Flower Petal Placemats

fresh picked flower petal placemats craftMy daughter loves flowers , especially picking the petals off so I channeled that into a fun summer craft. These easy to make placemats aren’t only cute they are functional too. We’ve been using ours all week. The other thing I really love about this activity is that it gets kids outside exploring their garden. Another way to explore the garden is to go on a scavenger hunt or try our sticky window for flowers.  Here is how we did it.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a full sheet of construction paper or card stock , scissors, clear contact paper, and a bucket to collect flowers. You will also obviously need some flowers to pick.flower petal placemat summer craft for kids
  2. Start by folding your paper in half horizontally. flower petal placemats
  3. Cut the middle out so you have a frame. flower petal place mats for kids
  4. Send your little one off to pick flowers. Our back garden is very small so she can’t wander too far. I was able to get the contact paper cut and the back peeled off without her offering any help. flower petal placemat craft
  5. Place or frame on the contact paper. The sticky side should be up. flower placemat for kids
  6. Time to pull the flowers apart. My daughter loved this. She does it all the time and it’s great for her fine motor development. flower peatl place mat craft for kids
  7. Add the single petals to the contact paper. Make sure they are inside the frame. My daughter only wanted pink petals so I made a mat with some of the other petals she picked. flower place mat for kids
  8. After all the petals are added Add a second layer of contact paper and carefully sandwich the petals between them.flower place mat for kids Press. My daughter decided to sit on hers to press it. flower place mat
  9. Trim the edges and you are ready to go! flower craft

Books About Flowers

A-Gardeners-Alphabet

A Gardener’s Alphabet by Mary Azarian is a fresh and so richly illustrated alphabet book you will likely have the same thoughts I did while reading it with my son ” I need to frame these pages!” they are that awesome. What I think the main benefit of this book is , is that the words chosen for each letter are not the same old ones you see over and over in alphabet books. The words used are things like Japanese Garden for J, Lawn Ornaments for L and my favorite was Underground for U with a cool illustrations of worms, root vegetables and roots !

tiny seed

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle is a story about a tiny seed who unlike the other seeds from his flower makes it against all odds to continue the cycle of life. I really enjoy this book and love how it shows all the obstacles along the way for a simple little seed. My son liked this book but didn’t make it all the way through, which I expected since it is a long book for a 2 year old.

chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes is a lovely book about having confidence, loosing confidence and regaining it in the end. Chrysanthemum is a little mouse who loves her name until she goes to school and is picked on for it being out of the ordinary. Who can’t relate to this? I know I can . Thankfully my son  has yet to experience this all too common, but still so heartbreaking experience . I love that I have a book like this to share with him and open up about it before it happens. Ultimately Chrysanthemum learns to love her name again and regains the confidence she once had. Another fantastic book from a consistently wonderful author.

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Water Balloon Game { Learning After School}

outside learningMy son’s all time favorite activity we’ve ever done was our  Angry Birds Water Balloon Game.  Warm weather and a half day of school made yesterday the perfect day to get drenched in the front yard and do a little Learning After School.  We did this with math but it would be as simple to make letters , shapes or sight words as targets. Here is what we did .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some water balloons, a sharpie, some number targets , page protectors, bean bags,  and hula hoops. You will also want a laundry type basket to carry the filled balloons. water balloon math
  2. Start by making the targets.water balloon math targets I chose the numbers 7, 9 ,10 ,and 15. All the equations will equal one of these numbers.  I used picmonkey.com to make simple images. Printed them out one per page and slid them into page protectors. water balloon math 2
  3. Fill your balloons . Carefully write equations that equal the numbers on the targets such as 3+4 or 15-5 .  For younger children you could simply write numbers on the balloons and have them match them with the targets.water balloon math 3
  4. Set up your targets. water balloon math activity for kidsI added bean bags inside the page protectors to weight them down. water balloon math 4
  5. Get ready. water balloon math activity for kids 2
  6. Go! Read the equations, find the answer on one of the targets and throw!water balloon math for kids 1
  7. They loved this. My son would read his sister’s equations and tell her where to throw it. I was seriously amazed at how accurate he was. I should have remembered that later when we filled up more to throw at each other. It was kids against Mom and the kids won. water balloon math activity for kids 3
  8. After the game – play more! We ended up using all the extra balloons and running through the sprinkler before retreating to the house. aftergame

Learning After School is our series of simple learning activities for families to do together after school. They are meant to be bite size and engaging . They aren’t meant to replace homework just add a little more learning without making your child feel like they doing any extra work.

10 Outdoor Activities For Toddlers

outside activities for kids We have been living outside lately and unless it starts really raining I am not sure the playroom will getting many visitors. Here are some of our old favorite toddler activities that my 2 year old and I have been re-visiting over the last few weeks. I hope you find something on this list to turn into an old favorite !

Color & Clean Car Wash
Sound Safari For Toddlers
Fly Swatter Painting
Sidewalk Chalk Games
Play In The Dirt
Painting With Nature
Gardening For Letters
Painting With Water
Backyard Car Wash
Color Hunt On The Go

Sensory Tub Painting

painting outsideIf you read my post Monday you may have heard my dear daughter is trying to give up her nap. If she refuses to sleep we go outside if possible. This art activity was so much fun. We use our water table as big sensory tub and with this activity we also turned it into an open ended art activity. The results were awesome.  This super simple sensory tub painting will be done over and over all summer I promise you!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a water table ( we love ours and use it daily) but a large shallow Rubbermaid type bin would work perfectly too. Paint, some brushes and plain paper.  You may also want a hose ready for clean up.sensory tub painting supplies
  2. Start by letting your child choose some paint colors . sensory tub paint and print
  3. Paint the inside of the tub. sensory tub printsExplore. She made squiggles with both ends of the paint brushes, added more paint, sensory painting outside pretended to drive the cap all around the paint , and mixed with her hands. sensory tub water table painting
  4. Next grab some paper and print! I was amazed at how well these turned out. They were all different and totally rad. sensory table print
  5. Hang up to dry. Finally I had a use for this trellis that has been bare since I killed the plant that was on it. I am good with kids, not so much with plants. sensory tub prints drying
  6. Now clean out the tub with the hose. Arguably the best part even though the painting was super fun. Who can compete with this? sensory tub hose
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iPhone Photo Safari {Color Hunt}

color hunt This is the 2nd post in our new series Unplanned and On The Go.  My daughter is starting to refuse nap ( pray for me) and if she doesn’t go to sleep we go outside if at all possible for a calm walk. On our walk she decided she wanted to look for colors and I suggested she take pictures with my iPhone. She is a whiz at handling my iPhone so with it’s ugly but kid friendly cover on it we set out to find some colors! It was a huge hit.

What we were doing : Going for a walk in an attempt to clam down and chill out before trying to nap again. I don’t give up easily and naps are my me time!

What I did to spark the activity : Handed my daughter my iPhone and said “Take pictures of the colors you see.”

color hunt

What it turned into : A fun colorful photo safari!  As we walked I had her find a color and then I handed her my phone to take a picture. I didn’t want her walking and looking down at the phone at the same time. Not a safe option for her or the phone. iphone color safari collage I was fascinated by which colors stood out for her in the photos she took.   We also found that when given the chance to be very careful with my phone she was. It was a lesson in trust and responsibility. I was super impressed with her pictures – she took each herself and while I re sized them for the post I only edited a few a tiny bit for clarity.

What is your favorite on the go activity with you kids? Leave a comment and let’s talk!