Earth Day Crafts and Activities For 3 year olds

Earth Day Crafts For THree Year Olds from No Time For Flash Cards Earth Day might mean a lot to you ( or not ) but it doesn’t mean anything to a three year old until we teach them about it. I explain Earth Day as a special day where we take a few extra minutes or more to think about all the Earth provides and all we can do to protect its beautiful gifts. Older kids can get into the three Rs more deeply but with three year olds we stick to these basic bits of info :

It’s our job to help keep the Earth clean by picking up litter, reusing garbage for other things, and recycling what we can so we don’t have to use up more trees or other things from nature.

From there I let their questions lead my teaching but those very very basic bits of info are my launchpad. This has worked well over the years because the children who are interested and are able to see past their own immediate experience will ask questions and those who aren’t won’t. If we throw too much info at them they will just get overwhelmed.

Here are some awesome ways to celebrate Earth Day with three year olds.

Earth Day Activities For Three Year Olds

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Make Earth Day Muffins

Garden Sensory Tub
Garden Sensory Tub

earth day activity outside
Nature Detectives

recycling game
Recycling or Trash Sorting Game

painting with recycled objects
Paint with Things Out Of The Recycling Bin.

nature color hunt
Nature Color Hunt

earth day dgdhdj
Coffee Grounds Sensory Tub

Earth Day Crafts For Three Year Olds 

earth day craft

Recycled Confetti Earth 

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Earth Day Letter E Craftrp_earth-day-suncatcher-455x640.png
Earth Day Sun Catcher
Newspaper Earth

easy earth day craft for kids
Puffy Paint Earth

DIY Recycled Paper Project
Make Recycled Paper At Home

sun melted recycled crayons 1
Recycled Crayons Using Solar Energy

trash collage rainbow craft for kids
Trash Rainbow

earth day tambourine
Earth Day Tambourine

Recycling Center Activity
Table Top Recycling Center

playdoh earth
Playdough Earths

Heart Shaped Bird Feeder
All Natural Bird Feeder

Earth Day Craft

Coffee Filter Earth Garland 

Earth Day Books
earth day books

pop over to this post ( click here or on the image) to read full reviews of these books all about Earth Day many of which are perfect for three year olds.

How are you going to celebrate Earth Day with your children or students? Tell me all about your plans for Earth Day on No Time For Flash Cards Facebook page! 

Easy Snowflake Christmas Ornaments

snowflake craft for kids I titled this craft as and easy snowflake Christmas ornaments because that was our plan with this activity but my daughter has chosen to leave her snowflakes as decorations for her floor so it looks like it’s snowing in her room. It doesn’t matter if you turn your snowflakes into something to hang on the tree or something to facilitate pretend play like my 4 year old did, the fun is in creating them. I was just digging through my craft closet looking for shiny things to glue on these foam snowflakes when my daughter saw the highlighters. They were still in their package and if there is one thing this girl loves it’s opening packaging. Those packages that drive most people nuts, she sees as a personal challenge. All she wanted to do was open the pack but then she saw how bright they were and together we decided to use them to make easy snowflake Christmas ornaments. The results were awesome. These simple little snowflakes are so pretty and my 4 year old totally got into making them carefully dotting the foam.

Gather your materials. You will nee some white foam snowflakes ( psst! They are at Dollar Tree right now!) , highlighters in various colors and if you want to turn them into ornaments you will need some sparkly pipe cleaners. I have glitter glue in the picture but we never used it. You could but the simplicity of the colors on the white were too pretty to need any glitter. easy snowflake craft for kids

Mix one ( or more) kids, some bright and fun highlighters and snowflakes! easy snowflake art project for kids

Don’t you just love simple things? I loved watching her mutter to herself as she carefully dotted the foam. I didn’t tell her to make patterns or keep the colors symmetrical but you could use this project to teach both. I just let her go. snowflake crafts

If you are turning the snowflakes into ornaments cut a standard size pipe cleaner in two, poke a hole into the foam, and twist into a loop. snowflake christmas ornament

Or you can just keep coloring them ! We were doing this for so long I had to go downstairs and start dinner. When an activity goes that well I will find more supplies and make sure to leave them out in the playroom. Sure enough she found her way in there the next day to make more. easy snowflake ornaments

Books About Snow

All our book lists include affiliate links.

jack frost snow

 

Here Comes Jack Frost by Kazuno Kohara is another fantastic book that will have you aching for snow. A little boy is lonely after his friends have all gone into hibernation for the winter when Jack Frost shows up. They frolic and play exploring all the fun that winter has to offer friends but when the first signs of spring arrive Jack is gone. The illustrations are perfectly simple and will suck you into a wintery world that you won’t want to leave. My kids love this book and after one reading at the library we bought our own copy.

snowbots

Snowbots by Aaron Reynolds is funky, fun , and full of really awesome rhymes. The robot reality is a sweet one and my kids totally dug this book. We were picking favorite robots in the first few pages and loving the book more and more as we read it. The story is a familiar one but with the substitution of robots instead of humans basic snow day things get more interesting. My son loved the snowball fight and my daughter was all over the pink robot. I loved how they had cereal with gasoline and an oil bath. A huge hit with all of us.

