Posts Tagged ‘craft’

This is the final post in a series of apple-themed lessons and activities. I hope you’ve enjoyed them all so far, and want to share a few more ideas today as we wrap up.

Memory work:

We memorized Psalm 17:8 (NIV):

“Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings.”

We learned this verse the first day, and said it often during our Apple Week. Be sure your child understands the meaning of this verse, and how very special she is in God’s eyes!

Craft:

Anything with paint goes over big at our house, and this craft was no exception. I simply gave Remi a paper plate and some red paint and let her go to town on it…

painting apple craft

…and then we added a letter “a” (from a template downloaded from Confessions of a Homeschooler) which I printed on white paper, to represent the apple’s flesh. We glued on some of the seeds we’d extracted from a real apple during snack time, and then I gave her some green and brown construction paper so she could make a stem and leaf. Apparently, she got them a little backwards…but how cute is that?

apple seed craft

Drawing:

With each theme we do, I have Remi draw a picture to add to her notebook. Here’s her rendition of an apple:

apple drawing

Dictation:

Next, I had my little one explain to me how to make an apple pie. As she dictated the instructions, I wrote them down on this printable from Homeschool Share. It was intended to be a mini-book that could be added to a lapbook, but I thought it was cute “as is” for her notebook, so we went with this:

Apple pie instructions

Do-a-dot:

I often throw in a do-a-dot activity with each theme, just for fun, such as this apple do-a-dot worksheet from DLTK:

A is for apple do-a-dot

Non-traditional coloring? Yes, please!

Be sure to check out the other apple posts in this series, and let me know if you used any of these ideas, or plan to.

Apple Science

Apple Bible Lesson

Apple Math

Apple Snacks

Apple Story Time

Well, that wraps up our apple theme.

Enjoy learning together!

It’s Halloween, and that means lots of fun projects with our little ones! Here are a couple of children’s book-related crafts, a healthy snack, and a fun Halloween lunch idea to help you make the most of the day with your little goblin!

(Please note that this post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure here.)

First up, an easy snack loaded with fun AND nutrition–can’t beat that, right?

healthy Halloween snack

As you can see, it’s just a banana and a few cutie oranges, accessorized with some candy pieces to make them spooky and fun. (I used m&m’s for the eyes, and Twizzler pieces for the pumpkin stems.) I found this idea a while back in one of those random little ads on Facebook and couldn’t wait to try it out with my youngest. And it didn’t disappoint! I set it up and started calling out, “Eek! There are ghosts in the pumpkin patch!” Remi came running to see what all the commotion was about, and her face was priceless when she saw her snack. (We have talked extensively about the fact that ghosts are not real, just silliness, so she is not afraid. Use discretion and common sense, based on your child’s age and sensitivity level.)

Next, we read this fun book:

I don’t want to give away the ending, but let’s just say the little guy in Where’s My Mummy? and I definitely have something in common. After enjoying the book, we got busy on our mummy craft. We grabbed a mason jar and some white muslin cloth, which we ripped into strips to wrap around the jar. We used a paintbrush dipped in a mixture of equal parts white glue and water, which we brushed on to adhere the cloth to the jar. While it was still wet, we added a couple of huge googly eyes to our little mummy.

jar mummy

My daughter wanted to add a mouth and nose, so while I was out of the room, she had her older sister help her do so with food coloring. (The little boogers…)

Then we dropped in a candle…

candle in mason jar mummy

…and ended up with this adorable Halloween decoration.

mason jar mummy, lit

Where's My Mummy craft

I found the idea over at Time for Play. You might want to try this cute mummy craft, as well.

Then, when it’s time for lunch, why not whip up a fun and tasty jack-o-lantern pizza like this?

Jack-o-lantern pizza

It’s easy! Just add whatever toppings your little goblin loves in the shape of eyes, nose, and crooked mouth. I copied the idea from a poster in the window of Papa Murphy’s (a take-and-bake pizza chain), and we make one every year.

After lunch, it’s time for another fun book and craft. Stellaluna is the story of a baby bat who is separated from his mother and raised by birds, finally learning who he is and that we can all be friends despite our differences.

I found a cute idea for a bat craft over at Reading Confetti, but changed it up a little out of pure laziness. Rather than trace and cut out hand prints on black paper (which you could certainly do if you are less lazy), I painted Remi’s hands black and let her press them on white cardstock, adding googly eyes while we reviewed the fact that bats CAN see (despite the long-standing myth that they are blind.)

handprint bat

You might also want to give this little bat craft a whirl.

Finally, check out this post for some fun pumpkin activities, including snacks, an art project, and a very special Bible lesson.

Enjoy learning together…even on Halloween!

This week at Cheerful Learning Preschool we’ve been knee deep into learning about our great country in honor of our very special, very important Independence Day holiday. Don’t let anyone tell you that preschoolers can’t understand and remember all kinds of information about the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, the Liberty Bell, the White House, and many other famous landmarks and patriotic concepts.

