Halloween Lego Challenge

Halloween Lego Challenge for kidsSince we posted our first Lego Challenge for preschoolers my daughter and I have been doing these little challenges a lot. They are simple to put together and she loves them. I decided to kick it up a notch and try a themed challenge. Halloween is just around the corner so I decided to go with a Halloween theme. It took a little bit of trial and error to get the items built , I think they were harder for me than her! I made 4 different challenges and she did 3 first thing in the morning and then the last before we left for preschool. When you child is doing a harder challenge be on hand to help but try to attack it as a team. I find that frustration levels are much lower for us when I say ” This is tricky what do you think we should do next?” vs ” Let ME see if I can help you.”

Gather your materials. You will need some Lego – when I create these little challenges I build both at the same time then dismantle the one I want her to build. I just grabbed all the Lego I could find in our bucket that were the colors I thought I needed.  You may also want a divided tray too.

halloween lego challenge supplies

Make your scary Lego creations! We made a pumpkin, ghost, Frankenstein, and candy corn. I am not including patterns because these are all odds and ends pieces. I just want to INSPIRE you to make your own and present the activity the same way. Halloween Lego Challenge big

After you have made your creations make sure that you have the exact pieces to create another. As I said above I create them at the same time which means I often run upsatirs to dig through my son’s room for more so everything is exactly duplicated.

Present the Lego with one guide and all the pieces to create the matching piece.

halloween Lego challenge for preschool

Challenge accepted!

Halloween Lego challenge for kids

She needed a little help with some of the building but not as much as I thought she would. She is methodical about where she starts and how she builds them up. I know who will be putting together all the IKEA furniture in our house in a few years! I thought the ghost was going to be the hardest but the candy corn was not because of the pattern but because the pieces were small and her four year old fingers had to work extra hard to get those tricky pieces together even though the pattern was simple for her to follow. Halloween Lego challenge for girls and boys

After a quick change for school it was time to make “ghosty”.

LEGO challenge for halloween

When she was done she immediately started taking them all apart so she could make me a challenge. Taking apart Lego is great for building hand strength too so I am all for it!

Fingerpaint & Fine Motor Acorn Craft

fingerpaint acorn craftEven though we don’t see many acorns around here we still love creating fun acorn crafts like this simple fine motor acorn craft. We love mixing colors and I wanted to incorporate making the color brown into our lesson. While you and I know that the simplest way to make brown is to mix two complimentary colors together ( red & green , yellow & purple , orange & blue ) that doesn’t let your child explore as much as I know she’d want to. Instead I let her use trial and error to make it. If paint or time is short put two complimentary colors out and have them mix them together.

The buttons add another dimension to the craft but their inclusion also welcomes counting, shape recognition and some great fine motor work.

Gather your materials. You will need some light colored card stock, a pencil, scissors, plate, paint colors in whatever colors your child thinks will mix to make brown, glue, and some buttons. We also used some paper towel to blot the paint. I find when we finger paint we glop it on super think and this technique is a fun and practical way to make drying time reasonable. acorn craft for children

Start by drawing an acorn on the card stock. I made the bottom part a little longer than usual because after it’s painted you will cut these two sections apart and glue the top onto the bottom. It will need a little extra length so that the bottom and top can be glue together later. acorn craft for kids drawing

Mix the paint. These are the colors we initially chose to mix brown. It ended up too green so we kept mixing. color mixing color brown acorn craft

 

Add more paint as you wish to get closer to brown.  If your child doesn’t want to keep mixing and the color isn’t brown yet. Don’t worry just label the color you did make ” Wow the blue, red and white paint mixed to make light purple, cool!” acorns can be purple, or olive green, or neon yellow when they are handmade acorns. Do not get hung up on everything looking just like it does in nature. If you are worried that your child will think acorns really are purple simply make a note to say that the purple acorn is extra special because in real life acorns are brown. You can get the facts straight but don’t squash the artistic spirit either. acorn painting for preschool

Paint the acorn. We chose to finger paint but you can use brushes, bath poofs, sponges, even bubble wrap would make a cool texture! acorn activity for children

If like my little artist you end up with HEAPS of paint you can blot it with paper towel. I love doing this and my daughter loves it too because it leaves a neat texture behind. acorn craft with finger paint

Let dry. This makes a great 2 day project for a young classroom or a two part one for a older class letting it dry throughout the day and revisiting this second half after lunch.

