Food Coloring Leaves

Autumn Leaves Craft

This craft was one of those ideas that I had and hoped I wouldn’t regret. Food coloring , small eye droppers that squirt and a toddler could have been a recipe for disaster but not only did we have fun and survive , how awesome are those leaves? I was planning on posting this next week but couldn’t wait to share. We have been talking a lot about the changing colors we see on our tress but this could also be used for a fun garland if you don’t want to make a branch.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some coffee filters, a large piece of construction paper ( white or brown), red, yellow and green food coloring, eye droppers,3 small dishes , water ,crayons,  scissors and glue.Elmers glue and materials
  2. Start by drawing a branch .autumn craft
  3. Have your child color the branch they can add more branches if they like too!fall leaves and emma 004
  4. While they do that draw leaves on the coffee filters.  fall leaves and emma 002
  5. Pour some water along with the food coloring into the small containers, pop the eye droppers in ( one per color)- a big tip put a thick fabric place mat under your child when they are doing this step. It will absorb the coloring so it doesn’t get on other things.  Of course this will stain it so do not use your new William Sonoma ones !fall leaves and emma 005
  6. Using the eye dropper drop the colors onto the coffee filter leaves. fall leaves and emma 006
  7. Use multiple colors for each leaf if you want.  Using an eye dropper is intricate and helps develop your child’s  fine motor skills.fall leaves and emma 007
  8. Let dry- ours dried over night.
  9. Cut out the branchfall leaves and emma 009
  10. Cut out the leavesFall Craft
  11. Add glue to the branchfall leaves and emma 010
  12. Add your leaves and let dry.fall leaves and emma 012

Fine Motor Truck !

Drinking Straw Truck

Truck Craft

This was a collaborative effort, my son was watching a show about the Three Little Pigs and the one pig with a straw house sparked his interest in making something with drinking straws. So his first request was a train, but we didn’t have enough straws so we settled on a pick up truck. This does require some prep but I love how it turned out. The placing of the straws is tricky but it’s a great lesson in fine motor and patience!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need drinking straws, 2 pieces of construction paper, a marker, crayons, scissors, glue and 2 milk caps.AASept8 001
  2. Start by drawing a truck on a piece of paper, if your child is able to have them do this.  Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, mine certainly isn’t, as long as your child knows it’s a truck you are set.AASept8 002
  3. Give your child the 2nd piece of paper and explain the truck needs a road. We used black paper and white and yellow crayons. AASept8 007
  4. While they are doing this ( or before you even invite them to the table) cut the straws to fit over the truck, I did the cutting them made three piles, the hood, the cab and the bed. AASept8 003
  5. Add glue, a lot of glue.AASept8 004
  6. Spread said glue around.AASept8 005
  7. Add the straws.  We did them by group, and I showed him how to do it for the first , then he did the rest. This is tricky so I find if I prepare him for it to be delicate, and tricky he doesn’t get frustrated when it’s hard. I tell him over and over how tricky it is, but that I know he can do it, and it’s okay to ask for help, even mommy thinks it’s hard.  It works for us ( most days).AASept8 006
  8. Keep adding them until the picture is covered.AASept8 010
  9. Add the milk lids for wheels and let dry. It takes ages to dry.AASept8 011
  10. Cut out and glue onto the road way they made.Transportation Craft

Books

Three Little Rigs

“The Three Little Rigs” by David Gordon is a fresh twist on the classic Three Little Pigs with trucks instead of pigs. My son ate this book up, he loved it. The “wolf” in the story is a wrecking ball that smashes and crashes the Little Rigs garages , I thought he was a little scary but after reading the book I asked my son his favorite part and sure enough he said the wrecking ball. I loved the illustrations and was not surprised one bit to read that the author/illustrator has done work for Pixar.

Trucks Whizz Zoom Rumble

“Trucks Whizz! Zoom! Rumble!” by Patricia Hubbell was another hit with my son. The book is about all the trucks that one can find on the road, from armoured trucks to diggers and of course garbage trucks! My son is a huge garbage truck fan and was elated when there wasn’t just one but two in this book!  The text rhymes and chugs along well with the whimsical collaged illustrations by Megan Halsey.  Many of the drivers in the book are animals and when I asked my osn if elephants really drive trucks he looked at me seriously and said ” Sometimes they do! ” , regardless of my son’s take on reality he really enjoyed this book and if your child is as into trucks as he is they will too.