Having said that, we never want to get so wrapped up in the facts that we forget to have some big fun doing those “just because” crafts and activities. Here are just a few of the things we did this week to celebrate and learn about the USA:

Mostly, we focused on recreating the American flag, starting with this adorable handprint version I found here.

handprint flag

We pressed her painted hand onto black construction paper (so the white would show up) and she used her finger, dipped in white paint, to create the “stars.”

handprint flag

We did some fun patterning activities for math with these fireworks pattern strips and cards. I downloaded them from here and printed on cardstock. We gave names to each type of firework so she could say the patterns out loud as she worked.

preschool patterns--fireworks

If your preschooler loves to use a paper punch as much as mine does, he’ll love making his own stars for a USA flag craft like the one below:

preschool USA flag

preschool USA flag

preschool USA flagDon’t you just love the finished product? Adorable! (This activity was very loosely based on this idea.)

We did tons of activities downloaded from this website, including shadow matching, find the difference, what comes next, matching, tracing and other pre-writing activities, and lots and lots of these fun puzzles:

USA puzzles for preschoolers

For movement, I printed off a whole set of fun little action cards like the ones below from here. (I printed several cute, patriotic songs while I was there, too,!)

4th of July action cards

In the end, though, it was right back to our Grand Old Flag. We still love do-a-dot marker activities, so had to add in this project. (I found it here.)

do-a-dot flag

do-a-dot flagWhatever you and your preschooler do to celebrate and learn about this important holiday, I hope that you….

Enjoy learning together!

I realize it’s been a while since I’ve posted what we’ve been doing around here, and if you’re curios about why, you can check out this post. If you just want to jump into a fun, book-related activity, you are in the right place!

(Please note that this post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure here.)

A while back Remi and I enjoyed a silly, hands-on unit centered around another of Dr. Seuss’ genius works, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Here’s what we did, and how you can do it all, too:

Of course, the first thing we did was read the book together.

And though we’ve read this one a thousand times before, Remi never seems to grow tired of hearing it…or any other Seuss books, for that matter.

Then we got started on our projects.

First up was some math fun. We did some Goldfish Graphing using a free printable from here and some colored Goldfish crackers.

Remi had fun lining up the fish, and then counting to see how many there were of each color.

We also used our Goldfish crackers to do some number matching. She had to look at the number on each fishbowl and figure out how many fish to place inside the bowl.

Each time she found a broken one, she pointed out that she really couldn’t count with it, and asked if she should eat it instead.

You can get the free printable below right here.

For our first snack, we made some blue Jell-O to represent the water, and when it started to gel we added some Swedish Fish candy. I found the idea here, and trust me when I say it was a BIG hit.

Then, after looking through the book at all the zany creatures Dr. Seuss came up with, I asked Remi to create some crazy creatures of her own. I gave her some different colors of Play-Doh, a container of plastic beads, and a big bag of colored feathers, and let her go to town doing whatever she wanted with them. (You could use any craft materials you like for this activity.)

These are the creatures Remi came up with: (Hey, she was only three…)

I got the idea for making the creatures from this post, and there is a lot you can do with this activity. Just shaping the Play-Doh and pushing in the 3-D elements is a great fine-motor activity, plus you can add in some language enrichment by having her tell you about each creature. What is the creature’s name? What does it do? What does it eat? 

Before our next snack, we looked back at the pages that talk about the Yink who likes to wink and drink pink ink. I put some pink ink in a little glass for Remi…well, OK, it was really just strawberry milk, but hey—we’re using our imaginations here! I got the pink ink idea here and then I added a straw and pompom to make it extra fun.

Of course, as she was drinking her pink ink, Remi practiced winking, too.

We did these activities months ago, but she still asks me if we can drink pink ink again…and that, to me, is the measure of success! Such simple things can make big impressions on preschoolers, so use your imagination and try some silly things that they’ll remember forever! (And don’t forget to take some pictures to jog those memories, for both of you.)

For our final project, we made a handprint craft to represent the book’s title. I painted Remi’s hands—one red, one blue, of course. This was just as much fun as the craft itself!

Then I had her stamp them on a piece of sturdy white paper and I labeled them for her. (I got the handprint idea from here.)

I cut the paper into the shape of a fishbowl and Remi used a black marker to add faces to the fish once the paint was dry. Then, I poured some light corn syrup into a small container for her and let her squeeze in a few drops of blue food coloring. We mixed it up and she used a paintbrush to spread it all over the fishbowl to make it look like it was full of water. (No worries if your child licks this “paint” off her fingers, either!)

The end result not only looked great; it felt great, too! It wasn’t sticky, exactly, but nice and squishy when pressed on with my…um, I mean, her…fingers (after we let it dry overnight, of course).

I hope you enjoy these One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish activities with your preschooler. I’d love your feedback.

Enjoy learning together!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Cheerful Learning!

