Snowmen At Night – Craft & Book

This ripped paper snowman craft was inspired by the book Snowmen At Night and my daughter’s love of ripping toilet paper into teeny tiny pieces. As annoying as that habit is as a parent it’s actually really great for her fine motor development so it never makes me too angry to see. I harnessed that in this craft and we had fun making a ” no man” together while her brother was at school.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 sheets of construction paper( black and white), a small scrap of orange, a scrap of ribbon, googly eyes, toilet paper,glue, scissors and a white crayon.snowmen at night craft
  2. Start by cutting out a snowman body and moon from the white paper. If you are doing this with older children have them do the drawing or cutting or both.snowman at night craft
  3. Hand your child the crayon and ask them to make stars, shooting stars or snowflakes in the sky. With little ones like my daughter who are at the labeling stage ( she is 19 months) I would keep it simple using something they are familiar with. For her she knows what stars are so I asked her to make stars in the sky and made one as an example. Then let her do what she wanted.
  4. While she did that I cut out a nose from the scrap paper.
  5. Rip the paper!snowman craft As she ripped I took some of  the ripped pieces out of reach because she wanted to rip the smallest ones into teeny tiny pieces and I wanted to encourage that fine motor practice.
  6. Time for glue. Do not fret about where they put glue, I don’t open it all the way but make them work for it, but not so closed that they will get frustrated.snowman craft
  7. Add the body and moon – again with older kids you may want to add arms. Tiny easy to rip pieces can be tricky for little hands so didn’t add any to this craft but do what fits best with your child’s development.snowman at night craft
  8. When she added the moon she sat there squishing the glue under it for a few moments, expect play like this, welcome play like this.  When we added the glue for it I narrated that the moon goes in the sky, also pointing out at the sky from the window. Use crafts as a way to teach but don’t stress about the end product.
  9. Add more glue for the toilet paper. With tiny ones like my daughter you might have to help add the glue for the collage,  but let them do as much as they can before stepping in.snowman craft for toddlers
  10. Squish it on.
  11. Add the nose.
  12. I added the eyes and the scarf , she loves to unravel ribbon and the eyes are perfect for eating in her books. If you want the kids to do these but are still young try plain paper eyes ( many kids don’t put that in their mouths, even when they are similar in size to googly eyes, but as always watch and remember stay within arms reach when kids are at the mouthing stage).  Don’t forget to hang toddler art up, my daughter is clearly proud pointing out her crafts or paintings and saying her name after pointing at them. Creating confidence is one of the best parts of crafting with kids.

Snowmen At Night

Snowmen at Night by Caralyn and Mark Buehner

I love this book and actually looked for 2 hours in our playroom and storage room convinced I owned it but misplaced it. I don’t. I finally sat down to read it to my daughter at her school last week. She liked the snowmen but wasn’t as into it as I suspect she will be next winter. The story is adorable but a little sophisticated for a 19 month old. My son has read it and loved it, because it taps into a child’s imagination perfectly. The author imagines a world where snowmen come to life and party at night when we are sleeping, which is why they always look a little different in the morning. I remember my son looking at me and asking ” not really right?” when we read it a few years ago. I love the whimsical illustrations with fun points of view that makes the reader feel like they are in on a real secret. Great book for preschoolers, I was a little over eager reading it with my daughter but it’s so good I couldn’t wait to.

 

Superhero Cuff Craft

Dressing up is a must at our house. My son is never just chilling in his own clothes there is almost always a costume, some accessories or at the very least a hat to support his pretend play that starts when he wakes up and ends when we wrestle him into his PJs for bed. This craft was done spur of the moment when my scarf wrapped around his shoulders was simply not enough costume to be a superhero. It was so easy and if you don’t have foam on hand , felt, paper or even stickers would be great options. The foam has held up really well , we made this almost a month ago and it’s still going strong.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a toilet paper roll ( or wrapping paper / paper towel tube ), some paint , sparkly sticky back foam ( great option for those afraid of letting your kids loose with glitter shakers), scissors and a paint brush.
  2. Start by cutting some buttons out of the foam. I asked my son what shapes he wanted but did the cutting myself.
  3. Next cut the roll open. Round the edges with scissors.
  4. Add the foam. When making props to play with skipping things that need to be glued on is usually a safe way to go. Also anything they have to peel the backing off is a great fine motor skill activity so it’s fast and worthwhile!
  5. Add paint – this is optional. We chose to paint after the foam because sticking the foam on wet paint is futile and painting around the shapes is another good fire motor skill activity as well as hand eye coordination which is your child is a beginning writer like mine they will benefit from as much pressure free  practice as possible.
  6. Let dry … a little tip I use sometimes when I need things to dry faster for pictures … or eager kids who want to play superhero before bedtime( can you tell he was crying in the picture above? The tears were instantaneous when I told him he’d have to wait for the paint to dry.) Take some paper towel and blot the paint. If you are careful only the excess comes off.
  7. Play!