When Daddy's Truck Picks Me Up

“When Daddy’s Truck Picks Me Up” by Jana Novotany Hunter is not so much a book about trucks as it is about trust in your parents.  A little boy is excited to see his dad who is a truck driver and away from home often, today is the day he comes to preschool to pick him up, or maybe not. What I like about this book is that your child gets to see that the dad is eager to get to the school to see his little guy as much as the littl eboy is eager to see his dad. Sadly sometimes even when arents try to get there on time they just aren’t, but that doesn’t mean they won’t get there as soon as they can and still love you .  I can say that in all my years of teaching classes a late parent was almot a daily event, and while it was nothing to us teachers a young child is thrown for a loop! I think this book is a wonderful resource for parents to talk about the possibility of this happening.

Framed Chalkboard DIY

framed chalkboard tutorial
 

Writing on a vertical surface is very important for fine motor development. It works out the developing muscles in the arm and wrist that are used for writing. Your child’s hands/wrists naturally go into the proper position when writing vertically so easels , white boards and chalkboards like this one are invaluable. I have been wanting to make my son one for ages, and I finally bit the bullet. This framed chalkboard DIY was so easy to do and inexpensive too!* Updated to add this super cool link to another chalkboard at infarrantly creative that blows ours away! don’t miss it! *Cereal Box Mosaic

  1. Gather your materials. I used Benjamin Moore chalkboard paint, a roller, paint tray, painters tape, an old picture frame, an old sheet, 4 nails and a hammer.DIY framed chalkboard tutorial supplies
  2. Start by deciding where you want the chalkboard. Have your child show you how high they can reach so that it’s all usable space. I’m no good with measuring tape so I just eyeballed it and thumb tacked it to the wall to decide. You may want to measure where on the wall you put it.framed chalkboard tutorial
  3. Tape off the area to paint.diy framed chalkboard for playrooms
  4. Apply your first coat. Wait 4 hours or more and add a 2nd. Let dry.chalkboard DIY
  5. Take off the tape.diy chalk board tutorial
  6. Place your frame on the wall so the painted area is centered, and secure it to the wall. I nailed mine but depending on your walls you’ll want to use the appropriate fashion. I particularly liked using a frame because it creates a ledge for the chalk as well.playroom homeschool room chalkboard
  7. Add chalk and child!make your own chalkboard for a homeschool room

Fine Motor Friday- Lock and Key



Not only does this activity entertain your little locksmith to be, it also develops manual dexterity , hand eye coordination , problem solving and memory! That’s a lot for one simple ( and mess free) activity. My son loved it- it was challenging but not frustrating. My advice is if you think your little one is ready, try it if they get frustrated put it away for a while, then try again.

  1. Gather your materials. I got 3 different lock/ key combos at a discount store, you want them to look different so it’s not too confusing. I also a binder ring for a key chain and a tray to keep the activity in one place.
  2. Put all three keys onto the ring.
  3. Lay out the locks and key chain and invite your child to open these locks.
  4. I helped with the first before I was shooed away by my independent 2 year old.
  5. “Look mama look! Key in!”
** I was just informed that some keys are high in lead, so make sure you wash those little hands throughly after playing, just in case! **

3 Easy Fine Motor Activities


All children develop on their own schedule, while one may be excellent at climbing stairs at 2, another can’t but can identify all the letters in the alphabet. Our job is to provide rich , experience filled days not to drill them with facts and skills they aren’t ready for. Here are 3 fun ways to work on fine motor skills that allow for exploration as well as fine tuning.

Play Dough Treasure Hunt

Young children love finding things, I don’t know about you but I hear “Look Mama, looooook!” many many times a day, sometimes when I take the little hand pulling me I am surprised with a tower of blocks, sometimes his favorite garbage truck that he’s shown me with the same enthusiasm five times already that day. Activities like this tap into that and throws in an extra challenge. Dig around, count what you’ve found or discover that if you press hard on a button with holes that “Wiggly worms” appear. * Thanks to Teri for reminding me of this activity in a comment a few months ago!


Playdough Cutting

Using scissors is tricky. To help ease your child into learning I like to use play-dough, and very dull plastic safety scissors. These scissors will cut paper but not without just the right amount of pressure. However they cut play dough perfectly every time. This way your little person can focus on the grip and co-ordination of opening and closing , not fiddling with the paper, or angles they are cutting at. Also if they are getting frustrated, if they aren’t ready, simply remove the scissors and start creating something with the play-dough.

Marshmallow Building

This is a fine motor activity for older kids, it takes a lot of coordination and a good heaping of patience to build even simple structures out of marshmallows and toothpicks. After a day the marshmallows will harden and the sculpture will be sturdier. My son decided a snack was more fun , but at least he used the toothpicks.


Need a playdough recipe ?
Check out what happened when I tested out readers recipes!