All the Piggie & Gerald books get a good laugh out of our family but this is one of our favorites. Gerald gets an ice cream cone and must decide if he is going to share it with Piggie. He wavers back and forth until the entire cone melts and he is so sad. Lucky for him Piggie comes along with an ice cream cone of her own and offers to share it with him to cheer him up. It’s a hilarious story that we read over and over.
This book also lent itself to an easy craft activity for both my 2 yr old and 5 yr old. I’m not a very good free hand drawer but I managed to cut out some ice cream cone like shapes. We have a bunch of left over pom poms from Target dollar spot clearance sales and some other random trinkets I keep handy for projects like this.
It was also a great way to sneak in some writing practice for my 5 yr old who dislikes writing with a passion. She wrote the title of the book on her cone and signed it as a gift for her old preschool teacher.
As you can see my 2 yr old has yet to learn restraint using glue but he still had a great time.
Once both kids were done we let them dry and then they took them to school to give to their of their preschool teachers. So yes, they chose to share their ice cream.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a much beloved book in our household (as you can tell by how well chewed up it is!). It has been a favorite of both my 5 year old daughter and 2 year old son. It’s a great book for practicing counting as the caterpillar eats his way through various numbers of foods, the bright colors are eye catching for the little ones and the little holes in each page are just fun for the kids to stick their fingers through. It’s a book that we have read over and over and over.
Since my daughter constantly begs for crafts and experiments to do and I just happen to have a handy, empty egg carton we decided to make our own caterpillars. I just split it down the center so each of my kids could make one. I poked two holes in one end to stick a pipe cleaner through for the antennae and glued some googly eyes on. Then I just let the kids at it with paint.
You can probably see that I use whatever is available to put the paint out and I find for crafts like this the top of the egg carton makes a handy paint tray that I don’t have to worry about washing out when we’re done. I did have to break out a tray as my 2 year old insisted on mixing all the colors together and my 5 year old wanted them separate.
The kids were so proud of their caterpillars when they were done.
I know I’m late posting this but I misplaced my camera and finally found it while cleaning up today. My 5 yr old has been begging for a craft using feathers and I finally got a bag of feathers on clearance at Michael’s. It was Halloween colors but beggars can’t be choosy. So while I cooked dinner I set my daughter up to make her own “turkey”.
She started off drawing a face:
Then she started putting in her turkey’s feathers.
Once she finished up with the feathers we stuck in a couple pipe cleaners for legs and my daughter insisted her turkey also had to have feet so I had to try and shape those pipe cleaners into feet for her.
Gobble…gobble. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!
I can’t recall where I heard about this book but I requested it right away from the library. Ish is such a cute story for the kiddos and both 5 yr old and 2 yr old loved it!
Ramon is a boy who loves to draw. He draws all the time and everywhere (my kids love that he even draws while on the potty). One day his older brother laughs at his drawing because it doesn’t look like the vase of flowers he was drying. Ramon feels so bad that he starts to crumple up all his drawings because they don’t look “right”. He’s about to give up drawing when he catches his little sister snagging one of his crumpled drawings and chases her into her room. There is is stunned to find her walls plastered with his discarded drawings. She mentions that the vase of flowers is one of her favorites and he complains that it doesn’t look like a vase though. She tells him no but it looks vase-ish! This revelation frees his creativity again as he embarks on an ish drawing journey. Not only does he draw things that are fish-ish and sunset-ish but also feelings like “peace-ish” and even starts to write poem-ish poems.
By the end my kids were cracking up over all the ish drawings. It also helped when my 5 yr old would get frustrated over her own drawings I would mention they look house-ish or bird-ish and she would giggle and be okay with her drawings. This is a wonderful book to encourage kids to keep their creative juices flowing.
I don’t know about where you live but the leaves on our trees have started to change colors and that means my 5 year old is asking why. This book is really neat as it takes you through the four seasons and you follow a boy and his mama as they go out on leaf hunts during each season. They talk about the leaves they find and what is happening as the buds change into leaves, what makes leaves green and eventually why do the leaves change color.
