Handprint Hedgehog

This hedgehog craft was so fun, it’s simple, but we had a great time doing it while Little Missy was swinging in the swing in the morning. What I really loved was his imagination when I gave him the crayons to draw where the hedgehog lived, it’s habitat ( new word for the day). He made me go get more crayons for different things like grass, water and toys. It would be cute to make a whole family of them with your hand prints too!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 colors of construction paper, I used 2 sheets of brown because my guy has insane long fingers and one yellow. Also some crayons , glue, scissors and one googly eye.
  2. Start by tracing your child’s hand. I find it easier to trace once, and fold the paper into layers to cut the number I want out.
  3. Hand your child the crayons and sheet of paper to draw the hedgehog’s habitat.  New vocab word slipped in there!
  4. Cut the hand prints out while they draw.
  5. Cut out a head.
  6. Time to glue.
  7. Add a hand or twoAdd more for the next layer if need be.
  8. Add the head
  9. Add the glue for the eye.
  10. Add the eye and let dry!

Books

Hedgehog, Pig, and the Sweet Little Friend by Lena Anderson is not a book I like. I hate giving bad reviews mostly because I think that every book has something for some child and that may be true of this book . I worry though as a parent about the message about strangers this one gives. A little pig seeks refuge at Hedgehogs house after getting lost, and while I like that the little pig asked for help the hedgehog suggests:

“First fill your tummy, then I’ll make up a bed. We can all sleep together tonight. Tomorrow we’ll find your mama for sure.”

WHAT? Maybe I am just paranoid ( I tend to be a little over safety conscious, especially in the first few months postpartum ) but  really? I immediately started to say something to my son about it and he chimed in saying that he wouldn’t want to stay at someone else’s house. Not saying he wouldn’t but that he wouldn’t want to. I told him that it’s not a good idea and luckily we have phones unlike Hedgehog and we can ask a nice person to call for help or better yet find/call a police officer. Don’t even get me started about the sub plot of the seemingly adult male pig falling in love with this little lost pig too.  The book was originally written in Swedish and I keep thinking that perhaps the story was lost in translation? Perhaps.

Hedgehog (Animal Neighbors) by Michael Leach is a great resource about these spiky little creatures.  My son and I learned so much neither of us knew about hedgehogs. Did you know baby hedgehogs are called hoglets? The book has a good mix of pictures, illustrations and short pieces of text filled with facts. The short paragraphs of text are perfect for little guys who aren’t ready for a full book but want to learn more about the subject, parents can pick and choose which tid bits to share while exploring the pictures too.

Spider Craft and Math Game

My backyard is covered in spiders, which has led to my son and I trying to identify the ones we find using the internet . Have you ever googled “Spiders” , I never used to be afraid of spiders, super close up pictures of various spiders changed that for good. So if your little one is into these arachnids instead of googling and risking nightmares, make this fun spider craft, play this game and save yourself the grief !

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a plastic container, we used the plastic part of a light bulb package but any clear plastic would work. Some paint, a hole punch, googley eyes, glue and 4 pipe cleaners.
  2. Start by punching the holes in the plastic.
  3. Next paint the container from the inside. My son loved this part of the craft, he thought it was so cool to watch the paint from under the plastic. Let dry. On a sunny day I put this in the window and it dried (mostly) in 45 minutes.
  4. Cut the pipe cleaners in half
  5. Thread the pipe cleaners through the holes and twist the ends in place.
  6. Add the eyes with glue. Let dry.
  7. Play

Bug Math

I was lucky enough to get gifted these bug counters from a neighbor whose kids have out grown them. I wasted no time using them to teach some math. The goal of this game is to find the matching types of bugs, count them up and then find the number that matches the total in the tray and place them in.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some counters ( erasers in fun shapes, poker chips.. or plastic toys work well too), a divided tray, some paper , tape and marker.
  2. Write out the number totals on your paper, cut and tape into your tray.
  3. Time to play ( and learn).Group the similar bugs.
  4. Count them
  5. Pop them in the right section!
  6. Don’t forget to dance when you are done ! Watch out , those are some mean jazz hands.

