Posts Tagged archive-Crafts

Finding Shapes for Halloween

A first step in early literacy, or pre-reading skills, is to begin recognizing shapes.  Toddlers and preschoolers might enjoy some Halloween crafts that encourage making shapes to create pictures.  While you are thinking about shapes, begin pointing out different shapes around your house, while you are driving, at the store, etc.  See if your child picks up on this and starts pointing to or naming shapes.  It won’t be long before he/she can recognize and name letters, too!  Go Away, Big Green Monster! book cover

Here are some simple seasonal ideas:

Use a paper plate and orange marker to let your child create a pumpkin circle.  Cut out triangles, squares and circles from black paper, and let your child arrange the pieces to make a face or design. Talk about the shapes as you glue them on, noticing the straight edges, corners, curves and points, and counting the sides.  Help older toddlers or preschoolers cut some shapes themselves with kids’ scissors.

Check out Ed Emberley’s classic monster picture book, Go Away, Big Green Monster!  There are lots of shapes and colors to point out as each page adds or takes away more parts of the monster’s face.  Afterwards, cut colorful shapes from construction paper and create your own monsters together.  Some children may be interested to learn names for more shapes, like crescent, oval and octagon.  This also builds vocabulary and increases their awareness of shapes around them.

Cut 5 circles for pumpkins (or print this pattern) and practice counting with this fun Halloween rhyme:

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate.
The first one said, “Oh my, it’s getting late!”
The second one said, “There are witches in the air.”
The third one said, “But we don’t care!”
The fourth one said, “Let’s run and run and run.”
The fifth one said, “I’m ready for some fun!”
Then oooohh went the wind
And out went the lights
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.

Five Little Pumpkins book cover


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Leaf Man

As Jennifer mentioned, Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert is a perennial favorite around here. It’s a short picture book illustrated with beautiful fall leaves put together to make shapes ranging from butterflies to apple trees. This book can be great inspiration for a fall nature-based art project as she suggested or it can be turned into a lesson in horticulture by identifying different species of leaves used in the book or from your own yard. The front and back pages of the book show a number of common leaves with their species listed to help get you started. Most of the species grow in Kansas, and it can be a lot of fun to learn about the trees we see every day. You can also throw in some early math ideas like sorting from smallest to largest, counting points on the leaves, or talking about the different shapes in leaves.


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Refreshing fall!

I love fall and the energy I feel when those first cool days quietly slip in after the heat of August.  A favorite book to use in the fall is Lois Ehlert’s Leaf Man because it leads so easily to fun crafts and activities.  Read Leaf Man, then take a nature walk.  Crunch through leaves, inspect the nuts, limbs, bugs, leaves and other debris on the ground, and collect some nice specimens (“treasures”) to take inside.  Create your own leaf person or a whole family of them.  Kids are fascinated by what you can create with a little glue, scissors and crayons. Show them how to make a leaf rubbing with the long edge of a crayon, or trace differently shaped leaves and cut them out.  Make collages with your treasures, or get a little more elaborate with projects like these listed on the momtastic website.  Nature activities help children embrace and process their awe of the world and their many questions about what they see happening around them.  Be prepared with a few nonfiction books to reference.  For preschoolers, the  “Let’s Read and Find Out Science” nonfiction series for young children provides excellent explanations at the right level, such as Why Do Leaves Change Color? by Betsy Maestro and Sunshine Makes the Seasons by Franklyn Branley.

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Fairy Gardens

Recently my three-year-old grandson and I made a little dish garden.  These gardens come into style every so often, being called terrariums, dish gardens, or currently “fairy gardens.”  Since we included a snake and a fox figurine in the garden, Colton dubbed it a “prairie garden.”  A basic garden can be made in a simple terra cotta pot saucer.  Or you can be creative and use any shallow container.  We planted Irish moss to represent the prairie, with a begonia for a “tree” and a fern for a “bush.”  Colton carefully laid light blue glass stones to make a “creek” and a “pond.”  Last came the fox figurine (which Colton thought should go into the ground head first like it was burrowing), and a small rubber snake.  You can include as many animals, fairies, plants, and props as you want to.  The local flower markets have a great selection of miniature  trellises, houses, toys, and animals to choose from.  Or recycle household items to decorate your garden. We put the prairie garden by the front door. Colton has fun checking on his prairie garden every time he comes over! Posted by Victoria.

