Coffee Filter Flowers. Simple creative fun for any day.
Sweet pea loves playing with water and color, so we used some medicine droppers and water with food coloring added and had some fun just playing. We got to combine colors, experiment with how we used the medicine droppers, so much to explore!
Then we made our flowers! This isn’t something I came up with, rather a quick search on Pinterest for simple coffee filter flowers will bring many results for how to manipulate the coffee filters into pretty flowers with chenille stems.
This is such an easy craft. But something about scrunching up the centers of these coffee filters when they are dry and wrapping them with a chenille stem to resemble flowers always melts the heart!
Have a wonderful time sharing love to those around you with pretty flowers!
We all know Valentine’s Day is coming up, so I’m sharing a very simple paper heart craft from my childhood today! I think we called these Magic Hearts when I was little.
All you’ll need is a sheet of both red and white construction paper, scissors, a paint brush, and vinegar.
First, cut out your red paper hearts. Great scissor fine motor practice!
Next, using your paintbrush and vinegar, wet down your white construction paper. The wetter, the better! (Of course, we all know kids like to use a lot, but no puddles or it will take a long time to dry!) I know for some kiddos with dry hands the vinegar might sting. You can certainly do this with water, but the resulting color will be faint.
Then, press your paper hearts onto the wet paper and rub them down. Follow this by painting the hearts with vinegar. Again, the wetter, the better! (If you are using water, you’ll want to make sure both the heart and paper are saturated and reapply water several times before letting everything dry.)
Set them aside to dry.
Once dried, gently lift the hearts and you’ll see the color transferred to the white construction paper. If the color is not as dark as desired, simply repeat the process!
This paper is great with just an “I love you!” note written inside the heart, or use the paper and the hearts to make a card!
I think you can tell this project isn’t about the process or a glamorous finished product. Its a great activity to keep little ones busy using their hands! As always, adult supervision is an awesome idea!
With the bitterly cold weather we’ve been doing a few more things inside. (Read – experiments!)
I’m sharing a fun one today. It’s called Shy Blue and requires only a few materials which you most likely have in your home. (We’ve done this experiment before. I took pictures this most recent time, but only the one with green food coloring came out. The one below is from last year when I prepped another post, but never published it.) Read more
Have you ever made Jax? Oh, it is delicious and only takes a fresh snowfall and some maple syrup to make. Well, I guess a bowl, a spoon, and someone to eat it! I thought after all of the snow falling in the northeast some may be looking for a snow day treat!
Jax is something my dad used to ‘make’ for us when I was a kid. I have no real idea where the name came from, he just always called it that! It’s a great memory!
After a fresh snowfall, when the snow is clean and white, scoop some into a bowl. Pour maple syrup (real or fake, but real is delicious!) over the snow. The syrup will get just a little gooey – and that is the tasty part! Sit back and enjoy!
Jax is a simple, fun, snow day treat for your sense of taste!
A very simple, fun craft involving hearts, a little scissor work and creative coloring/drawing is on tap today. It’s a bright, sunny day here, and these Valentine’s Day Sun Catchers are the perfect thing to catch the sun as it streams in the windows!
You’ll only need a few items:
Vegetable oil (any kind)
A cotton ball (or use a paper towel)
Simply draw a heart (or any other shape) on the paper and get creative with coloring it. Cut it out, making sure to hole punch where you’ll hang it from.
Lay out some paper towels over wax paper and place your creation on the towels. Place some oil in a small bowl on your prepared surface close to your project.
Take your cotton ball, dip it in the oil, and generously spread the oil over the top of your creation. Turn your project over and spread the oil over this side as well. You’ll know when you have enough on when it appears sort of translucent.
Place a fresh paper towel over one side and pat it dry. Repeat on the other side. Of course, your creation won’t be completely dry. At this point set it aside on clean paper towels for a few hours to dry some more.
Once it is dry, lace a pretty yarn, ribbon or even rope through the holes and hang it in front of a sunny window!
