Finger Print Fish Craft

Fish are a wonderful theme for all ages, they are accessible to most anyone , even if you don’t have an aquarium to visit nearby a pet store can’t be too far away, and it’s free!  Also there are tons of great  books about fish , I review 3 new ones today. This craft can be made by all ages and would be great as a group project in a classroom with each student adding their unique fish .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some white paper,washable  markers or stamp pads in various colors , scissors, glue, a marker scissors , googly eyes and if you wish blue paper for a background.
  2. Start by drawing the outline of fish. Make one or many. If your child can do this have them make the outline.
  3. Time to get messy! Color your finger tips or use a stamp pad and get ink on your finger tips.
  4. Print onto the fish.
  5. Keep going with all different colors. Make mention to your child about how lots of ink makes a darker print and less makes it lighter.
  6. Cut out the fish.
  7. If desired make a sea for them, I cut the top off my sheet of blue construction paper in a blue wave design.
  8. Glue the fish into the sea.
  9. Add eyes, smiles and let dry.

Books About Fish

Fish Schoolby Nancy Poydar is a really funny book that also manages to teach the reader a lot about fish.The story is about  Charlie who gets Wishy a goldfish for his birthday and then sets off to teach him all sorts of things. When his class takes a field trip to the aquarium guess who Charlie pops into a ziploc and into his backpack. My son loved the silliness of this book as well as the information that is shared as the class progresses through the aquarium. Lots of giggles and learning with this cute story.

Little Shark by Anne Rockwell is another accessible non fiction book from one of our favorite authors. We follow a shark from birth until it’s full grown in this book filled with fascinating shark facts. I like that it reads like a story because it sucks the reader in instead of just spouting off cold facts about these cool and scary ( to me) animals. I loved that my son was rather shocked that sharks don’t stay with their moms or their many siblings, and are instead solitary. I loved how it explained a little bit about the food chain in the ocean and how we get oxygen from air but fish get it from the water. Add this one to your shelf!

Trout, Trout, Trout!: A Fish Chant by April Pulley Sayre is not a story but a chanting book. It lists a number of fish found in the United States in a rhyming text. Along with Trip Park’s funny illustrations the book works although my son didn’t ask to read it again after  our initial reading. I like the facts at the back of the book about each type of fish in the book and think that any child into fishing would probably be more interested in this book than my son was.

Even More Counting Books

Counting books are multitaskers they entertain, they teach and they are often a little more interactive than your average story. I love them and am always happy to find a good one to share with my son.  Here are even more for you to share with yours.

Dinner at the Panda Palace by Stephanie Calmenson is a great book. I grabbed it only because of the title but found a gem. My son and I both loved it and had a blast reading it. The story is about a restaurant and the people , or rather animals that come into the restaurant in ever enlarging groups. The text is rhyming and well written. My son loved counting each group that came in figuring out after a few times that each group had one more animal than the previous group. It was a great opportunity to practice one to one correspondence as he counted on each page.  There was also a great message about there always being room for one more when all the chairs were taken and a mouse came knocking wondering if he could eat too!

On the Launch Pad: A Counting Book About Rockets by Michael Dahl was a great find, my son loved counting down from 12-1 with the bright illustrations , simple text and hidden numbers on each page. Something that seems simple but was really awesome was that each page had the number written as a word, shown as a digit and as dots to count. You can take the time to count each dot, read the word or simply recognize the digit!
One White Wishing Stone by Doris K. Gayzagian is a beautiful book. Visually it reminds me of an impressionist painting, the soft beach colors used by illustrator Kristina Swarner are calming and pretty. This is more than just a counting book, there is a story of a little girl at the beach,what she finds and how she plans to use them when she takes them home. It’s so beautifully done that it almost makes me forget how much I hate finding sand in my car after a trip to the beach.

museum 123

Museum 123 by The Metropolitan Museum Of Art is another simple but beautiful counting book.  What I love about this book is that the number is not shown on the same page as the objects the child is being asked to count. Instead a simple question of how many is followed by a painting with the objects, and the next page has a large number. My son loved counting then flipping the page exclaiming ” I knew it , I said that number I was right!” My only complaint is that it only went to 10!

One, Two, Three by Tom Slaughter is super simple, bold, bright, and a great counting book!  This isn’t a complex book, pictures matter because they should encourage the reader to want to count and connect the number they have counted with the number printed on the page.  I would happily recommend this book to families with babies through preschoolers , my 3 year old loved it and partly because he read all the pictures and numbers himself!

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.

Author Showcase: Anne Rockwell

I have reviewed so many of Anne Rockwell’s books that I had to do a search to find them all, and there are too many to include in one post. I haven’t adored everything she has written but every time I go to the library ( any of the 3 nearby branches) I go straight to her section to see what’s in !  I particularly love her holiday books and my son loves the transportation ones.

Father’s Day I really liked this book, it is about a class full of students writing stories about their dads at school and ending with a party where they present the books to their fathers. What I enjoyed was the diversity of this book , it covered all different kinds of dads and children and all the things they most enjoy doing together. My son was rather attached to the dad and son playing soccer , and I had a mean craving for chocolate after reading the page with a dad and daughter making fudge! A wonderful activity after reading this book would be to write your own story!


