Cereal Box Apples Craft

apple craft

You know when you don’t have enough of one kind of cereal and you have to mix two to get a full bowl? Yesterday I had to finish off 2 and while looking at the empty boxes I knew I wanted to make them into something fun for fall.  Our apple trees are heavy with fruit and I can’t wait to do some apple printing but until then these cereal box apples are proudly displayed on our mantle.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a cereal box , some craft paper, tape, red paint ( crayon or marker), a popsicle stick, green felt, pinking shears,  a gold or brown pipe cleaner, scissors, a dish for paint and a large brush.
  2. Start by taping the box closed and wrapping it in the craft paper just like you would when wrapping a gift.
  3. Time to paint!
  4. My daughter wanted to do it too but wouldn’t hold the brush, she was all about the marker though and just wanted to stand so we improvised using a chair.
  5. While my son painted I wrapped the end of the pipe cleaner around the popsicle stick.
  6. When he was done he did the rest.  I did my daughter’s stem.
  7. Let dry.
  8. While waiting they played and I cut the leaves out of felt with pinking shears.
  9. When dry make a hole in the felt, make a hole in the box with scissors. Adults only , you need sharp scissors.
  10. Stick the stem through the hole in the leaves and into the box.
  11. All done!

Books About Apples

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.

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!).

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.

Bubble Wrap Starfish Craft

star fish craft

A great way to get children interested in science is to go on field trips to learn first hand. I like to take my children somewhere exciting every Friday then use our trip as a launching pad for more learning with books and of course a creative craft.  Last week we went to our local aquarium and checked out a new octopus, some jelly fish ,  crabs and of course starfish! For the craft when we came home we used both bubble wrap for my preschooler and a easier to manipulate tool for my toddler. I am always happy when we can find crafts that work with both kids at the same time.

    1. Take a trip to your local aquarium, beach or even a pet store and check out some sea life!
    2. Gather your materials. You will need some paper ( we love using grocery bags), self stick bubble wrap ( regular works too but man was the self stick awesome), paint, a plate for the paint, marker, toilet paper roll and scissors. If you are doing this with toddlers you may also want a dish scrubber with a handle.
    3. Start by drawing a starfish on your paper. I taped the paper bag right down to the table with painters tape to use it as a drop cloth and project all in one. I had one kid at each end of the table.
    4. Cut your bubble wrap so it wraps around your toilet paper roll. The self stick stayed on like magic , I am in love. I swear this post isn’t sponsored by the bubble wrap company .
    5. Choose your paint colors and pour into a plate. Not too much or the bubble wrap won’t show. Roll the bubble wrap in.
    6. Roll it on your starfish.
    7. We never get sick of how awesome bubble wrap prints are, and we’ve made a few over the years!
    8. Now for the wee ones. I gave her the same plate and let her smack her star with the scrubber. As you can see it did go to her lips but because it’s harder plastic all she could do was lick it. This is why I don’t sponge paint with her yet, she could bite off a piece and choke. Another tip for babies and toddlers, keep some stained clothes for art time, many will refuse a smock and it’s easier to get a good fit with clothes.
    9. Let dry and cut out.

Books About The Ocean

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A House for Hermit Crab is a book I have owned for many years. It offers so many learning opportunities for young readers and doesn’t loose any of the entertainment in trying to hard to teach. The hermit crab feels drab and each month he asks different sea creatures to help decorate his shell . As the shell is getting more and more beautiful it’s also getting more and more snug and almost time for the hermit crab to leave it behind and find a bigger one.  The book teaches about sea creatures, months of the year and moving. More than moving it teaches about change . Change is  difficult for all of us but a little trickier for most preschoolers which makes this book so valuable

Hooray for Fish!: Candlewick Storybook Animations by Lucy Cousins gets are huge “Hooray” from our house. I thought my son would think this book was a little young for him. He’s started saying board books are for babies, and he’s a big boy and even though this isn’t a board book it’s simple, big and bright like one. Nope, he loved it. Little Fish takes the readers on a tour of all the different kinds of fish , the bright fun illustrations are so interesting to look at , and choose your favorite fish on each page. The rhymes are fun and when we finished reading my son immediately asked to read it again! Edited for 2011 – now that he is almost 5 he flatly refused to read this with me but his sister who is 14 months liked it!

Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea by Jan Peck is about a little boy swimming in the “deep” looking for treasure. Along the way he encounters different sea animals and greets and says good bye to each before swimming away on his treasure hunt. The cute kicker is that all along the little boy is really in his bath tub and the animals are just toys. I liked the twist and so did my son who then requested a laundry basket to play bath, funny how he didn’t actually want a bath… a mom can dream! Edited for 2011 – my son re discovered this book as we were setting up the playroom in our new house. It’s still a hit with him after 2 years.