You are not limited to crayons and markers, nor is this craft limited to Valentine’s Day. The small sun catchers on the lower right is made with colored tissue paper glued onto white paper. Have fun with it! (Of course, the bright sunshine went away when I took the picture!)
It goes without saying that this could be a messy project that should be done with adult supervision. Working on the coordination skill of cutting with scissors and working with an oily substance can be messy and dangerous. That said, it is a great activity for fine motor skills – coordination through coloring, cutting, pincer grasp for holding the cotton ball; science of working with colors. You could even make several hearts and number them turning it into a counting game!
If you take a few moments and prepare your work surface, clean up will go much more quickly and smoothly. I have a friend who pulls out a cheap shower curtain, covers her table, and then places an old tablecloth over that when doing projects like this.
(This idea was gleaned from a young lady teaching my kids’ Sunday School class.)
I don’t know about where you are, but in my area it is sooooo cold! Cold enough for people to be doing those experiments you hear about every winter like throwing boiling water outdoors and it turning into snow.
It’s also a dreary time. Everything seems grayish white unless there is fresh snow in the air or it is bright and sunny, but too cold to go outside. Today is, thankfully, one of the sunny days, however, it is below zero!
It seems like the perfect day to share a fun, easy little activity we do when it gets this cold. Ice ornaments! (Adult supervision is a good idea!)
First, get out some tins, cupcake tins, empty yogurt containers, anything you’d like to use as a mold for your ornaments. (Any size will do as long as it isn’t too big to fit flat in your freezer and hang by a string/rope from something!) Outside one house a couple of years ago I saw large ice wreaths with cranberries inside, made from an angel cake mold. It was beautifully big!
How do you feel when one of your kids accomplishes something? Do you shout it from the mountain tops or quietly revel in pride?
Do you fear gushing about it will make them self-conscious? Or not speaking up about it will make them strive to work harder for the next goal?
Praising our children for their accomplishments can totally backfire for some children, causing them to withdraw into a cocoon, not wanting the attention, or not wanting to have to strive for the same or better next time.
As I sit writing this it is 20 degrees outside with a light wind that makes it feel -50! It seems like a good day to post a variety of ways I keep my boys active when it’s too cold outside to get that gross motor play in just by playing in the snow (or green grass as we currently have). Following are just a few of the ideas I turn to. I need a few more in my arsenal now that my almost-eight year old is getting bigger. Any ideas?
Have you been enjoying this week of simple homemade Christmas ornaments you and your child can make together? This last one I’m sharing seems like it should be for older children, but I think with supervision and help preschoolers would enjoy getting involved, too! I’ve provided an affiliate link for the ornaments for you below.
This homemade Christmas Ornament the boys and I made last year involved a heat gun (or hair dryer), crayons, clothespins and small glass ornaments. (Make sure they are glass! Using heat and glass makes this a no-brainer – adult supervision is strongly encouraged!)
These came out so beautifully that we are making some for our own tree this year! I bought the ornaments from JoAnn Crafts this year, but you can also find them on Amazon by following this (affiliate) link. I’m going to warn you making these can be addicting! It’s strangely relaxing, so you might even want to make these by yourself!
Using a grater or whatever method you find easiest to make your crayons into small pieces, crush them up! It’s up to you if you’d like to group the shavings by color, but we found that to have the best results.
As you remove the ornaments from the packaging try not to ruin the plastic package, as this makes a neat, safe place for the ornaments to cool off.
Carefully take the top hook portion off the ornament by squeezing the round loop and pulling gently. Remember, these are made of glass. They are pretty sturdy, but can still break if squeezed too hard. (If it helps to know, we didn’t break any!) Set the loop aside for now.
Decide what color(s) you’d like your ornament to be, use your imagination, and place a few crumbs of crayon in your ornament. Experiment with color – its a great activity to review colors and introduce shades of colors and color creating to younger onese. Get the science lingo going if you’d like to make this into a mini science lesson! Then carefully put the hook back into the ornament. Clip the clothespin to the round hook and hold tightly as shown above.
