How Does Your Garden Grow?

flower craft
This color matching activity is perfect for preschoolers most toddlers will try to eat the lentils ( which will likely be spat out ) and if you are as lucky as me they will manage to grab the bowl full of lentils and pour them on your kitchen floor!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a few different colors of construction paper, some glue , scissors , a pen and of course some dried beans or lentils.
  2. Draw a simple flower on one piece of construction paper and layer your other pieces under it and cut them all at once.
  3. Have your child glue the flowers on a full piece of paper.
  4. Drizzle glue all over the flowers, and add your lentils. I chose to match the colors and use this activity as an opportunity to teach about colors, but simply allowing your child to choose which lentils or beans should go where is great too!
  5. After your have finished gluing on the lentils, you can add stems and leaves or anything else you think will complete the artwork!


Song!

Little hunk of mud

Oh I wish I was a little hunk of mud!
Oh I wish I was a little hunk of mud!
I’d be ooey , I’d be gooey on everybody’s shoey,
Oh I wish I was a little hunk of mud!

Additional activities

Pouring is fun!

As my son pointed out quite clearly, toddlers love to scoop and pour and there is no reason to limit your child to the sand in the sandbox or water in the tub ! I got these lentils in the bulk section of my super market and they are great , they are too small to be a real chocking hazard and are naturally colorful. So grab a bowl and some measuring cups and let your toddlers explore the sounds of the lentils falling from a cup, and feel how smooth they are in their hands!

 

Big Sponge Painting

This is a perfect example of process not product, during this activity your child is discovering how the big brush and sponge make big prints on the paper while their little fingers make little tiny prints. There is no wrong way to do this, just let your child explore.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some big paper- I like to use the reverse side of old Christmas wrapping paper I am sick of, some paint, a large sponge, adult size paint brush and a pan to put the paint in.
  2. Mix your colors and pour your paint into the pan.
  3. Start with finger painting. Talk to your child about how their little fingers make small dots and squiggles on the paper, with older children you can ask them if they know how they could make bigger marks like a hand print.
  4. Next paint with the paint brush. Ask questions like ” If you had a whole house to paint would you want to use your fingers or a big brush?” with toddlers you can simply say things ” Whoa that’s big!”.
  5. Next paint with the giant sponge. My son loved this one! Before we dipped it in the paint we explored the sponge, feeling it and squishing it.

Books!

 

” How Big Is A Pig”by Clare Beaton is such a sweet board book. Fun rhymes all about different farm animals accompany stunning illustrations that are really photos of fabric patch work! I love just looking at this book, my son loves it too.

” Big Fish , Little Fish” by Ed Heck is a good introduction to opposites for little ones, it’s not as good in my opinion as ” Dinosaur Roar” by Henrietta Stickland but it’s worth a look especially if like my son your child is presently obsessed with fish! Also the final page’s message is rather reminiscent of “Swimmy” by Leo Lioni .

” When I Get Bigger” by Mercer Mayer addresses what it feels like not to be big enough to do things you want to do. Little Critter makes a list of all the things he wants to do when he gets bigger. I remember feeling like this , and to 4 and 5 year olds who desperately want to be big kids this book will strike a chord!

Last Days Of Summer

Sand Art

Right now at our house we are talking a lot about textures , this activity is a wonderful way to make something that is rough , which in my experience was always the hardest texture to find around the house or classroom. It’s also just a fun art activity too!
  1. Gather your materials. You will need a piece of construction paper, some white glue, some sand and markers or crayons if you want.
  2. Start by having your child draw some fun pictures, if they are at the scribble stage, let them scribble. If they are older see if they will draw a picture of their favorite summer memory, hopefully something with sand!
  3. Add the glue, we just went freestyle , but you can make structured designs or even letters!
  4. Add the sand. We started with a spoon but like most almost 2 year olds, my son got rather frustrated with the small amounts the spoon was scooping and decided to pour it on instead.
  5. Let dry.
  6. Once dry explore the feeling of the art, and talk about how the paper is smooth, but the sand is rough!
Book!


“The Sandcastle Contest”
by Robert Munsch. I am normally a huge Munsch fan, I love so many of his touching and goofy stories. I don’t like this book , I have read it 4 times trying to find something about it I liked, but it’s just not there for me. I think it focuses too much on the uglier side of competitiveness and the characters are rude. I hate giving anything by Munsch a bad review , but I can’t avoid it.

Color Mixing

Color mixing is something so simple but so exciting for young children. The lesson is vital as well, the basic understanding that when you mix two things a third new thing is created doesn’t have to come from a complicated lesson, so grab a few towels and trust me your children will love this!
  1. Gather your materials. You will need some clear or white glass or plastic containers. Food coloring, water , a turkey baster and a thick place mat or towel under the jars.
  2. Start by letting your child get accustomed to using the turkey baster to transfer the water from one container to another. They do make child size turkey basters and sell them at educational stores like Lakeshore learning but I am just using a regular old one.
  3. Next add blue and red to two of the jars and have clear water in the third. Ask about the colors and if your child is old enough, ask them to make a prediction about what will happen if you mix the colors.
  4. Continue with as many color combinations as they want. My son had a blast making green and we re did this experiment 4 or 5 times.
  5. If they are getting frustrated with how slow the turkey baster is encourage them to pour the water into the other jars.
  6. The fun can keep going as long as they are interested, our experiment lasted about 30 minutes which was about 15 minutes longer than I expected!
Books!



” A Rainbow Of My Own” by Don Freeman is a charming story about wanting a rainbow, you may notice that the colors are out of order but I have always used that as a teaching tool in my classes.

” Little Blue and Little Yellow”
by Leo Lioniis a profound book with underlying commentary about race relations while the surface story is about little blobs of color who when squished together turn into one green blob!

Mr. Fix it!

Hammer Heads!

This is an old preschool staple, but none of my mommy friends had ever heard of it, so I am sharing so everyone can try this super simple and fun activity.
  1. Gather your materials. You will need some Styrofoam, golf tees, a play hammer and your child. Seriously how simple is that?
  2. Put the golf tees in the Styrofoam – don’t push them all the way in though.
  3. Add your little one and let them pound it in.
  • You will not want to leave them unattended, in case a tee breaks, or small bits of the Styrofoam breaks off. So watch carefully as they have a blast hammering! Oh and don’t tell them they are building fine motor skills too!
Song!


This Is The Way We Build A House

This is the way we pound our nails,
pound our nails, pound our nails,
This is the way we pound our nails, so early in the morning.
This is the way we turn the screw,
Turn the screw, turn the screw
This is the way we turn the screw, so early in the morning.
This is the way we saw the wood
saw the wood, saw the wood,
This is the way we saw the wood, so early in the morning!
This is the way we build a house,
build a house, build a house.
This is the way we build a house so early in the morning!

Book!

” Building a House” by Byron Barton is a no frills look at how homes are built. The bright colors and concise wording is perfect for preschoolers. I love that there is writing on one page and illustrations on the other, makes it super easy to show children the pictures as well as for them to see you follow the text with your finger!