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The Big Book Of Things To Build

Looking for something fun and creative to do with your kids?  Grab The Big Book Of Things To Make, a fabulous new book by DK Publishing.It’s perfect for a rainy or snowy afternoon, or a family activity after school.  It includes activities suitable to all ages, with clear instructions and big,  bright photos of the projects. There are so many fun things to make, like glow-in-the-dark jello, soap monsters, games, and snacks. Challenge your kids to create doodles with fingerprints or write a scary story.  Get your whole family involved in these activities and make some great family memories! Recommended by Victoria.

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Fun with Firefighters!

National Firefighter Day (April 1) is quickly approaching! What better way to teach your children about their work than through fun crafts and activities! This website features coloring pages, the alphabet, and much more about community helpers! Kids will love learning about the people that help in their community all while enjoying everyday crafts and activities!

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Happy Birthday Mozart!

Today is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Birthday. Say happy birthday to this famous composer by making your own Mozart wig! Kids of all ages will have a blast making this wig that will be sure to transport them back to the 18th century! Also read Moonlight on the Magic Flute No. 41 of the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope-Osbourne to learn a little bit more about Mozart through Jack and Annie’s eyes!

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Few things are as magical and fun as snow. And this is one winter wonder that can be enhanced by learning the science behind the magic. So, pair up some informational books about snow with snow and snowflakes with these fun snow and ice crafts!

Nonfiction Books about Snow:

Snowy Weather Days by Katie Marsico

Snow by Marion Dane Bauer

Snow Is Falling by Franklyn Mansfield Branley

The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder by Mark Cassino

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

The Snowflake: Winter’s Secret Beauty by Kenneth George Libbrecht (found in adult nonfiction)

Snow & Winter Craft Books:

Snow Play by Birgitta Ralston (previously reviewed by Victoria on Bookworm Buddies)

Crafts to Make in the Winter by Kathy Ross

Check out these great crafts from the Internet as well!

Marshmallow Snowman:

Q-tip Snowflakes:

3D Snowflakes:

Winter Sun Catcher:

Other Snow Crafts:


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Snowman books and crafts

I love to read Snowmen at Night by Caralyn and Mark Buehner to my kids in the wintertime. Even if we don’t have snow, we love thinking about building snowmen.  In this story, a little boy wonders why his snowman looks all crooked and disheveled the next day, so he imagines all the games snowmen must play while we are asleep in our houses.  Since this book made a hit in 2002, the Buehners have written several more snowmen books, including this year’s Snowmen at Work.  Here are some fun ideas to extend these books with simple snowmen crafts using items you have at home:

Create a snowman s’mores snack using a graham cracker square for the base, stack two large marshmallows (use a toothpick to keep them together if you want), and top with a rolo candy or other fruit or chocolate for the hat.  You can stick pretzels in the sides for arms or broomsticks.  If you want to get detailed, melt a few chocolate chips in the microwave (just a few seconds will do it) and use a toothpick to paint on chocolate eyes, nose and smile.

Use 3 different sized lids to trace circles on a piece of paper.  Teach your child how to “dot, dot, dot, not a lot” with glue, and stick cotton balls inside the circles.  The parent or child can cut out round eyes, carrot nose and smile from construction paper, or get creative using some small lids from soda or juice bottles for eyes and buttons, a real strip of carrot for the nose, small sticks from the yard for arms, etc.

The snowmen in the story make cold cocoa drinks instead of hot chocolate.  See if your children know why the snowmen can’t drink something hot, and discuss the difference between hot and cold, things that can melt, etc..  Make a variation of the above craft by tracing the circles. Then help your child make glue circles following the traced lines.  Use mini marshmallows to outline the circles, instead of cotton balls, and then draw in some snowman features.  Afterwards, enjoy some hot cocoa together, or make vanilla milkshake snowmen. (Several of these ideas can be seen on this blog:

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So simple yet fun musical instrument

At a music workshop presented by Parent to Parent at our library on October 12, they ended with a simple, fun craft.  Each child got a paper plate that had been folded in half, filled with beans, and stapled around the edges.  The children were all preschool age, even some babies, and they were able to decorate the plate using markers, paper and blue, or stickers.  Then they shook them all the way home.  You can fill the plate with other things you might have on hand – rice, beads, buttons, jingle bells, etc.  The key is to make sure your staples are side by side so that the plate is tightly closed and the little things inside cannot escape.  It might not last forever, but you can always make a new one.

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