Posts Tagged ‘Fine motor skills’

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!

While trying to come up with something quick and easy for my preschooler to try during a busy Easter weekend, I had the idea to do some “cottontail painting.” It was fun, encouraged her creativity, and strengthened her little hand muscles without her ever realizing it! Here’s all you need:

Paint, heavy paper, cotton balls, & a clothespin

Paint, heavy paper, cotton balls, & a clothes pin

Hand your little one a clothes pin and have her squeeze it open and closed to pick up a “tail.”

Then have her dip that bunny’s tail in the paint…

…and start designing her masterpiece. Remi chose to make a whole garden of spring flowers.

Just look at that concentration on her face!

I let her use a different “tail” for each color of paint…

…but also used the opportunity to teach her about color mixing. When I told her that yellow and red together make orange, she said, “Really? I am TOTALLY doing that!”

Here, the finished spring garden:

I hope you and your little one enjoy the fun (and easy set-up) of this Easter art project.

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!