My preschooler has been learning to write his name. He already recognises his name when it is written, and he knows all of the letters. He can even write the letters quite well, yet putting them together is proving a little challenging!
Adding stickers to his name.
To help him practice getting his letters in the right order, we tried this little activity. I drew the letters of his name in bubble writing, and then got him to fill in the letters using stickers (he is sticker crazy!). As he did this, we talked about the letters, and spelt his name aloud several times.
T1 really enjoyed making his sticker name. It’s up on the wall, and he has been going to it and reading the letters out to anyone who is nearby!
This activity could also be used for learning the spelling of any words.
You may also like Sticker Counting and Alphabet Stamping.
Every house seems to have a sock-eating monster, but I think our resident sock-eating monster has a mate that only likes to eat bookmarks! It’s the only possible explanation 🙂 We like making bookmarks, and we even have a special holder for them, yet every time I want a bookmark, they all seem to be MIA. So here we go, making more bookmarks!
A and I collected some large, dry gum leaves from under some of the the big gums nearby. We looked for reasonably flat and undamaged leaves. A found a very pretty pinkish leaf that she liked.
We used permanent metallic markers to write messages on the leaves. The girls worte “Merry Christmas” on many of the leaves, and then signed their names, so that these bookmarks could be given to their teachers as part of their end of year presents.
We had to wait for the metallic ink to dry completely before laminating the leaves. I managed to get about three leaves to each laminating pouch. After the laminating was done I carefully cut around the leaves, making sure to leave a border of sealed laminate around each one.
These unique bookmarks were quick and simple. They were well received by the teachers too.
We made our own version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey for our beach themed party; Pin the Tentacle on the Octopus!
Using a piece of scrap cardboard, I painted an octopus with only seven tentacles. I gave her a lovely big smile, and A thought she should have a little crown too. We used some glittery paint for extra effect.
While the octopus was drying we cut some lengths of crepe paper streamers up in various colours to use as the missing tentacle. Each child could choose one, and using a piece of blu-tack on the back of the streamer, stick it to the octopus picture during the game.
I’m sure most of you have played a version of this game at some point, but if not, it is played like this; each child stands in front of the picture, is then blind-folded and spun around gently three times before trying to stick or pin the tail/tentacle onto the picture. The child that gets their tentacle closest to where it’s meant to be is the winner. A scarf tied around the child’s eyes can suffice for a blindfold.
Example of where to place the tentacle.
This is a fun game for younger children and can be done with as many players as there are available tentacles (or tails).
Summer is coming! Warm weather, sun, sand, surf… The thought of the beach put me in the mood to make flower leis with the kids.
This is a very simple lacing activity using fabric flowers and cut up plastic drinking straws. I bought the flowers from Educational Experience, an online educational supply store. These flowers have little holes in the centre of each one, perfect for threading. You could also make your own fabric flowers from fabric scraps, or use paper/tissue paper for the flowers.
Threading flowers and straws.
We cut pieces of yarn roughly a metre long, and tied a big knot in one end to prevent the flowers from slipping off. The kids alternated flowers and straws until they had filled their yarn up. I helped them tie the ends together to form a loop, and the leis were ready to wear.
The younger kids had some trouble keeping the plastic yarn needle on the yarn, so I tied the needle on for them. This allowed them to focus on the threading without the frustration of needing to re-thread the needle all the time. Once they were finished, we just cut the needle off and tied the ends together. The boys (who are only two) did very well with this activity, carefully threading their flowers and straws on. This is a great activity for fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and concentration. And it makes some lovely, bright leis for dressing up with!
For Mother’s Day this year we made bookmarks using the hand-prints of the kids. I found some old scrapbooking papers that had pink or blue heart patterns on them to use as our base for the hand-prints.
Using the paint pad.
Each child chose the background paper to use, and the colour of paint for their hand-print. Predictably A chose pink on pink for her bookmarks. L used the rainbow paint pad for her hand-prints on the back on the blue paper. Unfortunately the rainbow paint didn’t come out as clearly as the other paint, but L liked it as it was. The boys used blue paint on blue paper. Using paint pads for hand-prints makes it easy to get a good amount of paint on the hand, and is much less messy than using conventional paint.
After the hand-prints were dry, I carefully cut around each hand. The kids wrote some lovely messages on the back of one of their hands using a marker. A pushed down her marker quite hard, and the ink is visible through the hand-print. She also drew a lot of love hearts! I love it because it is so unique.
Writing a message on the back of the hand-print.
To finish the bookmarks I laminated the hand-prints. I arranged the hand-prints so that A’s hands and Baby T’s hands were together to make a bigger bookmark each, while L’s hand-print was big enough as one. I also did a single print of my hand to make a bookmark for my mum. Once laminated, I carefully cut around the hand-prints so that there was a small amount of plastic laminate around each one. The kids were happy with their bookmarks.