Apple Craft For Kids

apple craft for kids

We made this apple craft weeks ago but wanted to wait until people were settled in the school year and the leaves turned a little more before posting. Originally I planned this as a garland ( which is why there is no paper plate in the materials picture) but decided that a wreath would be nicer and my son could do more of the steps with me if it was a wreath.  So grab an apple, some paint and make this fall decoration for your house today.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need an apple, a plate, some red and green paint, knife,  craft paper , painters tape, scissors, glue and a paper plate.
  2. Before inviting your child to come paint cut a large piece of craft paper off a roll ( find them for cheap at walmart – in the office supply section) and tape it to your work surface with painters tape. 
  3. Pour some red paint into the plate.
  4. Cut your apple lengthwise.
  5. Start printing! If you have never done this with your child show them how to make a print by stamping and removing. If they just want to smear it that is fine too – you can just cut the smears into apple shapes if you want to make the wreath or just let them explore. My son did a little of both.
  6. Next dip your child’s thumb or finger into the green paint to make stems.
  7. Let dry.
  8. Cut the apples out.
  9. Cut the middle of the paper plate out.
  10. Add glue to the ring of plate. Did you notice the new PJs? It’s the next day, when the apples dried my son was not interested in finishing the craft, so we waited until the next day. Don’t force them to finish ( I am preaching to myself here too ;)   ) keep it casual and fun.
  11. Add the apples!

Apple Picking!

I have more than a few apple picking field trips under my belt and you can too with  this website that lists a wide range of pick your own farms in the US and around the globe.

www.pickyourown.org

Happy Brown House

Recycled Apple Craft

apple craft for kidsI warned you I am crazy about apples right now, I can’t help it as more kids head back-to-school apples jump to my mind !  This week won’t all be apple themed here but over at my FamilyEducation.com blog it is. So if you are looking for more ideas check it out!  This craft is awesome because it requires almost no supplies, and it’s safe to assume most of us have paper rolls around the house. Oh and it’s so cute! These could also be used for cute apple napkin rings, a useful craft.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a toilet paper roll, red and green paint, a sponge paint brush ( any brush or even fingers will work but sponges work best!), scissors and glue.
  2. Start by cutting your roll into rings, you can make think or thin.
  3. Cut 1 or 2 into strips ( these will be made into the leaves).
  4. Paint the rings red, inside and out. Let dry.
  5. Paint the strips green. Let dry.
  6. When the paint is dry cut the strips into leaf shapes.
  7. Bend the bottom.
  8. Add glue
  9. Stick it on the red ring!

Books!

The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall is a cute look at a year in the life of an apple tree from the perspective of a little girl. From the bare branches of Winter to the pretty flowers in Spring we follow along not only with the tree but with a family of robins as they develop along with the fruit. The illustrations by Shari Halpern are so expressive that a child could easily read the pictures and enjoy this book independently even if they aren’t reading yet. I dare you to read this and not consider making apple pie after, if you need a recipe there is one at the end of the book!

Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace will not be returned to the library on time. We got it out today and my son has had me read it to him 3 times, and his dad read it twice. Clearly it gets the 3 year old seal of approval. It also gets mine. The story is more than just a story about a family going apple picking at an orchard. It explains all sorts of apple facts but what I really love is that it also explains that there are different kinds of apples and each are used for different things. Since each member of the family is using their apples for different purposes that fact is driven home . Great book for preschoolers going on a apple picking field trip , making applesauce or apple prints ( psst check back for a craft in a few days!).

One Red Apple by Harriet Ziefert is stunning. I really enjoy this author but most of my praise for this book lands squarely on the illustrator Karla Gudeon’s shoulders. WOW. I just adore the look, and creativity of this book. The story follows the cycle of one apple from orchard, to market back to seed, tree and back into the hands of a child. I enjoy books like this that simply explain the cycles of the natural world to young kids , but you can’t miss this one.  As I turned each page I gasped, it’s one of those books you just need to sit and look at because each time you do you find some little detail you missed before.

Bubble Wand Painting

We were on vacation all last week and my in laws bought this massive bubble set for my son, which he loves. He’s already used up all the bubble solution and if you know my feelings about bubble solution you probably aren’t surprised when I found something else to do with the wands. I know I am a Scrooge but bubble solution skeeves me out. So if you are done with bubbles but the wands are hanging around grab them and make some art!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some construction or other heavier paper, a plate , paint in fun colors and some bubble wands.
  2. Put the paint on the paint and dip your wand in.
  3. Create!  This is an opened ended art project there are not complicated steps to follow or anyway to mess it up. If your child wants to make clear prints cool, if they want to spread the paint with the wands like a brush awesome. Just let them play.

Using unconventional tools to paint with has long been a favorite activity for me as a teacher and mom, it revives plain old painting as well as forces your child to think in a creative way. It doesn’t take many of these projects before your child will see a unconventional tool and suggest you try painting with it! Creative thinking at it’s best!