This had my daughter asking to do one of her favorite activities…going on a nature hunt. This is our second time doing this and she loved it as much as she did the first time. Instead of painting the egg carton this time my daughter colored each well a different color using crayons and then we headed out. We were on the hunt to see what we could find in nature that fell into each of the colors and collect a sample to bring back home.
Our front yard yielded lots of the colors thanks to our rose bushes. And our neighbor was doing yard work so we came across lots of leaves on our walk.
I just had to share a picture of the nature hunt dance my daughter also came up with on our walk.
We finished up our hunt at the park. For the second time we had no luck finding anything blue other than the sky. Never realized just how hard it could be to find blue in nature around here.
Once we had all our nature items of course she wanted to do an activity with them. So the next day we decided to do a collage.
My two year old initially wanted to paint Kai-Lan but of course once he saw glue he had to glue leaves as well.
And the final collage!
We did a couple other leaf/nature activities with our collection that I will post in the future. If you are looking for other leaf/nature books we also did a nature hunt back in January and read There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves.
I was flipping through the Summer issue of Disney’s Family Fun magazine and came across their Pebble Plaque activity. It was a little too elaborate for my 5 and 2 yr old but I loved the idea of the kids making a decorative “stone”.
There are a bunch of different salt dough recipes but I basically followed the recipe from the Family Fun magazine but I halved it. Mix 1.5 cups flour, 1/2 cup salt and about 3/4 cup of water (I eyeballed the water to make sure it wasn’t too watery or to crumbly). Knead it until smooth, divide it in half and then roll them out into circles. I made one for each of my kids.
Then I left the kids go at it decorating. We had some beads and ceramic tiles to use. I wasn’t sure if the beads would melt or not but they made it through pretty well.
My 2 yr old did have a hard time grasping the concept of not squishing the tiles in so deep but he had a great time making his stone.
My daughter got quite elaborate with hers.
Once the kids were done we baked them at 275 degrees for about 2 hours. I should have let them bake for longer because once they cooled and I lifted them off the foil I realized the bottom wasn’t as dry as I would have liked. The beads survived but some needed to be glued down because they were loose but overall the kids loved them.
This is a great book for introducing shapes in a fun way. It takes each shape and transforms it into some fun picture in the sea from dolphins to starfish and many more. My two year old liked flipping through it and naming all the shapes and trying to name all the creatures that were in the book.
While my two and four year olds were flipping through the pictures again I grabbed a few pieces of construction paper (which I snagged at a back to school sale since we tend to go through them quickly) and started cutting out several of each shape. Luckily we have this shape sorter so I used each of the blocks to trace each shape since I have no artistic talent whatsoever. It was a little late to start an art project so I saved them for the next day.
While my son was napping my four year old had a lot of fun using the shapes to make her own sea pictures. First we used stick glue…
I somehow missed taking a picture of the final outcome but she used the “leaf” shapes to make the fish’s tail.
Then later we used more of the shapes and some paint to make our own ocean. I loved watching what she would come up with to create using the shapes and she painted waves, waterfalls and caves.
The other fun thing was blending paints together and working on what colors do you have to mix to make new colors. We used a lot of blues, greens and white to make the ocean and then some yellow and orange for other items. She amazed me how many of the color blends she’s remembered.
My daughter had a blast creating fish, divers, water falls, etc. Sea Shapes is definitely a great book to brainstorm about such ideas.
If you saw my first Tinker Lab post you know we’ve been doing a lot of recycling/upcycling of materials for our projects and I’ve been trying to let her do her own thing instead of me giving her instructions so she can just let her imagination run wild. My daughter has been having a blast and here was the second project she did. She used the materials to make her own “robot”.