One of the boy’s bookmarks.
A hand-print bookmark in my latest read.
Items we used.
A came across this idea in one of her kindergarten readers and begged for us to try it out at home!
Coating the pinecone with peanut butter.
We tied a piece of string to the pinecone so that it could be hung up in a tree when we were finished, and then I helped A to cover the pinecone in peanut butter. This was a little messy, but A didn’t get nearly as much peanut butter on herself as I had thought she would.
Rolling the pinecone in birdseed.
Then A rolled the pinecone in a bowl of birdseed. We used a basic parrot mix because most of the birds that hang about in our yard are parrots such as cockatoos and galahs. A pressed as much seed into the sticky peanut butter as she could, completely covering the pinecone. When the pinecone could hold no more seed, we took it into the yard and hung it up in a large bottlebrush tree.
Making sure the whole pinecone was covered.
And now we wait for the birds to come and have a feast.
Our new bird feeder hanging in a tree.
A simple card that the kids can make quickly and easily.
Tissue paper set of wings.
We started with a plain red card. A chose a couple of tissue paper circles to use for her butterfly wings, which were pink and orange. Each circle was scrunched into the centre to form a bow shape. Rectangles or squares of tissue paper would have made good wings too. I helped A to glue the scrunched up piece of the wings onto the front of the card, then we left it to dry.
Drying butterfly wings.
A drew the bodies and antennae of her butterflies on once the wings were dry. She used a heavy black marker for this. She also did some drawings inside the card using metallic markers and wrote her birthday message.
The finished card.
For a long time the kids have preferred to make their own birthday cards for friends. This often involves drawing the birthday child on the card doing something they like or just holding birthday balloons, eating cake, etc. Now they want to make their cards more sophisticated on the outside, and still fill the centre with drawings.
Sticking tissue paper to the card.
Today L made a very simple card using coloured tissue paper circles layered on a plain white card. We used circles because that was what we had, but any shape could work. Next time I’d like to try ripping up small pieces of tissue paper and covering the card with them for a different effect.
Tissue paper drying on the card.
L used a glue stick to apply glue to the card, and then carefully placed the tissue paper circles, overlapping them here and there to combine the colours, until the whole card was covered. Some of the circles overhung the card, and these we folded into the inside of the card and glued down. Alternatively, we could have carefully cut this extra tissue paper off at the edge of the card to leave the centre completely free for writing and pictures.
The outside of the card.
How the inside of the card looked after folding the tissue paper in.
Once the glue was dry, L wrote her birthday salutations inside, including some lovely drawings, and it was ready to go.
Tucked away in the craft drawers I found a packet of cardboard Christmas garland shapes. It consisted of ten pieces of alternating bauble and snowflake shapes that could be decorated and then combined to string across the wall or the top of a door or window.
Shaking on glitter.
Glitter was the only decorating material we considered, so we took the glitter tub and the cardboard garlands outside. The kids painted on glue with paintbrushes and then shook glitter onto the glue.
Creating patterns with the glitter.
L made some interesting patterns on her baubles and snowflakes. She added glue in a swirl shape and covered it with one colour of glitter, and then blew the excess off. Then, she placed glue in the plain section and added a different colour of glitter to this glue. She also did some stripes using the same method. These look great.
Some of the garlands hanging up to dry.
A liked to use lots of different colours all over hers, which also look great. At least twice, the lid of one of the glitter tubes came off, dumping a heap of glitter onto the shapes. As there was a lot of glitter left on the muck mat, I painted glue all over the last two pieces of garland, and then pressed them glue side down into the excess glitter. The glitter colours were very mixed up, but I liked the way they came up, and we didn’t waste too much glitter!
Ready to be combined to make a lovely glittery garland string.
Once the garland pieces were completely dry, I stapled them together, end to end. We tied the finished garland from the curtain rod on our large lounge room windows. It is quite festive!
Hanging from the curtain rod.
Pouring the cereal.
We mixed up a batch of reindeer food today in preparation for Santa’s visit later this week. The kids tipped some rolled oats, corn flakes and rice bubbles into a big bowl, and added lots of glitter! They stirred it all together and then scooped it out into plastic sandwich bags ready for Christmas Eve.
Before bed on Christmas Eve we will take the reindeer food outside and spread it across the grass. The glitter will sparkle and help to guide the reindeer to land safely on our lawn. While the reindeer are waiting for Santa, they can eat the cereals in the mix.
The kids get very excited to feed the reindeer with their reindeer food. They will also leave out some carrots in case the reindeer are extra hungry.
Spooning the reindeer food into bags.