Use your hair dryer or heat gun to melt the crayon. I suppose you could also hold your ornament over a stove burner as well, but be very careful with whatever method you use. We used the clothespin to help keep our hands away from the heat.
Keep turning the ornament and heat source until the desired swirling effect is achieved.
Get creative with your color combinations and pattern attempts! Even one swirl of a bold or shimmering color has wonderfully beautiful results! For some ornaments, we heated until just starting to melt and it created a spotty effect! I wish I had taken pictures of all the ornaments, or at least of a couple on a tree! I loved every creation for a different reason. You’ll know what I mean when you make your own!
Once the ornaments are cooled package them in a pretty container and wish the recipient a very Merry Christmas!
If you try this with your kiddos let me know what you think! And if you missed any of the previous kid-friendly ornaments I shared, feel free to check out the star ornament or the cutout ornament!
Thank you for letting me share these homemade ornaments with you! Go spend some time with your kiddos and create something beautiful!
Continuing with the idea of homemade Christmas ornaments, here are some baked dough ornaments we made and adorned to use as gifts.
Being a rubber stamper/card maker in my pre-child years (honestly, where does my time go that I cannot craft?!) I pulled out my stamps after the kids cut simple Christmas shapes out of this great three-ingredient salt dough recipe. (We used this recipe from The Imagination Tree.)
Anyway, after cutting out your shapes, lay them as directed on a cookie sheet. Before popping them in the oven to bake, let the kiddos pick out a few stamps to adorn the ornaments. Make sure they don’t press too hard, just enough to leave a clear indentation. Another option is to roll out the dough, then stamp all over the dough if you are working only with patterned stamps. And then make your cut-outs.
We used a paisley-patterned roller stamp, swirls, initials…we even tried stamping in ink then onto the dough, but I think painting the ornaments afterwards would have worked better for us as the ink didn’t stick too well, although you can see some of the pink showing up.
These ornaments came out beautifully white and delicate-looking and my kiddos did surprisingly well keeping the shapes intact! However they turn out, this ornament gift will be special! (And you’ll be working on coordination and fine motor skills without them realizing it!)
We packaged these with the more traditional cinnamon dough ornaments and our melted crayon ornaments to make special gifts for grandparents!
Every year we try a craft for Christmas. Last year we made stars and some other ornaments that we gave as gifts. The stars are so simple to make and work on coordination skills and process thinking – some sneaky learning!
liquid glue (we found it to work best adhering the sticks together, but try glue sticks on the surface of the craft sticks for the glitter!) You can also use glitter glue for decorating!
glitter or other decorative items
craft sticks – your choice of size
First, lay out some paper on your craft surface, maybe have a paper plate nearby for catching glitter.
Next, lay out your sticks in a star shape. You’ll get to sit back for a minute watching your kiddos think through how to lay them out overlapping to make the shape. It’s a bit tricky, so its fun to watch the thought process and coordination skills! When it’s achieved, grab some more sticks and make another, this time being prepared with glue to adhere the sticks together, using the first star as a model. Letting these dry as you make more and enjoy a snack is advised because the liquid glue take a while to set up.
Third, take your glue in whatever form and apply it to the craft sticks in whatever pattern you’d like. It’s fun to try different color sticks or even use markers and create a pattern on the sticks before (or instead of) applying lots of glitter!
We found it easiest to have several plates nearby to catch the glitter as it was applied, to save on glitter (one plate per glitter type) and to help eliminate some of the mess. Of course, if you use glitter glue then you can skip this step!
The boys are already asking what we are going to make this year!
Are you making anything with your child for Christmas?
This post contains an affiliate link, which is for an item I highly recommend. Making a purchase through this link in no way increases the cost of the product. It just gives this blogger a (little) extra income.
Yesterday I shared a great book about colors, counting and bullying. Today I thought I’d share a book for the shy child. I can totally relate to this book because I could have been the main character in my early elementary grades.
The Invisible Boy, by Trudy Ludwig, (links to author’s page) starts out with “Can you see Brian, the invisible boy?” The illustrations show him in pencil sketch at the beginning of the book. He was always the last to be picked for group games and was never invited to parties. No one seems to notice him. But then a new boy starts at the school and invites him to be involved. As he participates more and more he becomes more than a pencil sketch!
