Category Archives: Kid Activities

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April Showers Crafts and Games!

It’s that time of year when we stand on the brink of sunshine and hours of outside play. So close we can almost smell it… yet it’s not quite here.

We are having one of those classic April weeks in Minnesota, where it’s too cold to play outside and every day looms of rain, so we decided to make the most of it! Today we learned all about the seasons, rain, and why there are April showers. ☺ I came up with a list of activities that would both demonstrate how rain works, and give the kids a hands on experience, plus a craft project o remember it by. It just happened that I was also able to incorporate appropriate books throughout the day to go with each activity.


The Seasons:

IMG_4136First, I chose 1 item to represent each season: a wooden snowflake, a red leaf, a small wooden flower, and a yellow circle for the sun. I placed the items in a bag and had each child reach in (without looking) to pull one out. We discussed each one and what it represented. They really enjoyed the suspense of this activity!

Then we read “When?” by Leo Lionni and “All Around Us” by Eric Carle. These were perfect! They both cover the seasons and things that happen in them. We talked about how we are in the season of spring and specifically, the month of April. In April it rains a lot so flowers can grow etc.

April and Rain:

IMG_4139Next, we moved to the dining room table where I placed a large mason jar filled 1/3 of the way with boiling water. I placed a plate on top and let it sit for a few minutes while we discussed how and why rain works. You can read more about it HERE. Next, I set 8-10 ice cubes on the plate. Within a few seconds, we could see a gentle mist coming down the jar from the bottom of the plate which looked like a light rain. They loved it!

Making their own rain clouds:

IMG_4142I filled a large clear container half full with water and added only 2 drops of blue food coloring. I wanted them to see the blue, but I didn’t want it to stain anything. ☺ I gave them each a container with cotton balls, a piece of paper, and tongs. If you don’t have enough tongs, we also used 2 matching serving forks and 2 matching serving slotted spoons. These may have even been easier. :-D I would also cover your workspace with a towel—everything got quite wet.

I explained that their cotton balls were clouds and they needed to fill them with water to become rain clouds. They dropped the cotton balls into the blue water, let them get wet and then set them on the paper to make designs. They LOVED this!! Before long, the cotton balls were back and forth and everywhere else. They wrung them out with their hands and started the process again. Everybody was wet, but they did this for about half an hour. Very fun activity that serves as a great visual for rain!

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I gave each child a piece of cardstock with a simple cloud drawn in the top portion. I had them fill it with Elmer’s glue and then cover it with cotton balls. Next we discussed how rain comes out of rain clouds, so they made their rain with the glue. I then sprinkled blue glitter on their rain, poured off the excess, and Voila! Beautiful rain coming down from their clouds. They were pretty giddy about all that glitter—especially since I was doing this with 4 little girls. ☺

IMG_4147Listening Walk:

It just happened that it wasn’t raining this afternoon, so we decided to get outside for a few minutes—it was still cold! :-D I wanted the walk to go with our spring theme though, so we read, “The Listening Walk” by Paul Showers, then we got bundled up and headed out for our own listening walk. This was a lot of fun. All of the kids noticed things they had never noticed before. We discovered a lot of unique and new sounds as well finding some new life on trees and in plants. They were surprised to see and hear so many of the signs of spring we had been learning about.

FullSizeRenderOther books we read to go with the theme:

“Dora’s Serach for the Seasons” by Samantha Berger

“A Bunny for all Seasons” by Janet Schulman

“My Spring Robin” by Anne Rockwell

“Wee Little Lamb” by Lauren Thompson

Coloring Pages:

We finished the day with a couple of coloring pages that coordinated with the theme. I just got them off Google images and turned them into coloring sheets.

Soon the luster of spring will be here and we will miss these cold rainy days to do projects inside our home. I love the opportunities to take advantage of these less than desirable times! ☺

Happy Spring!

-Lydia

 

Resurrection Day Invitation to Play – Easter Crafts

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During a season of bunnies, chicks, and eggs, it can be hard to direct our children toward the real meaning of Easter. This year, I wanted something that was hands-on and interactive but not a typical craft project. I came up with an Easter Invitation to Play that was God focused and reviewed many of the truths we have been learning the last few weeks.

