Home is where the heart is

Shape House!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cardboard, I like using old cereal boxes cause they accumulate quickly around my house. Also some paint, a paint brush, some scissors and glue.
  2. Cut out the shapes to make your house. Don’t limit yourself to the shapes I used, ovals, diamonds and pentagons make great windows too! I kept it simple because of the age of my child, but with older children this can be a complicated and long activity.
  3. Paint the house pieces. To help teach colors and shapes, I lined the paint colors up and asked my son which color he wanted and repeated the name when he pointed it out. Then did the same with the shape.
  4. As we painted each shape I removed that color so that he would use different ones, with older kids this may not work and that’s fine, let them have a say on the colors, but with little ones you can try this.
  5. Let the shapes dry.
  6. Once they are dry glue the pieces on. I put the glue on the house and had my son pop them on. Don’t worry if the chimney ends up in the doorway- remember it’s their house !

Books!

” Building a House” by Byron Barton is a no frills look at how homes are built. The bright colors and concise wording is perfect for preschoolers. I love that there is writing on one page and illustrations on the other, makes it super easy to show children the pictures as well as for them to see you follow the text with your finger!

“Moving Day” by Stan and Jan Berenstain is a fantastic book all about moving. Moving is really hard on everyone and this book doesn’t forget about the feelings of the littlest people in your family! If you are moving or considering a move this book is a great book to have on hand. I really like how it addresses the anxiety that Brother Bear has over leaving his old house for his new one!
“A House For A Hermit Crab” by Eric Carle is a fun book about a hermit crab’s search for things to make her house just perfect! Each month she finds another thing in the ocean to add to her house. This book is a good teaching tool for months of the year, sea life and home !

Additional Activities

Build a Fort!

If you have a tent and good weather you can go outside, or if you are stuck inside you can grab a blanket and some chairs or sofa cushions and make an indoor fort! Ask your child what they NEED to have in a house then help them find it and put it in their “house”. Apparently my son’s must haves are his water and one of my mixing bowls!

Paper Bag Frog Craft


  1. Gather your material. You will need a paper lunch bag, some black, green and red construction paper, glue , scissors, a paintbrush and green paint.
  2. Start by cutting a few inches off the bottom of the paper bag, this will make the bag look more like a short chubby frog!
  3. Paint the paper bag with the green paint.
  4. Get more paint and paint the back, and let dry.
  5. While your child is painting cut out two large green circles , and two smaller black ones.
  6. Cut out a long rectangle from the red paper for a tongue.
  7. Glue the black circles onto the green ones to make the eyes.
  8. Roll the red paper tightly to make a curly tongue.
  9. When the bag is dry glue the eyes and tongue on!

Song!


Little Green Frog

Um um! Went the little green frog one day,
Um um , went the little green frog.
Um um went the little green frog one day,
and they all went um um ahhh!

But we all know frogs go ,
la di da di da,
la di da di da
la di da di da
We all know frogs go la di da di da,
They don’t go um um ah!!!


Books!

” Why Frogs Are Wet” by Judy Hawes is good fact filled non fiction book all about frogs. This book is great for the 4-5 year old crowd but the pictures are wonderful for all ages. The text is long so I would suggest reading a few pages at a time . It covers the evolution of frogs, life cycle and more!

” An Extraordinary Egg” by Leo Lionni is a very cute story about three frogs who find a wonderful egg, thinking it must be a chicken egg they are excited to have a new friend when the chicken hatches, even though it’s really an alligator! Kids love this story because they think these are the silliest frogs ever for not knowing that the chicken isn’t a chicken at all!

Earth Day Craft


  1. Gather your materials. For this craft you will need some recycled card board and either news paper or a paper grocery bag, paint, a paint brush, glue and scissors.
  2. Draw a circle and some continents on your cardboard, cut out the circle only.
  3. Paint your newspaper or grocery bag blue using a paint brush and let dry.
  4. Finger paint your continents but wait until they are dry to cut them out, this is because it’s much easier to get toddlers and young children to paint larger things, than small cut out pieces. Let dry.
  5. Wrap the dry blue newspaper around the cardboard round and glue on the back.
  6. Cut out the dry continents.
  7. Glue on and enjoy your recycled world!
Note to Parents: If you are doing this craft with older siblings, you could roll a geography lesson into it as well, tracing the continents from a map so they are accurately shaped and place them properly on the earth!


