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Cotton Ball Ice Cream Painting

Get creative with your paintbrushes and try cotton balls with a clothespin for painting a picture of an ice cream cone. Pinch a cotton ball in the clothespin and then dip it in paint to make a fun paintbrush! Cotton ball ice cream painting was a lot of fun! My son enjoyed using the cotton balls as a paintbrush and it remined him of his dot pens.

Cotton Ball Ice Cream Painting
Cotton Ball Ice Cream Painting

Supplies needed:

  • cotton balls
  • clothespin
  • washable paint (I like to use Crayola Washable Paints )
  • paper plate
  • paper (preferably card stock or construction paper)

How To:

Painting the Cone

First, pinch a cotton ball in your clothespin. I knew we were going to use 3 different paint colors, so I had my son use 3 cotton ball clothespin brushes. If you only have 1 clothespin, it is easy to change out the cotton balls.

Pick a paint color for your ice cream cone. Pour a little paint on a paper plate. Pinch a cotton ball in a clothespin to use as a paintbrush. Gently dip the cotton ball into the paint and then stamp it onto the paper in a triangle-shape to make the cone. If your child is having trouble with this step, lightly draw a triangle shape for them to fill in with paint.

Next pick a color for your first scoop of ice cream. My son chose blue, which is also the color of the ice cream he usually picks! I poured a little blue paint onto the paper plate and he stamped his cotton ball into the paint and then onto the paper. He made his first scoop pretty big and we didn’t have much room for the second scoop.

For his second scoop, my kiddo chose purple paint. He had to squeeze his second scoop onto the top of the first scoop and quickly ran out of room on the paper. His cotton ball ice cream painting still turned out cute, even if his second scoop wasn’t very tall.

Cotton ball ice cream painting preschool craft

OPTIONAL: I think it would be fun to add fingerprint “sprinkles” onto your ice cream cone.

For more ice cream fun, check out my ICE CREAM post! It contains cute book recommendations and ice cream recipe so that you and your preschooler can make ice cream together at home.

Animals, Beach, books, crafts, Summer

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

Beach I Spy

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: can you spot 5 differences between the 2 scenes?

BEACH alphabet letter tracing worksheet: practice tracing the letters and then color the picture!

Beach alphabet letter tracing

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

crafts, Summer

Independence Day Shakers

Independence Day Shakers
Independence Day Shakers

These Independence Day Shakers are fun to make and even more fun to shake about! Best part, supplies are minimal. All you need are 2 empty toilet paper tubes, washable paint (we went with the red, white, and blue theme), paintbrush, and dried pinto beans.

My son painted one toilet paper tube blue and the other one red. Then we let them dry.

Next he used white paint to add dots to the blue tube (these were his stars), and he painted white stripes on the red tube. He’s been learning about our national and state symbols, so this was a great way to reinforce the American flag colors and patterns.

After the white paint dried, I pinched one end of the toilet paper tube closed and stapled it shut. Then my son added the beans. Once he was satisfied with the sound the beans made, I stapled the end of the toilet paper tube shut. IMPORTANT — you cannot close both ends the same way. One end has to be pinched together vertically and the other end has to pinched together horizontally. This makes your tube look like its slightly twisting. Closing the ends this way is what makes the sound ๐Ÿ™‚

Now that you’ve made your Independence Day Shakers, it’s time to shake them all about!

Looking for more craft ideas? Check out my SUMMER CRAFTS page!

books, crafts, Summer

Yummy Fruit-Themed Crafts and Books

Fruit-themed crafts and books

I love summer fruits! Strawberries, watermelon, and raspberries are favorites in my house. We have a raspberry bush in our backyard and the berries taste amazing! All of our snacking reminded me of some fruit-themed crafts and books. My preschooler made a construction paper strawberry and a paper plate watermelon. They were both fun to make and he really liked adding his fingerprints to the crafts.

STRAWBERRY CRAFT:

handprint strawberry craft

I love handprint crafts. They are like a time capsule for your little one. You can look back at them and see how small their hands were.

This craft was pretty quick and easy to make. Supplies needed are red and green construction paper, brown marker, scissors, and glue.

1) First, I drew a strawberry shape and my son cut it out. He added the seeds with a brown marker.

2) Next, I traced his hands on green paper and then I cut out the hand prints.

3) My son glued the handprints on top of his strawberry, and ta-da, now we have a cute strawberry craft to hang in his room!

