PAT (Parents as Teachers) Corner
Welcome to our new Parents As Teachers Corner! It has resources to help you navigate through being home and finding different activities to do with your children. We’ve included some fun learning activities you can do with your preschooler at home and we’ve introduced mini – Let’s Play to Learn sessions (more of these will be added regularly). Each of these sessions has a theme and includes ideas and activities. As an example, they may include links to read aloud books, sing-along songs and/or ideas for crafts, games and/or other activities that you can do with your child(ren). We hope this brings smiles to your home and a way to have a little fun with your family!
In this mini Let’s Play to Learn, enjoy the cute story, Scribble Stones. It’s about a stone who thinks he will become something amazing but is disappointed when he becomes a dull paper weight. However, he ends up finding a creative way to spread joy to others. There are also activities including making story stones, painting, experimenting with and building with stones. Go outside and gather up some stones and let the fun begin!
- Read Aloud – Scribble Stones by Diane Alber: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQzRlquoHNU
- Sing Along – Stone Soup: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFhH34gwtvU
- Art Activities:
- Emotion Stones: Learn about emotions with build-a-face story stones: https://whereimaginationgrows.com/emotions-story-stones-for-kids/
- Painting Stones: Use them for paper weights, to decorate your garden, or to give as gifts: https://happyhooligans.ca/painted-rock-paper-weight-craft/
- Letter Stones: Paint uppercase and lowercase letters, with acrylic paints, on small flat beach stones. When the paint dries, give them a quick coat of spray varnish to weather-proof them. Younger children can explore the letters through play, while older children can form sight words with them. You can do the same with numbers!
- Story Stones: Click here to check out this Parent as Teachers handout for an activity that is not only fun but also a great early literacy activity.
- Science Activity: What happens if we fill a container with water and then add lots of rocks? https://happyhooligans.ca/water-displacement-activity/
- Sensory Activity: Building with play dough and rocks: http://www.pinkstripeysocks.com/2014/08/building-play-dough-and-rock-houses.html#more
Now that it’s Spring, trees are blossoming and leafing out. This Let’s Play to Learn is all about trees. Start with a read aloud and a song and then enjoy various art activities and a nature walk to do some exploring.
- Read Aloud – Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crzYxOeIDdM
- Sing Along – The Green Grass Grew All Around: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rA5y4s5FgZU
- Sensory Activity – Spring Tree Play Dough: https://www.fantasticfunandlearning.com/spring-tree-play-dough-invitation.html
- Art Activities:
- Outdoor tree bark rubbing: https://www.icanteachmychild.com/outdoor-tree-bark-rubbings/
- Cherry Blossom Art from a Recycled Soda Bottle: https://alphamom.com/family-fun/holidays/cherry-blossom-art-from-a-recycled-soda-bottle/
- Science Activity – Take a nature walk with a magnify glass and find some trees, logs, leaves, and bark to explore. Here are some more science exploration ideas: http://rootsandwingskindergarten.com/2019/04/are-trees-alive-mini-inquiry.html
Let's Move to the Rhythm
Rhythm plays a huge part in early childhood education. Not only does it help children develop self-regulation skills, but it also plays an important role in early literacy, math, gross and fine motor skill development. Plus it improves school readiness. We’ve got some fun things for you to do with your child including a story, songs and a variety of activities. Be sure to check out the handouts for even more ideas of musical activities you can do together.
- Read Aloud – I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtCRLkXE-SA
- Sing & Move Along Songs
- Art Activities
- Make Your own Instruments – You can make various instruments using things like plastic spoons, paper plates, paper towel tubes plus dried beans or rice: https://team-cartwright.com/easy-musical-instruments/
- Make Your own Rhythm Sticks – Rhythm sticks are a great way for children to keep a beat. You can buy rhythm sticks or make your own: https://www.theottoolbox.com/diy-rhythm-sticks-and-activities/
- Rhythm Stick Activities – Once you have rhythm sticks (see above to make your own), check out these fun and easy activities you can do with your child: https://teaching2and3yearolds.com/easy-rhythm-sticks-activities-toddlers-preschoolers/
- Handouts with more ideas
Spring is here! Not only can we feel it, but we can also see and hear more birds. We’ve got some fun activities to welcome our bird friends back after a long winter. Learn about birds and their sounds, enjoy a book and a song, make a bird feeder to attract birds to your yard, and more.
- Read Along – Birds by Kevin Henkes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xb0agMy-PoM
- Sing Along – The Bird Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHKszRUyTpQ
- Craft Activities:
- Toilet Paper Roll Bird Feeder: https://threekidsthreecatsandahusband.com/diy-toilet-paper-roll-bird-feeder/
- Paper Plate Bird Nest Craft: https://www.cbc.ca/parents/play/view/paper-plate-birds-in-a-nest-craft
- Sensory Activity – Build a Bird Nest: https://www.mamashappyhive.com/build-a-bird-nest/
- Learn Various Bird Songs: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/mcvmagazine/bird_songs_interactive/index.html
April showers bring May flowers! Enjoy the rain with a story, song, craft, and a science experiment. Then get out and play in the rain – there are so many things you can do. Children love jumping in puddles, catching rain drops with their tongue, and painting in the rain. For more ideas, check out the list of 20 fun things to do in the rain!
- Read Aloud – RAIN by Sam Usher: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ctFNBsloeM
- Sing Along – Drip Drop Rain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WIF98ss2Tw
- Art Activities:
- Rainstick Craft: https://supersimple.com/article/rainstick-craft/
- Rain Cloud Gravity Painting: https://alittlepinchofperfect.com/rain-cloud-gravity-painting-for-kids/
- Rain Painting: http://www.housingaforest.com/rain-painting/
- Science Experiment – Ever wonder how or why it rains? Check out this easy Make Rain in a Jar experiment: http://www.learnplayimagine.com/2013/03/how-does-it-rain.html
- Gross Motor Play – 20 fun things to do in the rain: https://rhythmsofplay.com/20-ways-to-play-in-the-rain/
If You Give a Pig a Pancake
Everyone loves pancakes, even pigs! Enjoy the fun story If You Give a Pig a Pancake and singing and dancing along to a song. Learn how maple syrup is made, make paper plate pancakes, and enjoy some sensory play. If you have a couple of ripe bananas, oats, and a few eggs, you and your child can make some yummy pancakes too. Enjoy!
- Read Aloud – If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNiAktHBZa4
- Sing (and Dance) Along – I Like Pancakes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPccTY3sph4
- Video – Ever Wonder How Maple Syrup Is Made? Watch this short clip to see how the delicious syrup we put on our pancakes is made: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3B0iOyhkzi4
- Art Activity – Make your own paper plate pancakes: https://alittlepinchofperfect.com/pancake-paper-plate-craft-inspired-give-pig-pancake/
- Sensory Play:
- Pancake Sensory Bin: https://playathometeacher.com/2016/02/09/pancake-day-sensory-box/
- Maple Scented Playdough: https://www.thebestideasforkids.com/maple-playdough/
- Make and Eat – You don’t even need flour for this recipe. Have fun making and eating pancakes using this quick and easy recipe that has only three main ingredients! https://runeatrepeat.com/3-ingredient-banana-pancakes-recipe/?utm_term=pancakes&utm_campaign=1211501197
Yummy Yummy Pizza!
Mama Mia Pizzeria! Get ready to have lots of fun by reading, and dancing to a song, about pizza. There is also a craft, a game, pretend play, and an easy real pizza to make and eat. Enjoy!
