Toddler Activities and Crafts - My Philosophy

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Earth Week ~ Filter Flower

Hooray for great weather this week! :) In celebration of Earth day, we are doing an Earth theme this week.

We went to the park this morning. This afternoon's craft: a flower.

Using markers, Kylie colored an extra large coffee filter. I then showed her how to use a medicine dropper to "water" the coffee filter. She went to town playing with that!
After wetting the paper and making sure the colors bled together all over, we used a hair dryer to dry it quickly. I then folded/smushed it up and wrapped a green pipe cleaner around the center to form a flower.

Kylie spent the rest of the afternoon "smelling" her flower and dusting the house with it (??!). She was so proud of her flower!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Kylie's Ice Cream

A healthy treat: fun to make and yummy to eat! Toddler approved ;)

  • 2 cups original organic yogurt (next time I think I'll use Vanilla)
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  1. Put ingredients in a blender and puree.
  2. Pour into 2 oz popsicle molds.
  3. Freeze.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Color Search

Idea from 365 Days of Baby Love, by Sheila Ellison and Susan Ferdinandi.

  • White paper
  • crayons
  • paper bag
  • Take a crayon and draw a blotch of color on the paper.
  • Tell baby what color it is.
  • Go exploring for things that are the same color.
  • Put items in the paper bag or point them out if they're too large to bring.
  • Sit down together and pull items out of bag, talking about the color again and letting baby play with items.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Fish Paper Plate Craft

This morning I took Kylie to the pet store to buy a fish. She picked out a blue Beta fish, a small fish bowl, and blue and green stones and shells for decoration!

We still need to name him... any suggestions?

Since we have fish on the brain, I thought we would do some fish crafts and read fish books today. Maybe Kylie would like fish sticks for dinner? Or maybe that's a bad idea! After we brought the fish home, Kylie asked me to eat. I asked her what she wanted for lunch and she said she wanted to eat her fish... errrr.... :/

I found this Paper Plate Fish Craft on the DLTK website.

  • White paper plate
  • crayons/markers
  • glue
  1. Cut a small triangle out of the side of the plate. This will be the mouth of the fish. The triangle the fin.
  2. Color the fish and fin.
  3. Glue the fin to the back of the fish.
Reading Connection - Rainbow Fish

Spring Theme (in progress)

Welcome Spring! There are so many things you can do for Spring. I'm going to try and keep it to a week-long theme, but we can always revisit later and do a second + week...

  • Handprint Tulips - paint green flower stems. Paint hands and push onto paper for tulip heads.
  • Coffee Filter Flower Craft -  Use an eye dropper to paint a coffee filter. Pinch the bottom and fold into a "flower". Wrap a green pipeliner around the bottom and bend into a stem.
  • Handprint Butterfly - trace child's hands on paper, cut out (double) for 4 hands total. Glue to make a butterfly. Waterpaint to add color.
  • Umbrella rain craft - Draw an umbrella outline. Have toddler color umbrella. You could also cut out or use foam shapes and have toddler glue to decorate umbrella. Cut out rain drops. Have toddler glue rain all around the umbrella.
  • Caterpillar - cut out circles from construction paper. Glue on paper in the shape of a caterpillar. You could outline the circles on the paper and have Toddler match them up, or just wing it ;) Another option is to glue pom-poms for some dimension.
  • Fairy Flower Craft - Print out an outline of a fairy. Color in, then cut out. Have a tulip head drawn and cut from a piece of construction paper. Have toddler glue tulip head and fairy onto a piece of paper. Together, paint a flower stem and decorate the paper.
  • Tissue Paper Flower craft - have child cut or tear tissue paper. Glue onto a paper flower.
Fine Motor Skills:
  • Cut or tear tissue paper. Glue onto flower cut-out.
  • Lacing - Cut out a large flower from foam paper. Use a hole punch to make holes around the edge of the inner flower circle. Have toddler use ribbon or yarn (with tape wrapped around the edge to make it easier) to lace the flower.
Activities / Felt Board:
  • Matching - To go along w/ the Fairy book mentioned below, can be used for the felt board or just on the floor: cut out tulips and fairies, a set per color. Have toddler match them by color by putting the Fairy in the matching flower cup.
  • Giving Tree Felt Activity: cut out a tree (trunk and branches) and separate leaves. Have fun building a tree. Count the leaves (I made 10).
  •  Cut out felt circles to create a caterpillar on the felt board. You can do 2 colors and work on patterns (green, yellow, green, yellow, etc..).
  • Plant seeds together. Count them. See how they feel. Talk about what will happen after you plant and water them over time. Go outside and find flowers or plants that are budding and growing.

