Magnetic Sandcastle

snadpaper craft for kids Building sandcastles is tough , especially if you don’t live anywhere near a beach. This magnetic sandcastle activity is perfect for you no matter where you live. Not only are kids exploring the texture of the sandpaper they are exploring shapes and how they can work together to create something greater. Another side effect is the storytelling that might pop up like it did with my 4 year old. Her sandcastle was a story. If you don’t have a magnetic surface pick up a cookie sheet like we did for a dollar at Dollar Tree. I buy them 3 at a time.

Gather your materials. You will need some sandpaper, self adhesive magnetic sheets ( ours came from our friends at craftprojectideas.com ), scissors, a marker, and a magnetic surface. fine motor activity for kids

Start by drawing your shapes on the back of the sandpaper. Be careful thinner sand paper will show the marker through if you use a dark color like I did. A pencil may be a better choice. magnetic sandcastle blocks

Cut them out. magnetic sandcastle activity for kids

Add the magnets to the back. My little helper showed up at this stage wondering what I was up to and helped.

Peeling the backing off of these self adhesive magnets is RAD for little fingers still developing fine motor skills, it is also fantastic for concentration and building patience. fine motor sandcastle activity for kidsWe can’t expect our kids to develop ways to deal with frustration and patience if we never give them opportunities to face them. She got frustrated a few times and I said ” It’s tough, Mama is having a hard time too. ” that was it. If you think the frustration will block the whole activity step in but it’s OK for kids to try hard things and fail.

magnetic sand castle for kids

This zig zag piece was extra but she insisted on using it so we added magnets to it together.

Time to play.  sandcastle magnetic try activityShe was totally into it. I liked to see how carefully she was placing the pieces. ” They are rough on one side but not on the other mama!”  When my children make observations like that is when I jump on and try to add a little bit more of a lesson without breaking up their exploration. If they are silent I generally let them immerse themselves completely.fine motor tray activity for kids sandcastle When a comment like  that is made I might say something like what else feels rough like that? Or Do you like the feeling? Sparking more learning but using their observations as launching pad. sandcastle building tray activity for kids

Her creation was a pool with diving boards for sand fairies.

 

reading lists for kids

 

Need some books to go with this activity? Check out our Beach Books round up. Click here or on the image to be taken to the full round up with complete reviews of each book.

 

 

 

 

 

Painting With Dolls

fun art for kids It was raining cats and dogs and we’d already read a stack of books and watched more PBS kids than I care to admit when I decided to steal this idea from my own preschool teachers Fran and Gumti. I loved it when they would roll out the paper and we could choose one of the plastic baby dolls to “walk” along it leaving prints. This painting with dolls activity is timeless because many decades later my daughter loved it. This is also a great adaptation for painting with kids feet if a child doesn’t want to use their own feet. Many kids hate the feeling of getting paint on their feet so having an option of doing it with a doll instead is a way to include everyone.

Gather your materials. You will need some dolls with plastic feet, a long roll of paper ( if you have extra wrapping paper you can use the inside of it), liquid tempra, some painter’s tape, a towel that can get paint on it, a paper plate or two, and a shallow bowl with soapy water. painting with dolls

Tape your paper down. Strip the dolls down and get the water and towel ready at the end of the paper.painting with dolls clean up

Dip the dolly’s feet in the paint.painting with doll feet in preschool

Walk the dolly across the paper.painting with dolls for preschool

Wash and dry and grab a new dolly. wiping dolly feet

She had to hold this dolly differently dolly paintingand it required much more concentration to keep her upright.baby doll painting for toddlers

She loved cleaning their feet and pretending to be a mama.dolly feet

After two dolls she asked for a brush and painted. That is what I love about doing planned activities, they almost always end in a new kid directed one as an add on. If I suggested painting to her she wouldn’t have done it but to just let her add on to this she did. Do what works for your kids but this always have for mine.painting with dolls extention activity

Books About Dolls

All book lists contain affiliate links.

corduroy

Corduroy by Don Freeman was a childhood favorite of mine and my son loves it too. The story is about a lonely bear at a department store who despite being a little disheveled finds a forever home with a kind little girl who needs him as much as he needs her. There are so many levels to this book, as a child I remember being awed by the thought of toys coming alive in stores when the doors are locked and the shoppers leave. As an adult I see this as a touching adoption story . My son loves the escalators Corduroy travels on in the store ! This is another book that has lasting power and can be read for years in your home.

the paper princess

Phonics Game For Kids – Pound The Sound

letter sounds activity

 

This is a simple game that asks children to identify the initial sound of a toy animal then pound the letter that makes that sound on the toy tool bench. What makes this game so interesting for kids is the inclusion of toys that they love. This tool bench has been in our playroom for seven years but my daughter has just recently fallen back in love with it so I knew it was time to use it for a little learning. Coupled with her animals toys this phonics game is anything but boring.

Gather your materials. You will need a hammering toy ( or you could make one with golf tees like we did here) , some painter’s tape and marker or labels, some small toys and a bag or box to pull them out of.pound the sound letter game for kids

Start by writing the letters out on the tape. I had no labels so I just used tape. Don’t worry about things looking pinterest perfect the goal is for your child to learn while having fun not a magazine perfect set up. Also I am using lowercase letters because by this stage of learning to read lowercase is much more important. She will be encountering lowercase while reading much more frequently than uppercase.pound the sound letter learning activity

Cut the tape to fit on top of the blocks and pop them on.pound the letter sound activity for kids

Pop the animals in the bag and you are ready to call your little one over.phonics game for kids

Pull an animal out of the bag, say what it is and then find the letter than matches the first sound.pound the sound phonics activity for preschool

Find the letter that makes that sound and pound it down!pound the sound letter game for preschool

Keep going!hammer the sound letter game for kids

This is such a simple game and after we played my daughter went hunting for more things that started with the letters on the tool bench and we played again.

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.