Reindeer Handprint Craft

 

Here is an easy last minute holiday craft that is perfect gift for grandparents.  Who doesn’t love little handprints?

Step 1: Paint your little one’s hand with brown (washable!) paint and make two handprints at the top of the paper.   Then immediately wash those hands!

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Step 2:  Trace your kiddo’s foot on brown paper and cut out.  Then glue between the handprints (with the heel at te bottom of the page.)

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Step 3: Cut out one red circle and two white circles.  Draw smaller black circles on the white paper to make eyes.  Glue on the brown paper to make eyes and nose.

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I did this reindeer with my two-year-old.  I did all the cutting and she did the gluing.  Older kids can do the cutting, too.  My four year old wanted to draw her eyes on with marker instead of using white paper.

Materials:

  • red, green, brown, and white construction paper
  • scissors
  • glue stick
  • brown paint
  • paintbrush
  • black marker

Time investment: 10 minutes

Difficulty:  Easy as long as you can keep those brown handprints on the paper and not around your house!

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Learning With Dinosaurs

What can you do with all those dinosaur figurines besides, you know, play dinosaurs?  I can only take so many “roars” before I’m ready to switch it up.   Next time you are forced into prehistoric play, pick one of these ideas to add into your game:

(Common Core Standards appear in italics.  They correlate with specific standards in different grade levels.  These standards are used in almost every school in the country.  Click the Common Core tab above to learn more.)

  • Order the dinosaur toys from smallest to largest
  • Pick out dinosaurs to be in two groups (whichever dinos you want).  Which group has more?    (kindergarten- Identify whether the number of objects in one group is greater than, less than, or equal to the number of objects in another group, e.g., by using matching and counting strategies)
  • Categorize dinosaurs by an attribute and put them into groups.  Some examples are meat eaters vs. plant eaters, number of legs, color, or size.  (kindergarten- Classify objects into given categories; count the numbers of objects in each category and sort the categories by count)
  • Make a graph of your categories.  (first grade- Organize, represent, and interpret data with up to three categories; ask and answer questions about the total number of data points, how many in each category, and how many more or less are in one category than in another)
  • Do some math problems while playing dinosaurs.  There are three dinosaurs at the pond and then two more join them.  How many dinosaurs play in the pond together?  Or if your preschooler has some bloodlust…. How many dinosaurs are left after a T Rex eats two?  (kindergarten- Solve addition and subtraction word problems, and add and subtract within 10, e.g., by using objects or drawings to represent the problem)
  • Identify the names of your dino figurines by looking them up in a book.

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  • Draw a picture using a dinosaur figurine as the model.
  • Use the toy dinos to act out a dinosaur book that you have read together.  Or maybe use them to act out the Three Little Pigs.  Hilarious.
  • Play “Hide the T Rex.”  One person hides the dinosaur while the other close their eyes or face a wall.  Give clues if no one can find T Rex.
  • Measure the length of dinosaur toys (second grade- Measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, and measuring tapes)
  • Make a dinosaur “sculpture” by piling up dinos.  Estimate how tall it is, then measure to see if you were right.  (second grade- Estimate lengths using units of inches, feet, centimeters, and meters)

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  • After you are finished playing dinosaurs, write or draw pictures of what happened.  (kindergarten- Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events, tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and provide a reaction to what happened) (first grade- Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure )
  • Hide small dinosaur figurines in play-dough (or larger ones in a sandbox).  Then pretend you are a palentologist and dig them out!
  • Discuss imprint fossils and then make dinosaur imprints in play-dough.
  • Paint the dinosaurs’ feet (with washable paint) and make dino tracks on white paper.
  • Talk about how we don’t really know the colors of the dinosaurs.  Then paint them whatever colors you want with washable paint.

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Berenstain Bears: Old Hat New Hat Activities

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One of the best things about being a parent is rereading all the books you loved as a kid.  Some of your childhood favorites are completely forgotten until you randomly come across them again while looking for books for you own kid.  I was so happy when I stumbled on Old Hat New Hat.  I LOVED this book.  I remember looking at all the different hats and picking out my favorites.  I was a big Berenstain Bear fan, but Old Hat New Hat does not feature the Bear family.  Instead it is about a bear going to hat store to replace his worn out hat.  However, he finds something wrong with all of the new hats.  The story is told through very few words so it is a great book for the toddler/preschooler attention span or beginning readers (it’s a first grade reading level).

(Common Core Standards appear in italics.  They correlate with specific standards in different grade levels.  These standards are used in almost every school in the country.  Click the Common Core tab above to learn more.)

Here are some ideas try when you read it:

  • Practice sight words– Pick out one word that is repeated throughout the book (hat, new, too) and see if your kiddo can point them out on the page.  Then practice putting the word together with letter blocks.
  • Opposites– Make a list of all the opposites listed in the book.  (kindergarten- Demonstrate understanding of frequently occurring verbs and adjectives by relating them to their opposites)
  • Too, to, two–  Talk about the different meanings and spellings of “too” and how it is used in the story.
  • Retell the story–  After reading the book, ask your kiddo to retell the story.  It is different from some books because most of the action happens in the pictures, not the words.  (first grade- Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson)
  • Adjectives– Tell them words that describe something are called adjectives.  Identify adjectives in the story.  Look at one of the hats.  What other adjectives could be used to describe it?
  • Touch scavenger hunt– Stop after reading a page and touch things around the room that match the adjectives in the book (bumpy, scratchy, wrinkly, etc.)  This gives kids real-life experience with the words and gets a few wiggles out, too!
  • Ask questions– After you read, ask your kiddo some questions that relate to the story.  Which one was her favorite hat and why?  Why do you think the bear chose the old hat?  Why do you think the salesman looked mad?
  • Make a hat– Decorate an old hat with left-over craft supplies like ribbon, felt, or pom poms.
  • Draw a hat– Draw and color lots of different hats to fit a certain adjective.

