Bead Heart Wands – Valentine’s Day Craft

bead heart valentine's day craft for kidsI can’t tell you how many wands we have in our house because I have honestly lost count. We have princess wands, fairy wands, fairy-princess wands…. so despite the fact that we have a ton my daughter wanted to make one for Valentine’s day and this is what I can up with. I have been wanting to work on her fine motor skills and patience all at once and beading is a great way to do that. Now that she is 3.5 I am using smaller beads that force her to work harder threading them on. Challenging your children is tricky because there is a tiny sweet spot where they are facing that challenge but not getting overwhelmed by it. Pay close attention and try to learn their signals – are they feeling challenged or frustrated? This Valentine’s day craft is great because you can make a big heart if they are into beading or a smaller one if they are done after a few challenging minutes.

Gather your materials. You will need a wood dowel, pipe cleaner , and tri-beads in your choice of color. My daughter’s choice was pink. Not a shock if you know her. We also used red glitter glue. Also when I am doing a beading activity with little beads I like to use a cookie tray to contain everything. bead heart valentine's day craft

Start by threading the beads on the pipe cleaner. heart wand valentine's day activity for kids

Look at that concentration!

heart wand craft for valentines day One of the things that seems to motivate a lot of young kids when they are doing something challenging is to have a support person ( adult or older sibling even) doing it along side them. I didn’t tell my daughter what to do but she could look to me as a guide without having to ask for help. So I made one too!

If you get bored of the colors you have get some new ones. I was surprised to see she threaded on a bunch of orange ones. Perhaps the pink monopoly in our house is nearing it’s end?

When all the beads are on bend it into a heart and twist the ends together snuggly. beaded heart fairy wands for valentine's day

Hand your child the glitter glue and let them decorate the dowel. Prepare them for the dribbles. They don’t know it but this careful application is working on their eye hand coordination! fine motor bead wands for valentine's day

Wrap the ends of the pipe cleaner around the dowel when it’s dry. I tucked one end along the dowel and wrapped the other around it then tied them and wrapped until all the pipe cleaner was wrapped tightly around it. Give it a shake test before passing it back to your little Valentine. heart wand valentines

Play. This was the best picture I could get because that girl moves fast. valentine's day fairy wand

 

 

 

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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Spelling With Nuts & Bolts

spelling activity for kindergartenThis is not something I thought up at all. This idea has been around for ages but when my husband had to run to Home Depot for something else I asked him to grab us some nuts and bolts. If you are a regular reader you may know that I am forever trying to get my son to work on his fine motor skills. The way I approach this is to mix them with a task he really likes and excels at. For him that is anything language related like reading or spelling. There are way fancier tutorials out there but I am a busy mom so I needed to make this activity quickly . It’s bare bones but it works.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need bolts, nuts and a sharpie. A fine tip one would be best but mine was dried out and I’d already told my son we were doing a project so I used my huge one. Also my nuts and bolts are matte not glossy which makes the sharpie stay on better. Please test yours out to make sure it adheres before playing. nuts and bolts spelling activity for kids
  2. Write out simple CVC ( consonant vowel consonant) words on the end of the bolt. We did cat, rug, tub, top, jar and bug. This could easily be adapted for younger children by writing uppercase letters on the bolt and matching lowercase ones on the bolts. nuts and bolts spelling words
  3. Write the letters on the bolt. You can chose to only use a handful of bolts and make your child take them off one bolt to use on another word or make multiple copies of the same letter on different nuts. I decided only one copy of each letter because I was trying my hardest to get my son to work his fingers putting the nuts on and off.
  4. Invite your word builder and go for it. nuts and bolts kindergarten spellingThe first thing he said to me was ‘ How about we do this together. I will do the spelling, find the letters and you can screw them on. ” Nice try buddy. No. Don’t forget to put the letters on right side up. You must pay attention to which way they are on or your bug will look like bng … my son had to unscrew , flip it and screw it back on. nuts and bolts
  5. Soon he had the hang of it and I felt good knowing he was working on his fine motor skills. He told me the words were too easy so I am going to get longer bolts and give him a bigger challenge soon. nuts and bolts 3

After he was done his sister decided she wanted to try. This was really tricky ( near impossible) for her which means you will see some preschool fine motor posts in the near future! If you want to see more check this round up of fine motor activities out. Nuts and bolts spelling

 

