Top 12 of 2012 { Our Most Popular Posts}

top 12 of 20122012 was the year of kids craft round ups.  You all love them! They were by far the biggest traffic providers of 2012. As much as I like them they aren’t actually my favorite. They are fun to put together but my heart belongs to the single activity posts . I will post my favorite 12 of 2012 on Monday. Until then here are the top 12 traffic getters of 2012. Enjoy.

  1. 75 Books That Build Character
  2. 25 Alphabet Activities For Kids
  3. 75 TV Free Activities For Kids
  4. 30 Bug Crafts For Kids
  5. 50 Simple Outdoor Activities For Kids
  6. 21 Easy Easter Crafts
  7. 35 Easy Animal Crafts
  8. Easy Halloween Crafts
  9. 22 Activities For Kids Under 2
  10. 25 Classic Crafts For Kids
  11. 15 Fun Activities For Kids
  12. 20 Earth Day Activities For Kids

15 Books About Fall For Kids

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My son is off to school next week and I must admit I am getting ready for fall. I will be checking out some new books about fall in the coming weeks but these are our old favorites to get you started and add to your library lists .

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert was the inspiration for this craft and will leave you trying to find all sorts of things like butterflies, chickens and fish in leaf piles. The book is about a leaf man who blows away in the wind and the reader is taken past all sorts of animals like chickens and ducks, past rivers filled with fish and butterflies in the air. All are leaves pieced together to make these awesome images , some are obvious, some take concentration to see the animal among the leaves. Wonderful creative book to welcome the changing seasons.

Apples by Jacqueline Farmer is not a book to snuggle up and read before bed or really anytime with a toddler but wow it’s a wonderful resource. I didn’t know how much I didn’t know about apples until I read this book. It’s packed full of detail about how they are grown, where they came from originally, varieties and more! I urge teachers and homeschooling parents to check this out if you are doing any study about fruit, or apples.

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!

A Friend for All Seasons by Julia Hubery is a gem! The book explains the change of seasons in a fun and easy to understand way for young children. Readers follow along with Robbie Raccoon as he notices the changes that are happening around his home, a big oak tree.  My favorite part of this book was when Robbie and a few woodland friends notice that the tree’s leaves are falling and they assume he is crying, so they give him a hug. I loved that! Robbie’s mama raccoon explains the changes and before they go to sleep for a long time during winter’s dark days, they plant 5 acorns . This was a fun part of the book because I had my son predict what would happen. I liked that it gives parents an opportunity to extend this into a science lesson about seeds, and a oak tree’s life cycle. Sure enough when Spring comes there are tiny baby oaks waiting for Robbie when he awakens. I loved this book and would recommend it happily!

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.

Lucky Leaf by Kevin O’Malley is a funny book about a boy kicked outside and off his video game by a parent and his quest for a lucky leaf. He waits and waits for the last leaf from a tree to fall, even after his friends give up and go home. The story is cute and my son thought it was funny. I liked the comic book format of the illustrations and the little boy’s dog has some pretty funny facial expressions throughout.

Apple Cider-Making Days by Ann Purnell kinda surprised me, I don’t know what I was expecting but I loved this book. My son was sold on the tractor in it but I really liked how simply the author explained the whole process of making apple cider.  From picking the apples on Grandpa’s farm to sorting out the good ones to sell and the bad ones to press, to selling it it covers the details without being too much for a young child to process.  I loved that the whole family, aunts, uncles, cousins and more helped , seeing a family work side by side is heartwarming. My son loved the tractor but also the conveyor belt that took the apples to press! The illustrations by Joanne Friar  set the happy autumn tone for the book and I particularly liked the small details like the pumpkins and squash for sale at the farm.  No bad reviews today- all three books are worth a look !

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.

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 didn’t even try to read it to my son, he simply wouldn’t sit long enough. The text is long and I would suggest it for preschoolers and up.

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!

I Know It’s Autumn by Eileen Spinelli  is much more age appropriate for my son and other toddlers. The book is a simple look at all the things that tell a small child that Autumn is here. Pumpkin muffins, apple picking, cooler weather,  hayrides and more all signal that the summer is gone and the fall has arrived. I like this book because there will be something a child will relate to and be able to identify with. I also love that the family is biracial and there is no mention of it at all. It’s nice to see and I wish more books were so nonchalant about representing all kinds of families.

