Shape Ninja

Title Picby Kim

Ninjas, especially LEGO Ninjago, are very big at my house.  My 6 year old is very into them and so is his 4 year old sister.  My son takes martial arts classes, so the interest is even more strengthened.

The idea for this project started with my 4 year old daughter wanting to be a yellow ninja. If any of you watch the Ninjago show then you know the girl in the show is actually a seriously awesome samurai, but my daughter simply has to be a ninja.  So we made her a yellow Ninjago ninja and named it.  This activity was such a hit. My son now wants to make these for his birthday invitations.

Supplies

All you will need are construction paper, scissors, glue, and a pencil.Trace bowl

 

Trace a bowl or lid to make a circle on the construction paper.  This will be the color of your ninja.

Cut out circle

Let your child cut out the circle.

Glue rectangle

Then cut a rectangle out of yellow construction paper.  Glue the rectangle to your colored circle.

Eyes

While the children are gluing on the rectangle, you can be cutting out smaller circles and rectangles.  You may want to cut these out before the activity starts.

Glue eyes

Have your children glue on the eyes inside of the rectangle.

almost finished face

At this point I had my children look at our ninja faces and compare them to the Ninjago faces we were referencing.  I asked them to figure out what was missing.  Instantly they noticed the eyebrows.

Glue on eyebrows

Now glue on the eyebrows.  At first my children put them on straight and separated from the eyes, but noticed it looked off.  They mimicked the eyebrows of a real Ninjago ninjas by angling and connecting the eyebrows to the eyes. It was truly neat to watch them compare and make adjustments.

Ninja face

They finished their ninjas with great pride.

Finished

FUN VARIATION: Make your ninja out of craft foam and use them as bath toys because they will float and stick to the tub when wet.  Who doesn’t love a good ninja bath?

Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a first grader, too! She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.

Shape Princess Craft

shape princess craft for kidsAfter the holidays we packed up the kids and went to Disneyland. We had a ball and my already into princesses daughter is now officially obsessed. When I asked her what sort of craft she wanted to make she said “Princess!” so I grabbed a few simple materials and decided to focus the craft on shapes since we’ve been talking a lot about them lately.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 sheets of construction paper , scissors, glue , sequins, googly eyes and a marker or two. shape princess craft for toddlers
  2. Start by cutting out the shapes. I kept this so simple for my 2 year old because she likes to do it all herself and I want to encourage that. I cut out a circle for a head,2 rectangles for her arms,  3 small triangles for a crown, a large triangle for her gown and a square for her torso. Encourage older children to draw and cut out their own shapes. shape princess 2
  3. Time to call your little princess, prince or court jester to explore.  My daughter sorted through the shapes labeling each one and counting them then I grabbed the glue.shape princess craft for kids
  4. Glue! To give her a guide I drew the shape in glue on the paper. Older children could skip this. shape princess kids craftAs you can see it’s still a big challenge . She was so excited when she found the correct shape each time.
  5. We turned the princess upside down to glue on her crown. shape princess craft for kids and toddlers
  6. Next up the sequins. I included these for a few reasons beyond their sparkle. shape princess craft for childrenThey are small and challenging to pick up which makes them a really good fine motor skills building exercise. Also when I do something as structured as this activity is I try to make sure there is a completely free creative element to it.  So I gave her the glue and let her at it. shape princess for toddlers
  7. She needed a little help with the crown jewels. shape princess craft for kids 1
  8. Add eyes.
  9. Add hair and a smile if you want. shape craft princess
  10. Let dry. She was very excited to show her Belle doll the princess she made. shape princess craft 3

Books About Strong Princesses

the princess knight

The Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke is a tale about a princess named Violet who was raised with her 3 older brothers  by her father after her mother dies in childbirth. Her brothers are trained to be knights and she to learns to joust , ride horses and sword fighting.  Her brothers ( like most) tease her and tell her that she’ll never be as strong and it’s a maid who tells her that she won’t be as strong but she can be smarter. That message stood way out for me and is why I think this is such a great book. When her father sets up a tournament for Violet’s hand in marriage she takes things into her own hands. She shows everyone how she is smarter than all the other knights and with hard work trains to  win her own hand in marriage . I love this book not only as a great empowering one for girls but also to show boys that girls don’t have to fit a specific mold either.

