Squeeze Painting – Valentine’s Day Art Project

squeeze painting for preschool Squeezing isn’t just a fun way to burn off frustration, it’s also a wonderful exercise to build hand strength. The reason we want to encourage activities that build hand strength is that stronger hands leads to an easier time with handwriting, cutting, and even things like buttoning shirts and zipping jackets. This is especially true for doing any of those activities for a long time. Just like training for a marathon requires some strength training our little ones to write for a long time requires it as well. Working on developing hand strength doesn’t need to be work though. Using tools and materials that you squeeze with the whole hand is a great way you can encourage this at home or in your classroom. Tape resist is nothing new but instead of finger painting over the tape grab a few squeeze bottles and go to town. You can do this art project with kids of all ages and it’s a great option for multi-age groups. Here is how we made this squeeze painting Valentine’s Day wall art while working on hand strength.

Gather your materials. You will need a canvas, some painter’s tape, a box or something else to contain the mess, paint in 2 or more colors, and squeeze bottles.squeeze painting

Start by pouring your paint into the squeeze bottles and writing out the word you want on your canvas. You can do a shape if your child isn’t interested in letters yet. My daughter helped me with the letters telling me if I needed a long strip or a short strip of tape next for the letter.valentine's day canvas art

Next it’s time to paint. Do NOT worry about how this looks ( or how anything on this whole blog for that matter). This is really a process heavy project and I encourage you to try this simply with a canvas and no tape after. I try to make all our projects process heavy even if they have a product at the end.squeeze painting

Squeeze and splatter!squeeze paitning hand strength

She dumped a ton pf paint on and decided to move it around by tilting the box after. squeeze painting love sign for kidsThis way and that.valentine's day art canvas project

After all the paint was out of the bottles she continued to squeeze by blowing the air from the bottles and moving the paint around with the force of the air. I wanted to get closer photos but the thought of the little specks of paint on my camera lens kept me at a safe distance!squeeze painting for kids

After we let it dry for a long long long time we pulled the tape off together.love sign tape resist squeeze paint

Then together we found a great place where my daughter could SEE how much we valued her creation. love sign close up squeeze paintingWe settled on a spot in the kitchen.

 

Valentine’s Day Books For Kids

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the day it rained hearts

Day It Rained Hearts
by Felicia Bond is a sweet story that in my experience is a better bedtime story than circle time story especially for 4 and younger. The story is moving and lovely but in groups of children it just doesn’t grab them the way it does when they are snuggled up with someone they love. The story is about a little girl who collects hearts that fall from the clouds and makes incredibly touching gifts from them for special friends. The pace is just too slow for an active class that needs a hook, but perfect for bedtime when you want kids to be slowing down.

valentine friends

Valentine Friends
by April Jones Prince is one of my favorite Valentine’s Day books for 2 and 3 year olds. It’s simple, sweet, and has a great message about teamwork. The text is short enough for a circle time with very young children but the book isn’t baby-ish so older children will enjoy it too. The friends in the book all work together to make Valentine’s day treats and readers are left with the message that working together is a treat in itself.

10 valentine friends

10 Valentine Friends
by Janet Schulman is one of my daughter’s favorite counting books along with the other books in this series. While the rhymes are ta times forced the book itself is fun and it kept the attention of my 2-3 year old classroom who all participated in counting the valentines on each page. My daughter who is 4.5 likes picking out the details in each page and making up stories about the characters. I like that the children are all trying to make valentines for each other using the knowledge they have about the recipient. It’s a wonderful lesson about gift giving and how you should tailor gifts to the recipient and not just make something you’ll like.

 

Disney Inspired Kids Crafts & More { Add Your Link!}

rp_kids-crafts-preschool-blog-455x3471.pngI am WAY late posting this this week because it’s been a jam packed week here at our house. This week I am looking for Disney inspired crafts and activities. Our family is heading off to Disneyland soon and I am getting SO excited. Of course you can share any craft or activity or parenting article that you posted on your blog but if you have a Disney inspired post I’d LOVE to see it!

Have a GREAT week!



Fraction Game { with connect 4 } – Learning After School

fraction connect four My son as been asking a lot about fractions lately. Since he hasn’t done a whole bunch about fractions in school yet I wanted to keep it simple. The best part is that you can adjust this idea to your child’s specific learning goals. My goal with this simple fraction game was to have him think in faractions. I wanted him to think of the game pieces as thirds and quarters and what that means. That is why you only need 3 in a row to win if they are thirds but need 4 if they are quarters. Although we didn’t have other fractions included in the game pieces we did talk about them. Next time we play I plan adjusting the way we play to include a few 1/2, 2/3, and 3/4 pieces.