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.

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 ( psst check back for a craft in a few days!).

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.

Apple Farmer Annie by  Monica Wellington is another  favorite in our house. My son loves this author and I like how simple but informative this book is. Your little reader will learn about the basics of what happens at an apple orchard , but you can take it further if you want. On many of the pages there are chances to learn more, like the page about sorting and classifying, where there are apples ready to count 1-10, and sorted by colors. I love the last page that says that Annie is so happy to have her own apple farm. I loved that message and think it’s a lot more powerful than some may think, women on farms in most books are “farmer’s wives” and I love that there is no one but Annie doing her own thing.

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21 Books About Farm Animals

Farms are a common thing around our town, there are hobby farms, chickens in our neighborhood and last fall a horse rescue group actually rode the rescued horses around our town as in to my driveway asking people for donations.  Add to that the  small heard of cattle in Texas that my father in law has and you’ll see why my kids love farm animals and I am guessing yours might too. Here are 21 books about farms and the animals on them you may want to check out.

Big Fat Hen by Keith Baker is a simple counting book with minimal text. What is lacks in words it delivers in illustrations. The rich colors of the hens, the golden hay and the yellow chicks were all expertly executed. We read the board book version of this and I would suggest that this is a book for that age, who will love pictures more and more with every turn of the page. The text that is included is rhyming and pleasant but the illustrations steal the show.

How Big Is a Pig? by Claire Beaton is a favorite in our house and has been for both my kids. I love the felt illustrations, the detail amazes me and helps distract me from noticing that I have read it 20 times in as many minutes. The story itself is great too, it focuses on opposites in the farm yard with a zippy rhyming text. My daughter loves taking this one in the stroller while I run and because it’s a board book I can give it to her without worrying that after a few miles it’s ripped and ruined.

Lulu the Big Little Chick by Paulette Bogan is an old familiar tale about a little chick who is frustrated about being too little to do anything so instead she decides to go far far away. When I started reading this to my presently obsessed with superheros son he didn’t want to read it unless the chick had super powers. I convinced him to read it with me to find out and it took all of one page before he was hooked.  He was so worried about how far the little chick would go and why would she want to go in the first place?! The cartoon like illustrations were a perfect compliment and fresh addition to a familiar tale.

Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton always makes me laugh. There is something about the facial expressions her animals always have that crack me up, and lets me honest if the book is good for the adult reading it, it’s always a plus. Super bright colors on each page is a huge plus for my baby girl as I flip the pages, and even though she doesn’t get the humor yet she will soon enough and it’s a book that will grow with her. * Now at 2 she gets the humor and still loves the book!

Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown is one of my very favorite books to read to my daughter before bed although it took a while before she warmed up to it. I was worried because I loved reading it to my son and couldn’t wait to share it with her.  The story is simple readers see a day in the life of a big red barn and all the animals inside. Each animal is introduced in the seamless text that reads like a melodic poem. It’s  calm , soothing and Felicia Bond’s illustrations are perfect, I love how the sky subtly changes as the night beckons.  A wonderful book for anytime, but especially poignant before bed.

The Very Busy Spider  by Eric Carle was a favorite of my son’s from the get go. We have the board book edition and what I love about it, is that the spider web in it is raised and offers a sensory element to reading the story. This is a story of hard work, persistence and also helps reinforce farm animal sounds. Perfect for toddlers !

Peek-a-Moo! (Lift-the-flap Books) by Maria Torres Cimarusti is a great and simple book about farm animal sounds with flaps to lift for toddlers who need a little extra action to keep them interested. The book is a quick read which is perfect for those eager to move, not so eager to stay still toddlers. Great bold illustrations as well.

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin is a hilarious look at working conditions on a farm and cows going on strike. I have yet to read this book without giggling and in the 2003-2004 school year I think I read it 500 times! The story has a wonderful message of fairness and negotiation . During a transit strike we read this to a Kindergarten class to help explain after we were asked why the bus drivers didn’t want to work- it was a great tool!

