My daughter isn’t a toddler anymore and my son is almost as tall as me, but I am preparing to jump right back into the world of toddler art projects as a teacher. I was going over some of my favorite easy toddler art projects and decided to turn the list I am using into one for you to use too. These toddler art projects are all focused on play. Some have an end product but even those few have wide boundaries and stress the experience and not that there is only one way to create the art.
Every year we go down to the Oregon Coast and rent a beach house and relax. This year I got to bring along something extra! A brand new Nikon D3300 ! Nikon wanted me to check the camera out and I jumped at the chance, I started playing with it as soon as it arrived. I knew that when Nikon asked me to share the photos I took with the D3300 with my readers I wasn’t just going to throw them in a post, I wanted to show you how I used the vacation photos for a simple but very effective literacy activity. Storytelling.
Before you can make your box you need to shoot some great photos. I am not a photographer but I have always enjoyed taking photos and know that taking many is a great strategy for getting just the right shot! Here are some of my favorites that went into our storytelling box – trust me these are just a few that I took.
Once you have all your favorites chosen print them out or have them printed at a photo lab. I am a last minute sort of gal so I did it myself. Very late at night… don’t know about you but that is my time to check off all the items on my to do list.
Gather your materials. You will need the photos you took, a box, some card stock, glue, and scissors.
Cut the photos out and glue them onto the card stock then trim. Pop them in the box and set them out for your little storyteller.
Do you use your family photos for activities? Tell is about it on our Facebook page!
As stated above I was provided with a Nikon D3300 in return for sharing this post.
We’ve been doing a lot of home renovations and have a lot of remnants of them around. We decided to use one of these paint stir sticks that always seem to arrive with new cans of paint even though we say we don’t need them. Instead of letting this stir stick go to waste we turned it into a caterpillar craft. You don’t need to sneak into Home Depot to get a stick if you don’t have one laying around, you can use old rulers or even just a piece of cardboard cut in a strip.
Gather your materials. You will need a paint stir stick, pom poms, glue, googly eyes, a pipe cleaner and paint. We used paint daubers because they dry so quickly and we didn’t want to take a break in our art time. You may also want some scrap paper under the stick to keep the paint from getting on your table. My daughter helped me set up the shot.
Add on the eyes. If your child adds the eyes in the middle of the stick resist the urge to peel them off. Let them create, crafts are wonderful opportunities to create while working on so many other skills and there is NO need for perfect little facsimiles. One tip is to provide materials but no example. When you show kids what you are making they will likely duplicate it but if you give them materials to create it remains less structured , the more options for materials the more open it becomes. I usually ask my daughter what she wants to make and have her help me choose what we use, which is why so much of it is pink.
As soon as this was dry my wee girl popped it on her bedside table so it can watch her sleep. I think it may a bit like a dream catcher, watching over her at night. When she attaches so deeply to something she created I can’t help but smile. Excuse the iPhone photo but after so many years with terrible sleeper I had to sneak in and get a shot in the pitch black! Thank you Instagram for your magical filters.
Caterpillar Books For Kids
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Bob and Otto by Robert O. Bruel is a lovely story about two friends who must part ways , in this case because one is a caterpillar who needs to build a chrysalis and the other an earth worm who needs to dig deep into the ground. What I like about this book is that it goes on to explain that the earth worm’s digging is vital for the trees to grow so that the caterpillar can eat the leaves and turn into a butterfly. The message being that everyone has an important job to do even if they aren’t the same.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a classic, that most preschool teachers like myself can recite from memory. It really is a fantastic book, not only does it explain the life cycle of a caterpillar/ butterfly it also is useful for lesson about day of the week and healthy eating. The simple cut outs in the illustrations where the caterpillar ate through different foods is just the right amount of novelty to grab kids attention for this simple story. It was a childhood favorite of mine and both my children have loved it as much as I do.
The Caterpillar and the Polliwog by Jack Kent is a sentimental favorite. I remember being read this book in elementary school when learning about life cycles. It’s more than just about life cycles of butterflies and frogs, it’s about becoming comfortable with who you are. I remember thinking it was hilarious when the caterpillar tells the turtle that she will be changing into something else not just getting bigger and bigger and he replies with ” I don’t blame you.” It made me snort as an adult too. Good for preschool through the early elementary years and if like me you read it as a child there is of course the sentimental factor. I love sharing books from my childhood with my kids.
This is a sponsored post. I was compensated by Target for my participation and the sweepstakes.
My son hates shopping. I know that hate is a strong word but it’s true. He is normally pretty well behaved ( at least outside of the house) but when you take him shopping for clothes it’s like we are on a road trip but “Are we there yet?” turns into ” Are we done yet?” he can not wait to just leave!