White Snow Bright Snow

White Snow, Bright Snowby Alvin Tresselt is a total throw back to another time and it’s awesome. I love books that haven’t been updated because they offer readers a chance to go back in time and get a glimpse of the past. The story is about a town expecting a snow storm and how it’s different residents prepare and deal with it. The animals , adults , and kids all go about it very differently. The character that stood out for me was the policeman’s wife who doted on her husband and cared for his cold with a mustard plaster. I told you it was a total throw back! I didn’t know they still used mustard plasters in the 40s but that’s why these books are such treasures for kids and parents alike.

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Need more snow books? Check out our full list here!

 

 

Winter Crafts and Activities For Preschoolers

winter crafts for preschool

I love winter crafts and activities. I think because although I grew up in Canada I now live in Washington State where we might get one good dumping of snow every winter. Winter crafts and activities have stepped in to fill the void of snowflakes, snow, and snowmen in my life! I love all these winter crafts and activities for preschoolers and my kids have too. We will have even more coming soon so make sure you follow us on Facebook and Pinterest especially my No Time For Flash Cards board on Pinterest to stay up to date with all the rad ideas we are doing.

winter activities for preschool

Snow Window Sensory Play

snowman craft for preschool
Snowglobe Snowman

painting the snow winter activities for kids
Painting Snow & Color Mixing

snowflake crafts for kids
Cotton Ball Snowflakes

winter sensory bin for preschool
Winter Sensory Bin

snowman crafts for preK
Letter Snowman

footprint in the snow playdoh play
Footprints In The Snow – Winter Playdough Play

snowman crafts for kids
Marshmallow Snowman

science for kids
Snow Science – Easy experiment for kids

snowman craft
Snowman at Night

glitter and confetti popscicle stick snowflake christmas ornaments
Popscicle Stick Snowflakes

snowman treat container
Snowman Playdough Giftswrite letters in the snow
Writing In The Snow – Pre-Wrting Activity

Snow Play
Winter Train Table Play

winter craft for kids
Cork Stamped Snowflake Toddler Craft

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Sensory Snow

SPICE JAR SNOWMAN BLOCKS
Spice Jar Snowman Blockswinter activities for kids
Arctic Ice Sensory Play

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Emotional Snowmen

Marshmallow Snowflake Kids Craft
Marshmallow Snowflake

paper plate snowman craft
Snowflake Snowman

hole punch snowmen
Hole Punch Snowflakes

make a magnetic snowman
Magnetic Snowman

snowflake garland
Snowflake Garland

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Winter W Letter Craft

If you have 30 extra minutes to work on literacy what would you spend it doing? Simple ways parents can help their kids read.

help your child read

If you had 30 extra minutes to work on reading what would you spend it doing? I get asked this question a lot. 

After reading with them, to them, and listening to them read or tell you stories? Well that depends on the child but I will try to answer this question in a very general way to give all of you some ideas of what you can do to make a big impact with only a little time. These are my go to skills that are easy for parents to help children with and that make a big difference when kids get a little extra practice with them. Here are just a few ways parents can help their kids read.

 

Toddlers & Early Preschoolsensory alphabet activities

 

Play with letters. Incorporate them into your play with magnetic letters, letter stickers, and alphabet blocks. Make special note of letters that are meaningful like the first letter of their first name. As you play , abel the letters but leave drilling or quizzing to the teachers in their future, there is no room for drills or quizzes in play.

 

Here are some letter play ideas :

Stamp & Match
Salt Tray Letters
Alphabet Cookies
Shell Letters
Alphabet Sensory Tub
Alphabet Playdough
Touch & Feel Alphabet

 

Preschool & PreK

letter sounds

 Letter Sounds

This is the next step to playing with letters. Now your child knows almost all the letter names and hopefully many of the sounds as well. These games work on both these skills.

Here are some games and activities for letter sounds and recognition :

Flip Top Phonics
Letter Sound Pound
Unlock The Letter Sound
Princess Phonics
Letter Sound Match

 

PreK & Early School Agethe one thing you should do to help your kids learn to read

Starting to Read { simple words )

Play with rhyming. Rhyming is such an important phonics skill but what I love about it is that it’s packed with play. No parent or child wants to spend the small bit of time they have together fighting about learning. Rhyming games can fill that need for fun and for learning.