As a shy child I had a difficult time, hesitating to be involved because I was so unsure of myself. I could relate to Brian, sometimes feeling I was just a figment of someone’s imagination, watching everything go on around me, but not being part of it. I know there are kiddos today who will be comforted by this book.
This book is a gentle reminder for children to be nice to everyone and include all in their activities. It shows them they can make a difference by being a friend.
If you have a child who is feeling a little shy or a child who easily makes friends, this is a very good book to share with them!
What books can you recommend for a shy child?
Mom is the Only Girl participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This means there is no additional cost to you if you click on the link and purchase this item.
This post contains an affiliate link, which is for an item I highly recommend. Making a purchase through this link in no way increases the cost of the product. It just gives this blogger a little extra income.
Are you trying to help a young child learn to count or learn their colors? Or, maybe even more importantly, trying to help a younger child deal with a little bullying situation? Then you would really like this book!
One, by Kathryn Otoshi, is such a simple color and counting book (it covers the numbers one through seven), but has a hidden message about bullying.
See, in this book “Blue was a quiet color. He like being blue… except when he was with Red.” Then one comes and teaches the colors “If someone is mean and picks on me, I, for One, stand up and say, No.”
In the end all of the colors realize that “Everyone counts!” Even Red.
I love the way this book addresses bullies in such a simple way. It is simply, in our humble opinion, a great book for every early elementary child.
Mom is the Only Girl participtes in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This means there is no additional cost to you if you click on the link and purchase this item.
When the kids first went back to school I was having a really hard time when they came home at the end of their school day. I was in my own world while they were gone. It was quiet, peaceful.
The kiddos would get off the bus, come inside and ~ LOUDNESS! My oasis was gone.
Have you felt like this or do you feel like this daily? They walk through the door and immediately everything changes, your little world is taken away. It’s not that you aren’t happy to see them, are curious about their day, or want them to be home with you. It’s just that the transition to them being home is so sudden and complete. It’s hard to make the transition.
To be honest, I was having a very difficult time switching gears until very recently. I reached out to mom friends on face book and asked for their advice. Most of them responded with after school routines that work for them, which were very helpful, however one response stood out above all the rest.
My friend’s words were so simple. About 15 minutes before the kids are due to come home stop and relax for a few minutes. End any projects in progress and put them away. Maybe have a glass of water or a snack and concentrate on how I want the kids to feel when they come home. Concentrate on them, what their day might have included (i.e. art, music, PE). Concentrate on being mom.
Now, my kids are still noisier than ever when they come home and have too much energy for me, but this simple change in my focus, in my attitude has made a huge difference. I’m able to handle the transition now with a little more grace and love.
My focus has become them, not my work. It is all outward, to welcome them home. It’s to make them feel loved. I am no longer concentrating on my tasks in my life that they’ve interrupted, but I’m loving them with my life.
A simple change in focus, planned and thought out, has totally changed home-from-school-time for this mom!
Five year old Sweet Pea has been going to Kindergarten Camp for three weeks and still has not gotten over his separation anxiety. The first several days was very excited to go to camp so I thought ‘finally he’s over this.’ However, today he was still clinging to me and screaming when I left. This is really stressful for this mom, although I try very hard not to show it, especially to him. Read more
Five year old Sweet Pea and I are still reviewing the alphabet in various ways throughout the week. Letter R was especially fun and lends itself to some experiments! I did, however, remember to include making rainbow milk again! So. Much. Fun. for my kiddos every time we make it!
In the past, our letter R learning was centered around railroads and rainbows. We also did a very short Bible Story concerning the Rich and poor.
This time for a letter R activity Sweet Pea and I tried to discover what does and doesn’t roll and what the objects have in common. This was a really simple experiment to throw together and was fun, so it’s a good one to keep in your ‘rainy day’ arsenal! Gather your materials – any objects of interest, making sure some will roll, some won’t, and some are cylindrical and some are spherical. (Great vocabulary words, right?)
