Toddler Activity: Mining for Shapes

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I’m always trying to come up with new things to do with Lucas during the day.  I browse Pinterest a lot and try and take what I find there and make it fit us.

I saw a super cute mining activity and thought it would be fun to try.  The site I found used gems with magnets and a magnetic pole to do the mining.  I didn’t have anything like that in my house, so we went “old-school”

Here is what you’ll need:

A small container

Dried black beans, I think I had 2lbs worth

Foam board (the kind you get at the craft store – I got a pack of 32 small squares for $0.98 at Walmart)

Tin foil

Things to mine with (we used kitchen tongs and some measuring cups)

If you’re feeling super adventurous and want to make a miners light you’ll need:

Construction paper

Tape

Part of a paper towel roll

Yellow crepe paper or tissue paper

I cut shapes out of the foam to make the gems we’d be mining for (we had green emeralds, “red” rubys, circle amethysts and diamonds).  I used the foil to make wrap around the diamond shape to make it shine.

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A small container and some beans and we’ve got ourselves a coal mine!

Toddler Mining Activity

To make the hat I just used the construction paper to fit L’s head.  Then cut of a piece of the paper towel roll and added in the yellow “light.”  I wasn’t too sure L would wear his miner’s hat but he did and thought he was hot stuff in it!

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I just kind of let him go to town trying to find all of the gems.  We ended up with a LOT of black beans on the floor but had a ton of fun in the process.

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It was awesome to hear him identifying each shape and color (he’s super into diamonds right now so I knew he’d love that one).

This activity kept him occupied for a good 30 minutes.  I still have it put together and plan on bringing it out again when I need a few minutes to get some things accomplished!

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What are you favorite activities to do with your little ones?  I’d love it if you’d share them below!

Letter of the Week: “C” and “D”

Letter of the Week C and D

I’m back with some more Letter of the Week fun!  This time I’ll be sharing what we did for “C” and “D.”

As I mentioned before, I try and do a few things with each letter:

  • A Letter Craft – you know, making that letter into something
  • A Sensory or Fine Motor Skill
  • A “Math” activity – more like counting, sorting, measuring, etc.
  • A Cooking Activity – L loves helping in the kitchen and we keep it really simple
  • A Coloring Page or Another Craft if I can come up with something.

Again, don’t put a ton of pressure on yourself – especially with a 2 year old!  I don’t do those things every week (as you’ll see) and sometimes we really fall behind.

LETTER OF THE WEEK – “C”

I always start with a letter craft.  This week we made a “C” Caterpillar.  We used lots of glitter (Lucas was very into glitter that week) and poms and pipe cleaners.  It is certainly the work of a 2 year old – and I LOVE it!

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For our cooking activity we made Cookies – not even CLOSE to being original but Lucas likes stirring things and they’re pretty easy to make.  We did chocolate chip cookies actually for lots of “C” goodness.

We also had a Car Wash!  It was super easy to set up and really entertained Lucas – like for a LONG time (which is awesome for a toddler mom).  We got a little wet, but hey, it’s just water!

We took some of our matchbox cars and a few bowls of water and a brush.  It was easy as that.  Easy activities that provide a decent amount of entertainment time are winners in my book for sure.

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Coloring pages found at education.com are easy and we love to color!

Finally we did some counting activities.  We sat down and counted everything we saw…his cars, his books, his stuffed animals.

All very easy activities but it gave us a bit of structure to our day and made learning fun!

LETTER OF THE WEEK – “D”

“D” was a fun week for us!

We made a Dinosaur out of the letter D.  Some green construction paper, paint, eyes and glue and we were good to go!

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We did a Dino Dig for our sensory activity.  I had set up the exact same thing for part of his second birthday celebration so I just recreated it (the sand was still in the pool at that point)!  He loved digging for the dinosaurs.

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D was for Dance Party this week too.  Okay, this was not a math activity at all BUT Lucas loves to dance.  And there is just something about the joy on his face when we turn on music and all go to town dancing.  Let’s just hope that Lucas got my dance skills and NOT Darrin’s…

For our food we made Dirt – yes that Dirt that we all grew up with at birthday parties at school. Smashing Oreos, mixing pudding, spooning everything together was really, really fun for us.  I used the recipe found here as my guide (although we didn’t use gummy worms)!

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Are you doing any preschool activities at home with your little ones?  I’d love to hear what you’re doing – I’m always looking for fun new activities for us so make sure to share!

Fall Hand Print Tree Craft for Toddlers

Hand Print Tree Craft

I am a huge fan of hand (and foot) print art projects for kids.  They are fun for the kid and I love looking back at how L’s hands and feet have grown over the years.

I also think they make cute, personalized gifts and cards!

We are doing a Letter of the Week “program” (and yes, I use that word very, VERY loosely!) and when we got to “H” I thought a hand print tree would be a fun activity, plus we fit it in for fall and made it one of the fall projects we display in our frame!

This was super, easy to do.

