Spring Mural – Cooperative Project For Kids

We are digging murals lately so when my daughter refused her nap for the third day in a row instead of breaking down and crying like I wanted to I grabbed some paper and we made something.  This mural like our alphabet wall mural isn’t finished in one sitting, in fact I leave things to add to it out until it’s removed weeks later. I love having on going art projects that grow and change over the course of a few weeks. There is no wrong way to do this just choose materials you have, that are safe for whatever age or stage of development your kids are at and have fun!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a large piece of paper for the wall, I love craft paper but the underside of extra wrapping paper will do too. We also used painter’s tape,  glue sticks ( avoid with kids who may put them in their mouths, those suckers are choking hazards) , scrap paper , pom poms, double stick tape… these are just what we used you can add in whatever you can, just try to mix a few materials together. I love handing my kids something new and saying ” How could we use these for this project?” and watching the wheels turn.spring preschool activities
  2. Put the paper up. Grab some construction paper and start ripping . I just sat by the mural while my kids were playing with their usual favorites in the playroom ( Duplo and board books) soon enough they came by to see what I was doing.ripping paper
  3. The plan turned into a garden so we added the stems first and the kids went straight for the glue sticks. Garden wall mural  Oh and yes I ripped the stems at my son’s request, he had a hard time ripping them in long strips. I want to make sure parents know there is no issue with helping your kids create. I get emails asking ” Do you ever help?” at their request of course! I try not to do anything my kids can do on their own but if they get frustrated and ask for some help of course I will. Projects aren’t tests to see what they can do it’s time to work as a team, especially ones like this that is meant to be collaborative. They had fun adding the paper. ripped paper flowers
  4. My daughter stuck to one side of the mural. We aren’t sure of her creative vision – but both my son and I thought that her collage looked like a butterfly! flower art project
  5. I was giddy when I heard my son call me back over ( I’d gone to the book nook to read with my daughter) to see how he discovered he could glue ends of paper down but make the middle pop out at you. cooperative art projectIn true 5 year old boy fashion these were named ” Missile attack flowers” .
  6. This is how it looked for days ( you can even see it in the background of a few previous posts) spring flowersA few days later when we were in the playroom and they were busy playing I grabbed the double stick tape and pom poms and set them out. Soon I had two kids creating once a again.

I think when we return from our holiday we’ll get another material out and see how it fits with the paper and pom poms. What do you think we should add next?

Books About Flowers

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Elhert is a wonderful book to use for teaching about flowers and colors. The illustrations are bold and bright, perfect for little curious minds. I have always liked this book because you can sit down and dive into it reading each flowers name on every page , or browse it more casually with a younger child simply noting the colors.

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes is a lovely book about having confidence, loosing confidence and regaining it in the end. Chrysanthemum is a little mouse who loves her name until she goes to school and is picked on for it being out of the ordinary. Who can’t relate to this? I know I can . Thankfully my son  has yet to experience this all too common, but still so heartbreaking experience . I love that I have a book like this to share with him and open up about it before it happens. Ultimately Chrysanthemum learns to love her name again and regains the confidence she once had. Another fantastic book from a consistently wonderful author.

Zinnia’s Flower Garden by Monica Wellington is really useful not just about teaching about flowers and gardens, but also about patience and the annual cycle of a garden. Zinnia plants and waits, waters, enjoys her flowers, then they die, she collects the seeds and plans her garden for next year. I love that the main story is perfect for my almost 3 year old but there is much more for older children with longer attention spans. There is a little journal with notes about what’s happening with her garden, and various facts about plants as well. Like in so many of her books the author celebrates hard work and her characters take great pride in what they do. A fantastic message for readers, big and little. I also love the mix of illustration and photographs in this book especially, it gives the illustrations depth and a really interesting look.

Play Dough Bug Sculptures

If you follow us on Twitter or Facebook you may have heard we are prepping to sell our house, this is possibly the least fun adventure I have ever had and I once ended up in Belgium by accident at 5am… long story. I have to keep the house spic and span while we are selling so get ready for some low on mess but high on fun activities like these play dough bugs . If you want to make your own play dough we have recipes even a gluten free play dough recipe!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some play dough in a few colors, some large googley eyes, pipe cleaners, straws and other things you might have on hand like tooth pics, popscicle sticks, buttons… no rules ! Also to protect my table I use an old cutting board as the work space.
  2. Sometimes kids need a guide when they are given a buffet to create with , sometimes they don’t. So I sat down and made this bug as an example of what he could use the materials to make not what he should make , explaining that there was no wrong way to create.
  3. Start creating!
  4. Hard at work
  5. A trio of bugs!

Bug Hunt

Get outside and turn over rocks to find creepy crawly bugs. On our bug hunt we kept count to add some math to our outside learning.

A Few Favorite Books About Bugs


Ace Lacewing: Bug Detectiveby David Bierdrzycki is such a fun read, I started it thinking it would go over my son’s head but he sat listening the whole time. The mystery begins with a missing Queen bee and will have you guessing who is behind her disappearance as Ace tries to solve it. There was a lot of humor that was lost on my then 2 year old but the fun Dick Tracy like illustrations kept him happy while I snickered at the jokes he missed. Very fun read for kids that aren’t yet ready for a chapter book but outgrowing pictures ones.

Bob and Otto by Robert O. Bruel is a lovely story about 2 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. I like the lesson about how we all play a part!

The Very Quiet Cricket

The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle is another favorite the story is all about a little cricket who is trying and trying to chirp like the others to talk to all the bugs talking to him but he can’t! Whenever I read it to children ( and it was a classroom favorite too) I would wiggle my shoulders like I was trying to rub my wings together just like the cricket. Kids latched on to that and I loved seeing them so engaged by the repetitive but never boring book. I thought seeing 12 little 3 year olds wiggling was precious but one little 3 year old is pretty cute doing it too! Of course there is a “surprise” at the end that toddlers and preschoolers alike will love.

Yarn Easter Egg Craft

yearn easter egg craft for kids 
I know this is very similar to the nest I did, I actually made this weeks before I did the nest but have been waiting to post it. I saw this years ago in a book at a rec center I worked at, it was worth the wait, I love how it turned out. This is a fun craft for school aged kids home for spring break or preschoolers with some patience. I didn’t bother trying to have my son help, his love of eating glue would have been in overdrive I’m sure.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need glue, yarn , a balloon and some ribbon.
  2. Blow up your balloon a little ways and tie it.
  3. Cut some yarn in about 12 inch pieces. For this craft I used about 20 , 12″ pieces total.
  4. Mix your glue with a tiny bit of water if you want, this made it easier to soak the yarn but it took longer to dry. Either way works- just don’t dilute it too much.
  5. Start drenching the yarn in the glue
  6. Laying it on the balloon. Criss cross it over the whole thing.
  7. Keep going…and going.
  8. When you feel it’s done let it dry , I prefer to let it dry by hanging it from a rack with a clothes pin. That way it’s not touching anything and won’t get stuck.
  9. When it’s dry carefully pop the balloon, and fish it out of the egg.
  10. Add your ribbon!yarn ee