G is for Goldfish!

Fish Bowl!
This is a fun craft project that can be as simple or as complicated as you desire. I kept it simple for my 17 month old, but with older kids you could include real sand, some plants and other species too!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some construction paper, a pencil, scissors, some glue, paint ( glitter paint is perfect for this) and a paint brush.
  2. Mix up some regular paint with some sparkle glitter paint. It will make the fish look like they are underwater!
  3. Draw or have your child draw some fish on a piece of construction paper, while you cut out a fish bowl . To cut it out layer 2 pieces ( one blue) of construction paper together and using a cereal bowl trace a circle , then add on a wider brim at top. Cut it out. Cut the top third of the blue paper off and make the edge look like a wave.
  4. Paint the fish.
  5. Let the fish dry. Have your child glue the water onto the fish bowl, then onto a plain piece of construction paper.
  6. When the fish are dry, cut out and glue them onto the bowl!

* Tip for sparkle paint, to save money just buy yellow. it blends into other colors well so you don’t need 5 different tubes of glitter paint !

Books!

Swimmy by Leo Lionni is a profound tale about a little fish who tragically looses his family, and is forced to face scary things alone. He soon discovers that if he and other little fish band together they have power against the big bullies in the ocean. Personally I love this author and this book is one of my favorites. Some parents have expressed concern over his family being eaten at the start , so read it for yourself before deciding if it’s right for your child.


” Baby Beluga” by Raffi is a classic children’s song cleverly illustrated into a beautiful book. I grew up on Raffi and am still shocked when moms don’t know who he is, if he is new to you go to your library and check out one of his cds! My son loves this book, there are so many sea creatures to point out, it’s great for toddlers!

Onion Prints

 

I love using things I have on hand for art! Now if only I can find something to do with half eaten Annie’s Mac and Cheese!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need an onion , or large shallot would be great too! Some paint, a container to mix the paint in and some paper.
  2. Cut the onion in half – I started with ours in half and after it absorbed a lot of paint I cut it into quarters because it got slippery and harder for my son to handle. Also if your onion is really fragrant you may want to let it sit after cutting it, this will help avoid any crying or onion juice getting in little eyes!
  3. Pour some different colors of paint ( or just one) in a small dish and have your child mix it, this has become my son’s favorite part of art time!
  4. Dip your onion into the paint and go for it! I did the first few prints on the page to show my son what to do.
  5. Add a new color and if you want cut the onion into a different shape!


Books!

 

 

” Babar Learns To Cook” by Laurent de Brunhoff is an okay story for preschoolers, the story itself is not too special, but I love the end! When you read as many children’s books as most parents do sometimes finding something that tickles your funny bone is a breath of fresh air. At the end of the book everyone is given chef’s hats, well all the male elephants, much to the dismay of Flora who proclaims this unfair, and her mother Celeste backs her up! As I was reading the book for the first time I too declared this unfair out loud, so I was happy when it was worked into the story. The funniest part though is that the old lady decides against wearing the chef’s hat because she doesn’t think she’d look good in it. You can tell this is a French book!

” One Hungry Monster” by Susan Heyboer O’Keefe is a fun counting book that is great for all ages of young kids. My son will sit for the first 5-6 pages, even though the whole book is too long for him now. The book is a counting book and kids who are learning their numbers love these sorts of books, it also has a small lesson about manners since the monsters really lack any!

Pot Scrubber Painting

When my son gets up early to help pass the time I grab something out of my cupboard and hope he likes it! Today it was such a big hit, I am sharing it here with you!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper, paint, a small bowl or plate and a kitchen scrubber. I used a mesh scrubber with a easy grip handle that fits a toddler’s hand perfectly!
  2. Put some different colors in the bowl and mix away ! Be ready with a rag cause paint can go flying when you let them help!
  3. Pop the scrubber in the paint and start painting, really it’s more like stamping, the prints the scrubber makes are really cool.
  4. Change colors and keep going! We painted for about 10 minutes which is really a long time for a toddler, and if I let my son paint the table I bet he’d still be there!

