This was not a planned project at all. My daughter and I were painting Easter eggs in the playroom when I saw all the materials for this all together in my closet and inspiration hit. This is a simple and quick shape matching activity but it also has elements of fine motor, sensory and the carrots give it just a touch of an Easter craft. You could do any shape to fit whatever theme you are learning about any time of year , another reason I think this is such a great activity.
- Gather your materials. You will need some sandpaper, felt , yarn, crayons and scissors.
- Start by drawing your carrots with crayons. In my experience using marker on sandpaper is a bad idea. The sandpaper bits end up in the felt tip and the markers are never the same again. Crayons are much more forgiving and vibrant.
- Cut your felt and yarn to size. Do not worry about an exact match. If exact means a lot to you reverse the order and use the felt shapes as a template and trace around them so they are exactly the same size. Either way your child will love it.
- Invite your little one to come explore the sandpaper. Talk a bit about the texture by asking questions and /or labeling what they are doing.
- Time to match up the shapes. Talk about how soft the felt is too if there is a natural chance to do it. If your child is engaged and not at all interested in exploring the textures don’t sweat it. Follow their lead .
- I had my daughter remove the shape after putting it down to see how “sticky” the sandpaper was. She was fascinated that her fingers didn’t stick but the felt did.
- Add the yarn. This was tricky but it was supposed to be. Just remember to walk the line between challenging and frustrating. She matched up a few and that was enough – this is supposed to be fun not a test of fine motor skills.
Books About Carrots
The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss is a rare gem, it has been in print for over 60 years and has delighted generations . If you aren’t familiar with the story, a little boy plants a carrot seed and everyone tells him “It won’t come up.” this doesn’t stop the little boy from patiently taking care of this little seed, that eventually grows into a giant carrot. The message is a universal one of sticking to your guns even when everyone tells you you should give up. My son loved the story the simple pictures that will bring you back to your own childhood, at least they did for me. A true classic.
Coco The Carrot by Steven Salerno is an absurd tale of adventure, and I loved it. Coco is a carrot who dreams of a life larger than the vegetable drawer . She dreams big and goes for it. Unlike most carrots that end up in stew she becomes a famous hat designer and is the toast of Paris with her Monkey companion Anton. If you are scratching your head but oddly intrigued you will like this book. It was long but my son sat with me giggling and telling me ” Carrots can’t do that?!” more than once. I loved it because it is so absurd that she is a carrot, but the story itself is about going for your dreams, hitting bumps in the road and realizing that your dreams shift and change and that’s OK. There is great bits of humor for the adults as well, something I always appreciate!
Carrot Soup by John Segal is a cute book about planting a garden, in this case carrots, tending it and then reaping the rewards…. or maybe not. Rabbit carefully planned out his garden, took care of it but when it was time to gather all the carrots they were all gone! Throughout the pages there are hints to where the carrots might be, your child will likely figure it out before Rabbit does. My son liked this book and I loved reading it with him as he was rather exasperated that the Rabbit couldn’t figure out the mystery!
I know I have already started getting ready for back to school but I am not ready to give up on the sun quite yet ! I was flirting with the idea of cleaning my art closet out while my son was at summer camp last week, and found a big piece of sand paper and this idea popped in my head. Sand paper make such a perfect cactus and since you are finger painting this is a wonderful craft for multi-age groups too.
- Gather your materials. You will need some paper, sand paper, crayons or markers, scissors, glue and green paint.
- Start by drawing a cactus on your sand paper.
- Using the green paint finger paint your cactus. Talk about textures, how it feels, does your child like the way it feels?
- Let dry. While it’s drying draw a sun with crayons or markers on your paper.
- Cut the cactus out when dry.
- Add glue.
- Glue the cactus on!
Books About 5 Senses
My Five Senses Big Book by Aliki is a great non fiction book about the 5 senses for toddlers and preschoolers. It’s simple but informative with clear pictures to help support the text . The author uses common things to help teach about the 5 senses like ice cream for taste, feeling a soft bunny for touch and hearing sirens. I like that is explains that sense can be used alone or all together and that the gift senses give us is awareness about the world around us.
Green Start: The Five Senses by IKids is a sweet book that focuses on the senses we use throughout our day as we explore our home and nature. Although the text covers all 5 senses it is not discussed overtly as ” And when you smell this you are using your sense of smell…” it’s a great little book to share with a toddler or young preschooler not ready for the more fact based non fiction books.
Look, Listen, Taste, Touch, and Smell: Learning About Your Five Sensesby Pamela Hill Nettleton is a really great find. The book doesn’t separate the senses, instead the author explains all the ways the senses work in specific situations. My son was intrigued by the ideas of smores and kept telling me “I want to smell and taste some smores Mommy, please!” I liked how it explained the connection between the areas of our bodies we associated with the senses ( mouth, eyes, nose, skin and ears) and the brain. The author succeeds in making it accessible for young kids but not boring for older ones. Good Find!!
There are so many opportunities for playing with textures with every day art supplies but rough is one that doesn’t come as easy, but it’s not impossible. Sandpaper is really fun to use for all sorts of things. Just remember that when you do a sensory art project that you need to be prepared for mess since the whole point is to touch and feel! My son had so much fun ( by fun I mean made a huge mess)with this that we ended up in the bath immediately after.
- Gather your materials. You will need 2 sheets of sandpaper, some yellow and/or orange paint, a marker, a paint brush , scissors and glue.
- Draw a circle on one of the sheets.
- Cut the circle out, leave the other sheet whole, you will cut the rays into triangles later.
- Start by letting your child feel the sand paper, some kids will recoil from it, some will love the texture and explore it with their finger tips and nails for a long time.
- Next get the paint ready we wanted to use both colors since we were looking at pictures of the sun and I quote ” It’s not all yellow like I thought mommy!” so both colors were poured into a container for this project.
- Start painting the circle. We started with a brush and the sound the bristles made were really interesting. However I didn’t even have time to get a photo of him using a brush on the circle, he went straight for finger painting.
- Next he compared the rough paper to his smooth hands.
- Pass them the full sheet when they are ready.
- Remember that when you encourage finger painting, often a mess will follow, this is why you always use washable paint. These were not the only two hand prints on my table or his body, just the prettiest.
- Set the circle and other sheet up to dry and get in the bath.
- When dry ( ours took forever cause we had globs). Cut out the rays. If your child is willing have them cut, my son wanted NO part of cutting the sandpaper and I admit , I don’t enjoy cutting it either. I had shivers the whole time.
- Add glue to the back of the circle.
- Add your rays and let dry.
Other Activities About Texture: