Link & Learn

I know I say it every week but this linky is simply the very best place to find great preschool activities,  homeschool lessons and kids crafts of all kinds. Last week I oooh-ed and ahh-ed at so many great  activities from old favorites done for the first time by little hands to things I can only wish I would have thought up! Thank you for all who link and inspire me and all the other parents and teachers reading. If you are new please join in, link the best post of the week from your blog and teach us all something new or share something you learned a long the way.

Have a wonderful week !

6 Clothespin Crafts!

I get emails often asking for ideas based on materials so today I compiled some of our crafts that use clothespins. Our favorite is the Clothespin Dinosaur Craft above but over the years we have used clothespins for a whole bunch of learning.

Paint Chip Color Match

Clothespin Teaching Turkey

Color Wheel Match

Jack and The Beanstalk

Clothespin Patterns

New Book Releases!

by Carrie Anne

My Big Book of Trucks and Diggers
Raincoast Books
board book
Have you ever walked by construction and seen your child’s face fill with awe? Bulldozers. Backhoes. Graders. Construction vehicles are mezmorizing to kids, boys and girls. My Big Book of Trucks and Diggers is a sturdy board book with full colour photos of some of those big Caterpillar vehicles. Each spread focuses on one vehicle, offer it’s name in big bold letters with a full image along with a page that focuses on key aspects of the vehicle. You’ll find a close-up of the wheel or the boom ripper. Kids will love testing their knowledge on the vehicle names and the different vehicle parts. I liked that some of the vehicles were ones that I had never heard of (though perhaps construction junkie kids might know them already).
snuggle bunny
Raincoast Books
board book with puppet
Bedtime is the perfect time to snuggle together and enjoy a book. Let’s Get Ready for Bedtime! Snuggle Bunny follows a collection of stuffed animals as they get ready for bed. The story goes through a typical bedtime routine of tidying-up and brushing your teeth. Little ones will enjoy interacting with Snuggle Bunny, a hand puppet that is built into the middle of the book (the hole in the book enables Snuggle Bunny to appear on each page). The puppet doesn’t fit like a snug puppet so even dad’s hand would fit. I found the puppet not easy to control but I think just having the bunny there and moving around was enough to entrance my youngest. My little one even enjoyed retelling the story as she manipulated the bunny puppet.
Little Critter Numbers
Sterling Publishing
board book
I’m not a fan of character books like Dora or Clifford, but my kids love them and if these characters entice my kids into books, that can’t be a bad thing. Fans of Little Critter will enjoy counting with the Numbers board book. The book is a simple number concept book, offering both the numerical and written form of the numbers one to ten for number recognition. Each number is also represented by an animal for kids to count. Although there is no written story in the book, a story still exists in the form of following Little Critter through a visit to the zoo, taking pictures and counting the animals on his visit.
Rockin’ Babies
Sterling Publishing
board book
Not all parents are about fluffy white sheep and singing flowers. Some parents are about a little rock and roll and Rockin’ Babies lets them share their love in a fun cheeky way with their little ones. This cute illustrated board book takes typical baby moments, like having their photo taken by loving family or banging around on pots and pans, and puts a fun rockstar twist to it.
Disclosure : All books provided free to Carrie Anne  for review by publishers.
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Carrie Anne is a contributing writer on No Time For Flash Cards , she is a mom of 3 , and is the Managing Partner and Editor-in-Chief at EverythingMom.com.

Spring Garden Sensory Tub

spring sensory activities

Sensory bins are such great teaching tools and for this one I wanted it not just to look like a spring garden but to feel like one too. So we stuck with earthy natural colors, all natural contents ( minus the tongs and pots) and talked about how we can ( and will) plant some of the beans from the bin and track it’s growth.  The big lima beans we used are big enough to be a chocking hazard for little ones so remember to only use contents that fit your children’s specific level of development.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some dried split peas, large dried Lima beans, dried orange lentils, dried white beans, mini bow tie pasta and some small flower pots. You will also need a tub – this one was a dollar at Walmart.
  2. Start by pouring the dried beans and lentils into the tub.
  3. Next add a handful of butterflies ( the dry bow tie pasta).
  4. Add some mini flower pots and explore.
  5. My son was fascinated by the lima beans , they are not a staple on our dinner table.
  6. You can simply scoop and pour with the flower pots
  7. Or grab some tongs and sort and count.

Books About Gardening


The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle is a story about a tiny seed who unlike the other seeds from his flower makes it against all odds to continue the cycle of life. I really enjoy this book and love how it shows all the obstacles along the way for a simple little seed. Carle’s distinctive collage will keep your children marveling at the illustrations while learning about plants.

The Gardener

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart Is a really touching book that I would happily recommend for school age children. It’s a beautiful story about a little girl during the depression who is shipped to the city to work in her uncle’s bakery because both her parents are out of work. She is obviously nervous but knows that it’s something she has to do. She takes a little of the country with her in seed packets which she plants in the city while she learns about baking and becomes friends with her uncles employees. This is more a story about making the most of hard times, and would be a great way to talk about the great depression with your child. There are so many little things in the illustrations by David Small to talk about , from a picture of FDR to traveling by train and the general sense of sadness . In the end it’s a warm hearted book that I can’t wait to share with my son in a few years.


Zinnia’s Flower Garden by Monica Wellington is really useful not just about teaching about flowers and gardens, but also about patience and the annual cycle of a garden. Zinnia plants and waits, waters, enjoys her flowers, then they die, she collects the seeds and plans her garden for next year. I love that the main story is perfect for my almost 3 year old but there is much more for older children with longer attention spans. There is a little journal with notes about what’s happening with her garden, and various facts about plants as well. Like in so many of her books the author celebrates hard work and her characters take great pride in what they do. A fantastic message for readers, big and little. I also love the mix of illustration and photographs in this book especially, it gives the illustrations depth and a really interesting look.

Pretend Play – Science Lab

This is cool science !  There were no real instructions for this pretend play  just a buffet of fun things safe to mix in experiments.  My son got into this right away taking on the serious personality of a chemist as he dove into his imagination. This is so easy to do because all you really need is water and a few kitchen tools, everything else is just icing on the cake.

  1. Gather your materials. For our science lab we used a handful of glass jars -if you are really keen you can put graduated measurements up the sides, but remember kids imaginations don’ need every detail done for them.  You may want a few absorbent place mats, turkey baster, eye droppers, small measuring cups,  mini whisks, some shampoo or dish soap , some baking soda , water and food color.  Also eye protection and an apron or lab coat is a must!
  2. I added a few drops of food coloring in jars of water and set everything out – something I learned years ago is if everything is at arms reach fewer things spill . If I was doing this with multiple kids I’d ditch the chairs and have them stand at a low table.
  3. Start concocting! 
  4. The baking soda mixed with the shampoo made a nice ( not overly) fun fizzy foam, clearly the shampoo was acidic. This made me remember doing a science experiment in grade 4 with all sorts of things and mixing them with baking soda to see which was the most acidic. If you want you could incorporate that too.
  5. Keep going!  He had a blast.
  6. I got a tub ready to soak everything in after playing.
  7. We had so much fun I had to dump out his beaker and get him some new yellow water.
  8. Popped them all in the water – we let them soak and came back later to scrub. See this activity includes practical life and water sensory play too.