Paper Plate Elephant Craft


  1. Gather your materials. You will need a paper plate, some construction paper( 2 white, 1 black), glue , scissors, a paint brush, jar or cup and paint.
  2. I like to make the gray paint by mixing different colors, your child will love this.
  3. Paint the paper plate.
  4. While your child is painting , cut out 2 ears and a trunk using the white construction paper.
  5. Paint the trunk and ears.
  6. While your child is painting, cut out 2 black circles and 2 slightly larger white ones for eyes, and some black strips for the trunk.
  7. Let everything dry.
  8. Glue the ears , trunk, strips and eyes on!

* To make this elephant into a mask, you can cut eye holes and attach ribbons on either side or a stick to the bottom !

Note about crafts: As a teacher I love to do open ended art projects that provide a wonderful creative experience for children so as you can imagine all these crafts I have done have gone against some of my teaching instincts. However when you are working one on one with a child you have so many opportunities to follow their lead, and make even a structured craft like this elephant into something creative. My son loved mixing the colors to make the gray paint, so after we were done we got a few more jars out and continued. Watch carefully and you too will find ways to turn these crafts into a whole host of fun!

 

Song!
One Elephant!

One elephant went out to play,
upon a spider’s web one day,
he had such enormous fun that he called for ______ to come!

Two elephants went out to play,
upon a spider’s web one day ,
they had such enormous fun that they called for ______ to come!

* I like to use the child’s/ children’s names but if you are singing this alone with your child you can use their stuffed animals/ toys names or simply say ” another elephant ” instead!

Books!

123 to the Zoo Board Book by Eric Carle is fun counting book perfect for toddlers. Actually as I type this my toddler is reading it. There are no words, just pictures and numbers and that makes it perfect for toddlers who are just learning both numbers and animals because parents can read it slowly counting , naming the animals and making the animal sounds, or more quickly just counting!

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann is a silly story about a zookeeper and his charges that follow him home to bed. Luckily his wife is on her toes and gets those silly animals back to the zoo ! This book is good for the 1-3 crowd , after that most kids I know have lost interest in the limited text. I love to use this book as a bedtime story.
 Inside a Zoo in the City (A Rebus Read-Along Story) by Alyssa Satin Capucilli is a rebus read along , so children who can’t read words yet can help read this with pictures put right into the text! The story is repetitive and builds with one animal and page at a time. Preschoolers love these books and the repetitive nature of it makes it interactive and fun!

Thanks! Merci! Gracias!

Hand Painted
Thank You Note


Activities are a great way to make a lesson about manners tangible, being polite is a hard thing to learn especially for young children, doing something concrete like making a thank you card will help them learn their manners !

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some card sock or some pre-folded note cards. I used one card for the art work and a second for the inside. You will also need something to decorate your card with, we chose the water color crayons I reviewed last week.
  2. Start decorating your card. The water color crayons were great because they make fun baby scribbles into art! The crayons were a little tough for my little guy to press hard enough so I drew the circles and he took care of the next step!
  3. Bring out the water and start painting!
  4. Let the card dry.
  5. When it’s dry you may have to stick a second card inside the painted one, my card was pretty warped from the water, but a second card taped in with double sided tape fixed all that!
  6. Write in your note but don’t forget to let your child include their signature!
Books



” I’m Sorry” by Gina and Mercer Mayer has a great message about how saying sorry after doing something wrong isn’t always enough. Every page has a hidden frog on it as well , children love to try and find it and it keeps even the most wiggly 4 year olds in their seats!

” Booker and the Bully” by Marilyn Moscovitch tackles a touchy subject in schools these days and does it in s gentle way. The emotions Booker goes through being bullied really come through in the illustrations and young children will be able to identify them which will help them understand the story and topic.

” How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight” by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague is a beautifully illustrated story about the tantrums and dramatics that dinosaurs put their parents through at bedtime. I really like this book because it asks if dinosaurs do all these naughty things and kids love to point out what the dinosaurs shouldn’t be doing. Of course in the end the dinosaur s remember their manners and go to bed with hugs and kisses and the lights off!