crafts, Valentine's Day

Smiley Face Craft

Mosaic smiley face craft

I love this happy, mosaic smiley face craft! It is perfect for giving to a friend or family member. While I had originally come up with for my son to mail to his friend, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I think it would make a great Valentine too! Mosaic crafts are a great way to use all of those little extra pieces of construction paper leftover from other crafts. Plus these crafts are great for fine motor skills, shape recognition, and spatial awareness too.

Supplies Needed:

How To:

Print out the “You Make Me Smile” sheet if you’d like to use my template. Otherwise, draw a large circle on a piece of paper.

Now it is time to make all of the little mosaic pieces. Cut the construction paper into a variety of shapes. I have a sandwich bag full of extra scraps of paper that I keep for mosaic crafts, so my son just pulled out the pieces he wanted. Having lots of different shapes and sizes to choose from helped him get the look he wanted without having to use pieces that didn’t fit well. So if you are cutting them specifically for this project, cut some extras so that there are lots of choices for your kiddo. I had to round a few edges for him since our craft is circular.

Now that you have your pieces of paper ready, glue them all over your paper to make your yellow face. Let your mosaic pieces dry.

Paint 2 eyes and a smile on your face. I like to use Crayola Washable Paints. These paints are so easy to wash off of my son’s hands, the paintbrush, and our table.

Let your mosaic smiley face craft dry before giving your project to a friend or family member!

I’ve joined Amazon’s Affiliate program to try and help cover the costs of this site. So if you buy something through one of my links on Amazon, then I get a small percentage of the sale (no extra cost to you). Thank you for your support! Happy crafting πŸ™‚

Animals, books, crafts

Dog Appreciation Day is coming up… let’s read DOG stories! And make crafts, count dogs, and have fun!

Maltipoo Dog Reading Laura Numeroff’s “If You Give a Dog a Donut.”

Did you know that August 26th is Dog Appreciation Day? Pretty cool! Let’s celebrate by reading dog stories, making a dog paper bag puppet, and doing a fun Dog-Themed I Spy challenge, !

DOG STORIES:

There are so many great dog stories out there to read — it’s hard to narrow it down to just five.

When I asked my son what his favorite dog book is, he immediately said Karma Wilson’s book, A Dog Named Doug. Doug the dog is a digging machine. He digs a holes to everywhere and gets into a bit of trouble along the way. The book ends happily with Doug digging a hole into his family’s bedroom for a bedtime cuddle. My son loves this book and he laughs every single time we read it. We have checked this out from our library numerous times, and we hope you will check it from yours too! It is also available on Amazon if you want to buy it.

Goodnight, Good Dog by Mary Lyn Ray is one of my son’s bedtime favorites! It is a sweet and soothing story that is perfect for bedtime cuddles. The dog isn’t ready to go to bed yet, and even though everyone and everything is sleeping, dog can’t help but think about its fun day. As dog explores the sleeping house, it begins to grow tired, but just a little bit. Eventually dog falls asleep in its moon-shaped bed and has sweet dreams until it is time to wake up and play again.

The dog in the story, Love is My Favorite Thing, by Emma Chichester Clark, reminds me so much of one of our dogs — both of them are so joyful and so full of LOVE (even if they do get into a little trouble)! I could substitute my dog’s name for the character’s name and it would basically be a true story! In this book, the dog, Plum, and her family show the unconditional love we all feel for our family, both two and four-legged.

If you are a fan of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, then you’ll also like Laura Numeroff’s If You Give a Dog a Donut. Turns out if you give a dog a donut, a great story ensues! This cute story is a fun read-aloud and good introduction to sequencing. Be prepared for your little one to request a donut to go with this book! Find a copy at your library, or buy it on Amazon.

Our last dog book is Pug Meets Pig by Sue Lowell Gallion. We discovered this book at our library and checked it out so we could read it at bedtime. This is a really cute story about a little pug who gets jealous of the new pet pig, who seems to disrupts all of pug’s routine activities. Kids experiencing their own bouts of jealousy with new siblings or classmates, as well as kids who are anxious about changes in their routines, can relate to pug’s feelings. Ultimately the two become friends and both of them learn that even though new changes can be worrisome, it can also lead to fun experiences and new friends!

DOG PAPER BAG PUPPET:

Make your own super cute dog puppet from a paper bag and construction paper!

First, pick out which color ears, nose, and tummy you want your dog to have. Cut out 2 ears (we made long, floppy ears), an oval tummy, and a small, round nose. Cut out a long, pink tongue – make sure it is long to partially hide it under the flap of the bag.

Now that your pieces are cut out, it is time to glue them on to your paper bag. We used a glue stick for this. Make sure that the folded side of the bag is facing you before you start glueing.