Eggs and Legs: Counting by Twos by Michael Dahl is a cute book with silly illustrations and a fun concept to teach counting by twos. The book counts from 0-20 by 2s but each page has multiple depictions of each number including dots to count and the number in the text. This was super useful to show my son as we counted by 2s that we weren’t skipping the numbers, just grouping them to count faster. Fun and useful book.

The Grumpy Morning by Pamela Duncan Edwards is a great book. I think I got it as a freebie with a scholastic order years ago, either way I am so glad I have it. The book follows all the animals on a farm as they wake up grumpy and hungry and needing attention from the farmer. As a teacher I love this book because I could talk about whining, and demanding and ask my students if there are better ways to get what you want. As a parent I love it because the text is musical and my son loves seeing all the animals and what sounds they make since he is still a little young to appreciate the lesson about feelings at 16 months.

One Little Chicken: A Counting Book by David Elliot was a great library find. You count chickens as they dance all different styles, my favorite being the chickens who dance the hula ! The rhyming text is really fun and the pictures will make you giggle, I mean there are chickens in leotards doing ballet! Totally tickled my funny bone. The best part though is that it gets the reader involved after counting to ten, the chickens turn the tables stare at the reader and implore them to dance!  One of my new favorite counting books.

Does a Cow Say Boo? by Judy Hindley was a hit with my 2 year old and I thought it was fun look at the sounds that animals living on the farm make. What I specifically liked about this was that each animal didn’t just say one sound instead the author includes a few for each. The illustrations are cute and cheery and the end of the book is a surprise for young readers … although older children will probably let you know what is going to happen .

Sally Goes to the Farmby Stephen Huneck  Sally is a black lab who goes to the farm to meet Molly a yellow lab and see what it’s like to be on a farm. I liked this book and my daughter did too . It’s text is very very short but the illustrations are magnificent.  We both giggled at the dogs drinking milk  from a cow being milked. Does that really happen on a farm? I have no clue but it sure made my daughter laugh.  This is also a good book for my son ( an emergent reader) to read to my daughter because of the length of text and how well the illustrations support it.

Barn Dance! by Pat Hutchins is a goofy book about  what really goes on when you think animals are sleeping! Mama Sheep, Mama Pig and Mama Cow get down and dance their hooves off  until the fall asleep in the hay but that’s not the end of the story . Once they are asleep their babies sneak out and dance too! I like how silly it is, the independent spirit but really my favorite things about this book is that the Mama animals all have flowers behind their ears , it tickles me every time I read the book.

Punk Farm by Jarrett J. Krosoczka . I wanted to love this book but it was just meh. I like the idea for it very much and some of the details were hilarious like horse acting as a bouncer for the punk show but the meat of the book just didn’t do it for me. Most of the book is a variation of Old MacDonald with different instrument sounds and by the second animal I was so over singing this song, maybe I just don’t like that song… I have been teased with it most of my life.  My kids liked the book and we all loved the illustrations.

This Little Chick by John Lawrence is just about the perfect board book for my daughter right now, she didn’t even try to eat it! The rhymes are melodic the text full of animal sounds is spot on for our littlest readers . My son and I had fun reading this old favorite to my daughter for the first time.  The illustrations are fantastic with lots of contrast and is the perfect length for  a quick snuggle and read for wiggly babies who are eager to move.

Baby Says “Moo!”by JoAnn Early Macken was a huge hit with my 2 year old. I should warn you that she loves anything with a baby of any sort in it but even if she wasn’t baby crazy I think she would have loved this book. In it the baby and  family go from the city to the farm asking about the sounds the people and animals make around them. No matter what the baby says “Moo” . The text is sweet and rhymes and the bright , colorful illustrations are so adorable. Very sweet book for children learning about animal sounds.

Bob  by Tracey Campbell Pearson is a goofy story about a Rooster who doesn’t know how to cock a doodle do ! He asks his barnyard friends but they are cats, dogs, cows and more. He learns how to meow , bark and moo! Eventually he does find an older rooster to show him the ropes but it’s the other sounds that end up saving Bob and his friends from a sly fox. I Really enjoyed the book, my son thought it was funny and the message about learning about other languages is a lovely one to teach your child.

