Apple Prints Pinwheel Craft for Preschool & Kindergarten

Apple Printed Pinwheels Craft for Preschool & Kindergarten

Apple Printed Pinwheels Craft

(Disclaimer:  this post and others within the blog contain affiliate links.  For full disclosures, visit ABOUT US!)

Every fall our Pre-Kindergarten children practice apple coring in the practical life center.  The children core the apples, place the apple slices on a serving tray, and carry the slices around the room serving other children who would like to taste them.  It is a great activity for practicing life skills, tasting a variety of apples, and using good manners.  The children ask their peers, “Excuse me, would you like an apple slice?”  The peers respond with, “Yes, please” or “No, but thank you for offering.”  Apple coring and serving is always one of our favorite fall centers!

Our kids stumbled upon printing with apple slices (instead of printing with apple halves) quite by accident.  One of the children chose to press their apple slice into an ink pad and make a circular pattern with the apple slice instead of eating it.  It was a great print, but we refined the process by making the prints with paint instead.  What you’ll find below is our preschool rendition of an APPLE PRINTED PINWHEEL!

Apple Printed Pinwheels in Preschool 003

 Materials needed:  Apples to core, an apple corer – for a good apple corer for young kids, see the bottom of this post (or apples can be cut in slices prior to the activity), paper to make the prints on, red/green/yellow paint, paint trays (or paper plates), old T-shirts (or paint smocks), red, green, and yellow pompoms, poster putty, and seasonal paper straws (for the pinwheel stems).

Invite the children to create by assembling all the supplies at a table.  If the children are coring the apples, demonstrate how to safely hold the corer and how to press down to make the apple slices – NOTE:  remind the children to never put their fingers under the corer, but to hold the HANDLES of the corer ONLY.  Young kids are very proficient at coring apples with guidance, supervision, and a good apple corer!  It is a challenging task for 3′s, but most 4 year olds can safely handle an apple corer to make their own slices.

Apple Printed Pinwheels in Preschool 004

To make the apple prints:  Have the children lay the apple slice flat to cover one side of the slice with paint.  For those children who do not like messy painting, a fork can be used to hold the apple slice.  The children should make apple prints in a circular fashion to form the pinwheel shape (see photo below).

apple printing in preschool and kindergarten


Allow the prints to thoroughly dry before adding a paper straw straw for the pinwheel’s stem and a colored pompom for the center (poster putty pieces work better than glue for holding the straws and pompoms in place).

The finished pinwheels are not only fun to make, but they are great fall displays at home or in the classroom!

Note:  We have the Calphalon Apple Corer in our classroom and the grips help keep fingers away from the corer –  Calphalon Easy Grip Apple Slicer.

For more fun crafts and an entire unit designed around an APPLE THEME, please see the APPLES THEMATIC UNIT here on the blog!

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Preschool Activities for The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School!

This post and others contain affiliate links.  For full disclosures, see the ABOUT page on this blog.

The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray (illustrated by Mike Lowery) is one of our favorite Gingerbread books!  In the book, a teacher and her students bake a gingerbread man.  As the teacher yells, “RECESS!” the children leave the ginger cookie behind.  Silly adventures follow as the gingerbread man tries to find all of his classmates! Our kids laugh at the trials and conversations between the characters in the story.  It is definitely a keeper for home or the classroom!


The Gingerbread extension activities offered below are a great way to extend playful learning after reading the book with your own children!

SONG to SING – Do you know the Gingerbread Man?

Gingerbread Man Song (Tune: Do you know the Muffin Man)

Oh, do you know the Gingerbread Man, the Gingerbread Man, the Gingerbread Man?

Oh, do you know the Gingerbread Man, who ran and ran and ran?

He said, “Catch me if you can. If you can, if you can.”

He said, “Catch me if you can,” then ran and ran and ran.

I can run like the Gingerbread Man, the Gingerbread Man, the Gingerbread Man.

I can run like the Gingerbread Man, now catch me if you can.

~Original Author Unknown

One student's version of the Gingerbread Girl.

One student’s version of the Gingerbread Girl.

GINGERBREAD BOYS and GIRLS CLASS BOOK - Gingerbread Book for Preschool

Materials needed:  one book template for each student, glue, scissors, crayons and assorted collage materials to create and decorate a Gingerbread Man.

Page 1 of the file (linked above) is a cover page for your book (if using for a classroom of students).  Print page 2 of the Gingerbread Man Book for all of the girls in your class and page 3 for all of the boys.
Children can create and decorate either a Gingerbread GIRL or Gingerbread BOY. Invite the children to use any collage materials that are available (suggestions:  ribbon, string, buttons, glue, poster putty, rickrack, craft eyes, markers, crayons, fabric or paper scraps, etc.)  The children can also add their own PHOTO for the head.  It’s fun for children to look through the book to find their own picture and gingerbread creations!   **Note – If desired, use the Gingerbread Men from the Letters file (linked below) as a gingerbread man template.  Trace the gingerbread onto brown construction paper before inviting the kids to decorate for their book page.  Commercial Gingerbread Men cut outs are also available.

Gingerbread Literacy Tray for Preschool

Gingerbread Literacy Tray for Preschool

GINGERBREAD MAN LETTER MATCHING - Gingerbread Theme Literacy Matching Activity for Preschool and Kindergarten

Materials needed: Gingerbread Letter Matching file (A-Z linked above) and scissors.

Cut out each of the gingerbread men and laminate for durability if desired.  After cutting out all of the gingerbread man cards, shuffle the cards and invite the children to find the matching pairs by matching the upper case letters to the corresponding lower case letters.

For older children:   You can turn this activity into a matching game by turning the cards over and playing like a typical “Memory” game.

For younger children: Limit the number of matching pairs that are set out for the child to find.

For very young children:  Print out two copies of the Gingerbread Letter Match file and have the children match upper case gingerbread men to upper case gingerbread men or lower case to lower case.

To improve fine motor skills – invite the children to use clothespins to clip the matching pairs together.  A literacy and fine motor tray (see photo above) is an inviting way to encourage skills.  The Gingerbread Tray might include:  paper and crayons for writing letters, stamping (stamp pad/alphabet stamps), and clothespins for clipping the matching letters (OR for use with the Letter to Picture Matching printable below).

Gingerbread Theme Literacy Free Printable for Preschool and Kindergarten

GINGERBREAD LETTER to PICTURE MATCHING  - Gingerbread Letter Picture Match

Materials needed: Letter Picture Match (linked above) and scissors.

Cut out each of the gingerbread men and laminate for durability if desired. After cutting out all of the gingerbread man cards,  shuffle the cards and invite the children find the matching pairs by matching the gingerbread man with the beginning letter to the corresponding picture (for example, K is for Kite).

For younger children: Limit the number of matching pairs that are set out for the child to find.

Older children can play a memory match as in the letter-to-letter instructions above.

For more GINGERBREAD THEME activities, the entire Gingerbread Thematic Unit is now available on this blog.    To purchase The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School, click the preview below!

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Fall Theme for Preschool

Fall Theme for Preschool and KindergartenThe Fall Thematic Unit for Preschool is now available via this blog.  The fall thematic is a 100+ total page unit that contains 3 different themes in 1: Trees and Leaves, Pumpkins and Jack-o-lanterns, and Non-scary Halloween.  The suggested activities are designed for children ages 3-6, but extension activities are given where possible for slightly younger or older children.  It contains: a 49 page instructional manual with songs/fingerplays, literacy activities, math, science, dramatic play, crafts, foods and food crafts, and an extensive book list for hands-on exploration and playful learning. The theme will download as a zipped file. Once the contents are extracted, there will be a main folder that contains the instructional manual, all 49 pdf files for activities within the theme, and 5 Power Points. The RED links in the main theme are not live, but are there to serve as a guide to tell which file to print for each activity. The GREEN links are for any Power Points.

