LEGO Challenge for Beginners -Fine Motor Skill Development

preschool lego challenge

My 4 year old has just started playing with LEGO. As much as I loathe the whole pink LEGO and pink everything that is marketed to girls when she asked for this set there was no way I was saying no. I love LEGO  and all the learning opportunities inside each box, especially the fine motor skill development which is a building block for writing. I was telling my 7 year old about doing some LEGO challenges when my daughter asked if she could do some. Of course! That said she hasn’t had much practice with the little blocks yet so I set this easy LEGO challenge up for her and she breezed through it… at her urging I made it harder and we did a totally of 3 trays full of mini challenges. The next day she asked for even harder ones. That’s my girl!


Gather your materials. I am using plain old LEGO blocks and an ice tray. This lets me keep the individual challenges organized without too much prep. There are some seriously cool Lego challenge tutorials out there… this one isn’t as polished but as long as you have Lego block you can do it NOW. lego see and build for preschool

Start by creating simple structures. I grab the pieces I need first in duplicate and then create the structures popping the duplicate bricks into one section of the ice tray and the completed structure in the other. lego challenge for beginners preschoolThe first challenge was simple and she breezed through all four quickly. lego challenge for preschool

So we made more… lego challenge for preschool see and build


and more… Lego challenge fine motor skillsThese were our most complicated ones and as you can see she had to concentrate. concentration lego puzzles for kidsIf your child is breezing through all of these don’t give them the duplicate pieces separated out. Put all of them in a small bowl or container. I wouldn’t expect my child to dig through thousands of Legos without getting frustrated but it’s a logical next step for this activity to combine the loose pieces and add in a new step. lego puzzels for preschool

What I like about these little challenges  is that she is still just starting out with Lego and this is giving her bite sized models to recreate while she works on some seriously rad fine motor skills. Being able to manipulate the models in her hands make all the difference.


Homemade Paintbrushes

homemade paintbrushesI have made homemade paintbrushes with kids in summer day camps but never with my own kids. We’ve used lots of things that aren’t paintbrushes to paint but we haven’t made them ourselves. Now that my son is a little older I thought it was time to try. My daughter who is four needed a lot of help making the brushes but she loved painting with them, my son on the other hand needed very little help creating the brush but after he confirmed he could paint with it he was done. This is fine, different children will connect to activities differently. They were both being creative throughout and that was the goal.

Gather your materials. You will need some popsicle sticks, elastics ( we used small hair ones and regular rubber bands), craft supplies like feathers, sponges, fake flowers, plastic bags, foam sheets, ribbon, pipe cleaners… I just grabbed all the scraps we had in the playroom. You will also need a pair of scissors for each child as well as paint, and paper to test them out.make your own paintbrush art idea for kids

Start by setting everything up. I rolled out a long line of paper and I am glad I did because my daughter went to town testing every brush out and mixing paint colors. make your own paintbrushes kids craft

Invite the children to check out all the materials and show them how to attach them to the popscicle sticks. My son could do this solo but my daughter needed a lot of help.

Check out their creations! My son was so into making his, he even wanted to add netting to the handle for a grip. I loved seeing him get really into it. make your own paintbrushes with craft supplies

My daughter wanted to use everything pink which meant a sponge and pipe cleaner. make your own homemade paintbrushes

Time to paint! They were so excited to see they really worked.make your own paintbrushes for children  I loved all the squares! painting activities make your own paintbrush

After her brother was done and playing soccer she was adding more paintpainting activity for kids with created paint brushes to the plate and going back to create another brush. create your own paintbrushes

She kept painting and painting! painting with homemade paintbrushes



Summer Activities For Kids { Add Your Link}


It’s the summer!!!

I am still so excited about not having to wake up early to catch the school bus, which is great because we’ve been staying up way too late reading The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. That’s an affiliate link to Amazon if you want to read a review, we will have a review when we are done too!

What have you been up to? If you have been blogging about summer activities for kids please share them below! I love checking out what you have been up to and pinning them to my Summer Fun Pinterest board. I love your ideas!

10 Great Books To Read Under The Stars with Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

10 picture books to read under the stars summer reading challenge

As many of you know I have a long standing relationship with Scholastic. I co-anchor their Raise A Reader blog with Amy Mascott and I am a huge fan of their Summer Reading Challenge as well. When I was asked to join the challenge and share it with my readers it was a no-brainer. I am always impressed with how creative Scholastic is year after year. This year’s Summer Reading Challenge theme is “Reading Under the Stars” (powered by EVEREADY®). Throughout the summer, kids will read around the galaxy and unlock star constellations as they log reading minutes.

As all parents know one of the hardest things to get our kids to do is school work during the summer. Can we really blame our kids? If you were told that you’d have a vacation for 2 months but then your boss said ” But here is the work you are expected to do.” and handed you a packet would you be happy?

Luckily we have resources like Scholastic that make reading so much fun that it doesn’t seem like there is any work at all.


Scholastic Summer  Reading Challenge is a must! Even if you are participating in a summer reading program at your local library do not skip this one. It’s cinch to sign up !

My son is a competitor by nature so for him having a cool dashboard where he can log his minutes and see weekly challenges makes all the difference. But the Summer Reading Timer App is hands down the coolest. He is game as long as he can compete. You can even hook up with your school and have your minutes go towards the school’s total minutes read. You can compete with friends and their schools all over the nation. The other thing he loves are the videos. Book trailers to get your kids excited about books, videos about popular series ,and even meet the author videos. All of these little details work so well to promote the idea that reading is rad.

