Alphabet Garden – Alphabet For Starters

We love playing with the alphabet. Whether it’s making letter crafts , reading book or creative activities like this we play with and point out letters where ever we go.  This is the 5th installment of our Alphabet For Starters series, posts dedicated to introducing and playing with letters for beginners.  We spent the majority of the day outside pulling weeds and my daughter helped us by pulling flowers too. I decided to piggy back that with this alphabet garden magnetic play. Please be careful whenever you use magnets . I prefer using products like this adhesive magnetic roll vs round magnets that are all too often put in little mouths. If your child is still putting things in their mouth skip the magnets it’s a nice extra but not required.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some fun precut shapes I am using wooden shapes fromCraftprojectideas.com , some permanent markers, scissors, magnetic sheets , some paper and a cookie sheet.letter crafts for kids
  2. Start by writing out the alphabet one letter at a time on the wooden pieces. alphabet activities for kids
  3. Decorate . I used permanent markers because I wanted to play the same day but if you have the time paint would be nice too. letter activities for kids
  4. Trace the shape on the paper side of the adhesive magnetic roll.
  5. Cut and stick.
  6. Make a few scenes on paper ( I made a garden and a vase ), placed them on the cookie sheet and put the letters in a basket.
  7. Play. She started right away.alphabet for starters
  8. Then switched the scene and kept going. As she placed the letters I labeled them and every now and then would ask which letter she liked best, which color she liked best and which was her favorite flower/ butterfly. Anything with polka dots was the verdict every time. 

Alphabet Books

A Gardener’s Alphabet by Mary Azarian is a fresh and so richly illustrated alphabet book you will likely have the same thoughts I did while reading it with my son ” I need to frame these pages!” they are that awesome. What I think the main benefit of this book is , is that the words chosen for each letter are not the same old ones you see over and over in alphabet books. The words used are things like Japanese Garden for J, Lawn Ornaments for L and my favorite was Underground for U with a cool illustrations of worms, root vegetables and roots !

Baby’s Alphabet by Jean Marzollo will appeal to your baby and toddler, we were given it as a gift and my son has loved it since about 9 months on. The photographs of other babies will keep your little one interested and you will be surprised how soon they will anticipate the next page, I know I was. Sadly our copy is now flying the friendly skies , we took it on a flight with us and forgot it on the plane. Hopefully someone with a baby finds it.

Alphabet Books For Kids

The Sleepy Little Alphabet: A Bedtime Story from Alphabet Town by Judy Sierra is a great alphabet book. I couldn’t help myself, I read it to my son to the tune of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom . It is clearly it’s own book though. The alphabet is getting ready for bed and just like your little ones, these lowercase letters are pulling out all their tricks and antics to avoid bedtime. Well almost all of them, z is more than happy to go to bed!  It’s a sweet book that your kids can relate to and I like that it focuses on lowercase letters.

 

21 Flower Crafts For Kids

mother's day crafts for kids

Mother’s Day is less than a month away so it’s the perfect time to gather up all our flower themed crafts for kids and share them in one easy spot for you to find them. Over the years we have done a number of easy flower crafts for kids and toddlers that use common household materials so they are frugal too.  Here are our top 21 flower crafts for kids.

Daisy Math
Fruity Flower
Poppy Craft
Flower Cookie Cutter Prints ( great for toddlers)
Flower Cupcakes
Foam Flower Magnets
Pool Noodle Bouquet For Mother’s Day
Fingerprint Flower ( another great toddler craft)
V Vase
Spring Flower Mural
Dried Lentil Flowers
Newspaper and Button Flowers
Paint Chip Flowers
Cupcake Liner Poppies
Felt Flower & Color Mixing
Paper Roll Pop Out Flowers
Easter Egg Flowers
Family Flowers
Pool Noodle Flower Garland
Pasta Flower Centerpieces
Giant Sunflower Craft

Spring Mural – Cooperative Project For Kids

We are digging murals lately so when my daughter refused her nap for the third day in a row instead of breaking down and crying like I wanted to I grabbed some paper and we made something.  This mural like our alphabet wall mural isn’t finished in one sitting, in fact I leave things to add to it out until it’s removed weeks later. I love having on going art projects that grow and change over the course of a few weeks. There is no wrong way to do this just choose materials you have, that are safe for whatever age or stage of development your kids are at and have fun!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a large piece of paper for the wall, I love craft paper but the underside of extra wrapping paper will do too. We also used painter’s tape,  glue sticks ( avoid with kids who may put them in their mouths, those suckers are choking hazards) , scrap paper , pom poms, double stick tape… these are just what we used you can add in whatever you can, just try to mix a few materials together. I love handing my kids something new and saying ” How could we use these for this project?” and watching the wheels turn.spring preschool activities
  2. Put the paper up. Grab some construction paper and start ripping . I just sat by the mural while my kids were playing with their usual favorites in the playroom ( Duplo and board books) soon enough they came by to see what I was doing.ripping paper
  3. The plan turned into a garden so we added the stems first and the kids went straight for the glue sticks. Garden wall mural  Oh and yes I ripped the stems at my son’s request, he had a hard time ripping them in long strips. I want to make sure parents know there is no issue with helping your kids create. I get emails asking ” Do you ever help?” at their request of course! I try not to do anything my kids can do on their own but if they get frustrated and ask for some help of course I will. Projects aren’t tests to see what they can do it’s time to work as a team, especially ones like this that is meant to be collaborative. They had fun adding the paper. ripped paper flowers
  4. My daughter stuck to one side of the mural. We aren’t sure of her creative vision – but both my son and I thought that her collage looked like a butterfly! flower art project
  5. I was giddy when I heard my son call me back over ( I’d gone to the book nook to read with my daughter) to see how he discovered he could glue ends of paper down but make the middle pop out at you. cooperative art projectIn true 5 year old boy fashion these were named ” Missile attack flowers” .
  6. This is how it looked for days ( you can even see it in the background of a few previous posts) spring flowersA few days later when we were in the playroom and they were busy playing I grabbed the double stick tape and pom poms and set them out. Soon I had two kids creating once a again.

