Marshmallow Snowflakes

It seems like it’s snowing almost everywhere lately. I love doing activities that use what’s going on around us to keep things interesting and fresh!  This snowflake craft is simple enough for preschoolers to do with a little direction , and don’t forget you can add in lessons about counting and estimation too!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a sheet of construction paper, white glue, mini marshmallows, and glitter.
  2. Start by designing your snowflake. You can just use the glue or draw it with a pencil first.  I did this one to show my son how to draw with glue.
  3. I encouraged my son to do this himself by reminding him that all snowflakes are unique.
  4. Add the marshmallows! I get asked all the time how do you avoid him eating them all? My main strategy is that I let him eat a few but only after he adds them on. I tell him to count to 14, then eat one, then add on another 20 and eat one etc.. interestingly enough this time he didn’t eat a single one, but he still counted.
  5. Add glue for glitter
  6. Add the glitter. I LOVE these little glitter tubes. They only hold a small amount of glitter so the mess is minimized. I wouldn’t use them with toddlers/ kids who still put things in their mouths though, the tops pop off and could be a hazard. 
  7. Let dry. His is proudly on display in our front hall.

Books

Holly’s Red Boots by Francesca Chessa was a delight to read. Holly wants to go outside in the snow but can’t find her boots and we follow along as she looks for them.It’s a cute story and the pictures are scrumptious. My son loved that the dinosaur was wearing her boots and wanted to read that page over and over. I also loved that when she does go outside her mom has her baby sibling in a baby carrier. Fun book!

Stella, Queen of the Snow by Marie-Louise Gay is my kind of book. If I were to quote all my favorite bits of this book I would write out most of it. I just love the writing, it’s simple but doesn’t talk down to the reader. The characters are sweet but not saccharine and I love how inquisitive Sam is . Stella is a know it all but not bratty about it at all! Sam has never seen snow before and Stella tells him all about it as they explore the first snow fall of the year.

Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester is such a cute and funny story, your kids will love it! Tacky is an odd bird but when hunters come to get some pretty penguins is funny odd ways of doing things turn off the hunters and saves Tacky and his perfectly not odd companions. This is a sweet look at being different and being happy as pie about being different.  My son loves this book and will often point out that Tacky is proud to sing just the way he wants. I love that it can preach to kids without preaching at all.

Fine Motor Apples

by Katy

This is an extremely simple activity that helps children address two important areas of development: fine motor and sensory.

You will need a plain sheet of paper, a piece of card stock, a hole puncher, and a green crayon or marker.

Punch as many holes as you can in the card stock.

Place the card stock on top of your white sheet of paper.

Take red finger paint and guide your child to work it into each hole. Help your child isolate their pointed finger as they do this. The slippery/slimy texture of the paint is one that often poses a problem for kids with sensory issues, so don’t be surprised if they resist. Try to finish the activity, though. While we were doing the activity, Charlie, who often strongly resists finger painting, took such an interest in those little holes that he seemed to forget that he was touching his nemesis: finger paint.

Lift the card stock and wait for all your circles to dry.

Once the paint is dry, allow your child to draw green stems with the crayon/marker. Let them do it alone if they can, guide them if they are unable.

I you do have to help your child draw the stems, be sure to guide them in the most natural way possible. Show them a downward stroke even though it might feel strange depending on where you are standing while you help them.

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Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.

Design Your Own Lacing Pattern

by Kim

My son likes lacing activities, but sometimes he needs to be more creative than those can allow. What can I say, I have created a monster.

So we tried this activity and it was a huge hit. I wanted to share it with you. You will need scissors,paper, marker, plastic craft grid, yarn needle, and yarn (or embroidery floss).

Draw a rough sketch of the shape you would like. Remember, the simpler the design the easier. I did a regular rectangle and heart, but I did a dump truck and a bulldozer, too. You do not need to have artistic abilities for this, as you can see.

Place the plastic grid on top of the paper.

Cut out the designs.

Thread your yarn needle. Here is a closer look at the needles I used. I purchased these at JoAnn Fabrics, but they are at Walmart and other craft stores.

Start your kids off by tying the end of the yarn to a spot on the cutout.

Then let them have a blast as they thread the needle into the small squares.