I think there are a lot of ways to do this, but here’s what we used. You can tweak this to adapt to your materials and needs.image

White Play dough
Green Play dough
Three toothpicks or small sticks to serve as crosses
Pom-poms or small flowers
A strip of fabric or paper
Small pieces of paper or stones where you have written examples of sins
The bottom portion cut out of a cup

imageI gave each of the kids a plate with the above items. We have been learning all about the crucifixion and the resurrection so it was all very fresh in their minds. Before we began this portion though, we sat down and discussed the fact that it was our sin that sent Jesus to the cross. He was perfect and did not have to die to take the consequence for his own sin. He died for us: it was our sin that paved the way to the cross. I wanted them to understand the significance of this truth. I had very small pieces of paper, maybe half inch by half-inch, and we wrote a different sin on about 30 of them. This was significant and they really understood it. Therefore, when they each received their plate with the items to use for the invitation to play, they each had about eight of the papers with sins. I explained that they were going to set up the scene however they would like. The toothpicks could be used as crosses, the white Play dough could be used to create a tomb and to cover the cup portion, or they could use the cup portion as the tomb and the white Play dough as the stone. I explained that the pom-poms could be flowers, or some other type of decoration. They could use the strip of paper as a road or some type of pathway. They could even use it as a linen cloth to wrap up a pom-pom to serve as Jesus. :-) The green Play dough could be used as grass or as a hill for the crosses to sit on. The one thing I told them I wanted them to include for sure was the pathway of sins. They all thought this made a lot of sense and were excited to dig in!

imageThey worked on this project for probably close to an hour, and came up with all sorts of scenes. I think it really helped to solidify the truths that we have been learning this week in a hands-on experience where they could actually do something with what they have been learning. I hope that you find this to be just as profitable with your kids!

Happy Easter!

-Lydia

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Sun Catchers Craft

​As we gear up for spring, (and that extra hour of sunshine!) the kids and I did this great craft project I have to share with you! It’s cheap, easy, and makes a great gift to brighten someone’s day. We made sun catchers.

What you need:

• Contact paper
• Tissue Paper
• Ribbon
• Hole Punch
• Scissors
• Small suction cup with hook

​Simply trace a circle onto contact paper with a little hump on the top. It will look similar to a Christmas ornament.

​Cut out 2 of them for each sun catcher.

​Cut out several small squares of multi colored tissue paper.

​Peel the backing off the contact paper. This takes a bit of patience…

​Have the kids place their tissue paper squares all over the sticky side of the contact paper. My 13 month old did this no problem and loved it!

​When it’s full, place the matching contact paper circle on top. Line it up best you can, but it doesn’t have to be perfect at all.

​Trim around the edges. This will catch the tissue paper hanging off the edges and is also an easy way to even out the circles.

​Punch a hole in the center of the hump part at the top.

​String a short thin ribbon through the hole and tie it in a loop.

​Hang on a window with a suction cup that has a hook. They sell 10-12 packs at Dollar Tree.

​These make great gifts to brighten someone’s day!

​Enjoy the sunshine!!
- Lydia

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Daylight Savings Activities for Kids

Daylight Savings Time: The dreaded day when we lose an hour of precious sleep and our kids schedules are changed for the next 7 months. I got to thinking though; why not use the opportunity to teach my children? They are currently 1, 2, and 4, with the girls I nanny filling in the gaps at 3 and 5, but it’s a great opportunity to teach them about Daylight Savingsastronomy, time telling, reading the calendar, seasons, and more!

Here’s what we did!

First, I pulled out a toy that happens to have a large clock face with movable hands on one side. You could use a real clock, a toy, or make your own. We discussed times they are familiar with such as when they wake up in the morning, lunch time, bedtime, and so on. Next we went through a full day hour by hour and I explained how the clock cycles through all the numbers twice each day. We talked about when it’s light outside, when it’s dark and some key times in the winter vs. summer when it’s light or dark. Once they were fully synced with me on the subject, I took them into the concept of daylight savings time: why we do it and how it works. I showed what it looks like to fall back and spring forward on the clock and how that would affect the times of day they are familiar with. They were fascinated and had a decent understanding of everything. To enforce the concept, we played some games.