- Read Aloud – Pizza Day by Melissa Iwai: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gX2vQNNC80c
- Sing and move along – Pizza Man, A Movement Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-ZKiQyDzIs
- Craft Activity – Paper Plate Pizza: https://www.shesaved.com/2016/04/paper-plate-pizza-craft-idea.html/
- Game – Work on fine motor skills with this fun drawing game where you create your own pizza masterpiece: https://teachpreschool.org/2014/03/16/pizza-toss-drawing-game-for-preschool/
- Pretend Play – Use a cardboard box to make a pizza oven and serve up yummy pretend pizzas: https://activity-mom.com/2019/07/cardboard-box-pizza-oven/
- Cook & Eat – English Muffin Pizzas – it’s amazing what kids will eat when they help with the prep and cooking: https://amindfullmom.com/english-muffin-pizzas/
With spring and summer right around the corner, we’re likely to see more construction sites and vehicles. Take out your diggers and dump trucks and have fun with this Let’s Play to Learn which is all about construction vehicles! We have a story about a cement truck that gets mixed up about what he needs to make. There is also a sing along and various activities and a craft for you and your child to enjoy.
- Read Aloud – The Mixed-Up Truck by Stephen Savage: NBPL Storytime: The Mixed-Up Truck
- Sing Along – Construction Vehicles – Car Song for Kids: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzjTVQl27X0
- Art Activity – DIY dump truck – All you need are some egg cartons, glue and pipe cleaners: http://www.reasonstoskipthehousework.com/diy-dump-truck/
- Motor Activity – Tape road – If your child has ride-on cars/trucks, you can make the tape roads wider for them to drive on. This is a fun activity for your child to work those large muscles! https://handsonaswegrow.com/tape-road-simple-activity/
- Sensory Activities:
- Construction Sensory Bin: http://goodenoughlife.com.au/construction-sensory-bin/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes&utm_term=986407418_44445706_726350
- Play Dough Construction Site – here are two variations of playing with construction vehicles and play dough:
Painting is a way for children to do many important things: convey ideas, express emotions, use their senses, explore color, process, and outcomes, and create aesthetically pleasing pieces. There are so many different ways and tools that can be used to paint. Here are some painting activities you can do with your child along with a fun read aloud about a boy who just LOVES to paint!
- Read (and sing) Along: I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxxkknOJJIg
- Art Activities:
- Ice Painting: https://bit.ly/2OhAARa
- Painting with Wheels – If your child loves playing with cars and/or trucks then they will enjoy this art project: https://artfulparent.com/painting-with-wheels-is-fun-action-art-for-kids/
- Salt Painting: https://www.powerfulmothering.com/salt-painting/
- Painting with Nature – use leaves, flowers, stones, sticks, etc.: https://www.toddleratplay.com/2019/07/19/painting-with-nature-activity/
- Fine and Gross Motor Painting Activities
- Painting in a Ziploc Bag – For a mess free painting project, which is also a great activity for those little fingers, put a piece of paper inside a Ziploc bag and squirt in a bit of paint. Then tape it to the floor or table and let your toddler squish it around using their fingers.
- Potato Stamp Painting – Cut a potato in half and either cut out a shape in the center or push a cookie cutter into the center. You should have a raised shape at the end. Dip it into paint and have fun stamping.
- Sensory Stomp Painting: This will allow your child to move their large muscles and paint at the same time. You’ll need bubble wrap, poster board and paint: https://viewsfromastepstool.com/sensory-stomp-painting/
Playing with blocks offer an open-ended, creative, and valuable play and learn experience. Blocks give kids freedom to explore, to take apart and put back together, and to use their imagination. In addition to building and creating, we’ve got lots of other fun things to do with blocks. Playing with blocks helps your child develop many valuable skills; click here to learn more.
- Read Aloud – When I Build with Blocks by Niki Alling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8DBW1wS70w&t=4s
- Sing Along – Stacking Blocks Way Up High: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyTOj7BL5zs
- Art Activities:
- Block painting: https://taminglittlemonsters.com/block-painting/
- Spin art blocks – Use a salad spinner to make some cool looking blocks (or put paint in a bag or container, add blocks and shake): https://homegrownfriends.com/home/diy-spin-art-kids-wooden-building-blocks/
- Sensory Activities:
- Shaving cream blocks: https://busytoddler.com/2016/02/shaving-cream-blocks-towers/
- Playdough and blocks – Add trucks or cars to make a construction site or animals to make a farm or zoo. If you don’t have playdough, click here for a make your own recipe: https://www.learnwithplayathome.com/2014/07/bricklaying-for-kids-invitation-to-play.html
- Game – Wooden blocks match game – Playing games with your child is fun and has many developmental benefits. Play together and practice taking turns: https://www.toddleratplay.com/2019/08/01/wooden-blocks-match/
- Movement Activities:
- Dice blocks- a fun activity where you use blocks as dice: http://alittlelearningfortwo.blogspot.com/2011/02/rooms-of-house.html
- Block bowling: http://alittlelearningfortwo.blogspot.com/2010/08/block-bowling.html
“I’m Bored” Most parents have heard this at one time or another – especially when the weather isn’t cooperating, and you are stuck indoors. We’ve got a story about a girl who is bored, but when challenged comes up with lots of ways to entertain herself. There is a song that will make your child laugh while moving his/her body and all sorts of fun activities to do around the house to keep your child entertained. Enjoy!
- Read Aloud – I’m Bored by Michael Ian Black: I’m Bored by Michael Ian Black – Read Aloud by Heather’s Story Time Corner
- Sing Along – Hip Hop Tooty Ta Movement Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwoTsWlz60I
- Art Activities:
- Marshmallow Edible Painting – This edible paint can be used to decorate cookies, marshmallows, bread, or just plain old paper: https://craftsbyamanda.com/marshmallow-edible-paint/#wprm-recipe-container-21129
- Make your own instruments: https://ottawamommyclub.ca/how-to-make-your-own-musical-instruments-with-your-kids/
- Toilet Paper Roll Snowperson – If it’s too cold to make your own snowperson outside (or there is no snow), make one inside: https://happydealhappyday.com/snowmen-family-toilet-paper-roll-craft/
- Movement Activities:
- Indoor Scavenger Hunt: https://www.thriftynorthwestmom.com/indoor-scavenger-hunt-for-kids-free-printable/
- Indoor Balloon Tennis: https://adventuresinroadschooling.com/indoor-balloon-tennis/
- Indoor Hopscotch: https://www.prettyhandygirl.com/indoor-hopscotch-using-painters-tape/
- Make your own giant indoor maze: https://craftivitydesigns.com/how-to-make-a-giant-floor-maze-for-kids/
- Sensory Activity – Make your own Fizzy Slime: https://www.lookwerelearning.com/easy-fizzy-scented-slime/
We are celebrating Valentine’s Day with a story, a song, and plenty of fun things to do. In addition to crafts, we’ve included a simple science experiment and some sensory and motor activities. There is also a cute, healthy Valentine-themed snack that you and your child can make together. Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day!
- Read Aloud – The Night Before Valentine’s Day by Natasha Wing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dbkBziQNHM
- Sing Along – Boom Chicka Boom Valentine’s Day Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PA3ewtp3ng
- Science Activity – Blooming Hearts: https://entertainyourtoddler.com/blooming-hearts-science-experiment/
- Art Activities:
- Shake Painting: https://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2016/01/shake-painting-hearts-easy- valentines-day-project.html
- Stamping Hearts with paper towel/toilet paper rolls: https://happyhooligans.ca/stamping-hearts-with-cardboard-rolls-craft-kids/
- Sensory Activities:
- Fun with Frozen Hearts (you’ll need a heart ice tray): https://teaching2and3yearolds.com/preschool-valentines-sensory-bin/
- Valentine Soap Foam Sensory Bin (add letter tiles or other small toys for your child to search for): https://inspirationlaboratories.com/valentine-soap-foam-letter-search/
- Motor Activities:
- Valentines Gross Motor Fun: https://www.andnextcomesl.com/2016/01/valentines-gross-motor-game-for- html
- Valentines Hopscotch: https://toddlerapproved.com/2014/01/heart-hopscotch-active-valentines- html
- Snack Time – Valentine Fruit Emoji salad: https://whatmomslove.com/food/heart-eye-emoji-fruit-salad/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes&utm_term=285379862_7704830_209669
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons
Read along as Pete the Cat counts down each time he loses a button but doesn’t let it upset him. It’s a great lesson related to feelings when things go wrong. Then get up and dance and do the Cool Cat Boogie with Pete the Cat. We have also included some fun button activities. Enjoy!