The Preschool Toolbox - Thematic Learning and Play for Preschool and Kindergarten

To preview the contents of the Fall Thematic for Preschool, see: Fall Theme for Preschool Content Preview

We hope your children enjoy hands-on, playful learning with us this fall!

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Apples Theme for Preschool

Apples Theme for Preschool and Kindergarten

Apples Theme for Preschool and Kindergarten

The APPLES THEME FOR PRESCHOOL (and KINDERGARTEN) has been revised and is now available via this blog.

The Preschool Toolbox - Thematic Learning and Play for Preschool and KindergartenApples Thematic Unit

The Apples Theme for Preschool is an 80+ total page unit that includes enough activities for at least two week’s worth of lessons. If you plan to use the unit for one week only, you will have many activities left for a “new” unit the following year. This theme includes over 45 math, science, and literacy activities. It also includes:  Introduction suggestions, Book list, Songs/fingerplays/poems, Art/craft activities, Gross motor ideas, Cooking activities, and Dramatic play. In addition, the theme comes with detailed instructions for all games/activities, 32 pdf game files that are ready to download and print, and 2 PowerPoints for playful learning!

All About the Letter “A”
Line of Apples (4 separate activity ideas)
Letter “A” Basket Sort Introductory Game

Over 25 of our favorite titles related to Apples

Way Up High in the Apple Tree

Ten Shiny Apples (PowerPoint)
Shake the Apple Tree
Apples are Good for You!
Apple Magic (PowerPoint)
All Around The Apple Tree
Ten Red Apples Growing


For a PREVIEW of the Apples Theme for Preschool and Kindergarten, click here:  Apples Theme Contents Preview

The entire APPLES THEME is available on this blog.

**Note – After purchase, the theme will download as a zipped file.  Once the contents have been extracted, there will be a main folder that contains:  a folder for all the pdf files and PowerPoints and a main pdf of all the theme’s instructions for suggested activities.  The RED links in the MAIN file are not live, but are there to serve as a guide to tell you which pdf file to print for that particular activity or game.  The GREEN LINKS are a guide to the PowerPoints that accompany that song/fingerplay.

We hope YOUR children/students enjoy exploring, learning, and playing with a fun APPLES THEME this fall!






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Textured Name Trains for Preschool or Kindergarten!

Transportation Theme Textured Name Trains for Preschool and Kindergarten{Disclosure:  This post and others within this blog contain affiliate links.  The Preschool Toolbox participates in the Amazon Associates Program}


The textured sensory name trains are a great way to greet preschoolers and kindergarteners for a new school year!

Have the children brainstorm words that describe different textures.  Some examples:  Crinkly, Soft, Prickly, Smooth, Bumpy, Hard, Shiny, Gooey, Slimy, Wet, Dry, Rough, etc.  Pass out a small lunch bag to each of the children and have them look around the classroom (or outside) for items with different textures.

Come together for sharing after the scavenger hunt.  Ask the children to share a few items from their bags using the descriptive words previously discussed.

Free Train and Train Car TemplatePrint the template (linked above) to heavy paper and cut out the engine and car.  The template can be used with any paper desired.  Trace the template to the paper and cut out the engine and cars prior to the activity.  Each child will need one engine and the number of cars that correspond to the number of letters in their name.

TO MAKE THE TRAINS:  prior to the activity, decide what kinds of items the children can choose from to decorate their name train.  Place all of the items out on a table or a tray.  In the first photo, our kids used beans (bumpy), colored sugar (grainy), aluminum foil (shiny), and mini cupcake liners (crinkly).

Invite the children to write each letter of their name on separate train cars (younger children can use jumbo letter stamps).   The children can then use glue, glue sticks, &/or poster putty to adhere the various items to the individual letters on the train cars.  (If choosing sugar, coffee grounds, sand, or salt to decorate the letters, plastic spoons are helpful to sprinkle the material(s) over the glue).

To finish the name trains, add a photo of each child to the engine!

The trains are a fun way to explore sensory materials (as well as name recognition) and they make great bulletin board displays when finished!


Some of the items from the texture scavenger hunt can be used to make textured matching cards for the children.  Glue or tape the items to separate train cars.  Make 2 copies of each card.  Scramble the items in a large basket or bin and see if the children can find the matching cards by TOUCH alone!  For very young children, LIMIT the number of items in the basket to only a few different textures to start.  More items can be added as the children gain confidence in matching the differing textured cards.  Leftover items from the scavenger hunt can be used to make a sensory bin for further explorations!

For more ways to learn and play, the full TRANSPORTATION THEME is now available via this blog!

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EASY Patriotic Pattern Block Painted Flag Craft for Preschool

Pattern Block Flag Printing and Design

This post and others within this blog contain affiliate links. For full disclosures, see the ABOUT page on the top tabs.

Our preschoolers have been using pattern blocks for most everything lately:  to make buildings/towers, as “food” in our kitchen, to make domino runs, and to create intricate designs on their own.   As with most of our classroom materials, our kids often find the most creative suggestions when left to explore on their own.  Our newest creations:  PATTERN BLOCK PRINTED FLAGS!

Pattern Block Painted Flags 002Materials needed:  Pattern blocks, paint trays or paper plates, tempera paint (blue/red/white or other colors if outside of the U.S.), and paint smocks or an old T-shirt.

Pattern Block Painted Flags 003Invite the children to make flags by dipping the pattern blocks into the paint trays and printing on a plain sheet of paper.  We set out an American Flag so the children could copy the design when printing.  For the younger children, we penciled in the flag’s square and the stripes as visual guide for the pattern block prints.   Some of our children are not fond of messy play (it’s true)! :)  We improvised by using a Wikki Stix attached to only the sides of a pattern block.  The twisted end formed a  pattern block “painting tool” the kids could hold on to (see photos).

Pattern Block Painted Flags 005The flags not only make great crafts for ANY Patriotic holiday, but the printing enhances fine motor skills and awareness of various shapes!

After printing, allow time for the children to explore flag designs with the pattern blocks on a table or the floor!  Kids never cease to amaze me!

Pattern Block Painted Flags 006

 For MORE Patriotic Ideas for Kids, see our Patriotic board on Pinterest!

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Fairy Tales Theme for #Preschool + $1500 Total CASH #Giveaway


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For full description, see the ABOUT US/DISCLAIMERS/OFFICIAL RULES page on this blog.

Today, over 80 participating bloggers from the Kid Blogger Network have combined efforts to bring YOU the largest collection of playful learning activities for kids EVER in one event!   We have the pleasure of offering EVERYTHING needed for a FAIRY TALES THEME in Preschool or Kindergarten.  The other activity round-ups will be linked below to provide great resources centered around many important themes for kids.  In addition to all the round-ups, we are offering a MEGA CASH GIVEAWAY with THREE $500 CASH PRIZES!   We hope you’ll find a wealth of inspiration to use at home or in the classroom (and take a chance to win some CASH along the way)!

The following post consists of 3 main sections:

  1. Fairy Tales Theme Activities for Preschool (includes:  3 Little Pigs on the Sticky Table PLUS an AMAZING round-up of literacy, science, math, sensory play, dramatic play/large motor games, and book suggestions).
  2. Links to all participating round-ups from the Kid Blogger Network.



The 3 Little Pigs on the Sticky Table

Sensory and Science Explorations with The 3 Little Pigs

Sensory and Science Explorations with The 3 Little Pigs

Fairy tales are stories with imaginary characters that usually have a teachable lesson.  Read the story of The 3 Little Pigs to the children.  Role play with the children to help them understand the morals/values embedded in the fairy tale.

