Rainy Day Rainbow – Recycled Art

This recycled art project is great because it never really has to be done, also it’s a cooperative project that you and your child or a group can do together. You can make it for St.Patrick’s Day or just to brighten a rainy day with lots of color.
  1. Gather your Materials. For the back of the rainbow I have used some extra wrapping paper but you can use anything, in the past I have used brown grocery bags taped together and it looked great! Glue is great for older preschoolers but if you are worried about the mess or if you have a glue eater ( I know I do! ), try some double stick tape!
  2. Draw a rainbow, it doesn’t have to be perfect or even good, the paper will cover it .
  3. Get scrap paper or if you don’t have that you can color some the colors you want. Then hand the paper to whoever loves to rip things, my 14 month old loved this part of the project.
  4. Decide what order you want and start putting the paper in the arches.
  5. Keep going and going- roll it up and wait until the next rainy day to add more scrap paper to it.
In my classroom a few years ago I used this activity as an alternative to going outside when it was raining, throughout the week we would save scrap paper and on a rainy day add it to our rainbow. The children who were 2-3 loved it and when it was done were very proud when I hung it up where their parents could see it. A long term project is a great experience for little ones, so don’t worry about finishing it in one try!

Fun with Fungi !

Mushroom Prints!


I love painting and printing with fun things you can find while grocery shopping , when I saw this huge mushroom at the market I knew half would be eaten and half was going to be sacrificed for art!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a large firm mushroom, make sure it’s fresh so it can stand up to a beating, which means no gills showing. Paint- as many colors as you want , a plate and some paper. I am using the brown paper bag from the store. * You could also use multiple veggies- potatoes, onions, and zucchini make cool prints.
  2. Spread a thin layer of paint on the plate.
  3. Start printing!
  4. Add 2nd and 3rd color of paint and keep going.
  5. Don’t worry if your younger child doesn’t stamp the mushroom so that the outline is clear, they are still having fun and painting with a new tool. Older children should be encouraged but not pushed to do it carefully so that they can see the outline. It’s more important to have fun and be open to learning than making them do it “right” .
Book!

Just one book today, it’s such a gem it deserves it’s own day!


” Eating the Alphabet”
by Lois Ehlert is an alphabet book extrodinare! Wonderful paintings of fruits and vegetables seem ultra simple and it is but somehow the way the author has pieced this simple book together is brilliant. Maybe it’s that children learn about food at the table multiple times a day and feel proud being able to identify not only some of the letters but some of the pictures too! From a teaching standpoint I love that there are both upper and lower case letters on each page! This book will grow with your child, and beware it will also make you hungry!

Lady Bug Craft

bug crafts for kids
  1. Gather your materials. You will need some black construction paper, a paper plate, some red paint, glue , scissors and a pipe cleaner.
  2. Have your child paint the underside of the paper plate, we chose to finger paint and if you look close at my son’s lips, he taste tested the paint too.
  3. While your child is painting, using the black construction paper to make a head.
  4. Cut out some spots and thin rectangle. I used a paper punch for the spots but you can draw circles and simply cut them out.
  5. Glue your head and spots on .
  6. Poke two small holes in the head and thread the pipe cleaner through.
Books!

” The Very Grouchy Ladybug”by Eric Carle is more than a cute book about a crabby bug. The Lady bug is looking for a fight and each hour she finds a bigger and bigger animal to fight with until she is unintentionally slapped by a big whale’s tail! I loved using this book to teach telling time, as there is a picture of an analog clock on each page. I would use a play clock and as I read each page ask one child to come and set our classroom clock. Also don’t be put off by the fact that the lady bug tries to pick fights, no animal takes her up on her offer and you can spin that into a great lesson about not giving into people who are trying to pick fights.” Miss Spider’s ABC” by David Kirk has the most vivid and beautiful illustrations. The text is simple and flows well but the value is in the illustrations, they cover all sorts of bugs and are so bright that they will appeal to your child!

” I Love Bugs” by Phileomon Sturges is a rare find. It is listed as fiction but I would consider it as non fiction, as it really is a great factual book about bugs for older toddlers/ young preschoolers. It is really hard to find simple, short books that include facts and this one is perfect. It doesn’t go into the life cycles of butterflies or how lightning bugs light up, but it does use descriptive words with bright and charming illustrations. Great for the under 3 crowd, and useful for older kids too!

Paper Plate Tambourine

 

When I tested the sound of pasta in these paper plates last night , my son who was already in his PJs and ready for bed jumped up from his dad’s lap where he was reading and ran into the kitchen begging for it!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 paper plates of the same size, some uncooked pasta, a stapler, some ribbon, tape and whatever you choose to decorate your tambourine. We used a sponge paint brush , paints and glitter paint.
  2. Mix your paint colors if you are using paints. I love doing this because it’s an easy hands on color mixing lesson , and my son adores to ” mix mix mix” !
  3. Start painting both paper plates. I am using a sponge brush because it helps keep the paint very very thin, and it will dry faster so we can make music asap! Let both plates dry.
  4. Add on the ribbons, I am taping them to hold them in place when I staple . Also this way your child can choose where to put them!
  5. Scoop pasta onto one plate. I am using big penne pasta so that I can space out the staples and nothing will fall out. You can use rice, dried beans etc… but you will have to staple or glue it together carefully so you aren’t vacuuming up rice for the next week!
  6. Place the 2nd plate on top and staple away!
  7. Now go make music!

A Tall Order!

Goofy Giraffes!
I’ve been wanting to do a giraffe craft for awhile but kept forgetting! This craft would probably work best with 3 and up , my little guy loved doing the coloring, but got frustrated with the rest. As long as your expectations are flexible everyone will have fun!
  1. Gather your materials. You will need a paper towel or 2 toilet paper rolls, brown and yellow paint or markers ( I used a brown marker and yellow dotter) , some construction paper, 3 pipe cleaners, scissors, glue , some tape and a stapler. Got all that ?
  2. Have your child paint/color the paper towel roll with the brown paint or marker.
  3. Now the yellow! My little guy loved that the dot paint fit nicely inside the tube, we played this little game for about 5 minutes.
  4. While your child is painting/ coloring draw a giraffe head and ears. Cut them out.
  5. Have your child glue the ears onto the head.
  6. Let the roll dry and cut into 2 pieces, one longer than the other .
  7. Poke 4 holes in the shorter roll, and thread the pipe cleaners through for legs, this is great fine motor practice for little guys! Just be there to help, pipe cleaners can be sharp. Twist the two ends together once they are through. I cut mine to make them even.
  8. Bend the remaining pipe cleaner to make the horns, and tape it to the back of the head, glue and pipe cleaners are rarely a fun combo , I prefer tape.
  9. Glue the head to the longer roll. Let dry face down.
  10. Staple the neck to the body. Try to stand it up- ours is a leaning tower of giraffe!
Books!

” Giraffes Can’t Dance” by Giles Andreae is a very sweet story about a giraffe who gets laughed at because he doesn’t know how to dance. Don’t worry though it all turns out in the end and really addresses the emotions that we all face when we feel made fun of. Very cute find!

” Animals” by A. Barlow is the prefect little board book for toddlers learning about animals and is nice and short for busy babies who are only able to sit for a few short moments at a time. The pictures are so cool that older toddlers will love it too! My little guy likes to “read ” it to me.