Caterpillar Craft For Kids

easy caterpillar craft for kids 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.

pom pom caterpillar craft

Start by painting. She loved this and I just sat back while she worked on her hand eye coordination with this step.cateroillar craft for kids

Grab the glue! The glue will probably pick up some of the paint color but it won’t wreck the craft.caterpillar craft fine motor skills

Add on the eyes. caterpillar add 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.

More glue! caterpillar craft more glue yay

Add the pom poms!caterpillar craft for kids with paint sticks

Add on the antennae too! caterpilar craft for kids

 

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.

sleeping with her caterpillar craft

Caterpillar Books For Kids

All our book lists include affiliate links.

bob and otto book

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.

 

very hungry caterpillar

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.

caterpillar and polliwog

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.

Hot Rock Melted Crayon Art

melted crayon on rocks art project for 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.

crayon melting art

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.

hot rock and crayon experiment

While they were in the oven I lined the bowls with foil. I also placed an old tablecloth and foil under our work area.

hot rocks summer art project for kids

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.

hot rocks crayon art

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.

hot rocks art project for summer camp

Start creating. They were both amazed at how quickly they melted. melted crayon on hot rocks activity for kids

They LOVED it and they were very careful too. melted crayon art for kidsI 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… crayon art with hot rocks for kids

The colors mixed and twirled together and were so shiny! melted crayon activity craft for kids

Let them cool completely. We placed ours in our garden for decoration. hot crayon rock craft

 

 

 

Kids Activities Linky

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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!



50+ Alphabet Activities For Kids

50 awesome alphabet activitiesAlphabet 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

outside alphabet activities

Outdoor Alphabet Hunt
Sidewalk Chalk Letter Activities
Alphabet Hunt On The Town
Gardening For Letters
Letter Hose Down
Letters On The Go
Zoo Magnets

Sensory & Playdough Alphabet Activities

sensory alphabet activities

Stamp & Match
Salt Tray Letters
Alphabet Cookies
Shell Letters
Alphabet Sensory Tub
Alphabet Playdough
Touch & Feel Alphabet

Fine Motor Alphabet Activities

fine motor alphabet

Leaf Letter Match
Letter Lacing
Letter Constellations
Glue Tracing Letters
Button Letters
Sandpaper Letters
Rainbow Letters
Alphabet Christmas Tree
Alphabet Bead Spelling
Peel & Pick Alphabet Apple Tree
Cork Board Letters
Alphabet Wall
Alphabet Bead Activities

Creative Alphabet Crafts & Activities

creative alphabet

Painting with Letter Cookie Cutters
Magic Letters
Family Letters
Custom Alphabet Book – Fast
Custom Alphabet Book – Hardcover Photo Book
Easy Letter Rubbings
Disappearing Letters
Letter Watermelons
Alphabet Flower Garden Mural
Letter Monsters
Sparkly Alphabet Canvas
Pumpkin Patch Letter Match
Alphabet Peg Dolls
Alphabet Mail Pretend Play
Letter Snowman
Recycled Alphabet Craft
Letter Pizza
Alphabet Place Mat

 

Gross Motor Alphabet Activities

gross motor alphabet
Move & Groove Letter Game
Build with Letters
Word Scavenger Hunt with Letter Stones

 

Letter Matching & Sorting Activities

Alphabet Sorting

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

alphabet games
Name Game
Fishing For Letters
Letter Memory Game
Letter Dominoes
Jar Lid Letter Memory

 

 

 

Help Manage Separation Anxiety with a Simple DIY Photo Book

separation anxiety tools for kidsWhen I stared this blog I never dreamed it would become my job or that I would go to conferences and speak about blogging to other bloggers. This week I am heading to BlogHer in San Jose to lead a writing lab about brainstorming. As I prepare I can see that my daughter is getting a little anxious. Over the years I have made different little activities for my children when I go away like this Kissing Hand Necklace and Mailbox Activity. I decided to make a little photo book because my daughter has always found peace in photos. When  she gets upset looking at photos of family has always helped her calm down. You can use this same tutorial for any kind of book not just one for when you are separated from your children.

Gather your materials. You will need some self laminating sheets ( or a laminator), photos or print outs of photo collages ( I used picmonkey.com to make mine) , a hole punch, scissors, and a small binder ring.separation anxiety

Start by making collages in a 4×6 size. As I said above I used picmonkey.com to make these because I like how easy it is to add text to the collages. When we are apart page layoutThis is the text I added :

Even if you aren’t tight in my arms, you are snug in my heart. My love for you is just the same when we are apart.

When I am gone build with cars and Lego, say hi to the deer, take care of your babies, and get some fro-yo.

When I am gone I am going to ride in a taxi, wait at the airport, fly on a plane, listen to speakers, teach some other bloggers, and see Ms. Maya.

If you miss me while I am gone look at all these photos and know that love can stretch all the way across the world.

My heart is always filled with you and I will hold your hand again in a few days.

Mama loves you no matter how far apart we are.

Create a cover page.

when we cover

Print them out and trim to a 4×6 sizephoto book tutorial

Use the self laminating sheets and laminate the photos. This step was SUPER easy and I picked up these sheets at RiteAid.photo book for kids

Time to punch the holes!photo book for children

Add the ring.when we are apart photo book for kids

Read the book.when we are part book for anxious kids I had my husband read the book to my daughter and I will read it to her many many times before I leave so that it’s familiar. We will talk about each photo and tell stories about them as well. I find it really helpful to tell my children what I will be doing while I am away as well. I never say I won’t miss them, instead I always say I will and then tell them how I handle the emotions and ask them how they do. Giving them control and not telling them what to do has always helped my children feel empowered with hard emotions. I love when they explain to me how they conquered something hard.  I also find the following books very helpful when dealing with any sort of separation anxiety.

Books For Separation Anxiety

All book lists include affiliate links.

kishand2

The Kissing Hand by Audry Penn is an absolute favorite . Chester is a raccoon who like most of us doesn’t like change. In his case it’s starting school. He wants to stay home with his mama and play with the friends he already has instead of going to school away from her and his friends. So his mama explains to him the magic of the kissing hand . The real magic is the message that we have to do things that scare us sometimes but that the love of our family is always with us to help us through. Go get this book.

Owl Babies

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell is perfectly written for toddlers who are eager to “do it myself” but still need a loving parent safely within view.  Three baby owls wake to find their mom away and as time passes the three all get more anxious in their own ways. My daughter loves this book and completely related to poor little Bill who repeats ” I want my mommy!” over and over.  At night she is very much like little Bill, but during the day she is braver like the other two owls Sarah and Percy. No matter what level of separation anxiety your child may have at times they will relate to one or all of the little owls. Of course the story ends with mama coming back and reassuring her little owl babies that she always will.

mama always comes home

Mama Always Comes Home by Karma Wilson was a last minute grab at the library that I am so thankful I saw. It starts off with animal mother’s leaving their babies, for all different reasons . A bird gathering food, a dog greeting his master and more. The animal mothers leave, but they also always return to their babies. Then it switches to a child and mother. She reassures the child that she will be back and we watch her leave, and return . I loved this book because my son isn’t the best when I leave him, he related to this book immediately and was repeating ” Mama always comes home!” half way through. { I originally reviewed this in 2009 and have since read it many times to my daughter who also needed those gentle reminders that I would always return. }