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!
- 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.
- 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.
- The plan turned into a garden so we added the stems first and the kids went straight for the glue sticks. 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.
- 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!
- 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. In true 5 year old boy fashion these were named ” Missile attack flowers” .
- This is how it looked for days ( you can even see it in the background of a few previous posts) A 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.
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.
- 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.
- Add a few loops of tape to your table and tape down your tray.
- Add cereal.
- Add tools and toddler !
- Watch out for fast moving preschoolers too!
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!
- Gather your materials. You will need some fruity cereal, a paper plate, a sheet of colored paper, scissors and white glue.
- Start by gluing the paper plate in the middle of the paper and drawing the petals with glue.
- Add your cereal to the petals. Which he did… for a bit.
- He decided that just putting one color on each wasn’t “seriously cool” but if we filled the middle , that would be.
- 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.
- Let it dry.
- 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.
- Gather your materials. You will need fruity O’s cereal, sandwich baggies, and some craft lace.
- Start by filling the baggies with a handful of cereal.
- zip it and separate the cereal to the edges.
- Wrap a cut piece of craft lace around the middle and tie.
- 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.
- Lace and tie . At the party we had kids from 2-8 enjoying this craft.
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.
- 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.
- Start by putting the circular labels in the middle of the liners.
- Paint. I had so much fun painting these , crafts are so relaxing.
- Let dry.
- Peel off the center to reveal a uniform middle for all the flowers.
- Tape some of the smaller flowers into the middle of larger ones.
- Tape flowers onto the card stock. I think I may frame it.
Flowers are almost a requirement for Mother’s Day. With this fun craft you won’t have to worry about them not lasting.
You will need rubbing alcohol, food coloring, chenille stems, styrofoam ball (or floral arranging piece), paint, zipper sandwich bags, and Fiori style pasta – they look like little flowers.
Dye the pasta by adding 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol, 15 drops of food coloring, and pasta into a zipper bag. You can have your kids massage the bag and make sure the pasta gets coated really well.
I let the pasta sit in the food coloring for a few hours. Then I lined a cookie sheet with paper towels and placed the pasta on it to dry. I let the pasta dry overnight. It was the easiest way to make sure the kids didn’t mess with it and I could put it in a well ventilated area.
I while the kids kneaded the pasta, I cut the styrofoam balls in half and got some paint. I had them paint their half whatever color they wanted. They had a lot of fun. I let the paint dry overnight along with the pasta.
I cut the chenille stems in varying lengths. I had the kids thread the stem through the flower-shaped pasta piece. Only have the stem go through it by about an inch. Bend that end over and twist it to the longer part.
I gave each of the kids a bundle of stems and had them put the stems into the ball halves. The result was as individual as each of the children. It was BEAUTIFUL!
Now you have a gorgeous floral arrangement, centerpiece, desk decoration, or dresser ornament. And it will never wilt.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________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.
We have giant daisies in our backyard and thank goodness we do because all my son has wanted to do for art lately has been firetruck or dirt related. Not that most of my readers can’t appreciate that but it’s nice to squeeze some prettier more genteel themes in with the diggers and sirens. This was fast but substantial and after making it we picked a few daisies and counted their petals too!
- Gather your materials. You will need 4 colors ( white, yellow, green and blue) of construction paper ( really you only need one full piece , the others can be scrap) , a marker, glue , scissors and a circle paper punch if you have it.
- Start by punching out some yellow circles, for the center of the daisies. My son adored this step and I had to get him some scrap paper to keep going.
- Cut some stems from the green paper. You can make leaves too, we just chose not to.
- Cut out petals from the white paper.
- Ask your child for numbers to put in the middle of the flowers. Alternatively you can write in the numbers you know your child is struggling with , if you do that write a few they are consistently successful with as well. By setting them up for success with some of the numbers you will boost their confidence and they are more likely to take on the challenge of a “trickier” number.
- Glue the stems on.
- Add glue for the centers.
- Add the centers.
- Add the petals. I had my son read me the number, then he counted the petals as he added them. Then after he was done we “checked his work” by counting them again.
- Let dry.
I’m a little daisy
tall and slim.
Here are my petals and here is my stem.
When the sun comes up and the rain comes down
I grow and grow up from the ground.
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
The Gardener by Sarah Stewart Is a really touching book that I would happily recommend for school age children. It’s a beautiful story about a little girl during the depression who is shipped to the city to work in her uncle’s bakery because both her parents are out of work. She is obviously nervous but knows that it’s something she has to do. She takes a little of the country with her in seed packets which she plants in the city while she learns about baking and becomes friends with her uncles employees. This is more a story about making the most of hard times, and would be a great way to talk about the great depression with your child. There are so many little things in the illustrations by David Small to talk about , from a picture of FDR to traveling by train and the general sense of sadness . In the end it’s a warm hearted book that I can’t wait to share with my son in a few years.
The Boy Who Grew Flowers by Jennifer Wojtowicz is one of those books that stays with you. Rink is a little boy who’s family is strange, Rink is no exception, with every full moon he sprouts flowers , from his head. At school he is an outsider and only when a new girl comes to school does he make a friend. He reaches out to her because she too is an outsider, not at school, in her own family. In the end the kindred spirits celebrate their uniqueness. This odd romantic story will warm your heart and serves as a great lesson about how we all feel different and like an outsider sometimes. The illustrations by Steve Adams will stun you, they were so vibrant and paired so perfectly with the story. Wonderful!