Tag 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

 

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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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Valentine’s Day Game

With Valentine’s day quickly approaching, I wanted an opportunity to teach my kids about the most important love of all—God’s love. I wanted it to be interactive and kind of fun, so we went on a treasure hunt!

To start everything off, I had each of the kids make their own mailbox using this site. This is completely unnecessary, but so cute and was definitely a special touch. They could just as easily use little treasure chests, bags, buckets, or nothing at all.

I explained that last night I had gone on a treasure hunt through God’s Word, the Bible. I had gone looking for treasures about God’s love and I was going to share with them what I found. In order to find those treasures though, they had to go on a treasure hunt through our house! ☺

I had them leave the area with their mailboxes while I hid 14 prepared hearts around the first floor of our home. Each heart had a different truth about God’s love written on it. Here is my rough list if you want to copy the concepts. I’m sure there are others though!

God’s love is Everlasting
God IS love
He loved us first
God’s love never changes
He showed it to us when he died for us
He loves it when we do good
God loves the world
God loves Jesus
God loves to be an example for us
God’s love is an example to us
God has the greatest love and He showed it when Jesus laid down his life for us
Nothing can separate us from God’s love
God’s love is great
God’s love is overflowing

After they found all the hearts and had them carefully stashed in their mailboxes, we met on the floor in the living room to discuss their treasures. We simply went around the circle and each child pulled out one heart at a time. We discussed the concept found on that heart and interacted a bit about the truth that was there. We continued until all the truths had been discovered. At the end, we reviewed what we had learned about the treasure of God’s love and how His love was unlike any other love.

I encouraged them to keep their hearts in their mailbox with the flag up, so they could send their treasures to someone else who would like to know about the great treasure of God’s love. They each left the room excited about the depth of His love and eager to share their treasures with others!

 

-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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Make a Toddler Gift Book

My kids and I recently discovered an easy craft to make for their preschool-aged cousins. It is inexpensive, very fun to make, and looks nice when it’s finished. It is also a great teaching tool for 1 to 4-year-olds.

Thought most of the crafts on this blog are complements of Lydia, I do usually keep card stock, markers, and glue sticks on hand. (AIthough I did not have a glue stick for this craft since our last one was partially eaten and then left to dry out by some short, unidentified culprit.)photo 2-2

With these couple of items the kids and I make cards for friends and family, and we decided to make a special book for their cousin. He has some learning disabilities, and his special ed teacher had suggested a book that would teach the correct uses for his mouth, hands, eyes, and legs.

I think it’s also a great book for one and two-year-olds to teach their different body parts.

Supplies: nine photos, glue stick,

card stock (3 black, 1 yellow, 1 blue, 1 green, and 5 white)

1. We took pictures of the kids doing the different actions. Most of the pictures in the book are staged. This was actually super fun. (15 minutes)

2. I sent the pictures to Walmart online photo center.
(10 minutes)

3. A few days later picked the photos up when I went shopping.
(5 minutes)

4. I stapled my colored card stock (1 black, 1 red, 1 green, 1 yellow, 1 blue) into a book formphoto 3-2
(5 minutes)

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5. I have the kids color white card stock which I used as mattes for the pictures.
(10 minutes)

6. I typed out simple uses for each body part and printed them on white card stock .
(5 minutes)

7. I cut the kids’ pictures into four identical rectangles to put behind each photo. I also cut apart my typed words. I use the paper cutter because I have a good quality one that cuts card stock though scissors would have been fine.
(10 minutes)

8. Finally we glued them altogether.
(10 minutes)

Here’s the final book.

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photo 1-3  photo 2-3

photo 3-3  photo 1-5photo 4-3  photo 2-5

photo 3-4  photo 4-4

Total cost: under $2

-Verity

Nativity Invitation to Play

PictureI absolutely love Invitations to Play!

They help children learn concepts, use their imaginations, and work to create something wonderful. I wanted to carry the idea into a simple nativity activity, so here is what I came up with.

 I made a list of characters who were present at the first Christmas. Then, I went around the house collecting items that I thought MIGHT pass as those characters. Therefore, this will look very different for everyone. You could use Legos or little people, stuffed animals or pictures, craft supplies or food items. Be creative and have fun! :-) Mostly, I just wanted the kids to be able to catch a general idea of who might pass as whom when they looked at the items.

