Shape Castle

Kids Castle Craft

My mom is in Ireland right now on business and staying in castles, nice eh? Well since telling my son that he has been pretending to be in a castle in Ireland too. So today we made one out of all different shapes. We couldn’t pass up the glitter either , although looking at my floor sorta wish I did. Getting down on all fours with a dust buster and a 34 week belly is well, not fun! Decide for yourself!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 3 different colors of construction paper, scissors, glue, markers and glitter .Kids Castle Craft
  2. Start by cutting out large rectangles and triangles , as well as some small squares for the castle.  You can use any shapes you want but these were simple for me to cut out and simple for my son to use to build. Kids Castle Craft
  3. Cut out some shapes to use as windows, doors and flags in a contrasting color.Shape Castle
  4. Invite your little castle builder to come and decorate the background.  Clouds, flowers, whatever they choose. My son made rain, because I had shown him pictures of me in Ireland and it was raining, and he was making his castle in Ireland as well.Shape Castle
  5. Next add glueShape Castle
  6. Add your main castle pieces. Remember to ask and talk about the shapes. Today my question was if he turned the shape around would it still be the same shape. He had to think about that for a second.Shape Castle
  7. Add your triangles.Shape Castle
  8. Add the small squares.Shape Castle
  9. Add more glue for the windows and doors. Shape Castle
  10. Add the contrasting shapes. My son didn’t want the flags, or all the shapes I cut so they went into my scrap bin.
  11. Next up glitter, add the glue first ( we took turns adding glue). Shape Castle
  12. Add the glitter.Shape Castle Immediately regret it when you watch your child rub the super fine glitter into their PJs, and hair. Send them onto the back porch to shake off.Shape Castle
  13. Let dry. I always let the glue dry before shaking the excess glitter off.

Princess Books

Princess and The Pizza

The Princess and the Pizza by Mary Jane and Herb Auch is really a cute re telling of the classic Princess and the Pea. They have modernized it and made it a little more feminist in the process, exactly my kind of book. The text is a little long for toddlers but my son sat through about half before wanting to go back and look at the illustration of the horse on the first page. The message is sweet, saying that a woman doesn’t need a man or marriage to attain her goals! Beware though it will make you crave pizza!

Princess Smarty Pants

Princess Smartypants by Brenda Cole is the antithesis of the classic beautiful frail princess stories, but it still ends with happily ever after.  Princess Smartypants does her own thing and doesn’t understand why her family is so obsessed with finding her a husband. She bends to their wishes but still does things her way. I think this is a great message about happiness and confidence for girls and balances out some of the other princess stories. She was happy just the way she is and didn’t  need a spouse to feel complete.

Paper_Bag_Princess

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch is one of my very favorite books. Some parents have shared their dislike of Elizabeth’s outburst at the end calling Ronald a bum but I think not only is it justified, he treated her horribly, but people say things when they are angry and you can easily use it to teach your child about anger. I think it’s a wonderful story about a princess taking things into her own hands and saving herself and the prince! My kind of fairytale.

You May Also Like :

Shape Dinosaur
Shape Pizza
Princess Wand

Find and Count Bug Hunt

find & count bug hunt nature activity

Math and science all together is my kind of activity, but when it’s fun it’s even better. We have all been a little cranky around here and when that happens one of the best ways to shake off the fuss is to go outside! So I made a quick check list and we were off to find creepy crawlers and tally up what we found!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a clip board, a marker and a piece of paper. If you want grab a magnifying glass and a plastic jar if you want to collect what you find.Find and Count Bug Hunt
  2. Make a simple check list with bugs you normally find in your yard. It’s okay if you don’t find some of the things on your list but if you come up completely empty handed that would be a huge bummer. So take their suggestions but fill in some gaps if all they suggest are lions, and tigers and bears! Unless you have those in your yard. Find and Count Bug Hunt
  3. We drew pictures as well as spelled out the words.
  4. Out you go! Start searching!

    Find and Count Bug Hunt

  5. Make little check marks for the bugs/ creatures you find. We took turns. Find and Count Bug Hunt
  6. Here he is counting and yelling out the number of ants he saw and I tallied them. ( which reminds me I need some Dr.Bronner’s to get rid of said ants). Find and Count Bug Hunt
  7. He’s pointing to the  snake we found! Find and Count Bug Hunt 010
  8. Together count up your discoveries. Find and Count Bug Hunt

The best learning for young children are experiences they can do, and if they are resistant to something at the table, get outside ! You will both be happier and the lesson whatever it is will make a much larger impact than anything you had to force or cajole!Find and Count Bug Hunt

Bug Books!

Ant's Day Off

An Ant’s Day Off by Bonny Becker is an interesting tale about an ant who has lived his whole life never seeing the sky , or anything beyond the tunnels he works in until one day he decides to take the day off. The text was a little long for my son who kept flip flopping on my bed, but he didn’t want me to close the book either. The story was solid though, my favorite part was when he tried to return to his tunnel and the guard he expected to give him heck, was supportive and even shared that he too has taken a day off.

The Very Quiet Cricket

The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle is one of my favorites and I am a little shocked this is the first time I have reviewed it here. The story is all about a little cricket who is trying and trying to chirp like the others to talk to all the bugs talking to him but he can’t!  Whenever I read it to children ( and it was a classroom favorite too) I would wiggle my shoulders like I was trying to rub my wings together just like the cricket. Kids latched on to that and I loved seeing them so engaged by the repetitive but never boring book. I thought seeing 12 little 3 year olds wiggling was precious but one little 3 year old is pretty cute doing it too!  Of course there is a “surprise” at the end that toddlers and preschoolers alike will love.

