Thursday, February 28, 2013

Learning the Alphabet - A - English and Spanish

Draw a picture of an "A" alligator on a lake scene with a lowercase "a" to make a turtle
Use Q-Tips to dot on paint and paint the scene
We mixed colors red and yellow to make orange and blue and green to make aquamarine

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Learning the Alphabet - A - English and Spanish - Apple Page

We painted the tree leave top green and let it dry

Then we painted his finger tips red and he made dots on the tree and then we added a line to make them a lowercase "a" once the paint dried

The rest of the picture he colored in with crayons and labeled the picture in English and Spanish

Monday, February 25, 2013

Learning Spanish - A is for Avion (Airplane) and Azul (Blue)

Easiest done in the bathroom!

Paint child's foot blue, have them step onto paper

Get that kid into the tub and rinse off foot and get dressed for the day!

Once paint dries, draw outline of airplane and write on any other info you want, in our case, the color blue and words in Spanish and I added some clouds after the fact (not shown)

Learning the Alphabet - Z is for Zebra (paper bag puppet)

I painted a paper lunch bag white (or start with a white bag), let dry
Have child help you cut out 2 ovals for ears and cut some black paper into fringe for the hair
Color inside of ears pink and inside of mouth red
Have child help you draw or paint on stripes and face, tongue etc.
Add googlie eyes or draw on eyes too

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Y - Learning the Alphabet - Yellow Submarine Craft etc.

 Paper Tube "Yellow Submarine"

1 Paper Towel Roll
1 Toilet Paper Roll
Yellow and Black Paint

Cut hole in paper towel roll and insert toilet paper roll
Affix with masking tape
We painted tubes yellow together, let dry
Cut "door" in submarine so toy figures can go in and out
Draw on circular "windows" or stamp on with sponge (that's what we did)

Then we watched the Beatles video for 'Yellow Submarine' and talked about who the Beatles were in music history.  The instruments in the song led us to talk about other music...

And since we just got it from the library, we also read Wynton Marsalis' book "Squeak, Rumble, Whomp" which is all about how music can be heard in everything we do

and then we watched Wynton Marsalis on Mister Rogers and listened to all the musicians on that episode

Spanish Books We Like


Say Hola to Spanish, Otra Vez (Again!) by Susan Middleton Elya

Eight Animals on the Town by Susan Middleton Elya

X - Learning the Alphabet - Xylophone paper craft and water xylophone activity, science lesson on sound and music

Cut out paper strips in varying colors and some smaller strips in black

(Have child help you cut if they are able to make clean lines, mine is not quite there yet!)

He did help me glue on the paper strips to the paper and lay the mallets into an X

We then did a "water xylophone" activity where I filled 4 small glass bowls with differing amounts of water, adding food coloring to each, similar to this

He used wood chopsticks to hit the different bowls to listen to the different sounds they made, which was higher, lower etc. and then just went crazy playing his own songs

Then we watched Bill Nye's episode on Music & Sound (I can't find the full show online but the show ended with this song and was a favorite of my son's)

We didn't have much time before leaving for preschool so he just played his drums after the show and we briefly talked about the different parts of the ear and how sound waves work.

W - Learning the Alphabet - Hiding Worm Craft, Science Lesson, Color Mixing

Cut a "W" from red paper (preferably hard cardstock but I just glued my construction paper to an old cereal box and then cut it out again), draw a worm's lines and face on it (I also used a googlie eye)

Lay worm on brown construction paper and lightly trace 2 lines where the bottom of the "W" hits the paper, then cut 2 small slits there large enough for the worm to sit down into

Draw a horizontal line across top of paper, denoting the grass line

Have child paint the area above the line green, let dry

I then used some color mixing with him, to mix yellow and green to make a lighter green (or as he learned on Blue's Clues, it is called "chartreuse"...I swear I never would have taught him that but leave it to good old B.C. to fit in things I'd never even think of!)