In honor of tomorrow’s holiday, why not try out some fun, heart-themed activities with your little ones?

For example, how fun are those paper plate hats? I got the idea from here, and we just happened to have some pink paper plates left over from Remi’s recent princess birthday party, so we were ready to go! (Only have white plates? No problem! Just hand your preschooler some crayons, markers, or paints, and let her go to town decorating the hat herself!)

I drew the pattern on the plate and let Remi cut it out herself. This was her first time using scissors on something other than plain paper, and it was challenging for her little hands, but she did the best she could and I took over to help out right at the end.

Anything to work those hand muscles is good preparation for all the writing she has ahead of her in future school grades. One of my favorite things to do with Remi is taking her to the bathroom mirror to look at her creations. I always enjoy the response!

We also did several fun, heart-themed math activities. (I got all the free printables from here, and you can, too!)

We started out with a Count-and-Sort activity. I gave her a box of candy conversation hearts…you know, the ones that taste like chalk? 😉 She arranged them by color on the sorting mat, then counted how many of each color she had. We talked about more, less, most, least, and fewest as she answered questions about each.

Next up was a Heart Graphing activity.

Remi looked at the color words at the bottom of the graph, and added the hearts where appropriate. Then we looked at the graph together and I had her compare the stacks. (Which has more—green, or purple? Do any of them the same amount?)

If your preschooler is like mine, she loves any activity involving do-a-dot markers, so why not try a game of Heart Bingo?

I wrote numerals on each heart and then gave her a die, and each time she rolled it she had to count the pips (dots on the die) and stamp that numeral. She did this over and over and over!

The mistake I made? There were eight hearts, so without thinking I numbered them one through eight. Well, as you know, there are only six sides of a die, and she quickly noticed that she was never going to get a seven or eight. She asked if she could go ahead and stamp them anyway, and I let her—after identifying each and counting aloud for me.

By the way, this is a great time to teach your child that two are DICE and one is a DIE.

While the die was out, we used it to play a Valentine’s Grid Game.

I gave her some red Unifix cubes and told her they were bear candy. The grid contained bears with hearts, and those bears were VERY hungry for some Valentine’s candy. But, the only was they could get some was for her to roll the die, count the pips, and give that number of bears one piece of “candy” each. She was very concerned about the poor, hungry bears, and worked quickly to make sure each one had a treat!

In the meantime, she was getting some good practice identifying those dot patterns…but don’t tell her that, OK?

The great thing about all these activities is that, once you get your preschooler started, she can work fairly independently if you need to teach older children, nurse a baby, etc. Just stay close enough to enjoy watching the fun she’s having!

We brought the conversation hearts back out for some Heart Patterning work.

The worksheets I used were from a set of eight pages (see link above) and contained AB, ABC, AABB, and AAB patterns. Unfortunately, our box of candy didn’t contain all the colors we needed, so we just did the ones we could and a few times I substituted for her by, for example, covering yellow hearts with green candy ones to change the pattern to something we could do with the hearts we had. And, finally, she got to eat some hearts as a reward for all her hard “work” (play) doing math! 🙂

Finally, we did a fun Valentine’s Maze. I explained to my daughter that this little man loved this little woman, and really wanted to give her some flowers for Valentine’s Day, but he was having a hard time finding her. Remi was all too happy to help him out!

I found the maze at this site, which also contains other preschool printables like dot-to-dots, as well as lots of fun activities for your older kids, too. I printed out several Valentine’s Day activities from there for my ten year old, including word searches, word scrambles, and crypto-families.

Make the most of this special day with your little one. By next Valentine’s Day, she’ll be so much more grown up!

From our family to yours, Happy Valentine’s Day.

Enjoy learning together!

 

(Please note that this post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure here.)

After planning all kinds of winter/snow activities for January for our homeschool co-op preschoolers, we ended up having weather in the 70’s each time we met for class. No worries—we just pulled out Snowmen All Year, a book that imagines what it might be like to build a snowman that could stay and have fun in every season.

Since this was one of the sequels to Snowmen at Night, and since we had just recently done a plethora of Snowmen at Night activities, I thought this book would be perfect.

But, we didn’t stop there. We also read Snow Dude, the story of a little snowman who runs away from everyone, its verse mimicking the rhythm of The Gingerbread Man.

The kids enjoyed both books, but unanimously agreed that their favorite of the day was Sneezy the Snowman, the story of a poor little snowman who just can’t get comfortable. Each time he shivers with cold, he seeks to warm himself up…either by drinking hot chocolate, sitting in a hot tub, or leaning over a campfire. Of course, each time he melts and has to be completely rebuilt.

Regardless of which winter books you read together, you and your preschooler can have a blast with the following snowman games, crafts, science experiment, and snack.

Note: Although I did the following activities with a group of 3-to-5 year olds, you could easily adapt each one to suit a single child.  And you’ll probably have less mess to clean up. 😉

Science Experiment: Melting Ice

I  brought in a container of crushed ice and let each child fill up a clear, plastic cup.

