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. }

30 Family Movie Night Crafts and Activities

watch and make movie crafts for kidsMovies are a fun way to connect as a family and I love to build on and extend those connections with more activities to tackle together.This list of 30 family movie night crafts vary from super simple to just right for school age kids.  In the screen time debate one of the points that is always made is that watching with your kids, interacting while watching and building new experiences on to screen time is a positive thing.  Crafts, sensory play even a little early literacy are included in this round up. The best advice I have is that when you are watching anything with your children that those questions that pop up don’t go ignored. Dive into them. You never know what new learning opportunity may be lurking in your DVD player!

All DVD titles are linked with affiliate links to Amazon. The activity links take you to the tutorials for each activity.

watch & make frozen activities for preschool

Watch Frozen and then have fun with a Frozen Sensory Tub by Nurture Store , Frozen Silly Putty by Paging Fun Mums , Sled Races by Mom Endeavors, and Frozen Fractals by Happy Hooligans.

watch & make monster's university

Watch Monsters University and then explore gooey Monsters University Sensory Play by B-Inspired Mama.

watch & make horton hears a who

Watch Horton Hears a Who then create your own Paper Plate Horton!

watch & make polar express party idea

Watch The Polar Express and then create your very own Winter Train Table  by adding a few simple things your train table!

watch & make madagascar craft

Watch Madagascar and then create your own Penguin Place Mat !

 

watch & make star wars sensory

Watch Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and then get messy with this rad Molten Lava Slime from Fun-A-Day and Lego Star Wars mini-figs.

 

watch & make star wars craft for kids

Watch Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and then turn those dollar store bubble wands into a rad Lightsabre !

watch & make the lorax movie activityWatch Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax and then create this fun Lorax inspired math game from Inspiration Laboratories.

 

watch & make antz

 

Watch Antz and then whip up these super simple Egg Carton Ants !

watch & make robots movie craft

After watching Robots make your own robot, then remake it, and remake it with this simple Robot Magnet Set.

 

watch & make the incredibles superhero craft

 

Watch The Incredibles and then get your superhero on by making a Superhero Cuff from a paper roll!

 

watch & make ice age activity

Pop Ice Age into the DVD player then play with your own Arctic Ice Sensory Tub!

 

watch & make cars

I have dozens of ideas for activities to do after watching Cars , but my favorite for the summer is a simple Backyard Car Wash!

 

watch & make Lego movie

 

The LEGO Movie just found its way into our DVD collection and Lego Challenges are equally a hit. They are a perfect pair. watch & make cinderella craft

In the movie Cinderella, the animals help her make a beautiful gown and after watching your child can create one with this Shape Princess craft.

 

 

watch & make a bugs life craft

Like Cars,A Bug’s Life has multiple crafts that would be great after movie activities but these is something special about a classic Egg Carton Caterpillar.

 

watch & make brave activity

 

In Brave Merida is a fantastic archer. You can make and play with your own Backyard Target after watching the movie.

 

 

watch & make despicable me

 

Minions are rad and after watching Despicable Me you can create your own Dry Erase Minion to dress up however you want.

 

 

watch & make despicable me 2

 

If you liked the first movie you will love Despicable Me 2 and why not work on some matching skills after with this simple Minion Match from Study At Home Mom.

watch & make lion king

 

The Lion King is a classic and after you watch you can work together to create this big Scrap Paper Lion. watch & make finding nemo

 

After watching Finding Nemo, you can create your own Toilet Paper Roll Fish. Use white and orange paint to turn one into Nemo!watch & make princess and the frog

 

In  The Princess and the Frog Tiana and Naveen spend a lot of time as frogs in a swamp. So make your own swamp and get gooey! watch & make monsters inc craft for kids

 

Monsters Inc is the cutest monster movie and after watching you can work on letter recognition or even spelling with Letter Monsters. watch & make planes movie activity

 

After watching Planes zoom into play with this fun Airplane Sensory Bin. watch & make harry potter craft

 

There are a lot of crafts for Harry Potter , but I love these simple Harry Potter Glasses and Tie from East Coast Mommy because I can’t help but see the opportunity to practice making patterns!watch & make cloudy with a chance of meatballs

 

I love Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in book and movie form and this DIY Weather Station gets kids into the role of meteorologist from their own window.

watch & make tangled craft

After watching Tangled you can create your own Cardboard Tangled Tower from Pink and Green Mama and recreate the best parts of the movie.