Once the dark green had dried, he used a small brush to brush on "grass blades" of the lighter shade, let that dry

Once the paint is dry, have child use child scissors to cut grass into strips for "blades" (with some guidance so they cut into straight lines) and the paint will naturally make the paper curly but you can bend the blades if you want to make it "grassier"

Then we watched Bill Nye's episode about invertebrates - animals without a backbone, like worms

Part 1

 Part 2

Part 3

To illustrate this, Bill Nye showed an octopus pushing itself through a tube, so we did our own "experiment" using a toy lion and a scarf (the scarf being the "octopus" and the lion being the vertebrate) - The one with bones couldn't fit but the one without bones could squish down to fit through the tube

This led to us talking about exoskeletons, which invertebrates like insects have, that are hard, and therefore a bug or crab couldn't fit through a tube unless it was small enough since they are hard, but just on the outside, unlike a worm or octopus.

Then we got out all of his plastic bug figures since bugs are all invertebrates and he played with bugs until time to go to preschool

Monday, February 18, 2013

V - Learning the Alphabet (Volcano with removable "lava")

Fold brown construction paper into a pocket V shape and glue or tape to large sheet of paper, drawing the "V" shape

Draw rest of volcano around the "V"

Have child draw with red, orange and yellow marker some "lava" spraying out of the volcano

Cut orange, yellow and red construction paper into "lava/flames" to fit the pocket opening of the volcano

Friday, February 15, 2013

U - Learning the Alphabet - Umbrella Craft

Have child color small white paper plate
Fold paper plate in half, taping the edges together
Cut folded half of paper plate so that it's a jagged long slit, like the edge of an umbrella
Cut a J shape for the handle from a white cardstock or another paper plate, tape inside umbrella
Draw person or animal on cardboard and cut out
Person can be inserted inside pocket of umbrella - this is a craft they can play with afterward!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Craft - Paper Roll Butterfly or Elephant - Color Mixing/Cutting

 Materials I used:

1 Toilet Paper Roll
2 Q-Tips
Paints of various colors (I used red, blue, and white and we did color mixing)
Googlie eyes
Construction Paper - Red for large hearts, White for small hearts, which we painted, White paper for the "proboscis"

My son loves bugs so this craft was fun to do.

We practiced color mixing by mixing red and blue to get purple and then we painted a toilet paper roll purple

I traced 2 large hearts and 2 small hearts on construction paper

He used child safety scissors to help me cut the hearts out, with me guiding his hand (so they acutally looked like hearts in the end!)

We painted the small hearts purple but left the large hearts red, only dotting with pink paing (we mixed red and white to make pink)

We painted 2 Q-Tips blue for the antennas, which I taped inside the roll once they all dried
We attached googlie eyes and painted on a red smile

Then, since my son is into nature and keeping things "real" I cut a paper strip from white paper and using scissors I had him help me curl it and glued it, with curl facing downward, to form a "proboscis" so the butterfly can drink nectar when he pretend plays with it later.

We have plastic flowers from Michaels that he uses for his bug figures to play with.

*This craft could easily be altered slightly to make an "Elephant" for E day for the alphabet, or for Valentine's Day.  The "proboscis" would become the trunk and you'd leave off the antennas.  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

T - Learning the Alphabet

T is for Turtle -

2 small paper plates
4 legs and 1 head and neck cut from green construction paper
"Accordian" the neck and legs and tape inside the bottom paper plate
Tape on top plate
This allows for the head and legs to "hide" if the turtle gets scared, like a real land turtle
Have child color the shell with crayons
Draw on turtle face (I was going to use googlie eyes but then the head wouldn't retract)

Monday, February 11, 2013

R - Learning the Alphabet

R is for Raccoon

Print out an "R" on grey paper (I only had white to color it in with pencil), cut it out
Attach it to another color paper
Draw a tail, ears, eyes and nose on grey paper, cut out with your child
Attach to paper and draw on whiskers, extra face markings etc.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Friday, February 8, 2013

P - Learning the Alphabet

 Letter "P" Puzzle - print out

Printed "P" animal template:

Puzzle template:

I just printed out the animal "P" on cardstock, then used the puzzle line template as a reference and drew in my own lines

Then we colored it in and cut it out

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bath Time Fun

Bath Paint "Recipe" 

 "Saving Ocean Animals"/Catching Bubbles game in bath using 5" net from pet store and plastic figures

Beavers - Wetlands

Beavers IMAX Movie

Documentary short enough for the attention span of a 2-3 year old.  Lots of silly antics with real footage and not a lot of boring narration

Reading Rainbow

Is this the House for a Hermit Crab? (Book featured by the same name)

