Caterpillar Craft For Kids

easy caterpillar craft for kids We’ve been doing a lot of home renovations and have a lot of remnants of them around. We decided to use one of these paint stir sticks that always seem to arrive with new cans of paint even though we say we don’t need them. Instead of letting this stir stick go to waste we turned it into a caterpillar craft. You don’t need to sneak into Home Depot to get a stick  if you don’t have one laying around, you can use old rulers or even just a piece of cardboard cut in a strip.

Gather your materials. You will need a paint stir stick, pom poms, glue, googly eyes, a pipe cleaner and paint. We used paint daubers because they dry so quickly and we didn’t want to take a break in our art time. You may also want some scrap paper under the stick to keep the paint from getting on your table. My daughter helped me set up the shot.

pom pom caterpillar craft

Start by painting. She loved this and I just sat back while she worked on her hand eye coordination with this step.cateroillar craft for kids

Grab the glue! The glue will probably pick up some of the paint color but it won’t wreck the craft.caterpillar craft fine motor skills

Add on the eyes. caterpillar add the eyes If your child adds the eyes in the middle of the stick resist the urge to peel them off. Let them create, crafts are wonderful opportunities to create while working on so many other skills and there is NO need for perfect little facsimiles. One tip is to provide materials but no example. When you show kids what you are making they will likely duplicate it but if you give them materials to create it remains less structured , the more options for materials the more open it becomes. I usually ask my daughter what she wants to make and have her help me choose what we use, which is why so much of it is pink.

More glue! caterpillar craft more glue yay

Add the pom poms!caterpillar craft for kids with paint sticks

Add on the antennae too! caterpilar craft for kids

 

As soon as this was dry my wee girl popped it on her bedside table so it can watch her sleep. I think it may a bit like a dream catcher, watching over her at night. When she attaches so deeply to something she created I can’t help but smile. Excuse the iPhone photo but after so many years with terrible sleeper I had to sneak in and get a shot in the pitch black! Thank you Instagram for your magical filters.

sleeping with her caterpillar craft

Caterpillar Books For Kids

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bob and otto book

Bob and Otto by Robert O. Bruel is a lovely story about two friends who must part ways , in this case because one is a caterpillar who needs to build a chrysalis and the other an earth worm who needs to dig deep into the ground. What I like about this book is that it goes on to explain that the earth worm’s digging is vital for the trees to grow so that the caterpillar can eat the leaves and turn into a butterfly.  The message being that everyone has an important job to do even if they aren’t the same.

 

very hungry caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a classic, that most preschool teachers like myself can recite from memory. It really is a fantastic book, not only does it explain the life cycle of a caterpillar/ butterfly it also is useful for lesson about day of the week and healthy eating. The simple cut outs in the illustrations where the caterpillar ate through different foods is just the right amount of novelty to grab kids attention for this simple story. It was a childhood favorite of mine and both my children have loved it as much as I do.

caterpillar and polliwog

The Caterpillar and the Polliwog by Jack Kent is a sentimental favorite. I remember being read this book in elementary school when learning about life cycles. It’s more than just about life cycles of butterflies and frogs, it’s about becoming comfortable with who you are. I remember thinking it was hilarious when the caterpillar tells the turtle that she will be changing into something else not just getting bigger and bigger and he replies with ” I don’t blame you.” It made me snort as an adult too. Good for preschool through the early elementary years and if like me you read it as a child there is of course the sentimental factor. I love sharing books from my childhood with my kids.

Beading Made Easy For Little Hands

beading with toddlers Beading is such an awesome fine motor activity because it combines so many skills that young kids are working to master. It works on pincer grasp and hand eye coordination while placing the beads on the string or ribbon but you can work in patterning, color recognition, and counting too.  The problem with beading though is that it can frustrate children easily. You must strike a balance of challenge and success to avoid melt downs, or kids just deciding that the activity is no fun.  Below you will see how I set up beading with my daughter who will bead for ages provided she can do it with little help. Over the years doing beading projects with preschoolers have taught me a few tricks to make it a smooth process and I am sharing them with you.