What she started with…
She had made a beaded headband that she put on her robot, used the cap from a Go Go Squeez applesauce pouch, some googly eyes left over from previous projects and a couple straws I got on clearance at Michael’s last Christmas for $.25 a pack! The body is an empty baby formula can I kept.
The only thing I helped with was punching the holes in the can for the arms. I had thought she would use the pipe cleaners for the arms but she surprised me picking out the straws. She said it’s because the bendy straws would let the robot’s arms bend, duh!
After her experience with trying to glue the nose on and it’s constantly sliding around until the glue dried she decided to use scotch tape to tape on the mouth. (FYI-I found right after the back to school sales is the best time to stock up on scotch tape. Last summer I bought a bunch of tape for about $.20 for the 3 pack at Target and that was the Scotch name brand tape.)
She wanted a hat for her robot and was getting frustrated trying to make a cone so she finally asked me for help making it and then she taped it on. Here’s the finished robot.
I loved how she insisted the eyes had to be two different sizes and here she is hamming it up with her robot.
I’m loving these projects. They are no money out of pocket, lets her decide what she’s going to do and she never ceases to amaze me with what she comes up with for a 4 year old.
Ever since Earth Day and trying to think of ways to reuse items we would normally toss into the trash can or into our recycling bin I had been tossing around the idea of building “tinker lab” kits for my 4 year old. They are basically a bunch of items I set aside for future projects, scissors, glue and tape and instead of telling her what to do I just told her use her imagination and create whatever she wanted.
At first she was a little leery and said she didn’t know what to do but she quickly got into the spirit of things. For this kit this is what I set out for her:
She started off making whiskers here for her Cat in the Hat:
I stepped back and just watched what she did without giving her any direction and she amazed me.
When she finally finished her Cat in the Hat she asked for my help in cutting the pink ribbon to “frame” her picture and she also requested some dried macaroni for the cat’s face but otherwise that was the extent of my help. I actually think she did a pretty darn good job making her Cat in the Hat from memory.
Sometimes I get so caught up in creating projects for my daughter to do and telling her the steps that I forget just how creative kids can be when you let them be in the driver’s seat. She enjoyed this tinker lab so much we did another one later that night with a robot theme (post on that will be coming) and we also painting a “flower” using some cardboard and a straw.
She also cracked me up today when she decided she was going to tape this up on the wall and watch Cat in the Hat “on tv” and sat in a chair looking at her picture. I asked her if the Cat in the Hat show was interesting and she said “not really, he’s just staring at me.” LOL. It made me wonder what she was expecting or thinking when she did this.
Recently every time we go out in our backyard to play my 4 year old wants to dig for dinosaur bones. She won’t believe me when I tell her I don’t think we will find any in our yard and she is so disappointed every time she turns up nothing. So I decided to try out this dinosaur “fossils” activity I saw on Pinterest. She had a blast but if I ever do it again I definitely need to get a wider variety of dinosaurs. Most of the ones we had were triceratops and just one velociraptor.
Making the rocks was pretty easy. It ended up looking like this:
And then I wrapped the plastic dinosaurs I picked up from the Dollar Tree in the goop and laid them out in the sun to dry. They did kind of look like piles of poop initially so I had to warn my dad not to toss them out! I turned them over after one day so the bottoms wouldn’t be too flat. They were dry enough to remold into a rockish shape.
I let them dry for about 2.5 days before my daughter was too impatient to wait any longer. They were solid enough as long as you weren’t really squeezing hard to purposely squish them.
I buried them around her sand box and then let her go exploring and digging to find them.
and then she had a ton of fun cracking them open.
Once all eggs were found and cracked open we took the dinosaurs over to the “dino wash” to get the rest of the remaining pieces of rock that was stuck on the dinosaurs. Luckily we have this big wading pool that is filled with water that I’ve been trying to use up watering plants over for activities like this so it’s not a waste to just dump it all out.
And then of course came the playing with the dinosaurs in their under water world.
These were really easy to make and it kept her busy and happy that she finally got to dig up dinosaurs!