The underlying message behind The 3 Little Pigs – those who work hard,  plan well, and use materials and resources wisely, will often be successful.

 We set up a sticky table to explore why some of the materials the pigs chose to build their houses were not as sturdy as others.

Materials needed:  Clear Contact Paper, Duct Tape (to hold the contact paper in place),  yellow tissue paper – straw (cut into small squares), brown lightweight construction paper – sticks (cut into squares), red heavyweight paper – bricks (cut into squares), and a permanent marker.

Cover a table with clear contact paper (sticky side up) and duct tape to hold the contact paper in place.  Draw 3 simple houses on the sticky side of the paper.   Ask the children to hold and examine the 3 colors of paper squares.  Which paper feels the lightest?  Does one kind of paper feel heavier or stronger than the other two?  Allow time for the children to explore the different kinds of paper squares.

Invite the children to re-tell the events of the story by using the various paper squares to decorate the 3 houses on the sticky table.

3 Little Pigs ScienceScience Extension Activity:  Give the children a straw and ask them to try to blow each of the paper squares across a table or the floor.  Which paper square was easiest to move?  Which paper square was more difficult to move across the table?  It is a fun experiment to follow the sticky table creations!

Change the items used:  real straw, sticks from outside, and Lego bricks are great for explorations!

Change the items used: real straw, sticks from outside, and Lego bricks are great for explorations!

Alternate Activity:  Use straw, sticks, and Lego/Duplo bricks on the sticky table and for sensory/science discoveries.

***FAIRY TALES THEME ROUND-UP – be sure to check out all of the AMAZING ACTIVITIES from members of  the Kid Blogger Network below!***

Fairy Tales Theme Literacy/Writing Activities for Preschool

Fairy Tales Theme Literacy/Writing Activities for Preschool

Fairy Tales Literacy Activities

Fairy Tale Emergent Readers – The Measured Mom

Jack and the Beanstalk Roll, Say, Write Pre-K Pages

Little Red Riding Hood Storytelling/MusicLet’s Play Music

Goldilocks and 3 BearsLet’s Play Music 

Royal Names: Creating Names Prince and Princess Style  – Fun-a-Day

The 3 Little Pigs Story Sequencing Cards – The Preschool Toolbox

Han Christian Andersen Fairy Tales Lesson Ideas – Teach Beside Me

Fairy Tales Math Collage_1

Fairy Tales Theme Math Activities for Preschool

 Jack and the Beanstalk More/Less Math Pre-K Pages

The 3 Bears Math – Counting, Grouping, Role Play and MORE! – Learn with Play at Home

Bejeweled Bingo PLUS more free activities ALL for a Fairy Tales Theme – PreKinders

Fairy Tales “The Three Little Pigs” Number Path – The Preschool Toolbox

Jack and the Beanstalk Craft and Math Activity – Fantastic Fun and Learning

The Ugly Duckling Eggs and Number Order – The Preschool Toolbox

Fairy Tales Theme Science Activities for Preschool

Fairy Tales Theme Science Activities for Preschool

Fairy Tales Theme Science Activities for Preschool

Jack and the Beanstalk Bean Activity – Meaningful Mama

 Pumpkin Boats Sink or Float? – The Preschool Toolbox

Growing Beans with Kids – Craftulate

Dissolving Gingerbread Man Experiment- The Preschool Toolbox

Fairy Tales Theme Sensory Activities for Preschool

Fairy Tales Theme Sensory Activities for Preschool

Fairy Tales Theme Sensory Activities for Preschool

Three Billy Goats Gruff Sensory Bin – Growing Book by Book

Gingerbread Man Storytelling Play Dough – Nuturestore

Jack and Beanstalk Sensory Bin and Story Retelling – Fantastic Fun and Learning

Glitter Playdough – Craftulate

Princess Pies – Growing a Jeweled Rose

Princess Slime -  Craftulate

Fairy Tales Arts and Crafts CollageFairy Tales Theme Crafts for Preschool

Cardboard Castles – Fun-a-Day

Princess Halos – The Preschool Toolbox

Paper Bag Princess Dresses – Mom 2 Two Posh Lil Divas

The 3 Bears Printable Craft Set – Learn Create Love

Super Simple Fairy Wands – Schooling a Monkey

Fairy Tales Frig Magnets – Nuturestore

Fun with Fairy Tales – 40 Crafts – Red Ted Art

Fairy Tales Dramatic Play Collage_1Fairy Tales Theme Dramatic Play/Large Motor Games

Billy Goats Gruff Fairy Tale and Block Play in Preschool – Teach Preschool

Simple Suggestions for Playing with the 3 Little Pigs – Powerful Mothering

Cinderella Tea Party and Pumpkin Donuts – Three Foot Cooks

FE, FI, FO, FUM – Move to the Drum – The Preschool Toolbox

Outdoor Game for Kids Who Love Fairy Tales – I Can Teach My Child

Pumpkin House Imaginary Play – Nuturestore


The Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

Fairy Tales Every Kid Should Know

Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm

Classic Fairy Tales

fractured-fairy-tales-book-list-14 Fractured Fairy Tales – No Time For Flashcards


Participating Bloggers from the Kid Blogger Network and Other Round-Ups Designed for Kids!

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Details:  Win one of three $500 cash prizes directly sent to your PayPal account! This giveaway is open internationally. You must be 18+ years old to enter. Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. Winners will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen. Please see detailed terms and conditions below  for more info.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Dreamcatcher Crafts for Kids: No More Bad Dreams!

Dream Catcher Poem

Disclosure: The following post and others within this blog contain affiliate links. The Preschool Toolbox receives income from your purchases to help support this blog.

Kids are often afraid of the dark and sometimes have bad dreams.  The Wikki Stix dreamcatcher craft for kids is a tangible way to help ease bedtime anxieties!

Dreamcatchers are an ancient Chippewa tradition.  Legend says that since dreams never end, the dreamcatcher will hold all bad dreams and release only the good ones.  When hung over a child’s bed at night, the dreamcatchers are a tangible way to help kids sleep peacefully through the night!  DREAM ON sweet child!


Materials needed to create a dreamcatcher:  Assorted colors of Wikki Stix, mounting paper, craft feathers, and assorted colors of pony beads.

Invite the children to create by placing all supplies out on a table.

To make the outer ring for the dreamcatcher, have the children put two Wikki Stix strands together and form a large circle.  Give the children one piece of mounting paper and have the children press the circle on top of the mounting paper.  The inner circle is made from Wikki Stix wrapped around itself to form a large and small spiral.

  Kids can create any shapes they wish to connect the inner and outer circles:  straight lines, ovals, circles, etc.  The idea is to make a “net” that will catch all bad dreams.  In the photo below, our kids cut one Wikki Stix in half, folded the strand, and then pinched the top to form a point.

WS Dream Catcher Craft 004The children then used their shapes to connect the small inner circle to the outer ring.  When all of the shapes are added to the center, have the children cut the circle away from the mounting paper (see photo below).

To make the dreamcatcher tails:  Invite the children to use assorted colors of pony beads and thread them onto stands of Wikki Stix.  Craft feathers will adhere to the Wikki Stix so no glue is necessary.  When the tails are finished, simply adhere the Wikki Stix strands to the back side of the large circle.

WS Dream Catcher Craft for Kids

For more great ways to help children relieve stress and anxiety at night, see all the wonderful resources from Lori Lite and Stress Free Kids!  

Lori Lite, founder of Stress Free Kids, provides fun parenting solutions to reduce stress and bring wellness to daily living. Her accessible tips, stories, and parent’s guide show families how to integrate relaxation exercises and activities effortlessly throughout the day.

