Paper Plate Planet

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Make some shapes out of the foam.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 .
  6. 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.

3 Fruity Cheerios Activities

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Add a few loops of tape to your table and tape down your tray.
  3. Add cereal.
  4. Add tools and toddler !
  5. Watch out for fast moving preschoolers too!

Fruity Flower

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!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some fruity cereal, a paper plate, a sheet of colored paper, scissors and white glue.
  2. Start by gluing the paper plate in the middle of the paper and drawing the petals with glue.
  3. Add your cereal to the petals. Which he did… for a bit. 
  4. He decided that just putting one color on each wasn’t “seriously cool” but if we filled the middle , that would be.
  5. 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.
  6. Let it dry.
  7. 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.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need fruity O’s cereal, sandwich baggies, and some craft lace.
  2. Start by filling the baggies with a handful of cereal.
  3. zip it and separate the cereal to the edges. 
  4. Wrap a cut piece of craft lace around the middle and tie.
  5. 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.
  6. Lace and tie . At the party we had kids from 2-8 enjoying this craft.
Believe it or not I have not been compensated in any way for this post – no one at Cheerios have contacted me although if they are reading this , wow those chocolate ones are so good!

Paper Plate Emotion Masks

emotions lesson for preschool

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!

  1. 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.
  2. Start by cutting the plates in half.
  3. 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.
  4. I made the noses as per my son’s request and made two emotions.
  5. He made the other two. Yes that’s a permanent marker, my heart was skipping a beat while he used it.
  6. Tape the sticks on.
  7. Play with the emotions. We had fun making our eyes one emotion and our masks another.

Book

Inspiration for this craft came from The Way We Feel , we read it on my iPod and you can too with  MeMeTales’   Free Mobile Reader App .  We are celebrating e-books from this brand new app  all week !

The Way We Feel
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The Way We Feel

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Paper Plate Animal Crafts

Paper plates are a must have for any summer camp, preschool or even home craft supply closet. The endless possibilities of fun and educational crafts are well, endless. Here are some paper plate kids crafts we have done over the years. I hope that the extra plates from summer BBQ, church picnics and cookouts can be used to make something fun.

Paper Plate Tree Frogs

Paper Plate Pig

Paper Plate Jelly Fish

Paper Plate Tiger

Paper Plate Spider

Paper Plate Turkey

Paper Plate Crab

Paper Plate Tadpole

Tiger Craft

tiger craft
My son has been talking a lot about tigers lately, so it was no shock to me when I asked him what he wanted to make for art and he replied “Tiger?”. He loved making this and even though we didn’t cut eyes out, he has been playing with it like a mask , pretending to be a ferocious tiger. If your child loves Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood ( which wasn’t on when this was first published) they will adore this paper plate tiger craft.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some orange and black paper, a paper plate, some orange paint ( or mix red and yellow like we did), scissors, googley eyes, and glue.
  2. Start by mixing your orange paint
  3. Paint your plate- we started out with the dainty brush,but finished with hands.
  4. While our child is painting, cut a nose and mouth.
  5. As well as some black stripes – we used 8
  6. And ears out of the orange paper.
  7. Add the stripes on either side by first adding glue
  8. Then the paper.
  9. Next add the mouth and nose.
  10. My son was begging to add the eyes before we finished the stripes, so we did it before we did the head stripes, it doesn’t really matter what order you do the gluing in.
  11. Add the stripes on the top of the head too.
  12. Next up, the ears, add two stripes on each ear.
  13. Glue the ears on and let everything dry.
Books !

“Tigress” by Helen Cowcher is a book that is definitely not for the sensitive child who is upset by animals killing other animals and talk of poisoning carcasses. I would have hated this book as a child, it would have put me in tears. However it is a realistic snippet of a tiger’s life, as well as the people who live nearby like herdsmen and game wardens. My son had no interest in this book , but an older child would appreciate it.

“If You See A Tiger” by Richard Powell is a cute book for babies and young toddlers. It’s a lift the flap book that encourages your child to do what the book suggests if you come across various animals. My son really liked this book when we read it a year ago when he was 18 months old.

“The Loudest Roar” by Thomas Taylor was given to me at my baby shower, recommended by a friend who’s son loved it. Sure enough my son does too, especially if I roar really really loudly along with Clovis the little tiger with the loudest roar of all. It’s a good book when toddlers are learning about when we can be loud and when we should be quiet.