Paper Plate Art
Toddlers are exploring their world with all their senses and doing activities that incorporate different textures is a great way to explore while creating. When I asked my daughter what she wanted to make she very confidently said a scarecrow. We’ve been zooming past them at the store and I told her we’d make one , obviously she remembered. I didn’t just want to make a cut and paste scarecrow so I gathered materials with various textures and a plain old paper plate and this is what we made.
- Gather your materials. You will need a paper plate, crayons, glue, scissors, yarn, buttons, some textured paper , felt and yellow construction paper. I had popsicle sticks for hair but as you will see they didn’t work out.
- Let your child explore all the materials. Ask them how they feel and introduce new words to them by labeling the items as they are exploring.
- While your child colors the scarecrow with crayons cut out a nose from the textured paper, hair from the construction paper , yarn for the mouth, a felt hat and strip for the hat.
- Hand them the glue start with the eyes.
- Pop them on.
- Add the nose and the mouth.
- If your child is up for the challenge hand them smaller pieces of yarn to make a stitched mouth. I decided to test the waters and see if my daughter could do this. She has been doing a lot of self directed fine motor tasks so I thought why not try. She did so well and was very proud of herself.
- Add the hair. We started with popscicle sticks but they were too heavy so we switched to paper hair.
- Add the felt hat.
- Let dry.
We love frogs and since finding many in our back yard we have been reading all about them, and the other day we made a fun and easy for all ages craft. My daughter loved using the Do-A-Dot paint markers for the first time and my son have fun working on fine motor skills rolling up the frogs sticky tongue. After we snuggled in our book nook and read some favorite frog books .
- Gather your materials. You will need a paper plate , some green paint, red and black paper, scissors and glue.
- Start by cutting your paper plate in half and painting it green. My daughter loved this step and would have happily done it all day. Becareful if you choose to use these with younger children , the suggested age is 3+ because the top can come off ( check out our original review) watch constantly ! Also they aren’t as washable as some paints so you might want to grab a smock.
- While the paint dries, cut out some red eyes.
- Black pupils
- Red tongue.
- Have your child roll the tongue up tightly.
- Add glue to the back side of the plate.
- Add the eyes.. and if you are a toddler take them off again…and add them…
- Add the pupils.
- Add glue to the front and add the tongue.
- Let dry.
Books About 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.
Once Upon a Lily Pad by Joan Sweeney is a cute book about two frogs that lived on the lily pads in Claude Monet’s gardens. I love the theme of life cycles in this story with the frogs hibernating and having more than one set of tadpoles… and eventually the painter not reappearing. It’s actually a great gentle book to start a open discussion about death without having to go into the thick of things right away. I love how it sparks interest in the painter and his beautiful work as well as can be used as a launchpad for an outdoor painting activity ( en plein air) . So many ways to use this book.
Leap Back Home to Me by Lauren Thompson gave me goosebumps and made me want to give the author a high five. The little frog leaps away from mama frog going further and further away but leaps back home to his mama each time with then end being spot on with the text changing from ” then leap home to me” to ” when you leap back home , here I’ll be”. My heart was aching seeing the little frog grow so fast! I love this book. It’s got very simple repetitive text ( great for emergent readers!), the illustrations by Matthew Cordell are goofy and sweet. They match the text perfectly so they give great clues to readers who may be struggling with a word. As a read aloud this book is awesome , not only because the repetitive text has a great rhythm but as the little frog gets more independent and goes further from home the things he is leaping over are pretty goofy and will get more than a few laughs from any audience you are reading it to!
Creating your very own planet can be a quick art project or a much more involved one with reading and writing too. This simple project combines so many lessons including shapes, space, as well as writing and spelling. Oh and for those of you afraid of mess , especially glitter mess – stick on glitter foam was made for you. It’s all the bling with none of the mess.
- Gather your materials. You will need a paper plate, various shapes of peel and stick glitter foam ( I pre cut a whole bunch for easy projects), markers, a piece of plain old paper, pencil, and tape.
- Make some shapes out of the foam.
- Start by creating your planet with the foam and markers. My thought when I brainstormed this activity was that my son would make a mosaic like planet with all the pieces. Instead as he was making it he was deciding what each piece of foam would be . Rivers, lakes, a pit of lava, and an dark and scary forest were all added among other things.
- While they create the look of the planet write out a short questionnaire for them to fill in about their planet. I asked 3 simple questions , keeping it short to entice him to write the answers himself. The questions included naming the planet, how many moons it has and how long it takes to get to the planet from Earth.
- It worked he was excited to try ,he asked me to write the words after. Do not correct your child if they are at the beginning stages of writing especially if they are at all reluctant. Correcting them can be seen as a further proof that writing is too hard and their attempts may become fewer and further between, which is not what we want! If they ask for you to help jump in slowly .
- Tape the information on the inside . When he showed it off to his dad at dinner, he read the inside and said ” I didn’t write Cybertron, it was too long and I didn’t have enough room, but I did the numbers!” Oops, next time I will make the writing area even bigger, to make it more welcoming for big emergent writer handwriting.