Indigo Dreams is a 60 minute bedtime relaxation CD/audio book designed to entertain your child while introducing them to relaxation and stress-management techniques. Four unique bedtime stories incorporate breathing, visualizations, muscular relaxation and affirmations.


Posted in Family Friendly Businesses and Resources, Feelings, Fine Motor Skills for Tiny Fingers, Parenting and Values, PreK, Preschool and Kindergarten Skills | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

EASY Patriotic Cardboard Tube Bracelet or Band Craft for Kids!

Patriotic Bands

Disclosure: The post below contains affiliate links. This blog receives income from purchases made from those links.


The Patriotic Bracelet Craft is an EASY project for any Patriotic holiday!  If you reside outside of the United States, the bracelets can be customized with any colors and decorations desired.  The bands are not only fun to make, but even young children can create (almost) independently!

Materials needed:  Acrylic or Tempera Paint, Empty Cardboard Tubes, Scissors, Paint Smocks (or old T-Shirts), Paint Trays, Paper Plates, Paintbrushes, Assorted Patriotic Decorations (stickers, stars, stamps, etc.), a hole punch, poster putty, and yarn/ribbon.

Invite the children to create by placing all the supplies out on a table or a large tray.  Have the children begin at the top of an empty cardboard tube and cut strips (going around the tube) of cardboard that are approximately one inch wide (younger children will need assistance with cutting).   One cardboard tube will make 2-3 bracelets/bands.

Patriotic Cardboard Tube Bracelets and Bands 007Have the children place two pieces of poster putty or tape under the ends of the cardboard strip and press onto a paper plate (it will keep the cardboard strips flat while painting).

Place small amounts of the desired paint on a paper plate or paint tray.  If using non-washable paint, make sure the children wear an old T-Shirt or paint smock to protect their clothing.  Have the children paint the entire cardboard strip and allow to thoroughly dry.

Patriotic Cardboard Tube Bracelets and Bands 009When the painted cardboard strips are dry, have the children hole punch each end and thread a piece of yarn or Patriotic ribbon through the hole.  The ribbon/yarn will tie the bands to their wrists.  The children can decorate their bands with assorted flag stickers, stamps, stars, or other Patriotic items.

The bracelets are also a great “make and take” craft for summer camps!

Your children might also enjoy reading:

Extra Patriotic Crafts and Learning Resources for Kids!

Patriotic Pony Bead Bracelets

Patriotic Pre-Writing Free Printable

“Fireworks” Paintings and No-Candy Treat Bags

Playdough Mats Free Printable and Firecracker Template

Patriotic Math and Literacy Idea for Preschool and Kindergarten

Craft Stick Flags and a Patriotic “Roll and Cover” Math Game

Patriotic Snack Idea, FREE FLAG TEMPLATE, and Free Stars Patterning Printable


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101 Kids Activities that are the BESTEST, FUNNIEST Ever! #PLAY #Parents

101 Kids Activities

Disclosure: The Preschool Toolbox participates in the Amazon Associates Program. This post and others on this blog may contain affiliate links. We have received a copy of 101 Kids Activities in exchange for this post. All opinions expressed below are our own.

Holly Homer and Rachel Miller of the Kids Activities Blog have done it again!  Not only have they created a website that is chock full of great ideas for kids, but TODAY they launch their book:  101 kids activities THAT ARE THE BESTEST, FUNNIEST, EVER!   The suggested activities come with easy to set-up instructions and colorful photos to make playful learning FUN!  The book is a must-have for any parent, grandparent, childcare teacher/provider, or others that wish to create special and long-lasting memories with kids!


(From 101 Kids Activities by Holly Homer and Rachel Miller – reprinted with the permissions from Page Street Publishing June 2014)

This project transforms sticky notes into a maze that can be designed and constructed by a kid. The fun thing is that even though they designed the maze, it will still be a challenge to maneuver a pom-pom through it with a straw and some air power.


+ 2+ stacks of sticky notes

+ Tabletop surface (or the floor)

+ Straws—one per child playing

+ A variety of different pom-poms

Create a maze track with the thin post-it notes (or masking tape). Line up the notes close together on a smooth surface, creating corners, turns and twists across the table.

Have your children pick out a straw and a pom-pom and start at the beginning of the maze. They need to blow their pom-pom to go through the maze without falling off the track. If they go outside of the lines of the “track” they need to take their pom-pom back to start and begin again.

Modifications for Younger Kids

Have your children work on blowing the straw evenly to get their pom-pom to move. This is a great way to work on breathing control. Our youngest tykes just liked blowing their pom-poms anywhere. They can have a simple start/finish line or a set of bases to get their pom-poms to.

Modifications for Older Kids

Cut the notes in half to make a narrower trail. Add some twists and turns in the maze, making it more difficult for kids to navigate their pom-pom around the barriers.

For a science twist, have your kids experiment. Is the pom-pom easier to control if they have a thinner straw? What happens when the size of the pom-pom changes?


Wondering how to create a maze? Try filling in an entire 2 x 3-foot (61 x 91.5 cm) area with the sticky notes. When the entire “box” is filled, remove the notes to reveal the maze route.

Regulating breathing by blowing pom-poms is a great way to learn breath control. This is also a good “calm down.”

What Others Are Saying About 101 Kids Activities

You don’t have to spend a fortune at ‘Toys R Them’ just because your kids say they’re bored.  In 101 Kids Activities, Holly and Rachel give you a ton of great, free or cheap ideas to keep your children entertained year-round. – DAVE RAMSEY, New York Times bestselling author and nationally syndicated radio show host

101 Kids Activities is a must-have for moms and dads everywhere!MELISSA BOURBON RAMIREZ, bestselling author of A Magical Dressmaking mystery series

I’ve come to rely on Holly and Rachel to continually produce simple and creative activities that really engage kids of all ages.  Their blog has long been bookmarked as a go-to resource for me, and I can’t wait to add their new book to our shelves! – STEPHANIE MORGAN, founder of Modern Parents Messy Kids

From fun math to learning to use scissors to making crazy sticky crafts to engaging in detective games, this book has it all.  I can read it and know that my kids will have a zillion ways to keep busy while still learning! – KIMBERLY CLAYTON BLAINE, MA, MFT, licensed family therapist, executive producer of TheGoToMom.TV

101 Kids Activities is a wonderful resource that will make you the coolest parent on the block. – CINDY HOPPER, founder of the blog Skip to My Lou

Holly and Rachel are THE go-to resources for kids activities. – DEBBIE CLEMENT, creator of Rainbows within Reach

Holly Homer and Rachel Miller are my go-to experts for play and learning activities – MELISSA TAYLOR, author of Pinterest Savvy


Enter via the Rafflecopter form below for book giveaways, products to go along with a book giveaway and cash prizes!  The specific giveaway items will change weekly/bi-weekly.

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Ocean Theme Activities for Preschool: Sea Turtle Life Cycle & Sensory Bags

Sea Turtle Sensory Bag

Disclosure: The Preschool Toolbox Blog participates in the Amazon Associates Program. This post and others within this blog may contain affiliate links.

Exploring an ocean is exciting for preschool children!   Ocean animals, shells, sand, and water are a wonder and bring out the natural curiosity that is at the heart of every young child.  Whether your children have a chance to visit a real ocean or not,  learning about the life cycle of a sea turtle is playful discovery for preschoolers!

Sea Turtles are on the endangered list due to environmental and human threats:

  • predators to the nest (raccoons, dogs, humans, ants, crabs, and/or sea birds)
  • sea turtles can get caught in fishing lines from boats
  • poaching and illegal sale of sea turtle eggs, shells, or turtle meat
  • pollution in the water or debris/litter from humans

Sea Turtle Post 018

For hands-on play with the sea turtle’s life cycle, Safari Ltd. offers a green sea turtle life cycle set:  eggs, hatchling, juvenile, and adult.   Discuss the 4 basic stages with the children while showing each piece from the set.

