Handprint Hedgehog

This hedgehog craft was so fun, it’s simple, but we had a great time doing it while Little Missy was swinging in the swing in the morning. What I really loved was his imagination when I gave him the crayons to draw where the hedgehog lived, it’s habitat ( new word for the day). He made me go get more crayons for different things like grass, water and toys. It would be cute to make a whole family of them with your hand prints too!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 colors of construction paper, I used 2 sheets of brown because my guy has insane long fingers and one yellow. Also some crayons , glue, scissors and one googly eye.
  2. Start by tracing your child’s hand. I find it easier to trace once, and fold the paper into layers to cut the number I want out.
  3. Hand your child the crayons and sheet of paper to draw the hedgehog’s habitat.  New vocab word slipped in there!
  4. Cut the hand prints out while they draw.
  5. Cut out a head.
  6. Time to glue.
  7. Add a hand or twoAdd more for the next layer if need be.
  8. Add the head
  9. Add the glue for the eye.
  10. Add the eye and let dry!

Books

Hedgehog, Pig, and the Sweet Little Friend by Lena Anderson is not a book I like. I hate giving bad reviews mostly because I think that every book has something for some child and that may be true of this book . I worry though as a parent about the message about strangers this one gives. A little pig seeks refuge at Hedgehogs house after getting lost, and while I like that the little pig asked for help the hedgehog suggests:

“First fill your tummy, then I’ll make up a bed. We can all sleep together tonight. Tomorrow we’ll find your mama for sure.”

WHAT? Maybe I am just paranoid ( I tend to be a little over safety conscious, especially in the first few months postpartum ) but  really? I immediately started to say something to my son about it and he chimed in saying that he wouldn’t want to stay at someone else’s house. Not saying he wouldn’t but that he wouldn’t want to. I told him that it’s not a good idea and luckily we have phones unlike Hedgehog and we can ask a nice person to call for help or better yet find/call a police officer. Don’t even get me started about the sub plot of the seemingly adult male pig falling in love with this little lost pig too.  The book was originally written in Swedish and I keep thinking that perhaps the story was lost in translation? Perhaps.

Hedgehog (Animal Neighbors) by Michael Leach is a great resource about these spiky little creatures.  My son and I learned so much neither of us knew about hedgehogs. Did you know baby hedgehogs are called hoglets? The book has a good mix of pictures, illustrations and short pieces of text filled with facts. The short paragraphs of text are perfect for little guys who aren’t ready for a full book but want to learn more about the subject, parents can pick and choose which tid bits to share while exploring the pictures too.

Apple Orchard Craft

When my son read this book we started learning about apple orchards and the idea for this craft was born. My son is much more into digging in our backyard and building with legos than art these days but I knew I could entice him to create if it involved food coloring and medicine droppers… and I was right! He even asked his dad to take it to work and put it up in his office he was so proud of it.   There are a lot of steps for little guys in this craft but you can omit some easily and still make a fun apple tree!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need coffee filters, red and green food coloring, 2 eye or medicine droppers, ice cube tray, construction paper, markers, scissors, glue and popsicle sticks. You may also want to use a cutting board and some paper towels under the coffee filters to protect your work surface.
  2. Start by handing your child the construction paper and markers – have them draw the orchard , but make sure they know you will be gluing trees on top. We don’t want any meltdowns over covering their picture.
  3. Next layer the paper towels under the coffee filters.
  4. Pour the food coloring into your tray – I watered down the green but not the red.
  5. Start with the green food coloring on the coffee filters.
  6. Next add red. Let dry.
  7. While they are drying ( doesn’t take long in the sun!) have your child color the popsicle sticks with the brown marker.  This is great fine motor skills practice! My son decided to make a single line on each …one of which continued onto my table. Remember to use washable markers and a wet cloth nearby always keeps blood pressure low !
  8. Glue the sticks onto the construction paper.
  9. Cut the filters into tree tops.
  10. Glue on and let dry.

More Apple Books

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.

The Apple Pie That Papa Baked by Lauren Thompson had me tricked into thinking that it was a new edition of an old book. The retro look to the illustrations hooked me and I was shocked to see it was only published 2 years ago. The reader is taken through all the elements that go into making a pie, not the recipe though. The story works backwards from pie to the apples, the tree, the roots and more . The message is one of interconnectedness and makes me feel equally important and small all at the same time. I think it’s useful to teach how everything in nature is dependent on other elements and can’t work alone. My son enjoyed the illustrations of the sun with a face and the little girl helping her father at every step.

