Swamp Sensory Tub

It’s gooey , it’s gross and it’s green! It’s a swamp and this sensory play idea was a huge hit with both my 5 year old and my toddler. It was surprisingly easy to make and a great way to spend some chill time outside. Sensory play is so much more than squishing things it’s about discovering with all your senses and pretend play as well. My kids spent a good about of time simply making sounds with the goo, sounds like glurp, goop, glug, squish , slip , slurp. It was fun to see how they both narrated their experience and the giggles were amazing too.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some gelatin ( I used plain because I had it on hand and added kool-aid for color but plain jello without the sugar should work too). You will also need a large container,  pool noodle, some plastic swamp creatures, water and a large tub or water table to play in.sensory fun for kids
  2. My daughter helped me make the gelatin. I followed the directions on the back for fruit jellies doubling the recipe.fun things for kids
  3. I love that by using kool-aid the gelatin smells awesome and is so tart even if kids do taste it , they spit it out. Also I used this old animal cracker container because it was a perfect fit for a space I had in my fridge. And it had a lid which was important since it was at kid level too. We let the gelatin set overnight in the fridge even though ours was ready to go in about 3 hours.
  4. We cleaned the water table ( it had dirt and rocks in it from our last play adventure) – this was an activity all on it’s own.
  5. Then the next morning after the gelatin was nice and set I filled one side with the gelatin and the other with water – added sliced pieces of pool noodle for lily pads and just enough creatures to invite play.
  6. And play they did.sensory tub ideas
  7. My son loved flopping the gelatin into the water side and it was neat to see how it would sink  to the bottom.sensory tub with jello
  8. My daughter loved squishing and squishing and squishing . I just kept taking pictures and soaking up the giggles. Did I mention it smelled amazing too, much better than a real swamp.jello sensory bin
  9. In the afternoon the sun melted the gelatin and my kids were bummed but we covered it and sure enough the next morning it was all congealed again and they had an absolute blast pulling the creatures out of the goo,sensory ideas for toddlers and we noticed the imprints they made too.  gelatin sensory bin We’ll see how many days we can keep it going!

Lily Pad Math – Subtraction Activity

math for preschool

We love math lessons and after going to a presentation all about teaching math to young children I am pumped for a ton of cool math activities for kids!  Nothing makes math more fun than using a theme and cool manipulatives. Even better than cool manipulatives are frugal ones made from dollar store items.  This whole activity cost me $2! Best part is that because the lily pads are foam even using permanent markers I can write equations on both sides to get more bang for my buck. Frugal, fun and educational.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some foam circles, permanent marker , plastic frogs and scissors.math for kids
  2. Start by cutting a wedge out of your foam circles.math ideas for homeschool kindergarten
  3. Next add some equations.math ideas for kids Gear these to your child. Do not worry about what your neighbor is doing or that your great aunt’s second cousins’ kid is multiplying at the age of 2  … everyone loves to share their pride in their kids and who can blame them?!  But all that matters is helping our kids learn at their own pace.  You can do equations like we did or you can simply write numbers and have your child place that many frogs on each lily pad.
  4. Add the frogs and your child. I totally goofed and didn’t have enough frogs for all the equations but my son just borrowed from an equation he had already completed.math center ideas
  5. When we started my son was determined to do the math in his head. I immediately explained to him that in Kindergarten ( he is crazy excited about kindergarten) that he will always have to show his work, how he got to a number and to feel free to use the frogs, or his fingers.math center ideas
  6. He chose his fingers … and amazingly the math was a breeze after that.
  7. Use proper math terms like equation, difference, subtract or the terms that fit the equations you are attempting.  Using the proper terms is part of math knowledge as well.

Although my son opted to use his fingers encourage your child to use the frogs for each equation especially if they are challenged by the equations. Fingers are great too but I find manipulatives even more effective than fingers for subtraction. Also when they move up to multiplication in later years using manipulatives like this are magic in my experience . If you do not have enough frogs simply present the lily pads one at a time.