Grunt by John Richardson is a classic running away from home story. This one is about a pig who is different from all his siblings and can only grunt instead of squeal, and thinks that because he is different his family must not want him. Of course in the end mama is overjoyed to see him come home and he discovers his family does love him. I am biased against books like this cause I just don’t like them, I don’t like that a child( or piglet) has to run away to find out they are loved. Maybe it’s just my own pet peeve , regardless this book is ok, but I won’t be adding it to my bookshelf.

Duck on a Bike by David Shannon tickles my funny bone. I love this book, the message is awesome too. Just because it’s never been done before doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try! Also how cute is a duck riding a bike? Kids even young ones get the message loud and clear as well!  The illustrations are amazing and your child will love the farm animals and the tractor at the end. Oh and please tell me I am not the only one waiting for “Duck on a Tractor” ? I’d buy it in a heartbeat !

Wee Little Chick by Lauren Thompson is a sweet almost saccharine book about a little chick that may be small but is just as capable as everyone else. Honestly I was sorta lukewarm to the story. When I sat down to write about it I had to grab the book to remember what I wanted to say, which is normally a big clue that it is not too memorable. What I didn’t forget was how much I loved the illustrations by John Butler.  Soft , gentle, feathery illustrations of farm animals that are full of realistic detail. We all loved the illustrations. SO while there was nothing wrong or off putting about the text it didn’t leave a lasting impression but the illustrations are what make this book stand out.

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Good Books With Bratty Characters { and why you should check them out }

I don’t get a lot of negative comments but the ones I do hear over and over are about bratty characters in books and how parents do not want their kids exposed to them. Yesterday I had a thought provoking  reader comment on my 75 Books That Build Character post saying that kids can’t only learn how to be, they need to also learn how not to be. I couldn’t agree more. I love books with “bratty” characters because young readers recognize the bad behavior and even if they giggle at it they know it’s wrong . These books all offer great opportunities to talk and teach your children about right, wrong and appropriate behavior.

I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!by Karen Beaumont is guaranteed to entertain your child, even my toddler was laughing and anticipating the rhyming text which tickled me to no end! Now I have had some parents in the past not be happy about the use of “ain’t ” and the little boy in the story painting everywhere, I would counter that by saying people do use “ain’t” and kids do paint on things they aren’t supposed to you can use this as an example of what you aren’t supposed to do, and ask your child what they think should happen if they painted all over the house? As far as using “Ain’t” I would play the traditional “It ain’t gonna rain no more” and explain that the author used that song as inspiration for the book.

The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle is more than a cute book about a crabby bug. The Lady bug is looking for a fight and each hour she finds a bigger and bigger animal to fight with until she is unintentionally slapped by a big whale’s tail! I loved using this book to teach telling time, as there is a picture of an analog clock on each page. I would use a play clock and as I read each page ask one child to come and set our classroom clock. Also don’t be put off by the fact that the lady bug tries to pick fights, no animal takes her up on her offer and you can spin that into a great lesson about not giving into people who are trying to pick fights.

.Julius, the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes is such a funny book that I actually called my mom the day I bought it to read it to her over the phone. The book is about Lily who is adjusting to her new role as a big sister. The thing is Lily isn’t adjusting well, and it’s hilarious because it’s so true ! So often books depict older siblings happily welcoming babies into their lives and that just isn’t always the case. Lily is not happy, she unlike her parents do not think this baby is special and she is openly hostile to Julius. I laugh out loud every time I read this book, I particularly love when Lily tells a passing pregnant mouse that she will regret being pregnant. I think this book opens the floor for a real talk about feelings when a new baby comes, it’s important to remember just because the big people are excited doesn’t mean the little ones are too!

