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.

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 !

Letter of The Week Craft

Lighthouse l

Lighthouse Craft

We have been chatting about lowercase ls a lot around here lately because my son recently gained a new sight word FIRE (it’s always all in caps on extinguishers, fire doors etc..)  – and the uppercase i throws him off sometimes.  So we had a brief discussion about fonts ( using your computer to show all the silly different ways to make the same letter is a great way to play with that idea), and decided since we were talking so much about this letter we’d use it for this week’s craft.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a full sheet of blue construction paper, some white, yellow and red as well. Glue, blue markers , scissors and sea life stickers.Lighthouse Craft
  2. Write a lowercase l on some white paper.
  3. Start by having your child draw waves on the paper. I was so surprised that this was my son’s favorite part, he was so into it, carefully drawing squiggly lines.Lighthouse Craft
  4. Next add sea life to the ocean. This is not a must do step but I think it’s important to reinforce some learning about the sea. We took time to talk about the different animals on the stickers ( crabs, sea horses, fish and starfish) and peeling those little stickers off is great fine motor practice.Lighthouse Craft
  5. While they are working on their ocean, cut out the red roof and yellow ray of light. Lighthouse Craft
  6. Hand them the lowercase l, ask them what letter it is, sounds it makes and why you are making it into a lighthouse.
  7. My son insisted on making red stripes on it , so I grabbed him a crayon. ( Mental note where is my red marker?? Can’t find it anywhere.) Lighthouse Craft
  8. Cut the l out.
  9. Add glue to your oceanLighthouse Craft
  10. Add your lighthouse, my son’s was way to the right only because he didn’t want to cover any of his stickers. Place yours wherever as long as it’s vertical .
  11. Add the roofLighthouse Craft
  12. Add the ray of light and let dry. Lighthouse Craft

Song!

Over the Irish Sea

When I was 1 I sucked my thumb
and then I went to sea
I climbed aboard a pirate ship
and the captain said to me
“Let’s go this way , and that way.
backwards and forwards,
over the Irish sea!”

* Continue counting with rhyming words like 2 and shoe, 3 and knee etc

Books About The Sea!

Stanley At Sea

Stanley at Sea by Linda Bailey made me giggle . The story is about 4 dogs that go out to sea unintentionally when they are searching for food. While out there they start wondering when outside will end because the sea is so wide and they are so far from land. One dog suggest that outside will end when then hit a fence. Sure enough they hit what they think is a fence, what readers know is a tanker and are rescued and fed steak and sausages they can eat before being returned to their owners.  Doggie nirvana for sure.  I love that the book is presented through the dog’s perspective, it gives young kids a chance to laugh and correct the dogs ideas about the things they encounter.

My very own lighthouse

My Very Own Lighthouse by Francisco Cunha is a book about what it’s like to watch a parent go out to sea while you wait at home for their safe return. The little girl in this book is worried about her dad who is a fisherman so her mom explains to her why there are lighthouses. She decides to make her very own so that she can keep her daddy safe. I love the authors deep understanding of childhood anxiety, and how he has her gain some control by making her very own lighthouse with toys and a star. It’s not realism ( using a star as the light) , but any child will relate to the shift in power from being afraid and having nightmares to feeling as though she is actively helping keep her dad safe.

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.

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Letter of The Week F !

Fishy F !

Letter of the week was 100% kid choice this week. My son and I were road tripping to and from Vancouver this past week and I asked him what he wanted to make. He was very adamant he wanted to make a Fish F so when we got home my task was to figure out how . We’d just made some cut paper fish so I decided to use my Jar Lid Stamps and go from there.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a 2 contrasting pieces of construction paper, a fish Jar lid stamp ( make your own- instructions) , stamp pad,a marker, scissors and glue.
  2. Start by writing a large F with the marker.
  3. Have your child make waves with the marker. I think this was his favorite part. He’s been drawing waves all day since.
  4. Press your stamp on to the pad.
  5. Press!
  6. When you are done with the fish, cut out.
  7. Add glue to the back of the F
  8. Glue onto the other piece of construction paper and let dry.
Books

“Hooray for Fish” 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!


“Rainbow Fish A, B, C” by Marcus Pfister is hard to write a review about. All it is is the alphabet with Rainbow Fish illustrations. My son enjoyed pointing out the letters but as a book there wasn’t much to it.


“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 !