Q-Tip Painted Easter Eggs {Fine Motor & Art}

q-tip painted easter egg fine motor craft for toddlersTime is not in abundance here. It seems like after getting kids where they need to be, food in our fridge, clean clothes and floors there is not as much time as I thought there would be.  That is why I love activities like this Easter egg craft that work on developing a skill like fine or gross motor skills as well as teaches a lesson and gives my daughter free reign on how the craft will look. Most arts and craft projects have some fine motor work but using q-tips amps it up when time is short. Creativity, art lesson and fine motor. All in about 8 minutes. Toddlers don’t sit long, they aren’t meant to so don’t force them to. Keep things short sweet and packed full of learning disguised as play.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some sturdy paper ( like paper plates), paint ( any colors but you must include white), some containers or tray like an ice cube tray to mix the paint and q tips. q-tip easter egg painting for kids
  2. Start by cutting out your eggs.q-tip easter egg craft
  3. Next pour some paint in your tray. Talk about the colors. Add white to each color and have your child mix the paint. q-tip easter egg painting craft for kidsWhat happened to the color? This is a basic lesson on tints. As kids learn their colors the next step is to see the differentiation and results of color mixing. I love adding white to make lighter tints of the same colors. This is especially great with toddlers who insist on only ever using 1-2 of their favorite colors. Since doing this activity late last week my daughter has been evaluating colors in our house ” Dat light gween Mama, not dark gween.” it’s pretty fun to see her put her new knowledge to work.q-tip easter egg for preschool
  4. After all the tints have been mixed pour a little more of the original color in an adjacent container or slot in the tray. Make note of the difference. Ask your child which tint of each pair they like the best. As you can see she chose light pink. qtip painting for easter
  5. Time to paint. q-tip painting for easterThis has no desired result other than exploration. Let your child explore how the q-tip makes marks on their egg. They will naturally be holding the q-tip in a pincer grasp and controlling it will be giving their fine motor skills a good work out.easter egg craft for kids fine motor
  6. She explored with dots and stripes.qtip Easter egg craft for toddlers
  7. I started making a polka dot one too and after she finished her two eggs she joined me in covering mine with dots. Let dry and if you want use as little Easter cards for loved ones. As soon as her’s were dry she gave them to her brother. Who thankfully was full of praise for her efforts. Kids love giving away their art so if you find yourself drowning in it start sending it to loved ones who will no doubt love it.q-tip easter egg fine motor

 

For more about fine motor check out this Google+ Spring Into Education chat ( you might recognize a face or two)

Disappearing Letters – Alphabet For Starters Activity

abc activity for kids It’s been a while since we have done an Alphabet For Starters activity. This is our popular series of alphabet activities that aim to introduce and play with letters in simple ways for beginners. This one was a true “Throw it together” activity. I was on a conference call for the first half sitting on the other side of the table jotting down notes while she played. When I saw what a hit it was I grabbed my camera and started clicking. This combines letter recognition, color mixing and fine motor all in a super simple activity.

  1. Gather your materials. I have no photo because this wasn’t planned at all but you will need a container for water, an eye dropper,  some coffee filters, a plate to protect your table from the running colors, markers and coffee filters. Have multiple coffee filters on hand because kids love this.
  2. Start by writing letters on the coffee filter.
  3. Ask your child to find their favorite letter. I like saying this instead of ” Find f, find r…” because in my experience it leads to them deciding which letter to find next and naturally declaring which letter it is. Drop the water on using the eye dropper and watch it disappear. My daughter LOVED this. ” It’s gone Mama!” She made multiple ones and helped me choose which letters to write.
  4. After my call was done I gave her the markers and she made her own letters on some coffee filters. When kids are learning to write even at the very early stages never say to them ” That’s not a B it’s a scribble, here let me make you a real B.” Their writing is a B it’s just in the early stages of development and by encouraging them their development will get there slow and steady as it is meant to.

Alphabet Books

 Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert is an alphabet book extraordinaire and perfect for a letter F eek, since it’s all about food! Wonderful paintings of fruits and vegetables seem ultra simple and it is but somehow the way the author has pieced this simple book together is brilliant. Maybe it’s that children learn about food at the table multiple times a day and feel proud being able to identify not only some of the letters but some of the pictures too! From a teaching standpoint I love that there are both upper and lower case letters on each page! This book will grow with your child, and beware it will also make you hungry. { This is one of my daughter’s very favorite alphabet books right now and possibly the number one reason she knows all her upper and lowercase letters} .

The Sleepy Little Alphabet: A Bedtime Story from Alphabet Town by Judy Sierra is a great alphabet book. I couldn’t help myself, I read it to my son to the tune of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom . It is clearly it’s own book though. The alphabet is getting ready for bed and just like your little ones, these lowercase letters are pulling out all their tricks and antics to avoid bedtime. Well almost all of them, z is more than happy to go to bed! It’s a sweet book that your kids can relate to and I like that it focuses on lowercase letters .

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