Back To School Kids Craft

This apple craft can be done two ways, lacing it for older more dexterous children and simply using a stapler for younger kids and toddlers. Either way there is something I just love about apples made from brown craft paper or my low cost alternative – grocery bags!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a brown grocery bag or craft paper, newspaper, hole punch ( or stapler if you aren’t doing the lacing), ribbon, red, brown and green paint, scissors and paint brush.
  2. Start by drawing an apple on the paper.
  3. Cut out 2 apples ( back and front).
  4. Paint.
  5. While the paint dries crumple up your newspaper.
  6. When dry punch holes in the apple ( make sure you punch them in the same spot on both front and back).
  7. Tie your ribbon on. You can also use a button to act as a stopper.
  8. Start lacing.
  9. Stuff with your newspaper.
  10. Finish lacing.

Back to School Books !

Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come by Nancy Carlson did not live up to my expectations. It was written in 1999 but the information seems out dated, the little mouse in the story is entering kindergarten but is still unsure of his ABCs and could only count to 10. I know this seems like a minute detail but it bugs me because most kids entering kindergarten are well aware of the alphabet and can count past 10 with ease. I felt like it covered the basics about what a child can expect but it doesn’t go into any depth and I doubt it would ease any anxiety or fulfill any honest curiosity. I hate giving bad reviews but I just don’t like this book.

Miss Mingo and the First Day of School by Jamie Harper is a delightful book. Miss Mingo is a flamingo and teacher who wants to know about her students on the first day of school. She starts the exercise by sharing some fun facts about being a flamingo , like why she is pink, and before you know it the whole class of different animals are sharing. This book not only shows kids that it’s okay to share about themselves but it is full of fun facts about animals in the fine print. I learned something I never knew about a Narwhal! It is a bit long for a toddler but each page highlights new animals and it’s easy to skip a few for those that aren’t ready for a book of this length. This is going on my buy list!

The Kissing Hand by Audry Penn is an absolute favorite . Chester is a raccoon who like most of us doesn’t like change. In his case it’s starting school. He wants to stay home with his mama and play with the friends he already has instead of going to school away from her and his friends. So his mama explains to him the magic of the kissing hand . The real magic is the message that we have to do things that scare us sometimes but that the love of our family is always with us to help us through. Go get this book.

Truck Themed Kids Crafts

Over the years we have done many truck themed kids crafts and used them to learn about shapes, practice fine motor skills, pretend play and more! We are off on a road trip soon so I thought I would share some of my favorites with you today.

Shape Garbage Truck

Road r

Straw and Cap Truck

Traffic Light

Shape Fire Truck

Custom Roadway

School Bus

Paint and Peel Math Craft

When you find something your child genuinely loves use it! My son adores painting with this roller sponge, he calls it his steam roller and pretends to be making a road on any painting we make with it.  When I suggested we make a magic number painting with it he all but leaped into the kitchen, which delighted me since he has not been as keen about art since the weather has been amazing, really who can blame the kid?

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a sheet of light colored paper, some vinyl number stickers, paint, plates and a sponge or roller sponge paint brush. Using a sponge is much easier when you want coverage. This activity doesn’t work well if the whole paper isn’t covered in paint.
  2. Start by placing the number sticker on the paper. Depending on your child’s ability you can simple pop them on , or challenge them to make numbers with them. For example say ” Can you make 23? Or 51? ” don’t push it though having fun with learning is the point not quizzing your kids.
  3. Pour paint onto the plates.
  4. Start painting.
  5. I called out the numbers at first for my son to cover with paint asking him if he could find 7 or 4  etc… but then he started to pretend that he was building a road and I sat back and listened to his pretend play.
  6. Let dry.
  7. Peel off.  As adults we know that the number will peel off and white will be beneath it but at least for my 3 year old it was a fun and awesome surprise – and he even thought it was magic that they were white!