The challenge is super social this year too.

  • Every Monday, check Scholastic on Twitter for the #MondayMinutes. See the total number of minutes kids have read to date!
  • Every Friday, check out the Summer Reading Challenge Pinterest Board for a new collage of summer books.

I didn’t want to share this Summer Challenge with you without giving you some great book suggestions. Here are 10 books perfect for reading under the stars. Don’t forget to log your minutes!

grandfather twilight

Grandfather Twilight  by Barbara Helen Berger is a calm sweet story about Grandfather Twilight who carefully takes a pearl from his treasure chest every night and lovingly puts it into the sky, then goes to bed. Great bedtime story for little ones.


Nightsong by Ari Berk is a gorgeous book with a classic tale of stepping out into the world for the first time without a safety net. In this case it’s a young bat ready to go out at night alone for the first time with only it’s “good sense” to see in the darkness. Before he leaves his mother warns him not to go past the pond unless he is sure in his ability. While adults will see this as a show of his confidence when he does, the children I have read this to have all been worried for him when he goes further thinking that the warning was because it was unsafe. I like this book but I think it’s a little figurative for the audience that the format will appeal to. Grab it at the library and decide for yourself.

night lights

Night Lights by Susan Gal is a simple books that will make you want to jump into it’s pages. The patterns used in the illustrations make this book feel like home, I want to jump into it and stay forever. The text follows a little girl as she explores all the different lights found in the dark. From flashlights to fireflies. I love this book and love how it can be used for younger children but isn’t too simplistic for older ones.

the way back home

The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers is a moving story about a boy , a martian, and the moon they were both stuck on. Together they figure out a way to get back home even though they are so sad to say goodbye to each other. I love this author, I love his illustrations as well, they are so unique and the emotions he manages to convey are amazing. There is an illustration of the boy and martian standing awkwardly before they have to say goodbye and it embodies the feeling we all have when it’s time to say goodbye to something we don’t want to let go of. Grab anything written by this author and you will be happy!

your moon my moon

Your Moon, My Moon: A Grandmother’s Words to a Faraway Child by Patricia MacLachlan is a sweet story about a grandmother who lives far from her beloved grandchild. The story overflows with love and longing. You can feel how much this grandmother misses her grandchild and it’s a great reminder to young kids how much they are loved. The image of the grandmother on the airplane on the way to see her grandson made me tear up. It made me think of the times I am away from my own children and how those plane rides feel like forever. Lovely book!

dark night

Dark Night by Dorothee de Monfried is a book all about overcoming fear and the role that teamwork can play in that. A little boy is in the woods at night when he sees various monsters and retreats to a hollow tree. After meeting a friendly rabbit they work together to get the little boy home. I like the message that even scary beasts can be scared and that brains can often win over brawn. My daughter LOVED this book although I think it would have terrified her brother at the same age ( just 4).


Light Up the Night by Jean Reidy has a great retro feel to it. The rhyming book is a little boy’s fantastical dream that takes him from his safe bed through the whole universe. The book would be perfect for teaching children about how they fit into the universe. Starting with his bed and expanding out through space then returning his continent, country, state… all the way back to his bed. The fun rhyming text is a great bonus.


Blackout by John Rocco is a book that will mean different things to different readers. My daughter who is four read it with me noticing how something scary happened ( power outage) but that the family ended up having fun anyway. At 37 I read it as a reminder that sometimes it takes being forced to unplug to really step away from our duties and spend time together. The illustrations are fab and you will feel like you are in that city on a hot summer night forced out onto the street along with your neighbors… and love it.

little owl night

Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan is a sweet story that introduces children to nocturnal animals in a gentle way. The dark may feel scary to young children but as they read this book they will see that the animals that wake up at night aren’t all scary beasts to be fearful of. The cartoon like illustrations are amazing and bright despite the night time setting. Very cute book.

goodnight mr night

Good Night, Mr. Night by Dan Yaccarino This is another wonderful and calming bedtime book, Mr. Night quiets the animals , closes the flowers and gets the world ready to go night night! I love this book- I keep meaning to pick up the board book version! Like ” Goodnight Moon” there aren’t too many words, but the illustrations are perfect! My son likes to say “Come here Mr.Night” while getting into bed when we read this one.


As mentioned above this post is sponsored by Scholastic.


4th of July Crafts and Activities

july 4th crafts I love 4th of July , even though I am not American I have developed a deep fondness for this holiday. Our little town comes together and it’s a huge party. Get ready for Independence Day with fun 4th of July crafts and activities. I have gathered up 20 of my favorites from our archives and other blogs. Do you have a favorite? Tell us about it or leave a link in comments.


Easy American Flag Tee-Shirt from Kids Activities Blog
Handprint Fireworks
Flag Hunt Game

flag day game
Easy 4th of July Wreath
Spin Art Streamers from Hands On As We Grow
Shaving Cream Fireworks

DIY USA Wall Art
USA Silhouette Map Art
Spin Painted Noisemakers
Water & Oil Fireworks from Juggling With Kids

freedom collage collages
Freedom Collages
Sponge Painted American Flag
Cupcake Liner Fireworks

uncle sam puppet for 4th of july craft
Uncle Sam Puppet
Wrapping Paper Tube Flag
American Flag Place Mat

American Flag Cupcakes
Confetti Fireworks
Statue Of Liberty Art by Carrots are Orange

Fireworks Playdough Play from Fantastic Fun and Learning
Crayon Resist Flag Craft


4th of july books


After all these crafts you will need some great books to read as well. Check out our 4th of July book list here