Glue on your ears, nose, and tummy. Then, lift the flap and glue your tongue down onto the bag, so that it partially under the flap. When you put your hand in the bag and move the flap, it will look like your dog is opening its mouth.

Last, pick out googly eyes for your pup. Attach them to complete your dog puppet.

I SPY CHALLENGE:

How many of each dog can you find in this picture? Write the number in the box next to the picture of each dog.

Hope you enjoyed our Dog-themed fun!

To help cover the costs of this site, I joined Amazon’s Affiliate Program. This means that if you buy something through one of the links I posted, then I get a small percentage of the sale. Thanks for your support! Happy reading πŸ™‚

Animals

BEACH-THEME books and activities

Whether you live near the ocean or not, you can enjoy beach-theme books and activities with your little one at home. Check your library for beach-theme books!

Beach-theme books and activities for preschool and kindergarten
Beach-theme books and activities

We made it to the beach! And of course, we had to bring some of our favorite beach-themed books with us πŸ™‚ Books, waves, sandcastles, and lots of splashing made for a great time!

Enjoy some of our favorite beach-theme books and activities with us!

Beach-Theme Books

Duck and Goose Go to the Beach

Duck and Goose are some of our favorite picture book characters! My son has loved them for years (and I’ve loved them even longer!). We’ve been reading Duck and Goose stories since he was a baby. Their books come in a board book format that was perfect for when my kiddo was in the grabby stage, and now that he’s older, we read the picture books. We have actually brought Duck and Goose go the Beach and the stuffed animals to the beach with us a few times now πŸ™‚ In this book, the two friends set off on an adventure and find themselves at the beach! But do they actually the sand, sun, and waves? Read it and find out πŸ™‚

How to Catch a Mermaid

My son LOVES Adam Wallace’s How to Catch a Mermaid! It’s a fun book about 2 kids and dog who hatch all sorts of plans to catch a mermaid because who wouldn’t want to have a mermaid friend, right!?! Spoiler, the kids get themselves trapped instead and the mermaid saves the day! This book has rhyming text and bold, bright pictures that compliment the fun story. This has been one of my son’s favorites for a over a year now and we hope you like it as much as we do!

The Sandcastle that Lola Built

The Sandcastle that Lola Built by Megan Maynor– based on the “House that Jack Built” story, this is a cute book about a little girl’s beach day. In this great example of teamwork, Lola and her new friends work together to make a sandcastle for mermaids. Fantastic pictures and rhyming text make this book a winner!

After reading this, we had to make our own sandcastle πŸ™‚ And just like in the book, the tide washed away our castle too!

Inky's Amazing Escape: How a Very Smart Octopus Found His Way Home
Inky’s Amazing Escape

Inky’s Amazing Escape by Sy Montgomery — my kiddo loves this book! It is a true story about an octopus named Inky, who escapes from an aquarium in Australia and makes its way back to the ocean. We learned a lot about octopuses from this non-fiction picture book, and we were fascinated by Inky’s journey. My son was so excited when he learned that Inky liked playing Legos just like he does! Out of all of the books written about Inky, this one is our favorite. Sy Montgomery is a gifted storyteller and we were absolutely fascinated by this amazing octopus. I check out lots of library books for my son and I to read together, but this is one book that we felt that we needed to own. We truly love this story and read it over-and-over again.

Over in the Ocean

My son got Over in the Ocean: in a Coral Reef for his birthday recently and it is AWESOME! It has fantastic pictures that were formed from clay by artist Jeanette Canyon that perfectly compliment Marianne Berkes’ sing-songy text. You and your little one will want to study these pictures over-and-over again to get all of the details incorporated onto each page. This book introduces a variety of cool sea creatures. It also lends itself well to movement activities that preschoolers will love to do. At the end, there is a seek-and-find activity to search for all of the sea creatures from the book, as well as a sneak-peek into the clay creations. We had so much fun reading this at the beach!

 "Beach Day" by Candace Ransom. This is great for preschool and kindergarten beach-theme books and activities.
Beach Day!

Candace Ransom writes great beginning-reader books. The text is simple, but not boring and the pictures capture the joy of the kids’ adventures. In Beach Day! the family heads out to enjoy the beach together. The book captures the fun, excitement, and joy of family outing at the seashore. The kids gather seashells, build a sand castle, and see some neat sea creatures. As you read this one with your little one, you just can’t help but get caught up in the fun! Be prepared to read this multiple times πŸ™‚

The Snail and the Whale

Another one of our favorite authors is Julia Donaldson; her books are perfect for preschoolers and kindergartners! For our beach-theme stories, my son and I read A Snail and a Whale. A snail yearns to explore in this rhyming book. However, snail finds that its explorations are hindered by its size. When whale offers to help snail take a journey, it is a dream come true. Snail enjoys adventuring with the large whale. Uh-oh, whale gets stuck and it is up to the small snail to help its new friend. This story goes to show that no matter how small you are, you can still help others.

