Sticker Station – Easy Fine Motor Activity

sticker stationI love stickers and not just because of their power to reward kids with something small that isn’t sugar but because they pack a lot of punch in the fine motor skills department. Peeling those little suckers off the sheet is tricky for little fingers. This is a great fine motor activity to turn to when you don’t have a ton of time to play. Add in new stickers and the whole activity has new life. Add in some crayons and it’s like new again. After I shot some photos I got a load of laundry together, wiped down the bathroom , and got dressed while my little one was happily adding more and more stickers and unbeknownst to her she was working out her fine motor skills too.

 

Gather your materials. You will need some stickers, an envelope, some plain paper, and painter’s tape or thumbtacks. sticker station wall mural

Start by taping your paper to the wall. I like using blue painter’s tape for two reasons; first to save my wall from being wrecked, second because it gives children a clear boundary to the area where it’s OK to add stickers and where it is not.Sticker wall activity for kids set up

Put all your stickers in the envelope. Ours is plastic but a plain paper one would work just as well. You can attach it with painter’s tape too or if it’s really heavy use thumbtacks. Remember that thumbtacks are never safe with children who are still putting things in their mouths. Please use caution and know your child’s abilities and make any adaptations you may need to in order to make the activity safe for your child.adding the stickers

Add your little person. I didn’t explain anything. I just said ” I made you a sticker wall.” and she got right to it.peeling stickers good for fine motor

This is not a structured activity. If your child invites you to participate by all means do but don’t feel you must or should. While my daughter was adding stickers she created little stories to go along with them but if your child doesn’t that is OK. They may sort the stickers, line them up, or make an overall design.sticker wall They may also randomly add one or two and walk away. I wouldn’t give up but I wouldn’t push.  I would see if you had any stickers that better appeal to them , add some crayons to the mix, and leave it up for a few days before giving up. It’s OK for activities to tank too. While this simple sticker station was a big hit with my daughter doesn’t mean your child will love it or that you did anything wrong if they don’t. I have come up with many activities my kids haven’t adored. Move on and don’t worry.

sticker station cover

 

 

 

 

 

Fine Motor Skills – DIY Cutting Station

cutting skills When I was a director of a large childcare center one of my 3 year old classes had a cutting bucket. It was a huge bucket with piles of scrap paper in it and three pairs of scissors tied to it. Kids loved it. It allowed them to cut and for the teacher to supervise them while not having to worry that anyone was running away with scissors. Cutting isn’t just about being able to make clean lines for gift wrapping ( although that is a nice bonus) cutting is about hand and wrist strength, fine motor skills, and hand eye coordination. All of these are important for writing. Children are expected to write even earlier than we were and while there is no rush for preschoolers to form every letter perfectly working on these fine motor skills is really worthwhile. I used that teacher’s idea and made it perfectly sized for one child. It took 3 minutes and she sat cutting for more than 4 times that!

Gather your materials. You will need a thin bowl. I got this one at the dollar store. You will also need a hole punch, some sturdy cord or ribbon, kid safe scissors, and scrap paper.cutting station supplies

Start by punching a hole in the bowl. This took some serious muscle but I have freakishly small hands ( pumping my own gas is painful my hands are so little),  I am sure it won’t be so hard for y’all with normal sized hands.cutting station punching hole

Using the cord ( ours is from craftprojectideas.com ) thread it through and make a sturdy knot. Make sure that it’s secure.cutting station for preschool fine motor skills

Tie the other end to scissors. Do not make the rope too long. I am kinda a worry wart and never make any rope too long when young kids are handling it. Of course like all our activities this is not meant to be used without adult supervision. That said making it as safe as possible from the get go is always a great plan.cutting station set up

Add scrap paper and someone to cut and go! The tiara is optional but we always encourage self expression. cutting station fine motor skills activity at home

What I like about this is that it’s portable. She can use it at the kitchen table if I am cooking, in the family room if I am cleaning, even outside if you want to cut with nature like we did last year! It also helps to contain the cuttings and you can make sure that they are cutting things they should by saying ” If it’s in the bowl you may cut it.” If you aren’t ready for the sharper scissors yet try plastic ones and pop playdough in the bowl. cutting great for fine motor skill development

Need more simple but worthwhile ideas like this ? Check out our BRAND new eBook – Playful Preschool ! It’s only $6.99 until 5-25-2014 so get it before the price jumps. Click on the image below to buy.

3-5 preschool ebook

Read & Make : Letter Of The Week

letter of the week books Letter of The Week crafts are one of our most popular series on No Time For Flash Cards and one of my most frequently asked questions via email are for good books that can go with each letter craft we have. Instead of just throwing out a bunch of books that subject start with one of the letters I have used books that are about the subject used for the craft. The letter is in context and real connections can be made. If you follow a letter of the week curriculum remember to use these crafts as one part of it and focus on the whole alphabet most of the time using alphabet books and other whole alphabet activities as well. Each pair is linked to the original letter of the week craft and the book title is an affiliate link to Amazon.com .

Read and Make ABC ARead The Lady with the Alligator Purse and make an alligator A.

