I didn’t want it to be too easy for Sweet P so I created 10 mustaches and made some that looked similar to make it challenging for her. I used a variety of colors (but you could just use black), including some that we don’t talk about often so we could incorporate color recognition as well. I looked up a few of the styles (Charlie Chaplin, Fu Manchu, Handlebar, Lorax) so I could talk about the type of mustaches with her for fun. Sweet P loved this game and wanted to do it several times.
The Project: Mustache Match Game
What you need:
- 1 piece of construction paper
- various colors of felt
- black marker or Sharpie
- flat magnets
- hot glue gun/glue
Hot glue flat magnets to the back of each mustache. Place the puzzle mat on a baking sheet with your mustache magnets in a small bowl and you’re ready to go!
Stars , space and rockets are a theme that has never really lost it’s luster at our house. My son who is 5 1/2 is not as keen on sensory tubs as he once was ( or so I thought) so I set this one up with a little reading and matching activity. If I was doing this for younger kids I would have a few rocket ships and a few cups for pouring and transferring and skip the matching activity completely. As it turned out I misjudged my son and you will see that even at 5 1/2 that simple is wonderful.It’s great for space themes, learning about shapes and even fine motor practice!
- Gather your materials. For the sensory tub you will need dried black beans, bright star buttons and some tools like spoons and containers to dig and pour. For the matching activity I also used a chocolate box liner, some paper, scissors and marker.
- Pour the beans and the buttons in. You could add sparkles but you will never be able to use the beans for another non sparkly tub again and cleaning it off the buttons if you want will be impossible. I like to re-use my sensory tub innards so we kept it simple.
- If you want to make the matching container you can do it a few ways. For my son I wrote the words including light and dark blue and hot pink because we’ve been talking about different shades of colors. For pre readers simply use a marker in each color to write the word.
- Other than setting up I just let him go. He read all the words to start.
- Then got down to business sorting and matching. Don’t be surprised if they start counting while they sort. Everything is a competition at our house right now and so as he was sorting he was keeping me updated to which color was in the lead.
- After he’d had enough he filled the extra squares with beans using his hands , then grabbed a spoon, dumped the buttons out and and started carefully scooping the into the little squares one by one.
- Then we got a big container and filled it ( with the pot from our play kitchen) so his little sister could enjoy the stars too. She loves rolling it around and how loud it is when she does.
So even though I had a more directed activity ready I am thrilled he used it as a start but then directed the rest himself. I am just glad we had all the tools he needed.
I love my heart paper punch and my kids do too. It’s fun to make hearts for Valentine’s Day Crafts but you can also use them for math, write letters on them and play match.. the variations are endless. These three activities are just a few of the ways we have used punched out paper hearts lately.
I love painting in new ways and this was a great craft for my 19 month old who as you can see even helps me make a mess with a low mess activity like this. For another version of Valentine shake painting check out Hands On As We Grow- older kids will dig how they did it for sure!
- Gather your materials. You will need a plastic food container, some punched hearts( or cut out from construction paper), a piece of card stock, glue and paint of your choosing.
- Punch out some hearts from construction paper.
- Place them and paint in the food container. It’s easier to put the paint in first, they shake better that way. If you are nuts enough to hand your toddler the bottle of paint like I was be ready with a washcloth or my favorite- wipes.
- Put the top on and shake.
- Open and be amazed!
- Fold the card stock and add glue .
- Add hearts to glue and let dry. After seeing how cool the hearts looked someone else wanted in on the fun.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to only be about arts and crafts, we love math and made this super easy patterning activity.
- Gather your materials. You will need your paper hearts, a cookie sheet ( check out the dollar store), some double stick tape , a paper cup and a sheet of construction paper.
- Start by taping the paper down on the cookie sheet and adding double stick tape to the hearts.
- Make some simple patterns. I like to start simple then slip a harder one or two in before getting easier again. I want my son to feel successful but challenged.
- Place the extra in a cup . I make sure there aren’t too many extra hearts but that there is more than the few he needs to finish the pattern.
- Complete the patterns.
After we were done with this my daughter ( who is all about hearts right now)painted over it for a valentine for my husband. I love when we reuse tray table activities like that.