- Read Aloud – Pete the Cat and His Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons
- Movement Activity – Pete the Cat and the Cool Cat Boogie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=ZKX-ar3pAS4&feature=emb_logo
- Art Activities:
- Make your own buttons using paper plates and tissue paper: https://www.gluedtomycraftsblog.com/2015/06/paper-plate-button-kid-craft.html
- Make a Button Bracelet with pipe cleaners and buttons (also a great fine motor activity): https://www.coffeecupsandcrayons.com/pete-cat-four-groovy-buttons-craft/
- Sensory Activity – Button Sensory Bin- Use spare buttons, scoops, cups (colored containers can help for sorting the buttons by color): https://www.3dinosaurs.com/wordpress/index.php/button-sensory-bin/
Click here for some more ideas and info on matching, sorting and classifying with young children.
Animals that Hibernate
Have you noticed that you see fewer animals in winter? Many birds migrate for the winter and some animals hibernate. But which animals hibernate? Is it just bears? Learn about hibernation by listening to a story and watching a few videos. Then have some fun by going outside for a winter scavenger hunt! We’ve also included a bear cave craft and a hibernation sensory bag.
- Read Aloud – Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMMRiGX4Us8
- Sing Along – Hibernation Song: Hibernation Song | Animal Songs | PINKFONG Songs for Children
- Videos – Learn about Hibernation by watching these short videos:
- Getting Ready for Hibernation: Getting Ready for Hibernation!
- Which Animals Hibernate?: https://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/animals-source/00000168-2f46-d3ea-af6a-ffd7cd520000
- Winter Scavenger Hunt – free pintable scavenger list: https://www.kcedventures.com/blog/winter-scavenger-hunt-printable-list?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes&utm_term=287620904_7829454_102979
- Art Activity – Make your own bear cave. If you have a small toy bear, you can put it inside your cave to sleep: http://almostunschoolers.blogspot.com/2009/09/hibernating-bear-paper-bag-craft.html
- Sensory Activity – Animals in Winter Hibernation Sensory Activity: https://www.schooltimesnippets.com/2015/11/hibernation-preschool-theme.html
If You Give a Moose a Muffin
This week we have a fun story that demonstrates cause and effect. To go with it, there are a variety of moose and muffin themed activities. Make cute crafts with simple household items. Enjoy a sensory bin, baking and eating delicious Hot Chocolate Banana muffins, and playing a game.
- Read Aloud – If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Joffe Numeroff: If You Give a Moose a Muffin – Kids Books Read Aloud
- Sing Along – The Muffin Man: The Muffin Man | Kids Songs | Super Simple Songs
- Art Activities
- Cooking Activity – Bake some muffins: https://growingbookbybook.com/litearcy-activities-in-the-kitchen-muffins/
- Math Activity – Moose Muffin Math Game: http://kitchenfloorcrafts.blogspot.com/2015/04/moose-muffins-math-game.html
- Sensory Activity – Baking sensory Bin: Start with flour for a base, include measuring cups, spoons, sifters, cookie cutters, or anything you can find to make it fun. If you are feeling really daring, give your child some water to add another dimension to their sensory play. Don’t forget to place a drop cloth beneath the bin to catch the mess. (Tip: you can get shower curtain liners at the dollar store. They are thin; but depending on the activity, you may be able to get several uses out of them before they need replacing.)
Don’t you just love to visit the penguins at the zoo? They are fun to watch and it’s amazing how they swim in the water during winter without getting cold! This week we will learn more about penguins from a story, a song, and other fun activities.
- Read Aloud – If You Were a Penguin by Wendell and Florence Minor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqSZK_6L0rg
- Sing and Move Along song – Peter Penguin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izf9pA8DHms
- Art Activities:
- Sensory Activities:
- Ice Skating Penguins Small World – Use ice cube trays and small figurines: https://www.messylittlemonster.com/2019/01/ice-skating-penguin-small-world-sensory-play.html
- Frozen Shaving Cream sensory play: http://www.learnplayimagine.com/2014/08/frozen-shaving-cream-sensory-play.html
- Fine Motor Activity – Cotton Ball Penguin craft: https://www.easypeasyandfun.com/cotton-balls-penguin-craft/
Let it Snow!
We have snow! Not only is it beautiful to look at but it can be so much fun to play in. So, after enjoying a story and a song have fun with the various activities. We’ve included things to do outside in the snow and some creative activities that can be done inside. So, you can enjoy no matter what the weather is like!
- Read Aloud – The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYWodTneq-Q
- Sing Along – Snowflakes, Snowflakes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDJIhayM9dw
- Art Activities:
- Paint with “snowballs” – using Styrofoam balls your child can create their own snowperson or winter wonderland: https://www.fantasticfunandlearning.com/snowman-art-painting-with-snowballs.html?utm_source=ActiveCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Painting+with+snowballs+snowman+art+project&utm_campaign=Painting+with+Snowballs+Snowman+Art+Project&vgo_ee=IOjTtXXcfVO1xzCWXL125kocXtEYRgbvSIwJ2XbeWsXDx7HCR22zp8cjrz5ZyNpB
- Make your own snow paint – then create some art in the snow: https://www.craftymorning.com/snow-paint-recipe/
- Motor Activities:
- Snow Marble Run – make a maze using snow on a tray or baking sheet. Have your child tilt it back and forth to move a marble through the maze: https://happytoddlerplaytime.com/snow-marble-run-stem-winter-kids-activity/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes&utm_term=898597000_39087516_384583
- Seven indoor snowball games and activities – if you are unable to get outside, use pretend snowballs for some indoor fun and movement: https://confidencemeetsparenting.com/indoor-snowball-activities/
- Sensory Activity – Snow Cloud Dough – a fast and easy recipe for your child to create a snowperson, snowballs, or anything else they desire. Give your child other items such as buttons, pipe cleaners, toothpicks, googly eyes, cookie cutters and let them use their imagination: https://ourfamilycode.com/toddler-snow-cloud-dough/
- Science Activity – Making Frozen Bubbles – a great activity for when it is cold outside: https://www.firefliesandmudpies.com/frozen-bubbles/
The holidays are coming up quickly! Get in the spirit by listening to Bear Stays Up for Christmas and sing along to the fun and active Boom Chicka Boom Christmas song. Plus, there are some holiday art, motor and sensory activities to keep your child busy and in the holiday spirit!
- Read Aloud– Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson: https://www.youtubcom/watch?v=mblU4h86v58
- Sing Along– Boom Chicka Boom Christmas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-Nhyg8Lnqs
- Motor Activity– Tubes and Christmas Ornaments – this fun activity is great for developing hand eye coordination, patience and problem solving: https://happytoddlerplaytime.com/tubes-and-christmas-baubles/amp/
- Art Activities:
- Christmas Tree and Ornament art – have fun painting with Christmas tree branches: https://craftulate.com/christmas-tree-ornament-art-toddlers
- Twig snowflake craft:https://buggyandbuddy.com/tissue-paper-twig-snowflake-craft-kids/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes
- Snowman in a bag craft:https://www.ohmy-creative.com/winter/sudsy-snowman-kids-craft/
- Sensory Activities:
- Christmas Cloud Dough – Cloud dough is a fun and easy sensory dough you make with just a few ingredients. Make it festive by adding things like cinnamon, cocoa powder and/or crushed up peppermint candy. Put the cloud dough in a big bin along with some holiday cookie cutters and let your child enjoy the sensory experience: https://lalymom.com/christmas-cloud-dough-recipe/
- Christmas Sensory Bin: http://www.nurturingtamra.com/christmas-sensory-bin-for-toddlers/
It’s starting to feel like winter. Now that the weather is colder, we are wearing our warm coats, hats, and mittens. This time of year reminds us of one of our favorite winter stories – The Mitten by Jan Brett. Enjoy this story with your child along with some fun activities to go along with it. We’ve included The Mitten Song which is a great to sing to your little ones when they do not want to put their mittens on. Enjoy!
