Favorite Early Learning Activities Of 2013

early learning activitiesHappy New Year! Before we jump into new things for 2014 I wanted to spend one more day looking back at 2013. Yesterday I posted our most popular posts of 2013 but today I want to share my favorites. These are the activities that my children loved the most, that I felt they learned the most from ,and that I was excited to share with you all. Is your favorite on the list? If you have a clear favorite activity we shared please add it in comments.

Happy New Year and I hope 2014 will be as wonderful as 2013 has been.

Dinner Conversation Hearts
There Is NO Wrong Way To Paint
Sticky Window Flower Mural
Kandinsky Art
Painting with Sound
Summer Reading Bucket List
Water Balloon Math
Coffee Filter Snails
9 Books About Families With Gay and Lesbian Parents
Secret Code Math
Paper Bag Jellyfish
Paint & Read
Kitchen Science For Kids
Nature Cuttings
DIY Action Figure Story
Nerf Gun Math For Kids
Masking Tape Mummy
Spelling Stones

Was your favorite activity included? Was your favorite kid activity on another blog- if so find the link and add it in comments!

Crafts and Activities For Kids {add your best of 2013}

kids crafts

There are only a few days left in what was a fantastic year for us and I hope for you as well. I wasn’t sure I would continue Link & Learn in 2013 but when I asked a group of other bloggers if they thought I should keep this linky going every week the overwhelming response was yes. For those of you who are not bloggers I hope that Link & Learn is useful and can be used as a bit of a cheat sheet for great crafts and activities for kids all in one place.

Today I have a specific request. I would love for you to link up the very BEST activities you have shared in 2013. That might mean the biggest traffic getters or the posts you were most proud of, you choose. Next week I will be sharing my best of 2013 and I want to see yours too!

Thank you for being a part of No Time For Flash Cards this year.



Quick Activities For Kids { Add Yours! }

kids crafts

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Link & Learn is coming to you from Atlanta this week. I have escaped the insane rain in Seattle and been enjoying sunny skies while at a conference. I head home later today and can’t wait to sneak into my kids’ rooms when I get home and kiss them goodnight. Like many of you the fall is a busy time and finding easy and worthwhile activities to do or set up for my kids can be tricky. So today for link and learn if you are a blogger I am asking ( but not requiring ) you to link up quick activities. Everyone needs a few solid ideas in their back pocket to whip out for those in-between moments, for fast finishers of larger projects or just for something new.

Link up and let’s see them!



Felt Leaf Letter Match – Alphabet Activity

fall letter activityThis simple alphabet activity has many layers of exploration for our little ones. The soft felt leaves and hard clothes pins offer contrasting textures, opening and closing the clothes pins helps build hand strength, and of course there is letter recognition as well. Not bad for $3 in supplies from the dollar store. This is part of our Alphabet For Starters Series which aims to introduce and play with letters in fun dynamic ways.

Gather your materials. You will need some felt leaves ( I got mine at Dollar Tree ), a pen, and clothes pins. I also used my favorite little crates . leaf letter match letter recognition 3

Write the uppercase letters on the felt. I just used a regular old pen. I had to wipe the tip a few times but it worked great otherwise.leaf letter recognition activity for preschool

Write the lowercase letters on the clothes pins.leaf letter recognition for kids

Time to match. leaf letter match with clothes pinsWith younger children don’t just throw the whole alphabet to them. Give them 5 – 10 letters and then add more as needed. 10 was the perfect number for my daughter who is just 3. The act of matching the different forms of the letters was a bit of a challenge but if she would have had to dig through all 26 letters to find one she would have tired of this much sooner. Offer all 26 for older more experienced letter matchers.Leaf letter matching game for kids

Later in the day we played a game with the leaves and clothes pins. She would choose a clothes pin and tell me what letter it was then I would offer her a littler that did not match and say ” This is the match right?” She would say ” No! That is the letter XYZ.” until I offered her the correct leaf and she would cheer and clip it. She thought it was very funny to correct Mama. I also plan to use these letters for a indoor leaf hunt later this week. leaf letter match game for preschool

Don’t forget to use this activity as a conversation starter to talk about the leaves in the trees around your house. Are they changing yet? Talk about why and pop outside to have a look.

 

Fall Alphabet Books

t is for touchdown

T is for Touchdown: A Football Alphabet by Brad Herzog is a beautiful book that will delight even those of us who are never happy to see football season start. I admit even being an anti fan this book was fun and really full of information that even a football scrooge like myself can appreciate. Also it’s easy to read simply the letters and look at the pictures for little ones and has genuinely interesting blurbs for each page for older children.

Autumn Books

 Autumn: An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur is a lovely book that is also a wonderful introduction into this form of poetry for young children. Each page has a poem about the season, from Acorns, to Owls to Pumpkins. Each letter of the words are a jumping off point for a sentence in the poem. The beauty of this book is that it reads well traditionally as well as individual poems which really makes it two books in one.

patty's pumpkin patch

Patty’s Pumpkin Patch  by Teri Sloat is a great alphabet book and story in one. Readers follow a pumpkin patch from planting the seeds until after Halloween when they gather the seeds for the next planting.  I really like how this book combines an alphabet book with both upper and lowercase letters corresponding to some animal or insect in the story . I also like the easy rhythm of the rhyming text and the engaging and detailed illustrations . All in all I think this is a great fall book.

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Candy Apple Math Game For Kids

use candy for math Candy is a great motivator. It’s not the main motivator I want to use but from time to time it’s novelty is useful and a fun break from more everyday things. This is a simple math game for kids that works on sorting, estimation ,and counting. When working with kids and edibles my rule is that if you do not sneak any you get a small pile at the end of the activity. My son is a rule follower by nature and did this as we have in the past. His 3 year old sister did not. Every child is different but that rule has worked for me over the years much more often than not. Have pom poms or buttons on hand if you need to swap out or prefer not to use candy at all.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a sheet of paper with three trees on it ( you can print mine here) , cookie sheets to keep the candies from rolling away, candies ( our natural dyed red is sorta wine colored but the kids didn’t bat an eye), a small dish for each player, and a jar with a lid. candy apple tree math for preschool
  2. Give each child a sheet with three trees and a small dish. Shake up the jar with all 3 colors of candies in it and pour some into each child’s dish. candy apple tree math
  3. Have them guess which tree will have the most apples on it by estimating which color is the most prevalent in their dish of candies. candy apple tree math for kids
  4. Start sorting the candies and placing them on the matching trees.candy apple math game for kids
  5. Which has the most? Which has the least? How many do they all have? Count to find out.candy apple math counting
  6. Sneak a few candies… or every single green candy when mom is busy taking pictures of your big brother counting. candy eating
  7. Pour the candies back in the jar, shake, and repeat the game.  For my son I had him figure out how many more the tree with the most had than the tree with the least and do some other simple addition and subtraction by allowing him to eat a few and then telling me how many there were after eating them. For my daughter I had her simply count and sort. I loved how easy it was to adapt to both their levels.candy apple counting game

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Books About Apple Trees

apple picking time

Apple Picking Time by Michele Benoit Slawson  was not what I was expecting , it was so much more. I was expecting a basic book about picking apples at an orchard.  This book is anything but basic, it’s dreamy and while reading it I almost felt as thought I was back in time when a whole community would come to a stand still for something like apple picking.  The protagonist is Anna a little girl who works hard in the orchard along side her parents and grandparents . She isn’t as fast as her parents, but with hard work and the support of her family she reaches her goal and fills a bin! I loved this book,  I would suggest it for preschoolers and up.

Apples, Apples, Apples

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 afmily 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.

One Red Apple

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.

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