Run Erands At Home !

Kitchen Grocery

Imaginative play is crucial, it allows your child to test out and use skills they observe all day long. They also learn new words, use math skills , tap into their imagination and so much more. Our grocery store took me 5 minutes to set up and we played with it for ages! Using real food seems to make it extra special, but play food will work just fine.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some food from your pantry and /or fridge, a cart or basket, a bag to put your purchases in, some play money and something that can be turned into a register. We used a stool, with a plate and some red paper to make a “scanner”.
  2. Get your money and grab a basket!
  3. Start Shopping !
  4. Time to Pay!

Have fun and remember how important play is!

An Apple A Day…

Pom Pom
Apple Tree !

This is a fun and easy craft that uses up those red pom poms left over from Christmas crafts. If you don’t have pom poms , you can use red paper, or if you make a larger tree you can use apples to make prints! I like the three dimensional aspect of this craft and my son had fun counting the “apples” before gluing them on.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some 2 pieces of construction paper, a brown marker, some green paint,paint brush glue, scissors and some red pom poms.
  2. Draw a truck and the top of the apple tree on a light piece of construction paper. Cut the paper in two so each piece is separate.
  3. Have your child paint the top of the tree with the green paint. Let dry.
  4. Have your child color the trunk of the tree with a brown marker.
  5. Cut both pieces out.
  6. Glue the trunk on.
  7. Glue on the treetop.
  8. Add large globs of glue for the pom poms, my son was rather angry that I allowed him to do the glue for the paper but not for the pom poms. It’s hard to be 2.
  9. Add the “apples” and let dry.

“Our Apple Tree” by Gorel Kristina Naslund is a straight forward yet beautiful book about a year in the life of an apple tree. I like that it starts in winter because so often apple tree books start in the fall with the harvest . The pictures are delightful and two little tree fairies follow along with you as the tree goes through it’s life cycle. My son had very little interest in the book, but it wasn’t the book, at 2 he just wasn’t able to sit for so much information. This book is perfect for 4-8 year olds.

” How to Make an Apple Pie and see the world” by Marjorie Priceman cost me a total of 15 cents at a thrift store. It is worth so much more than that. This book is a gem! Perfect for older preschoolers who are getting a sense of the world beyond their own home and city, this book takes you on a ride around the world! You follow the little girl to Italy, France , Sri Lanka, England, Jamaica and back to Vermont! As soon as I read this my mind was racing with classroom activities ! I will be posting some soon. I LOVE this book, I just wish I had read it when I was still teaching it would have been so much fun to teach geography with!

Orange Prints

I was reading Teaching Tiny Tots the other day and found this great idea for orange prints. I had to do it, it fit perfectly with our fruit theme and just look at how awesome the prints are. To see the inspiration for this post head over to Teaching Tiny Tots ( edited 2012 the blog is no longer active)

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some heavy paper ( we used card stock), some paint, an orange and a plate.
  2. Cut your orange in half. Reserve one half for a taste test after art time. I blotted ours a few times because it was really extra juicy.
  3. Dip in the paint.
  4. Print !
  5. Add more colors if you want, or make a beautiful monochromatic print, no matter what it will look awesome !
  6. Have a tasty snack – after the project.


Fresh and Fruity !

Lumpy Bumpy

One of my friends shared a similar craft her son brought home from preschool with me and I fell in love with the idea. I was pleasantly surprised that there was very little rice on my floor after the craft and my son loved finishing art time with a yummy strawberry smoothie!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some heavy weight construction paper or cardboard ( I am using a cereal box) , red markers or paint, some green paper, glue , scissors and some rice. We used forbidden rice, it’s black, but any rice , dried beans or seeds will do!
  2. Draw a simple strawberry shape on the cardboard.
  3. Have your child color or paint the strawberry. Let dry if you are using paint.
  4. While your child colors, cut out a stem from the green paper.
  5. Grab the glue! My son is always excited when I let him loose with the glue. Put it all over the strawberry.
  6. Add the rice, do not just dump it on, encourage your child to pick up the rice one and a time. You’ll sneak in a great fine motor workout for your little one.
  7. Add the stem and let dry.


” Eating the Alphabet” by Lois Ehlert is an alphabet book extraordinaire! Wonderful paintings of fruits and vegetables seem ultra simple and it is but somehow the way the author has pieced this simple book together is brilliant. Maybe it’s that children learn about food at the table multiple times a day and feel proud being able to identify not only some of the letters but some of the pictures too! From a teaching standpoint I love that there are both upper and lower case letters on each page! This book will grow with your child, and beware it will also make you

“The Little Mouse, The Ripe Red Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear” by Audrey and Ron Wood is a fantastic book that children adore! The story not only unique in that the narrator speaks directly to the mouse , it’s illustrations will enchant your child’s imagination and make the most overtired parent smile. The little mouse is trying to keep the strawberry away from the bear, and his adorable attempts to hide it make my son laugh every time! Great book!

~Additional Activity~

When teaching about any sort of food, I always try to work in ways to cook, taste and play with it. Nothing beats the real thing but it doesn’t have to be a fancy meal. Today we made super simple smoothies !

  1. Gather your materials. You will need milk and frozen fruit, a blender and a cup.I told you it was simple. We put strawberries and a few pieces of mango.
  2. Pour in your milk – 1/2 a cup
  3. Add your fruit- don’t forget to count as you pop it in !
  4. Blend and enjoy! Trust me that’s his smile!

Ice Cream Cone Christmas Trees

Ginger bread houses are great but they are a lot of possibly frustrating work for most toddlers and preschoolers. These ice cream cone Christmas trees are a great downsized activity that young kids can do with little help. We spent Saturday morning making these as a family, our trees turned out well and are displayed in our kitchen. You can totally tell which one was done by the man with an engineering degree can’t you?

  1. Gather your materials. You will need sugar cones, a tub of icing, green food coloring, a plate for displaying , candy and a foil Santa !
  2. Start by putting half the icing in a bowl and adding green food color to it.
  3. Spread the green icing on your sugar cone , I was shocked at how well my little man did. Ironically he didn’t eat the icing at all, it must not be as appealing as paint.
  4. Once it’s all over the cone, add the candy. Mini m&ms work the best! These my son did eat, but he managed to get some on the tree.
  5. While my boys were ading the last of the candy to their trees, I spread the other half of the white icing on a rectangular plate, and added some sanding sugar to make it look like snow.
  6. Add your trees to the snow and the foil Santa !
  7. Find a place out of reach of kids and pets and show off your handiwork!


“Din Dan Don It’s Christmas” by Janina Domanska is one of a kind. The books follows the pilgrimage to the manger to see the infant Jesus . It starts with a single duck playing bagpipes, but it builds on it self until they spot the manger and the infant Jesus wakes. The story is simple because there is no need for lots of text , the illustrations are amazing. Every page looks like a cross between a stained glass window and a ornate mosaic in a Orthodox church somewhere in Eastern Europe. My son exclaimed “WOW” many times as we turned the pages of this book, and I know I let out a gasp or two as well, simply beautiful! * When I did a search for a photo I could not find this book in print , so you may not be able to find it in store, try your library though!

“Little Tree” by Chris Racshka is another awesome find. I love this book, it’s another visually amazing book and my son was much more into the pictures that are so packed full with fun details that they steal the show. The story inspired by the E.E. Cummings poem by the same name the story follows a little tree who has big dreams of becoming a Christmas tree . I think this book is great especially for children who want to know where the trees in the lots in a city come from.