The Gentleman Bug

The Gentleman Bug by Julian Hector is a story about a bug but not just any bug a proper gentleman one who lives in the Garden, the Garden being a bug version of London. One day a lady bug comes to town and he is smitten. He tries to get her attention but falls flat. As it turns out though they do have something in common, a love of books and that brings them together in the end.  I liked the details of this book, the illustrations were wonderful and the map of the garden in the inside cover was awesome but the story fell a little flat.  I am eager to read the author’s other works though because I think there was potential it just wasn’t quite a home run.

Need more bug themed activities?
Check all of ours out

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

Pattern Lesson

preschool patterning lesson

Whenever I do little lessons like this with my son , I set them up when he is not around. I introduce them as “puzzles” for him to help me solve and that peaks his interest and makes it fun, not some “lesson” mom is doing cause she misses teaching . Seriously though it is fun because he uses what he calls his “detective skills” to figure out the pattern. He’s also getting a good fine motor work out pinching them onto the sentence strip.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some colored clothes pins. If you don’t have colored ones available, grab the good old wood ones and color them with markers. You will also need some stiff paper like cardboard, card stock or sentence strips like we are using.  preschool patterning lesson
  2. Set out a number of patterns with the clothes pins. I did 3, a general rule of thumb is to provide a challenge but not overwhelm them, or challenge them too much to the point of frustration . I have done patterns before with my son but it had been a while, I also wanted to provide choices for him, something if you have a toddler or preschooler is at times an absolute must have.  Preschool patterning lesson
  3. Give them the pegs and ask them if they can solve the puzzle and figure out what comes next. preschool patterning lesson
  4. If they are not sure sing a song ” White , Blue, White , Blue…” that is normally get them going if they are ready for patterns. preschool patterning lesson
  5. If an ABABA pattern is too easy try a ABCABC one.

Next time we do this I will be doing it with 3 colors in one pattern, my son needed me to sing the pattern for the first strip but them completed the next 2 on fast forward with no input. Which tells me next time to make it a little more challenging, but to also provide some at this level to give him a balance of challenge and independent success. Best part – nothing you used gets ruined. The pins can be used again and so can the sentence strips.

Gross Motor Math Game

This game was supposed to be done with beanbags, we were going to toss them into the shapes… but a classic 3 year old breakdown about not being able to do it perfectly lead to me adapting it. I didn’t give up right away, but when he calmed down tried again, did a fine job and STILL broke down into sobs I couldn’t decipher, I decided to change it. So instead I threw on some music , and went for it. If you have a child who likes to throw and isn’t in the perfectionist stage mine is very painfully in at the moment grab some beanbags and take turns tossing them in for a fun varriation.

    1. Gather your materials. You will need some blue painters tape, a marker and paper. If you want add in some bean bags and music .
    2. Start by making shapes on the floor with the tape.  We did square, diamond, pentagon, rectangle and triangle. Involve your child in this step by asking them to predict what the shape will be , asking them to count how many pieces or sides each shape has and to trace it with their feet by walking on it and pressing down the tape. Preschool Shape Game
    3. Here is where you can start tossing bean bags in – simply call out the shape and have your little pitcher throw it in.
    4. Or you can do what we did and turn on the music , and have them find different ways to move while the music is on, and when it stops call out a shape for them to jump into.

  1. To make a more challenging variation write out some numbers . My son is big into speed limits right now so we went for big numbers, I suggested smaller numbers ( 10-20) but he insisted so I took him up on the challenge. You could also use letters or sight words too, for beginners try colors! As you will see in the video he needed help for these big numbers, which isn’t a bad thing at all but if you are playing this with many kids you will want the game to keep moving to keep them all interested and the inertia going so use numbers they are more familiar with. preschool shape game
  2. Pop the numbers into the shapes and play again. My intention was to have one number in each but my son wanted to put a whole bunch in the pentagon. Today was not the day to put my foot down . I wanted to play more than I wanted to force my specific rules on him. Preschool shape game

Have fun remember that our best laid plans are often thwarted by our best loved little ones. I am glad i didn’t give into my growing frustration at his inexplicable meltdown and instead adapted the game. We had fun playing before and after nap .

Shape  Books !

So Many Circles, So Many Squares by Tana Hoban is a picture book that is all about shapes in our environment. There is page after page of pictures of daily life, food, signs etc… with the simple question of finding the shapes in the photos. It’s a great book to use as a launch pad into a shape hunt in your own home or around town and worth a few looks because you will be surprised at the shapes you missed the first time.

There is a square

There’s a Square: A Book About Shapes by Mary Serfozo is a good shape book for preschoolers. Almost every illustration is made up of recognizable shapes and the text is made up of entertaining rhymes about the shapes on each page. My son thinks it’s funny that the shapes “Are sorta like people.” referring to the fact that the shapes are made into characters .

Dinosaur Shapes

Dinosaur Shapesby Paul Stickland will delight you and your dinosaur fan. The book is geared towards toddlers and young preschoolers who are still mastering finding basic shapes.  A shape is displayed on one side of the page and then those silly dinosaurs are playing with it on the other. My son loves dinosaurs so even though he’s known these shapes for ages it’s an enjoyable book with fun text and adorable illustrations by Henrietta Stickland.