WATERMELON CRAFT:

paper plate watermelon craft

Isn’t this watermelon craft cute? It looks good enough to eat! My son made this at preschool and was so excited to share it with me when he got home ๐Ÿ™‚

To make your own watermelon craft, you need a paper plate, green and dark pink construction paper, glue, and black finger paint.

1) First tear up pieces of green and pink paper. This is fun for kids because how often are they allowed to tear things apart!

2) Cut a triangle shape out of a paper plate to be your watermelon slice.

3) Glue the green paper along the rounded edge of the plate. Then glue the pink paper on the remainder of the plate. Let your project dry.

4) Using washable, black finger-paint, have your child add the seeds with their finger.

BOOKS:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

We’ve been eating so much fruit lately, it reminded me of Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, as the caterpillar eats his way through the story. This book is dear to my heart — I remember it from when my brother and I were kids and I am excited that I get to share it with my son.

This is a must read if you haven’t read it yet. Borrow it from your local library, watch this read-aloud from Brightly Storytime, or buy it on Amazon so you can read over and over again.

To help cover the costs of this site, I joined Amazon’s affiliate program. So if you buy a product through one of my links, then I get a small percent from the sale (at no additional cost to you). Thanks for your support! Happy reading ๐Ÿ™‚

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bearย by Don and Audrey Wood

We also enjoy readingย The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bearย by Don and Audrey Wood. This is an older story, but still cute. Kids will be on the edge of their seats as they listen to the story about the mouse who has to protect its strawberry from a hungry bear. Reading this one together is great fun! Check your local library for this book, or you can get it on Amazonย here.]

MORE CRAFTS!

My son and enjoy making crafts together! He is so creative ๐Ÿ™‚ Check out my CRAFTS Page for more fun ideas and how-tos to spark your kiddo’s imagination. I love pairing books with crafts! As part of my weekly preschool schedule, we read books together and make a craft that goes with it. It is a fun way to help extend the learning ๐Ÿ™‚

Animals

Summer Time

Summer is just around the corner! For my family, living in southern California, summer = beach. My son can’t wait to splash in the ocean and dig in the sand. With work schedules and school in still in session until the end of the June, we have to be content with reading about the beach and ocean animals.

Some of our favorite beach and ocean books are:

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!

I’m a huge advocate of libraries and want everyone to visit theirs, so head down to your local library and check out a copy of The Sandcastle that Lola Built. Or, you can always buy your own copy on Amazon here.

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

Inky’s Amazing Escape by Sy Montgomery — my 4 year old 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 picture book, and we were fascinated by Inky’s journey. There are other books written about Inky, but 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 because we truly love this story and read it over-and-over again.

Your library should have a copy of Inky’s Amazing Escape (it’s pretty famous in the book world), but you can always buy your own copy through Amazon here.

Shark Kiss, Octopus Hug by Lynn Rowe Reed — a super cute picture book about a shark and an octopus looking for some love. You will giggle your way through the story reading the silly ideas these two come up with to get the beachgoers to give them hugs and kisses.

Click here to get in on Amazon.

The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen — this is fun rhyming story with great pictures. It’s written sing-songy and in our house, we really get into this story, with the whole family singing the refrain and acting out the “blubs.”

The Pout Pout Fish has many sequels. The original is our favorite ๐Ÿ™‚

Check your local library for the Pout Pout Fish, or buy it on Amazon here.

To help cover the costs of this site, I joined Amazon’s affiliate program, which pays advertising fees to sites that advertise and link to Amazon’s products. So if you buy the book through my site, I get a small percent from the sale.

CRAFTS:

TOILET PAPER ROLL OCTOPUS:

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

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). And then we let it dry.

-After it dried, my son made cuts in the bottom of the toilet paper roll to make 8 legs. Then 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!

PAPER PLATE FISH:

Supplies needed are paper plate, scissors, stapler, glue stick, tissue paper squares (about 1 inch x 1 inch), and large googly eyes (optional glitter glue).

-To make your fish, have your child cut out a triangle from the paper plate. This makes it look like the fish’s mouth is open. My son loves being able to use scissors, so he liked this craft.

-Staple the triangle to the back of fish to make a tail.

-Now it’s time to decorate the fish! Using the glue stick, glue tissue squares all over the plate to make the fish’s scales.

-Finish your fish by adding googly eyes.

My son thought it needed some sparkle, so he added blue glitter-glue polka dots to his fish.