    Farm Theme

    The Little Learners Lounge blog has some great farm theme ideas! Make sure to check it out :)

    Felt board:
    • print out outlines of farm animals and have toddler color them. Cut out and glue to felt pieces. By the end of the week, you'll have a farm full of animals on the felt board!
    • Barn and chick templates: 
    • Matching - use the chick templates above to have child match the chick to the egg color.

    • Chick Tock: Pop Up Fun
    • Do Like a Duck Does
    Poem from DLTK's Educational Activities

    "This Little Chick" Felt Board Rhyme 
    Learning Colors

    This little chick is black.
    She stands in the barnyard on a big haystack.
    This little chick is brown.
    She is feeling sad and wearing a frown.
    This little chick is yellow.
    She's friends with the rooster; he's a handsome fellow.
    This little chick is white.
    She dances and plays, oh what a sight.
    This little chick is purple.
    She spends her day running around in a circle.
    This little chick is green.
    She is the prettiest chick I've ever seen.
    This little chick is blue.
    She lays eggs for me and you.
    This little chick is pink.
    She goes down to the pond to get a drink.
    All of these chicks live at the farm,
    Out in the big red barn.

    For chick templates and craft ideas, click here:

      Sensory activities:
      • Play dough - form animals out of play dough.  Use animal cookie cutters or stencils to press into play dough.
      • Hide farm animals in a tub of rice. Have child search for them and name the animals as they find them.

      • Sheep - cut out a white cloud-like shape for the body of the sheep. From black paper, cut out head and legs. Glue together. Have toddler glue mini marshmallows onto the body of the sheep.
      • Pig - I love this pig idea from LLL blog (above). Draw a pig outline on white paper. Have toddler  color with pink markers and crayons. Next, add "mud" by letting toddler finger-paint with chocolate pudding!
      • Chick - cut out a chick outline from yellow paper. Cut out lets and a triangle for the beak from orange paper. Have toddler glue parts together to make a chick. Use googly eyes for eyes.
      • Cow - Cut out an outline of a cow from white paper. Use a sponge dipped in black paint to add blotches.
      • Horse - Paper plate craft. Make something similar to this craft from Oriental Trading Co:

      Alphabet Theme (in progress)

      For each letter of the alphabet, we will be doing certain crafts and activities. I recommend starting with the letters in your child's name.

      For now, I'm thinking of doing one letter a week. In addition to the "letter of the week" we will have a theme (Spring, Easter, Farm, etc...). Each week we'll both do theme activities and letter activities. I'd like to try to connect the theme/letters somehow, but we'll figure it out as we go ;)

      • letter craft where the letter is the base of the craft (example: S shaped snake)
      • letter craft where the subject of the craft starts with that letter (example: make a butterfly for B)
      • Make your own letter book - weekly letter theme, each day we color a different page for the letter book
      • letter photos for an Alphabet book - have child search for an item beginning with each letter of the alphabet. Take a picture of the item(s) as well as the child forming each letter shape with his/her body. Make a photobook with all the letters through, shutterfly, Mypublisher, etc...
      • For older preschoolers: I Spy (sssss words, things that start with "b sound" etc...)
      • Snack/food: try to serve foods starting with the letter of the week. Ask child which foods on their plate start with "letter of the week".
      • letter sponge painting - I found sponges in the shapes of letters at the dollar store. Use sponges to play paint with one letter or the entire alphabet!

      Thursday, April 8, 2010

      Carrot Applesauce Cake

      Kylie was watching Super Why and it was all about recipes and following directions. They made a carrot applesauce cake, so I thought, why not make one at home! :)

      I googled recipes and found some good ones. But Kylie is cranky today and has a super short attention span... so I thought why not use box yellow cake mix and turn it into carrot applesauce cake ;)

      • 1 box yellow cake mix
      • 3 cups shredded carrots (I put them in the mini food processor)
      • 3 eggs (or as needed on cake mix box)
      • 1 cup apple sauce (as a substitute for butter)
      • cream cheese frosting

      Preheat oven to 375, or as labeled on the cake mix box.
      Mix all ingredients and pour into a bundt pan.
      Cook according to box directions.
      Let cool then frost and enjoy :)

      Tuesday, March 30, 2010

      Puff Dough

      Idea from 365 Days of Baby Love, by Sheila Ellison and Susan Ferdinandi.

      This dough is soft and puffy, great for playing bakery! Use a small apron, rolling pin, and a cupcake pan to play bakery.

      • 3 cups flour
      • 1 cup salt
      • 3 tablespoons oil
      • 1 cup water
      • Mix flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
      • Stir in oil and water.
      • Add more water as needed to form soft, puffy dough.

      Handprint Butterfly

      Today's craft is a Spring theme: butterfly!

      We traced Kylie's hands to make the wings and then glued the parts together. Next, Kylie got to paint (with watercolors). She loves painting!

      Reading connection: The Very Hungry Caterpillar