Pinkalicious by Victoria and Elizabeth Kann. I was initially told about this book and its authors by another mom whose son loves this book. So don’t think that just because the cover looks rather feminine that your boys won’t love this book too! The little girl eats far too many pink cupcakes and before she knows it she has turned pink. To return to her normal self she needs to eat her vegetables. I like this book, and can see why kids do too. I don’t think that all characters can be perfectly pious, meek and mild but I do understand when parents are leery of introducing characters that they see as disobedient to their kids. Seeing other children behave in ways that are not allowed at their house is a fantastic lesson  for readers. It opens a dialog with you and your child.

books about frogs for kidsWendy the Wide-Mouthed Frog by Sam Lloyd Like it or not, our kids will probably encounter someone who thinks they are better than anyone else (or they may go through a stage of this themselves). Wendy is a frog who thinks just that and criticises the other animals in the wild for not being as great as she is. That is, until she meets a squid. At first I thought, with Wendy poking fun of other animals, that the book was somewhat negative in nature. Although Wendy isn’t nice and does change her tune at the end (though doesn’t apologize to others for her behavior), the book does open up an opportunity to discuss how negative comments can make our friends feel bad. Wendy herself is a hand puppet which mom can use to bring Wendy to life but the kids will love the squid page where they too can stick their hand in to be the squid’s tentacles. This moves kids from being passive listeners to interacting with the book too. ( reviewed by contributing writer Carrie Anne)

The Sandcastle Contest by Robert Munsch. I gave this book a really bad review last year. While it still isn’t my favorite Munsch book, I am taking back some of what I said. My son grabbed it the other day and after reading it with him ( last year it was over his head) I can honestly say I have had a change of heart. The tantrum the main character has when no one believes him about really making everything from sand was a good teaching tool for my 2.5 year old. We stopped and talked about anger, and deep breaths, and wrecking things when we are mad. I think this book could be a good way for parents to talk about anger and frustration without feeling like you are giving a lecture.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak probably doesn’t need an introduction especially with the current film adaptation. We read this book often and my son randomly quotes the book throughout the day. Telling me to “Be still” just like Max tells the Wild Things. If by chance you are not familiar with this book, it’s a story of a little boy Max who is sent to his room for being wild and his imagination turns it into another world, filled with Wild Things and freedom from rules for behavior. Ultimately though Max’s heart pulls him back home where he is loved most of all, even when he’s wild.

No, David! by David Shannon is probably the author’s best known book, in it we follow the misadventures of little David and his eventual disciplining and hug from his mom. This book is a wonderful icebreaker for talking about rules with a class.  I have successfully used it with many groups of kids and my own as a reminder about rules and why we have them. Kids love watching other kids do naughty things ( and are quick to remind each other of the right way to do things) so this book is always a hit with toddlers on up.

The Giving Tree  by Shel Silverstein. I have been asked so many times why I haven’t ever reviewed this book. When I wrote the 75 Books that build character post I admitted I’d never read it to my kids. I couldn’t remember why but I knew I didn’t like the book. I love the author and read his poetry to my class while teaching and my own kids often. So I took it out of the library , read it to my son and remembered I hate this book. It makes me incredibly sad. I don’t like how horrid the boy is to the tree, how spineless the tree is and I never saw it as a lesson in giving like so many do but a lesson in taking . I read it to my son and we talked, we had a great talk about taking advantage of those who love us, and how it hurts everyone. When a comment was left yesterday suggesting I don’t think books like this are useful I had to include the book in today’s post.  Yes this book is useful, without a doubt and it should have been included in previous posts.  I know many of you probably love it , it just makes me so sad I will read it one more time to my daughter when she is older, we’ll have a talk about it but it’s never going to have a permanent spot on my shelf.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst was another childhood favorite that I have enjoyed sharing with my own son. This book is beautiful, even though it may take a few reads to see it’s not a story about a whining little boy so much a lesson that sometimes things do not go our way. Days can suck. It’s just the way it is. As a child I related to Alexander’s feelings of frustration and things being unfair. How often to you hear a child say “No Fair!” probably a lot. This book taps into that feeling, being little is hard but just because you are mad, or your day was bad doesn’t mean you get your way. Great book to talk about anger and frustration with your child, and it’s funny too!