Game #1

IMG_3798I had the kids stand shoulder to shoulder on a line in our home. You could make one with masking tape. When I said “Fall Back!” they had to take a giant step backward. When I said, “Spring Forward!” they took a giant step forward. Each time I gave the command and they responded, I gave a high five to those who had responded correctly. That was plenty of incentive for them. We did it several times until they were all getting it correct each time and there were plenty of giggles. ☺

Game #2

IMG_3802I had them all sit Indian style on the living room floor. When I said, “Fall back!” they flopped onto their backs. I had them sit back up, and sit Indian style again. When I said, “Spring forward!” they flopped onto their tummies. We didn’t play this one as long as the other, but they still loved it!

 

 

Craft #1

They colored this picture. Isn’t it cute? I felt like it summed everything up perfectly!

Craft #2

FullSizeRenderWe made pocket watches. The kids needed a tactual way to remember all we had learned, so what better project than to make a clock of some sort? You could do anything, but I thought these were super cute!

First, draw 2 circles near each other on colored paper. I used construction paper, but colored paper would hold up better. Connect your circles to create a book type look. I guess it almost looks like a pair of glasses if that helps. Cut them out all connected.

Draw a smaller circle on plain white paper and cut it out as well.

Glue the white circle to one side of the colored circle.

Write the numbers of a clock face around the white circle.

IMG_3805Cut out 2 tiny arrows, one slightly larger than the other, on black paper. I was disappointed with how well the construction paper held up, so another option might be better. Use a safety pin to prick a whole through both arrows and the center of the clock face and back of pocket watch. This will make it so much easier when you poke your brad through it. Make sure the hole is a good ways down the arrow sticks so they don’t rip through when you insert your brad.

Next, poke your brad through both arrows and the clock and backside of your pocket watch.

Lastly, feel free to decorate the pocket watch and enjoy!

We did one last craft project to welcome the extra hour of sunlight each day, so come back on Friday to read about that one. ☺

Even if we are about to lose an hour of sleep, at least we have the opportunity to teach our children so many concepts leading up to it! ☺Daylight Savings Time Spring Forward Coloring

-Lydia

 

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Valentines Day: Who God Loves Craft

The kids and I have been learning about God’s love this week as we prepare for Valentine’s day. It’s important to me that whenever we learn about Valentine’s day or love that we start with God’s love. We have covered different aspects of God’s love, but today I wanted them to have an interactive picture of WHO God loves so they would understand that God’s love is limitless and applicable to those they know and even those they don’t know.

What you need:

  • White paper
  • Colored paper in a few different colors if you want
  • Ribbon
  • Tape
  • Marker
  • Scissors

What to do:

I cut cloud shapes out of the white paper to represent God. We talked about how He is in heaven beyond the clouds. The clouds were about ¼ a sheet of paper in size. I wrote the first portion of I John 4:10 on them to demonstrate how God loved us before we even loved Him. There are many verses that would work for this though! You could even just do I John 4:8 which says, “God is Love.” I had the kids say the verse with me as I wrote it on the paper. This kept them involved and helped them begin to memorize it. They each also chose their own color of marker. If they are older, they can write it themselves.

Next I laid out my multicolored hearts which I had cut into 2 sizes. They each picked several. I had them tell me different people they knew. They loved this and were excited to tell me everyone! This took a while. ☺ We wrote each name on a different heart.

Next I gave them each 3-4 pieces of ribbon to tape onto the back of their cloud.

Then we attached each heart to the ribbon with tape. The idea is God’s love reaching down to each person.

Lastly, we reviewed how God loves each person with an everlasting, unchanging, and overflowing love. And He loves them with the same kind of love, no matter what.

The kids really got the point of this craft and they were excited to have a visual of some of the people God loves.

In this is love, not that we have loved God

but that he loved us

and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

I John 4:10

 

-Lydia

 

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Snowman Sensory Bags

The kids and I have been enjoying snowman themed activities, crafts, and games throughout the month of January, but today’s activity was especially fun!