Books About Frogs

books about frogs for kids

Too Many Frogs by Sandy Asher is a funny tale about a introverted Rabbit and a friendly Froggie who is a little clueless that he is imposing on Rabbit’s politeness when he invites himself over to listen to stories every night. Rabbit eventually breaks down and has had enough when Froggie brings his whole family reunion with him one evening to hear the stories as well. You will like how this story ends , the goofy but warm characters and expressive illustrations.

books about frogs for kids

Wendy the Wide-Mouthed Frog by Sam Lloyd Like it or not, our kids will probably encounter someone who thinks they are better than anyone else (or they may go through a stage of this themselves). Wendy is a frog who thinks just that and criticises the other animals in the wild for not being as great as she is. That is, until she meets a squid. At first I thought, with Wendy poking fun of other animals, that the book was somewhat negative in nature. Although Wendy isn’t nice and does change her tune at the end (though doesn’t apologize to others for her behavior), the book does open up an opportunity to discuss how negative comments can make our friends feel bad. Wendy herself is a hand puppet which mom can use to bring Wendy to life but the kids will love the squid page where they too can stick their hand in to be the squid’s tentacles. This moves kids from being passive listeners to interacting with the book too. ( reviewed by contributing writer Carrie Anne)

books for kids about frogs

Leap Back Home to Me by Lauren Thompson gave me goosebumps and made me want to give the author a high five. The little frog leaps away from mama frog going further and further away but leaps back home to his mama each time with then end being spot on with the text changing from ” then leap home to me” to ” when you leap back home , here I’ll be”. My heart was aching seeing the little frog grow so fast! I love this book. It’s got very simple repetitive text ( great for emergent readers!), the illustrations by Matthew Cordell are goofy and sweet. They match the text perfectly so they give great clues to readers who may be struggling with a word. As a read aloud this book is awesome , not only because the repetitive text has a great rhythm but as the little frog gets more independent and goes further from home the things he is leaping over are pretty goofy and will get more than a few laughs from any audience you are reading it to!

Easy Paper Plate Tree Frogs

We  love frogs and since finding many in our back yard we have been reading all about them, and the other day we made a fun and easy for all ages craft. My daughter loved using the Do-A-Dot paint markers for the first time and my son have fun working on fine motor skills rolling up the frogs sticky tongue.  After we snuggled in our book nook and read some favorite frog books .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a paper plate , some green paint, red and black paper, scissors and glue. 
  2. Start by cutting your paper plate in half and painting it green. My daughter loved this step and would have happily done it all day. Becareful if you choose to use these with younger children , the suggested age is 3+ because the top can come off ( check out our original review) watch constantly !  Also they aren’t as washable as some paints so you might want to grab a smock.  
  3. While the paint dries, cut out some red eyes.
  4. Black pupils
  5. Red tongue.
  6. Have your child roll the tongue up tightly.
  7. Add glue to the back side of the plate.
  8. Add the eyes.. and if you are a toddler take them off again…and add them…
  9. Add the pupils.
  10. Add glue to the front and add the tongue.
  11. Let dry.
I get asked all the time how I do crafts with two kids at the same time. The answer is sometimes I don’t. For me crafts are an amazing time to be with my kids and work together. Since my daughter is still so young she needs diligent supervision when using many tools and materials so sometimes we take turns. These frogs were made one on one with me while the other child played in the playroom. Sometimes we do it all at the same time , sometimes we don’t. They both have benefits .

Books About Frogs

Too Many Frogs

Too Many Frogs by Sandy Asher is a funny tale about a introverted Rabbit and a friendly Froggie who is a little clueless that he is imposing on Rabbit’s politeness when he invites himself over to listen to stories every night. Rabbit eventually breaks down and has had enough when Froggie brings his whole family reunion with him one evening to hear the stories as well. You will like how this story ends , the goofy but warm characters and expressive illustrations.

Once Upon a Lily Pad by Joan Sweeney is a cute book about two frogs that lived on the lily pads in Claude Monet’s gardens. I love the theme of life cycles in this story with the frogs hibernating and having more than one set of tadpoles… and eventually the painter not reappearing. It’s actually a great gentle book to start a open discussion about death without having to go into the thick of things right away. I love how it sparks interest in the painter and his beautiful work as well as can be used as a launchpad for an outdoor painting activity ( en plein air) . So many ways to use this book.

