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!

Rubber Duckie Stamping – Toddler Art Project


using rubber ducks for art with toddlers

Young kids should always have at least some aspect of open art in every arts and crafts project. Parents love complicated crafts that teachers spend hours preparing and cutting out every piece – the experience is very shallow for kids. They sit and are told where to glue this or that, not very creative. So to find a balance ( isn’t that all we want??! ) I try to include some open art where kids can be free to do whatever even in the more structured crafts. Also while doing crafts be open to your child’s suggestions, this fish they are making is theirs let them put legs on it if they want.

Here are two toddler art projects that have different amounts of structure but my son loved them both!

Hand Print Fish

  1. Gather your Materials. You can use any paper for this but something with a bit of weight works best for the tail when you cut it out. Crayons and double stick tape are great for toddlers and preschoolers do great with paint, markers and glue.
  2. Draw the outline of the fish, or have the child do it. Don’t forget to leave enough paper for tracing your child’s hand for the tail!
  3. Next decorate the fish. This is the open art aspect of this project, there is no wrong way to decorate this fish, let them go for it. I like sparkles ( okay I LOVE sparkles) so we added some to the fish. You can add stickers, ribbon, anything!
  4. Trace and cut out your child’s hand and glue or tape it to the finished fish for a “Hand” made tail!

 

Rubber Duckie Stamping

  1. Gather your materials. I’ve used ink pads but a plate with very shallow layer of paint would work too. You can use more than one rubber duck too! For my little guy I used a small duckie but older kids do great with standard ones. Any paper will work- old brown grocery bags are fantastic for this!


2. Start stamping. The duck will squeak with hard stamps so young preschoolers will be enthralled with this super simple project.
3. Hang this very cool print on the fridge !

Song!

5 Little Ducks5 little ducks went out to play
over the hills and far away
Mother duck said
” Quack quack quack quack!”
but only 4 little ducks came back!Continues until there are no little ducks.

 

” Hello Fish: visiting the coral reef. ” by Sylvia A. Earle is a great non fiction book for children of all ages, the text is too sophisticated for the under 5 crowd but the the photographs are so wonderful it’s still worth a look. My son loves it ! What I love about it is that it shows all different sorts of fish, including eels, sharks and clown fish!” Ordinary Amos and the Amazing Fish” by Eugenie and Henry Fernandes is a funny book that turns the tables on humans, Amos gets caught by a family of fish and they keep them as a pet! There are some cute lines that will give adults a good chuckle and children love the fun illustrations and silliness of this book.

” The Sissy Duckling” by Harvey Fierstein is an AWESOME book. As a mom to a son I worry about him getting teased when he is older if he isn’t into sports, or likes to bake cookies more than play video games. This book address that, in a cute but frank way. Also there are sparkles on the front cover, I love sparkles!

” The Rainbow Fish”
by Marcus Pfister is a modern classic but not my favorite. When the other fish notice how beautiful Rainbow Fish’s scales are and want one, Rainbow fish refuses. It isn’t until he has no friends that he decides to share. This book is a good book to talk about sharing but beware I have had more than one student who said ” You have to share or I won’t be your friend!” after a reading too. Three year olds can be brutal, so be there to help them navigate the message after reading this.

Home is where the heart is

Shape House!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cardboard, I like using old cereal boxes cause they accumulate quickly around my house. Also some paint, a paint brush, some scissors and glue.
  2. Cut out the shapes to make your house. Don’t limit yourself to the shapes I used, ovals, diamonds and pentagons make great windows too! I kept it simple because of the age of my child, but with older children this can be a complicated and long activity.
  3. Paint the house pieces. To help teach colors and shapes, I lined the paint colors up and asked my son which color he wanted and repeated the name when he pointed it out. Then did the same with the shape.
  4. As we painted each shape I removed that color so that he would use different ones, with older kids this may not work and that’s fine, let them have a say on the colors, but with little ones you can try this.
  5. Let the shapes dry.
  6. Once they are dry glue the pieces on. I put the glue on the house and had my son pop them on. Don’t worry if the chimney ends up in the doorway- remember it’s their house !

