DIY Puffy Paint Fish

My daughter loves fish and I have been wanting to make another batch of homemade puffy paint so I decided to combine the two. We love this paint because it dries puffy even the big globs! I was planning on doing this just with my daughter but when my son heard we were making puffy paint he put away his Lego and ran to the play room. Making your own puffy paint is so simple and this time we mixed in some colored glue which added a lesson in color mixing into the fun.  If you are making a big fish like we did make sure you have a place for it to dry away from little hands for a good 48 hours. Smaller puffy paint creations will dry faster.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some craft paper ( paper grocery bags cut open work great), shaving cream ( plain jane variety), plain white glue, colored glue , a marker, tape, a bowl and some spoons. If you are adding a face you will also need some googly eyes and a pipe cleaner for the mouth.
  2. Start by taping down your paper and draw a big fish.
  3. Now spray some shaving cream into the bowl. The official recipe I like calls for 1/2 cup of glue and 1 1/2 cups of shaving cream. I just eye ball it now we do it so much. My son loves spraying it.
  4. Add glue.
  5. Stir.
  6. Pop it on the fish.  She hated getting her hands dirty – I had an old towel and baby wipes handy.
  7. Add colored glue.  I was very impressed she didn’t try to eat it.
  8. Explore.  Both my kids opted for the spoons. They take after their dad, I was eager to mix it with my hands.
  9.  We popped it in my master bath that is never used. It was a perfect place to be out of my daughter’s reach for the two days. But first we added two eyes and a pipe cleaner mouth.
  10. Let dry. Ours dried for 2 days then I cut it out.

 

Over at my other blog I have a fun fish themed idea for children just starting to recognize their colors. Check it out.

 

Books About Sea Animals

Secret Seahorse by Stella Blackstone is a fascinating and beautiful board book. The story follows a little seahorse that hides on each page as it makes it’s way along the ocean back to it’s family. The illustrations are felt, fabric, sequins and other fun and very beautiful hand stitched creations. I am never ready for the next page because the previous has so much to look and marvel at. Kids like finding the seahorse on each page too!  My son and I re read this tonight to my daughter and she liked it but he was still loving it, which is pretty impressive for a board book. It’s just so pretty!

O Is for Orca: An Alphabet Book by Andrea Helman is a book about the nature of the North West packaged in an alphabet book.  Each page is dedicated to one large photo and a animal, plant or other part of North West nature.  My son was reluctant at first wanting to read a Star Wars chapter book but only a page or two in he was asking not to skip any of the text and we were discussing the information about the sea animals and he was eager to make a nest in our apple trees for the spotted owls who we read were endangered. Many of the letters represent sea animals like sea stars, urchins and of course orcas. There are a lot of facts in this book and if I were reading it to my toddler I’d skip the paragraphs and go through the alphabet and each photo only. That is what I love about books like this you can adapt them so easily to your audience.

Baby Beluga by Raffi is a classic children’s song cleverly illustrated into a beautiful book. I grew up on Raffi in Canada and am still shocked when moms don’t know who he is, if he is new to you go to your library and check out one of his cds. My son loves this book, there are so many sea creatures to point out, it’s great for toddlers. I must say that I am unable to read this without singing the song. It might be a good thing to read it before listening to the song .

 

Bubble Wrap Starfish Craft

star fish craft

A great way to get children interested in science is to go on field trips to learn first hand. I like to take my children somewhere exciting every Friday then use our trip as a launching pad for more learning with books and of course a creative craft.  Last week we went to our local aquarium and checked out a new octopus, some jelly fish ,  crabs and of course starfish! For the craft when we came home we used both bubble wrap for my preschooler and a easier to manipulate tool for my toddler. I am always happy when we can find crafts that work with both kids at the same time.