Leap Back Home to Me by Lauren Thompson gave me goosebumps and made me want to give the author a high five. The little frog leaps away from mama frog going further and further away but leaps back home to his mama each time with then end being spot on with the text changing from ” then leap home to me” to ” when you leap back home , here I’ll be”. My heart was aching seeing the little frog grow so fast! I love this book. It’s got very simple repetitive text ( great for emergent readers!), the illustrations by Matthew Cordell are goofy and sweet. They match the text perfectly so they give great clues to readers who may be struggling with a word. As a read aloud this book is awesome , not only because the repetitive text has a great rhythm but as the little frog gets more independent and goes further from home the things he is leaping over are pretty goofy and will get more than a few laughs from any audience you are reading it to!

Frog Life Cycle Craft

Frog-Life-Cycle-Lesson-and-Craft

My son loves learning about animals and with such weird weather this year ( was yours weird too?) we are still seeing lots  tadpoles in water  around here. We had fun with this easy and very kinetic lesson about the life cycle of frogs.  You will see a lot of cutting, coloring and writing around here right now as we work on my son’s fine motor skills. He’s started asking to write everything and to make writing easier we are taking every chance we get to work those skills out even if he’s not writing. Scissor skills are a great and usually enticing way to do that with kids.

  1. Gather your materials you will need a sheet of sturdy card stock , a print out of the frog life cycle ( we got ours here ) , some crayons or pencil crayons, kid scissors, a marker, double stick tape,white paper, clear tape and 5 flip tops from wipes cases.
  2. Start by talking about the life cycle of a frog with your child, you may even want to read the first book listed below as part of this activity.
  3. Next have them color the stages. If your child isn’t into coloring by all means skip this step- the goal is to have fun learning not rigidly follow all steps.
  4. Time to cut. At our house this is a favorite activity. Coloring is zipped through haphazardly but cutting is savored! My son did the cutting with me sometimes helping him position the scissors by making a guide line with a colored pencil. It’s a great way to support while letting independent preschoolers still ” Do it themselves!”
  5. While he cut I made the labels for the flip tops. I could have made them with the ( newly bought) printer but I wrote them out to show you that if your child is able ( and it doesn’t make the whole project too long for them) to have them write it out too .
  6. Then I popped the flip tops in order on the card stock and added wee arrows. My tops didn’t need glue because they still had adhesive on them from their packaging. Yours might need a dab or some double stick tape ( they should really sponsor my blog I go through a ton of this stuff, I <3 it!).
  7. Next up add double stick tape to each stage cut out and find the matching phase of the life cycle. We worked on reading and pretended to me Superhero scientists researching the “Evil Frog of Fear!” Hey whatever works and keeps them having fun!
  8. I had my Superhero Scientists write Frog in the middle , you can add life cycle or really anything you want. Frog was all we had space for as he is still in the beginning stages of writing.  You could also draw a picture as an alternative to writing.

I loved seeing my son show this off to his dad and my parents after we made it. He would enthusiastically flip open the flaps to reveal the stages. Lately he has been extra full of energy , needing to move more and this activity was a good calm break that then also provided him with some movement and a chance to touch and use the craft after making it. Also the tasks of putting the pieces in the right flap really spoke to his desire to solve problems ( or crimes committed by super villains ).

Books About Frogs

From Tadpole to Frog by Wendy Pfeffer is another gem from the “Let’s- Read-And-Find-Out” series. It goes into great detail without offering too much for young readers. When I was reading it to my 2 year old, I skipped some pages, it’s a little long for him still but 3-5 year olds are perfect age for this non fiction book. The illustrations are interesting and kept my wiggly man into the book when the text went above his head.  Edited for 2011 - now at 4.5 years old this book is smack on target for my son. The book has just the right amount of information about frogs for preschoolers to process and to also turn to parents or teachers to ask why and go in search of even more information. I think  a sign of a great non fiction book is that it sparks further curiosity about the subject in the readers.

Once Upon a Lily Pad by Joan Sweeney is a cute book about two frogs that lived on the lily pads in Claude Monet’s gardens. I love the theme of life cycles in this story with the frogs hibernating and having more than one set of tadpoles… and eventually the painter not reappearing. It’s actually a great gentle book to start a open discussion about death without having to go into the thick of things right away. I  love how it sparks interest in the painter and his beautiful work as well as can be used as a launchpad for an outdoor painting activity ( en plein air) . So many ways to use this book.