I had the kids sit on the floor and I presented them with a container filled with stuffed animals and other items that could be used to create a nativity scene. I told them to be creative and to work together to try and recreate the nativity scene. I then left the room and got something else accomplished. :-)


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When I came back, here is what they had come up with!
Raggedy Ann and Andy are Mary and Joseph, Baby Jesus is wrapped in a blanket, the sheep with clothes on are the shepherds, and the sheep are the sheep. They didn’t use quite everything I had anticipated, but I thought it was pretty well done.

It’s a simple activity, but it causes the kids to think and to work together to apply what they have learned about Christmas. :-)

-Lydia

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I realize the fall season is nearly behind us, but I just HAVE to share this fun and easy idea. This would be so great to have your kids work on while you prepare for the Thanksgiving dinner.

All you do is draw a basic tree trunk on paper.

 

Apply tape to look like branches. I used masking tape folded in half, but you could use anything—2 sided Scotch tape might be fun.

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Give the kids things to stick on the branches. I used small red pom poms for apples (which my kids chose not to use) and some foam leaves I bought at Dollar Tree. You could also use scraps of paper, tissue paper, or foam, real leaves, etc. Anything that could go on a tree!
Then just walk away and let them have fun! :-)

-Lydia

Toddler Activities with Apples: Part 2

In my recent quest to find fun fall activities for my toddlers, I went looking for something different than the normal color a picture, make a craft, play a game… While browsing Pinterest, I found this idea. It was perfect! A hands on invitation to play where my kids could essentially build their own apples again and again! Here it is.Picture

Start by making up a batch of play dough. I used an easy 5 minute recipe I found online, but

there are SO many different options. Whatever recipe you use (or don’t use) play dough is an easy thing to make or buy. As long as I was making it, I added plenty of red food coloring and a few drops of an apple body wash I had found on clearance months ago. That way it even SMELLED like apples! :-)

I let the play dough cool for a few hours and divided it in half and then 4 sections from one half. I figured the kids really didn’t need very much. I rolled each section into a nice ball.
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            Earlier in the day, the kids and I had gone for a walk to the park, so I encouraged them to

pick up plenty of small sticks and twigs to use for our activity later in the day. I also had them find small leaves in our yard. This helped to build the excitement for the activity—always a plus!

I took the play dough balls, leaves, sticks and also some dried kidney beans and put them on 4 different plates—one for each child. I could have used apple seeds, but I was afraid they would be too small for the 18 month old if she tried to eat them. Turns out she ate the dried beans anyway and was fine, so I guess you learn something new every day! Who would have thought a toddler could eat dried beans?!


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            I sat the kids at the table and brought in an apple on a cutting board. We talked about that it was red and a circle and they grew on trees etc. Then I cut it open. We discussed the colors inside and each part of an apple. They were surprisingly fascinated and asked lots of questions! Perfect intro for them to make their own!

I brought out a plate for each child with their supplies and explained that they each got to make their own apples and could do it however they would like. They LOVED this activity and got right to it. The 18 month old immediately started stuffing the beans right into the center of her play dough ball (before she started eating them). One of the 2 year olds flattened her’s out and lined up all the beans inside before rolling it back up. It was great to see their creativity!


            By the end, most of them had their supplies resemble apples and they were proud of their creations. One of the 2 year olds even spent an hour and a half working and reworking on his apples! :-)

-Lydia

3 Preschool Tips

Although my degree is in Education, I taught for a summer ministry during my pre-mom years, and have taught many times for our home business, I haven’t felt like I was using my schooling or experience much as a mom.

However, now that I am starting to embark on homeschool preschool, there are just a couple things that have helped me stay unusually organized. It’s almost come naturally, and since I’m not a naturally organized, I can only attribute it to my education and experience finally helping me as a homemaker! (Yay!!)

I have homeschool preschooled my rambunctious 3 year old and his organized (but her-way-is-the-best-way-even-if-it-means-grasping-her-pencil-in-her-fist-to-write) 2 year old in a structured setting for a year and in the normal mom-way for 2 years. (This is where you read learning books, sing the alphabet a lot, and count things through the day. It’s basically just being a mom.)

