Picture Collage

This is a cute idea from my son’s school.  They recently made picture collages.  The children painted a canvas in whatever color they chose.  They also chose various items and pictures for the collage.  Then the teacher covered it in Modge Podge (I believe).  Cute huh?

Toddler Picture Collage

Also they put a printed listing on the back of the canvas to show everything he included in his collage.

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Toddler Square Toss/Sort Game

When the kids are bored, sometimes I randomly make up silly games to entertain them because the brain strain to make up a silly game is less than what it takes to deal with whiny kids.  :)  So as a result, I am sharing an easy, fun and successful activity which you can try with your children.  All it requires is some painter’s tape and random colored/shaped objects.

Toddler Square Toss

Use painter’s tape to make a tic-tac-toe box on the floor.  Then give instructions to the kids that the boxes are numbered 1-9 from left to right, top to bottom (use very simple terms to explain the numbered boxes of course).  Then use colored shaped objects as the “tossers”.  We chose pretend food shapes from a play kitchen.  When the game starts, instruct them one-at-a-time to:

Choose a green one and toss in square 1…or

Choose a red one and toss in square 5…etc.

My son is almost 5 and he loved the challenge and the math involved and trying to toss it into the right square so that it stayed without bouncing out.  My daughter is 2.5 years and we gave her more simple instructions like:

Choose a red one and place it next to the bacon…

Choose a green one and place it next to the croissant…

She really loved finding the right food items and colors.  The numbered squares were a bit tricky for her, but just naming objects and placing colors was great.  That’s actually her running out of the picture after placing her item successfully.

Give it a try on some rainy day when you are stuck inside with the kids!

Valentines Box

This is a cute and easy way to make a re-usable Valentines box for parties or school to hold the kid’s Valentine cards.

Valentines Box

First, start by getting a box and picking out whatever pretty colored paper you want.  In this case, my son wanted a heart shaped box (but even a shoe box will do).  He also picked out the papers which included a funny monkey paper.  You will also need glue and scissors of course.

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I started by putting the glue on and smoothing it out with my finger so the paper would not get wet ripples on it.  I did the sides of the box first by putting on the paper and cutting it close to the edges with scissors or an Exacto knife.

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Then I did the heart cut outs and put them on the bottom of the box.

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I decorated the top in the same way.

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I added his name.

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And lastly, I cut the whole in the top by using a rectangular shape for the hole and a box cutter.

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If you have older kids they can do all of this work themselves.  My son is only four so I did the major work, but I let him add stickers to the top and sides that matched the colors.

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Below is a file which makes 1 page of heart shapes which can be printed on any specialty paper to make the heart cutouts.

This below document is for the rectangle shape for the box top.  The shape is editable so you can adjust it to make the right size for your box.

 

Kids Craft Bags

This year I went back to work after being a SAHM for four years.  As a result, I hired a nanny to watch the kids after school.  My kids love doing crafts so I came up with the idea to put together ready-made craft bags which include all the materials.  In this case, the nanny, or whoever wants to do the crafts with the kids, just has to open the bag and lay out the materials and they are good to go! You can also prepare for a playdate by prearranging these bags for each of the kids before the playdate.

Here are some examples of crafts which I prearranged:

Foam Story Board
I bought one piece of foam paper and a package of foam sticky shapes. Draw a picture or scene on the board and let the child use the stickers to tell a story.

Make Bracelets and Beaded Shapes
I bought a package of pipe cleaners and a bag of beads and placed a few together in the craft bag with instructions. The kids can make bracelets and shapes.

Printable Pages
I printed free printable pages from the internet. I paired them with a set of paints from a different craft which had already been used. You can also use markers or crayons of course.

Pom Pom Caterpillar
This idea came from my son’s school. Put some small and large pom poms in the kit along with glue and a pre-cut page in the shape of a leaf.

Feather Bird
This idea also came from my son’s school. Put a handful of colorful feathers in a bag with glue and a page cut in the shape of a bird.

Letter Jumble
I put a foam sheet along with a handful of foam letter stickers for a word jumble activity.

Sticker Dinosaur
For the next few examples, I wonder the isles of the craft store and select some cheap craft packs. This is one is a sticker pack to create a dinosaur.

Cars Craft
A prepacked craft to color Lightening McQueen car.

Mini Picture Frame
This is a prepacked craft to decorate a mini picture frame with a magnate for the refrigerator.

Sensory Playdates

This is a very simple idea for multiple playdates to teach young kids about their senses.  You can do a separate playdate for each of the senses.  Use items from around the house as the props and as the kids sit in a circle pass around the items and talk to them about the items and what senses they feel.  I’ll use smell as the example:

That’s Smelly! Playdate

Choose several items to pass around to the kids and try to have them describe how the item smells.  Try not to use any loose powder items like spices or scented makeup because they can accidentally inhale them.  Also steer clear of any chemicals.  Some examples are:

Bar of Soap

Flowers

Citrus (scratch the skin for more smell)

Scented Candles

Scented Stickers

Other playdates can focus on sight (light and dark, colors, near and far) or touch (soft, hard, rough, smooth, slick, warm, cold etc.) or sound (loud, quiet, music, talking, car sounds, animal sounds, echoes, etc.) or taste (salty, sweet, sour, bitter, spicy, warm, cold).