I also set out some small bowls of water and let the kids take turns adding drops of food coloring.

After mixing them up, they got busy transferring the colored water to their cups of ice. Using an eyedropper for this was challenging for some of them, and all of them got a good workout for those little hand muscles!

As they took turns squeezing the colors, we watched as the colored water began to melt the crushed ice.

I’ll be honest here: this activity lasted way longer than I’d intended, as the kiddos were all completely fascinated by the colorful, melting ice. They wanted to add more and more drops of colored water, and enjoyed watching as the original colors mixed together to form new ones. (“Look! The bottom is turning purple!”)

In the end, I let them dump out the bowls of colored water into the larger container I’d brought in.

They enjoyed this so much that even when the older kids went outside for lunch, the preschoolers wanted to keep playing with this experiment. I’d say that means the activity was a success! (I got the idea here.)

Game: Snowball, Blowball

Laugh all you want, but the preschoolers loved the title of this simple game I created. I gave each pair of children a snowball (or ping pong ball…shhhh…) and told them they had to try to blow it off the other side of the table while keeping their hands clasped behind their backs. The child on the opposite side was trying to do the same thing, of course, and let me tell you this was a HOOT to watch!

They were literally jumping up and down, screaming and squealing (much to the dismay of the class next door, I’m sure…Sorry, guys.)

I had to promise them we’d play this one again next week…even if it’s up in the 80’s then! Hint: If playing with one child, YOU can get on the other side of the table. Or, if there is an older sibling in the house, I am pretty sure he’d enjoy helping out for this one.

Craft: Balloon painting

For our first craft, I set out a plate of white paint and let each child dip a balloon in it. We then created snowmen by pressing the balloon on colored construction paper: lightly for the head, a little harder for the middle, and hardest for the lower body.

The harder you press, of course, the bigger the snowball will be. Hint: The key to making actual circles is to raise the balloon straight up after pressing the paint on the paper. I also gave them each a cotton swab to dip into the paint so they could add snowflakes all around their snowmen.

Of course we added buttons and facial features, too. I love how this little guy stood a cotton swab on end to represent the carrot nose. And doesn’t it look just like he’s juggling all those snowballs?

As always, each child’s creation was so different from the others’. (I love that!)

Hint: Remember to worry about whether your preschooler is having a great time, NOT whether her art project is turning out the way it’s “supposed to look.” (It looks right. Trust me.)

Game: Snowball Toss

Again we let our ping pong balls represent snowballs, and I set a plastic container in front of the kids for them to try to toss them into, while standing behind a line of masking tape. They took turns seeing who could land the most snowballs in the container.  Hint: If playing with one child, you could move the container farther from the tape line each time they toss the snowballs, to add an extra challenge.

Snack: Snowman Slices

By this time your little snowball thrower will have worked up an appetite, which means it’s time to pull out some bananas, raisins, and pretzel sticks for a healthy snack your child can create himself. Give your little one a rounded knife (I used the kind that’s often used for cutting into a cheese ball or other spread…Surely there’s a name for that but I have no idea what it is…) and show him how to cut the banana in slices and use them to create a snowman body—complete with pretzel arms.

Now, I’ll grant you that this isn’t the most beautiful snack to look at, but your child will LOVE the grown-up activity of using a knife and will want to slice and slice and slice. Besides that, it’s healthy and tasty, and she’ll get the snowman idea well enough.

(This snack is an adaptation of an idea I found here. )

Craft: Marshmallow Snowflakes

Here’s a simple craft idea that requires nothing but a piece of construction paper, a bottle of glue, and some mini-marshmallows. Let your child choose a color of paper and show her how to squeeze liquid glue onto it in a snowflake pattern. Doing this herself means she not only gets to create the design of her choice; it also provides another opportunity to work out those hand muscles, which is so important for little ones who are learning to write.

Once the glue is ready, give her a plate of marshmallows…

…and let her go to town sticking the marshmallows onto the glue to make a 3-D snowflake all her own.

Notice, once again, how differently they all turned out.

I got the idea here but chose to leave out the glitter…for reasons I’m sure I don’t need to explain. 😉

Do not be surprised when numerous marshmallows never make it to the glue design…

(But that’s one reason you give them SOME marshmallows on a plate…not the whole bag!)

Game: Snowball Search

For our last game, I opened up a package of “snowballs” (cotton balls) and hid them all over the room for the kids to find.

Since we were playing in a group, I gave a limit to how many each child could find, and when they reached it they had to help someone else find theirs. If you are playing with one child, you can let her find them all, and even let her have a turn hiding them for you to find, afterward!

While we were cleaning up, one of the girls became very curious about whether these snowballs would melt…so I let them add some water and see what happened.

And yes, the kids convinced themselves they truly did melt, and then had fun squishing them around in their hands. Hint: Don’t feel tied to only the activities you plan for your little one. Let him take the lead occasionally in determining what you do next!

