Playdough Play – Toy Prints

We play with playdough daily, usually more than once. My daughter is fascinated with it and her favorite thing to do with it is to press objects into the playdough and make prints. This was not a planned post at all, and all the photos were taken with my phone since I didn’t want to interrupt her play to grab my camera that was downstairs. Simple discovery play like this is my favorite and such a fun way to connect with your toddler.

 

We started with our playdough and usual cookie cutters. I usually switch the cutters and color of playdough out every few weeks. Then she grabbed this light up wand of her brothers and started making prints. She was in giggly heaven, especially since it lit up every time she hit it hard enough into the play dough.

Then we grabbed some duplo and made prints . These we all agreed looked like cheezits!

We flipped the duplo over and made little “buttons” and she very carefully pressed each one.

Her giggles and my photo snapping attracted the attention of my son who brought over a gear to press into the playdough.

Activities like these that use toys you have in new and novel ways with a sense of discovery ” Hey what sort of print with that block make?” is such and easy activity but trust me it will go on for a long time, happily! We also used little people which if you press the bottom into the playdough make a shape rather reminiscent of a nipple. My nursing daughter pointed that out to me right away , the picture was rather life like so I skipped it. Other fun toys were train tracks ( skip the trains the playdough will get stuck in the wheels) and chunky puzzle pieces .

Craft by Numbers – Christmas Tree

Do you remember paint by numbers? I used to love doing them but mixing the numbers up ( yeah I was that kid) my son however is all about numbers and this was a fun way to make something festive but also let his interest in math be spotlighted. You could do this with shapes, or letters too.  I didn’t tell him that the final result was a Christmas tree so it was fun to have him “decode” the craft as we went.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some pom-poms in different colors, cups to sort them in,  construction paper, glue and a marker.
  2. Start by sorting your pom-poms by color into different cups, write different numbers on each cup. I wrote 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 on mine since we’d just been chatting about counting by 10s.  To have your child help sort the pom poms just put on of each color in one cup to use as a guide.
  3. Write out the numbers on the paper in a design. I did green outline, with random colors and green in the middle.
  4. Start gluing the pom poms on using the code.
  5. hmmmm what could it be?
  6. All done! Let dry.

Great Christmas Book!

a creature was stirring by Clement C. Moore and  Carter Goodrich  was a recent find at the library. Around the holidays ( any holiday) my son and I attack the stacks like soldiers on a mission and look for the sticker on the binding indicating it’s a Christmas themed book. This was one of the few we found yesterday , and what a find! The book is an adaptation of the classic ‘Twas a NIght Before Christmas with a little boy interupting the poem with his own rhyming story.  It’s an adorable story about a little boy who simply can’t sleep , wants to be good but is oh so worried Santa will think he is naughty. I adore this book, it’s simple and fun and a great addition to the classic that so many of us have been read and will read to our kids this Christmas.

Button Christmas Tree Craft

button christmas tree craft One of the great challenges of mothering is trying to get my son to do things that are good for his development but all he thinks of them are that they are fun. This Christmas tree craft was a perfect example of when I succeed in this mission, which is not always the case.  There are versions of this craft for adults ( or very patient older kids) all over like this one from Better Homes and Gardens  all I did was make it easier for kids and more importantly add a hammer. For a 5 year old boy this craft was all about the hammer. Here is how he made the button Christmas tree.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a foam cone, I used a green floral one because I knew my son would not have the patience to fill the whole thing up with buttons. Also some white tack nails, glitter buttons ( it’s Christmas time let them have glitter! ) and a toy hammer. button and nail hammer tree
  2. Put the nail through the button hole.christmas tree craft for kids
  3. Push it gently into the foam.
  4. Hammer!christmas tree craft with buttons
  5. He really loved this.button christmas tree craft for children  He worked so calmly on this project and we took the time to talk about silver and gold. For whatever reason he’s always confused the two and while he worked away I sat across from him taking pictures and brainstorming ways for him to remember which was which. button christmas tree craft for kids
  6. I didn’t intervene at all and loved that he wanted to put a gold button on top for the star.button christmas tree craft
  7. The hammering is great hand eye coordination practice and as you have already noted putting the nails through the buttons is a great fine motor exercise. All this skill development AND a new holiday decoration for our mantle.Button xmas tree

