Hair Bow Match-Inspired by Minnie In Paris

Minnie In Paris book I LOVE Paris. It’s hard to put into words how much I love Paris. The first time I visited I was 16 and it felt like home. I have since gone back a handful of times and can not wait to take my children. The thought of taking my daughter on a trans Atlantic flight gives me hives, so until she is a better flyer we are going to be visiting Paris in books. When I was asked to create a fun activity to go with Minnie In Paris by Shelia Sweeney Higginson I couldn’t wait for the book to arrive. My daughter loves Minnie Mouse and doing anything with other languages. I decided to create a bilingual match game that used patterned paper hair bows for her to match. Each match unlocked a new word to learn in French. She said it felt like a secret code. I loved that.

Here is how you can introduce some French words and play a fun game at the same time.

This post is sponsored by Disney Publishing.

Gather your materials. You will need some colorful card stock and fun patterned paper, glue, scissors, pencil, a paper punch ( or some serious scissor skills to make circles), a marker and the book of course!Minnie in Paris craft

Start by making a template out of card stock. I folded the paper so it would be symmetrical.minnie in paris get ready to play

Use the template to cut out various color bows. I made mine with matching colors because I didn’t want this to be too challenging for my daughter who is 3. There were a few colors with multiple bows so they weren’t all obvious matches but I balanced it so there was success and challenge. Older kids would get all pink !

Next trim the template.

Use the trimmed template to cut out the pattered paper. Make two of each pattern. The kids are really matching up the patterns and then the adult is helping them learn the words. Obviously at 3 most kids, my daughter included aren’t reading at this level,  if you want to make it an independent activity use letters or numbers. But as you will see we had a blast playing together.minnie in paris matching game

Cut out circles for the middle of the bows.

Write words on the circles, one in French and a matching one in English. If you aren’t familiar with French use Google Translate to pop in words from the book. I used :

girl – fille
thank you – merci
pink – rose
goodbye – aurevoir
skirt – jupe
garden – jardin

Glue all the pieces together.bow match minnie in paris

Time to play! Put the bows face down and play memory match. Each player flipping over two bows a turn. If the patterns match read the French word and ask your child to try to guess what it means, then read it in English to find out. minni mouse bow match game


If there was any question about how fun this game was look at that face! Anyone who knows my daughter will attest to the fact that you can’t make her smile unless she really is having fun. I was so pleased to be able to share this with her. Not only does it widen her horizons to understand that other people use different languages than she does but the book lets her get a taste for my favorite city in the whole world.minnie in paris match game



Minnie In Paris – In Stores Now!
by Shelia Sweeny Higginson
Illustrated by Mike WallMinnieinParis

About The Book – from the publisher :

Fashion is Minnie’s passion! And, as a result, she’s been invited to show her bows on the runways of Paris!

At the airport, Minnie is so busy taking care of her nieces, Millie and Melody, that she accidentally switches suitcases with Penguini the magician–and finds that his suitcase is full of bunnies instead of bows! Minnie must round up the mischievous little bunnies, find Penguini, and make her bows in time for the show. Will she make it?

Readers are treated to a stunning tour of famous Parisian locations, from the Louvre to Tuilleries Gardens to the Eiffel tower, to a classic Parisian bistro—all in search of Penguini’s bunnies.

This charming hardcover picture book comes with a code to access the Minnie in Paris eBook.

Visit the Minnie in Paris product page

My thoughts :

I am never surprised when my daughter likes character driven books but I am when I do. I really enjoyed this book and was worried it would look all ragged in our photos because we’ve been reading it a lot. I like that the book was a fun tour of Paris and I took the time on each page to tell my daughter a little more about each landmark . It’s a sweet book and the illustrations by Mike Wall are awesome. I felt like I was on a ride at Disneyland with all the bright colors and details on each page.


For more info and to check out other books :
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As mentioned above this post is sponsored by Disney Publishing.

Valentine’s Day Math Activity

valentine's day math My daughter loves math and I couldn’t be happier. This Valentine’s Day math game is all about things she loves. Toys, numbers and hearts! This game is pretty simple but you will need enough items that are obviously alike for the groupings. What I loved about this game was that there were so many math skills combined into the game. She had to recognize the number then match it to the amount in the groupings. This naturally led her to counting the objects many times as she checked to see if they were match. Sometimes she remembered the amount and didn’t have to recount. I loved watching her think through this.


Gather your materials. You will need some hearts ( we used post its) and a marker, a bunch of small objects that you can put in groups of 1-10 , space to play and I used our wall for the number line.Heart math game for Valentine's day


Start by setting up your groups. We did this in our playroom so I used toys and craft supplies but you could do this outside and use rocks, leaves and sticks.

math activity for children

Write out the numbers on your hearts. heart mathI did 1-10 and then popped them on the wall. Then noticed my daughter writing something and she’d made her own 0 and added it to the line.heart math for valentine's day


I told her that each heart belonged to a group but we needed to count the toys to see where each heart should go. And she was off. Matching them up and counting like crazy!!valentine's day math activity


She may not have told me she was using estimation as a strategy but she was. She’d look at a grouping and if the number was low and the group was large she’d move on to a more reasonable match before actually diving in to count. I didn’t tell her to go from 1-10 but she picked the hearts off in order. Don’t worry if your child doesn’t go in numerical order, it’s not important. Number much like letters are rarely in order anyway.math valentine's day craft for kids


Hooray she did it!!math game for valentine's day gross motor

Counting Books We Love

Here are a few great counting books for kids. All book lists include affiliate links.