- Read Aloud – The Mitten by Jan Brett: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QA6ukHm9etg
- Sing Along – The Mitten Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcJmDwLYfO4
- Art Activities:
- Marble Paint Mitten craft – print out the mitten template or make your own my tracing your child’s hand on a piece of paper: https://teaching2and3yearolds.com/marble-painted-winter-mitten-craft/
- Ice Cube painting: https://www.messylittlemonster.com/2015/02/ice-painting-process-art-techniques-for.html?m=1
- Sensory Activity –The Mitten sensory bin: http://howlongisthishall.blogspot.com/2011/01/mittensensory-table-experience.html
- Fine Motor Activity – Color Sorting Mitten activity: https://www.123homeschool4me.com/color-sorting-mitten-activity_41
The holidays are approaching and who doesn’t love the smell of gingerbread baking in the oven? This week is all about gingerbread! Listen to the popular fairytale and sing along to a song. Make your own gingerbread playdough and have your child make their own GIANT gingerbread person and simple gingerbread ornament. The entire family can play the Gingerbread Path game; it is easy to play and great for building counting skills.
- Read aloud – The Gingerbread Man: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eg2OBXuyuoE
- Sing along – Five Gingerbread Men Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rbn6-4qdBYM
- Sensory Activity – Gingerbread Playdough: https://bit.ly/3m2q2AF
- Art Activities
- Giant Gingerbread Man – all you need is a large piece of paper and markers/crayons and misc. art supplies: https://happytoddlerplaytime.com/giant-gingerbread-man/
- Gingerbread Man Ornaments: https://www.theresourcefulmama.com/craft-stick-gingerbread-man-ornament/
- Gingerbread Path Game: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Gingerbread-Path-Games-2881155
Rhyming is a great way to build foundational literacy skills. As children hear and say rhymes, they begin to discover sounds within words and identify when those sounds are the same. This builds phonological awareness. Children develop their oral skills as they say rhymes. Rhyming books and nursery rhymes help children begin to predict what word will end the sentence. These predictive skills are important pre-reading skills. Plus rhymes are fun! This week we have a few of our favorite rhyming stories and nursery rhymes along with various activities to go along with them. Enjoy!
- Read Aloud:
- Sing Along – Nursery rhymes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzc_Rd4TuYg
- Art Activities:
- Green Eggs and Ham Art – All you need is paper, a marker, green paint and a cork for this activity that is also great for fine motor skills: https://playteachrepeat.com/green-eggs-ham-art/
- Humpty Dumpty Craft – Your child will have fun putting Humpty Dumpty back together: https://iheartcraftythings.com/humpty-dumpty-craft.html
- Sensory Activity: Itsy Bitsy Spider Sensory Bin – You can use black beans, paper towel tubes and plastic spiders for this fun activity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-e_JwQDTJtQ&utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_smartloop&utm_content=smartloop&utm_term=45165782
- Science Activity: Fizzy Green Eggs & Ham – After listening to Green Eggs and Ham have fun with this fizzy green eggs experiment using plastic eggs, green food coloring, vinegar, and baking soda: https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/green-eggs-and-ham-activity/
Click here for some more simple, fun rhymes and songs to enjoy with your child!
Bear Says Thanks!
Teaching our kids to be grateful and to appreciate the things they have in their lives is a year-long endeavor. Gratitude is not meant to only be taught once a year. For the concept to really sink in, gratitude should not only be taught in November. But Thanksgiving is a good time of year to kick our gratitude efforts up a notch.
Take a moment to pause before the craziness of December and really focus on and celebrate what you are thankful for. We hope you enjoy this story and the activities with your family!
- Read Aloud – Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZOBnveDaWY
- Sweet song that will put a smile on your face and warm your heart! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuvejScpYpAet
- Thankful Handprint Tree This is a wonderful family project. Who knows – it might become a permanent piece of art in your home! https://funhandprintartblog.com/thankful-handprint-trees-craft.html
- The Gratitude Game This is great for conversation. Use crayons or markers; take turns picking a color and tell one thing you are thankful for:
- Red – Name a person you are thankful for.
- Yellow – Name a place you are thankful for.
- Green – Name a food you are thankful for.
- Blue – Name a thing you are thankful for.
- Purple – Name anything you are thankful for.
- Gratitude Scavenger Hunt We previously posted this on our Facebook page, but thought it was worth sharing again. It could be fun for the entire family, not just the kids! https://www.naturalbeachliving.com/gratitude-scavenger-hunt/
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear
Have you read The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear? It is a sweet story about a little mouse that doesn’t want to share his beautiful strawberry. Watch the read aloud; it is guaranteed to put a smile on your face!
- Read Aloud – The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJtXNpSa8Gs&t=54s
- Game – Hide the Strawberry from the BIG Hungry Bear! For this activity make a big strawberry out of construction paper. One child pretends to be the BIG hungry bear while the other child pretends to be the mouse who was frantically trying to hide the strawberry. The “mouse” quickly hides the giant strawberry and then the other child pretends to be the bear and hunt around for it. We love hunts! (even when the toddler hides the strawberry in the same spot every time 😊Take turns being the mouse and bear.
- Recipe – Healthy Strawberry Muffins with Cinnamon Honey Butter These healthy strawberry muffins are great for munching while reading “The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear” with your kiddos. The cinnamon butter looks amazing! http://wonderlandrecipes.com/2019/06/06/healthy-strawberry-muffins-cinnamon-honey-butter/
- Sensory Play – Playdough Strawberries Follow the link below for a great recipe for homemade playdough. Add some red food coloring, some rice for the seeds and roll the playdough into strawberry balls. Have your child practice cutting the strawberry in half with a child friendly knife. https://pages.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/parentsasteachers/3yearsthroughkindergarten_foundational2/iphone/parentsasteachers_3yearsthroughkindergarten_foundational2_p0180_hires.jpg?1598415943
This week is all about pets. Listen to a story and sing along to a song. Enjoy a sensory activity and making a pet rock and stick puppets. We’ve also included some fun movement activities including pet-themed yoga and a fine motor game.
- Read Aloud – The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3d2N6pWcw0
- Sing Along – I Have a Pet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWepfJ-8XU0
- Sensory Activity – Wash the Dog: https://www.pre-kpages.com/pet-sensory-activity-wash-dog/
- Art Activities:
- Make your own pet rock: https://livingwellmom.com/pet-rocks/
- Craft stick pet puppets: https://toddlerapproved.com/2015/06/craft-stick-pet-puppets-for-kids.html
- Movement Activities:
- Pet themed Yoga (click here for some additional illustrations): https://www.pinkoatmeal.com/pet-themed-yoga
- Animal gross motor activity: https://lifeovercs.com/animal-gross-motor-activity-for-preschoolers/
- Feed the Cat fine motor activity: This is easy to set up. Use a brown paper lunch bag and cut a hole out of it on one side. Find a cat clipart image or draw a cat. Cut a hole in its mouth for the food to go in. Attach it to the lunch bag (being sure the hole in the cat lines up with the hole in the bag). Give your child a bowl or bucket filled with cereal, pom-poms or other small items and a spoon to feed the kitty. Your child can scoop the “food” from the bowl into the cat’s mouth until the bowl is empty. For added fun, make meowing noises as they feed the kitty.
This week we are learning all about shapes. Listen to the adorable Mouse Shapes read aloud and sing along to a Shapes song. Your child will learn and have fun while creating pretty sun catchers and playing a matching game. Plus, we’ve included a couple of fun art projects and movement activities. Enjoy all the shape fun!
- Read Aloud – Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrNvjDzll9E
- Sing Along – Shapes song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEbRDtCAFdU
- Math Activities
- Giant shape matching game: https://busytoddler.com/2017/01/giant-shape-match-activity/
- Shape sorting sun catcher: https://happytotshelf.com/shapes-sorting-suncatcher/
- Art Activities:
- Movement Activities
- Circle shape hunt: https://teaching2and3yearolds.com/get-moving-with-this-fun-toddler-circle-activity/
- Shape Hop: click here for a fun Shape Hop activity
Halloween is almost here. We’ve got some fun things for you to do at home. Listen to the read aloud Room on the Broom and dance and sing to the song Halloween Stomp. Make some spooky crafts, play fun Halloween games and do a flying tea bag ghost experiment.