Superhero Picture Books

Super Duck (Duck in the Truck) by Jez Albourough was ok, I liked it but my little man didn’t.  Here’s the thing the book is part of a series and we haven’t read the other books, we grabbed this one because of the super hero theme and Super Duck was only kinda super . I likes the rhyming text it flowed well, the rhymes were never forced but it was just too young for my son who is 4.5  to enjoy it. He didn’t find Duck funny, but I am sure other kids would. It’s a fun silly book, just don’t grab it for a kid who is expecting body armor, x-ray vision and golden lassos.

Supersister by Beth Cedena wasn’t full of x-ray vision or super powers either but my son adored it. Kids are unpredictable. This story though is sweet and also has a little but of mystery to it , which upon reflection could be one reason why my son liked it so much. Supersister is a little girl who is brave and helpful and we witness that when she lovingly ties her moms shoes for her before zooming off to school. Okay so I preach about pre reading books, but rarely do it and reading this I was so worried the mom was going to be in a wheelchair or hospital bed and that’s why she needs her daughter to tie her shoes.  I lean towards the dramatic so I doubt you’d even be thinking that and my son didn’t either. No nothing tragic has happened to mom , she is just very very pregnant. Supersister is practicing her role as a caregiver and older sister! My son loved that since he takes his still fairly new role of big brother very seriously. Cute book for new siblings especially!

Eliot Jones, Midnight Superhero by Alex Cottringer was exactly the kind of superhero book both my son and I were looking for. Eliot is just a calm quiet boy by day but by night he saves the world!  It tapped into my son’s imagination right from the start and he was hooked. He loved the action and I loved that unlike the more character driven superhero books the plot is high on action and saving and low on violence and aggression. My son loved that scientists were working with Eliot, and that he had to travel to the Himalayas as part of this mission to save the world. I loved it to because it totally promotes and makes science and geography extra cool!  All in all a great book although the text would have been too long for my son a year ago at 3. I’d keep this one for the 4 and up crowd.

Simple Thanksgiving Craft

I am thankful for the time I have spent crafting, painting and creating with my son. Today’s thanksgiving craft asks kids to show us what they are thankful for by drawing a picture, and then making a fall fringe frame . This is a great opportunity to practice patterns and/ or counting and if mess makes you squirm using double stick tape will take care of that!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some white paper or construction paper, orange, red, brown and yellow construction paper, a paper cutter or scissors, crayons and double stick tape.
  2. Start by giving your child the paper and crayons ( or markers, pencil crayons or even paints) and ask them to draw a picture of what they are thankful for.
  3. While they draw cut the colored construction paper into small strips.
  4. If your child can’t write yet ask them to tell you about their picture and label it for them. My son is thankful for hot chocolate and his sister, mostly just hot chocolate though!
  5. Add double stick tape to all the edges. 
  6. Start adding the strips. My son wasn’t in a patterning mood so we counted to 51  ( his most favorite number!) and then I added the rest. Interestingly enough the straightest sections were done by him. As you probably know adding these little strips are also a good fine motor workout.
  7. Simple but meaningful!

