30 Family Movie Night Crafts and Activities

watch and make movie crafts for kidsMovies are a fun way to connect as a family and I love to build on and extend those connections with more activities to tackle together.This list of 30 family movie night crafts vary from super simple to just right for school age kids.  In the screen time debate one of the points that is always made is that watching with your kids, interacting while watching and building new experiences on to screen time is a positive thing.  Crafts, sensory play even a little early literacy are included in this round up. The best advice I have is that when you are watching anything with your children that those questions that pop up don’t go ignored. Dive into them. You never know what new learning opportunity may be lurking in your DVD player!

All DVD titles are linked with affiliate links to Amazon. The activity links take you to the tutorials for each activity.

watch & make frozen activities for preschool

Watch Frozen and then have fun with a Frozen Sensory Tub by Nurture Store , Frozen Silly Putty by Paging Fun Mums , Sled Races by Mom Endeavors, and Frozen Fractals by Happy Hooligans.

watch & make monster's university

Watch Monsters University and then explore gooey Monsters University Sensory Play by B-Inspired Mama.

watch & make horton hears a who

Watch Horton Hears a Who then create your own Paper Plate Horton!

watch & make polar express party idea

Watch The Polar Express and then create your very own Winter Train Table  by adding a few simple things your train table!

watch & make madagascar craft

Watch Madagascar and then create your own Penguin Place Mat !

 

watch & make star wars sensory

Watch Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and then get messy with this rad Molten Lava Slime from Fun-A-Day and Lego Star Wars mini-figs.

 

watch & make star wars craft for kids

Watch Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and then turn those dollar store bubble wands into a rad Lightsabre !

watch & make the lorax movie activityWatch Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax and then create this fun Lorax inspired math game from Inspiration Laboratories.

 

watch & make antz

 

Watch Antz and then whip up these super simple Egg Carton Ants !

watch & make robots movie craft

After watching Robots make your own robot, then remake it, and remake it with this simple Robot Magnet Set.

 

watch & make the incredibles superhero craft

 

Watch The Incredibles and then get your superhero on by making a Superhero Cuff from a paper roll!

 

watch & make ice age activity

Pop Ice Age into the DVD player then play with your own Arctic Ice Sensory Tub!

 

watch & make cars

I have dozens of ideas for activities to do after watching Cars , but my favorite for the summer is a simple Backyard Car Wash!

 

watch & make Lego movie

 

The LEGO Movie just found its way into our DVD collection and Lego Challenges are equally a hit. They are a perfect pair. watch & make cinderella craft

In the movie Cinderella, the animals help her make a beautiful gown and after watching your child can create one with this Shape Princess craft.

 

 

watch & make a bugs life craft

Like Cars,A Bug’s Life has multiple crafts that would be great after movie activities but these is something special about a classic Egg Carton Caterpillar.

 

watch & make brave activity

 

In Brave Merida is a fantastic archer. You can make and play with your own Backyard Target after watching the movie.

 

 

watch & make despicable me

 

Minions are rad and after watching Despicable Me you can create your own Dry Erase Minion to dress up however you want.

 

 

watch & make despicable me 2

 

If you liked the first movie you will love Despicable Me 2 and why not work on some matching skills after with this simple Minion Match from Study At Home Mom.

watch & make lion king

 

The Lion King is a classic and after you watch you can work together to create this big Scrap Paper Lion. watch & make finding nemo

 

After watching Finding Nemo, you can create your own Toilet Paper Roll Fish. Use white and orange paint to turn one into Nemo!watch & make princess and the frog

 

In  The Princess and the Frog Tiana and Naveen spend a lot of time as frogs in a swamp. So make your own swamp and get gooey! watch & make monsters inc craft for kids

 

Monsters Inc is the cutest monster movie and after watching you can work on letter recognition or even spelling with Letter Monsters. watch & make planes movie activity

 

After watching Planes zoom into play with this fun Airplane Sensory Bin. watch & make harry potter craft

 

There are a lot of crafts for Harry Potter , but I love these simple Harry Potter Glasses and Tie from East Coast Mommy because I can’t help but see the opportunity to practice making patterns!watch & make cloudy with a chance of meatballs

 

I love Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in book and movie form and this DIY Weather Station gets kids into the role of meteorologist from their own window.

watch & make tangled craft

After watching Tangled you can create your own Cardboard Tangled Tower from Pink and Green Mama and recreate the best parts of the movie.

 

 

watch & make cars 2 craft idea

 

In Cars 2 the characters travel the world and after watching you can make some Landmark Blocks to play with!

watch & make how to train a dragon craft

 

The sequel to How to Train Your Dragon is in theaters now and after watching the either one of the films you can make How To Train A Dragon Playdough from Kids Activities Blog . watch&make toy story craft

There were so many ideas to go with Toy Story, you could make a letter pizza, a toilet paper roll rocket, or even a cowboy vest but our favorite is this Alien headband!