- Read Aloud – Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1nsANq6bp8
- Sing (and Dance) Along – Halloween Stomp: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWyz77PLl6I
- Art Activities:
- Ghost Craft: https://www.craftsonsea.co.uk/easy-ghost-craft-for-kids/
- Paper Plate Spiders: https://iheartcraftythings.com/paper-plate-spiders.html
- Sensory Activity – Spooky Noodles sensory activity: https://teachingmama.org/spooky-noodles-sensory-activity/
- Movement activities:
- Pumpkin Bowling (using either rolls of toilet paper or paper towel): https://who-arted.com/2013/10/31/halloween-games-for-kids-pumpkin-bowling/
- Spider Races (Due to COVID, you many not want to have kids race against each other. Instead they can take turns and time each other on how long it takes to get to the finish line.): https://www.stillplayingschool.com/2015/10/spider-races-halloween-games-kids.html
- Science Experiment – Flying Tea Bag Ghosts: https://www.playdoughtoplato.com/kids-science-flying-tea-bag-ghosts/
This past week my family noticed that there were so many ladybugs around. We found them in our car, on our arm and even in our hair! So, we decided to learn more about them. You can read the book “Are you a ladybug?” for lots of interesting facts about them. You can also sing along to the Ladybugs picnic song – which some parents may remember from Sesame Street! Get creative with art activities and enjoy a sensory counting activity and a simple game that can be played either indoors or outdoors.
- Read Aloud – Are you a ladybug? by Judy Allen and Tudor Humprhies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lLkZI1gptg
- Sing Along – Ladybugs picnic song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vX9J7WcYtxI
- Art Activities:
- Paper Plate Ladybug craft: https://happyhooligans.ca/ladybug-craft-for-toddlers/
- Apple Stamp Ladybug craft: https://www.simpleeverydaymom.com/apple-stamp-ladybug-craft-for-kids/
- Sensory Activity – Ladybug playdough counting mats: https://www.funwithmama.com/ladybug-playdoh-math-counting-mats/ To extend this activity you can roll dice and what ever number comes up you can either take away that number of playdough spots from the ladybug or add to them.
- Movement Activity – Lady Bug movement game: Have you ever played the game Bluebird, Bluebird? It’s a super simple and quick game you can play with your kids indoors or outdoors. Here’s a ladybug take on this classic song:
Ladybug, ladybug in and out my window Ladybug, ladybug in and out my window Ladybug, ladybug in and out my window Oh Johnny, I’m so tired!
The modified ladybug version of the game goes like this:
- Everyone stands in a circle holding hands with hands held up high forming arches or “windows”
- One person is then chosen to be the first ladybug
- Everybody sings the tune over and over as the ladybug weaves in and out of the windows (under the arms of those forming the circle). Click here if you want to see a demonstration.
- Take turns being the ladybug
Once you have this version down, you can play the original version – the bluebird/ladybug chooses a partner at the end of the verse. The second child then follows holding the first child’s shoulders while passing through the windows. The game continues and another child is added to the chain after each verse. You can work your way up to adding more children as participants become more familiar with the game.
It’s that time of year again – pumpkin time! Enjoy a story and a song along with art, sensory and motor activities. Plus, there are a couple of fun science experiments. We hope you and your family enjoy the beauty of Fall.
- Read Aloud – It’s Pumpkin Time! by Zoe Hall: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vV_YMKGb0EU
- Sing Along – Five Little Pumpkins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trDl36m9pgA
- Art Activities:
- Lego Stamped Pumpkin: https://www.craftymorning.com/simple-lego-stamped-pumpkin-craft-kids/
- Stained Glass Pumpkin Suncatchers: https://www.craftsonsea.co.uk/stained-glass-pumpkin-suncatcher/
- Motor Activities:
- Science Experiment – Fizzy Pumpkin Patch: https://lemonlimeadventures.com/simple-toddler-science-fizzing-pumpkin-patches/
- Sensory Activities:
- Jack-O-Lantern sensory bin: https://happytoddlerplaytime.com/jack-o-lantern-sensory-bin-for-toddlers/
- Wash the Pumpkins sensory bin: https://busytoddler.com/2019/10/clean-the-pumpkins/
For some additional fun, print these Pumpkins Investigation sheets and have your child complete them.
Let’s go to the kitchen and cook! There are so many benefits of cooking with your child. Some of them are language and fine motor development, enhanced math skills, the introduction of scientific concepts, improved reading skills, life skills and, most importantly, cooking together encourages family bonding. Enjoy a story, song, and numerous activities. In addition, we’re including a few recipes for you to try including Bee-Bim Bop which is a Korean dish. Enjoy!
- Read Aloud – Bee-bim Bop by Linda Sue Park: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Bs4EkXYHTM
- Sing Along – Special Soup by Jack Hartmann: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXqEty5dA1Y
- Art Activity – Make your own paper plate pizza: https://www.shesaved.com/2016/04/paper-plate-pizza-craft-idea.html/
- Sensory Activity – Kitchen tools investigation station: https://www.thekeeperofthememories.com/kitchen-tools-investigation-station-for-little-kids/
- Fine Motor Activity – Aluminum foil and play food: https://playteachrepeat.com/play-food-foil-fine-motor-activity/
- Cooking Activities/Recipes:
- Bee-bim Bop: https://www.somedaysaints.com/favorite-eats-bee-bim-bop-recipe-a-fun-book/
- English Muffin Pizzas: http://twinmomrefreshed.com/english-muffin-pizza-toddler-recipe/
- Potato Pancakes: https://yummyinspirations.net/2013/06/cooking-with-kids-potato-pancakes-and/
- Apple Muffins: https://teaching2and3yearolds.com/how-to-make-easy-apple-muffins-with-toddlers/
- Smoothie Popsicles: https://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2016/05/cooking-kids-smoothie-popsicle.html
When we are outside, we will often spot a squirrel running up a tree, a bird in its nest or a bunny chomping on grass or garden vegetables. Woodland animals are all around us and this week we will learn more about them. Your child will enjoy listening to a story and moving their body to a song. Other things you can do are make a squirrel (or other woodland animal) sensory bin, make your own bird feeder and have fun doing activities that will strengthen your child’s fine and large muscles. Enjoy!
- Read Aloud – Over in the Forest: Come and Take a Peek by Marianne Berkes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkVRu9oflBc
- Sing Along – Grey Squirrel song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1U5i_scF_M
- Sensory Activity – Squirrel sensory bin (if you don’t have a toy squirrel to but in your sensory bin you can use any small woodland animal figures you have): https://sugarspiceandglitter.com/squirrel-sensory-bin/
- Art Activity – Make your own bird feeder: https://www.theresourcefulmama.com/toilet-paper-roll-bird-feeders/
- Fine Motor Activity – Acorn counting: https://viewsfromastepstool.com/acorn-fine-motor-and-counting/
- Gross Motor Activity – Animal Track Jump: https://modernpreschool.com/outdoor-gross-motor-animal-track-game/
Check out the “Be Like a Frog” handout for ideas on how to enhance your child’s social-emotional development. By focusing on breathing and observing, your child will learn to relax and calm down.
We continue with the fall theme; this week is all about LEAVES! In addition to a story and song, we’ve got two fun art activities – leaf painting (using a rolling pin and foam leaves) and leaf puppets (using popsicle sticks and leaves). Plus there are two fine motor activities and a sensory activity using oobleck (goop made with cornstarch and water).