TheStorytellingPrincess

The Storytelling Princess (Picture Puffin Books) by Rafe Martin is a cute story about an independent princess who saves herself after a shipwreck and even though she ends up with the prince her parents had arranged for her to marry she does it on her own terms. Her bibliophile  prince isn’t interested in an arranged marriage either and ends up agreeing to marry if his father can find someone to tell him a story  that he doesn’t know the ending to. The princess saves herself from the sea and dressed as a sailor she ends up vying for the King’s prize by telling the prince her own story. After she reveals herself and in the end the betrothed fall in love . I love that we don’t loose the happily ever after but that the prince and princess are unique and strong .

Paper_Bag_Princess

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch has enchanted me for years. I bought it while volunteering as a leader in training at a day camp when I was a teen. It’s followed me to many schools, children I babysat and finally my own son. I can’t remember one child ever not liking it. It’s a story of Elizabeth a princess who outwits a dragon to rescue her prince. I love that the author has switched the typical damsel in distress and has the princess as the heroine. Some parents have expressed concern about Elizabeth calling the prince a “Bum” in the end of the book, personally I love it. I have always used it to explain why she was so angry, and as a reminder why calling names hurt. That said I think she is totally justified !

NotAllPrincessDressInPink

Not All Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane Yolen .This book is not so much about being different and facing adversity but about being yourself even if the world has decided you should fit perfectly into the mold it’s given you.  When we think of Princesses we think pink, sparkly and dry clean only! These princesses can’t be pigeonholed, they do what’s in their heart not what’s expected of them just because they are princesses. The princesses have all different interests, all different looks and I love that there are some with glasses too. Strong girls being themselves isn’t too different but for a book about princesses it is and it’s refreshing to read.

Even more princess books here.

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Paper Bag Gingerbread Men

shape paper bag ginger man craftMy daughter and I made these a while back but I forgot to post them. We’ve been learning all about shapes and in the same week that we made the Shape Wreaths my daughter and I made these simple paper bag gingerbread men with paper shapes .  I love using grocery bags and other recyclables for crafts because it’s cost effective and it teaches my kids to think creatively and to use items over and over before discarding them.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some sturdy paper or thin card board ( think grocery bags or cereal boxes) , a glue stick, shape punches , scissors, thin paper like the origami paper I used, googly eyes and a pencil.      paper bag gingerbread men craft for toddlers
  2. Start by drawing a gingerbread man or two and cutting them out.gingerbread men craft
  3. Punch or cut out some shapes.shape gingerbread men
  4. Add glue .gingerbread craft
  5. Add your shapes  and eyes to the gingerbread man. Even though I pre cut many shapes she wanted to cut out more herself. ginger craft for kidsWho can blame her those punches are fun! gingerbread craft for toddlers Talk about the shapes, about the textures of the items ( our colored paper was really silky vs the rough paper bag) , about the colors and body parts too. There is so much to learn in such a simple activity.ginger bread craft for kids and toddlers
  6. Don’t forget to add your googly eyes.  My daughter has started pushing out her bottom lip when she is concentrating on a task it makes me giggle and I am forever trying to capture it . Do you see it?shape ginger bread man

Gingerbread Books

ginger

The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup was an instant hit with my son but it was too long for my daughter who sat and listened but wasn’t engrossed in it. The story was all about pirate gingerbread men who come to life on Christmas Eve and faced Santa even though most of them were left for him to eat. There is adventure, there is humor and a whole lot of Christmas magic. What made this book for me were the illustrations by Matt Tavares. I loved that they were from the perspective of the gingerbread pirates . Love this book.

fairytale books

The Gingerbread Man (Easy-to-Read Folktales) by Karen Schmidt is just such a silly story . What I do like about this tale is that while it still packs the punch of one character eating another like many fairy tales it’s just a gingerbread man so when the fox eats him it doesn’t seem so bad really.  My son loved the repetition of the text and sang along with me as we read. It’s a good story to talk about taunting, and showing off. We also played gingerbread man tag later that day, but we skipped the whole cannibalism bit. { Since writing this review my daughter had made this one of her very favorite books }.

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Shape Wreath { perfect for bedroom doors!}

christmas craft for kids Shapes are such a simple way of sneaking some math into creative projects and that is exactly what I did with my kids when we made Christmas wreaths for their bedroom doors. You could make this a patterning lesson as well . The main goal with this project though wasn’t to learn the difference between a triangle and square it was to create something for my kids to decorate their own doors with. I remember feeling so grown up with my own wreath and I hope my kids feel the pride in decorating their own space too.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cardboard , green paint, glue, shape cut outs like these wood ones and felt stars from craftprojectideas.com and ribbon.
  2. Start by cutting out a wreath from cardboard. I used a salad bowl for the outside and a soup bowl for the inner one.
  3. Next get the table ready for painting. At first I had it like this. Way better for picture taking… but a table like this is way better for having fun and no one worrying about mess.
  4. Add kids and paint.
  5. Let the paint dry . Ours only took about 15 minutes to dry enough to glue. We played doll house and made Lego presents for our Little People while we waited.
  6. Now it’s time to glue and add some shapes.
  7. The mix of felt stickers and wood shapes were fun for my toddler to explore. But my favorite part was the conversation between the two of them. Listening to them talk and craft at the same time makes me so happy.
  8. Let the wreaths dry and add ribbons.Wait a full day before hanging up just to be sure everything stays put.