 

 

Lego Math Game For Preschool

lego math roll and build gameDo you know what subitizing is? A lot of people do not and even though we all do it.  When I was studying how to elementary teach math I never learned this it wasn’t something that was focused on but it is now. The easiest way to describe what subitizing is , is to think of it as the numerical equivalent to sight words. It is the ability to recognize total amounts without counting. Tally marks, dice, even fingers are great ways to practice the skill. This Lego math game is great for beginners because it only works subitizing numbers from 1-6. My daughter is our littlest math whiz and loves all things numbers so she was game and dove right in. We played a bunch of times since the game itself can go pretty quickly!  Check out the tutorial below for ways to adapt this game for older children as well.

Gather your materials. You will need a regular die, 12 DUPLO or LEGO bricks, a sharpie, and a tray or wide box to keep the die contained.lego subitizing game

Number your bricks 1-6 with the sharpie. Don’t worry it will come off with a dry erase marker later.lego math for preschool math

Invite your game player and explain the rules – roll an amount , subitize, and find the matching number.

All the bricks are in a loose pile.leho math game for preschool and kindergarten

Roll the die and recognize the amount – say it out loud.Find the brick with that number on it.lego math dice game

Let the other player roll and repeat the steps.lego subitizing lesson

Keep rolling until one person has built their stack and placed it in order.lego brick math game

If you roll an amount you already have skip you don’t grab a brick.

The player who has built their stack first wins.Lego subitizing game for prek

I won the first game and she was not happy. When my kids get upset about me beating them I calmly tell them they can have another chance at beating me if they want to play again. It doesn’t always work but it works more than it doesn’t. Children get excited and losing is disappointing just getting mad at them for being disappointed won’t help. Acknowledge the disappointment and offer some help or ask them how they can get the result they want… practice, play again, take a breather and come back and try again.

 

 

Backyard Safari and Map Activity

map activity for preschoolThis map activity was a huge hit because it included pretend play. Preschoolers love jumping into a fun pretend play scenario and adding a big dose of imagination to a regular old activity. My daughter loves going on safari when she plays dress up so I used that love to turn a simple hunt into a map activity. Reading maps is an important skill not just for the future but it teaches directions ( as we played we practiced left and right)  and uses spatial thinking skills . This took less than 5 minutes to set up and even if you don’t have a yard you can pop the toys in a backpack and try this at the park, beach, or even inside your home.

 

Gather your materials. You will need some toy animals, toy binoculars ( or make some like these binoculars), safari dress up, a clip board, markers and paper for making the map.backyard safari supplies

I started by mapping out our yard. It took me two tries before I got a somewhat accurate map. You could probably google earth your house and get a great shot of your yard but I don’t plan that far ahead so I free handed it.map activity for kids backyard safari

Then I added and X for each animal. Some spots have two Xs because there are two animals together.safari map for kids

Invite your little explorer to get ready for the safari!backyard safari dress up

Show them the map and go over it with them by asking them if they know what it is. What each part represents etc… don’t explain it all to them, let them explain it to you and you can fill in any big blanks if they arise.safari map activity for kids

Get ready to find some animals. I only helped once when she was really getting frustrated. The little alligator was tiny and well hidden. backyard scavenger hunt for kidsEvery time she found an animal she kissed it and put it back. gross motor safari game for preschoolI explained that when you go on Safari you observe the animals but you don’t take them with you.map activity for preschool  As we went along she found them even faster as well as got into the character , she was running so fast from one to the next.gross motor map gameMake sure you take a few moments to talk about what kind of animals they are and a little bit about them. We talked about herbivores and carnivores and how they are different.  She was very proud of herself for being able to read a map. For older kids have them create their own maps of the yard and add the Xs on after.back yard safari scavenger hunt

Story Books Featuring Safari Animals

all our book lists include affiliate links.

books about being different

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae is a very sweet story about a giraffe who gets laughed at because he doesn’t know how to dance. A cricket gives him some great advice and with new found confidence that different isn’t always bad he starts to dance!  This has been a favorite in our house for years!

Elmer
Elmer by David McKee is another book with a great message. Elmer is different, he isn’t gray like all the other elephants, and he’s a little bit of a goof too! He’s not so sure he likes that though. Like all of us it takes some time for Elmer to accept who he is but in the end he sees that patchwork is just who he is!

