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.

Caterpillars Don’t Meow !

Classic Egg Carton Caterpillar
This is a classic craft but hopefully some of my tips will help you enjoy craft time a little more!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need an egg carton, some paint, a pipe cleaner, some sharp scissors, a paint brush and some markers.
  2. Start by painting the egg carton. My tip with this step is to leave the whole egg carton intact even though you will only need to use half of it. It makes it easier for little guys to paint, and you to hold or tape down for them.
  3. Add more colors of paint. My tip here is for parents to add the paint to the egg carton with really young preschoolers or toddlers. What I do is ask my son what color he wants, then put a small amount on and he brushes it.
  4. Let the paint dry.
  5. Cut the egg carton in two length wise .
  6. Poke 2 holes in the top of the first section.
  7. Thread your pipe cleaner through.
  8. Twist the ends however you want!
  9. Add some eyes and a mouth with markers if you have little guys, or use googley eyes with older ones.
Song!

The Little Caterpillar
( to the tune of The Itsy Bitsy Spider)

The little caterpillar snuggled on a leaf,
Spun a little chrysalis and then fell asleep,
While she was sleeping she dreamed that she could fly,
When she woke up she was a butterfly!

*Sorry no video today, I am sick and I sounded worse than usual, and I don’t want to frighten your kids! I will try to upload one soon!

Books!

” Percival the Plain Little Caterpillar” by Helen Brawley is one of my son’s favorite books right now, due to the fact that there are shiny and shimmery pictures throughout! The story though leaves something to be desired, as the message seems to be that being plain is bad and the only fix for poor Percival is when he turns into a beautiful butterfly! When reading this to my class I would often interject with Questions to my students about what they thought was cool about Percival, and that combated the undesirable message that you have to be beautiful to be worthy.

” The Crunching Munching Caterpillar” by Sheridan Cain is another story about a caterpillar who is not happy about his lot in life. There is a fair bit of language that some parents would object to. This caterpillar is often reminded that he is too fat to fly- so that poses a few challenges to parents like myself who are trying to instill healthy body images as well as using respectful words with others in our children. I have dealt with this book in two ways, first by saying that the caterpillar is getting fat but it’s a good thing because he will be sleeping for a long time in his chrysalis and needs that fat to live. Also I have simply replaced fat with big, a word that is much less ugly to many people’s ears.


” The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle is the standard that neither of the previous books come close to meeting. This is a classic and a personal favorite of mine from Kindergarten! This book helps to teach days of the week, counting and even has a great message about healthy eating! While this book states that the caterpillar gets big and fat, it’s said as a statement not a judgement which is much more appropriate in my opinion. If you don’t have this book you need it!

B is for Bird !

Recycled Bird Feeder!

Some times nature needs a little bribe to come close, here is how to make that bribe!
  1. Gather your materials. You will need an empty Milk Carton, a bamboo skewer, dowel or chopstick , scissors, ribbon and birdseed. You can also paint the feeder with non toxic paint, but if you live in a wet climate like myself I would and did skip this step!
  2. Cut an opening in the milk carton. You will want it to start about an inch from the bottom.
  3. When that is done poke a hole under that for the dowel/chopstick and one on the opposite side of the carton.
  4. Poke the dowel through.
  5. Poke a hole in the top of the carton for the ribbon that will be used to hang the feeder. Thread the ribbon through and knot it, you can use twine or string too, I am just using what I had available.
  6. Fill with bird seed.
  7. Hang it outside and wait for the birds… I am still waiting but I am hoping we see some soon!

Feather Painting !

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paint, a few feathers, a small plate and some paper .
  1. Spread a little paint on the plate.
  2. Dip your feather in and start painting. Toddlers are quick to discover how the feather with paint on it tastes!
  3. Add more colors of paint , and you will probably have to get a new feather after painting a while, they aren’t very sturdy!

Under the Sea !

Paper Bag Octopus!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a paper bag, a magazine or newspaper, some paint, a brush and some tape.
  2. Start by painting your bag, open it up to paint all the sides. I like to use a few different colors to make a fun multicolored octopus!
  3. Paint the bottom of the bag last and let dry.
  4. Rip some pages out of a magazine and crumple them into balls.
  5. Stuff your bag and put a piece of tape tightly around the gathered bag.
  6. Cut the remaining bag into 8 tentacles. Add eyes by using a marker with younger children or googly eyes with older ones who are less likely to try and eat the googly eyes!
Song!

Oscar the Octopus


Oscar the Octopus has 8 legs
Oscar the Octopus has 8 legs
Oscar the Octopus has 8 legs
so swim Oscar swim!
Boom! Boom! Boom!
*Continue to 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0 legs
and end it with ” Oscar is a fish!” after zero legs.


Books!

” Commotion in the Ocean” by Giles Andreae is a fun look at the different creatures in the ocean. The short rhymes for each creatures are all in all cute and somewhat informative as well! The illustrations by David Wojtowycz are bright , endearing and I think they steal the show!

“Super Submarines” by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker rhymes along as it explains to the reader how a sub works, and all the ways we use submarines to explore deep down in the ocean!

” What it’s like to be a Fish?” by Wendy Pfeffer is a fantastic non fiction look at fish and how they move, eat and breath underwater! The text is too lengthy for toddlers and young preschoolers but older preschoolers will love it!