Read and Make ABC BRead Buzz and make a buzzy bee letter B craft.
Read and Make ABC CRead The Very Hungry Caterpillar and make a simple caterpillar C craft .
Read and Make ABC DRead The Paper Bag Princess and make a letter D dragon craft.
Read and Make ABC ERead First the Egg and then make a sweet Egg E craft.
Read and Make ABC FGet patriotic and read Hats off for the Fourth of July then make a Flag F craft.
Read and Make ABC GRead In the Tall, Tall Grass and then make a grass G letter craft.
Read and Make ABC HRead My Heart Is Like a Zoo together and then create this letter H craft filled with hearts.
Read and Make ABC IRead Ice Cream: The Full Scoop and then create your own Ice Cream I letter craft.
Read and Make ABC JRead If You Were A Jellybean then create your own Jellybean J letter craft.
Read and Make ABC KRead all about kites in Kite Flying then make your own Kite K craft to go with it.
Read and Make ABC LLearn about leaves with Leaf Man then find your own and make this leaf L craft.
Read and Make ABC MGo with Sally to the mountains in Sally Goes to the Mountains then make a Mountain M craft at home.
Read and Make ABC NCount all sorts of things with Anno’s Counting Book and then talk and learn about numbers while making a number N.
Read and Make ABC ORead Owl Babies and then make your own little owl O letter craft.
Read and Make ABC PRead Bees, Snails, & Peacock Tails and make your own peacock P!
Read and Make ABC QRead Quilt Alphabet which is a perfect book for this letter Q craft.
Read and Make ABC RYou can read about planting a rainbow in Planting a Rainbow and then make your own letter R craft.
Read and Make ABC SRead Draw Me a Star and then make your own sparkly star S letter craft.
Read and Make ABC TTrees are rad and so is Pablo’s Tree , after reading it make your own tree T craft.
Read and Make ABC UGo underground with Up Above and Down Below and then again with this Underground U letter craft.
Read and Make ABC VExplore all the flowers in Zinnia’s Flower Garden and then make your own and pop them in this Vase V craft.
Read and Make ABC WCount the seeds in One Watermelon Seed and then make your own Watermelon W letter craft being sure to count the seeds too.
Read and Make ABC XDem Bones isn’t just for Halloween it’s a great book year round and perfect for our X-ray X letter craft.
Read and Make ABC YThe classic color mixing story Little Blue and Little Yellow is a great fit for our Yellow Y letter of the week craft too.
Read and Make ABC Z On Beyond Zebra! is a natural fit for our Zebra Z craft !

 

Want more letter of the week crafts? Check out our full list here.

Recycled Art Project For Kids – Fall Trees

recycled artwork fall tree craft for kidsI get a lot of questions about what I do with my children’s art work and my answer is usually that I take photos and recycle much of it. When I say I recycle art work I normally mean it gets popped into the recycling bin never to be seen again. This recycled art project for kids uses the art work and turns a finished piece into material for another art project. These fall trees are cute and simple enough for kids of various abilities to participate.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some brown and white construction paper, glue stick, scissors, and finished artwork.autumn craft for kids
  2. Cut out a tree outline – I free handed this ( I can cut much better than I can draw) but you could draw it out first too.fall tree craft with collage leaves
  3. Glue the tree down on the white construction paper and if you have kids still learning to cut like mine cutting them into smaller pieces will help. fall tree recycled art craft for kids
  4. Go for it. fall tree recycled art project for kdisThis is a simple project and there is no wrong way to do it.fall tree craft using recycled artwork My son was specific about which colors he wanted where and took time to cut leaf like shapes. fall tree recycled artMy daughter refused any and all offers of help fall tree craft for kidsand did this completely independently.fall collage tree craft for kids

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Broccoli Painting and Color Mixing

broccoli painting project for preschoolThis year we grew a lot of broccoli in our vegetable garden. I was hoping growing it would spark interest in eating it ,the way growing spinach did last year but no. Not at all. Other than offering it up to anyone who wants some, one thing broccoli is great for at our house is painting. Broccoli used as a paintbrush is so much fun, add in a color mixing activity and it’s a huge hit! I am still hopeful that playing with it will lead to a desire to eat it but my daughter was never the one who ate paint, that was my son.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need red, yellow , and blue paint, plates to mix them on , paper to paint on, and some broccoli. broccoli paint brushes
  2. Start by squirting some paint on the plates. We did red and yellow , blue and yellow, and blue and red. I like to use paper plates for a lot of reasons and for this craft I like using white so kids can see the result of mixing the colors clearly. Don’t fret if you don’t have white plates or paper plates once the kids print the paint on the paper they will see the color clear as day. broccoli color mixing
  3. Dip the broccoli in and explore! broccoli color mixing and painting for kidsMy daughter mixed each one then printed them immediately.broccoli painting outside Then she returned to see if she could make brown. With her hands. When you do color mixing with your kids you have to expect mess and exploration. This is why I did it outside. My daughter loves to “hand paint” as you can see and instead of just getting angry I like to let her enjoy it. happy finger paintsThen pop her straight in the bath. I swear by  Crayola washable paints. I have never not been able to wash them out. I can’t say that about any other “washable” paints. <— no they did not pay me to say that but that link is an affiliate link to amazon.  broccoli and finger painting

One of the great things about color mixing is that it sparks more than a new color, it sparks that little voice inside that says ” I wonder what will happen …” That is the voice that has carried so many scientists to great discoveries and inventors to new technologies. Purple might not seem so amazing to us but it’s pretty rad for our little ones.

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Science week

We are super excited about next week here at No Time For Flash Cards because next week we are devoting every day to science!!  Do not miss it!