Set up your experiment area – make a small ramp. We made ours by positioning wood blocks with one end on top of the other, creating a gradual slope.
Pose the question – Will these objects roll down the ramp? Or create a hypothesis about the objects with your child.
Then, have fun experimenting with the objects asking prompting questions during the play.
Activity extensions: Have discussions about why some objects roll and others don’t. Come up with a list of what each group has in common. After we discovered what rolled and tried to roll the objects that didn’t roll a few other ways, Sweet Pea selected toys to try, too!
This was fun for us indoors on a small scale, but if you’d like to integrate gross motor into it, take it outdoors! Last fall we created a small, low ramp outdoors on our driveway with a 2 x 4 (with the 2″ being the height) and a piece of plywood. We tested our outdoor play toys, including rolling a scooter down the ramp (holding it with our hands, not riding it- that wouldn’t be safe!) a whiffle ball, a toy truck, a rock, a tennis racket, chalk, and a bike helmet.
I say this was gross motor, because it required a little more walking and running to get the materials to test, which the boys were happy to do on their own, and to chase after them when they rolled away. I challenged them to try rolling the objects in different ways to see if they could roll if set on the ramp in a different manner.
Are your schools on Spring Break? Ours are. That means I’ve got my guys home with me all week (and last Friday, too!)
It also means you won’t find me on the blog this week. It’s no secret that I don’t post according to an editorial calendar or very far in advance, although that’s what I’m moving towards. It helps me keep the fun and learning I share current and real.
So, what’s current and real in our lives? Spring Break! You won’t find us on a beach, or at some huge theme park…that’s not our style.
You’ll find us at the zoo…
Learning to ride bikes….
And just doing everyday things like practicing our reading…
Enjoy your week, and have a wonderful Easter, however it is you celebrate our Risen Lord!
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I remember a few years ago there was a blog hop of sorts that included doing a craft after reading a book with your child. Maybe it’s still going on?
The craft would be somehow related to a character in the book, or go along with the theme of it. I think I tried this a few times with my boys, but they were never really excited about it, which is probably why I cannot remember what the linky is called. Help me if you know it, I can’t for the life of me figure out what to search for to find it!
The Little Engine That Could
Fast forward to a week ago. Five year old Sweet Pea and I read the book The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper. Then he wanted to watch the movie, too. Did you know there was a movie? We found it on Netflix. So cute!
After reading The Little Engine That Could and watching the movie, I simply suggested my LEGO lover try to build a train that resembled The Little Engine. Sweet Pea loved the challenge! (After hearing him repeatedly tell me throughout the week that he does not like crafts, there was no way I would suggest one!)
Reading books and following it up with crafts is great, (really, because I would love to do a book-based craft with him) but for someone who doesn’t like crafts, building story characters with LEGOs is a great alternative!
(It is also a great activity for working on fine motor skills, story building, and great for older ages, too!)
I would really love to see what your little ones create with LEGOs after reading a book! Please share if you do this at home!
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Have you ever watched your kiddos drawing on the chalkboard and all they do is scribble all over it and erase it over and over? Sweet Pea loves to do that!
One day I saw an idea of putting clear tape onto the chalkboard and letting your child draw all over it then pull the tape off, sort of like resist painting, but with chalk. I didn’t want to try this for fear our cheap tape wouldn’t come off, so I replaced the clear tape with masking tape. (I tried to find the original place I saw this idea, but I couldn’t. If you know the link please let me know and I will update this!)
When Sweet Pea was once again scribbling all over the chalkboard making a dusty mess, I put some masking tape on it. He was totally confused at first, but once he helped me remove the tape after scribbling on it he was hooked!
This was great and then he started to put the tape on himself, trying to make it in the shape of his name!
What a great activity for fine motor work as well as a little gross motor drawing!
Seven year old Cutie Pie has been working on drawing a scavenger hunt map for Hubby, Sweet Pea and himself for a couple of days. It’s quite detailed with obstacles to avoid (like a T-Rex chase in his bedroom) but no real house-landmarks. He amazes me with his creativity when he comes up with these things!