We made Snowman Sensory bags. I had never realized before that this concept was even possible, but I might be hooked. I’m sure there will be more homemade sensory bags to come, but for today, here’s the snowman one. ☺

I got the idea from THIS website and followed it pretty closely with a few alterations.

Here is what you’ll need (items listed are for each child):

  • Ziploc bag
  • Scotch tape or packing tape (we ended up using Scotch and it was perfect)
  • Staplerblog snowman bags
  • Cut out Foam eyes, nose, and buttons (or something to create a snowman in the bag) The eyes and buttons were about the size of a penny I that helps.
  • Cut out Foam or felt hat—not necessary, but fun. The main part of the hat covered the width of the bag and then the flat part stuck out the sides
  • About 2 oz. clear hair gel
  • About ½ cup water
  • About 2 teaspoons glitter

#1. I reinforced the 3 sides of each bag with Scotch tape making sure to fully cover the corners. While I did this, the kids and I discussed the 5 senses and what senses would be used on our sensory bag.

#2 I let each child squeeze about 2 oz. of clear hair gel into their bag while I held it open. They LOVED this part as we used our entire bottle and it made lots of funny noises!

#3. I poured in about 2 teaspoons of glitter into each bag while they held it open.

#4. I poured in slightly less than ½ cup water into each bag while they held it open.

#5. I sealed each bag and let them smush everything around inside to mix it up. They loved this part and were getting eager for the finished product. ☺

#6. Next, I explained the snowman pieces and what they were supposed to look like when laid out properly. I gave each child their pieces to put in their bags.

#7. I had each child wipe the tops of their bags with a piece of paper towel to ensure it was dry and free of stickiness.

#8. I got out as much air as I could and securely resealed each bag.

#9. I sealed the top of each bag with Scotch tape (just to be safe.) ☺

#10. I stapled the hat to the top of each bag being sure to ONLY staple above the zipper seal.

And then the kids were ready to squish and smush away!!

The little ones did need help adjusting their foam pieces into the correct position, but when I explained some other options of ways to arrange them, they were pretty happy to just have fun with it.

I like that this is a craft project they can really use and even learn from. A welcome winter craft! I hope you enjoy it too! ☺

 

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Snowman Kit in a Jar!

IMG_3105Sometimes you need a fast, easy, cheap (or free), super cute, and practical gift for a child. I guess that sounds like a lot of criteria to fill, BUT I came up with the perfect idea and I can’t wait to share it with you!

It’s no secret on this blog that I LOVE play dough. I love making it, I love all the possibilities it presents, and I love that my kids can keep busy with it for long periods of time. :-)

I also love invitations to play, but they require so many pieces it’s a hard thing to give as a gift—until today!

I present to you: Snowmen in a jar!

Aren’t they cute?!?!

I started by making THIS recipe, but I added 1 teaspoon peppermintIMG_3101extract. (Did you know they are selling it at Aldi right now? So cheap!!) After the play dough was cooked, I added a bunch of glitter while I kneaded it on the wax paper. Ta da! Snow!

One batch of play dough is the exact amount you need to fill 3 baby food jars.

Next I just used items I had around the house. You could use anything! I chose 3 small pom poms in matching colors to be the buttons for each snowman. Then I cut green pipe cleaners for arms—I got 10 out of 1 pipe cleaner to give an idea of length. Next, I cut red pipe cleaner in slightly smaller segments for the carrot. Beads would work for eyes, or googly eyes.

I’m sure there are lots of great possibilities, but I was just using what I had.

I put everything into baby food jars—free containers! Any little container would work though—even Ziploc bags. I used black fabric paint to make eyes and a smile and then I used orange for a big carrot nose. I colored the lid with a big, thick permanent marker to look like a hat.

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To fill the jars:

Divide one batch of play dough into 3 parts. Roll each part into the shape and size of a small, chubby hot dog and slowly lower it into the jar being sure to fill the entire thing. You might need to smush it in with your fingers to get the air out. It should fill the main part of the jar perfectly.

Next, I laid the decorations on the top of the play dough—there is the exact amount of space you need for them!