Over the years I have come up with these five ways to survive back to school shopping.
1. Go right after breakfast.
Even kids we think of as “older” are at their best right after breakfast. So gobble up your cereal and hit the road. If you can’t do it then have a healthy snack on the way to keep your child from getting “hangry”.
2. Make a list so he knows the plan.
Just the same way I show my children maps of road trips to help them feel like they have some control and knowledge about what is coming next, I do the same for shopping trips. With younger kids you might want to make a visual checklist with pictures , for my 7 year old I just made a plain list. Make sure everything is on the list. Going to browse the handbags might seem like no big deal to you but for a kid who is obviously not at all comfortable shopping it can be frustrating. I am not saying don’t browse, just add it to the list.
After shoes he knew we still had to look for a backpack, lunchbox and water bottle.
3. Give him as much control as you are comfortable with.
I gave my son a budget for his outfit and let him decide what to do with any extra as long as he got all the items I had specified. This teaches him some responsibility and keeps his mind busy which for him is half the reason he hates shopping, because it’s boring.
He’s pricing the different backpacks!
4. Turn it into a date with you.
Leave siblings at home and add in a special stop to a favorite park or small treat. I know this one won’t be possible for everyone ( we could only do this because my husband had the day off) but it certainly lowered our stress levels to be one on one. Being able to give each other all the attention makes everything feel less frantic.
5. Double ( or triple) up.
If you are buying a bunch of clothes for your less than enthusiastic shopper find clothes that come in tons of colors and or patterns. You can send your child into the dressing room with one outfit but go back to the display and grab multiples and fill a closet with only one trip to the dressing room. I don’t know about you but for my kiddo that seems to be the worst part of shopping. Keeping it to a single trip helps.
We got everything on the list :
- new gym shoes
- tee shirt
- water bottle
- lunch box
- and a Pokemon card set with the money left over from his budget!
and he was still smiling in his new clothes!
What are your tips for easy and productive back to school shopping? Share them in comments or even better on our No Time For Flash Cards Facebook page here.
Now get this. You get a chance to win a $300 Target gift card for back to school clothes ( or anything else you want) !
This sweepstakes is open to American residents 18 years or older. To be eligible for the sweepstakes you must fill out the form above ( click on ENTER HERE) 1 winning entrant will be drawn at random, using Random.org, after the sweepstakes closes on Saturday August 23rd 2014 at 8:00pm PST. The winner will receive one $300 Target Gift Card After the winner is notified he or she has 72 hours to respond with their mailing address for Target to ship their prize package to,or another winner will be chosen at random. No purchase necessary.The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Any information gathered through the sweepstakes including email and postal addresses will not be used in anyway other than contacting winners and shipment of winnings. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
I have wanted to do this melted crayon art project for ages. I did these decades ago in a day camp but never felt my kids were ready for this activity until now. This is not something I would try in a busy class because you need to be able to really watch the kids 100% of the time. I changed a few things from how I did it years ago to make it a little safer for my kids as well. The first one was to place the rocks in individual bowls. The bowls were safe to touch to move the rock and stopped my kids from reaching for the rock to move it. I also didn’t peel all the paper off the crayons so that there was a “safe section” to hold onto and if they got down to that part they knew to switch and get a new crayon.
This was a very fun and dynamic art activity and I hope that even if your kids aren’t ready to try it yet that you will save it for when they are!
Gather your materials. You will need some medium sized rocks, foil, crayons, a cookie sheet, oven, and as many little bowls as you have rocks. I also lined our work area with an old tablecloth and more foil.
Start by washing your rocks and warming your oven to 250. I popped the rocks on a cookie sheet lined with foil and into the oven right away not waiting for the oven to get to full temp.
While they were in the oven I lined the bowls with foil. I also placed an old tablecloth and foil under our work area.
I also peeled most of the paper off a bunch of crayons. Leaving a handle on each. This was the safe spot for the kids to handle the crayon.
Once the buzzer on my oven indicated that the temp was reached I took the rocks out. They are HOT mine didn’t get hot enough to burn but I can’t guarantee yours won’t, PLEASE DO NOT LET KIDS HANDLE THEM EVEN WITH OVEN MITTS. Have an adult wearing oven mitts place them in the bowls. Wait until you are certain that the rocks will feel very warm but NOT burn before you invite the kids to come create. Test EVERY rock not just one, they may heat unevenly.
They LOVED it and they were very careful too. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get photos – and I didn’t get as many as usual but they were so conscientious about the safety and rules I had laid out for them. If only this ability extended to water flights in the yard…