Kid Made Archery Target

This year when we came home from the county fair my son was the proud new owner of  an archery set. After a few days of reminding my son not to point it at this or that I started looking for something to be a target he could shoot at to his heart content!  This archery target craft was so easy to make and it’s been played with constantly and I haven’t had to remind him once to only shoot at the target because it’s all he wants to do .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a suction cup archery set , some Styrofoam, duct tape, painter’s tape, a sponge roller or two, paint, a dish , hammer and nails. Oh and a tree or wall to nail it into.
  2. We started by cutting a square piece of Styrofoam and using the painter’s tape make 3-5 circles one inside the other. I was rushing to get this done before my daughter woke from her nap so I wasn’t at all careful but I loved how it turned out. Just make sure the tape is pressed down well. I placed it and my son pressed it.
  3. Next we picked the paint colors and painted. This is Martha Stewart craft paint and works on every surface- which is rad but it’s NOT at all washable so wear old clothes. The upside is that it’s also great for outdoors. Our target has been outside since we made it and it looks as good as new.
  4. We peeled the tape off .
  5. Added some duct tape at the top . I did this so that while nailing it the nails wouldn’t push right through.
  6. I nailed the first one in just enough to make it hold and let him go for it.
  7. Next it was time to try it out!  Since making the target he pops outside almost everyday for target practice while his sister and I cheer. I love how it’s helped him deal with disappointment and frustration. When he first started playing with it he’d get really frustrated when he didn’t get a bulls-eye but now he can miss the target completely and let it roll off his back and try again.

Alphabet Apple Tree

Alphabet For StartersLearning the alphabet comes in many forms. Our Alphabet For Starters series is all about playing with letters in a creative environment and this letter activity was a huge hit! There are lots of ways of changing it around for different levels too so don’t miss my notes after the tutorial if you want to do this with children who aren’t just starting out with letters. This may seem like a simple letter activity and it is but it’s sneaky too.  Little fingers have to peel the apples off giving their fine motor skills some serious work.

  1. Gather your materials. This picture is incomplete because I shifted my plan part way through and so glad I did, the final result was a blast! You will need some craft paper or paper bag, brown paint, paint brush, marker, scissors, contact paper, and green, yellow and red paper . A basket is not a must but if you have one grab it. alphabet for starters
  2. Start by cutting a truck from craft paper or a paper bag. I taped it down because my daughter is exuberant with paint ( you’ll see)  and this helps keep it all in one place. alphabet for starters
  3. Paint with a brush…alphabet for starters
  4. Or your hands. alphabet for starters You really don’t need to have your child(ren) help make the tree but when kids help make the activity there is a deeper connection to the learning.
  5. While that is drying and you are done washing the gallons of paint off your toddler make some apples from red and yellow paper.
  6. Add letters.alphabet for starters
  7. Once it’s dry tape the trunk to the wall . Add tape to the back of green paper and add it to the tree.
  8. Cover the top of the tree with contact paper sticky side OUT.
  9. Add the apples.
  10. Make sure that you are leaving a corner of the apple off to peel off.
  11. Basket in hand and ready to pick her apples!
  12. Go!
  13. She really had a great time and got excited to announce which apples she was picking. As always she chose the first letter of her name first followed by the mine, her brother’s and her dad’s. It’s exciting to see that she connects letters to people meanings outside of the immediate activity. As soon as we were done she bolted from the playroom full basket in hand to show her dad all her letter apples. I would have taken a shot of his but he was sorting laundry and well my literal dirty laundry has no place on the internet .

How to take it to the next step :

  • Have a chart of lowercase letters and have your child peel off the uppercase apples to match the lowercase letters.
  • Use sight words instead of letters. Call out the sight word and have your child find , peel and pop them in the basket.

Alphabet Book

“A” Was Once An Apple Pie by Edward Lear and Suse MacDonald is an adaptation of the classic Edward Lear poem that had both my children transfixed. The bold bright colors kept my daughter who is 10 months old wide eyed the whole time and the playful way Suse MacDonald adapted the text had my son listening from A-Z as well. It was incredibly fun to read allowed tongue tying me at times which resulted in us all giggling hysterically in a heap. A book that can do that is a must have in my opinion.

