Alphabet Activity – Flower Garden

by Allison McDonald alphabet activityWe have been doing so many playdough and other sensory activities lately that it was about time to get back to a simple and playful alphabet activity. This alphabet activity is part of our Alphabet For Starters series. This series is all about playing with letters, discovering them without pressure. This alphabet garden is super simple but can be made more challenging with a few simple changes.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some contact paper ( rumor has it that the dollar store is carrying it now! ), some green construction paper, multi-color construction paper, scissor and a marker or two.letter flower garden
  2. Attach the contact paper to the wall sticky side out. She loves to “get stuck” on the wall . letter flower mural
  3. Next step is making some grass. Fold your green paper, and cut.letter garden grass
  4. Next cut some stems and flowers. I did tulips because they are easy to free hand cut.letter garden alphabet activity for toddlers
  5. Add letters to your flowers. Now here is where you can easily customize this activity. For my daughter I did plain old lowercase letters. You can do upper or a mix or write letters on the stems and have it turn into a match game.letter flowers for alphabet activities
  6. Set the pieces out and let your kiddo explore.letter flowers
  7. My daughter loves flowers and she got right into it. alphabet letter activityWe talked about the letters, the colors of the flowers and how the stems are different lengths. Don’t pressure young kids to do every letter. My daughter put a handful on while we played the first time and then I left it all set up and a few days letter she returned and added a few more. I will leave it up for a few more days and I am sure she will keep adding a few every day.letter flower alphabet The whole point is to play and discover letters. As she adds the letters to the wall she naturally says ” Look this is A,  it’s your letter Mama!” and we talk about it .flower letters for toddlers

If you are looking for a more traditional letter of the week approach we have many letter of the week ideas here. My son loved cutting and pasting so we made fun letter crafts when he was learning his letters. Find what works best for your child, what they enjoy and don’t forget to have fun!

 

15 Nature Activities For Kids

earth dayI don’t want to jinx it but we have been outside in the sun everyday for a week! In honor of our re-connection with nature I thought I would round up some of our favorite nature activities for kids in one handy place. I hope that no matter where you live that mother nature lets you get outside to explore these nature activities with your kids soon!

Beach In A Jar
Sticky Window Garden
Not A Stick Story & Activity
Painting With Nature
Backyard Photo Safari
Shell Sorting
Bird & Stick Collage
Find & Count Bug Hunt
Painting Outside
Sound Safari
Mud Soup
Shell Frame
Nature Color Hunt
Acorn Collage
Investigating Nature

Recycled Art For Earth Day

by Allison McDonald

earth day activity for kids Earth Day is coming up and I have been talking to my kids more and more about why we recycle and what we also try to re-use at home.  As you can imagine we re-use many things for projects and activities I write about on the blog. So much so that my son will often hand me his garbage and say ” Can you use this for a project?” Even I haven’t found a good use for string cheese wrappers ! Today we are using a collection of recycled objects for a wide open recycled art project. As you will see my daughter has a favorite earth friendly painting tool.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paint, a tray for the paint, some paper, and recycled objects to paint with.  We went around the house and into my art closet to choose the objects.earth day activity for kids
  2. Pour paint into the tray ( or cake pan) . I had my daughter look outside to tell me what colors she saw. Then we used those colors for the painting. I have the paper taped down because I had a feeling she’d end up finger painting and this keeps the paper from sticking to her hands and ending up on the floor.
  3. Explore! earth day paintingThis is wide open . She liked the toilet paper roll  but hated the little cap. earth day painting with recycled objectsThe ribbon spool made interesting prints but the real fun was in using her hands.earth day craft The ultimate re-usable paint brush! earth day craft for toddlersAfter plopping on the paint with her hands she explored the marks that some of the recycled objects made. earth day art projectRolling the toilet paper roll was a fun discovery too. earth day painting with toilet paper rolls

Books About Recycling

plasticbottle

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The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle: A Story About Recycling by Alison Inches is awesome! I only wish that my son was old enough to enjoy it as much as I did. It’s not aimed at 2 year olds at all, but he did like to open it to the page with the recycling truck and point out all the parts to me. The book itself takes the reader through the complete process from crude oil, to bottle and then to synthetic fleece. I am not too proud to admit I learned s a few new things and had a few good laughs along the way with the books little bits of humor too. I think most 5 year olds would enjoy this book, and it’s easy to break it down for those unable to sit for this much text. Also the book was printed on 100% post consumer waste paper.