Hilda Must Be Dancing

Hilda Must Be Dancing by Karma Wilson is a lovely story about a big hippo that loves to dance, although her neighbors aren’t as keen. See Hilda is bog and when she dances she shakes and rattles everything, it’s noisy and disruptive and is making her friends very angry. They suggest that she try new hobbies, but knitting and singing won’t do it’s simply not in her heart, Hilda needs to move and groove!  I loves that a solution is found that makes everyone happy, that Hilda doesn’t have to give up her passion, but that she isn’t so selfish as to simply say ” too bad” to her friends either.

Summer Learning Activities – Link Up!

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Play is learning as are new experiences, reading books, creating art… there is very little if any time when a child isn’t learning! The trick is choosing what you want them to learn about. Luckily we have Link & Learn to point us in all different directions. There is no way one blog can provide you with everything so every week I invite like minded bloggers to come share activities on Link & Learn. This week I would love to see learning activities that were huge successes with your kids linked up. Maybe it’s something like our Sticky Easel activity that started out simply but turned into a wonderful storytelling activity or another simple lesson that your children created into something much bigger.

If you are new here jump right in. There are very few rules or hoops to jump through, just link up and if you have time check out some of the other links too!



Twig & Bead Fairy Wands

twig and bead fairy wand craft for kidsI love exploring in the woods and while my children enjoy it they take it for granted. I love finding new ways to get them exploring their own environment and finding creative ways to use what we have in our yard. These twig and bead fairy wands were so much fun to make. We brought some of our favorite art supplies down to create with twigs. My daughter was all over this idea and I think this was the longest she’d ever beaded anything without asking me to take over. Beading is a fantastic fine motor activity and beyond that it often leads naturally to counting so you can slip some math in there too.  We also had a friend over who is 11 and she used the same materials to make her own funky twig and bead fairy wand.

Gather your materials. You will need some twigs, pony beads, yarn or cord, markers and scissors. bead fairy wands supplies

Before sitting down to create explore and find some twigs. I had found some that would work before inviting the girls to create in case they gathered the wrong size. twig hunting fiary wand tutorial

Break off any of the little bits and bobs on the twig and color it if you want to. I loved how much concentration this required. We used smelly markers because you can’t really see the color on the twig but the scent stayed and made it extra special. twig and bead fairy wand craft for preschool

Bead! Most twigs will naturally get wider at the base but if they don’t you can put a little dollop of hit glue to create a wider base. I just love how many great skills she is using by doing this fun activity. Her fine motor skills got a great work out!beading with twigs and beads

Wow look at all those beads! This is when you will want to casually say ” How many beads do you think are on there?” If you are trying to sneak in even more counting ask about specific colors too. ” How many green ones?” twig and bead fairy wand fine motor craft for kids

While my daughter was beading our 11 year old friend was beading on to the cord and then wrapping it around the twig and securing it with some tape. bead and fairy wands for older kids too

When my daughter was all done beading we attached some string to a bead and tied a knot.fairy wand tutorial Then beaded it on to the twig. fairy wand tutorial for kids

Next we wrapped the cord around the twig and make a handle. When it was all wrapped we tied it a few times and trimmed. magic wand tutorial

Now it’s ready for some serious fairy spells! magic wand tutorial for kids

You can see the rad wand our dear friend made too !beaded fairy wands for kids

Books About Fairies

All our book lists include affiliate links.

 

princess books for girls

The Very Fairy Princess by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton is a cute book about a little girl who loves all things princess related. What I like about this book is that it’s message isn’t heavy handed and it celebrates princesses while sneaking in some very positive messages too. In a world where many parents ( me included) have issues with this whole princess thing and struggle to find that balance this book has it. It tells you it’s OK to want to be a princess and to “let your sparkle out!” and talks about confidence in the process. I must admit though I am a total Julie Andrews fan and I am not sure I’d ever dislike anything Maria , I mean Mary Poppins I mean Julie Andrews wrote.

Alice the fairy

Alice The Fairy is such a sweet book about a fairy who is still learning the ropes. I love the spells she casts and kids relate to her type of magic, I promise! I love that this book is about a fairy but not the Disney idea that we are so often bombarded with. It’s fresh, fun and my daughter absolutely loves it. I have been in love with this book for many years and to see my daughter connect with Alice so well just tickles me to pieces.

princess in the forest

Princess in the Forest by Sibylle Von Olfers is more than 100 years old yet my toddler absolutely loved this book. The story is amazingly simple and the illustrations are what a fairytale should look like. The princess is met at different times of the day by various magical fairy children and forest creatures who care for and play with her. My daughter loves babies and the Dew Children who come to help the princess get dressed , the Moss Children who bring her food and the Star Children who illuminate her night enchanted her. She would immediately turn to each page with these angelic creatures and touch each one with her little fingers. This book doesn’t have a strong moral message but it’s simplicity is so peaceful and calming that it makes a wonderful bedtime book for young kids.