You’ll need:

  • White paper
  • Construction paper (I didn’t have brown for the trunk so I used black)
  • Paint (I used red, green, orange and yellow because that’s what I had in fall colors)
  • A paint brush
  • Paper plate
  • Wipes (lots and LOTS of wipes)

First, make a tree trunk using the construction paper.  Mine does NOT look that great at all, but hey, it’s a toddler art project.  Glue it onto your white paper.

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Next I got L all ready to get his hands messy!  Because I had six branches on my trunk and four colors I decided to do two of two colors and one of the remaining two.  I let L decided which colors we’d use more of!  I also used both hands just because (but using one would probably make it easier).

Just apply the paint to their hand using a brush and press downward.  We’ve done a lot of these types of projects so we’ve got a pretty good system at this point, but the first few times doing this with a toddler can be tricky (especially if your toddler is anything like mine!).

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I just let it dry and that was that!  We have an adorable fall tree hanging in one of L’s artwork frames in our kitchen.

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Do you do Hand Print Art?  What are some of your favorites?  I’d love to see photos!

 

Preschool Letter of the Week “A” and “B”

Letter of the Week A and B


So I’ve had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that my tiny, tiny little baby is growing up and is a full-blown toddler!

Because I wanted to really savor and enjoy my last few months of it being just Lucas and Mommy before little brother (still to be named) arrives, we decided not to enroll Lucas in preschool this fall.  But, I still wanted to make sure we had some “structured” learning (yeah right with a 2.5 year old!) and socialization.  I’ve signed us up for a few classes we are really enjoying and I decided to add a bit more structure to the Letter of the Week activities I started earlier this year (that took a brief hiatus during that nasty first trimester).

I try and do a few things with each letter:

  • A Letter Craft – you know, making that letter into something
  • A Sensory or Fine Motor Skill
  • A “Math” activity – more like counting, sorting, measuring, etc.
  • A Cooking Activity – L loves helping in the kitchen and we keep it really simple
  • A Coloring Page or Another Craft if I can come up with something.

I want to share what we’ve been doing with all of my mommy (or mommy-to-be) readers because we really are having a blast.  I also wanted to say that we don’t put a lot of pressure on ourselves with this (sometime I don’t follow the above list because I can’t come up with things that fit – I try to make it fun for both of us and not something I worry about too much).  I get that my kid isn’t even 3 yet!  This really helps me plan things for us to do during the day (so I don’t go crazy or rely on the TV too much).  Instead of creating a new post for each letter, I’m going to do 2 at a time (I think we’re far enough along at this point).  We started with the letters in L’s name but I’m going to just go alphabetically (so your kids aren’t learning how to spell Lucas right off the bat!).

LETTER OF THE WEEK – “A”

We had a lot of fun with the letter “A!”

We made an “A” Alligator.  I just cut up bits of construction paper and Lucas glued them on (this was one of our first letters, so I was stilling trying to be “perfect” at this point instead of letting him just have at it).

A is for Alligator

A is for Alligator

We also did Apple Paining (but I forgot to take pictures – oops!).  This was really easy – I just cut a few apples in half and let him dip them in paint and then onto paper.  This kept him entertained for quite a while.  I worked counting in my counting the apple seeds!

We did some coloring pages as well – I like Education.com for free printables!

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We also made Applesauce with Daddy!  This one was a ton of fun!  I did most of the work but Lucas LOVED mashing everything up!  And it was really easy – I just added about 3/4c of water to 4 peeled and diced apples, 1/4 cup of sugar and a dash of cinnamon  and cooked on the stove until soft.

Once that was cooked Lucas went to town with the potato masher! It was a tad chunky but we loved it – and Lucas loved that he helped make it.

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LETTER OF THE WEEK – “B”

**I’m going to preface this by saying Lucas is REALLY into butterflies but there are LOTS of other “B” things out there!

We made a Bumble Bee out of the letter B.  I used yellow construction paper for the B and cut out wings from black.  I used a pipe cleaner for us make the antenna.  I gave L a black marker to add the stripes but you can see that wasn’t exactly what he wanted to do.  By this point I had stopped trying to be the “perfect Pinterest mom” and just went with it!

B is for Bumble Bee

B is for Bumble Bee

We also did some Pom Painting on a Butterfly.  I found the butterfly at Walmart in the craft section for like $0.49.  A few clothespins, poms, an egg carton and paint and we were in business.

B is for Butterfly

B is for Butterfly

Our counting activity was counting butterflies (see the pattern).  My mom found some plastic butterflies on Amazon a while ago and we would line them up and count them.  It was super simple but I can tell he’s really stating to “get” the point of counting (and can actually count things pretty high – not just say his numbers).

For our food we made Banana (or Blueberry for Daddy) milkshakes!  Lucas loves helping with the blender and he LOVED his milkshake!  We drank them while we watched a Bubble Guppies episode as a family!

B is for Banana Milkshake

B is for Banana Milkshake

B is for Banana Milkshake

Like I said, I’m keeping it pretty simple and trying to incorporate it into our daily routine.  I am starting to see it paying off for sure.  Just the other day Lucas told me “D” is for Dinosaur and “E” is for Elephant and I was really impressed.

Are you doing any preschool activities at home with your little ones?  I’d love to hear what you’re doing – I’m always looking for fun new activities for us so make sure to share!