    1. Take a trip to your local aquarium, beach or even a pet store and check out some sea life!
    2. Gather your materials. You will need some paper ( we love using grocery bags), self stick bubble wrap ( regular works too but man was the self stick awesome), paint, a plate for the paint, marker, toilet paper roll and scissors. If you are doing this with toddlers you may also want a dish scrubber with a handle.
    3. Start by drawing a starfish on your paper. I taped the paper bag right down to the table with painters tape to use it as a drop cloth and project all in one. I had one kid at each end of the table.
    4. Cut your bubble wrap so it wraps around your toilet paper roll. The self stick stayed on like magic , I am in love. I swear this post isn’t sponsored by the bubble wrap company .
    5. Choose your paint colors and pour into a plate. Not too much or the bubble wrap won’t show. Roll the bubble wrap in.
    6. Roll it on your starfish.
    7. We never get sick of how awesome bubble wrap prints are, and we’ve made a few over the years!
    8. Now for the wee ones. I gave her the same plate and let her smack her star with the scrubber. As you can see it did go to her lips but because it’s harder plastic all she could do was lick it. This is why I don’t sponge paint with her yet, she could bite off a piece and choke. Another tip for babies and toddlers, keep some stained clothes for art time, many will refuse a smock and it’s easier to get a good fit with clothes.
    9. Let dry and cut out.

Books About The Ocean

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A House for Hermit Crab is a book I have owned for many years. It offers so many learning opportunities for young readers and doesn’t loose any of the entertainment in trying to hard to teach. The hermit crab feels drab and each month he asks different sea creatures to help decorate his shell . As the shell is getting more and more beautiful it’s also getting more and more snug and almost time for the hermit crab to leave it behind and find a bigger one.  The book teaches about sea creatures, months of the year and moving. More than moving it teaches about change . Change is  difficult for all of us but a little trickier for most preschoolers which makes this book so valuable

Hooray for Fish!: Candlewick Storybook Animations by Lucy Cousins gets are huge “Hooray” from our house. I thought my son would think this book was a little young for him. He’s started saying board books are for babies, and he’s a big boy and even though this isn’t a board book it’s simple, big and bright like one. Nope, he loved it. Little Fish takes the readers on a tour of all the different kinds of fish , the bright fun illustrations are so interesting to look at , and choose your favorite fish on each page. The rhymes are fun and when we finished reading my son immediately asked to read it again! Edited for 2011 – now that he is almost 5 he flatly refused to read this with me but his sister who is 14 months liked it!

Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea by Jan Peck is about a little boy swimming in the “deep” looking for treasure. Along the way he encounters different sea animals and greets and says good bye to each before swimming away on his treasure hunt. The cute kicker is that all along the little boy is really in his bath tub and the animals are just toys. I liked the twist and so did my son who then requested a laundry basket to play bath, funny how he didn’t actually want a bath… a mom can dream! Edited for 2011 – my son re discovered this book as we were setting up the playroom in our new house. It’s still a hit with him after 2 years.

Fish Sun Catcher Craft

This is about as low mess you can get and still end up with a fun sparkly craft. Contact paper takes the place of glue and even though we used felt and buttons for differing textures you could add just about anything you have on hand .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some contact paper, a sheet of construction paper, crayon, scissors, felt, buttons, and googly eyes.
  2. Start by drawing the outline of a fish on the construction paper.
  3. Cut the fish out so you are left with a frame.
  4. Cut a piece of contact almost as large as the full sheet of construction paper , peel the backing off and stick on .
  5. Cut your felt into small pieces.
  6. Invite your child to the table .If you were me yesterday go into long negotiations with your Batman costumed child over doing or not doing a craft with gloves that belong to his grandmother on… which then turned into ” You always boss me around, I hate fish, I won’t do your baby craft.”  Inspired by techniques discussed in our Parenting Book Club Book “Playful Parenting” I resisted the urge to give a lecture about talking back and instead pretended to call Batman himself for help and listened to “Batman’s” suggestions. So we added some gems from our art closet , he took one glove off and we had a fun time together which is the whole point .
  7. Add your eyes and collage materials.
  8. Hang up in your window – no need to wait for anything to dry.

Today I really wondered for a few minutes if maybe my wee man was actually done with craft time. If he is I will be sad because I love our time creating but only when he loves it too. His play is almost entirely pretend play and he loves making anything that goes with his favorite theme du jour so we’ll see… either way I think I better start saving for his law school, this kid can negotiate!

Book

Barry the Fish with Fingers by Sue Hendra is a goofy fun book that had me wrapped around it’s fingers with the title, I mean a fish named Barry? And he has fingers?! I love it. Thankfully my judgment was smack dab on because the inside of the book was as funny as the cover. Barry isn’t just a fish with fingers he is a hero when his fingers save the day. The illustrations are so fun, the text is zippy and both my kids ( 4 and 10 months) loved it from start to finish.