 

 

watch & make cars 2 craft idea

 

In Cars 2 the characters travel the world and after watching you can make some Landmark Blocks to play with!

watch & make how to train a dragon craft

 

The sequel to How to Train Your Dragon is in theaters now and after watching the either one of the films you can make How To Train A Dragon Playdough from Kids Activities Blog . watch&make toy story craft

There were so many ideas to go with Toy Story, you could make a letter pizza, a toilet paper roll rocket, or even a cowboy vest but our favorite is this Alien headband!

 

 

Twig & Bead Fairy Wands

twig and bead fairy wand craft for kidsI love exploring in the woods and while my children enjoy it they take it for granted. I love finding new ways to get them exploring their own environment and finding creative ways to use what we have in our yard. These twig and bead fairy wands were so much fun to make. We brought some of our favorite art supplies down to create with twigs. My daughter was all over this idea and I think this was the longest she’d ever beaded anything without asking me to take over. Beading is a fantastic fine motor activity and beyond that it often leads naturally to counting so you can slip some math in there too.  We also had a friend over who is 11 and she used the same materials to make her own funky twig and bead fairy wand.

Gather your materials. You will need some twigs, pony beads, yarn or cord, markers and scissors. bead fairy wands supplies

Before sitting down to create explore and find some twigs. I had found some that would work before inviting the girls to create in case they gathered the wrong size. twig hunting fiary wand tutorial

Break off any of the little bits and bobs on the twig and color it if you want to. I loved how much concentration this required. We used smelly markers because you can’t really see the color on the twig but the scent stayed and made it extra special. twig and bead fairy wand craft for preschool

Bead! Most twigs will naturally get wider at the base but if they don’t you can put a little dollop of hit glue to create a wider base. I just love how many great skills she is using by doing this fun activity. Her fine motor skills got a great work out!beading with twigs and beads

Wow look at all those beads! This is when you will want to casually say ” How many beads do you think are on there?” If you are trying to sneak in even more counting ask about specific colors too. ” How many green ones?” twig and bead fairy wand fine motor craft for kids

While my daughter was beading our 11 year old friend was beading on to the cord and then wrapping it around the twig and securing it with some tape. bead and fairy wands for older kids too

When my daughter was all done beading we attached some string to a bead and tied a knot.fairy wand tutorial Then beaded it on to the twig. fairy wand tutorial for kids

Next we wrapped the cord around the twig and make a handle. When it was all wrapped we tied it a few times and trimmed. magic wand tutorial

Now it’s ready for some serious fairy spells! magic wand tutorial for kids

You can see the rad wand our dear friend made too !beaded fairy wands for kids

Books About Fairies

All our book lists include affiliate links.

 

princess books for girls

The Very Fairy Princess by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton is a cute book about a little girl who loves all things princess related. What I like about this book is that it’s message isn’t heavy handed and it celebrates princesses while sneaking in some very positive messages too. In a world where many parents ( me included) have issues with this whole princess thing and struggle to find that balance this book has it. It tells you it’s OK to want to be a princess and to “let your sparkle out!” and talks about confidence in the process. I must admit though I am a total Julie Andrews fan and I am not sure I’d ever dislike anything Maria , I mean Mary Poppins I mean Julie Andrews wrote.

Alice the fairy

Alice The Fairy is such a sweet book about a fairy who is still learning the ropes. I love the spells she casts and kids relate to her type of magic, I promise! I love that this book is about a fairy but not the Disney idea that we are so often bombarded with. It’s fresh, fun and my daughter absolutely loves it. I have been in love with this book for many years and to see my daughter connect with Alice so well just tickles me to pieces.

princess in the forest

Princess in the Forest by Sibylle Von Olfers is more than 100 years old yet my toddler absolutely loved this book. The story is amazingly simple and the illustrations are what a fairytale should look like. The princess is met at different times of the day by various magical fairy children and forest creatures who care for and play with her. My daughter loves babies and the Dew Children who come to help the princess get dressed , the Moss Children who bring her food and the Star Children who illuminate her night enchanted her. She would immediately turn to each page with these angelic creatures and touch each one with her little fingers. This book doesn’t have a strong moral message but it’s simplicity is so peaceful and calming that it makes a wonderful bedtime book for young kids.