 Christmas Books

Oh, What a Christmas!by Micheal Garland is a sweet story about how Santa made do when the unexpected happened. As we all know reindeer pull Santa’s sleigh but when the reins break and Santa comes crashing down they are nowhere to be seen! Luckily a rag tag group of fam animals step in and save the day. The message that it’s not the reindeer but rather the magic that makes the difference is loud and clear . I like how this book can also open a dialog about how even special days can have unexpected bumps and you make do with what you have , just like Santa in this story.

Santa Duck and His Merry Helpersby David Milgrim is really funny. Santa duck is the duck liaison to Santa and he goes around to find out what all the other ducks want for Christmas. His younger siblings want in on the action too and start telling ducks that they can get them bigger and better gifts in an effort to out Santa Santa Duck.  Santa Duck explains that bigger and better gifts is not what Christmas is about . Christmas is about giving and sharing with your family. My son who is 6 and I both laughed at the smart alec ducks and while rude and annoying in many ways they were right when they said Santa Duck was hogging all the fun by being the only duck allowed to dress as Santa and be his helper.  Cute book !

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Big Caterpillar Craft For Kids

caterpillar craft for kids

For a few weeks now my daughter who is almost 2 has been ordering objects by size but instead of using terms like big, small or bigger, smaller she oders using ” Dada, Mama, Bubba, May-May” which is our family from biggest to smallest. While I think it’s awesome that she is I also see it as a signal she is ready to learn more about size. This is a basic cut and paste craft that incorporates a lesson about size. You could also use it for colors, shapes or more.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need multiple colors of construction paper ( We used 5- 1 full sheet and scrap for the circles), glue, a pipe cleaner, scissors , markers/ paint daubers and one googly eye.
  2. Start by having your child color/ paint the full sheet. I told my daughter that the caterpillar needed a home . I think she said something about a polka dot bed. I think.toddler craft
  3. While they create cut 4 different sized circles. Make sure they are obviously different in size if you have a really little one like me. We aren’t trying to trick them, just teach.
  4. Get the glue ready and help them decide which is the biggest circle. With older / more capable children you can simple say ” Glue them in order of size”.shape craft for kids
  5. Keep going. If they are overwhelmed by too many options clear all but two circles from the table. Say something like this ” The yellow circle is small and the blue circle is much bigger. Let’s find the bigger one.”
  6. Glue them on. While they glue or my daughter’s favorite part banging the circles on the glue use the time to do more labeling . My daughter latched on to the size terms easily so I was using this time to talk about colors , something she is still just starting to grasp.
  7. When all the circles are on grab a marker and add legs!
  8. Glue on an eye ( if you are worried about chocking hazards like the googly eye just draw it on).
  9. Add pipe cleaner antennae and voila!

Books About Caterpillars

Bob and Otto by Robert O. Bruel is a lovely story about 2 friends who must part ways , in this case because one is a caterpillar who needs to build a chrysalis and the other an earth worm who needs to dig deep into the ground. What I like about this book is that it goes on to explain that the earth worm’s digging is vital for the trees to grow so that the caterpillar can eat the leaves and turn into a butterfly. I like the lesson about how we all play a part!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a classic, that most preschool teachers like myself can recite from memory. It really is a fantastic book, not only does it explain the life cycle of a caterpillar/ butterfly it also is useful for lesson about day of the week and healthy eating! It was a childhood favorite of mine and if the fact that he fell asleep holding his ” Pillar” is any indication it is already one of my son’s favorites too!

The Caterpillar and the Polliwog by Jack Kent is a sentimental favorite. I remember being read this book in elementary school when learning about life cycles. It’s more than just about life cycles of butterflies and frogs, it’s about becoming comfortable with who you are. I remember thinking it was hilarious when the caterpillar tells the turtle that she will be changing into something else not just getting bigger and bigger and he replies with ” I don’t blame you.” It made me snort as an adult too. Good for preschool through the early elementary years and if like me you read it as a child there is of course the sentimental factor. I love sharing books from my childhood with my kids.