I hope you enjoy these snowman activities. If you do them with your child, I’d love to hear about it. (And if you haven’t already, why not stop by and check out the activities for Snowmen at Night, too, for more “snowy” fun?)

Enjoy learning together!

(Please note that this post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure here.)

Snowmen at Night is one of THOSE books…you know, the ones that combine fun, colorful illustrations and a lyrical text to make any preschooler want to read it again and again and again. (And since it is highly unlikely we’ll see any actual snow all winter here in South Texas, we have to rely on books like this to enjoy the concept!)

In addition to the joy the book itself is sure to provide, here are ten fun activities inspired by Snowmen at Night. So grab your favorite preschooler and get ready to have some snowy fun, wherever you may live!

Note: I did these with the preschool group in our homeschool co-op, but each activity is easily adaptable and can be done with just you and your preschooler.

Snack: Snowman Buttons

OK, I’ll be honest here. This wasn’t really a planned thing. But the minute we got into the classroom, everyone was already “just starving”…and I certainly didn’t want any starving kids on my conscience…so I quickly poured out a pile of “snowman buttons” for them to snack on while we set up our other activities. (Hey, it worked…)

Snowman Buttons

Snowman Buttons

We read the book, Snowmen at Night, in which a little boy notices how different his snowman looks the morning after he builds him, and wonders what in the world snowmen do at night to end up with such a disheveled appearance. The older kids in the group understood that his snowman was really just starting to melt, but thoroughly enjoyed going along with the boy’s suppositions of what goes on when the sun goes down: sledding, ice skating, snowball fights, games and races, and drinks of ice cold cocoa provided by their snowmoms. (You really need to read this one to your kids!)

Imagination and dramatization: Sneaky Snowmen

Once we’d read the book, I pulled out our family’s big tub of winter gear (which we almost never need but have anyway for some reason.)

Each child picked out the hat, scarf, and mittens that would transform her into a snowman…

…and then I “built” each one by positioning them just so.

Next I said good-night to my little snowmen and pretended to go to sleep, telling them to do “whatever snowmen do at night.” While I snoozed and snored, they danced and jumped around. When I woke up, they froze, and I marveled at the changes that had taken place while I was sleeping. They LOVED this and asked to do it again and again and again.

Movement: Sledding

Like the snowmen in the book, we decided we would enjoy going sledding. Obviously, if you live where it snows, this will be done a little differently. Here, where we only read about snow in books, our sled of choice was a big laundry basket with a rope attached, and our snowy slope was a grassy area outside the building. Each snowman got a turn, and the others pretended to be sled dogs pulling their snowman down a snowy hill. All the riding snowman had to do was say “please,” then hang on and enjoy the ride.

Get ready...Get set...

Get ready…Get set…

Go!

Go!

Sledding wasn’t the only way the snowmen in the book had fun at night. They also engaged in snowman games and races…so we did, too! We started with a big bowl of “snowballs” (or, in our case, ping pong balls)…

…and I came up with a couple of fun, easy games to keep the kids moving on this beautiful, 70-something-degree January day. (You could, of course, do these indoors if you experience real winter where you live.)

Game/Movement: Spoons and Snowballs

First up was a game where each child had to carry a snowball in a spoon and dump it in a big bowl several feet away, then run back and give the spoon to their teammate to take over.  This was trickier than it sounds! Each time they dropped a snowball, they had to stop, pick it up, put it back in their spoon, and then keep running. We continued taking turns, but if you are playing this game with just one child, you could time him (using the stopwatch on your cell phone) to see how many he can get in a specified time, or to see how long it takes to get a certain number to the bowl. Let your child try to beat his own time each round.

Game/Movement: Scooping Snowballs

Next up I gave each child a measuring cup and had them scoop up as many snowballs as they could from the basket and run with them to their team’s bowl.

Although there was only one bowl per team, everyone was scooping and running (and squealing) at the same time. If you are doing this with one child, you might want to adapt the game as mentioned above, or have your own bowl and race against your child.

Once all the snowballs had been transferred, we counted the contents of each bowl to see which team had scooped the most. Sometimes the snowballs made it into the right bowl…

…and sometimes, not so much. But, just look at their faces!

(And yes, one of those is a Halloween-themed bowl…but it was big, and they didn’t seem to mind, or even notice!)

Snack: Snowman Donuts

All that running around will make your preschooler hungry, so you’re going to want to create a fun snack together to take the edge off that hungry tummy. Why not make this easy, adorable snowman donut?

All you need is one powdered donut and one candy corn piece per child, as well as a tube of black decorator frosting. I got the idea for this snack from this picture, but replaced the food clay he used for the eyes and mouth with other ingredients. This way the kids could do the whole project themselves—which they loved—and squeezing the tube and inserting the nose provided some fine motor practice as well.