Large segment of the show dedicated to beavers - also discusses other animal "homes"

O - Learning the Alphabet

Owl craft idea was found here

Octopus craft idea was found here

We made both of these crafts today to learn the letter "O"

Dots on the Octopus were made using Q-Tips dipped in different paints and we did it while the tube was intact, then after it dried we cut the strips into legs (or I should say tentacles!)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Dinosaurs & Fossils

Dinosaurs Frozen to be "excavated" by your little paleontologist 
Fill ice cube tray with a little baking soda, add water and a mini dino figurines and then freeze them

To "excavate" we used these 2 methods:

1.  Little bowls of vinegar to drop each dino into and watch them fizz out and melt (very exciting!) *Note: Use only 1 bowl for 1-2 dinos each time or the baking soda won't react to the vinegar over and over - so make sure to have several small bowls of vinegar handy or be ready to empty and refill 1 bowl with fresh vinegar

2.  Drop frozen dinos in the bath at bath time to watch them melt

Snow & Winter

Indoor "snowy day" in Antarctica

Recipe for indoor snow found here  

I added animal figures and he used his imagination - kept him busy for at least an hour!

Ocean & Sea Creatures

Hands and Foot "Lobster"

I used a foam brush to brush red paint on my son's hands and then pressed to paper, do the same with the foot, but make sure to face the heel UP (I made the mistake of doing it right side up and had to cut out the prints and glue them in the right direction after the fact!)

I found it was easiest to do this activity in the bathroom, with child undressed and ready to jump in the tub and rinse off the paint right after making prints - maybe a good "pre-bath" fun activity.

Add 6 legs on the body, eyes and antenna after making prints

Paper Tube "Octopus"

Paper towel roll painted, let dry
Draw on face
Decorate bottom half of tube however you like (we used paint dots using Q-Tips)
Cut bottom half into 8 strips to make tentacles
I also punched a hole on each side of the head to hang with ribbon, or you can leave as-is

Reading Rainbow


Seashore Surprises 
Great episode about the beach, featuring many shellfish and small sea creatures.  No real "book" featured, just a reference book about the sea.  LeVar hosts the entire episode and it is very educational and entertaining.

Is this the House for a Hermit Crab? (Book featured by the same name) 

Narrated by Eartha Kit

 "Saving Ocean Animals"/Catching Bubbles game in bath using 5 inch net from pet store and plastic figures of creatures

Planets - Solar System


Homemade puffy paint "moon"

Adapted from this craft on No Time for Flash Cards

I added some sponge painting circle stamps in black to add to the "crater" effect after applying the shaving cream mixture

*Big Mistake - I tried to cover the finished dried product in Mod Podge...don't do this!  It melts the dried shaving cream!  Oh well.  It kept him busy and it was fun! 

Leaves & Nature

Nature Imprints with Paint

With a sponge brush we applied different colored paint to leaves, rocks, acorn shells, pine cones etc. and pressed them to paper to see the imprint they left or didn't leave.

He saw that just because something has texture, like a pine cone it doesn't mean that it will leave a nice print.  It just left little dots where the prickly part of the pine cone picked up the paint.

Animal "Tracks" in Paint

Animal "tracks" - Used a foam brush to paint onto the bottom of plastic animal figures and stamped it on the paper to make tracks.  He also used the figures to "stomp" into the paint and then stamp, without using a brush.


Book:  Over in the Garden by Jennifer Ward

Teaches counting, and has accurate depiction of insects and spiders in their natural habitat, cute but realistic drawing, rhymes

Paper Plate Snail - Color Mixing

Birds & Eggs

Read:  Chickens Aren't the Only Ones by Ruth Heller

Teaches about ALL creatures that lay eggs - reptiles, dinosaurs, amphibians, fish, insects etc.

Featured on Reading Rainbow - Great episode!

Nest Craft with 2 eggs and a chick hatching - used paper plates

3 eggs hatching from nest template found here

Glued eggs and nest to white paper plates and Ben helped me cut them out with child safety scissors. Then I folded a large paper plate in half, glued the nest to each side, cutting 3 slits in the top so the eggs could be inserted. I left the bottom of the paper plate open (only folded and taped the sides shut a bit) so the eggs and chick could fall through, since my son likes to "pretend play" with the crafts he makes