Shape Christmas Tree

Here’s an easy Christmas craft…and a great way to practice shapes and colors, too!  This would work great at a preschool/kindergarten holiday party.  I did the first two steps myself because my girls aren’t great with scissors.

1. Cut out 5 green triangles.  Start with a small one and get gradually bigger.  My smallest is about 3 inches across the largest is about 8 inches.

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2.  Cut out shapes in different colors.  I stuck with circle, triangle, square, and rectangle, but you could get all fancy with hexagons, ovals, and trapezoids for older kiddos.

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3.  Get your crafty kiddos and talk about how triangles could make a tree.  Have them arrange the triangles from largest to smallest.

4.  Glue the top couple inches of the biggest triangle and place the next biggest triangle on top of it.  Continue until all triangles are glued together.

5.  Glue on the shape ornaments.  I found it is easier for kids to make a dot with the glue stick directly on the tree, then stick the ornament on the dot.

6.  Have fun decorating the tree with shapes!  Identify the shape and color of the ornament when they pick it up or ask them to identify.  See if they want to make a pattern.

Here’s my four-year-old’s masterpiece glued on red paper.  She is so proud that it is now part of our Christmas decorations!

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Materials:

  • colored construction paper
  • scissors
  • glue stick

Time investment: 10 minutes for adult cutting prep and 10-15 minutes for kids to glue craft

Difficulty:  The only difficult part is cleaning up all those extra shapes that will scattered on the floor. 🙂

Learning with Scarves

Playing with scarves is a great tactile activity for kids of all ages!  If you don’t already have some on hand,  you can find them by searching for “movement scarves” or “juggling scarves.”  Here are some ideas:

(Common Core Standards appear in italics.  They correlate with specific standards in different grade levels.  These standards are used in almost every school in the country.  Click the Common Core tab above to learn more.)

Babies

  • Play peek-a-boo.  A baby favorite.  Put the scarf on your head.  Put it on her head.  Either way = pure enjoyment.
  • Let him touch it and compare the texture to other things in the room.  Use lots of adjectives to describe how it feels.
  • Wrap up an object in the scarf like a present and see if Baby can “unwrap” it.
  • Play music and move the scarf to the beat.

Toddlers and Preschoolers

  • Teach colors by putting colored scarves on your head and seeing the world in that color!IMG_7724
  • Experiment with light and color by putting scarves over lamps or flashlights.
  • Dance with scarves.  This is a favorite activity in our house.  Try different music to make fast movements or slow ones.
  • Count the scarves.  (kindergarten- Count to tell the number of objects)
  • Make a letter with with scarf and see if your kiddo can name it.  (kindergarten- Recognize and name all upper and lower case letters of the alphabet)
  • Do the same with numbers.
  • Play a game of hide and seek by taking turns hiding the scarves around the room.
  • Practice throwing and catching with scarves.  WAY easier (and safer for your living room) than balls.
  • Throw the scarf into the air and see how many (jumping jacks, claps, etc.) they can do before it hits the ground.
  • Combine primary colors to show the secondary color.  This doesn’t work as well as paint, but it’s fun to try.

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Elementary

  • Get creative and make a picture with the scarves!

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  • Ask some math questions.  How many more blue scarves than red?  Will the scarves divide equally between two people?
  • Be a fashion designer.  Make dresses, skirts, shirts, and hats using the scarves.  Then have a fashion show.
  • Teach your kids to juggle!  Scarves are perfect for beginners.
  • Practice spelling and reading by making sight words out of scarves.  This is more difficult than it looks! IMG_7719

Christmas Handprint Wreath

Big Sis has been BEGGING me to make holiday crafts.  I pulled out the old tried and true handprint wreath. Gotta love it.  First I cut a circle out of a cereal box for a sturdy backing.

IMG_7701Then I traced her hand on green paper.  Meanwhile she was making this masterpiece with green markers and crayons.IMG_7702

When she was finished, I traced handprints on that paper, too.  Hint: fold the paper so you only have to cut one time.  I got four hands out of one sheet of paper.  Then we glued the handprints to the cardboard and stuck on some red circles (berries) and ribbon for good measure.  A four-year-old did the placement and gluing, so it isn’t quite Pinterest worthy but I like it.

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You can vary your involvement depending on the age and abilities of your kiddo.  Toddlers could do the scribbing, and you do the rest.  Or an older kid would be able to the whole project by themselves.

Materials:

  • green, red, and white paper
  • markers and crayons
  • ribbon
  • cereal box or other cardboard
  • scissors
  • glue

Time investment: under 30 minutes

Difficulty: So easy your dog could do it.  If he could cut paper.