Books!

” 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!

“Moving Day” by Stan and Jan Berenstain is a fantastic book all about moving. Moving is really hard on everyone and this book doesn’t forget about the feelings of the littlest people in your family! If you are moving or considering a move this book is a great book to have on hand. I really like how it addresses the anxiety that Brother Bear has over leaving his old house for his new one!
“A House For A Hermit Crab” by Eric Carle is a fun book about a hermit crab’s search for things to make her house just perfect! Each month she finds another thing in the ocean to add to her house. This book is a good teaching tool for months of the year, sea life and home !

Additional Activities

Build a Fort!

If you have a tent and good weather you can go outside, or if you are stuck inside you can grab a blanket and some chairs or sofa cushions and make an indoor fort! Ask your child what they NEED to have in a house then help them find it and put it in their “house”. Apparently my son’s must haves are his water and one of my mixing bowls!

Paper Bag Frog Craft


  1. Gather your material. You will need a paper lunch bag, some black, green and red construction paper, glue , scissors, a paintbrush and green paint.
  2. Start by cutting a few inches off the bottom of the paper bag, this will make the bag look more like a short chubby frog!
  3. Paint the paper bag with the green paint.
  4. Get more paint and paint the back, and let dry.
  5. While your child is painting cut out two large green circles , and two smaller black ones.
  6. Cut out a long rectangle from the red paper for a tongue.
  7. Glue the black circles onto the green ones to make the eyes.
  8. Roll the red paper tightly to make a curly tongue.
  9. When the bag is dry glue the eyes and tongue on!

Song!


Little Green Frog

Um um! Went the little green frog one day,
Um um , went the little green frog.
Um um went the little green frog one day,
and they all went um um ahhh!

But we all know frogs go ,
la di da di da,
la di da di da
la di da di da
We all know frogs go la di da di da,
They don’t go um um ah!!!


Books!

” Why Frogs Are Wet” by Judy Hawes is good fact filled non fiction book all about frogs. This book is great for the 4-5 year old crowd but the pictures are wonderful for all ages. The text is long so I would suggest reading a few pages at a time . It covers the evolution of frogs, life cycle and more!

” An Extraordinary Egg” by Leo Lionni is a very cute story about three frogs who find a wonderful egg, thinking it must be a chicken egg they are excited to have a new friend when the chicken hatches, even though it’s really an alligator! Kids love this story because they think these are the silliest frogs ever for not knowing that the chicken isn’t a chicken at all!

Earth Day Craft


  1. Gather your materials. For this craft you will need some recycled card board and either news paper or a paper grocery bag, paint, a paint brush, glue and scissors.
  2. Draw a circle and some continents on your cardboard, cut out the circle only.
  3. Paint your newspaper or grocery bag blue using a paint brush and let dry.
  4. Finger paint your continents but wait until they are dry to cut them out, this is because it’s much easier to get toddlers and young children to paint larger things, than small cut out pieces. Let dry.
  5. Wrap the dry blue newspaper around the cardboard round and glue on the back.
  6. Cut out the dry continents.
  7. Glue on and enjoy your recycled world!
Note to Parents: If you are doing this craft with older siblings, you could roll a geography lesson into it as well, tracing the continents from a map so they are accurately shaped and place them properly on the earth!


For additional Recycled Projects Click Here

Books!

Here are just 2 of the many good books out there from children about the environment.

” The Berenstain Bears Don’t Pollute ( anymore) “ by Stan and Jan Berenstain provides an excellent overview of a whole bunch of concerns for our world. It touches on recycling, deforestation, air pollution and more. The text would be far too long for the younger crowd but Pre-K on up would be an appropriate age range.

” The Whole Green World” by Tony Johnston is a celebration of the Earth and it’s beauty. The text is short enough to hold young children’s attention and the illustrations by Elisa Kleven are bright and so detailed you will fall in love! I think it’s important to teach our children to see the beauty of the Earth, especially when we are teaching them to conserve it!