 

Pegboard Rubbings

kids crafts This activity came about because my son was in trouble and had to clean his room before he was allowed to do anything else! While cleaning his usually Lego littered room we found these melty bead pegboards and I knew immediately what we were going to do with them. These pegboard rubbings are as simple as it gets but actually packed with learning and lessons that focus not only on concrete physical skills but also on patience and caution. For my toddler who loved the feel of the boards and sound of the crayon rubbing over them it was a great sensory activity.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some plain paper, melty bead pegboards, crayons and painter’s tape.
  2. Start by occupying your toddler if they are with you , which if yours is like mine they are always with you or on you. I grabbed a basket and threw in some animals. I asked her to take them all out , then put them all back in. It took her just the right amount of time for me and her brother to do the next 3 steps.
  3. Peel the crayons. If you are doing this craft with a child who can’t peel them yet do this before you invite them to create. If they can do it, please make them do at least half. It’s wonderful fine motor development and patience.
  4. Next flip the boards over and add painters tape. This will keep them in place while rubbing. Nothing wrecks learning or creativity than something going haywire like a pegboard sliding out from under paper. This will prevent that.
  5. Add the boards to the table. Explore the texture of them.
  6. Place the paper over the boards and using the side of the crayon rub. My son started with the crayon angled and going way too fast.
  7. Soon he discovered that if he went slowly and made sure that the crayon was horizontal that it worked much better. For a little guy discovering that slow and steady is better than getting done fast and first is a big deal.
  8. Next add more colors if you want.
  9. For my toddler I pulled her onto my lap and we did it together. She was not coordinated enough to hold the paper and rub at the same time. By being on my lap it let me hold the paper tightly and help her with the crayon too.  She loved the sound . kids crafts

 Books About Shapes

Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh is a cute book that not only helps teach shapes it is also entertaining! The three crafty mice use the shapes to protect themselves from one hungry cat finally using them to make scary mice to frighten the cat away! Kids love to help find which shapes are used in the illustrations and older ones can even anticipate what the mice will make next!

Dinosaur Shapes by Paul Stickland will delight you and your dinosaur fan. The book is geared towards toddlers and young preschoolers who are still mastering finding basic shapes.  A shape is displayed on one side of the page and then those silly dinosaurs are playing with it on the other. My son loves dinosaurs so even though he’s known these shapes for ages it’s an enjoyable book with fun text and adorable illustrations by Henrietta Stickland.

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15 Fine Motor Activities For Kids

fine motor development One of the things I hear from a lot of parents with children entering Kindergarten is that their child can’t write and they are worried about it. First thing is that your child probably can write but not as clearly as you think they ought to . There is a lot of pressure ( on kids and parents) and if your kids are anything like mine practice when they know it’s practice is not only low on the fun scale but it can actually be very discouraging.  Finding a balance between drill and fun is important. These fine motor activities help develop the crucial skills needed for being a successful writer. We also have a great list of worksheet free writing activities to check out.

Pound and Learn Hammering
Dry Erase Mazes
Simple Cereal Bird Feeders
Paint Chip Color Match
Write and Trace Place Mats
Lock & Key
Shell Sorting
Letter Rainbowing
Dry Erase Word Search
Clothes Pin Patterns
Design Your Own Lacing Pattern
Alphabet Glue Tracing
Cereal Bracelets
Playdough Play Toy Prints
Mining For Shapes

Pound & Learn Alphabet – Alphabet For Starters

fine motor and alphabet learningThis simple fine motor and alphabet activity for kids is the 9th post in our Alphabet For Starters series, it’s our series of simple activities to play and introduce the alphabet to little learners.  My son loved this when we did a even simpler version many years ago and still loved it this time. As you will see my daughter liked pushing in the tees a lot more than hammering them and that’s fine.  She played with the letters, got lots of fine motor skill development and most importantly she had fun. Things rarely turn out as you imagined with kids. Roll with it.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some Styrofoam, golf tees , a toy hammer , some markers and some painters tape if you are doing it outside to keep it from blowing away.
  2. Start by writing out the letters. Choose a few or a lot.fine motor activity
  3. Add the tees
  4. Time to hammer! She started off interested in the hammer but …hammering fine motor
  5. Soon she was all about pushing them in with her fingers.
  6. And exploring the styrofoam . I think this is what she liked best!
  7. After her brother came home we dug the pushed in tees out , re set them and let him pound away.

Books

Alfie’s ABC by Shirley Hughes is a sweet alphabetic look at a little boy and his family’s life. The illustrations of the cherubic children are what sells this book and my 2 year old loved them. Alfie has a little sister and my daughter immediately proclaimed that the baby sister was her and the brother was her big brother. The letters are presented with both upper and lowercase and are prominent enough that for children unable to sit for all the text to simply thumb through and explore letters.

Apple Pie ABC by Alison Murray is a really cute alphabet book and story about a dog and an apple pie. You can imagine what the dog wants to do with the apple pie. The way the author / illustrator weaves an alphabet book out of a simple story about a dog wanting to eat a fresh baked pie is awesome. I really like this book for 4 and 5 year olds because there are some really great words and they can anticipate what is going to happen. My son loved it. The vintage inspired illustrations were my favorite, I wanted to frame each page.