Leap Back Home to Me by Lauren Thompson gave me goosebumps and made me want to give the author a high five. The little frog leaps away from mama frog going further and further away but leaps back home to his mama each time with then end being spot on with the text changing from ” then leap home to me” to ” when you leap back home , here I’ll be”. My heart was aching seeing the little frog grow so fast!  I love this book. It’s got very simple repetitive text ( great for emergent readers!), the illustrations by Matthew Cordell are goofy and sweet. They match the text perfectly so they give great clues to readers who may be struggling with a word. As a read aloud this book is awesome , not only because the repetitive text has a great rhythm but as the little frog gets more independent and goes further from home the things he is leaping over are pretty goofy and will get more than a few laughs from any audience you are reading it to!

Preschool Counting Game

Preschool Dice Game

This is the first time I have played a dice game with my son. I decided to incorporate fun manipulatives to help reinforce proper one to one correspondence. He is still at the stage that most preschoolers stay at for some time where they will sometimes count and re-count objects in groups instead of counting each object only once. To help teach proper grouping, using manipulatives that they can physically move from one group to another as they count will naturally force them to stop. This gives them a chance to be successful with little parental/ teacher involvement and develops pride and confidence in their own abilities! Also frogs and snakes are fun!

  1. Gather your materials. I am using 2 over sized dice ( you can use just one die to keep it simpler), some card stock, scissors, double stick tape, markers, plastic frogs and snakes, and 3 containers.Preschool Dice Game
  2. Start by cutting the card stock into a size that will cover your die- if you are using small dice you can simply use little stickers. It’s really not a must to have a 2nd die with the animals , I decided to use both to give the activity some variety. Using just one with just one sort of manipulative to count would be perfectly fine. If you are using two make 3 pictures for each .Preschool Dice Game
  3. Tape onto your die. Preschool Dice Game
  4. Play! Roll the dice – see which animal you have to count and how many you need to count out! Preschool Dice Game
  5. Count the dots… 5!
  6. Count out the snakes! Preschool Dice Game

A variation for younger ages would be to ONLY use the dice with pictures and simply have the child sort through the two different animals, then count with you the two separate piles.

Song

Um um! Went the little green frog one day,
Um um , went the little green frog.
Um um went the little green frog one day,
and they all went um um ahhh!

But we all know frogs go ,
la di da di da,
la di da di da
la di da di da
We all know frogs go la di da di da,
They don’t go um um ah!!!

Frog Books !

Too Many Frogs

Too Many Frogs by Sandy Asher is a funny tale about a introverted Rabbit and a friendly Froggie who is a little clueless that he is imposing on Rabbit’s politeness when he invites himself over to listen to stories every night.  Rabbit eventually breaks down and has had enough when Froggie brings his whole family reunion with him one evening to hear the stories as well. You will like how this story ends , the goofy but warm characters and expressive illustrations.

Fribbity Ribbit

Fribbity Ribbit! by Suzanne C. Johnson is a simple but deceptively detailed book about a frog that just can’t be caught! The frog jumps from the backyard where a little boy is this close to grabbing him through the house and along the way runs into every family member who joins in the attempts to grab him. I love the different situations each family member is in when the frog interrupts, I particularly like that the grandfather is cooking , if you look closely you can see his cook book is titled “Frog Legs” . There are more frog details on every page, see if you can find them.

Where is my frog

Little Critter Where Is My Frog? by Mercer Mayer was a wonderful surprise sent to me by the publisher to review. I have been a fan of this series since I was a little girl and was excited to see a lift the flap book for the younger set. As any fan of the Littler Critter series knows there are hidden spiders, mice or frogs on the pages of the stories but it’s not the easiest for toddlers to find. This format is perfect, story is simple Little Critter goes fishing with his dad , takes his frog along and then the frog goes missing! While lifting the flaps, you find all sorts of animals small and large.  Even though my son is able to enjoy much more sophisticated books at three-and-a-half he still finds joy in lifting the flaps, that are so wonderful for younger toddlers to stay interested in otherwise static books.

You May Also Like :

Paper Plate Tadpole
Frog Puppet
Make and Count Ladybugs