Beach-Theme Activities —

To go along with our beach stories, my son had fun doing a beach and an ocean-themed I Spy challenges and an ocean-themed Find The Differences worksheet.

Download them for your kiddo to enjoy too:

Beach-Themed I Spy— count how many of each beach item you can find!

Ocean-Themed I Spy — count how many of each ocean creature you can find!

Ocean-Themed FIND THE DIFFERENCES:

CRAFTS —

SPOUTING WHALE: this turned out super cute and my kiddo really enjoyed making this.

Spouting whale construction paper and tissue paper craft for preschool and kindergarten beach-theme books and activities.
Spouting Whale

Supplies needed are white and blue construction paper, pencil, scissors, blue tissue paper ( 1″ x 1″ squares), glue stick, white school glue, and googly eyes.

1. I drew a whale shape on the blue paper and cut it out.

2. My son used a glue stick to glue the whale onto the white paper. Next he rubbed the glue stick all over the bottom of the paper and glued on the blue tissue paper squares to make the ocean water.

3. Together, we wadded up the blue tissue paper squares to make the water spout.

4. Using the white school glue, I added glue dots in the pattern of the whale’s water spout and then my son added the wadded the tissue.

5. To complete his craft he added the googly eyes.

TOILET PAPER ROLL OCTOPUS:

My son loves Inky’s story so much that we decided to make an octopus craft.

Inky the Octopus toilet paper roll craft for beach-theme books and activities
Inky the Octopus

Supplies needed are an empty toilet paper roll, washable paint, paintbrush, kid safety scissors, googly eyes, and a marker.

-First we painted the toilet paper roll red. (use whatever color you want). Then we let it dry.

-After it dried, my son made cuts in the bottom of the toilet paper roll to make 8 legs. He gently pulled each leg up so that they legs splayed out and his octopus could stand.

-Then he attached the googly eyes and drew a mouth, and our cute little octopus was ready to explore our house!

Hope you enjoyed our beach-theme books and activities!

To help cover the costs of this site, I joined Amazon’s Affiliate Program. I get a small percentage of the sale if you buy a book through one of my links. Thanks for your support! Happy reading πŸ™‚

Animals, books, crafts

Aesop’s Fables πŸ‡πŸ’

Aesop’s Fables — Hare and Tortoise Stick Puppets

Read The Hare and the Tortoise with your little one and then extend the fun by acting out the story with stick puppets!

The Hare & the Tortoise

A Hare was making fun of the Tortoise one day for being so slow.

“Do you ever get anywhere?” he asked with a mocking laugh.

“Yes,” replied the Tortoise, “and I get there sooner than you think. I’ll run you a race and prove it.”

The Hare was much amused at the idea of running a race with the Tortoise, but for the fun of the thing he agreed. So the Fox, who had consented to act as judge, marked the distance and started the runners off.

The Hare was soon far out of sight, and to make the Tortoise feel very deeply how ridiculous it was for him to try a race with a Hare, he lay down beside the course to take a nap until the Tortoise should catch up.

The Tortoise meanwhile kept going slowly but steadily, and, after a time, passed the place where the Hare was sleeping. But the Hare slept on very peacefully; and when at last he did wake up, the Tortoise was near the goal. The Hare now ran his swiftest, but he could not overtake the Tortoise in time.

The race is not always to the swift.

After reading the fable together, we made stick puppets. My son colored them and then I cut them out. He attached them to craft sticks with glue dots. Then we raced!

check out our stick puppet race: https://youtu.be/t9NC7pvEQu0

Print off a copy of the pictures we used and make your own:

Check out more Aesop’s Fables online. They are available for free by the Library of Congress: http://read.gov/aesop/index.html.

Animals, STEM

Learning Letter D

Letter D is awesome — Dinosaurs, Dogs, Donuts, and Ducks! This was a fun week for my preschooler. We read books about his favorite animals, ate donuts, danced along to We are the Dinosaurs, and made a neat Froot Loops Tower.

Monday — D is for Dinosaur

  • Writing Practice: write uppercase D. For this letter, we used a worksheet from AtoZteacherstuff.com:
  • Book: Crunch the Shy Dinosaur by Cirocco Dunlap. This is a fun, interactive book that really engages with the reader. Young children will have a blast getting to know Crunch by saying hello, singing Happy Birthday, and introducing themselves. It also encourages the reader to take into consideration that other people (and dinosaurs) might be shy when you first meet them and to let them have some quiet space to adjust to new people.