Fire Engines by Anne Rockwell is the current favorite at our house. I found it at a thrift store for twenty five cents and I am definitely getting much more than my money’s worth! It’s a cute book with easy text and cute cartoon dalmatians as fire fighters. I particularly love that there is a fire boat in the book since we often see those around here. Cute book for fire engine lovers!  Edited for 2010 – this is STILL a favorite and my son recently “read” it to his baby sister, it’s not yet clear if she will adore firetrucks as much as her brother but I am sure she’ll like this book.

Good Morning, Digger is not going to be put onto my must buy list. It just seemed flat and boring. The story follows a vacant lot and the digger that comes it to start construction on what will transform into a community center. There really weren’t any characters and the text seemed unenthusiastic, there was nothing to latch on to and make a real connection with. To make matters worse I think I have to pay a late fee at my library on this one.  Edited for 2010 - we recently read this book at the library and my son as I predicted loves it. I still stand by my review , and as much as I adore this author I am not a huge fan of this book.

Our Stars is another wonderful non fiction book from this author illustrator. The book shares the most basic facts about stars with the reader as well as more complicated facts about constellations, comets and meteors. I love that the facts are shared pretty independently on each page, so if something is above your toddlers head you can simply skip that page, until they are . The illustrations are fun enough to grab attention but detailed enough to help explain the facts being presented

Presidents’ Day is a perfect introduction to presidents, some of their major accomplishments and some major points in American history. The story follows a class putting on a play and we learn about some of the most significant presidents as the children do. Even if President’s Day is months away you can use this book while learning about money , linking the various presidents on coins and bills, or for Independence day too!  Very cute and age appropriate for older preschoolers.

Valentine’s Day by Anne Rockwell and Lizzy Rockwell is a lovely book with a a cute twist. The story follows a class making special valentines for each other , some are very touching others goofy. The story doesn’t reveal who the Valentine’s are for. There are pictures of the same girl with the various students though so after a while you are clued into that they are for her we still don’t know why. I was so worried she was sick in the hospital, as it turns out the class goes to the post office to send it away to a classmate that is far far away! I like the idea of a class all writing to a friend far away, focusing on friendship and not candy! I also love any book that causes my son to say ” Let’s go see a map of where she lives mama!”

Whoo! Whoo! Goes the Train was another book I had to renew over and over at the library because my son refused to return it! When we went on vacation this year my son took his very first train ride just like Allan in this book and like Allan was excited and took every moment in! I like that this book captures the excitement of a little boy who is obsessed with trains but the end leaves readers hanging and had me wondering if there was a page missing in my copy! Still the illustrations are vibrant and my son loved this book.

Shape Bulldozer Craft For Kids

Bulldozer craft for kids

I can’t take full credit for this craft, instead I must admit it’s inspired by an episode of Team Umizoomi ( a show I just love). I like crafts like this because it allows my son to manipulate the shapes , as you will see though his favorite part was the cutting step, it went on forever!  Even if your child isn’t into bulldozers find something they love and see if you can break it down into shapes.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some construction paper in 4 colors ( brown, black, yellow and green), some kid scissors, adult scissors, markers or crayons and glue.
  2. Start by drawing a square, rectangle, and crescent on the yellow paper.
  3. Draw circles on the black.
  4. Invite your child to draw a construction site. The older they are the more time they will likely take, don’t fret if they make a scribble or two and declare that they are finished.
  5. Hand them the brown paper and tell them that’s the dirt and they will be making piles so they need to cut it into small pieces. Mine cut. And cut. And cut.
  6. While they cut , cut out the shapes.
  7. Time to glue – woo hoo!
  8. Add your shapes.
  9. Add glue for the cut paper dirt.
  10. Add the dirt too and let dry.

Construction Books !

Machines at Work by Byron Barton is a bold and bright book that is perfect for toddlers who are obsessed with construction vehicles. The text is brief but effective. My son loved this book as an infant ,  at 2 he enjoyed reading it, as well as counting the workers and trucks on each page. Now at almost 4 he will still grab it and read it to his imaginary friend Sammy who ” can’t read yet”.  All in all it’s been well loved over the years !

Road Builders

Road Builders by B.G. Hennessy was a birthday gift for my son in November and he was not interested at first. Maybe because of the plethora of lego that was taking over our house… however it has since become such a favorite he recently “read” it to my sister’s dog. It’s a story all about how a road is built , explaining what the crew does, and how each type of construction vehicle has a different role in building a road.  I like that it explains the process from start to finish, in just the right level of detail for preschoolers.  I also like that there is a female crew member and her participation is seamless .

Construction Countdownby K.C Olson is a counting book that uses backhoes, dump trucks and cement mixers among other things to count. Before I even closed the book my son was signing for more. I read it 4 times since getting it out of the library today. A huge hit here!  <–  That was written in 2008 and now over 2 years later my son still likes this book and has grown with it, now doing the counting all by himself.