Cut the top half and bottom half out and then glue back together. Use some of the discarded painted paper to make a little stem. acorn craft for preschool

Time to glue on the buttons. acorn fine motor craft for kidsWhen I envisioned this I imagined an acorn cap FULL of buttons but this wasn’t MY project. I didn’t tell my daughter where to add them just handed her the glue and buttons. Some children might line the cap in buttons, fill it completely, add the buttons to the bottom, maybe even add an initial made of buttons to the acorn… there are so many different possibilities let your little artists explore.button acorn craft for kids

Add glue and buttons. She LOVED watching the glue squish through the holes in the buttons. acorn craft for preschool fine motor development

Let dry again! acorn craft for kids

 

15 Fall Books For Children

 

Need some great fall books for your little readers? These are our favorites! See the full list here.

Sticker Station – Easy Fine Motor Activity

sticker stationI love stickers and not just because of their power to reward kids with something small that isn’t sugar but because they pack a lot of punch in the fine motor skills department. Peeling those little suckers off the sheet is tricky for little fingers. This is a great fine motor activity to turn to when you don’t have a ton of time to play. Add in new stickers and the whole activity has new life. Add in some crayons and it’s like new again. After I shot some photos I got a load of laundry together, wiped down the bathroom , and got dressed while my little one was happily adding more and more stickers and unbeknownst to her she was working out her fine motor skills too.

 

Gather your materials. You will need some stickers, an envelope, some plain paper, and painter’s tape or thumbtacks. sticker station wall mural

Start by taping your paper to the wall. I like using blue painter’s tape for two reasons; first to save my wall from being wrecked, second because it gives children a clear boundary to the area where it’s OK to add stickers and where it is not.Sticker wall activity for kids set up

Put all your stickers in the envelope. Ours is plastic but a plain paper one would work just as well. You can attach it with painter’s tape too or if it’s really heavy use thumbtacks. Remember that thumbtacks are never safe with children who are still putting things in their mouths. Please use caution and know your child’s abilities and make any adaptations you may need to in order to make the activity safe for your child.adding the stickers

Add your little person. I didn’t explain anything. I just said ” I made you a sticker wall.” and she got right to it.peeling stickers good for fine motor

This is not a structured activity. If your child invites you to participate by all means do but don’t feel you must or should. While my daughter was adding stickers she created little stories to go along with them but if your child doesn’t that is OK. They may sort the stickers, line them up, or make an overall design.sticker wall They may also randomly add one or two and walk away. I wouldn’t give up but I wouldn’t push.  I would see if you had any stickers that better appeal to them , add some crayons to the mix, and leave it up for a few days before giving up. It’s OK for activities to tank too. While this simple sticker station was a big hit with my daughter doesn’t mean your child will love it or that you did anything wrong if they don’t. I have come up with many activities my kids haven’t adored. Move on and don’t worry.

sticker station cover

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

LEGO Challenge for Beginners -Fine Motor Skill Development

preschool lego challenge

My 4 year old has just started playing with LEGO. As much as I loathe the whole pink LEGO and pink everything that is marketed to girls when she asked for this set there was no way I was saying no. I love LEGO  and all the learning opportunities inside each box, especially the fine motor skill development which is a building block for writing. I was telling my 7 year old about doing some LEGO challenges when my daughter asked if she could do some. Of course! That said she hasn’t had much practice with the little blocks yet so I set this easy LEGO challenge up for her and she breezed through it… at her urging I made it harder and we did a totally of 3 trays full of mini challenges. The next day she asked for even harder ones. That’s my girl!

 

Gather your materials. I am using plain old LEGO blocks and an ice tray. This lets me keep the individual challenges organized without too much prep. There are some seriously cool Lego challenge tutorials out there… this one isn’t as polished but as long as you have Lego block you can do it NOW. lego see and build for preschool

Start by creating simple structures. I grab the pieces I need first in duplicate and then create the structures popping the duplicate bricks into one section of the ice tray and the completed structure in the other. lego challenge for beginners preschoolThe first challenge was simple and she breezed through all four quickly. lego challenge for preschool

So we made more… lego challenge for preschool see and build

 

and more… Lego challenge fine motor skillsThese were our most complicated ones and as you can see she had to concentrate. concentration lego puzzles for kidsIf your child is breezing through all of these don’t give them the duplicate pieces separated out. Put all of them in a small bowl or container. I wouldn’t expect my child to dig through thousands of Legos without getting frustrated but it’s a logical next step for this activity to combine the loose pieces and add in a new step. lego puzzels for preschool

What I like about these little challenges  is that she is still just starting out with Lego and this is giving her bite sized models to recreate while she works on some seriously rad fine motor skills. Being able to manipulate the models in her hands make all the difference.