  • Sea Turtle Eggs – the female turtle can lay up to 100 eggs in the sand at night.  The female leaves the ocean to lay her eggs in a hole (nest) then covers the eggs with sand using her front and back flippers.
  • Sea Turtle Hatchling – in 6-12 weeks (time differs with various turtles), the turtles hatch from their shells and make their way to the deeper waters in the ocean.
  • Juvenile Sea Turtles – the younger turtles have an initial growing period of up to a decade.  The young turtles live and feed in the ocean waters.  Eventually, the turtles will join the other turtles along the ocean’s coastline.
  • Adult Sea Turtles -  an adult sea turtle can grow over 3 feet long.  Some types of sea turtles can live to be 100 years old.  Adult sea turtles make their home along the coastlines of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.  If possible, show the children where the oceans are located on a map.   For a downloadable online map of the oceans, visit National Geographic Education.

Remind the children that as the sea turtles mature, the female turtles lay more eggs in the sand and the life cycle repeats itself.


Sea Turtle Sensory Bag_1

As an extension activity after basic discussions, create a sea turtle life cycle sensory bag!

Materials needed:  one gallon-sized zippered bag, blue hair gel (or white gel colored with blue or green food coloring), duct tape (to seal the opening), and the 4 piece sea turtle life cycle set.

Place the blue hair gel inside the zippered bag and add all four pieces from the sea turtle life cycle set.  Zip the bag closed and seal the opening with duct tape to prevent the gel from leaking as the children play.

Sea Turtle Sensory BagAs the children play and discover the contents of the bag, see if they can re-create the sea turtle life cycle by moving the 4 pieces into life cycle sequence (as shown in the photo above).  After the pieces are ordered, the children can create 4 separate sections by drawing a vertical line with a finger down the middle of the bag and a horizontal line across the center.

The sensory bags are fun for kids (adults, too).  It is a great way to encourage young kids to use their senses (touch and sight) to position the pieces into the life cycle sequence.

Books about Sea Turtles:

The Life Cycle of a Sea Turtle by Bobbie Kalman

Turtle in the Sea by Jim Arnosky

Sea Turtles by Gail Gibbons

Sea Turtles:  The Complete Guide for Beginners & Early Learning {Kindle Edition} by Julia Cook


Additional Sea Turtle Resources:




For more OCEAN THEME activities for preschool and kindergarten, see our Ocean Thematic Unit here on the blog!







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The History of the Flanders Poppy & Poppy Craft for Kids!

History of the Memorial Poppy

History of the Memorial Poppy

The red Flanders Poppy (also known as the Memorial or Remembrance Poppy) is recognized internationally as a symbol of Remembrance for all veterans who have served or died serving their country.

The idea behind the Flanders Poppy came from Miss Moina Michael, an American teacher, who was inspired by the late Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae’s poem:

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

~John McCrae

John McCrae is believed to have written the poem on 3 May 1915 after the death of his friend in Flanders Fields (Belgium) during WWI.  Miss Moina was so moved after reading the poem that she campaigned tirelessly for the red Flanders Poppy to become a universal symbol.  In 1920, the American Legion adopted the Flanders Poppy and agreed to use the poppy as a symbol of Remembrance.

Flanders Poppy Craft

Flanders Poppy Craft


Materials needed:  4 miniature red cupcake liners (per craft), one straw or craft stick (stem of the poppy), glue sticks, one yellow button (per craft) and a black permanent marker.

Invite the children to create by placing all the supplies out on a tray or table.  Demonstrate how to flatten each of the 4 cupcake liners for the children.  Have the children flatten and arrange the cupcake liners into two rows of 2 (see photo above).  The children can slightly overlap the cupcake liners and glue together to resemble a poppy.   For the stem, have the children glue a craft stick or staple a straw to the back of their poppy craft.  The children can add the yellow button and use a black marker for the poppy’s center if desired (see photo).

The poppies are an easy craft to accompany a basic introduction of Memorial Day for children.  While young children may not yet comprehend the significance of Memorial Day, as parents and teachers we are “planting tiny seeds” of knowledge that will grow as they do!

For more Memorial Day Activities for Families with Children, please visit us on Squidoo!

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5 Senses: The Braille Alphabet in Preschool & Kindergarten

Exploring The 5 Senses in Early Childhood will help young children identify and discover the body parts that are used to gain sensory information: Eyes, Ears, Nose, Mouth, and Hands.

 Braille Alphabet Chart

The Braille Alphabet Chart activities suggested below will offer opportunities for hands-on play with the sense of TOUCH.  Through play and experimentation, the children will develop an awareness of how the sense of TOUCH is used to gain knowledge about their world.

BRAILLE ALPHABET NAMES – Braille Alphabet Chart

Braille Alphabet

Materials needed:  Braille Alphabet Chart.pdf (linked above), dried beans (such as lentils), glue, heavy paper or pieces of cardboard, and a permanent marker.

After explaining to your students why some children use Braille and their fingertips to read, each child can create their own name in Braille letters using the beans. Refer to the Braille Alphabet Chart to spell out each child’s name using the permanent marker and making the appropriate amount and position of dots. (If you use a washable marker the glue will make the color bleed on the paper). Invite each child to use a glue bottle to make small glue dots on top of the marker dots (younger children will need assistance squeezing the glue from the bottle).  Note:  older children may wish to make the dots with the glue bottles only.  Finally, place a small dried bean on top of the glue and let dry. When dry, the child can run their fingers across the tops of the beans to see what their name would feel like in Braille writing.

Braille Alphabet Names formed with Dried Beans

Braille Alphabet Names formed with Dried Beans



Materials needed: Braille Alphabet Chart.pdf (linked above) printed onto heavy paper such as cardstock (one per student), push pins, carpet scraps or squares.

Each child takes one of the Braille Alphabet Charts and places it on top of a carpet square that has been turned upside down. The child then uses the push pin and pushes it through each of the black dots. When finished, if you turn over the paper, the “dots” will be raised and the child can run their finger across the back of the paper to feel each of the letters they created.

For more activities to play and learn with all 5 Senses, see The 5 Senses Theme here on the blog!  The theme includes activities and suggestions for learning about the senses of Taste, Touch, Sight, Hearing, and Smell.   The activities are offered within the categories of LITERACY, MATH, SCIENCE, ARTS & CRAFTS, LARGE MOTOR, and DRAMATIC PLAY.  The theme also includes an extensive book list for further explorations!

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Spring Weather Theme for Preschool – Stained Glass Umbrellas & Sunshine Math

We’ve had over 49 inches of snow so far this winter!  Our preschoolers (and teachers) are anxiously awaiting spring’s arrival!  Just in the last month, we’ve gone from -23 degrees to a stormy 50 degrees outside today!  Our kids can finally see the grass peeking out from beneath all of the melting snow!   To celebrate the warmer temperatures, we made stained glass umbrellas and played with sunshine math.  We hope your children enjoy crafting and learning with us this spring!

Stained Glass Umbrella CraftStained Glass Umbrella Craft – Stained Glass Umbrella Template

Materials needed:  One umbrella template per child or craft (linked above), blue and yellow tissue paper, scissors, glue sticks, and clear contact paper.

Prior to the craft:  Cut out the umbrella from the template including the hole in the center.  The blue and yellow tissue paper should be cut into squares (see photo above).   Younger children will need assistance with cutting.