Gather your materials. You will need some ribbon, painter’s tape, clear tape, ribbon ( ours was about an inch thick) , milk shake straws, and scissors. beading activity for preschool

Start by cutting your straws into smaller pieces. Adjust the length according to the age and ability of your child. beading

Cut your ribbon to the size you want and tape one end to the table using painters tape. This prevents the beads from falling off the end . Also using a thicker ribbon makes it so that if your child does drop the end the beads won’t come flying off. beading made easy for preschool

Before you invite your little one to come bead use the regular tape to cinch the ribbon into a needle. This gives your child a stiffer piece to thread with. beading tips for preschool

Time to bead. With the steps we took to avoid frustration the activity was smooth and pretty quick too. beading necklace

Best of all was how proud she was of her accomplishment and since she made the necklace all by herself withe the exception of tying the ends together it really felt like an independent accomplishment.  Then she was off to play with her garlic press and bulldozer. Bet you never thought you’d hear those two words in the same sentence. Kids are rad. beading and threading activities for kids

Do you have any tips for beading with kids ? I would love to hear them !

 

Color Matching Activity

color matching game with butterflies for kidsThis simple color matching activity works on more than just color recognition. It also works on fine motor skills and even counting. I used a butterfly theme because my daughter adores them but if your child is not into butterflies use whatever theme they are into . I wasn’t planning on her coloring the butterflies at first but as I was setting the activity up she wanted to help so I started over and she colored as many as she wanted. When we do activities like these I usually play once with my children and then leave the set up on the table in the playroom for a few days ready for them to play independently.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper cut outs ( our butterflies were pink on one side and white on the other ) , markers in a variety of colors, crayons on the same, and a mix of small items like buttons, beads, and pom poms. color and match color matching activity for kids supplies
  2. Start by writing the color names on your butterflies. As you do the activity you can point out the word and individual letters as well. color and match color match activity color words
  3. Color the butterflies. My daughter colored pink and green and I colored the rest with the crayons. color and match color matching coloring the butterflies
  4. I taped the butterflies down with painter’s tape to help avoid any slipping while playing.color and match color matching preparing to play Nothing like a spill or slip to frustrate a three year old and end the activity.color and match butterflies coloring matching game
  5. Add your bowl of bits and pieces and start matching! color match game for kidsI loved listening to her dialogue with herself when she found a bead that wasn’t in one of the colors we chose. ” Oh so sorry we don’t have your color.” and ” Too bad no brown.” it also presented a choice does she try to find the closest color or just leave them in the bowl? She soon focused almost all her energies on finding pink and only pink beads and buttons. color match activity for kidsThis activity also lent itself naturally to counting. color matching butterfliesCount the colors, count the beads vs pom poms … there are lots of opportunities for learning. color and match color matching activity for kids

Books About Colors

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Hello, Red Fox

Hello, Red Fox by Eric Carle is a fun interactive book about colors and the color wheel. Kids will love the “trick” on each page. The trick being that if you stare at a color for long enough then stare at a blank page the complimentary color will appear! This book is great, but not for a group, a class will disintegrate into “Let me!!” and “My turn!” quickly so this is really is best read one on one!

Dog's Colorful Day

Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd was a huge hit at our house. My son loved identifying the colors of all the drips of paint, ice cream and more that Dog gets on him throughout the day. This is a great book not only because it has counting and colors but because of the language it uses while the spots of color are splatting, squashing ans squishing onto his beautiful white fur. My son loved repeating these words with enthusiasm as he noted how poor Dog was getting so messy! It’s a fun book to read and one that I have added to my wish list !

Brown Bear Brown Bear

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. is a book that can go with a baby from infancy through toddlerhood and into the preschool years. The bold colors of the illustrations by Eric Carle are perfect for catching infant’s attention and will continue to grab it through the years. With the turn of each page the reader is left wondering what’s next, and if the reader is my son he will cut you off to tell you what’s coming next before you have a chance to turn the page. There are other titles in the series , including ; Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?, Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? , and Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? but this one is my very favorite! My daughter has loved this book for years and it was the first book she memorized and “read” to us.

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75 Everyday Activities For 3 Year Olds

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ideas for 3 year oldsThis summer my daughter and I have had a lot of time to play. Extra time in fact because she decided when she turned 3 to give up naps. With her brother home from school for the summer my attempts at forcing the issue have been met with refusal. I am going to try again in a month when her brother returns to school but in the meantime she has quiet time, earlier bedtimes and lots of simple activities like these peppered throughout the day. For simple ideas that don’t usually make it into a full blog post follow me on Instagram and you can see more everyday ideas.  If you have a younger child check out our similar list of 75 TV Free Activities For Toddlers. These activities for 3 year olds have been the bulk of what we’ve done this summer. Big projects are fun but day in and day out this is what we do.

