Shell Picture Frame

One of the best parts of creating with your child is the time you spend together. Parent and tot projects like this Beach Shell Picture Frame  are a special time to not only work together on something but also to practice taking turns something that can never be done too much . Ironically I did this without my son, he was at summer camp all week hopefully practicing taking turns with other kids, and exhausted when he got home. I will be doing this with him when we get back from our beach getaway next week though!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cardboard ( 2x as large as you want the frame to be) , a large magnet , crayons, shells, hot glue gun and glue, scissors , tape and a picture.
  2. Start by cutting your cardboard in half, then cutting an opening in one piece for the frame.
  3. Tape your picture ( I trimmed mine) on the other half  of the cardboard. Trim the cardboard so that it’s no larger than the frame piece , you don’t want it peeking out from underneath.
  4. Have your child decorate the frame with crayons.
  5. Heat up the glue gun. When I do crafts that require the glue gun but I want my son’s input of where to place things like these shells I will ask him before I add the glue where I should add it and what I should put on it. At the very least have them choose the shells to add.
  6. Glue the shells on.
  7. Glue the magnet on the back of the piece with the picture.
  8. Glue the two pieces together and let cool.

More Shell Activities

Shell Sorting

Beach Sensory Tub

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!

Books About Space

Draw Me a Star by Eric Carle is often not read in classrooms simply because of a depiction of a naked man and woman. It’s not what most parents expect to find in an Eric Carle book but it is very fitting in this beautiful and really touching book. The story although very similar to a biblical creation story isn’t necessarily reflective only of a christian view point , rather as I read it is was the author’s own creation. It begins and ends with a star , and hits all the right points in between.


Comets by Melanie Chrismer surprised me. This little book was not only full of facts about comets but it also kept my son’s attention from cover to cover. The facts are simple, and presented in small bits with illustrations . The straightforward approach was perfect to support an introductory activity about comets.

On the Launch Pad: A Counting Book About Rockets by Michael Dahl was a great find, my son loved counting down from 12-1 with the bright illustrations , simple text and hidden numbers on each page. Something that seems simple but was really awesome was that each page had the number written as a word, shown as a digit and as dots to count. You can take the time to count each dot, read the word or simply recognize the digit!


How to Catch a Star
by Oliver Jeffers is a sweet story about a little boy who wants a star of his own. I loved the bright and simplistic illustrations and the message about holding on to your dreams, working for them and figuring out that sometimes things come to you in packages you don’t expect! Great book!


The Way Back Home
by Oliver Jeffers is a moving story about a boy , a martian and the moon they were both stuck on. Together they figure out a way to get back home even though they are so sad to say goodbye to each other. I love this author, I love his illustrations as well, they are so unique and the emotion he manages to convey is amazing. There is an illustration of the boy and martian standing awkwardly before they have to say goodbye and it embodies the emotion. Grab anything written by this author and you will be happy!

Hush, Little Alien by Daniel Kirk is a quirky updated version of the classic lullaby. So many bedtime books are super sugary but this one is funky and bright! I love the space theme and the illustrations are great! The rhymes are funny and kept my son interested in the lullaby much longer than the traditional one which he deems a “baby song”.

Our Stars by Anne Rockwell is another wonderful non fiction book from this author illustrator. The book shares the most basic facts about stars with the reader as well as more complicated facts about constellations, comets and meteors. I love that the facts are shared pretty independently on each page, so if something is above your toddlers head you can simply skip that page, until they are . The illustrations are fun enough to grab attention but detailed enough to help explain the facts being presented.

Gumball Run!

by Kim

I saw this idea originally here on mumma made it and have been wanting to do it ever since. We have had thunderstorms for a few days so what a perfect opportunity to try it out.

All you will need are pool noodles, gumballs, and a serrated knife.

I cut the pool noodles into different lengths and then cut them in half. You can use scissors for this, but a serrated knife made it so easy (be careful, though).

I set up a system of the “slides” on the furniture. My kids were tickled pink.

I had them guess whether the gumball was going to make it to the bottom or not. This time it didn’t make it.

We played around with a few different ways of putting the slides and connecting them. I challenged Cole to make a system using at least 3 different colors. Here is what he very meticulously made.

He was hoping the gumball would shoot up at the end and into his mouth. You and I know that it didn’t do that, but didn’t understand why. So I had the opportunity to explain (in preschooler terms) about speed, force, and gravity.

We also set up slides next to each other to race. We wondered if certain colors would go faster than others. We had to test it out and talked about why they went equally fast.

We tested out whether the incline would make a difference on how fast it went. My son was really into trying all sorts of angles. I think we did this experiment at least 20 times on different pieces of furniture.

While my daughter didn’t really get into the hypothesis and explaining part, she loved participating in the testing. She would squeal as the gumballs went shooting down the slides.

This can easily be modified using a marble, but I know my toddler and I know she would put it in her mouth. So I opted for gumballs. If I know it is going in her mouth I might as well use something that is meant to be there.

While gumballs are a suitable choice for preschoolers with supervision, they are choking hazards for under 3 years of age. My house has gumballs often (thanks for the gumball machine Grandma) and my children are very familiar with them. I was very confident doing this activity with my daughter. You know your children and if you are not comfortable doing this with them, it is better not to.

This activity was a great opportunity to discuss all sorts of different science concepts with my preschooler. I took advantage of the different colors of pool noodles and gumballs and showed them to my toddler. Overall it was a great activity for both age levels. We had a lot of fun doing it.

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Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.