 

Here are some great rhyming games:

Rhyming Dominoes ( adjust the words to your child’s level)
Rhyming Tag
Rhyming Jars
Rhyming Peg Board
Find & Rhyme

 

Kindergarten

sight word activities

Learning to Read { reads a little but not fluently yet }

Sight Words

Make sight words fun. When I say sight words I am not just talking about true sight words that can’t be decoded by sounding out but also the high frequency words that your child will encounter over and over while reading. When they can read them quickly without decoding them it makes reading easier. They can spend the time sounding out the bigger harder words instead.

Here are some great sight word activities that are FUN and worthwhile. Instead of the words used in these activities substitute with the list of  sight words from your child’s teacher. If you don’t have one ask for the one they are using :

3D Word Search
Sight Word Dominoes
Outdoor Sight Word Game
Sight Word Jump & Grab ( Hands On As We Grow)
Sight Word Target Practice ( Toddler Approved)

School Age

vocabulary

Reading Independently { and fluently}

 Vocabulary. When children are learning to read much of the focus is on the mechanics of reading, the sounds the letters make and how they work together. Once they start to read we shift a lot of the focus to the meaning of the words and text they are reading. We focus on comprehension and one way that parents can really help with that is to work on boosting vocabulary ( another is simply asking your children “ What did you just read?” while reading together).  When we expose our children to a big buffet of words it makes reading easier because they recognize the words and can decode it more quickly as well as understand it’s meaning ( and thus the text) with more ease.

 

Here are some fun ways to work on vocabulary with your kids :

Tips for working on vocabulary with your kids
Word Window
Muffin Tim Word Game ( Growing Book by Book)
Word A Day Cards ( Teachmama.com )

 

These are just appetizers for literacy intended for those 30 extra minutes you may have. As parents I see our role as scaffolds to support our children at whatever level they are at. For more about literacy check out Raise A Reader on Scholastic Parents. Amy Mascott and I share tons of ideas to work on literacy with your children.

 

Pinecone Painting & Thanksgiving Turkey Craft

Pinecone painting thanksgiving turkey craftPinecones are everywhere!  As certain as the fallen leaves, the pinecones that beg to be picked up and thrown ( hopefully not at each other) are everywhere. I decided we should create with the pinecones and what better to make right now than a Thanksgiving turkey craft ? What I love about these Thanksgiving turkey crafts is that you get to choose if you want to just do some painting with pinecones or if you want to use that painting to make a turkey craft, OR do multiple paintings and leave one as just that and create a craft with the other. Whatever you choose I hope you have as much fun as we did shaking that box and watching the paper fill with bits of color.

Gather your materials. You will need a couple of dried pinecones, some paint in any colors you want, a box that your child can handle themselves, and some great paper. If you want to turn the painting into a turkey you will also need some scissors, googly eyes, brown, red and orange paper and glue. We added some fun glitter paint for some sparkle. pinecone painting supplies

Start by placing the paper in your box and adding paint. pinecone painting activity for toddlers

Pop the pinecones in. pinecone painting for kids

Shake it up! pinecone painting for preschool

Make them roll, bang together, and generally have fun with it! pine cone painting for kids

Let it dry. pinecone painting for kids two ways

While it’s drying cut out a simple turkey torso ( do they have torsos?) , waddle, and beak. turkey craft for kids pinecone painting

Cut  the painting into a half circle. pinecone painted turkey craft for thanksgiving

Add glue for the turkey torso. pinecone painted turkeys

Add it and more glue for the eyes, beak, and waddle. thanksgiving turkey craft with pinecones

Let dry. pinecone painted turkey craft for kids

 

Books About Turkeys

all book lists contain affiliate links.

a-plump-and-perky-turkey

A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman is such a cute and funny book about a town that needs a turkey and the hilarious lengths they go to to find one. The town is sadly outwitted by the turkey and end up eating shredded wheat for thanksgiving. The illustrations kept my little man interested when he was a toddler but he only started understanding the dark humor at around 4. I love this book because of the humor makes me giggle. My son was a little off put by the idea of the towns folk eating the turkey and was relived when he escaped before they shoved him in the oven. I like that he is starting to understand that the meat he eats is actually a cooked animal, we take that for granted but for many young kids this is a huge realization!

10 fat turkeys

10 Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston was a classroom favorite, it’s about as silly as a book gets and the kids had no clue they were actually learning about subtraction while listening to the crazy rhymes. This won’t explain the pilgrims , or talk about the Mayflower, but it will make your kids laugh! Very cute!

t is for turkey

T is for Turkey: A True Thanksgiving Storyby Tanya Lee Stone is a cute alphabet book with simple but accurate facts about Thanksgiving. I love that there is such a push for telling kids about what really happened and not just the closely held myths. The reader follows a long with a class play that covers all the important parts of the first Thanksgiving from the Mayflower landing on. This is a great introduction for young preschoolers. The illustrations are fun and rich so there is more than just the limited text to explore.