Feel and Learn

Texture Collage

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a piece of card stock or construction paper, some markers/ crayons, glue and then some smaller pieces of things like feathers, aluminum foil, sand paper- anything that can easily be glued on and have an obvious texture. I used some foam ( squishy), foil wrapping paper ( smooth) and feathers ( soft) .
  2. I had my son start out with markers, because writing / scribbling is an important skill so practicing it is fun and worthwhile, but you don’t need to do this step.
  3. Drizzle or have your child put some glue on the paper.
  4. Put the collage materials on one at a time, talk about how it feels when your child is handling it.
  5. With older children you can ask them to close their eyes , put the collage material into their hands and ask them what it feels like!

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!