When the template and opening is cut, place the umbrella onto a piece of clear contact paper (sticky side up).   Invite the children to use the tissue paper squares to cover the opening in the umbrella.  Once the children are finished, cover the entire umbrella with another sheet of clear contact paper.  Older children can cut the umbrella shape out, but younger children will need assistance.

The stained glass umbrellas make wonderful spring weather crafts to display at home or in the classroom!

SUNSHINE MATH – a roll, count, and cover activity- Sunshine Roll_Count_Cover

Sunshine MathMaterials needed:  One sunshine math printable (linked above) per child, two dice, and bingo dot markers (or small items/manipulatives to cover the numbers).

Invite the children to roll 2 dice, count the number of dots, and cover the corresponding numbered sun with the chosen manipulative (or mark with a bingo dot marker).  When the children have rolled all of the numbers except for the number 1, have the children roll just ONE die until the number 1 is rolled.

For younger children:  Have the children roll only one die to begin the game; it will allow the children to concentrate solely on the numbers 1-6.  As the children gain confidence with counting and number recognition skills, add the second die to work with the numbers 1-12.

Spring Weather ThemeFor more Spring Weather activities for learning and play, see the SPRING WEATHER THEME for Preschool and Kindergarten now available via this blog.

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Fishbowl Counting Mats and Fishy Letters – Ocean Theme for Preschool & Kindergarten!

While we are in the midst of the remnants of our latest snowstorm, some of our preschool friends around the world are enjoying summer weather! Regardless of the weather outside, young children can enjoy playing and learning with Ocean-Themed activities!

Fishbowl Math Mats to Create and Count

Fishbowl Math Mats to Create and Count

Fishbowl Counting Mats – Fishbowl Math Mats

Materials needed:  Fishbowl Math Mats – linked above (as many as desired for your group of students), blue tissue paper, scissors, glue sticks, and goldfish crackers.

Print off the Fishbowl Math Mats for any numbers the children are working on or have had introduced.  There are templates for numbers 1-20 (plus one blank one to label with any number desired).

Invite the children to glue blue tissue paper squares to the bottom of the fishbowl to resemble water in the bowl.  If desired, the children can color the fishbowl or use blue watercolors to paint the fishbowl.

Give each child a small container of fish-shaped crackers.   The children should count out the number of crackers that correspond to the fishbowl’s number and place them on the mat.  For younger children, introduce smaller numbers first (such as 1-5). For older children who are ready for more challenging numbers, 11-20 may be more appropriate. Older children can also use the mats to practice basic addition and subtraction skills.

Note:  If you do not have fish-shaped crackers, any ocean-shaped manipulatives or available counters can be used.

Fishy Letter Writing

Fishy Letter Writing

FISHY LETTERS - Fishy Letter Writing

Materials needed: Fishy Letter Writing.pdf – linked above (1 or 2 per child), crayons, alphabet stamps/stamp pads, or markers.

There are various ways to use the Fishy Letters file.  In each case, students can write or copy letters into the blue oxygen bubble next to each fish. Below are different ways students can do this activity:

1. Students can try to write the corresponding lower case letter next to each fish.

2. Students can copy the letter on the fish and write the matching upper case letter

3. Students can use a letter stamp to stamp the corresponding lower case or upper case  letter.

4. Students can trace the appropriate letters.

5. There are two completed worksheets for students to use. The third page of the pdf file is left intentionally blank to use with any letters the children are working on.

The activities above are just two activities offered in our Ocean Theme!  There are 7 PowerPoints, a 42 page manual with suggested literacy, math, science, art, large motor, and all accompanying pdf files to print for the activities. 

For alphabet stamps, stamp pads, and other supplies to use with the Ocean Theme Activities, see RESOURCES and SUPPLIES here on the blog!

Disclosure:  The Preschool Toolbox is a member of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.





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Patriotic Activities for Kids to Celebrate the 4th of July!

Children adore special celebrations!  It is a time for family and friends to come together and create special memories.  In the United States, we celebrate Independence Day on the 4th of July each year!  

Our children love learning with Patriotic Theme Activities in anticipation of the 4th of July! Below you will find suggestions to help make your celebrations special, too!

Sensory Firecracker Craft

Download and print the Firecracker Template here.   Have the children cut out the firecrackers (assist younger children or cut out prior to the activity).  Set out a variety of textured items that the children can use to decorate the firecracker.  Some suggestions:  colored sand/rice/pasta, felt, pompoms, cornmeal, oatmeal, feathers, tissue paper, or paper scraps.

In the photo above, our kids used Patriotic colors of Wikki Stix to make the firecrackers.  The child who made the featured firecracker choose to add the “sparks” coming out of the tail!

Extension idea:  Create the firecrackers by making each one with a different texture. Place the firecrackers under a large blanket or towel and have students feel each fire cracker one at a time and try to guess what material(s) are on the firecracker.  Children should only use their sense of touch for this activity and try not to peek under the cover. For younger children, you may want to have samples of each of the materials that were used so the children can point to the material(s) they are feeling.

The firecracker crafts make great displays at home or in the classroom!

PATRIOTIC PRE-WRITING - Patriotic Pre-Writing

Download and print one Patriotic Pre-Writing Mat (linked above) for each child.  Tell the children the goal is to make a path for the star to get to the flag.  Allow the children to experiment making any paths desired.   In the photo above, our children used Wikki Stix to make the various paths.  The children can also use markers/crayons to make the paths, but the Wikki Stix will add a layer of sensory/fine motor depth to the activity.


Materials needed:  Assorted colors of  Wikki Stix and red/white/blue pony beads.

Set out trays of Wikki Stix and the 3 colors of pony beads.  Demonstrate for the children how to make a simple ABC pattern with the pony beads by placing the 3 colors of beads onto the Wikki Stix.  Say the colors out loud as they are placed on the Wikki Stix.   Remind the children that a pattern repeats itself; ask the children if they know what color of bead should be placed on the sample pattern stick next?  Build an ABC pattern row on the sample Wikki Stix together with your children.  Ask the children to say the names of the colors as they are placed on the sample pattern stick.

Extension idea:  have the children make Patriotic bracelets/bands to wear after patterning!

Children will be delighted when they grasp the idea of patterning!  Soon the children will begin pointing out patterns that exist in their world.  If you have a chance to view a fireworks display, ask the children if they can find any patterns in the fireworks they see!

Extra Patriotic Resources:

Check out other Fabulous Patriotic Activities, Crafts, and Play Ideas for Kids:

Wikki Stix “No Candy” Treat Bags for Kids

Patriotic Salt Dough Ornament Craft by Early Childhood News

Patriotic Colored Ice Sensory Play by Fun-a-Day

Patriotic Montessori Ball Transfers with Ping Pong Balls and Golf Balls by Living Montessori Now

DIY Personalized Family Picture Bingo Cards – great fun to play with family and friends by eighteen25


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Stop the “Summer Slide” with Fun Beach Theme Activities for Preschool!

Beach Theme Counting Practice (Instructions Below)

Children love to visit the BEACH! The activities offered below are wonderful extension lessons to do after a trip to the beach (or the chance to explore a beach theme if a visit to the beach is not possible.) The beach theme suggestions below are designed for children in Preschool or Kindergarten, but are adaptable for children of differing skill levels.

Road Trip FUN with Wikki Stix

Shara at Mommy Perks has some great ROAD TRIP suggestions for families!  Check out her post if you are taking a trip to the beach (or anywhere!) this summer!

FUN items to look for at the BEACH!

Beach Scavenger Hunt - Beach Items

Print the beach items and laminate for each of the children.  At the beach, have the children look to find each of the items.  The scavenger hunt is a fun game to reinforce letters/words at the beach.  How many of the items can your child find?   If it is not possible to go to the beach, let the children look through books/magazines to locate each of the beach items in the file.  There is a great list of beach-themed books located in the EXTRA RESOURCES section at the end of this post.