For additional Recycled Projects Click Here

Books!

Here are just 2 of the many good books out there from children about the environment.

” The Berenstain Bears Don’t Pollute ( anymore) “ by Stan and Jan Berenstain provides an excellent overview of a whole bunch of concerns for our world. It touches on recycling, deforestation, air pollution and more. The text would be far too long for the younger crowd but Pre-K on up would be an appropriate age range.

” The Whole Green World” by Tony Johnston is a celebration of the Earth and it’s beauty. The text is short enough to hold young children’s attention and the illustrations by Elisa Kleven are bright and so detailed you will fall in love! I think it’s important to teach our children to see the beauty of the Earth, especially when we are teaching them to conserve it!

Sponge Painting For Toddlers

sponge painting for babies and toddlers

Sponge painting is a wonderful way for young children to explore paint, they don’t need to have superior fine motor skills to succeed at making some fun marks on the paper. It’s the perfect toddler art activity.

  1. Gather your materials. For this art activity you will need a regular kitchen sponge, some paint, a paper plate or the like to put your paint on, paper and scissors.
  2. Cut the sponge into some good hand size shapes for your child. We’ve been learning about shapes so I made some , but you can cut out fish shapes, letters..the sky and your cutting ability is the limit!
  3. Spread some paint on a plate or tray and dip your sponge in.
  4. I like to mix colors as we paint, it’s fun and keep the kids interested, as well as asking them what shape or picture they are making with the sponge.

 

P is for Penguin

Cut and Paste Penguin

***This is a preschool craft, my toddler helped me with it but I did 95% of this one, don’t be fooled by the picture he was taking the foot OFF! ***

  1. Gather your materials. For this crafts I used 3 foam sheets in white, black and orange, scissors, a pen and glue.
  2. Draw the outline of the penguin on the black foam sheet. I eyeballed it. Also you could easily used construction paper instead of the foam sheets.
  3. Cut the outline out.
  4. Using the black outline, trace it onto the while sheet, and then when cutting it out do so an inch INSIDE the line, so it’s it the same shape but smaller.
  5. Cut out small round eyes out of the left over black foam/paper.
  6. Draw a foot , double the foam so you have two layers and cut.
  7. Cut out a small triangle for the beak.
  8. Start gluing! ( can you tell he’s taking the feet off ? ) if you are doing this with little ones I would marker on the eyes and beak, because these small foam pieces are tempting to chew on and choke!
  9. If you are doing this with an older child , trace the outlines with a good marker and have them cut along it.

One final note to parents, when you are doing cut and paste crafts with your kids, try really hard not to “correct” them on where to glue the eyes, or feet etc… let them put them where they want. Crafts like these are fun but not very creative so let them put their own twist on the craft with a foot where the nose should be. It’s about the process NOT the product.

Song!


I’m a Little Penguin!

I’m a little penguin,
black and white,
short and wobbly ,
an adorable sight!
I can’t fly at all,
but I love to swim,
so I’ll waddle to the water,
and dive right in!

Books!

” The Emperor’s Egg” by Martin Jenkins is a good non fiction book written like a story about penguins and more specifically about how the father penguin cares for the egg. The illustrations in the book are wonderful and will likely appeal to younger children as well as the target 4-6 year olds audience that the text is geared towards. I have used this in a Pre K class and by the end of the year the children were ready and able to sit and pay attention to the whole book.


” Tacky the Penguin” by Helen Lester is such a cute and funny story, your kids will love it! Tacky is an odd bird but when hunters come to get some pretty penguins is funny odd ways of doing things turn off the hunters and saves Tacky and his perfectly not odd companions. This is a sweet look at being different and being happy as pie about being different!


” Little Penguin’s Tale” by Audrey Wood is a funny cautionary tale about a curious and wild penguin. When the tale almost ends in doom and gloom the narrator changes the end a little bit, so the readers and other little penguins aren’t too sad. Still the message is clear that you can’t ignore the rules without some consequences!

Video!

I am not one to promote movies and videos as educational but ” The March of The Penguins” is worth a look for older children. I popped it on and my son looked at it for a second, said ” Bebe” which is his word for penguin and got down to play with his drum. However older preschoolers and school age kids could really enjoy it. There are some sad parts but the narration is such that kids too young to understand death , will likely not catch it. Still if you haven’t seen it watch it before showing it to your kids.