Finger Print Fish Craft

Fish are a wonderful theme for all ages, they are accessible to most anyone , even if you don’t have an aquarium to visit nearby a pet store can’t be too far away, and it’s free!  Also there are tons of great  books about fish , I review 3 new ones today. This craft can be made by all ages and would be great as a group project in a classroom with each student adding their unique fish .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some white paper,washable  markers or stamp pads in various colors , scissors, glue, a marker scissors , googly eyes and if you wish blue paper for a background.
  2. Start by drawing the outline of fish. Make one or many. If your child can do this have them make the outline.
  3. Time to get messy! Color your finger tips or use a stamp pad and get ink on your finger tips.
  4. Print onto the fish.
  5. Keep going with all different colors. Make mention to your child about how lots of ink makes a darker print and less makes it lighter.
  6. Cut out the fish.
  7. If desired make a sea for them, I cut the top off my sheet of blue construction paper in a blue wave design.
  8. Glue the fish into the sea.
  9. Add eyes, smiles and let dry.

Books About Fish

Fish Schoolby Nancy Poydar is a really funny book that also manages to teach the reader a lot about fish.The story is about  Charlie who gets Wishy a goldfish for his birthday and then sets off to teach him all sorts of things. When his class takes a field trip to the aquarium guess who Charlie pops into a ziploc and into his backpack. My son loved the silliness of this book as well as the information that is shared as the class progresses through the aquarium. Lots of giggles and learning with this cute story.

Little Shark by Anne Rockwell is another accessible non fiction book from one of our favorite authors. We follow a shark from birth until it’s full grown in this book filled with fascinating shark facts. I like that it reads like a story because it sucks the reader in instead of just spouting off cold facts about these cool and scary ( to me) animals. I loved that my son was rather shocked that sharks don’t stay with their moms or their many siblings, and are instead solitary. I loved how it explained a little bit about the food chain in the ocean and how we get oxygen from air but fish get it from the water. Add this one to your shelf!

Trout, Trout, Trout!: A Fish Chant by April Pulley Sayre is not a story but a chanting book. It lists a number of fish found in the United States in a rhyming text. Along with Trip Park’s funny illustrations the book works although my son didn’t ask to read it again after  our initial reading. I like the facts at the back of the book about each type of fish in the book and think that any child into fishing would probably be more interested in this book than my son was.

Toothpick Sea Urchin Craft

I spent my first 10 years on the west coast then moved back after university and settled here finally to start a family. I love the beach , not to sit and bake in the sun ( good thing there isn’t much around here) , but to find sea creatures. I have never really gotten over the excitement of tide pools, sea anemones, starfish , crabs and sea urchins.  Even if you aren’t close to the coast you can make this sea urchin craft . This is not a craft for tiny guys, but with help a preschooler could do it without getting too frustrated.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some styrofoam ( or salt dough would be awesome , just skip the tissue paper), tissue paper, tape, a marker , scissors and lots of toothpicks.
  2. Start by cutting your styrofoam into a circle.
  3. Wrap a square of tissue paper around it, and tape.
  4. Color the toothpicks with marker. This is tough – with older children see how many they can do at once . I held a bunch and rolled them in my fingers to paint all sides. With younger ones you could have them finger paint the toothpics, but this would add drying time too.
  5. Stick them in!

Books

A Sea Wishing Day

A Sea-Wishing Day by Robert Heidbreder is a wonderful tale of adventure, pirates, mermaids and treasure! The best part the little boy and his canine companion never really leave his backyard in the city , instead the adventure is all in their imagination. Anyone with a preschooler will appreciate this book, playing pretend is a huge part of most 3-5 year old’s playtime, and it should be. This book encourages, as well as celebrates that as this little boy discovers adventures on the high sea.

Swimmy is a serious tale about a little fish who tragically looses his family, and is forced to face scary things alone. He soon discovers that if he and other little fish band together they have power against the big bullies in the ocean. Personally I love this author and this book is one of my favorites. Some parents have expressed concern over his family being eaten at the start , so read it for yourself before deciding if it’s right for your child.

Ten Little Fish by Audrey and Bruce Wood was another cute find this week. The book is a rhyming countdown story about 10 little fish and what happens to them one by one. The illustrations look like an animated movie, and the rhymes are well thought out. My one wish is that the numbers were shown as digits not simply words, so that younger children who can recognize the numbers in digit form but not yet by reading the word could more easily follow along. The ending made me giggle, and you’ll have to grab the book to find out why !