Even though his map doesn’t include things like chairs and corners, the guys can clearly tell where they are supposed to go because of the visual cues (sometimes words) he placed on it.
Of course, when pretending to go from spot to spot in a boat you never know when a colossal squid will get hold of it and keep you from finding the next clue and ultimately the treasure!
Great fun practice writing and drawing. His spelling is still phonetical, but he’s working on it! I love watching him progress educationally! This has proved to be a great way to Encourage Writing!
Sweet Pea is really good at coming up with opposites. He’s also really good at trying to act them out or finding them around the house. (Try to imagine that if you can!)
Hard – soft Up – down In – out
This is also a good challenge for when we need to keep the boys occupied for a few minutes…we call out a word and they have to come up with the opposite, or we sneakily ask them to call out the first word that comes to mind when we say a word. That’s always interesting!
This idea sort of piggybacks on the similar or different ‘game’ we played the other day. I’m not sure why, but it seems our boys have fun with thinking games….
Sometimes I sit here at the computer when my boys are in the living room just because I can see them. I think I can hear them better from here, too. (Especially when they whisper!)
Right now I’m listening to them talking about how exercise is good for your body and am watching them ‘exercising’.
Seven year old Cutie Pie is trying to teach 5 year old Sweet Pea how to do a burpee. Sweet Pea thinks it looks a little hard, so he wants to do a sit up instead. Cutie Pie has completed 3 burpees and just said ‘These are hard. I think they are making my body hurt. I’ve definitely exercised.’
And just like that they are on to being Luke Skywalker and some unnamed person on the Millenium Falcon.
The way these boys play the coordination ability required for each activity is definitely up there!
We had two snow days this past week. The first we expected as a blizzard made it’s way through western New York State. The second day was unexpected, due to the storm not racing through our area quite as soon as anticipated, delaying when the roads could be cleared safely for buses filled with children.
Hubby and I tried to keep the kiddos from going stir-crazy on the second (and bitterly cold) day by providing some art materials. I had also come across a dinosaur song on Made by Joel and played it for Cutie Pie, who was completely intrigued by the way Joel illustrated the song continuously on one long piece of paper.
First, Cutie Pie wanted to make the paper pieces from Joel’s website for the song and got busy with Sweet Pea cutting them out almost immediately after he saw them. As soon as he finished that, though, he was on to trying to draw what Joel did, the same way he did!
I love that Cutie Pie was so inspired to try drawing a little more out of the box than he is used to! I was also pretty shocked that he drew what Joel drew for the song, but in miniature and with only watching the video once!
You’ve really gotta check out Made by Joel for some neat paper-based play ideas that you can print and play with!
You know how cold it’s been lately. That means the snow is still sticking around. Are you as tired of the cold as me? And if you are reading this from some nice warm place, please comment so we can all live vicariously through you! And hopefully we’ll see some green grass soon!
Here’s a simple science experiment that you can do with any age – preschool up through mid-elementary would probably find it interesting and stay interested. Since we have lots of the white stuff I thought it might be fun to do a little science experiment with the boys one recent Saturday when it was bitterly cold. I grabbed 4 cups and filled them up with snow.
I asked if they thought the freezer would keep the snow just as old as the outdoors, and what would happen to the snow if we put it in other locations, too.
We set one cup on the table, put one in the refrigerator, put one in the freezer, and one outside after marking on the glass the level of the snow (using dry erase markers).
The boys thought something would happen to the snow in the freezer, that it might not be cold enough. They thought the other cups would just have ‘melted snow’ in them after a few minutes.
To test their hypothesis, we set a timer for 10 minutes. When it went off we checked the glasses of snow in each location and talked about what we observed, then set the timer for another 10 minutes. We continued the process until the evening, talking about our observations each time.
The boys were surprised by what they saw happen with the snow in the freezer. Will the same happen for your kiddos when they do this little experiment?
It was very simple, but kept the boys interest. They were determined nothing could keep the snow cold like the conditions outside.