Marshmallow Ghost

I love the simplicity of this Halloween Craft.  Many parents comment that they could never do a craft with treats without their child loosing focus and eating up the whole bowl. I have done many of these kids activities over the years with my son and other children and never had that problem. The tick is that you have to allow some to be eaten but make deals. With my son he had to put 10, then 15, then 20 marshmallows on the ghost before he was allowed to eat just one single marshmallow. When the ghost was completed he had another. 4 in total, not bad. If you simply can not use treats try cotton balls or packing peanuts instead. Another bonus is that your child is using fine motor skills the whole time, something essential to literacy!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some glue, mini marshmallows, and black construction paper.
  2. Start by making an outline of a ghost in glue on your paper. I tried, no begged my son to do this step but he didn’t want to. He wants things to be perfect and well – we are working on doing things himself and not needing things to be so particular. I’ll keep you posted!
  3. Next start adding the mini marshmallows. I love the system we use with a treat after counting, because he loves to count and has fun doing it. Even if you are using a non edible item give your child numbers to use as mini goals when adding on items like this. You can even make predictions about how many it will take to complete the ghost.
  4. Add glue for the eyes.  I was pleased when he wanted to do this, and even more so when he added 3 eyes !
  5. Add the marshmallows , three if you want!
  6. Let dry. The marshmallows will dry but not mold.

Halloween Books

The Perfectly Horrible Halloween by Nancy Poydar is a book I think most adults can relate to and kids should read and learn from. In the book a little boy is excited about the costume contest in class, he is sure he will win, but there is one problem, he forgot his costume on the bus! I like how resourceful he is making a new costume with what he has and how the author realistically captures both the excitement  of the day and horror when he realizes he forgot the costume on the bus. I know I forgot my bad, my lunch and a laundry list of other things on the bus when I was a kid and this book launched my son and I into a talk about loosing things and coping. Another good book from an author I have recently discovered and am greatly enjoying.

10 Trick-or-Treaters by Janet Schulman is one of my favorite Halloween books and has been read many many time already this month . The premise is simple, a group of trick or treaters are pegged off one by one as they are scared by some Halloween creature.  Readers count down from 10 – 0 and  enjoy the bright detailed illustrations as they do. I particularly like the cute costumes and the final page which has another countdown with candy – always fun to count candy right?

Mouse’s First Halloween by Lauren Thompson is a sweet and really well done book. The story follows a little mouse who is easily afraid of the many things on Halloween night , but one by one discovers that things like falling leaves, jack-o-lanterns and trick or treaters aren’t so scary after all. I love the repetition in this book and the illustrations by Bucket Erdogan epitomize the fall spookiness that Halloween nights are filled with. Thumbs up from my son and I .

Fall Art Project

fall crafts for kids

Need a fun art project for your older kids? This fall tree project is perfect. It’s somewhat time consuming for the careful or perfectionist child but dries quickly enough for those who are more impatient. Welcome fall into your house and or homeschool curriculum with this .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a canvas, painters tape, a sponge paint brush and paint.
  2. Start by taping the tree form. I ripped my tape into strips for the branches.
  3. I also made falling and fallen leaves with tiny pieces.
  4. Press down hard so paint won’t seep under.
  5. Start painting. I used all different fall colors and blended them.
  6. Let dry
  7. Peel off the tape carefully.

Need a fall themed craft for a younger child? Try this Fall Leaves Craft

Books About Fall

Fall Books For Kids

Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber is a beautifully illustrated , informative book that all all about leaves in autumn. It’s not the most exciting book but is a good teaching resource and tool when you are teaching your child about the changing seasons.  I can’t say this is a must read, but it’s useful and worth a look at your local library and will probably make you and your children want to jump in a few giant piles of leaves!

When_Autumn_Falls

When Autumn Falls by Kelli Nidey is a stunning book, the illustrations which are painted paper collages, by Susan Swan are so richly colored you will want more after turning the last page. The text is clever as well. Readers will discover that fall is well named not just because of falling leaves, but also pumpkins falling from the vines, temperatures falling, seeds falling from their leaves and even football players falling! The text is the perfect length for toddlers but not too short for preschoolers too.  Cute book for this time of year.

Great Acorn Mystery

Dot & Jabber and the Great Acorn Mystery by Ellen Stoll Walsh is a perfect fit for this activity!  The little mouse detectives Dot and Jabber are trying to figure out how a tiny oak tree has sprouted so far from the big one across the meadow. I love how this book excites my son about learning, he wants to figure out this mystery right along side the two little detectives. Isn’t that what science really is? A mystery to be solved? The mice do solve the mystery and a squirrel is involved but you will have to read the book for all the clues and details. I highly recommend this book , it’s engaging, visually beautiful and teaches about the life cycle of an oak tree effortlessly.

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