Of course, they wanted more candy corn afterward, and they giggled each time they asked if they could please eat another nose.

Craft: Silly Snowman Collage

I purchased a package of small, white doilies and gave three of these “snowballs” to each child to glue onto colored construction paper. I then presented them with a tray full of bits and pieces that each child could use to create her individual snowman’s features.

Although I had specific snowman parts in mind when I chose items to fill the tray, I intentionally did not give the children any specific instructions other than to design their own snowmen. I love how differently they all turned out! The oldest kids’ creations looked somewhat like you might expect…

…while the younger ones’ concoctions definitely had their own unique styles!

(I adapted the above idea from here.)

Next I gave them some “snowflakes” (a.k.a. Honeycomb cereal pieces) to add to their pictures…

…but I think only one child ended up actually gluing them on her picture. (Can you guess where all the rest went?)

Science Experiment: Floating Snowball

Next I brought out a hair dryer and let each child predict what might happen to our snowball (ping pong ball) if we held it above the running hair dryer. Each child’s answer was different, and they were anxious to see what would happen.

Seeing the “floating snowball” brought some great facial expressions!  I had seen the idea here and here, but since I was working with three-to-five year olds I didn’t go into any explanation about air currents or air pressure. I simply let them experience the wonder, and enjoyed watching their reactions. Each one wanted a turn to hold the hairdryer and make the snowball float.

Please note that when you do this experiment you will need to have the heat setting on your hair dryer turned completely off. The cool air works just fine and will be safe for little hands.

Craft: Splendid Snowflakes

Here’s another idea I found here: I started with a package of incredibly gaudy doilies I found at the dollar store. (Well, I say they were gaudy…but, if you asked the kids, they were “beautiful golden snowflakes.”)

We laid them down on paper plates and used a sponge brush to cover them (and the plates) with blue paint.

The idea was to remove the doily when we were finished to find that the negative space left behind would resemble a gorgeous snowflake…which it did…

…but the kids were all just as excited about the “blue snowflakes” they had made, and refused to throw their painted doilies away. I have to agree, they looked very pretty!

If you are doing this with just one child, you could let her lay several doilies on plates and paint each one a different color, then hang them from your tree or ceiling for a falling-snow effect.

Just for fun: Snow Play

We couldn’t conclude our Snowmen at Night fun without getting our hands on some “snow,” so I brought out a can of shaving cream and squirted it onto the table in front of each child. They had a great time squishing it…

…and smooshing it.

Then they decided they wanted to turn themselves into snowmen, so they smeared it all over themselves. Good thing shaving cream cleans up easily. (And they all smelled so good afterward!)

No matter the climate where you live, there is plenty of wintery fun to be had while reading Snowmen at Night.

Update: If you enjoyed these activities, you may want to check out Sneezy the Snowman, too!

Enjoy learning together!

(Please note that this post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure here.)

We are HUGE Dr. Seuss fans around here, so it’s no surprise that one of our favorite Christmas books is How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

(You can see that our family’s copy is well loved…)

Remi has asked me to read it to her over and over during the last several weeks, and lately we’ve been enjoying some fun activities to go along with the book. Here are some of the things we did, in case you want to enjoy them, too:

Art:

I found a Grinch mask at the Dr. Seuss website and let her paint it a nice, grinchy green.

We then cut it out, punched holes together, and added some green yarn to make a mask for her to wear as she ran all over the house trying to scare her siblings.

Snack:

We stirred up some Grinch Juice by adding food coloring to a glass of milk. It was a good time to review the way two colors (like blue and yellow) can mix together to make a third (like grinchy green).

Grinch Juice

Grinch Juice

I had to laugh because she was really excited about it until she tasted it…

…and then, even though she had helped mix it up and knew there was nothing in it but milk and food coloring, she declared that it tasted “disgusting.”

However, when we added it to a bowl of cereal for a grinchy snack, she loved it.

Grinch snack

Grinch snack

Just for fun:

We happen to have a stuffed version of Max, or as Remi calls him, “the Grinch’s poor, poor puppy dog” (which he turned into a phony reindeer in the book.)

We pulled him out along with our Christmas decorations and Remi has had a blast playing with him for weeks now.

Craft:

Also on the Seuss website, I found a template for some ornaments starring poor Max.

Remi colored them…all blue (?)…

…using her tongue, too, of course.

I laminated them and then Remi got some fun scissor practice cutting the shapes out.

We punched holes in the top of each picture so we could make them into ornaments. Remi LOVES using a hole punch but her little hands just aren’t strong enough to do it on her own. So, I let her put her hands on top of mine and I tell her to push really hard…and together we manage very well. 😉

I offered her a choice of red or green yarn for the hangers. She chose both. Here’s her finished product:

Silly Activity:

Remember the crazy hair the Whoville residents wore in the non-animated version of the movie?  Well, we decided to fix Remi’s hair up like little Cindy Lou Who’s was so that she could be Remi Lou Who. I loved the result!