If you do, or have done, this with your child comment and let us know your results! (And if it’s warm where you are, let us know so we know there is hope that spring really is coming!)
Everyone knows how to play tic-tac-toe, right? (Or, tic-tac-tow, as some of my friend spell it.)
Sweet Pea has really liked this game lately. In the past he only played this with blocks that had X’s and O’s on. Lately, though, he’s getting better with his pencil grip, so has liked trying to make is letters just right!
It’s a simple pencil and paper game, reinforcing the letters X and O, and takes fine motor coordination and lots of thinking through the process of playing the game!
Dr. Seuss’ birthday is celebrated practically everywhere on mom blogs. It’s also celebrated in preschools and elementary schools. This pretty much sums up what I’ve heard about all last week from my kiddos, so it was hard not to extend this focus to some of the things we did here at home, too.
Each night last week we read a different Dr. Seuss book. I had thought about making gloppity glop (flubber) after we read that, but sweet pea had a lot of playdough action last week and didn’t seem that interested, when normally he does, so we didn’t.
We read The Foot Book once at night and as always the boys loved it. I pulled it out again one morning and Sweet Pea and I did it ‘action style’. Meaning we found, or tried to find or act out, every kind of foot described in the book.
It was so much fun doing the motions with him…high feet, low feet…we even went on a search for furry feet and 24 feet! (He still has a little trouble counting to 20, so 24 was hard!)
It’s been a long time since he was this giddy doing something ‘educational’. Of course, he didn’t really see it as educational, so that was probably part of it!
Did you do anything silly and fun for Dr. Seuss’ birthday at your house? What was it?
Dots and Squares and Sprouts are two games in my ‘waiting time’ arsenal (at least, when I have access to paper and a pencil.) What are some of yours?
Oh, don’t know what Sprouts is? It’s another paper game I used to play as a child. Of course, I’m not sure why it’s called that…
How to play?
First, make dots all over a piece of paper. They don’t have to be in a neat grid like in Dots and Squares, just random.
Take turns drawing lines between the dots, making a dot on the center of each line after it is drawn. The lines do not have to be straight, since there is no grid, and can curve and loop around, but they can’t cross another line.
Each dot may have only three lines connecting to it. Remember, the lines don’t have to be straight.
The last person to draw a line wins!
This paper and pencil game is a little more complex than Dots and Squares, so its probably better for a little bit older children, or preschoolers that can understand the instructions, since they’re a little more complex than just drawing a line. It still works on many of the same skills; coordination, pencil grip, processes.
Recently I’ve pulled out both of these games for the kids and I while we had to wait for something. They were equally interested in both, but Sprouts did take a little more explaining as we were playing the game.
So, what other paper games should I add to my arsenal? Any ideas?
The other day 5 year old Sweet Pea was sitting with me at the table while I enjoyed my hot cocoa (he drank his rather quickly!) I grabbed a piece of paper that was on the table next to me and started making dots. I’m not sure why, but this game I played as a kid came into mind and I thought he’d like it!
Here’s how you play Dots and squares, in case you never played or need a refresher.
All you need are a piece of paper and a pencil (or pen, or crayon…)
Make a grid of dots, more for older players, less for younger.
Take turns drawing lines between dots.
Write your initial inside each square you complete.
After the last line is drawn, count your initials. The person with the most wins!
I had tried playing this with Cutie Pie when he was 5 and he wasn’t very interested. It all depends on the child, their interests and capabilities, but it is a great exercise in taking turns, coordination, fine motor skills, prescribing practice and processes!
If you try this with your kiddos let me know what they thought!
Happy Valentine’s Day! Just thought I’d share this really quick and easy Valentine’s note that you or your preschooler can do in a jiffy! I’m sure you haven’t forgotten to make all those cards for your kiddo’s classmates, but sometimes we all forget someone in our lives that could use one or who deserves a special one from your child.
Sweet Pea’s preschool class has integrated simple sign language into their everyday learning. I thought this was perfect for Valentines for his classmates, and it took a very short time to make 20 of them!