- Read Aloud – We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwjeZtq8lkc
- Sing Along – Autumn Leaves are Falling Down: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyJIfdA71Lc
- Art Activities:
- Fall leaf painting: https://www.fantasticfunandlearning.com/rolling-pin-fall-leaf-painting.html:
- Fall leaf puppets: https://www.messylittlemonster.com/2016/09/leaf-puppets-kids-fall-craft.html
- Fine Motor Activities:
- Fall Tree with pipecleaners: https://thekindergartenconnection.com/fall-tree-fine-motor-activity/
- Leaf cutting tray: https://happytoddlerplaytime.com/leaf-cutting-tray/
- Sensory Activity: https://happytoddlerplaytime.com/oobleck-and-leaves/
Before doing the ‘leaf cutting tray fine motor activity’ you may want to review the Helping Your Child Learn to Cut handout.
Fall is here and one of the best things about fall are APPLES! This week is all about yummy, delicious apples. In addition to a story and song, enjoy the smells with apple pie scented play dough and an apple pie sensory bin. Get creative by building things using apple pieces and toothpicks and making prints using apples and paint. We’ve also included a volcano experiment using an apple, vinegar and baking soda. Get the whole family in on the fun by going apple picking – click here for a list of apple picking orchards in southeast Wisconsin.
- Read Aloud – The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hjs7T3okYls
- Sing Along – Apple Picking Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCTxDZJaUF4
- Sensory Activities:
- Make apple pie play dough: http://wendyshat.com/2014/09/apple-pie-play-dough.html
- Apple pie sensory bin: http://www.stirthewonder.com/apple-pie-sensory-bin/
- Building Activity – Building with small apple pieces and toothpicks: https://www.funathomewithkids.com/2013/09/building-with-apples.html?m=1
- Art Activity – Apple Printing: https://teaching2and3yearolds.com/how-to-put-together-a-toddler-apple-activity-lots-of-action/
- Science Experiment – Apple Volcano: https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/erupting-apple-science-baking-soda-fizzy-activity/
The Rainbow Fish
This popular children’s book is about the importance of sharing with others. Explore the story by listening to the read aloud, sing along with the song, and make your own rainbow fish using paint and tin foil. We’ve also included sensory and science activities.
- Read Aloud – The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFORvXhub28
- Sing Along – The Rainbow Fish song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzgpA86x94U
- Art/Fine Motor Activity – Rainbow Fish foil painting: https://www.iheartartsncrafts.com/fine-motor-rainbow-fish-foil-painting-activity/
- Sensory Activity – Rainbow Fish play dough activity: https://www.learning4kids.net/2015/07/12/the-rainbow-fish-play-dough-activity/
- Science Activity – Fizzy rainbow science activity: https://playtolearnpreschool.us/fizzy-rainbows/
See the Friendships and Peer Interactions parent handout for more information on peer interactions and sharing.
Let's Go to Space!
This week we are travelling into space! Listen to a story about being an astronaut – read by a real astronaut in space. Learn about the different planets and have fun making some colorful planet art. Enjoy space-themed sensory and motor activities. Finally, make and enjoy your own astronaut ice cream!
- Read Aloud – If I were an Astronaut by Eric Braun (read by a real astronaut in Space): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wV8yw7iV8w
- Sing Along – The Planet Song for Kids: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQrlgH97v94
- Art Activities:
- Planet Sun Catchers (Use the sing along song above for reference to what each planet looks like): https://fun-a-day.com/space-craft-for-kids-coffee-filter-planets/
- Marbled Planets Art: https://iheartcraftythings.com/preschool-space-craft-marbled-planets.html
- Sensory Activities:
- Make your own moon sand: https://theimaginationtree.com/home-made-moon-sand-recipe/
- Make your own Lunar Landscape sensory small world: https://theimaginationtree.com/lunar-landscape-sensory-small-world-play/
- Motor Activity – Moon Crater Jump: https://www.mamaoflittles.com/moon-crater-jump-gross-motor-space-activity/
- Snack Time – Make your own Astronaut Ice Cream: https://teachbesideme.com/space-food-how-to-make-astronaut-ice-cream/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes&utm_term=1058613492_49907304_27457
Check out the Process versus Product parent handout for information on helping your child become a creative problem solver.
We have a few weeks of summer left and one thing we love about summertime is camping! If camping is something you were unable to fit into your schedule this summer, bring it to your house! Make a tent in your living room with sheets and blankets, make an imaginary fire using different types of blocks and then tell stories in the dark using a flashlight. Below are some fun ideas including marshmallow art, camp fire handprints, camping sensory play and a camping themed snack! We’ve also included a fire science experiment that you can do with your child. Not only will your child learn through experimenting, but this is also a great opportunity to talk about fire safety. For more on that, see the Planning for an Emergency parent handout. Have fun camping!
- Read Aloud – Pete the Cat Goes Camping: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9c8bKE7K44
- Sing Along – Camping song for kids: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4JDQO7DjzE
- Art Activities
- Painting with marshmallows: https://fun-a-day.com/painting-with-marshmallows/
- Camp fire handprints: https://viewsfromastepstool.com/campfire-handprint-art/
- Game – Building firewood sculptures and making a guessing game out of it: https://confidencemeetsparenting.com/fun-camping-firewood-game-a-special-guest/
- Sensory Activity – Small World Camping: https://www.fantasticfunandlearning.com/camping-small-world.html
- Camping themed snack – Smores on a Stick: https://fun-a-day.com/preschool-camping-theme-snack-smores-on-a-stick/
- Science Activity – together with your child explore with fire science: https://viewsfromastepstool.com/fire-science-for-kids/
Let's Go to the Zoo!
We are taking a virtual trip to the zoo! Your child can listen to a story, sing a song, enjoy the sensory bin and have fun playing a game. If they are in the mood to make a craft, check out the two cute crafts below – a paper plate lion and handprint giraffe. There is also a link for some zoo animal yoga if they want to move their body. Have a fun week at the zoo!
- Read Aloud – Put Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyshEclzRxk
- Sing Along – We’re Going to the Zoo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FSqxFQlSGk
- Sensory Bin – Zoo animal bath: https://elemenopkids.com/zoo-animal-bath-sensory-play/
- Motor Activity – Zoo Yoga: https://www.pinkoatmeal.com/zoo-yoga/
- Game – Zoo animal memory game: Develop your child’s memory with this simple game. Collect 3 or more different animal toys/figures and line them up. Have your child remember them and then close their eyes. When they are not looking, take a toy away and hide it. After they open their eyes, see if they can remember which toy is missing.
- Paper Plate Lion: Paper plates always make for cute and easy crafts. For this lion, have your child first make snips all the way around the paper plate to add a little 3D effect for the mane. Then have them paint the center of the plate yellow and the outer part of the plate orange. After the plate is completely dry, give them pre-cut pieces of construction paper (or have them cut the pieces) to create the lion’s face; glue in place.
- Handprint Giraffe: Have your child make a handprint using yellow paint. Using a paint brush, have them add a long neck and head. After that, use a q-tip and/or their fingers to make the giraffe’s spots.
All About Feelings
Children experience complex feelings just like adults. They get frustrated, excited, nervous, sad, jealous, frightened, worried, angry and embarrassed. However young kids usually do not have the vocabulary to talk about how they are feeling. Instead they communicate their feelings in other ways. This week we have activities, along with a story and song, to explore different ways to help your child learn to express their feelings with words.
- Read along – The Way I Feel by Janan Cain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSdSWlfCpJ8
- Sing along – Sesame Street Feelings Songs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Po5lHYJJQfw
- Motor Activity – The Feelings Walk: Emotions Activity for Kids: https://www.andnextcomesl.com/2019/10/feelings-walk-emotions-activity.html
- Sensory Play – Exploring Emotions through Homemade Slime: https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/inside-out-exploring-emotions-activity-with-sensory-play/
- Art Activity – Making Emotion Stones: https://whereimaginationgrows.com/emotions-story-stones-for-kids/
In addition, see the Using Books to Explore Your Child’s Emotions handout to learn how you can use books to help your child understand, recognize and cope with his/her feelings.
We’re continuing with the summer theme and bringing the beach to you! Listen to a story, sing a song, make sand slime, and have fun with beach-themed sensory bins. Kids will also enjoy using a beach ball to make art and play a game.