Remi Lou Who

Remi Lou Who

This was very entertaining for Remi, too. I took her into the bathroom to let her check her new look out in the mirror, and she laughed so hard! She stayed there a long time cracking up at her reflection, then wore her hair that way the rest of the morning.

More arts & crafts:

Finally, I printed a picture of the Grinch’s face from here.

Remi painted it with red and green and added some cotton for his hat.

(Aren’t you glad you saw the “before” picture so you know what you’re looking at? My original intention was for her to color it with crayons, but hey…once the paint is out, it will always be the first pick.)

We also did a fun Grinch maze.

Of course, this book also provides a great opportunity to discuss what the Grinch learns at the end of the book: Joy isn’t found in THINGS!

I hope you enjoy reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas! to your little one this holiday season.

Enjoy learning together!

Noah’s Ark

Posted: December 3, 2012 in Bible Learning Fun
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Young children never seem to tire of hearing the story of Noah, the ark he built, and the animals God saved during the Great Flood. Following are several activities you can use to reinforce this incredible story of faith and obedience with your favorite preschooler.

When we were learning about Noah’s Ark, the first thing we did (as always) was read the story from Remi’s Bible. (It starts in Genesis 6.) Then, we crafted a paper plate ark and a few pairs of animals to go inside it. I printed the animals and cut them out ahead of time (just because I knew we’d be limited on time that day) and Remi painted the ark and rainbow, and glued the animals onto craft sticks. Here’s how her finished product looked:

(You can find the free templates here.) First, she painted the rainbow and we glued it onto a paper plate. I adapted the craft by NOT printing the lower half of the ark; I simply cut a second plate in half and let her paint it brown.

Attaching that to the other plate created a pocket, perfect for inserting the animal pairs as we talked about them boarding the ark. Remi was so proud of her creation, and told the story over and over as she played with this throughout the day—a great built-in review!

Our snack for this story? You guessed it: animal crackers!

We did some animal puzzles while we talked about the animals that were brought into the ark. Many children’s Bible story books inaccurately picture Noah out rounding up animals and dragging them back to the ark, so while we “worked” we discussed the fact that the Bible says God brought the animals to Noah. He didn’t have to hunt them down!

We also played with our Noah’s ark matching cards, and had fun giving names to the boy/girl pairs and making various animal sounds while we played.

For a movement activity, Remi pretended to be different animals boarding the ark. If I called out “kangaroo,” she would hop. If I called out “snake,” she’d slither on her belly. She crawled slowly like a turtle, lumbered like an elephant, waddled like a penguin, and more. Watching her interpretations of some animals was a riot!

Next we got out our Noah’s ark play set and worked on matching and naming all the different pairs of animals.

We ended up leaving this out all week, and she would sit down and play around with it several times a day.

There are many important character qualities you can emphasize with your child while learning about Noah: faithfulness, obedience, trust in God, being a hard worker, standing “alone” for God, and more. Our kids need good heroes, and Noah can certainly be one of them!

(I’ll add more of our Noah activities when I post about the letter N.)

Be sure to follow this lesson with one on God’s Rainbow Promise.

Enjoy learning together!

We had a great time learning about the promise God made to Noah to never again destroy the whole earth with a flood. Genesis 9 tells us how He set His rainbow in the clouds as a reminder of that promise.

I’ll share here all the fun things we did to go along with this Bible story, including a craft, a game, a snack, a project, and a simple science experiment, as well as activities for nature discovery and visual discrimination. Are you ready?

Game: Rainbow m&m Sort

I got the template for this printout here, and—as is often the case—I adapted it before printing and laminating. Since my daughter is only three, I skipped the die-rolling component for now, and just let her match up the m&m colors to the rainbow template. (You could have your child roll a die to determine which color gets placed if you want to make it a little more challenging. I decided to save that for later.)

I told Remi she could eat the brown ones, since they weren’t needed for the game. In the end, most of what she did was place the candy—whatever color she happened to pick up—onto the rainbow for about two seconds, and then pop it into her mouth when she thought I wasn’t looking! The first time not many m&m’s ended up on the template, but when we pulled this activity out again the next day, she filled up the whole rainbow—and felt a great sense of accomplishment when it was completed!  This game was just plain fun, but was also great practice for visual discrimination (and yes, even self-control!)

Does she really think I don’t know what’s in her mouth?

Craft: A Rainbow in the Clouds

This was a simple craft, but it provided a great opportunity to review the Bible story while we “worked.”

Where did God put His rainbow? What does it mean? Will we ever have a flood again? (Yes, but it won’t destroy the whole world.)

We turned these…..

…into THIS—a beautiful rainbow in the clouds, and a creation for a little one to be very proud of.

We even picked out her dress in honor of this Bible story!

Remi loves using my paper trimmer—with my supervision and help, of course—so I let her help me get the strips of construction paper ready.

Squeezing out all that glue before adding the cotton-ball clouds is a perfect workout for those little hand muscles!