Screw the lid on and you have a fun, fast, easy, cheap (or free), super cute, and practical gift for a child!

-Lydia

 

Pumpkin Decorations for Toddlers

My kids love to glue things–and I love to hang seasonal decorations on our doors—so this craft is a win, win! :-) It’s so easy and cute too.

 

What you need (per child):

 

  • Paper plate for each child
  • Orange construction paper cut into several 1” squares
  • Brown construction paper cut into a rectangle—about 2” x 3”
  •  Green construction paper cut into the shape of a leaf
  •  Glue

 

Optional:

  •  A string about 3” long
  •  A hot glue gun

 

 

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Give each child a paper plate, glue, and whole lot of orange squares. Encourage them to COVER

their plate with squares to make it as orange as possible—including all the sides. This kept them busy for quite a while. :-) I love gluing activities because any age child can do it—even as young as a 1 year old. You can use glue sticks or Elmer’s, but we did the latter because it seemed to work best.

 

When they are finished with their squares, show them where to glue the brown stem on the pumpkin and also the green leaf.

 

Once the pumpkins are dry, you can hot glue the string to the back in the shape of a loop to hang the pumpkins on a wreath hanger for a fall decoration. I usually hang my kid’s creations on either side of our back door. That way we can enjoy them when we GET home as well as when we ARE home—they love to see their artwork on display and so do I. :-)

 

-Lydia

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Insides of a Pumpkin Craft

I’ve been realizing lately there is so much information that we, as adults, know and just take for granted–information that maybe our young children don’t even know to think about.

Fall seems like a good time to analyze the insides of various produce items—apples, nuts, pumpkins… The kids and I recently spent a couple days just learning about pumpkins. We did all sorts of crafts, games, and activities, but the main thing we did was to cut open a pumpkin and talk about what was inside it and how everything worked. Therefore, it seemed appropriate that at the end of our “pumpkin days” they got to make their own pumpkin complete with the insides. Here’s how we did it!

 

I made paper pumpkins for each child by folding a piece of orange construction paper in half. I then folded it in half again but did NOT bend it that time—I just used the fold as a guide. I cut off one corner and continued to round out the other two edges that did not have a fold.

Next I did 1 SMALL clip to cut the last folded corner. When the paper was folded in half it loosely resembled a pumpkin. This gave the kids a palette of sorts to work on.

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When we had cut open our pumpkin a few days before, I saved the pumpkin seeds and roasted and salted them to eat. I didn’t think they tasted very good though, so I was happy to donate them to our craft project. :-) I gave each of the kids a big pile of roasted seeds which they actually enjoyed eating. (I’m sure it was just the fact they got to eat their craft project—that’s always fun!) They each also received a string to represent the strings in the pumpkin and a bottle of Elmer’s glue to make it all stick.

They actually really enjoyed this craft and everything stayed on wonderfully! It was an enjoyable, educational, and edible experience. All 3 are plusses in my book!

-Lydia

Rainstorm in a glass

imageI feel like it’s been raining here for days! My kids keep asking, “Mom, why is it still raining?” By now, they have begun to answer their own question before I have time to reply, “God must know we need the rain.” So, since we’re stuck in the house watching the downpour out the window, why not find a way to make rain fun inside? Here’s what we did! SUPER easy and fun!

 

What you need (for each child):

 

  • Tall, clear drinking glass ¾ full of water
  • Small bowl filled with colored water—we did blue with food coloring
  • Shaving cream
  • Syringe

 

Fill your glass ¾ full of water, and mix food coloring into some water in a small bowl. The darker the color, the easier it is to see it. Squirt shaving cream in the top of each glass—my kids thought this was hilarious! Then explain how their glass is their world. The water is the sky, the shaving cream is the nice puffy cloud. Have them interact and share about things in their world so it becomes more personal for them. THEN, God knows they need rain, so let them fill up their syringes with colored water and shoot it into the “cloud.” Small children might have a hard time with it, but they should get it just fine. As they continue shooting water into their cloud, it fills up with the colored water, and it will begin raining in their world! It’s really entertaining for them to watch it rain in their world and educational as they can see how rain clouds work.

 

Happy squirting! :-)

 

-Lydia