This activity is great for fine motor skills. It also introduces them to grids and creating lines. Creating lines this way is so different from drawing them. Your child will understand points of origin and plotting the lines. Of course you don’t tell them that is what they are learning. The journey is so much more fun!

This activity is great for quiet time. It travels really well, too. That fact makes it a plus for road trips or doctor offices.

While you won’t be selling them at the local craft fair, you will have a cool keepsake. This activity could easily be adapted into ornaments, too. You can use cookie cutters to create fun shapes such as bells or gingerbread men.

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Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.

Clothespin Teaching Turkey

by Katy

For this activity you will need a paper plate, clothes pins, brown and yellow construction paper, scissor, glue, and something to color with. For some reason I had craft confusion and used paint and markers, but that’s overkill.

First, make your paper plate brown–we finger painted because that allows us to work on sensory stuff at the same time. I’m seeing major progress in that my son will paint and also that he’s stopped trying to put the paint in his mouth. Little victories!

Next, cut out a head and beak from the construction paper. Glue them to the plate.

Then you need to color your clothespins. I used markers and did it myself since it’s a little beyond Charlie’s abilities. If your child can do it by themselves, then let them.

Now, for the fun part!

The clothespins become the turkey’s feathers. Use the feathers to do a variety of activities. For us, we were working on identifying colors. You could also do patterns

Since this was our first time doing the activity, we started with only two clothes pins and asked Charlie to select “red” or “blue.” Trying to grab the clothespins has the added bonus of being fine motor practice, but if he’s not able to squeeze properly, they still come off with a tug. If your child has trouble with fine motor, be sure to place the pins far apart to make it easier.

When Charlie correctly identified the blue pin and threw it on the floor, we called it a day!

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Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.

Marshmallow Ghost

I love the simplicity of this Halloween Craft.  Many parents comment that they could never do a craft with treats without their child loosing focus and eating up the whole bowl. I have done many of these kids activities over the years with my son and other children and never had that problem. The tick is that you have to allow some to be eaten but make deals. With my son he had to put 10, then 15, then 20 marshmallows on the ghost before he was allowed to eat just one single marshmallow. When the ghost was completed he had another. 4 in total, not bad. If you simply can not use treats try cotton balls or packing peanuts instead. Another bonus is that your child is using fine motor skills the whole time, something essential to literacy!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some glue, mini marshmallows, and black construction paper.
  2. Start by making an outline of a ghost in glue on your paper. I tried, no begged my son to do this step but he didn’t want to. He wants things to be perfect and well – we are working on doing things himself and not needing things to be so particular. I’ll keep you posted!
  3. Next start adding the mini marshmallows. I love the system we use with a treat after counting, because he loves to count and has fun doing it. Even if you are using a non edible item give your child numbers to use as mini goals when adding on items like this. You can even make predictions about how many it will take to complete the ghost.
  4. Add glue for the eyes.  I was pleased when he wanted to do this, and even more so when he added 3 eyes !
  5. Add the marshmallows , three if you want!
  6. Let dry. The marshmallows will dry but not mold.

Halloween Books

The Perfectly Horrible Halloween by Nancy Poydar is a book I think most adults can relate to and kids should read and learn from. In the book a little boy is excited about the costume contest in class, he is sure he will win, but there is one problem, he forgot his costume on the bus! I like how resourceful he is making a new costume with what he has and how the author realistically captures both the excitement  of the day and horror when he realizes he forgot the costume on the bus. I know I forgot my bad, my lunch and a laundry list of other things on the bus when I was a kid and this book launched my son and I into a talk about loosing things and coping. Another good book from an author I have recently discovered and am greatly enjoying.

10 Trick-or-Treaters by Janet Schulman is one of my favorite Halloween books and has been read many many time already this month . The premise is simple, a group of trick or treaters are pegged off one by one as they are scared by some Halloween creature.  Readers count down from 10 – 0 and  enjoy the bright detailed illustrations as they do. I particularly like the cute costumes and the final page which has another countdown with candy – always fun to count candy right?

Mouse’s First Halloween by Lauren Thompson is a sweet and really well done book. The story follows a little mouse who is easily afraid of the many things on Halloween night , but one by one discovers that things like falling leaves, jack-o-lanterns and trick or treaters aren’t so scary after all. I love the repetition in this book and the illustrations by Bucket Erdogan epitomize the fall spookiness that Halloween nights are filled with. Thumbs up from my son and I .