Category: toddler school

12 Preschool Activities for Earth Day: All About the Earth and Conservation

12 Preschool Activities for Earth Day - Teaching Kids about the Earth and Conservation

In celebration of Earth Month, I’ve gathered 12 fun activities to help get kids learning about the earth, conservation, pollution, and all things earthy. These activities are hands on, teach other important skills as you go, and will help kids to better understand the world around them and appreciate and care for the environment. Read on to find 12 of the best preschool activities for Earth Day from the Kid Blogger Network.


Kid Art: Make and Paint Baking Soda Dough Easter Egg Ornaments


Recently we experimented with making dough from baking soda and corn starch, and ended up with a ton left over after we created hand print ornaments. I  thought it would be fun to create a few Easter egg ornaments with the Bear and let him paint them. The boy loves a good project, and every time we get the paint out he gets so excited. This ended up being a really fun craft to do with him and would work for kids ages 2 and up. I’ll share the details of our process along with a few things we learned and would do differently next time.


Toddler School: Make an Easy Easter Egg Garland with Your Child


The Bear and I love a good project. This little Easter Egg Garland was a really fun one to create with him, and gave him lots of great fine motor skill practice. Stringing objects is part of his upcoming skills check with our pediatrician’s ages and stages questionnaire, so we’ve been working on it together. I thought making an egg garland would be great practice and give us a festive decoration for our mantle at the same time. He is so proud of his creation, as you can see above. His two year old attention span couldn’t handle making the whole thing in one day, so we worked on it bit by bit over several days.


Painting Pumpkins with Toddlers

  Painting pumpkins is the perfect way to let your toddlers decorate the gourds of the season with out knives or messy pumpkin guts involved.  It is simple and an be pretty mess free if you do it just right.  The pumpkins turn out really pretty and don’t rot instantly like a carved one.  Want to try it?  Here’s how we do it…
Pumpkin Painting Instructions:
1) Go outside and set up a little station cleared of anything that might get ruined.
2) Put a blob of each color of washable paint on a piece of construction paper.
3) Show your child what to do, and then let them go for it.  If they don’t like the sensation of paint on their hands, foam brushes work well.
4) You can use painter’s tape to tape off designs on larger pumpkins, or leave well enough alone and drink your coffee.
5) Leave your pumpkin out to dry for several hours.  Throw away your paint paper, or save it for this project.  Wash down your station with a wet rag and wash your child’s hands.  You’re done!  Don’t you feel festive?
The Bear is so proud of his masterpieces.
We actually did this on two different days and it kept him entertained for quite a while.  Fine motor skill building is the best entertainment.
Have you decorated pumpkins with your wee ones? What techniques do you use?

An Easy Fall Pumpkin Craft for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Crafting with toddlers and preschoolers can be a bit of an adventure, but it is great for their fine motor development and can kill major chunks of time with no tv involved.  This one is crazy easy, turns out really cute and festive, and will give you about 20 minutes of peaceful fine motor practice.  Go for it.  Everybody needs a festive pumpkin to hang on the fridge, and your little one will be so proud of their handiwork.
Materials Needed:
construction paper or cards tock
one sheet of orange tissue paper
glue stick or spray adhesive
1) Trace a basic pumpkin shape on to your card stock or construction paper and cut it, or just cut it out freehand with scissors. It doesn’t need to be perfect.  An oval with a stem will do.
2) Let your toddler tear the tissue paper up in to tiny pieces.  Really let them get in to it.  To contain this part of the process I put Bear in his art box and let him go to town.  He LOVED it.
3) Spray your pumpkin shape with a light coat of spray adhesive or cover with your glue stick.  I recommend the spray because it won’t get your little one sticky and holds the tissue very effectively.
4) Show your wee one how to stick the pieces of tissue on to the pumpkin.  Encourage them to cover the whole thing.  Back away slowly and watch them work.
5) Take a photo of your babe with the finished product and then pat yourself on the back.  Craft accomplished.  Mischief managed.
What’s your favorite fall craft for little ones?


Life to the Full: Joy and Discovery

This sweet boy is at such a fun, wild, crazy, stage of exploring his world and learning through discovery every day.  I love being there for every minute of it, even though I sometimes just need a minute where someone isn’t asking me a question.  His speech has really taken off and he is asking new questions nonstop.  He found the shell above and decided it had tiger stripes like the tiger he saw at the Dallas Zoo.  I’m completely biased, but I’m pretty sure he is a baby genius (just like every mother in history).  I long to be the mama who is all in with my kids, loving them fully with the love of Jesus and guiding them through these childhood years.  

Daily I marvel at his inquisitive nature and the pure joy he finds when he learns something new.  He inspires me to look at the world around me with fresh eyes.  He laughs with wild abandon and is so free.  Do you laugh like that?  I hope I do.  In the midst of this depression battle, moments of pure joy and freedom are illusive.  I’m soaking them up and trying my best to be in the moment, on the floor, playing, laughing, teaching, and fighting for freedom from this struggle.    

