Posts Tagged ‘young children’

Growing Indoor Grass

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

growing-indoor-grass

One activity that my young children enjoyed was growing indoor grass in a plastic cup. I saw the idea in lots of different places, including Family Fun Magazine. Even though we did this activity in the spring, it might be fun to grow the grass in the winter as a centerpiece for my dining room table, just to see some greenery at that time of year. If I grew it in a shallow container, I could make a scene, depending on what I added to the grass. Candles, plastic animals, army men… the list is endless as to the scenes you could create!

Older children could create scenes from different countries or habitats, or a battle from the Civil War. Or they could design a scene on the grass that would make someone feel like they were in a spa, with different levels of candles stabbed into the dirt.

If you want to make the fun grass heads in the picture above, start with some clear plastic cups. The children decorated these according to their personalities. I decided to hot glue their decorations onto the cup to make sure they didn’t fall off, but your kids could use white school glue. Each child shoveled soil into the cup, then sprinkled grass seed. They sprayed the seeds with a spray bottle of water. We placed the cups on a table next to a sunny window.

Grass grows fairly quickly, so we didn’t have to wait very long. Soon the grass was tall enough to decorate the “hair,” so to speak. We put hair clips into the grass heads, and they looked really silly. This is a perfect activity for young children.

Squeeze Paint

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

squeeze-paint-2Young children can have a ball squeezing a design onto a large piece of paper if you put your favorite kind of paint into squeeze bottles. Squeeze paint is so fun! I bought my clear plastic squeeze bottles at the local supermarket for 99 cents each. (Normally you would put ketchup or mustard into them.)

Make sure your children are using paint clothes, or at least a smock, since this activity is messy. If you start with green paint along the bottom, you can pick up the paper and have the green paint drip down (upward on the paper) to make some grass. Or you could put blue on the bottom and shake it around for waves on the ocean. Toddlers can just quirt it free-form, since it is mostly the squirting that is fun. I squeeze-paint-1warn you: none of these pictures is worth keeping. You simply can’t control the drips with enough accuracy to make a good painting. Some of the older children got frustrated. My seven-year-old accidentally made a huge splotch and was upset until I told him he had a monster creature, and why not make some feet and arms? Suddenly he cheered up, and the huge, ugly blotch turned out to be fun after all.

Frog Craft

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

frog-craftIf you have young children and you are studying frogs, this is a simple and fun frog craft to make. I found it in a Family Fun Magazine. Instead of using green craft foam, I just used green construction paper. The magazine used to have a template online, but they deleted it. So, looking at the design above, you could draw that shape on a piece of green construction paper. Have your kids cut it out.

We bent back the head, glued on some google eyes, and cut an “X” where the mouth goes. Then we shoved the party blower through an “X” in the middle of the body and through the mouth. It took about ten minutes. (I have no idea why they say it takes an hour.)

Of course, the frog craft party blowers don’t last very long, but they sure were fun while they lasted. The kids kept blowing the party favors in each other’s faces, and they had a great time! (If you buy a lot of party blowers, you can change them out when they’re covered in spit!)

If you want more ideas for fun Early Childhood art projects, click here.

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Are You My Mother? Unit Study

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

are-you-my-mother-unit-study

My daughter’s favorite book when she was little was Are You My Mother? by Dr. Seuss. It is the story of a bird that hatches when its mother is away, and he goes on a journey to find his mother. Young children love the book because of the absurdity of a cow or an airplane being the mother of a bird. My daughter always laughed delightfully as we turned the pages.

Here she is at 4 years old, doing a dramatic reading of the book. She points upward, squeals, and really gets into it!

If you want to do a unit study on Are You My Mother?, you can start by doing some bird watching. Imitate some of the bird sounds. Talk about the characteristics of a bird. A great website for identifying birds is All About Birds. You can set up a bird feeder right outside your window and see which birds show up!

Here is a free lapbook for the book Are You My Mother? You will need some colorful file folders, scissors, crayons, and glue to complete the lapbook with your young child.

You can watch an egg hatch by getting an inexpensive incubator. Borrow an egg from a farmer, and give back the chick after it’s hatched. My children loved this activity so much. They called our chick Pepito and chased it around the backyard.

simple-nest-craft

You can make a cute and easy nest with a paper bag, small twigs, and glue. Scrunch down the bag, pour glue on the outside, and stick the twigs on the bag. I give you a demonstration on how to make this easy craft in my free Easter Ideas video.

You can also make a next with natural materials from outdoors. Here is a blog post describing how:

I hope you enjoyed our Are You My Mother? unit study!

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