- 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!
- 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!
- Pop the scrubber in the paint and start painting, really it’s more like stamping, the prints the scrubber makes are really cool.
- 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!
- 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.
- I like to make the gray paint by mixing different colors, your child will love this.
- Paint the paper plate.
- While your child is painting , cut out 2 ears and a trunk using the white construction paper.
- Paint the trunk and ears.
- 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.
- Let everything dry.
- 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!
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!
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!
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 !
- 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.
- 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!
- Bring out the water and start painting!
- Let the card dry.
- 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!
- Write in your note but don’t forget to let your child include their signature!
” 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!
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
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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
- 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!
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.
” 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Let the shapes dry.
- 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 !
“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 !