He beat me both times, fair and square but that’s just a side note. Here is how we made and played this fraction game.

Gather your materials. You will need a connect four game ( affiliate link), some masking tape or small labels, a marker, and a kid who wants to win at everything.connect 4

Cut small pieces of tape to fit on the inside of the tokens. Write 1/3 on half and 1/4 on the rest. Make sure it’s split evenly between the two colors.fraction connect four game pieces

Invite your competitive math genius to come play!fraction game for after school

The goal of the game is to make a whole by lining up 4 quarters or 3 thirds of the same color in a row.fraction connect 4 for elementary kids

It takes some strategy …fraction connect 4 for kids

And he won!

Then he won again and again,  I wish I could say that I let him win but Mama don’t play like that!fractions fun

Heart Rocks – Valentine’s Day Craft

valentine's day craft Going outside and painting rocks is something we do often but when it’s rainy outside we bring them in and kick it up a notch. These heart rocks are inspired by our Rock Easter Eggs. I love using stickers and contact paper for resist painting because young children want to make shapes that they are just not able to yet. This lets them make a heart and it’s a little magical too.  Here is how we made this fun Valentine’s day craft.

Gather your materials. You will need some clean rocks, acrylic paint, brushes, a dish for the paint, contact paper, and a heart punch or scissors. valentine's day craft

Start by punching out the contact paper with the heart paper punch. If you don’t have a punch you can use scissors. heart rocks contact paper

Place the contact paper on the rocks. rock hearts with contact paper

Pour the paint into the dish and you may want a dish with edges to keep rolly polly rocks in one place. heart rocks craft for valentine's day

Time to start painting. valentine's day painting rocks

I love how when you give a child a small object to paint them immediately become so much more careful. rocks for valentine's day craft

There weren’t many steps so I grabbed a rock and painted as well!

Let dry very very well before peeling the hearts off. heart rocks for valentine's day for kids

Scatter the rocks around for a little more love in your house.

 

Sight Words Scavenger Hunt

sight word game When kids start putting together the developmental building blocks for literacy it’s exciting. My 4 year old has been sounding out words for a long time and has always enjoyed rhyming and playing with the sounds letters make. We haven’t been pushing any of this just paying attention to what she was doing during reading and writing ( self directed writing) times. A few weeks ago at church she looked at the projector screen and read all the words. I asked her if she read them and she said ” No, I just knew them.” She didn’t know she was reading because to her reading is sounding words out. That was when I knew it was time to work some targeted reading especially sight word, activities into playtime.

This is such a simple sight word game that you can throw it together after a long day at the office, as a quick activity between dinner and bed, or like we used it a short activity for days when your child is already going to school. I want to challenge her but not overwhelm her. If reading activities are new to your house I suggest erring on the side of short and easy. The reason I say this is because we don’t want to send the message that reading is this impossible mountain to climb. Reading is fun, so let’s keep it that way. You can turn up the challenge once you can gauge their ability a little better.

Gather your materials. You will need some paper, a clip board, a marker and some sticky notes.

easy sight word scavenger hunt for kids

Write out the sight words you want to work on. I used words from the pre-primer list . You can see all the Dolch sight word lists here. If you aren’t sure where your child hits you can always read through a list with him together before the activity.simple sight word activity for kindergarten

Write the same words on sticky notes.sight word game for kids easy

Pop those sticky notes all over your house.sight word game for kindergarten

When your child is home from school tell them you have something RAD for them to play. Look at how she ran from the car inside… that’s a first.run like the wind

Go over the list. Don’t read it for them. Let them read through it. She was off hunting before I could really do anything. She knew what to do and didn’t want to waste any time.sight word scavenger hunt for kids

When they find the word they must call it out and stick it on. sight word game for kids at homeKeep going until all the words are covered with their match!
sight word scavenger hunt around the house
I was surprised that she knew them all. The only word she sounded out was can. A reminder about sounding out words. When your child is sounding it out if their first attempt is wrong don’t just yell out the correct word. You can tell them things like ” You are close, keep trying.” ” Let’s take it letter by letter.” ” Sometimes that letter makes more than one sound.” etc… let them work it out. This will build their confidence!fun sight words game

I loved hearing ” Mama that is we. We is so so easy! It’s just me with a w!”

The best part is that when there were only 10 minutes before I had to leave to pick her up from preschool I through this together and the game was a fun way for us to re-connect after hours apart.simple sight words game for kids