- Read along – To The Beach by Linda Ashman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VT6pOLAGhEE
- Sing along – The Beach Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zptXMcZcf18
- Art Activity – Beach Ball Art: http://www.paper-and-glue.com/2017/07/beach-ball-painting-summer-process-art.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes
- Science Activity – Make your own Sand Slime: https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/homemade-sand-slime-recipe/
- Gross Motor Activity – Beach Ball game: https://www.pre-kpages.com/beach-ball-gross-motor-game/
- Sensory Play – Beach Sensory Bins:
It is hot outside and what better way to cool down than with WATER PLAY? This week have fun listening to the story Froggy Learns to Swim and singing along to the Water Song. There are links to different water table ideas and painting with water, an easy and fun art activity. Enjoy!
- Read aloud – Froggy Learns to Swim: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIl_Yq423-Y
- Sing along – The Water Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwpHMPH-WbM
- Art Activity – Painting with water. This can be done either inside with paper or outside on the sidewalk, a fence or another wood surface: https://happyhooligans.ca/painting-water-activity-for-kids/
- Motor Activity – Make your own Water Wall: https://happyhooligans.ca/water-wall/
- Sensory Play:
- Water transfer activity with sponges: https://www.livewellplaytogether.com/water-transfer-stem-water-play/
- Bubble foam activity table: https://busytoddler.com/2020/05/bubble-foam-water-table/
- Frozen animal rescue water table Idea: https://mamapapabubba.com/2014/01/08/frozen-ocean-animal-rescue-salt-water-ice-play/
- 30 Summer Sensory bin ideas: https://taminglittlemonsters.com/30-water-sensory-bins-for-summer/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes&utm_term=1041363128_48441232_493564
Sensory play can boost your child’s fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, curiosity, creativity, confidence and more. See That’s Using Your Senses handout for even more ideas for sensory play.
Let’s jump, stomp and roar like a dinosaur this week! Listen to a fun story, move like a dinosaur and make dinosaur tracks and fossils.
- Read along – Bumpus Jumpus Dinosaurumpus by Tony Mitton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_gk8KE8D8w
- Sing along – Dinosaur Stomp: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw8fapoBDK4
- Science Activity – Making Dinosaur Fossils with kids: https://thesimpleparent.com/diy-kids-crafts-diy-dinosaur-fossils/
- Art Activity – Making Dinosaur tracks: https://www.sunshineandchaos.com/2019/02/25/dinosaur-tracks-painting-activity/
- Movement Activity –Dinosaur movement game: https://www.theottoolbox.com/dinosaur-gross-motor-movement-game-kids/
- Sensory Activity – Make salt–dough fossils and create a dinosaur excavation sensory bin: https://www.simpleeverydaymom.com/easy-salt-dough-fossils/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes&utm_term=398032304_13203056_23404
Learn how playing with your child helps them develop their language and social skills on this Let’s Play Games handout.
Chicka Chicka 1,2,3
If you enjoy the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, then you’ll love the follow-up, Chicka Chicka 1, 2, 3. It’s a fun number recognition and counting book. This week is all about numbers – read a story, sing a song and enjoy several activities that will not only teach your child about numbers, but also help him/her develop their fine and gross motor skills.
- Read Aloud – Chicka Chicka 1,2,3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hen5TlP87m0
- Sing Along – Chicka Chicka, 1,2,3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_yIM0gbiJs&list=PLeiLCNQGn6XMSxb8quQN_cvGONKMWlhSa
- Motor Activity – Squirt the Number: Fine and gross motor practice are all rolled into one with this activity. Write a bunch of numbers all over the ground with sidewalk chalk and then tell your child which number to find and squirt it with a spray bottle/water squirter.
- Art Activity – Secret Number Painting – Have you ever used a white crayon on Easter eggs to create designs before dying them? In this activity you write numbers all over a piece of paper with a white crayon and then let your child paint the page with watercolors. They will love uncovering each number: http://www.adashoflearning.com/2018/08/secret-message-painting-multi-use.html
- Sensory Activity – Number and counting activity with playdough: https://alittlepinchofperfect.com/numbers-and-counting-activity-for-kids/
For more info on teaching your child about numbers and counting, see the Beginning to Count parent handout.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM! It is summertime and who doesn’t love ice cream? This week’s theme is all about ice cream. Listen to a story about it, have fun doing ice cream themed activities, play ice cream shop and then make your own ice cream to enjoy!
- Sing Along – Ice Cream Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaMhY8uvUWE
- Read aloud – Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_znhL29unec
- Game – Play “Pass the Ice Cream” game which was inspired by the above book: https://www.sunnydayfamily.com/2016/09/sharing-activity-for-preschoolers.html
- Art Project – Puffy Paint Ice Cream Cone Project: https://www.craftymorning.com/puffy-paint-ice-cream-cones-craft-kids/
- Imaginative Play – Play Ice Cream Shop! Use items around your house such as small bowls or cardboard tubes for cones. For the ice cream, use colored tissue paper and crumple it up or different colored pom poms: https://www.littlelifelonglearners.com/2018/10/ice-cream-shop-dramatic-play.html/
- Sensory Play – Ice Cream Sensory Bin: https://www.fantasticfunandlearning.com/ice-cream-sensory-bin.html
- Science Experiment – Make your own ice cream in a bag: https://www.pre-kpages.com/science-for-kids-ice-cream-in-a-bag/
Click here to see the Parent Handout for info on how pretend play helps your child’s language, cognitive, social and motor development.
This week we are exploring different types of insects. Enjoy a read aloud story and a sing along song. Make no-cook playdough (recipe included) and turn them into bugs. Have fun creating different bug paintings, building a bug house, and going on a bug hunt. Then enjoy a “ladybug” snack made with apples and peanut butter (or cream cheese).
- Read Aloud – I Love Bugs! by Philemon Sturges: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGxI6v-kIOY
- Sing Along – Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkefHONq-6I
- Sensory Play – Making bugs out of playdough: https://frugalfun4boys.com/playdough-bugs/
- Art Activities:
- Bug painting: http://www.paper-and-glue.com/2015/05/creepy-crawly-bug-painting-kids-craft.html
- Fly swatter painting:https://playteachrepeat.com/fly-swatter-painting/
- Let’s Go on a Bug Hunt: https://www.messylittlemonster.com/2018/03/bug-scavenger-hunt.html
- Build Your own Bug House: https://www.playlearneveryday.com/2015/04/making-bug-houses.html?m=1
- Make your own Ladybug apple snacks: https://funfamilycrafts.com/ladybug-apple-snacks/
In addition to the recipe for the no-cook playdough, the parent handout provides insight on how playing with playdough helps your child’s development.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
This week we will explore learning letters through the popular book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom! There are links to the story and some fun activities including an art project, a scavenger hunt, a board game and more. After all your letter learning fun, make a yummy Chicka Chicka Boom Boom snack!
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom read aloud by Ray Charles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DG9cSehiXeI
- Art Activity – Make a tree out of a paper towel tube and paper: https://tabithaw.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/chicka-chicka-boom-boom/
- Letter Scavenger Hunt – Hide letters in out in your yard or around the house: http://lovenloot.blogspot.com/2013/05/chicka-chicka-boom-boom-scavenger-hunt.html?m=1
- Make your own Chicka Chicka Boom Boom board game: http://www.themanylittlejoys.com/chicka-chicka-boom-boom-alphabet-game/
- Sensory Bin – If you don’t have sand you can use water, rice or dried beans: https://www.naturalbeachliving.com/chicka-chicka-boom-boom-alphabet-play/
- Snack Time – Make your own Chicka Chicka Boom Boom snack: https://www.pre-kpages.com/chicka-chicka-boom-boom-inspired-snacks/
Let's Go to the Ocean
This week we are going to the Ocean! There is a fun story and a sing-along song as well as links to an art activity, a sensory activity and an experiment. Plus, you can take a virtual trip to the Aquarium!
