Mess Free !

Spotty Spider

I am always looking for ways to do crafts that are friendly to those who are squeamish about mess. I don’t fault you if you are, my hands are always covered in paint, or markers and I usually have glue or sparkles somewhere on me. I get it, so we did this craft for those times when markers and paint just won’t work, and even though we used glue for the eyes, you can buy stick on ones and avoid the mess and drying time!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a paper plate, 4 pipe cleaners, glue , 2 googley eyes and some color coding labels ( they are circle stickers found in the office supply section and way cheaper than stickers).
  2. Start by handing your child some stickers and the plate – and let them go for it. After my son did about 3 he said “glue” so I asked him if he could stick a red one, then a green… and he got back into it and covered it with no more prodding.
  3. Grab the glue ( or the stick on googley eyes) and add some where you want to put the eyes.
  4. Add the eyes.
  5. Let dry.
  6. Once they are dry enough to handle, poke 2 holes in the edge of the plate and thread a pipe cleaner through, zig zagging both ends, Repeat for all 4 .

Books !

“The Very Busy Spider” by Eric Carle was a favorite of my son’s from the get go. We have the board book edition and what I love about it, is that the spider web in it is raised and offers a sensory element to reading the story. This is a story of hard work, persistence and also helps reinforce animal sounds. Perfect for toddlers !

“Diary of a Spider “ by Doreen Cronin is a very clever book with some pretty funny bits of humor that I laughed my way through. It was too long to hold my son’s attention but older preschoolers would love it. The overall theme is that spiders aren’t all nasty and that they have fears too, a great lesson for kids !

Mess Free
Spider Cookies!

These treats were originally made for Halloween but they fit so well with today’s theme! They use pre made sandwich cookies to minimize mess and for me it helps avoid the copious amounts of cookie dough I ingest every time I bake.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some sandwich cookies , shoe string licorice, some gummy candy and /or jelly beans.
  2. Open up two cookies and discard the sides with no yummy middle icing.
  3. Cut your shoe string licorice into 8 legs of the same length and stick them in the white icing on one cookie.
  4. Pop the other open cookie on top ( so it’s double stuffed now… you could also just use double stuffed to start with) .
  5. Cut some green gummy candy into small circles. I am using sour apple licorice.
  6. Pop it on top of the cookie to make eyes.
  7. Add small bits of the shoe string licorice for the pupil.
  8. OR you can cut a red jelly belly in half and pop those on for eyes. They stick well if you lick the bottom ( so you may not want to do this version if you are serving these to guests) .
  9. OR you can add green gummy candy for the eyes and top it with the very end of a red jelly belly.
  10. Enjoy.

We All Start Somewhere !

Paper Plate
Tadpole !

Although the whole frog life cycle may be a bit sophisticated for very young preschoolers , they are definitely old enough to understand that a tadpole turns into a frog. This is an easy and adaptable activity, if you need a frog activity to follow up click here for a cute frog puppet!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some green paint, a paper plate, some red paper, a googly eye and some streamers (paper cut in strips would work well too). If you want you can also use some sparkles- this seems to be the only thing my son wants to do at art time lately!
  2. Start by painting your paper plate, we are using a sponge but a brush, or even finger painting would work.
  3. While your child paints cut some streamers into 6-8 inch pieces. I cut 4 but ended up only using 3.
  4. When they are finished painting let the paper plate dry.
  5. Hand them the streamers and have them paint them , we used roller paints on each.
  6. Add glitter if you want.
  7. Let the streamers dry.
  8. While everything is drying, cut some lips, I made a heart and cut off the bottom.
  9. Now when things require drying time you run the risk of loosing your little artists, my son happily said “mama you glue!” so I did. He was just as proud of his project in the end , but you can also put it aside and complete it when the mood strikes!
  10. Add the glue for the streamers.
  11. Add the streamers- I added 4 , but took one off. Also this picture shows them all spread out, I ended up grouping them together to make one tail.
  12. Add the lips
  13. Add the eye and let dry!


Five green and speckled frogs
sat on a speckled log
eating the most delicious bugs
yum yum !

One jumped into the pool
where it was nice and cool
now there are 4 green speckled frogs
ribbit ribbit!

Keep going until no frogs left!


” Fish is Fish” by Leo Lionni is a cute book that not only talks about friendship but it also explains the transformation of a tadpole into a frog in an entertaining way . I have used this book in classrooms while doing animal life cycles and kids always love how the fish in the book imagines people as fish with legs! The story of friendship between the little tadpole and minnow can’t be ignored either, it’s a great message about change and the way friendships if true can withstand change.

“From Tadpole to Frog” by Wendy Pfeffer is another gem from the “Let’s- Read-And-Find-Out” series. It goes into great detail without offering too much for young readers. When I was reading it to my 2 year old, I skipped some pages, it’s a little long for him still but 3-5 year olds are perfect age for this non fiction book. The illustrations are interesting and kept my wiggly man into the book when the text went above his head.