Check your library for Crunch, the Shy Dinosaur, or buy it on Amazon.

  • Craft / Activity: Dinosaur Coloring Page — use your creativity and color or paint an awesome dino picture! Then, Find 5 Differences between these 2 dinosaur scenes:
  • Song: This was great excuse to sing along to our of my favorite preschool songs, We Are the Dinosaurs by the Laurie Berkner Band. Watch the music video on YouTube and march along!

Tuesday —

  • STEM: Build a Froot Loops Tower. This project is great for working on fine-motor skills!
Froot Loops Tower

Supplies needed are Play-Doh, a dry spaghetti noodle, and Froot Loops cereal.

First, make a mound out of Play-Doh to use as your tower’s base.

Second, stick a spaghetti noodle into the center of the base and make sure to really smush the Play-Doh around the bottom of the noodle so that it stands up.

Now it is time to make the tower and work on fine motor skills! Take your Froot Loops and carefully drop each down the noodle, making a tower as they stack. Have fun making color patterns. Bonus, you get to eat the cereal after your are done making towers πŸ˜‰

  • Air Writing: Ask your child to hold up a hand and trace letter shapes with their finger in the air. I was skeptical of this at first, but my son really got into it and I found him air writing his letters all on his own.
  • “Dog I Spy” Worksheet: practice counting with this cute dog-themed I Spy picture.

Wednesday — D is for Dog and Donut

  • Writing practice: write lowercase letter d.

I found this worksheet online from PreschoolMom.com: https://preschoolmom.com/wp-content/uploads/PMom/AlphabeWorksheets/D2.pdf

  • Books — We read dog stories! My son loves Karma Wilson’s book, A Dog Named Doug. Doug the dog is a digging machine. He digs a holes to everywhere and gets into a bit of trouble along the way. The book ends happily with Doug digging a hole into his family’s bedroom for a bedtime cuddle. My son loves this book and he laughs every single time we read it. We have checked this out from our library numerous times, and we hope you will check it from yours too! It is also available on Amazon if you want to buy it.

We also read Laura Numeroff’s If You Give a Dog a Donut. Turns out if you give a dog a donut, a great story ensues! This cute story is a fun read-aloud and good introduction to sequencing. Find a copy at your library, or buy on Amazon.

  • CraftPaper Plate Donut. Supplies needed are paper plate, light brown watercolor paint and paintbrush, construction paper (we used pink), scissors, white glue, and sprinkles.

1. First my son painted the entire plate light brown.

2. While it was drying, we picked our construction paper for the donut icing. We went with the classic pink for our donut, but also strongly considered brown for a chocolate icing. I cut out a wavy shape in the pink paper.

3. After the donut plate was dry, I cut out the center to give it the donut shape.

4. My son used white, school glue to attach the icing to the plate.

5. Last, he glued on sprinkles to complete his paper plate donut πŸ™‚

  • Songs — For letter D, we sang the “Donut Song.” If you don’t know this song, you can check it out on YouTube. My son loves this song and he sings it all of the time!

Thursday —

  • Salt Tray Writing: cover the bottom of a shallow tray or pie tin with a layer of table salt. Your child can take one finger to trace letter shapes in the salt. Make bother uppercase D and lowercase d.
  • Worksheet: Draw a line from the lowercase d to all of the uppercase D letters.

Friday — D is for Duck

  • Book: Little Quack’s New Friend by Lauren Thompson. The whole Little Quack series is adorable, but I am partial to this one because I love the new froggy friend. This Little Quack story embodies preschooler’s shyness about meeting new people, but children’s innate playfulness and curiosity wins over and everyone has fun playing together. Plus, this story is full of fun sound words to say!

There are many cute stories in the Little Quack series. Hopefully your library has this one and others. It is available for purchase on Amazon.

  • Craft: Color and Feathers Duck Craft — supplies needed are duck coloring sheet, crayons, white school feathers, and glue.

Here’s the coloring page we used. I found on getcoloringpages.com. Feel free to draw your own duck or cut out a duck shape from construction paper if you don’t like this one.

We used crayons to color our duck. My son worked hard to color within the lines!

Then we picked out feathers for our duck and attached them with white, school glue.

  • Song: Raffi’s Five Little Ducks. I really enjoy doing hand movements to this song. We hold up fingers on one hand for the five little ducks, folding down fingers as the ducks go over the hill. The other is our mama duck and we keep our fingers together and move them up and down to touch the thumb to make a mouth movement for the quacking parts. If you don’t know this song, it’s available on YouTube.