Anno’s Counting Book Big Book by Mitsumasa Anno almost didn’t make it into my library bag. I am so glad it did. This is a wonderful book full of possibilities. There is no text , simple aerial illustrations of a field as it evolves one number at a time. The illustrations fill up quickly and it might take a while to see that you have to classify the pictures on each page to match it with the number on the page but once you do , each page is a lesson!
One White Wishing Stone by Doris K. Gayzagian is a beautiful book. Visually it reminds me of an impressionist painting, the soft beach colors used by illustrator Kristina Swarner are calming and pretty. This is more than just a counting book, there is a story of a little girl at the beach,what she finds and how she plans to use them when she takes them home. It’s so beautifully done that it almost makes me forget how much I hate finding sand in my car after a trip to the beach.

museum 123

Museum 123 by The Metropolitan Museum Of Art is another simple but beautiful counting book.  What I love about this book is that the number is not on the same page as the onbjects/images the child is being asked to count. Instead a simple question of how many is followed by a painting with the objects, and the next page has a large number. My son loved counting then flipping the page exclaiming ” I knew it , I said that number I was right!” My only complaint is that it only went to 10!

Paint Chip Flowers

Now that school is out for most of you I have been brainstorming crafts that are a little more challenging but that can be adapted for younger kids as well. This was fun to make and by no means do you or your child have to make flowers, the sky is the limit with these fun vibrant colors. Also you can take this opportunity to talk about shades and hues ! Don’t miss the matching activity after the craft for younger kids either!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paint samples, scissors, paper and glue.
  2. Start by deciding what to create, or deciding to make an abstract creation.
  3. I started with some grass and glued it on my paper.
  4. Next I made flower stems and leaves, and added them.
  5. Time for some pretty colors, I chose to make pink and purple flowers.
  6. Cut out the petals and glued them on.
  7. Now was the more creative part – the “extras” I decided to make some clouds with a dusty blue.
  8. Then my favorite a butterfly!
  9. As it dries the glue will stick but the paint samples will pull away some. I personally LOVE this, I like how 3 dimensional it makes the craft. If you don’t like this just pop a piece of wax paper over it and lay a heavy book on top for a few hours.

Paint Color Match

This activity is not just a color match it’s also a wonderful fine motor challenge for toddlers and preschoolers.
Here are the instructions.

Ball Painting


This activity is super easy to do but will delight your child!
  1. Gather your Materials. For this art activity you will need a ball, I am using a golf ball but if my son was older I’d use a marble or 2! Also a few colors of paint, some paper and a shoe box or shoe box lid.
  2. Place a piece of paper into the box , along with a small amount of paint, then carefully place the ball on the paint.
  3. Tip the box this way and that way and watch the ball “paint” the paper. Younger children will want to catch the ball, so just make sure you are using non toxic paint and a ball big enough not to fit in their mouth.
  4. Repeat with more paint colors!
Song!

Today’s song is the French version of ” If you are happy and you know it” but the literal translation is ” If you love the Sun” . I don’t expect you to sing this exact song with your kids unless you speak French ( in which case ignore my horrible accent ) but I urge you to sing songs in other languages if you know them even if your accent is horrible !


Si tu aimes le soleil!

Si tu aimes le soleil… frappe des mains!
Si tu aimes le soleil ….frappe des mains!
Si tu aimes le soleil, le printemps qui se reveille
Si tu aimes le soleil… frappe des main!

Repeat with:

Tape des peids
Cliques des doights.

Books!

I decided for this “mixed bag” I would focus on one author I love, so today I am showcasing David Shannon! His books make me laugh and every student I have ever read these to has enjoyed his humor and characters too!


” A Bad Case of the Stripes” is about a little girl so worried about impressing others that she keeps changing and looses who she really is. This story is a cautionary tale about being yourself, and NOT being yourself. A great book for older preschoolers and young elementary aged children.

” Duck on a Bike”
is a more than just a story about a duck riding a bike, it’s about trying new things and how if one person dares to do something different they can urge a whole group to change too! This book can be the start of a great dialog between you and your child about trying things that seem impossible!

” No, David!”
is probably David Shannon’s most known book, it it we follow the misadventures of little David and his eventual dicsiplining and hug from his mom! This book is a wonderful gate way into talking about rules with a class, I have successfully used ti as a reminder about rules and why we have them. Kids love watching other kids do naughty things , so this book is always a hit with toddlers on up!