I know that not all moms are going to be able to school at home, but these couple points could help with homework too!

1. Determine Your MAIN Goal:

It’s not as simple as it sounds. I had to reevaluate my main goal a few months ago, and it has been a sigh of relief since!

What is your main goal?

-That your child is ahead of the other kids in his play group or class?

-That he learn to become self-motivated with his homework?

-That he learn to love school and look forward to it?

This will determine the amount of time you spend, what subjects you focus on (subjects he loves vs subjects that will help him with other goals etc.), and sometimes even your approaches.

I used to want my son to be better then the other kids, and it frustrated me that he was not writing his name or reciting the alphabet by 2 like a couple of the little girls in his Sunday school. However, upon reevaluation of my MAIN goal, I decided my goal for him as a preschooler, is to learn to love learning. (This may likely change, but let’s avoid burn-out by K-5.) I also realized that it was my pride – not my desire for his growth – that was motivating me to want him to be faster in school then he was.

Realizing that I was using my little son to boost my own ego and determining a different goal has helped school to become a time we all look forward to and has caused me to take some different approaches to it.

Because last year my little kids could only handle an hour of formal school time and because my MAIN goal was that they learn to enjoy learning:

  1. We limited formal school to 30m – 60m each day
  2. We limited formal school to 4 subjects
  3. We used their specific learning styles and interests to make it easier for them
    1. Visual Learners will need more pictures. (Dollar Store has tons of $1 school visuals!)
    2. Audio Learners will need to hear concepts spoken or speak the concepts themselves.
    3. Kinestetic learners will need to touch or move or act out the concepts.
    4. Goal-Oriented kids will do best with a reward system.
    5. Music loving kids will learn 10 times better if you turn lessons into little rhymes and songs.
    6. Artists will enjoy subjects they get to draw in or create with.
    7. Organizers will do better when you describe everything as having a place. “This is where the ‘A’ goes – in front of the ‘B.’ That’s where it belongs!’ They do best with categories and structure.

And the list goes on.

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2. Make a Short List of Objectives at the Start of Every Semester or Season.

According to  my college professors, this is something all teachers are supposed to do in each class they teach in grade school through doctoral classes. If you do your job well (the professors in college would tell us teachers in training) you can write your final test from your objectives.

In practice, your students may not hit everything on your list of objectives, they may excel in some areas and not achieve other areas. That is normal.

The reason for list is that it gives you a quick reference as you make teaching decisions through the semester. It also helps you evaluate areas you have not thought of that need attention.

Here’s how it works: If you are going to do a family day somewhere and you remember that your child is learning about monkey breeds this semester, you are more likely to hit that at the zoo.

If you are at the dollar store and see some flashcards, you’ll know that your 2 year old is working on counting to 10 and having some flashcards in your purse for wait times would be helpful.

Here’s How to Make Your Objective List:

1. Label each subject your child will be learning.

2. Write one to 5 goals under each subject about what your child will learn at the end of the semester.

3. Keep it short. If possible, it should not be longer then a page. You want to be able to refer to it easily.
My kids are young so their lists were easy and short. They took me less then an hour to write. I then kept the lists on the frig for a few weeks until I had the hang of them and after that just kept them in their school drawer.

Here is a copy of my 3 year old’s semester goals. I did not write these because I looked up what 3 year olds are supposed to do at that age. I simply knew that these were attainable goals he could reach over the semester. We did better then I planned on some areas, and we did not attain everything in other areas.

The formatting is not perfect on this list, but this is my actual list so I’m being honest here. :-)

I wrote out the character traits because they were important to me, and I had space on my one-sheet list. Having them accessible made those an item that we did the well at in our endeavors.

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3. At the end of each day, take one minute to write down what they learned and need to work on. 

Then I put my list on my frig and through the day can say to my child, “Do you remember what sound the ‘G’ makes?”

(If I didn’t put it on the frig, I’d completely forget to review with them because I’m an out of sight and out of mine person. Not everyone will need a visual reminder.)

Even on days that I forget to review with them, I still have an easy, brainless reminder when we are starting school the next day.

Here are 3 tips that have helped us A LOT! As a new homeschooler, I would LOVE to here any tips from more experienced moms!!

-Verity

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