Extension Games to Play:  for older children, cut the word and picture cards apart.  Have the children work to match the word with the corresponding picture.  For younger children, print two copies of the beach items file above.  Cut the strips apart and place each strip face down on a table or the floor.  Have the children play a memory game by turning two strips over at a time to see if they match.  If the strips do not match, both strips are tuned face down and play continues to the next child.  The game is over when all strips have been matched.

Beach Theme Counting (pictured above)

Materials needed:  Small beach-themed counters/shells, beach-themed plastic cupcake flags, homemade or commercial playdough, and a dry erase marker (to label the cupcake flags).

Label several plastic cupcake flags with any number the children have had introduced.  Have the children roll large balls from playdough and then flatten to a “pancake-shape” on a table or playdough mat.  Have the children place one labeled cupcake flag on each of the playdough shapes.  The children must then press the corresponding number of beach-themed counters into the playdough shape.  The children will love playing with the playdough and beach-themed objects!  It is a great way to PLAY with one-to-one correspondence and retain basic counting skills over the summer.

Beach-themed Patterning

Beach Patterning - Blank Pattern Strips

Materials needed:  Small Beach-themed items/seashells and the blank pattern strips (linked above).

Print the blank pattern strips above for each child.  Set out an assortment of beach-themed items or seashells for the children to use.  For very young children, start an AB pattern on the blank pattern strips and see if they can finish the row. Young children might also copy a complete pattern row that has been done for them. For older children, have them make more complex patterns without using the pattern strips.

Roll and Remove Math for Preschool and Kindergarten

Roll and Remove Math for Preschool and Kindergarten - Sunshine Math

Materials needed:  Sunshine Math file (linked above), permanent or dry erase marker to label the flags, Wikki Stix, and 1-4 dice.

Print the Sunshine Math file for each child and laminate for durability (if laminating supplies are not available, clear contact paper will work).   Cut out each of the suns in the file and label with a number the children have had introduced.   Place each labeled sun on top of a Wikki Stix to make a numbered flag.   Arrange the flags in a random order on a mat or a table top.  Have the children roll 1-4 dice.  As the children roll the dice, they must count the dots and remove the corresponding numbered sun flag,  The game is over when all sun flags have been removed.

Flip Flop Craft for Kids

Wikki Stix Flip Flop Zipper Pull Craft for Kids

Materials needed:  Two colors of Wikki Stix and scissors (safety scissors will work).

Have the children make a spiral shape from two strands of the same color of Wikki Stix (this shape becomes the bottom of the flip flop).  The children can cut two small pieces of Wikki Stix from the second color to make top portion of the flip flop (^).   Our kids made zipper pulls for their backpacks by attaching a small craft circle to the back of the Wikki Stix flip flops.  It’s a fun summer craft for the kids to make!

Oyster and Pearl Cookie Craft

For MORE Beach Activities including food crafts and Seashell games, visit EXPLORING THE BEACH at Squidoo!   

Extra BEACH Resources to check out!

13 Books about the Beach 

Scented Homemade Playdough with Jello

Recipe for Play Sand

20 Nature Related Beach Activities for the Whole Family

Beach-themed Sensory Table

Sandy Handprint Keepsake Beach Craft

Seashell Crab Craft for Kids

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Wet Chalk Kite Crafts and Learning Games for Young Kids!

The wet chalk kite crafts are a fun activity to do indoors or outside this spring.  The kites make a great craft to display, but the bow activities will also enhance early math and literacy skills.   

Wet Chalk Kites

Materials needed:  One square piece of paper for each child, chalk (drawing chalk works best for this activity, but sidewalk chalk can be used), any color of Wikki Stix, and small cups (for water).

Have the children use the Wikki Stix to make any design desired on the white paper (see photo above).  The children should choose several colors of chalk to use on each of the sections of the kite.

The children can then dip the chalk into the cups of water (the water will make the colors brilliant).   The children can color each of the sections as desired.  The Wikki Stix will keep each colored section of the kites separated.

When finished coloring each section, the children can remove the Wikki Stix and allow the kites to thoroughly dry.

When the chalk kites have dried, the children can make kite strings by attaching a long strand of Wikki Stix to the bottom of the kite.

Learning Activities to Accompany the Kite Crafts

Bows TemplateKite Bow Template

The Kite Bows file (linked above) can be used in many ways to enhance learning with young children when combined with the wet chalk kite crafts above.

HINT:  Laminate the kites after drying and use a dry erase marker for some of the learning game suggestions below.  The bows can also be laminated for use with the different games, too.

CVC Words - print the bows file and label each bow with  different vowels.  Label one of the kites with two letters (for ex:  C _ t).  The children must then find a bow that could be used to make a word.  In this example, the children would find a bow labeled with the letter “a” to make the word Cat.  **The bows will adhere to the Wikki Stix kite “string” so no glue will be necessary.

Sight Words – label the kites and bows with any sight words the children have had introduced.  Place all the bows face down on a table or the floor and have the children find the bows that match the words on each of the kites.  We have also used the kites for word families (see -ar word family kite pictured below).

Names – have the children write or stamp the bows with the letters that make up their names.

Patterning – label each of the kites with a pattern the children have had introduced:  AB, ABC, AABB, etc.  The children can then use the different colors of bows to create patterns on the Wikki Stix kite strings.

Numbers – label the kites with different numbers the children are working on.  The children must place the number of bows on the kite string that corresponds to the number on the kite.  Addition/Subtraction:  label the kites with a simple addition or subtraction problem.  The bows should be labeled with the sum to the problem.

Letter Recognition:  label the kites with an uppercase letter(s) and the bows with a lowercase letter(s).  The children must find the matching letters and place them on the kite string.

Color Recognition:  print two copies of the bows and place 2 or 3 colored bows on one of the kites.  The children must find the matching colored bows and place them on the kite string.  For older children, label the kites with a color WORD and have the children place the corresponding bow on the kite string.

Additional Crafting - the kite bow file also contains an additional paper bow template.  Our older kids used the template with Wikki Stix to make paper bows.

We hope your kids enjoy the kite craft and the kite bow extension games this spring!  If you have additional suggestions for games, please leave us a comment below to share with others!

For MORE Spring Theme Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten, we have ready- made theme activities to download and print here on the blog!






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Beach Theme Activities for Preschool!

Do you plan on visiting the beach with your preschoolers this summer?  The beach offers a wide variety of fun and learning experiences for kids!  Even if you don’t live near one, the beach theme activities below will help your children explore, play, and learn!

Sand Pail Counting

Sand Pail Counting

Sand Pail Math Activities - Blank Sand Pails

Materials needed:  One Blank Sand Pails Template (linked above) and assorted shells or other beach-themed counters (suggestions:  miniature umbrellas, rocks, or beach-themed stickers).

Print the sand pail template to heavy paper and laminate if you plan to reuse (when laminated, the numbers can be made with a dry erase marker and changed as often as necessary.)   Write any numbers on the sand pails that have been introduced to your children.  Have the children practice one-to-one correspondence by placing the same number of shells (or other suggested counters) on the sand pails.

Extensions for older children:  Use larger numbers on the sand pails or have the children practice basic addition and subtraction.  For elementary children, the sand pails can be used for multiplication and division facts, too.

Literacy Extension:  Write letters on the sand pails and have the children find real beach-related objects or pictures from magazines that correspond to the letters on the sand pails. For example:  Write the letters F and G on the sand pails.  The children must then look for a picture or an object that begins with the letters F and S (flip flops, fish, fishing pole or starfish, sand dollar, and sun).