Paper Plate Santa Craft For Kids

paper plate santa craft

Santa is a good guy, even if your child is terrified of the Santa at the mall they may enjoy this Santa craft for kids . My son won’t get within 10 feet of the big guy but loved making this one! The cotton balls add some sensory discovery as well.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a a small paper plate, 2 pieces of construction paper- one red and one white ( I used natural colored and it looks a little funny), some cotton balls, googly eyes, glue, scissors and a red pom pom.
  2. Start by drawing a large U shape on the plain construction paper. This actually took me two tries. I used the paper plate as a guide for how wide it should be. Cut out.
  3. Add glue all over the beard. Make sure there is a blank spot where no cotton balls will be, for the mouth.
  4. Add the cotton balls. Talk to toddlers and young preschoolers about it being soft. If they went to see Santa ask if they touched his beard and how it felt.
  5. While they add the cotton balls cut out a small red mouth out of the red paper.
  6. Glue on the mouth. Set the beard to dry.
  7. Grab the paper plate and glue on the eyes and a pom pom nose.
  8. Cut out a hat from the red paper, add glue on the bottom edge and top of the point.
  9. Add cotton balls to the hat. Let dry.
When the glue is dry glue the beard and hat on the plate.santa craft


Santa is his name o !
( To the tune of Bingo )

There is a man all dressed in red,
and Santa is his name o!
And Santa is his name o!

Continue with :

*He has a loud and jolly laugh
and Santa is his name o!
*He lives with elves at The North Pole
and Santa is his name o!
*His Reindeer pull his magic sleigh
and Santa is his name o!
*He brings you toys if you are kind
and Santa is his name o!

Raining Cats and Dogs

Cat Puppets

This is a fun craft that can easily be scaled down for young toddlers or up for older children.
  1. Gather your materials. You will need a paper plate or heavy card stock cut in a circle, some paint , paper for ears, pipe cleaners, some cardboard or large tongue depressors for the handle and dark colored marker for the eyes and mouth.
  2. Paint the paper plate.
  3. This picture illustrates perfectly why non toxic paints are a requirement with young kids!
  4. While your child is painting , cut out two ears , glue or using double stick tape attach them to the underside of the plate.
  5. Have your child paint the cardboard handle or tongue depressor.
  6. While they are painting that twist some pipe cleaners together for the whiskers.
  7. To attach these to the plate poke two holes in the paper plate and using another pipe cleaner make a loop, slide the whiskers in then tighten the loop , and twist. Cover the pipe cleaner on the underside with tape to protect your child from any pokes.
  8. Draw on the eyes, and mouth, attach the handle, and voila!

** To make it harder for older children you can cut out eyes, a mouth and use more than one color paint too! **


There was a farmer had a dog,
And Bingo was his name-O.
B-I-N-G-O! B-I-N-G-O! B-I-N-G-O!
And Bingo was his name-O!

There was a farmer had a dog,
And Bingo was his name-O.
(Clap)-I-N-G-O! (Clap)-I-N-G-O! (Clap)-I-N-G-O!
And Bingo w
as his name-O!

There was a farmer had a dog,
And Bingo was his name-O!

(Clap, Clap)-N-G-O! (Clap, Clap)-N-G-O! (Clap, Clap)-N-G-O!
And Bingo was his name-O!

There was a farmer had a dog,
And Bingo was his name-O.
(Clap, Clap, Clap)-G-O! (Clap, Clap, Clap)-G-O! (Clap, Clap, Clap)-G-O!
And Bingo was his name-O!

There was a farmer had a dog,
And Bingo was his name-O.
(Clap, Clap, Clap, clap)-O! (Clap, Clap, Clap, clap)-O! (Clap, Clap, Clap, clap)-O!
And Bingo was his name-O!

There was a farmer had a dog,
And Bingo was his name-O.

(Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap)
(Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap) (Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap)
And Bingo was his name-O!


Have you seen my cat?” by Eric Carle is a fun look at different kinds of cats large and small around the globe in an easy repetitive book with predictably great illustrations.

” Oh, Tucker!” by Steven Kroll is cute story about a clumsy excited dog , with colorful illustrations and kids love how he “whams” into everything!

” McDuff moves in” by Rosemary Wells will pull at your heart strings , McDuff escapes the dog catcher and goes at it alone, that is until he finds Fred and Lucy!

Paper Plate Tambourine


When I tested the sound of pasta in these paper plates last night , my son who was already in his PJs and ready for bed jumped up from his dad’s lap where he was reading and ran into the kitchen begging for it!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 paper plates of the same size, some uncooked pasta, a stapler, some ribbon, tape and whatever you choose to decorate your tambourine. We used a sponge paint brush , paints and glitter paint.
  2. Mix your paint colors if you are using paints. I love doing this because it’s an easy hands on color mixing lesson , and my son adores to ” mix mix mix” !
  3. Start painting both paper plates. I am using a sponge brush because it helps keep the paint very very thin, and it will dry faster so we can make music asap! Let both plates dry.
  4. Add on the ribbons, I am taping them to hold them in place when I staple . Also this way your child can choose where to put them!
  5. Scoop pasta onto one plate. I am using big penne pasta so that I can space out the staples and nothing will fall out. You can use rice, dried beans etc… but you will have to staple or glue it together carefully so you aren’t vacuuming up rice for the next week!
  6. Place the 2nd plate on top and staple away!
  7. Now go make music!