Yarn Easter Egg Craft

yearn easter egg craft for kids 
I know this is very similar to the nest I did, I actually made this weeks before I did the nest but have been waiting to post it. I saw this years ago in a book at a rec center I worked at, it was worth the wait, I love how it turned out. This is a fun craft for school aged kids home for spring break or preschoolers with some patience. I didn’t bother trying to have my son help, his love of eating glue would have been in overdrive I’m sure.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need glue, yarn , a balloon and some ribbon.
  2. Blow up your balloon a little ways and tie it.
  3. Cut some yarn in about 12 inch pieces. For this craft I used about 20 , 12″ pieces total.
  4. Mix your glue with a tiny bit of water if you want, this made it easier to soak the yarn but it took longer to dry. Either way works- just don’t dilute it too much.
  5. Start drenching the yarn in the glue
  6. Laying it on the balloon. Criss cross it over the whole thing.
  7. Keep going…and going.
  8. When you feel it’s done let it dry , I prefer to let it dry by hanging it from a rack with a clothes pin. That way it’s not touching anything and won’t get stuck.
  9. When it’s dry carefully pop the balloon, and fish it out of the egg.
  10. Add your ribbon!yarn ee

Photo Wreath – Valentine’s Day Kids Craft

valentine's day heart wreathEvery holiday whether it’s a hallmark one or not deserves a wreath! This craft uses holiday photo cards and recycles them into a fun Valentine’s tribute to friendship. You can also sneak in a color mixing lesson if you want , by making pink paint with red and white. As you will see further down when a 2 year old has decided he is done- there isn’t much you can do.
Roll with it !
  1. Gather your materials. You will need a paper plate, a cereal box, some paint, glue, a marker, scissors , some ribbon, photos and a heart shaped paper punch.
  2. Draw some hearts on your cereal box.
  3. Have your child paint the hearts. Let dry.
  4. While they are painting, cut out pictures of your friends using the paper punch. Older children can do this themselves after finishing painting.
  5. Cut out the center of the paper plate.
  6. Cut out the hearts.
  7. Try and try and try to get your child from the sink to come and glue the hearts on but understand that bubbles and water are second only to Dora the Explorer and accept defeat.
  8. Glue the pictures on the middle of the hearts.
  9. Glue onto the paper plate- even if your child hasn’t staged a mutiny this step is tricky so be prepared to help a lot .
  10. I put my plastic place mat on my wreath for a few minutes to press it down, it did the trick!
  11. Let dry.
  12. Loop some ribbon around it and hang up to cherish your friends this Valentine’s Day !
Books !

“Jessica” by Kevin Henkes is a cute book for anyone who may have a child who has an imaginary friend. I think it’s more a book for adults to clue back into what these invisible people really are all about than a book for kids, although your child will like it. The story follows a little girl Ruthie and her imaginary friend Jessica. I have had children over the years tell me they can see the invisible Jessica in the pictures and I am just too old to see. As a parent I so enjoy this author’s ability to remind big people the depth and complexity of small children’s emotions and motivation. He gets it !

” Slugs In Love “ by Susan Pearson had me giggling while reading it. The story is about 2 slugs who write poetry to each other while admiring each other from afar. The book is too complex for the tiny crowd but PreK and up will appreciate the humor and it could be a great springboard for a unit on poetry . A silly but fun book about those slimy garden pests!

Recycled Christmas Tree

I love this craft, I have done it over the years with kids ranging from 3 – 13 and although he needed help and skipped the star my son (who is 2)loved it too. This is a great project when you have a wide range of abilities because it’s easily adjusted. For older kids have them add on ornaments or a Christmas message cut from the catalog’s text.

  1. You will need a brown grocery bag, some catalogs you are trying not to order things from, scissors, glue and a marker.
  2. Start looking through the catalog for green things, you want them to vary, it’s what makes the collage so cool. Cut them out. I have done this with 4&5 year olds and I would rip out pages that had green on them before starting the activity, and they would cut out the actual picture. Older kids can search for the pages themselves. Toddlers will may get very frustrated very fast, so do this step for them, or be prepared to do it with them.
  3. Draw or have your child draw the outline of a Christmas tree.
  4. Have your child color the tree- skip this step with kids that will be able to cover the whole tree, this fills in the gaps well with the little guys though, and they have fun!
  5. Grab that glue, no need to be exact !
  6. Start putting the cut out green pieces on the tree. Show little ones that you want the green side facing out, but if they object, I would let it be. If you are using this as a color lesson just label the color that is showing saying something like ” Oh wow your tree is purple”.
  7. Keep adding glue,and pieces of catalog. Don’t worry if all the corners are glued down, they will roll up and give the tree some texture. If you have a toddler help them with this step, once my son saw that I was popping the catalog cut pieces on anywhere he started adding one after another.Also the lines are just guides , if your collage goes over it that’s fine , you will cut it out in a later step. Let dry.
  8. These next steps I did myself, at this point my son has had enough and was off to play. Draw a star in the corner.Find gold and yellow pictures in your catalog and cut out.Glue onto the star shape. Let dry
  9. Cut both the tree and the star out .
  10. Glue the star on the top of the tree and voila!