Gluing on the paper strips gave us a chance to talk about the colors of a rainbow, i.e. that every rainbow consists of the same colors, that they are always in the same order, and what that order is. No, I don’t expect her to memorize the correct order right now! (But you may be ready to do that with your child, depending on his age.)

Snack: Rainbow Sherbet

This one was a no-brainer! It was yummy, something we don’t usually keep in the house, and super quick and easy.  And no, we didn’t eat it the same day we worked with the m&m’s…..

Science experiment: Milk Rainbows

I’m a firm believer that there are only two reasons to do science with young children. One is to expose them to evidence of the all-powerful God who created everything in existence, and the other is just to have FUN! Please don’t make the mistake of making science a chore for your little one. Let her experiment, play, and have fun!

And if you’re learning about God’s rainbow promise, why not start by making milk rainbows? I’ve seen activities like this all over the internet (like here and here). We adapted ours this way:

1. I put some milk in a shallow dish. (I chose a white one so the colors would really show up.)

2. I let my girls add a few drops each of red, yellow, and blue food coloring to the milk.

3. We let it spread for a few seconds, then added a drop of liquid dish soap in the middle. Here’s what happened:

(There were lots of oohs and ahhs!)

4. I let Remi turn the dish slightly to swirl the colors around in the milk.

5. My 10-year-old daughter was watching us do this experiment, so I explained to her what was happening: The fat and protein molecules were moving around in reaction to the dish soap we added, and the food coloring allowed us to see the movement of the molecules. If you are doing this only with a young child, you may want to simply tell him that there are things going on all around us that we don’t even notice, but that God can see everything and He knows what’s happening, even when we can’t see it. (Or, just let him enjoy the pretty colors and swirls!) Simple and fun…

I also showed Remi how, if we hold a CD up to the sunlight, we can see the light reflecting off of it in rainbow colors. (She thought that was pretty cool!)  How’s that for a zero cost, zero prep science activity?

Visual Discrimination Activity: Pompom Sort

I gave Remi a divided tray and an assortment of rainbow-colored pompoms in three different sizes and let her sort them into compartments by color. (We used a sorting tray made just for these kinds of activities, but you could use a muffin pan, egg carton, divided craft box, or whatever you have available. Pompoms can usually be found at the dollar store, but you could substitute beads, buttons, etc.)

This was a little too quick and easy for her, but after she got them all sorted, she asked for some tongs so she could do it again with more of a challenge. Doing it this way provided great motor skills practice, too. (These are regular kitchen tongs I got from the dollar store just for Remi to use.)

Next she wanted an empty water bottle to put the pompoms in, which is great “work” for developing hand-eye coordination. **HINT: Follow your child’s lead and let him take the activities you plan in the right direction for him.**

Project: String Rainbow Cereal

This one is a classic. I’m pretty sure there’s a rule somewhere that says that at some point, your child has to string cereal pieces together to make a necklace. (Right?) Besides, it’s great for your little one’s hand-eye coordination, and something that can be done fairly independently.

You only need two ingredients: Fruit Loop-type cereal, and something on which to string it, like a shoelace or a piece of yarn. I used a lace from a sewing card set we own, and tied a big knot in the end to get her started (so the pieces wouldn’t slip off).

Granted, at times there seemed to be more of this going on…..

…..than this:

There were even times that both were happening simultaneously.

In the end, Remi decided she didn’t want it to be a necklace after all. She considered a headband…..

…..but opted instead for something she could swing around and around to get the dog’s attention. (???)  Again, whatever she chose was fine with me. The point was to give her the experience and let her get creative with it.

And now, for my favorite of all the Rainbow-Promise-related activities we enjoyed:

Nature and Movement Activity: Rainbow Walk

This is a great way to get outside with your little one and take a closer look at God’s beautiful creation. It requires no advanced planning or preparation, and all you need is your child and a camera. Just throw on some flip-flops and head outdoors with your little tyke and the goal of finding every color of the rainbow in nature.

This was a great opportunity to review which colors comprise a rainbow, and we didn’t even make it to the end of our block before finding every single one of them. Remi had a great time hunting for the different colors and taking some of her own pictures. I encouraged her to look beyond the flower beds and notice colors all around her. Here’s a sample of what we found for each—in proper rainbow order, of course!

Variations:

If the weather’s bad, you could do this same activity inside your home.

You could skip the camera and simply find the colors, or take a clipboard and some crayons along and have your child draw each object she finds.

Or, you could take a piece of paper in each color outside with you, and have your little one attach something she finds in each color to the proper page.

Get creative if you want to! I’m all for simple, but you could take this fun activity as far as you choose.

I hope you enjoy experiencing these activities with a little one you love, but even more, I encourage you to use them to reinforce a beautiful story of God’s promise to all mankind.

(This lesson makes a great follow-up to our Noah’s ark activities.)

Enjoy learning together!