Describing Sea Shells - Describing Seashells

Materials needed:  One Describing Sea Shells Game Board pdf file (linked above)
Assorted sea shells, counters or plastic counting chips

Print the game boards for each of the children and laminate for durability. Give each child a game board and 9 counters or shells to use as markers on the squares. An adult begins by physically describing one of the shells on the game board. For example: I am round, white, and have a star in the middle (Sand Dollar). The children then find that shell on the game board and cover that square with one of their counters or shells. Continue the game until all the squares on the game board are covered.

Extension for older children: Have the older children take turns describing the shells for their peers or for the younger children.

“Shark” Cookie Food Craft for Kids - Shark Cookie Food Craft

Materials needed:  Any butter or sugar cookie, craft sticks or plastic knives, scissors, blue tube cookie frosting (or white frosting tinted blue with food coloring, and the Shark fin template linked above.

Print the shark fins to heavy paper and laminate if you plan to reuse them.   Have the children spread the blue frosting on the cookie with a craft stick or plastic knife (supervise younger children if using knifes for safety.)   Have the children cut out one shark fin per cookie and place the triangle on top of the cookie to resemble a shark.  These are simple and FUN treats to make with the children during your beach theme lessons.

For more FREE Resources for your Beach Theme, visit us on Squidoo!


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Spring and the 5 Senses: Activities for Preschool!

Spring is a magical time for kids!  After the winter, everything begins anew!  Take your kids outside and watch for signs of Spring’s arrival.  Observations over the course of only a week can provide the children with great fun and many learning experiences about Spring and the 5 senses!

Spring Nature Walks - Nature Walk Record Sheet 

Materials needed: 1 nature walk record sheet.pdf per child, 1 clipboard per child, crayons or markers. Take your students outside on a nature walk so they can use their sense of sight to find and record the items listed on the worksheet. As each child finds one of the items, they can circle or cross off the item from their list. When you return back home or to the classroom, discuss the things the children found (compare and contrast the items that each of the children found.) One child may not have seen a tree, but others may have.  See if the children can recall what kind of items they found. For example, one child may have crossed off the vehicle after seeing a blue car. Another child may have seen a red van. This activity can lead to a large follow-up discussion.

Extension: Depending on the season and your location, your students might be able to find different items or objects. Use the blank record sheet to write, draw, or glue pictures from magazines of things you want your students to find.

What can your children HEAR?  Have the children close their eyes and try to determine what they hear when outside on nature walks!  Turn up your speakers and close your eyes…listen carefully, what do you hear in the video clip below?

Rain Sticks

Set out an assortment of beans, rice, and small items in containers. Ask parents for assistance in gathering enough toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls for each child to make a rain stick. Have the children decorate the tubes with markers, crayons, fabric strips, collage materials, etc. (seal one end of the toilet paper roll with wax paper (doubled-over for strength) and a rubber band prior to setting out for the children.) Have the children fill or spoon beans, rice, and/or small items (beads, shells, etc.) into the tubes until they are approximately two-thirds full. When done filling the tubes, help the children seal the final end of the tube with wax paper (again, doubled-over) and a rubber band.

Extension idea: Have the children bring the rain sticks to circle/carpet time and listen for the different sounds they make. Is one rain stick softer or louder than the others? Do they really sound like rain or something else?

Have the children gather several items in a bag.  Bring the items inside to help the children explore the items with their sense of touch.  What do the items FEEL like?  Help the children brainstorm words that describe what they are feeling.  Are the items rough, smooth, bumpy, scratchy, itchy, soft, hard, scaly, etc.?  Glue the different items on a poster board and write the descriptive words underneath each of the items found.

What do your children SMELL on the nature walks?  Again, have the children close their eyes and use their sense of smell to find things in nature.  Collect a variety of items to have the children smell (some suggestions:  tree bark, grass, flowers, berries).  Go outside after a spring rain and ask the children to describe what they smell.  Brainstorm words that describe different smells – fresh, musty, moldy, woodsy, etc.

Make a Spring Senses Sensory Bin where the children can explore items from your nature walks.  Set out magnifying glasses, tweezers, rocks, twigs, paper or real flowers, dirt, different textured ribbons, and grasses in a large bin or drawer.  Let the children explore different items using their senses of touch, smell, sight, and hearing.  *Watch for children with seasonal or other allergies as tree bark, flowers, and grasses (among other items in nature) can make allergies worsen.

Umbrella Snacks for Spring

Set out apple slices, banana slices, chocolate chips, miniature marshmallows, and cheese sticks for the children.  Post a picture of an umbrella and have the children try to use the snack materials to make an umbrella.  Have the children describe the TASTE of their umbrellas (are they crunchy, sweet, sour, bitter, etc.)  It is a fun activity for snack time and the children will amaze you with their creations!

For More Activities for Spring and Spring Weather, see the Spring Weather Theme here on the blog!


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The 5 Senses Activities in Preschool: Exploring Spring Weather!

Children love to learn about the weather!  When exploring Spring weather, children have many opportunities to explore with these 5 senses activities!

Sight - Whats_the_Weather_Like

Observe the weather outside each day!

What is the weather outside TODAY?  Look in the newspaper each day and at the weather map in the paper (the children can also visit  Show the children how to tell where it will rain, snow, storm, or be sunny.  Save the week’s forecast from the newspaper for your city and compare it with the actual weather each day. Was the weather prediction in the paper correct? Have the children predict what the weather will be like tomorrow? Write down or graph what the children predict? See if they are right!

Smell  - RainbowPrintingPaper

Ask your children if they can SMELL the weather?  Take your children outside for a walk to experience the smells in nature after different types of weather (suggestions for things to smell:  tree bark, leaves, rain collecting in different areas, flowers, rocks, grasses, weeds, etc.)  *Note:  children with seasonal allergies should avoid smelling different weeds/flowers especially during the Spring*  Discuss with your children different ways to describe what they smell.  Have the children copy, stamp, or write a descriptive word (or words) onto the rainbow paper (linked above) after each of your  walks.

Scented Word Suggestions:

Bad Good Fruity
Stinky Sweet Woodsy
Yucky Yummy Perfumed
Earthy Sharp Musty
Spicy Fresh Sour

Hearing - Weather Sounds

Set out different items that could be used to make the sounds that nature makes. Set out a cookie sheet, pots, utensils, &/or storage containers and have the children make thunder with their hands.  Set out a pie tin and a cup with rice.  Have the children pour the rice into the pie plate making rain sound.  Have the children make sounds for each other. You might also have the children close their eyes while sounds are being made. What type of weather does it sound like? Make up some weather sounds of your own. You might also use shoes, paper towel tubes to blow through, beans for hail, etc.


Torn Paper Thunderstorm Craft for Preschool and Kindergarten

Torn Paper Thunderstorm Craft for Preschool and Kindergarten

Materials needed:  Blue, black, and yellow construction paper and blue tempera paint.

Use blue construction paper and invite the children to finger paint with blue tempera paint for the background of the “storm” (it is fun to add texture to the paint by adding cornmeal before finger painting).  Have the children tear (or cut) a large black “cloud” from black construction paper and lay it over the blue paint (the blue paint will act as glue so none is necessary.)  The children can then cut or tear yellow rectangles from construction paper and lay them length-wise under the black cloud. The thunderstorm now has lightning.  The storm pictures make great crafts to display at home or in the classroom during the spring!

Taste – Raindrop and Cloud Cups

Make a weather-themed snack with your kids.  Have the children layer blueberries (raindrops) and clouds (whipped topping) in individual bowls for a fun and easy snack. Serve with graham crackers and milk for a tasty and nutritional snack!

For more Spring Weather Resources, see the Spring Weather Thematic Unit here on the blog!


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