- Read Aloud: Over in the Ocean-In a Coral Reef: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Tbtd3mdRHs&t=37s
- A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea sing-along song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1Qn2bcZRTo&list=PLBXTTZSIyz7i-H9G7Y5i0ZcrG6xOgkEVo
- Art activity – Ocean Foil Painting: http://www.paper-and-glue.com/2017/08/ocean-foil-painting-preschool-process-art.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes
- Sensory activity – Ocean Soap Foam: https://viewsfromastepstool.com/ocean-soap-foam-sensory-play/
- Ocean Science – Salt water Experiment: https://www.sciencekiddo.com/salt-water-experiment-ocean-science/
- Virtual Field Trip to the Aquarium: https://thehaphazardtraveler.com/virtual-tours-aquarium-live-feeds/
Moving our Bodies!
This week we are going to move our bodies in many ways – both indoors and outdoors! Start off by listening to Eric Carle’s story From Head to Toe. Then move your body to the song “I Can Move My Body Like Anything” by Jack Hartmann. After that, enjoy some fun indoor and outdoor activities and games that involve moving your body. We’ve also included a few Parent Handouts with information on gross motor development in toddlers and preschool age children.
- From Head to Toe story by Eric Carle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liMuGN-NJ6o
- Movement song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLaJ4jyKBUY
- Gross motor activities with tape: https://handsonaswegrow.com/5-different-activities-for-6-lines-of-tape/
- Outdoor circle hop game: https://www.toddleratplay.com/?s=circle+hop
- Outdoor parachute games: https://www.mymundaneandmiraculouslife.com/parachute-games-kids/
- More fun movement activities: https://planningplaytime.com/toddler-activities
See the following Parent Handouts for more info: Building Bodies: Large Muscles, Strength and Endurance, Encouraging Gross Motor Mastery and Your Child’s Motor Development.
This week’s session is all about mixing up colors! What happens when two colors mix with each other? Do they make another color? Use the links below to enjoy a story, a song and a variety of activities to experiment with color mixing using different materials.
- Paint Bags: https://besttoys4toddlers.com/shaving-cream-color-mixing-sensory-bag/
- Magical Changing Milk: https://handsonaswegrow.com/color-changing-milk-mixing-colors/
- Rice and Ice sensory activity: https://www.learning4kids.net/2015/07/19/rice-and-ice-sensory-activity/
Growing a Garden
This week’s lesson is about growing a garden. Everything is so beautiful outside right now. The leaves are popping out on the trees, the flowers are blooming, and we are starting to plant vegetables in the garden. It finally feels like spring! We hope you enjoy the activity. Growing grass in a clear plastic cup is an easy experiment. You and your child will be able to see the roots spread through the soil, watch the grass sprout and practice scissors skills by giving your grass person a haircut!
Check out this handout to learn more about how working with scissors helps your child’s development.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Very Hungry Caterpillar has been a much loved book for generations. Listen to author Eric Carle read the story and sing a long to a caterpillar song. Plus we’ve included some fun ideas to go along with the theme:
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar book read by Eric Carle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkYmvxP0AJI
- Sing along of Hungry Caterpillar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-gNaNOWdg8
- Egg carton caterpillar craft: https://intheplayroom.co.uk/2015/08/26/the-very-hungry-caterpillar-egg-carton-craft/
- Hungry caterpillar fine motor activity for toddlers: https://karacarrero.com/the-very-hungry-caterpillar-activities-for-toddlers/#_a5y_p=4408168
- Hungry caterpillar counting activity: https://alittlepinchofperfect.com/counting-caterpillars-kids-activity-inspired-by-the-hungry-caterpillar/
How Big Is It? Measuring and Recording
Kids love to know how big they are. Start there. Measure how big your child is (and the rest of the family). Mark it on the inside of a closet door using painter’s tape and write the date. This will help you keep track for the next time you measure. Now tell them you’re going to measure other things. Get creative, measure anything! One way to help keep track is to make a simple chart. Write down the object to be measured, a prediction of how many they think it will be (depending on what unit of measurement you are using) and then the actual size. Use a variety of things to measure, a ruler, tape measure (kids love these!), Duplo or Lego blocks, a piece of string or yarn, your hands and/or your child’s hands. Here are some good books about measuring and size:
The weather is finally getting warmer! It’s time to play outside! This activity includes 2 stories about bubbles, a song about bubbles, a short video that teaches you how to make your own bubbles using ingredients you have at home and ideas for experimenting with bubbles. Enjoy!
- The Bubble Factory by Tomie dePaola: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1JSbey2P10
- Bubbles! A read aloud book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sqov9LgVDFo
- Pop The Bubbles | Kids Songs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CI29h-AXDM
- DIY bubbles made from dishwashing liquid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCgXneB7zY8
Check out these Parents as Teachers activity pages for ideas about how to use the bubbles you mix with your child! Then go out and experiment: What kind of air do you need to make a really big bubble or lots of small ones? Do different wands make different bubbles? How many bubbles can you pop?
Going on a Bear Hunt
The weather is getting warmer and what better way to enjoy the sun then to go out and play in nature! This week our theme is Going on a Bear Hunt. Courtney, one of the Parent Educators, acts out The Bear Hunt story in her own backyard. Come and join her in the fun! There are lots of other activities too. Listen to a fun Bear Hunt song and go on an outdoor Sound Hunt (where you and your child can enjoy nature while listening for different sounds). Also check out the Scavenger Hunt, cardboard tube craft idea and themed sensory bin idea!
- Going on a Bear Hunt Story told by Courtney: https://youtu.be/281x9LdKLxA
- Going on a Bear Hunt Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_ShP3fiEhU
- Going on a Sound Hunt Activity: https://www.sunhatsandwellieboots.com/2011/12/were-going-on-sound-hunt.html
- Scavenger Hunt: Click here for list of items to hunt for on your Scavenger Hunt
- Cardboard tube Bear Craft: https://creativefamilyfun.net/cardboard-tube-bear/
- Going on a Bear Hunt Sensory Bin idea: https://childhood101.com/were-going-on-a-bear-hunt-small-world-play/?fbclid=IwAR33LzGDjpxPXF9yho_cGwEedtz_jJOh4SEKG4n-e9ySRDgzEV2Qe8pdBHU
- Link to 5 Little Ducks Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZw9veQ76fo
- Link to 5 Little Ducks Gross Motor Activity: https://lifeovercs.com/five-little-ducks-on-the-pond-gross-motor-activity/
- Art activity – Make hand-print ducks with finger paint (see photos above)
Finger Paint Recipe
- 1 cup cold water
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- Food coloring
Combine sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Add water and mix well. Bring to a boil over medium high heat being sure to stir constantly to prevent sticking to the pan or burning. As soon as it begins to bubble and thicken (this took about 5 minutes on my stove, it will start to look clearer) – remove from heat. Let it cool about 5 minutes. Pour mixture into 3 small bowls or jars if you have them (small mason jars, baby food containers with lids or small plastic containers work well.) Add 4 or 5 drops of food coloring and mix well. Cover and let cool completely before use. It will be the consistency of pudding. Works best if used on heavy paper like cardstock or construction paper. Bonus: this is edible so kids of all ages can enjoy! For more information on how you can use finger painting and creative projects as learning tools, check out these handouts: Finger Painting and Process vs. Product
Our first “Mini Let’s Play to Learn is inspired by a story a PAT family shared. They discovered the book Sun Bread at the library and thought it was perfect for the times we are experiencing now, especially this week! We hope you enjoy it! Below are links to a read aloud story, a sing-along (be sure to click the CC symbol for closed captions so the words display) and a recipe for Sun Bread.
- Sun Bread Read Aloud – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UkuJdIsRCc
- Mr. Sun Sing Along – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlzvrEfyL2Y&list=RD89wFzRsg1EY&index=2
- Sun Bread Recipe – https://www.storyofakitchen.com/bread-recipes/sun-bread/ (Or if you would rather, click here for a recipe for making play dough and make pretend bread).