I think when we return from our holiday we’ll get another material out and see how it fits with the paper and pom poms. What do you think we should add next?

Books About Flowers

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Elhert is a wonderful book to use for teaching about flowers and colors. The illustrations are bold and bright, perfect for little curious minds. I have always liked this book because you can sit down and dive into it reading each flowers name on every page , or browse it more casually with a younger child simply noting the colors.

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes is a lovely book about having confidence, loosing confidence and regaining it in the end. Chrysanthemum is a little mouse who loves her name until she goes to school and is picked on for it being out of the ordinary. Who can’t relate to this? I know I can . Thankfully my son  has yet to experience this all too common, but still so heartbreaking experience . I love that I have a book like this to share with him and open up about it before it happens. Ultimately Chrysanthemum learns to love her name again and regains the confidence she once had. Another fantastic book from a consistently wonderful author.

Zinnia’s Flower Garden by Monica Wellington is really useful not just about teaching about flowers and gardens, but also about patience and the annual cycle of a garden. Zinnia plants and waits, waters, enjoys her flowers, then they die, she collects the seeds and plans her garden for next year. I love that the main story is perfect for my almost 3 year old but there is much more for older children with longer attention spans. There is a little journal with notes about what’s happening with her garden, and various facts about plants as well. Like in so many of her books the author celebrates hard work and her characters take great pride in what they do. A fantastic message for readers, big and little. I also love the mix of illustration and photographs in this book especially, it gives the illustrations depth and a really interesting look.

3 Fruity Cheerios Activities

I bought these fruity cheerios for a fun craft at my daughter’s birthday party and decided to use them for a few more crafts and put it all together for you.  These smell awesome! Which make them even more fun to use for crafts since they add a deeper sensory experience for kids.  Each of these activities are distinct but so simple you could do them all in one day or spread over years!

Fruity O Sensory Tub

This was a fun colorful tub for my daughter to play with.  Using the cheerios let her explore with scooping and pouring with something that although I don’t usually have it in her diet if she did ingest it I wouldn’t be concerned. I didn’t encourage her to eat this though as I treated it like any other sensory tub where we are not suppose to eat. I should note that she’s never been fed these so they were not immediately thought of as food. As with any activity with young kids this is only to be done under immediate supervision , only you know if your child is ready for an activity, look at your child’s abilities not the age recommendation.

  1. Gather your materials . You will need a container ( I love light ones for babies so if they pull it off the table by accident you have a mess but no injuries). You will need a few cups of fruity cereal and fun tools to scoop with . You may also want some painters tape.
  2. Add a few loops of tape to your table and tape down your tray.
  3. Add cereal.
  4. Add tools and toddler !
  5. Watch out for fast moving preschoolers too!

Fruity Flower

This was impromptu and as you will see it evolved as we went. My original vision was not what my son wanted to make , so we changed it up mid craft. I like his vision better anyway and the end result was a really fragrant flower!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some fruity cereal, a paper plate, a sheet of colored paper, scissors and white glue.
  2. Start by gluing the paper plate in the middle of the paper and drawing the petals with glue.
  3. Add your cereal to the petals. Which he did… for a bit. 
  4. He decided that just putting one color on each wasn’t “seriously cool” but if we filled the middle , that would be.
  5. So that’s what we did! There are enough power struggles in every day life with preschoolers if they don’t like the craft and want to change it go with it, it’s great if they have an idea they want to make.
  6. Let it dry.
  7. Cut out. 

Fruity O Butterfly Necklaces

I loved these Butterfly treats from TeachMama and knew when I decided to use a butterfly theme for my daughter’s first birthday party that I’d need a craft for the kids to do. So I changed it up a little by turning it into a necklace craft.  The craft table was busy even though the sun was out at the party, and these are a fun craft to do any time.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need fruity O’s cereal, sandwich baggies, and some craft lace.
  2. Start by filling the baggies with a handful of cereal.
  3. zip it and separate the cereal to the edges. 
  4. Wrap a cut piece of craft lace around the middle and tie.
  5. When making it into a necklace loop the craft lace through one o first to make an easy stopper so kids can string the cereal on without them zipping off the end.
  6. Lace and tie . At the party we had kids from 2-8 enjoying this craft.
Believe it or not I have not been compensated in any way for this post – no one at Cheerios have contacted me although if they are reading this , wow those chocolate ones are so good!

Cupcake Liner Poppies

These are so simple to make but really beautiful. You could use the technique to make garlands , add flowers to invites and even make brooches.  One tip:  the labels peel off easily but if they are saturated in paint it gets tricky, so try not to gob it on the middle.

  1. Gather your materials you will need some paint, dot labels ( from stationary aisle), cupcake liners in different sizes, brushes, card stock and double stick tape. Ignore the ribbon- at first I was thinking I’d make a garland.
  2. Start by putting the circular labels in the middle of the liners.
  3. Paint. I had so much fun painting these , crafts are so relaxing.
  4. Let dry.
  5. Peel off the center to reveal a uniform middle for all the flowers.
  6. Tape some of the smaller flowers into the middle of larger ones.
  7. Tape flowers onto the card stock. I think I may frame it.