren’t ready to try it yet that you will save it for when they are!
Gather your materials. You will need some medium sized rocks, foil, crayons, a cookie sheet, oven, and as many little bowls as you have rocks. I also lined our work area with an old tablecloth and more foil.
Start by washing your rocks and warming your oven to 250. I popped the rocks on a cookie sheet lined with foil and into the oven right away not waiting for the oven to get to full temp.
While they were in the oven I lined the bowls with foil. I also placed an old tablecloth and foil under our work area.
I also peeled most of the paper off a bunch of crayons. Leaving a handle on each. This was the safe spot for the kids to handle the crayon.
Once the buzzer on my oven indicated that the temp was reached I took the rocks out. They are HOT mine didn’t get hot enough to burn but I can’t guarantee yours won’t, PLEASE DO NOT LET KIDS HANDLE THEM EVEN WITH OVEN MITTS. Have an adult wearing oven mitts place them in the bowls. Wait until you are certain that the rocks will feel very warm but NOT burn before you invite the kids to come create. Test EVERY rock not just one, they may heat unevenly.
They LOVED it and they were very careful too. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get photos – and I didn’t get as many as usual but they were so conscientious about the safety and rules I had laid out for them. If only this ability extended to water flights in the yard…
I am back from vacation and drowning in laundry and the final steps of a home renovation- in other words I have been crazy busy and am falling behind on my blog reading! Show me what you have been up to by linking a couple of your best kids activities and share them with my readers as well!
I have some really fun posts coming up this week and can’t wait to share – but today is all about you!
Alphabet activities aren’t just fun, they are important too. When children are familiar with letters the task of learning to read is much more accessible. Familiarity breeds comfort and we want our kids to be comfortable with letters, their sounds, and shapes. There is no need to drill your child but having fun with letters is a great way to introduce and master letter recognition, letter sounds, and other early literacy skills. Here are more than 50 fantastic alphabet activities for kids from toddlers to early elementary school.
Outside Alphabet Activities
Sensory & Playdough Alphabet Activities
Fine Motor Alphabet Activities
Leaf Letter Match
Glue Tracing Letters
Alphabet Christmas Tree
Alphabet Bead Spelling
Peel & Pick Alphabet Apple Tree
Cork Board Letters
Alphabet Bead Activities
Creative Alphabet Crafts & Activities
Painting with Letter Cookie Cutters
Custom Alphabet Book – Fast
Custom Alphabet Book – Hardcover Photo Book
Easy Letter Rubbings
Alphabet Flower Garden Mural
Sparkly Alphabet Canvas
Pumpkin Patch Letter Match
Alphabet Peg Dolls
Alphabet Mail Pretend Play
Recycled Alphabet Craft
Alphabet Place Mat
Gross Motor Alphabet Activities
Letter Matching & Sorting Activities
Letter Sorting Tree
Pound The Sound Letter Sound Activity
Letter Road Upper & Lowercase Sorting
Easter Egg Letter Match
Match and Unlock Letter Sounds
Car and Driver – Letter Match
Post Office Letter Sorting
Letter Memory and Other Alphabet Games