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!by Mo Willems might not need much of a review as I don’t know many parents who haven’t laughed along with their kids reading this book. But if you have never read this book let me tell you about it and why so many of us think it’s hilarious. The book opens with a bus driver asking readers to do him a favor and not let the pigeon drive the bus, easy right? Well just like my 5 year old son who is practicing for the negotiator of the year award this pigeon is relentless.  When I asked my son what his favorite part of the book was he giggled loudly while telling me that he loves the tantrum the pigeon has. Kids love seeing characters in books display the behavior that they want to do but only let slip through the cracks every now and then. I love when great underlying connections to kids come in such a goofy package. Love this book.

 

What book with a less than well behaved characters do your kids love?

Spring Mural – Cooperative Project For Kids

We are digging murals lately so when my daughter refused her nap for the third day in a row instead of breaking down and crying like I wanted to I grabbed some paper and we made something.  This mural like our alphabet wall mural isn’t finished in one sitting, in fact I leave things to add to it out until it’s removed weeks later. I love having on going art projects that grow and change over the course of a few weeks. There is no wrong way to do this just choose materials you have, that are safe for whatever age or stage of development your kids are at and have fun!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a large piece of paper for the wall, I love craft paper but the underside of extra wrapping paper will do too. We also used painter’s tape,  glue sticks ( avoid with kids who may put them in their mouths, those suckers are choking hazards) , scrap paper , pom poms, double stick tape… these are just what we used you can add in whatever you can, just try to mix a few materials together. I love handing my kids something new and saying ” How could we use these for this project?” and watching the wheels turn.spring preschool activities
  2. Put the paper up. Grab some construction paper and start ripping . I just sat by the mural while my kids were playing with their usual favorites in the playroom ( Duplo and board books) soon enough they came by to see what I was doing.ripping paper
  3. The plan turned into a garden so we added the stems first and the kids went straight for the glue sticks. Garden wall mural  Oh and yes I ripped the stems at my son’s request, he had a hard time ripping them in long strips. I want to make sure parents know there is no issue with helping your kids create. I get emails asking ” Do you ever help?” at their request of course! I try not to do anything my kids can do on their own but if they get frustrated and ask for some help of course I will. Projects aren’t tests to see what they can do it’s time to work as a team, especially ones like this that is meant to be collaborative. They had fun adding the paper. ripped paper flowers
  4. My daughter stuck to one side of the mural. We aren’t sure of her creative vision – but both my son and I thought that her collage looked like a butterfly! flower art project
  5. I was giddy when I heard my son call me back over ( I’d gone to the book nook to read with my daughter) to see how he discovered he could glue ends of paper down but make the middle pop out at you. cooperative art projectIn true 5 year old boy fashion these were named ” Missile attack flowers” .
  6. This is how it looked for days ( you can even see it in the background of a few previous posts) spring flowersA few days later when we were in the playroom and they were busy playing I grabbed the double stick tape and pom poms and set them out. Soon I had two kids creating once a again.

I think when we return from our holiday we’ll get another material out and see how it fits with the paper and pom poms. What do you think we should add next?

Books About Flowers

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Elhert is a wonderful book to use for teaching about flowers and colors. The illustrations are bold and bright, perfect for little curious minds. I have always liked this book because you can sit down and dive into it reading each flowers name on every page , or browse it more casually with a younger child simply noting the colors.

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes is a lovely book about having confidence, loosing confidence and regaining it in the end. Chrysanthemum is a little mouse who loves her name until she goes to school and is picked on for it being out of the ordinary. Who can’t relate to this? I know I can . Thankfully my son  has yet to experience this all too common, but still so heartbreaking experience . I love that I have a book like this to share with him and open up about it before it happens. Ultimately Chrysanthemum learns to love her name again and regains the confidence she once had. Another fantastic book from a consistently wonderful author.

Zinnia’s Flower Garden by Monica Wellington is really useful not just about teaching about flowers and gardens, but also about patience and the annual cycle of a garden. Zinnia plants and waits, waters, enjoys her flowers, then they die, she collects the seeds and plans her garden for next year. I love that the main story is perfect for my almost 3 year old but there is much more for older children with longer attention spans. There is a little journal with notes about what’s happening with her garden, and various facts about plants as well. Like in so many of her books the author celebrates hard work and her characters take great pride in what they do. A fantastic message for readers, big and little. I also love the mix of illustration and photographs in this book especially, it gives the illustrations depth and a really interesting look.