6 Great Recycled Crafts

Before you toss it in the bin, or break it down to fit into your recycling can ask yourself what can I use this for? What can I make with this? That was the inspiration for these 6 great crafts using regular old recyclables from around the house.

  1. DIY Jar Lid Stamps
  2. Rainbow made from craft supply left overs.
  3. Milk Plug Ring
  4. Pretend Play Campfire
  5. Juice Jug Rocket
  6. Milk Carton Fire Station

Family Bowling

paper towel roll bowling

Have fun burning off energy and learning about physics with this simple and earth friendly bowling game. We have had a cooler than normal summer in the Pacific North West , unfortunately my kids don’t have lower than average energy . Sometimes getting out of the house isn’t an option but you can still have fun and burn some energy without trashing your house . I love making things with family pictures but you could easily number the pins, label them with shapes or letters too.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper towel rolls ( toilet paper will work but don’t topple over as easily. I highly suggest paper towel rolls), pictures of your family printed out on regular printer paper, tape, scissors and a ball.
  2. Print out pictures of your family.  You will want pictures that are vertical .
  3. Tape and roll.
  4. And tape again.
  5. Make as many or as few as you want. We didn’t play by real bowling rules , instead we just tried to knock as many down as possible.
  6. Then we set the pins up in a different formation to see if that would help knock more down . In all we tried 4 different set ups, I was just looking to have fun and play and we ended up with a physics lesson! See learning through play people!!
  7. After we were done my daughter enjoyed talking to the pins while I cooked dinner.  So it was a win with both kids. Perfect!

Books About Family

Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton. This author is a preschool parents dream, short and easy to read melodic books with illustrations to die for. The story is simply a little love song about all the ways the dog loves the puppy, simple and touching. As an educator something I love is that the dogs don’t have an obvious race , they don’t even have an obvious gender which is perfect. Regardless of who loves who in your family your child can see you in the dog and themselves in the puppy! I think that is the perfect valentine! My son didn’t warm up to this book right away, but now not only does he love it he is very very specific that only I can read it to him . It’s become a big favorite in our house.

Sometimes It’s Grandmas and Grandpas: Not Mommies and Daddies by Gayle Byrne is a wonderful book about grandparents who are raising their grand daughter.  There is no long drawn out explanation about where her parents are, or what led to her grandparents having custody and I don’t think there needs to be. They are her parents, love her, snuggle her, read with her and love her just like any parents.  She does wonder about her parents and shows signs of feeling different but the security and love her grandparents provide overcome those insecurities. The author’s note at the back of the book explains that she herself is raising her grandchild and offers more resources for grandparents who are primary caregivers as well.

Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler had my son clapping and be bopping in his jammies before bed. This book is so fun to read, the musical words are impossible not to dance to. My son loves jazz, and his only disappointment was that there were no trumpets in the book. He didn’t understand that the family in the book , which included grandparents, aunts , uncles and cousins were listening to a record. I tried to tell him it was like a cd but the illustration was clearly a record player and he wasn’t buying it. Still we loved this book , the family was loving and I loved that the older brother was holding the baby, not common in kids books to see a boy holding a baby. Great book even without a trumpet.

Butterfly Fairy Wand

After reading  Speakaboo’s Sleeping Beauty on our iPod with the MeMeTales Mobile Reader App I was inspired to make a fairy wand to go along with the fairies in the story. I wanted to show parents how easy a fun and very sparkly wand can be to make .  I asked my son if he wanted to be a part of this craft and I got a resounding ” No.”  Even after I suggested making it a Bat-wand he wasn’t convinced. So I made it myself and even though I have no need for a fairy wand i have to say I have been casting some awesome spells with it.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some sticky back foam if it’s sparkly even better! You will also need a drinking straw ( milkshake ones work great), a pen or marker, scissors and curling ribbon.
  2. Start by drawing a butterfly ( or shape of your choice) on the backing of your foam.
  3. Cut out and use as a stencil for the other side. We used two different colors of foam but using the same is a great choice as well.
  4. Peel the back off the foam, press the straw into it.
  5. Sandwich the straw in between the foam.
  6. Add the ribbon.
  7. Curl the ribbon on the edge of the scissors blade ( adults only please).
  8. Now cast some stupendous spells!

Book

Sleeping Beauty
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Sleeping Beauty

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As mentioned above the inspiration for this craft came from Sleeping Beauty by Speakaboos , which we actually listened to using our MeMeTales App instead of reading our selves which was a fun change of pace.  Books are so versatile and reading, listening or playing with them are all ways to immerse your kids into a life long love of stories and the written word.

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