Anno's Counting Book

Anno’s Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno almost didn’t make it into my library bag. I am so glad it did. This is a wonderful book full of possibilities. There is no text just simple aerial illustrations of a field as it evolves one number at a time. The field fills up quickly and it can be tricky to classify the pictures on each page to match it with the number displayed but once you do , each page is a lesson!

daddy hugs

Daddy Hugs by Karen Katz is a cute little counting book for toddlers. I gave it to my husband in 2007 for his first father’s day to read with my son and my son hated it. However in the years since it’s become a favorite and nothing beats a board book for when toddlers get to that destructo stage. Edited for 2013: My daughter has always loved this book!

ten on the sled

Ten on the Sled by Kim Norman is a really fun and educational book. The book is a new spin on the old song ” Ten in A Bed” but instead of squeezing onto a bed these cold weather animals pile on and off the sled one at a time. What is wonderful from an educational sense is not just the obvious counting element but as each animal exists the sled the verb used for how they exit begins with the same letter as the animal does. This was fantastic for my son who wanted to sound every animal and verb out.  Add a fun rhyming sing song text and this is a great read.


Hanging Out The Wash { Math & Fine Motor Skills}

dirty socks number match and fine motor activityClothespins are some of my favorite tools for learning and this easy math activity uses them along with your child’s imagination and love of mundane adult things like hanging clean socks on the line. This number matching activity wasn’t easy for my daughter at first but after she got the hang of it it was a breeze. The turning point was folding the sock over the line and then she could pin it herself.   This can be set up, played with and taken down over and over.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some fabric paint, socks ( try the dollar store if you don’t have extras at home), some wired ribbon, marker,  a basket, clothes pins and something to secure the ribbon to the wall.hanging out the wash math and fine motor
  2. Start by painting numbers on your socks.  I let ours dry for 2 full days… just in case.dirty socks 001
  3. Write the numbers on your clothes pins. I did 2 sets one for my daughter and the other with simple equations for my son. He wasn’t into this activity “It’s kinda for little kids Mom.”  so I will use this clothes pins for a “big kid” activity like this one instead.dirty socks 37356
  4. Set your clothesline up and pop the socks in the basket. Invite your little learner to hang out the wash.dirty socks 3
  5. The way I had it set up originally required me to help her and it slowed things down and she was frustrated not being able to do it herself.dirty socks ghgjg
  6. So we switched things up and she was clearly thrilled.dirty socks 678
  7. I took all the pins off and put the socks on the line folded over.
  8. Then she grabbed the matching pin and clipped it on. dirty socks 444After that she was golden and quickly matched the numbers up. It took a lot of coordination to get the correct pin on. dirty socks 2

Easy New Years Memory Game

new years activity for kids My kids and I had a blast playing memory with this homemade memory game that we made with pictures of some of our favorite memories of 2012.  As you will see both my kids played ( although they aren’t ready to play against each other yet – their gap in abilities is still too vast) and both loved not only beating mom ( I am terrible at this game) but also retelling stories about each picture and the memory that went with it. Oh and it’s so easy to make.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some card stock, double stick tape, digital photos , scissors and marker. new years memory game
  2. Choose 6 or more photos of favorite memories of 2012. You can print them out in a collage using a service like or individually. Make sure you have 2 copies of each picture.
  3. Cut your pictures out. Mine are all black and white because I ran out of color ink not for any grand reason. new years memory game for kids
  4. Tape to the card stock.
  5. Cut years memory match game for kids and toddlers
  6. I added the year on the back for fun. Also I plan on making this year after year.memory match game for kids and toddlers
  7. Time to play. First up was my wee one. I laid out 8 matches for her although I probably could have done 6.match game for toddlers
  8. She loved seeing the photos of herself – her first day of school with her teacher was her favorite.  The excitement was genuine when she made a match. She made six before she asked if she could play with her tea set :) Next time I will keep the number of cards lower.memory and match game for kids and toddlers for new years
  9. Then we set it up for my 6 year old. match and memory game for new years eveHe got the whole deck and was eager to show off.  new years match game for kids and toddlersHe didn’t know what photos I chose for the game and was happy to recount the stories that went with many of the photos. new years even game for kids  His favorite was a photo of him playing with our contributing writer Kim’s son .new years photo memory game He made matches so quickly and counted them up after each one. It was a perfect opportunity to skip count by two as years eve memory game for kids

Happy New Year!


Easy Pattern Matching For Preschoolers

DIY classroom supplies This is a simple activity with great cognitive benefits. Matching is the simplest form of finding patterns which is an important part of learning to organizing information. This is important for math and reading later on.  Customize this to your child’s abilities by using colored foam like me to give an extra cue or use all the same color foam to make it harder.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some foam circles, permanent markers and a pair of scissors.
  2. Draw some patterns. Make sure the marker is dry before handling it.
  3. Cut the circles in half.
  4. Invite your wee one . I had one half out for her and all the rest in a pile for her to choose from to make a match.
  5. If they need help ask if they see any of the same color .
  6. Celebrate every match!