Heart Color Match
This is another easy tray activity. Using a silicone pan I placed a different color paper heart in each and had the corresponding colors in a pile waiting to be matched up. This was too hard for my daughter at 19 months and my son would be bored to tears with it. It’s smack in the middle between their abilities so no pics of their participation but I still wanted to include the idea for the older toddlers and younger preschoolers who would love it.
Heart of Hearts Collage
I made this last year over at my other blog Craftitivity Corner on FamilyEducation.com pop over to see the tutorial.
This post is not intended as a way to try to get sneak math into snack time. If you would like to use it for that reason, by all means go ahead. It would be a fun learning game. I am writing this to try to help make trying new foods fun for you and your child. My biological children love eating healthy foods. They usually request a healthy snack, even when I am offering a convenient (for me) junk food alternative. But fostering children has exposed me to problems I had not experienced before. How to get a child to eat healthy foods? Heck, how to get a child to try anything new?! Here is a fun game we came up with. Grab something that is not transparent or translucent. I like to use clean emptied yogurt containers. Cut up pieces of familiar food and new food into sizes that will fit under the containers. In this instance I used one familiar food that he liked along with two foods he refused to try before. Be sure to place two of each kind on the tray or plate. Cover the food with the containers. Now play the good ‘ole match game. When your child gets a match they get to eat the reward! It really feels like a reward for your child. While this is not guaranteed to work for every food, it sure is fun. You can watch your child get excited about matching. It is fun to see them study the tray and try to match it up. Their minds are focused on the game and not on “having” to try new or healthy foods. Are your kids picky eaters? ___________________________________________________________________________________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.
When my son started eating solids I made all his food… you can guess that is not the case with my daughter as I have this many baby food jar lids waiting to be made into something. I am just happy we made something useful and fun with them since they can’t be recycled like the jars can. This took me 5 minutes to make and $1 for the foam letter stickers. Frugal, Educational, Earth Friendly-ish ( foam letters are probably not eh?) and fun! Oh and super simple for the uncrafty or crazy busy .Oh and if your child is not ready for letters yet do colors, if they are way past letters try sight words. This idea can be adapted to any ability.
- Gather your materials. You will need some foam letter stickers and many jar lids (or milk jug caps would work too). You may want to do the whole alphabet but I didn’t bother letters work in all different combinations and you don’t need the whole alphabet each time you do activities with letters. You may also want a wet cloth to wipe any lids that didn’t get washed as well as you’d hoped.
- Peel and stick letters into the insides of the lids.
- Add them for each lid.
- Play. For beginners play with the letters facing up saying only “Can you find…” giving hints using the color and what letters it’s next to.
- For more experienced kids play face down. My 4.5 year old needed more help than I thought he would, not naming the letters but understanding he needed to remember where letters were. He also had a hard time flipping the lids with Grandma’s gloves Batman gloves on.
- Yay a match!
Quilt Alphabetby Lesa Cline- Ransome is a really pretty alphabet book that makes me think of autumn afternoons, my husband’s grandma ( she quilts) and crave caramel apples even though it’s not a strictly autumn book. Every page is devoted to a letter and the short poem that accompanies it never tells readers exactly what the letter represents, instead readers must figure it out. It’s not too hard though because the stunning illustrations in bright warm colors wonderfully give it away for every letter. My kids both liked it although my son was hoping that S would be for Superman explaining that he grew up on a farm in Kansas.
A Was an Apple Pie by Eitienne Deslessert takes the classic nursery rhyme and adds odd dinosaurish aardvarky creatures to it. I personally thought the creatures were odd to the point of distraction but my son gobbled up this book and loved the creatures . Yet another reason I don’t just read the books themselves , just cause I think something is odd doesn’t mean kids will. I really like the text to this because it’s simplicity is as brilliant as how it uses both all the upper and lowercase letters of the alphabet easily. Also because it’s such an old rhyme there are words we don’t often see in children’s contemporary literature and offers some new additions to your child’s vocabulary too.
“A” Was Once An Apple Pie by Edward Lear and Suse MacDonald is an adaptation of the classic Edward Lear poem that had both my children transfixed. The bold bright colors kept my daughter who is 10 months old wide eyed the whole time and the playful way Suse MacDonald adapted the text had my son listening from A-Z as well. It was incredibly fun to read allowed tongue tying me at times which resulted in us all giggling hysterically in a heap. A book that can do that is a must have in my opinion.