It’s February 29 — Leap Day!
reading Frog & Toad
and drawing frogs with my old and much-loved drawing book:
My girls LOVE to play bingo! We make our own bingo games — sometimes I make them on the computer, other times we print out a blank grid and we use seasonal stickers for the pictures. We play bingo with letters, numbers, rhyming words, shapes, money, holidays, etc. Practically any skill you want to work on can be made into a bingo game!
Ready to play? Here’s what you need:
One person can be designated as “the caller,” or you can take turns drawing cards. Mark your card when you have a match! When you have a straight line filled, yell “Bingo!” Or, try for 4-corners or blackout (whole board filled).
How about a fun Travel Bingo? Make bingo boards with pictures of things you might see while driving. Tape the bingo board to a small cookie sheet and use magnets for markers. Or, put the bingo board into a plastic sheet protector and use a dry erase marker to mark your sights on the road. Just might help pass the time on a long drive!
Do you bingo? Happy Playing!
Magnetic letters are fun for making words on the fridge, of course, and a great hands-on way for little ones to explore letters. Here are some more fun ways to use magnetic letters and work on those pre-literacy skills:
Hide & Seek
Feel & Guess
Tip: When you are saying the sounds of the letters, be careful not to add an “uh” sound to the end. For example, r says “rrrr,” not “ruh.” This will make a huge difference when your child begins sounding out words for reading and writing.
These are the lowercase magnetic letters we have – they are extra-large and my girls love them!
I saved a couple week’s worth of grocery store ads, which we put to use for a few easy projects today. We cut out a big pile of food pictures — I ended up doing most of the cutting, but this would also be a great opportunity for little ones to practice their scissor skills.
We made paper plate meals
and restaurant menus.
We still have quite a few cut-outs left. We might sort our foods into food groups or make a food pyramid. Check out the new food pyramid and healthy eating guide for kids at the USDA website.
Well, my kids are busy setting up a restaurant for dad when he gets home. Have fun exploring with your kiddos this weekend!
I affectionately refer to this as the junk box. It is an ever-changing variety of materials, and is used very frequently for spur-of-the-moment art activities. My girls love digging through it and seeing what they can find.
Here are some of the things I throw in here from time to time:
I could just go on and on! As you can see, this is a great place to put excess mail and packaging to work. What household items do your kids like to create with?
Rolling paper is fun, plus it is good practice for those important hand and finger skills. For the easiest rolling, use paper that is not too thick. We used scraps of patterned scrapbooking paper, but construction paper or regular printer paper would work great too.
Before rolling, decorate your paper if you like. Try stripes, polka dots, squiggles, etc.
Starting at one of the corners, roll the paper diagnonally until you get to the end. Secure with a small piece of tape. Add eyes (drawn or wiggly!) and a felt or paper tongue.
Did you know? A group of snakes is called a bed, knot, den, or pit.
Watercolors are often reserved for older children, but preschoolers can also have very satisfying and successful experiences with watercolors. Here’s a few tips to get you started:
1. Use washable watercolors so you can relax about the mess.
2. Use real watercolor paper — it is thicker than regular paper and can handle the wet painting of preschoolers. Watercolors are also fun on coffee filters, napkins, or paper towels.
3. With practice, your child will get the hang of rinsing the brush in between colors. In the meantime, a small scrap of paper towel or coffee filter can soak up any mixed colors in the watercolor tray.
4. Young children often barely dip their paintbrushes into the watercolor. For brighter colors, teach your child to “stir” the brush in the paint. We usually count to five. This loads the paint brush with color, and makes for beautiful, bright brush strokes!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Homemade play dough is the best! The soft, pliable texture is perfect for little hands to roll, pound, cut, press, and squeeze. This cooked dough takes minutes to prepare, and lasts for weeks when stored in an air-tight container.
Basic Play Dough Recipe:
2 cups water
1 cup salt
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups flour
to add color: 1-4 teaspoons food coloring or liquid watercolor
In a large pot, begin with the water, coloring, oil, salt, and cream of tartar. Begin gently heating over medium-low to medium heat. When this mixture is warm, add the flour and mix well. Don’t worry if it is slightly lumpy. Keep stirring as the mixtures thickens into a dough. You will know it is ready when the dough is pulling away from the sides of the pot and forming a ball. Remove the warm dough from the pan, let it cool a bit, then it’s ready for playing! This is my kids’ favorite time to play with the dough — when it is still warm!
Variations: Add Kool-Aid or extracts to the dough for a yummy scent. Add glitter for sparkle, or sand, oatmeal, coffee grounds, etc. for texture.
Besides the traditional tools of rolling pins and cookie cutters, we use a variety of things around the house:
We also like to make two primary colors (red, yellow, or blue) and then mix them together to see what happens.