Books About Space
If You Decide To Go To The Moon by Faith McNulty was not what I expected, but what is that they say about judging a book by it’s cover? Yeah. I enjoyed the book but it was really long, even I was sorta wondering ” How much more?” half way through. However when I finished the book I was glad I read it all and the huge amount of information inside. The book is truly packed with information about space travel and the environment on the moon, for 3-4 year olds I would read it in parts, perhaps throughout the same day but I don’t think many would sit with full attention for this whole book. Older kids should have no problem especially if they are interested in space. Older children will also appreciate the message that we need to keep Earth healthy so our planet remains vibrant and full of life and not cold, dusty and still like the moon.
Another Day in the Milky Way by David Milgrim made me giggle. The story is about a little boy who is stranded on a weird planet where things are very strange and he doesn’t know how to get home. It’s never scary because it’s simply too weird to ever get scary. People with too many arms, donkeys and chickens dressed as horses and finally the realization that it’s all a dream. The humor was rather dry although kids will probably take it as goofy . My favorite part was the little alien dog that transforms into a regular one in the end of the book when the little boy wakes up.
A Is for Astronaut: Exploring Space from A to Z by Traci N. Todd is a typical themed alphabet book that is atypically funky. The vintage illustrations and historical photos from NASA makes this book stand out from other similar books. Each letter represents a number of space related items and the historical photos are so powerful in this because it bridges the gap from being a story to being information that children are eager to dive into further. There is something so powerful about a photograph to make that connection that this really happened, these guys really walked on the moon in ” the olden days” as my son calls any time before his birth in 2006.
I bought these fruity cheerios for a fun craft at my daughter’s birthday party and decided to use them for a few more crafts and put it all together for you. These smell awesome! Which make them even more fun to use for crafts since they add a deeper sensory experience for kids. Each of these activities are distinct but so simple you could do them all in one day or spread over years!
Fruity O Sensory Tub
This was a fun colorful tub for my daughter to play with. Using the cheerios let her explore with scooping and pouring with something that although I don’t usually have it in her diet if she did ingest it I wouldn’t be concerned. I didn’t encourage her to eat this though as I treated it like any other sensory tub where we are not suppose to eat. I should note that she’s never been fed these so they were not immediately thought of as food. As with any activity with young kids this is only to be done under immediate supervision , only you know if your child is ready for an activity, look at your child’s abilities not the age recommendation.
- Gather your materials . You will need a container ( I love light ones for babies so if they pull it off the table by accident you have a mess but no injuries). You will need a few cups of fruity cereal and fun tools to scoop with . You may also want some painters tape.
- Add a few loops of tape to your table and tape down your tray.
- Add cereal.
- Add tools and toddler !
- Watch out for fast moving preschoolers too!
This was impromptu and as you will see it evolved as we went. My original vision was not what my son wanted to make , so we changed it up mid craft. I like his vision better anyway and the end result was a really fragrant flower!
- Gather your materials. You will need some fruity cereal, a paper plate, a sheet of colored paper, scissors and white glue.
- Start by gluing the paper plate in the middle of the paper and drawing the petals with glue.
- Add your cereal to the petals. Which he did… for a bit.
- He decided that just putting one color on each wasn’t “seriously cool” but if we filled the middle , that would be.
- So that’s what we did! There are enough power struggles in every day life with preschoolers if they don’t like the craft and want to change it go with it, it’s great if they have an idea they want to make.
- Let it dry.
- Cut out.
Fruity O Butterfly Necklaces
I loved these Butterfly treats from TeachMama and knew when I decided to use a butterfly theme for my daughter’s first birthday party that I’d need a craft for the kids to do. So I changed it up a little by turning it into a necklace craft. The craft table was busy even though the sun was out at the party, and these are a fun craft to do any time.
- Gather your materials. You will need fruity O’s cereal, sandwich baggies, and some craft lace.
- Start by filling the baggies with a handful of cereal.
- zip it and separate the cereal to the edges.
- Wrap a cut piece of craft lace around the middle and tie.
- When making it into a necklace loop the craft lace through one o first to make an easy stopper so kids can string the cereal on without them zipping off the end.
- Lace and tie . At the party we had kids from 2-8 enjoying this craft.
Getting kids to talk about feelings is not always easy, one way to do it is to make it into play. These emotion masks can be elaborate with colors or simple and black and white like ours . The goal of this activity isn’t to have award winning art work, instead it’s to play with and open up a dialogue about feelings with your kids. We had a great chat about feeling sad which would have not otherwise come up. Have you blogged bout emotions? Ways to teach about them? If you have one link your post up below!
- Gather your materials. You will need 1/2 a paper plate per mask. We made only 4 emotions because my son at 4 is still pretty basic about how he feels and most emotions get lumped into these 4 : happy, sad, angry and silly. You will also need popsicle sticks ( or tongue depressors), crayons or markers , scissors and tape. I had crayons out expecting my son to want to color them… but alas he went minimalistic with this one.
- Start by cutting the plates in half.
- Write the emotion on the back, if your child is beginning to read have them help you read it, if not make your face look like the emotion and ask your child if they can guess. Talk about each emotion, but don’t lecture.
- I made the noses as per my son’s request and made two emotions.
- He made the other two. Yes that’s a permanent marker, my heart was skipping a beat while he used it.
- Tape the sticks on.
- Play with the emotions. We had fun making our eyes one emotion and our masks another.
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