Cut as many small hearts out of construction paper as you need.
Trace your child’s hand (or yours if this is from you!) onto construction paper of a different color.
Cut out the hand you just traced.
Glue the heart onto the palm of the hand, then bend the middle and ring fingers down over the heart, forming ‘I love you’ in sign language.
So simple, yet it can communicate so much!
Enjoy your Valentine’s Day, and remember to show love to everyone on this day that it is completely acceptable to do so (at least, within reason!)
What is your first grader learning in school? Do they come home with homework? Are they doing anything extracurricular?
It just seems like a long time since I’ve posted anything about Cutie Pie and his school experience. He’s doing very well in first grade and loves math. He’s doing great in spelling and is even starting to read books to Sweet Pea! He has changed so much since the beginning of the school year.
Seems so much more confident about himself, is more coordinated, and loves to play with LEGOS. He doesn’t just build according to the directions, but uses his imagination to build freely with the (many) blocks we have that aren’t part of a kit.
My sweet boy has taken an interest in sports and always comes home on PE day excited to share with us what he did! It’s the same way with art. There was a day, not too long ago, when he didn’t want his hands dirty, or would work on a project here at home racing to finish it, unless it was extremely interesting to him. Now he takes his time and concentrates on his projects, wanting them to be the best he can make them. He comes home with paint under his fingernails and doesn’t seem to mind it!
It’s so exciting watching my boys grow and change. Watching them absorb information and apply it in life just amazes me. I never knew mothering would be like this – fascination of God’s creation, my seven year old!
So tell me, what is your child learning in school? Are they learning subject matter…or how to be themselves?
My kids simply adore birthdays, both their own and someone else’s. They don’t understand why adults don’t throw parties for themselves! Or why most adults we know only want cards for their birthdays and not gifts. (The nerve!)
To my boys, giving a gift for someone’s birthday shows that person they are loved, and not giving a gift, in their eyes, withholds a little love from them.
And the cutest cupcakes (fishing bob rings)
One of Cutie Pie’s good buddies just turned 7 and the invitation for his party said ‘no gifts’. I can completely understand why…I mean, we just celebrated Christmas with gifts, he just had a family party with gifts…his house is probably bursting at the seams with new toys.
We happen to know this little guy is waaaaaay into fishing, so we bought him a little something related to his interest, because Cutie Pie really, really wanted to bring a gift (or make a cake and bring it to him…I thought this was the better choice!) Hopefully his parents won’t mind since it isn’t a toy. (I waited to post this so I could include a picture of the birthday cake…little buddy’s mom makes the most awesome cakes! And they didn’t mind the little gift – phew!)
I love birthdays, and the child-like excitement that comes with them, whether it’s my birthday, and whether they involve presents or not!
And I know my brother won’t read this, maybe his friends will, but it’s his birthday and he doesn’t live anywhere near us for me to give him a gift…Happy Birthday, Craig!
My boys are clamoring all over their makeshift “Cuddlebug Island” listening to the soundtrack from Jurassic Park.
I’m sitting here pretending to work on the computer so I can catch glimpses of them through the doorway that lies between us. It’s better than sitting in the living room with pillows piled several deep on the floor. Climbing over them actually takes a lot of coordination! I know this is not a pretty picture, but is definitely fun for the kiddos and gives us a few moments in another room alone!
When the music first came on they were sort of lounging around, enjoying the cushy surroundings and making their lovies play. When the volume of the music increased, their playing changed. Their bodies and minds started feeling it.
Every time the mood of the music changes, their story and actions change. The volume of their voices raises or lowers, their movements quicken or they go ‘slo-mo’. They are creating their own story in there too, but I can’t catch enough of it to interpret the plot for you.
I just love how kids can totally immerse themselves in music if they so desire. My boys especially do this with classical music, and definitely with music containing no words. Hubby and I don’t even need to suggest they think about what story the music is trying to tell, or the picture it’s trying to paint.
Oh no! The fish army just arrived. I can tell because the music just got very exciting. My services have been requested to go help save Cuddlebug Island!