Books About Christmas Trees

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The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story by Gloria Houston made me cry. The story is about the hardships and love of one family torn apart by World War 1 as they prepare for Christmas with no resources. I love how strong the mother in this book is, she does the best he can with what she has, treks through snow to cut that big old Christmas tree down , and the part that made me cry uses her own wedding dress to make her daughter an angel costume for the Christmas pageant. Oh but that is not all she sacrificed, she  used the silk stockings her husband sent her from the war to make a doll for Santa to give to her daughter. The father coming home right as they were leaving the church service – once again starting my water works.  It’s an awesome story but probably too long for a group of kids , or toddlers , but perfect for a bedtime story for preschoolers on up. Also this book and the one previous were illustrated by Barbara Cooney , who captures such meaningful stories with her amazing work.

Mooseltoe by Margie Palantini is a funny holiday story with the characters from Moosestash , this time Moose is set on making Christmas perfectly perfect, only ooops he forgot the tree!  I reviewed this a few years ago when my son was too little to really get the book or to sit ong enough for me to finish but we re read it last night. He thought it was hilarious and now at 5 he had fun repeating some of the great melodic text as we read it. The story is one kids and parents can relate to about trying so hard to make the holidays perfect that you forget something important like the tree!  It’s a silly story with a big heart.

Little Tree by Chris Racshka is another awesome find. I love this book, it’s another visually amazing book and my son was much more into the pictures that are so packed full with fun details that they steal the show. The story inspired by the E.E. Cummings poem by the same name the story follows a little tree who has big dreams of becoming a Christmas tree . I think this book is great especially for children who want to know where the trees in the lots in a city come from. * This seems to be out of print but check your local library for it .

Marshmallow Skull Craft

If you are a long time reader you know I love these marshmallow crafts. For good reason, my son who you may know has done a lot of crafts is still very enthusiastic to do these.  I like them because I add in drawing, counting and fine motor skills while he just thinks he’s having fun.  Last year we made a ghost, this year we got a little more complicated because he’s older and able! Always make sure that you are in that sweet spot where a project interests and offers some challenge but doesn’t frustrate because it’s too hard.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some mini marshmallows, white glue and a white crayon.
  2. Start by drawing an outline of the skull. I did this for my son but if your child wants to have them do it.
  3. I did encourage him to draw the eyes nose and mouth and was happy that he was eagerly doing it. I am glad I started it off for him by doing the outline, I am not sure he’d be as eager to draw the face if I’d given him a blank page and said draw your skull. Your child might so do what works for yours.
  4. Time to add glue. This is great for hand eye coordination.
  5. Marshmallow Time! Before you ask, yes my son ate marshmallows but we have a system.
  6. He has to count to a certain number before he gets to eat one from the bowl.
  7. More counting…a little more eating and then let dry.

Books About Bones!

Dem Bones by Bob Barner is sort of two books in one. The superficial layer uses the words of the ever popular old time spiritual with fun Halloween inspired skelleton illustrations. There is also a second layer that has longer text for older children that goes into the anatomy of the bones the song sings about. Great way to keep a Halloween theme strong while teaching about the human body!

Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler is a silly book about a skelleton who can not get rid of the hiccups. He tries all the old tricks , which probably won’t be old to your kids… I spent a lot of time explaining them to my son while we read . The story is simple and parents will find it predictable but kids find it silly and fun, and that is what matters.

6 Clothespin Crafts!

clothespin crafts for kids

I get emails often asking for ideas based on materials so today I compiled some of our crafts that use clothespins. These fun and easy clothespin crafts are just some ideas you can do to use this material.

Our favorite is the Clothespin Dinosaur Craft above but over the years we have used clothespins for a whole bunch of learning.

Paint Chip Color Match

Clothespin Teaching Turkey

Color Wheel Match

Jack and The Beanstalk

Clothespin Patterns