Trash and Recycling

Trash And Recycling by Stephanie Turnball is a great book ! I learned more about garbage and the recycling process reading this to my son over lunch than I ever knew! He loved it and despite being a pretty sophisticated book for a 3 year old immediately asked to read it again as soon as I closed it. It explains the whole process from curbside pick up, land fills, incineration and recycling. The idea for today’s activity came from the sorting of recyclable garbage from this book!

 

50 Ways To Teach Your Child To Read

by Allison McDonald

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50 ways to teach your child to readLearning to read is not a crash course that kids take and are done with once they can read Dick and Jane without any help. Learning to read is developmental and starts when a newborn looks at you and hears you talking to them. Below are 50 pieces to the reading puzzle . 50 ways that you and your child can have fun knowing that they are working on early literacy development and learning to love books. This is not definitive checklist it’s a buffet of options to help support your child as they develop literacy skills and become independent readers. Find ideas that work for your family with your child and their current development. Click through the linked items for more details and how to do the activity with your child.

  1. Read to your child.
  2. Play rhyming games.
  3. Sing the alphabet song with them.
  4. Label things with their names from an early age.
  5. Go to the library even when they are at that loud voice only stage.
  6. Have non fiction books as well as fiction available .
  7. Tell stories.
  8. Have books all over your house.
  9. Teach the letter sounds by emphasizing the sounds in words they hear often from a young age.
  10. Provide fun and interesting books for them to read.
  11. Get a magazine subscription and read it together.
  12. Make play dough letters.
  13. Play the alphabet game on road trips.
  14. Read the mail together.
  15. Make a reading nook.
  16. Clap out syllables.
  17. Make letter crafts.
  18. Make reading play time .
  19. Notice letters in the environment.
  20. Learn about how books work and other concepts of print.
  21. Let them choose their own books at the library or bookstore.
  22. Leave them notes in their lunchboxes .
  23. Play with foam letters in the bath. Use bath toys to make up and tell stories.
  24. Make your own books.
  25. Play eye spy with letters and letter sounds. ” I spy something that starts with the letter B. Buh buh book!”
  26. Give your children books as gifts.
  27. Make up silly songs together.
  28. Ask them to read the pictures to you before they can read the words.
  29. Play library.
  30. Read the book then see the movie for a family treat.
  31. Play with word families.
  32. Read books with no words and share storytelling duties.
  33. Let them see you reading for fun.
  34. Read nursery rhymes.
  35. Explore and trace tactile letters.
  36. Play listening games.
  37. Retell and have your children retell stories after reading them.
  38. Ask your child questions about elements of the story as you read with them. This works on comprehension.
  39. Read books at lunchtime .
  40. Take books with you when you travel.
  41. Build with letter blocks or make your own.
  42. Do word searches.
  43. Play sight word games.
  44. Download an e-reader app on your smartphone and instead of handing them it to play a game make it a treat to use it to read.
  45. Read comics and graphic novels with them.
  46. Talk your your kids using regular words not “kiddie” words.
  47. Read them poetry.
  48. Get their bodies moving to learn letters.
  49. Read them their favorite book over and over and over even if it’s making you want to poke your eyes out.
  50. Make reading part of their bedtime routine from day one.
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Playdough Animals

playdough animals easy kid activityI love when I set up an activity with one child in mind and the other ends up completely into it. I love the addition of small items to playdough not just for the extra kick of fine motor development ( playdough all by itself is great for it) but also for the extra kick of creativity. My toddler took to this activity very literally decorating her butterfly but my son experimented with decorating as well as using the materials as tools.  I love watching the gears turn in their heads!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some playdough ( I love the commercial stuff but have some great recipes if you want to make your own) , animal shaped cookie cutters, googley eyes, beads/bits of straws/buttons and other embellishments.playdough animals 2
  2. Start by choosing a color of playdough and pressing it down flat.playdough animals
  3. Choose a cookie cutter and cut out. playdough activity for kids
  4. Start decorating. playdough animals 7I love how a simple googly eye transforms the playdough. My daughter was totally into it but it was my son who surprised me. He was far more focused than I expected him to be. playdough animals 8He quickly discovered that the beads made cool prints and that he could make it look like scales and fur. playdough animals 10
  5. After she was done her butterfly my daughter found our plastic scissors and joined us at the table to do some playdough cutting.playdough animals 5
  6. My son just kept creating. playdough animals 22He couldn’t wait to show his dad what he made and his new techniques when he got home from work. playdough animals