  1. Playdough with dry spaghetti.
  2. Fill a table with  books and read, read, read.
  3. Doodle with smelly markers on cardboard from your recycle bin.
  4. Play doctor with dolls.
  5. Take a walk and hunt for colors.
  6. Play with puzzles.
  7. Look at family photos together.
  8. Create with peel and stick jewels.
  9. Read through catalogs.
  10. Build a fort. preschool ideas
  11. Play eye spy with favorite book.
  12. Eat lunch outside.
  13. Play in a box.
  14. Paint with watercolors.
  15. Play with stickers.
  16. Play sports in the yard.
  17. Play-Doh and sequins.
  18. Play The Cupcake Game.
  19. Play Simon Says.
  20. Make a balance beam out of painter’s tape and walk it!
  21. Play in a kiddie pool.
  22. Color with Color Wonder markers and coloring sheets.
  23. Water some plants
  24. Play with Magic Nuudles.
  25. Play with Play-Doh and Duplo together. how to keep a 3 year old busy
  26. Dance.
  27. Play with a light table ( easy DIY here ) .
  28. Play with cold cooked spaghetti.
  29. Cook together.
  30. Play with water, rice, beans, gravel etc… in your water table .
  31. Play with the hose.
  32. Dress up some dolls.
  33. Take silly pictures together.
  34. Play hide and seek.
  35. Cuddle.
  36. Play with stamps.
  37. Make some window clings .
  38. Paint your toenails with kid safe nail polish .
  39. Run Through the sprinkler.
  40. Write in a journal with markers, stamps and crayons.
  41. Go to the beach.
  42. Learn about emotions with Mr. Potato Head.
  43. Go to the library.
  44. Read with a sibling.
  45. Call Grandma ( or Aunty, Uncle… you get the picture.)
  46. Help clean.
  47. Play dentist with dolls.
  48. Finger paint.
  49. Draw with chalk on black construction paper.
  50. Go to a local elementary school and play at the playground.75 ideas for 3 year olds
  51. Play dress up.
  52. Take markers and paint onto the porch for art outside.
  53. Duplo
  54. Play School
  55. Mix sidewalk chalk and other toys for pretend play outside.
  56. Bubbles.
  57. Scrap paper collages.
  58. Hunt for magnets with a magnetic wand in a bowl of uncooked oatmeal or rice.
  59. Jump in puddles.
  60. Build a tower out of recycling.
  61. Wash the car.
  62. Backyard nature hunt . Tape painters tape sticky side out on a window or wall and have your child stick what they find on it.
  63. Take some pictures.
  64. Have a tea party.
  65. Practice cutting.
  66. Make a ramp with cardboard and drive matchbox cars down it.
  67. Read books outside.75 simple activities for 3 year olds
  68. Play-Doh with pipe cleaners.
  69. Wash play cars, scooters and bikes.
  70. Go for a hike.
  71. Play with Play-doh and egg molds.
  72. Play airplane or train with your kitchen chairs.
  73. Wash windows with water and vinegar.
  74. Turn snack bars into shapes and practice using a knife at the same time.
  75. Play alone. Yes it’s more than OK, it’s awesome to let kids play alone. We don’t need to entertain them 24/7 !

What is your family’s favorite everyday activity ? Not listed? Add it in comments and tell us why your kids love it!

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21 Five Senses Activities For Kids

Five Senses Activities For Kids The Five Senses is a classic preschool theme because young kids learn through these senses. If you have ever watched a baby mouth objects it’s not because they are hungry or really really want to gross you out it’s because they are exploring how they feel with their mouths. These 21 activities are specifically designed with the a sense ( or more) in mind but even when you aren’t studying this theme specifically try to incorporate as many multi sensory activities in your child’s day .

Touch
Rainbow Gelatin Sensory Tub
Sandpaper Sun
Shaving Cream Puffy Paint Projects
Texture Sorting
Touch Box Guessing Game
Touch & Feel Alphabet

Taste
Ice Cream Taste Test
Paint & Eat Waffles
Wormy Dirt Treats
Yogurt Painting

Smell
Coffee Grounds Sensory Tub
Fruity Scented Playdough
Smelly Painting

Sight
Backyard Photo Safari
Custom Eye Spy Book
DIY Light Box
Eye Spy Bag
Read & Find Game

Hearing
Box Sound Activity
Listen & Find Word Search
Sound Safari