I hope to laugh like this every day of my life.
What brought you joy today?
You can find more from my Life to the Full series here.

Play Time Guest Post: Eight Fun and Frugal Ways to Bring Music Home

The benefits of early music education have long been touted, but signing up for mommy and me music appreciation groups or finding instructors to teach private lessons can cost a lot. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to provide your kids with exposure to music at home and on a budget, from crafting your own instruments to taking online music classes. Here are some easy but effective ways to give your children experience with music which can positively aid their growth and development.

1. Sing and Dance

While it might feel a little foolish as an adult, engage in singing and dancing time with your children. Put on some fun music and get goofy. Most little ones already love dancing and singing along. Join them and encourage this free method of participating in music and art.

2. Instrument Craft Time

For creative and crafty families, try making your own instruments from recycled materials around the house. Paper towel roles and empty tins and paint cans can quickly be decorated and transformed into a drum set. Without any mess, musical glasses can be simply set up with different amounts of water in each. For more ambitious creators, cardboard guitars or rubber band harps can be devised.

3. Play With Percussion

Once you have made a band of recycled instruments, spend some time playing them. Though clapping along with a song sounds simple, it is often a skill which you can impart to your children as you show them how to follow the rhythm and come in on the beat. And if your cardboard and paint cans don’t hold up, it might be a good idea to invest in a set of toy percussion instruments such as a tambourine or set of maracas.

4.  Hear Live Music

Most children will sit spellbound by live music as they watch the musicians’ movements and hear the loud full sound. While a night at the symphony might sound expensive, many colleges present free or less expensive musical programs and even professional symphonies often host children’s concerts.

5. Learn at the Local Library

Your community library most likely hosts weekly musical programs geared for an audience of young children. This is a wonderful, free way to connect with other kids and moms in your area while enjoying live music and stories.

6. Read About Classical Composers

While you’re at your library, pick up a few books on Mozart or Handel. The children’s section boasts tons of material on famous composers as well as recordings of all types of music. Many recordings also blend story with song such as “Peter and the Wolf,” a story narrated with the help of the symphony.

7. Write Your Own Songs

One blogging mother cleverly suggests taking a simple children’s song such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and asking your “children to parody this tune” with their own lyrics. This is a fun and simple way to give your children a chance to compose their own words into songs.

8. Begin Music Theory

One final tip is introducing your children to music theory as they mature. While it might sound complicated and scary at first, many sheet music companies publish beginning music theory courses. Purchasing an elementary workbook can introduce your children to some of the more technical aspects of music and open up a subject which they may later choose to pursue.

With these fun yet affordable ideas, you and your family are set to enjoy the wonder of music without spending an uncomfortable sum.

Guest Post author Abby Evans is a freelance journalist and mom currently reviewing health options for her family.  
Thanks for sharing your tips, Abby.  We love to listen to Pandora and dance, and Jed plays the guitar for the kids.  The Bear loves playing with our keyboard as well as turning anything and everything into a percussion instrument.  How do you bring music into your home?

Play Time: Stress Free Finger Painting

Does the idea of letting your preschooler play with paints make you cringe and give you the beginnings of a headache?  No worries.  We’ve been painting like crazy all summer and the Bear and I have it down to a science.  Yes, it’s messy, but it is also fun and can be stress free.  Here’s how we do it.

What You Need:
washable non-toxic paint
paper (really any kind will do, but we prefer cardstock or construction paper)
a 20-30 minute time slot
a hose or kiddie pool
an outside work space

Make It Happen:
We set up on the picnic table my husband made for the kids.  He’s working on a tutorial if you’re interested.  Use one sheet of paper as your child’s palette.  Let them pick 2-3 colors to start with and put a dollop of each color on the palette.  Take off your child’s shirt.  Show them how to dip their fingers in the paint and use their finger as a paint brush.  We also read a book about Curious George mixing paint before we painted for the first time to help with the concept.    

Step back and let them create.  Resist the urge to correct.  Let them mix and swirl and get messy.

Every few minutes bring in a new sheet of paper.  Show them how to make hand prints, a useful skill for grandparent gifts later.  Take some photos and enjoy the flowing creativity.

After about 20 minutes, ask if they are ready to be done (if they haven’t stopped already).  Grab your hose (and possibly and inflatable kiddie pool) and strip them down to wash off.  This might be as fun (or more) than the actual painting.  Give them 2 cups to fill up or and help facilitate a little rinsing.  While they are rinsing, lay out the masterpieces to dry and pick up the paints.  Give your table a wipe down, then dry off your now clean child.  You’re done, and you both survived with your sanity in tact and you get the fun mom of the year award.  Everybody wins!

What’s your favorite preschool art idea?