Sunday, December 9, 2012

Glitter Stockings

We have been making a lot of ornaments these past few weeks. This glitter stocking is simple, cute and almost mess free. Insert squeals of joy here.

Supplies: glitter, plastic storage bags, double sided tape, and thick paper to make a stocking. Our stockings were pre-made and purchased at Michael's.

First place the double sided tape on your stocking. Do only as many pieces as you want of that color of glitter. Don't do what I did the first time and load up the stocking with tape. It was still cute, but only one color. 

Next place the stocking in a plastic storage bag. Make sure the seal is closed tightly or glitter will be every where. Now tell your child to shake it like crazy!

Repeat the process and change colors of glitter. 

It is that simple. You would think I would have a finished product picture. Nope. I forgot to take one because we were having so much fun with other stuff. 

Next time I would bring along glue dots to make different dots all over rather than just stripes. 

Have you made a glitter ornament?

Monday, November 12, 2012


I love Trucks for a class theme. It is simple, very engaging, and it keeps my friends attention for such a long time.

Supplies: Finger Paint (mine was homemade), trucks, and thick paper.

Sorry about how dark it is, it was a phone photo.

Put a few spoonfuls of finer paint onto the paper. Give your child a truck and tell them it is okay to paint with it. Trust me, they will want permission. This art activity was purely for the sensory aspect. Depending on the paint you use, you may or may not want to keep it.

Some friends painted for a minute or two, others painted for twenty. I am not kidding either, one of my friends sat at the table for twenty minutes while the rest of us moved on.

I then had my friends take their truck to the car wash; a simple dish pan filled with water and a few drops of Ivory soap. This activity was just as much fun as painting with the trucks. Warning, you will need smocks and a lot of towels.

We finished off our theme with a Truck Goes Rattley Bumpba by Jonathon London and free play with play trucks. Class was a huge hit.

Have you painted with trucks before?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

It Is Giveaway Time!

The folks over at Melissa and Doug are having their Terrific Twenty List and Giveaway over on their Facebook Page. They are graciously giving away items off their Terrific Twenty List to lucky Facebook fans. Hop on over to their page and check it out.

I really enjoy their products and how all you need is your imagination to make them go. We have several at home and in my classroom.

BONUS GIVEAWAY! Melissa and Doug graciously gave me one toy to giveaway to one of my readers. This is a Rafflecopter giveaway


Do you love this Wildlife Rescue Sort Truck? It could be yours! Don't forget to share this with all your friends.

Disclaimer: I received a Melissa & Doug toy for review. However, all opinions are mine. I would never recommend a product I did not love. No purchase nessessary. Open to USA residents. Must use Rafflecopter to enter  (leave us a comment on  your favorite Melissa and Doug toy), and winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter. Winner will be notified by email. Giveaway ends 11/16/2012. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Melissa and Doug Terrific Twenty List and Giveaway!

Can you believe it is that time of year already? It is time to start thinking about gift ideas for our little ones. One company I love, Melissa & Doug have done it again. I am happy to announce that Melissa and Doug are having a “20 Days of Terrific Twenty” Giveaway" on their Facebook page! Every day (starting November 6) they will be giving away one item from from their Terrific Twenty list to at least one of their lucky Facebook fans! 

To enter go to the Melissa & Doug Facebook page and become a fan. It is that simple. Last year they did a similar giveaway and I personally know a few families that won a Trunki! It was super exciting to watch online and see what they were giving away. I personally like the Suspend Family Game. I know my oldest will really love it. For my little guy I like the WildLife Rescue Sort Set. 

I am really excited to announce that I will be giving one lucky winner an item off the Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty List! Check back soon for all the details. 

Are you as excited as me?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Open Ended Play; A Must!

In this technological day and age (Pinterest, FaceBook, blogs) it is easy to feel that you have to fill your childs day with amazing art activities and crafts. It is easy to feel like a big failure if you don't. The truth is many of these great activities only take a few minutes. I would say one out of ten activities elicits a response so grand that the kids play for 10-15 minutes. It is just how children are wired; short attention spans.

It is very important for us as parents/caregivers to allow our children to have an opportunity to free play; engage themselves in an activity that we have not planned out. Open ended play. It is a term thrown around and I have found many parents do not know what it means. To me it means setting out various items so my boys can create whatever their heart and mind desires with little to no guidance from me.

Think markers, paint and paper. Boxes. Dress up clothes. Items that can be set out and your child will pick them up and play. Below are some of my favorite open play items:

Play Dough

Blocks, cars and painters tape. Yes, my boys created all this. 

Sand Box

Water Table (with or without sand)

You do not have to have a fancy sensory tub or water table to do these. A simple dish pan works great. Look around your house and see how you can invite your child to play. By the way, The Imagination Tree came up with Invitations to Play. See the link below; I think it is brillant.

Here are some more examples of free/open-ended/invitations to play:

Anna over at The Imagination Tree creates invitations to play for her girls. It is brilliant and simple.

Glittering Muffins discusses why pretend play is important.

No Time For Flashcards says It's Their Job!

Teach Mama discusses Focus on Free Play.

Have you invited your child to play today?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Monster Snot (Slime)

My son has been bugging me to make slime. I keep talking about all the science experiements we are doing in his first grade class Halloween party; it is a mad scientist theme. I have been promising we will test them out prior to class party. Monster snot won hands down. I found this recipe in the book from my local library called Crazy Concoctions by Jordan D. Brown.

  • 1 8oz bottle of white glue
  • food coloring
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 teaspoon of Borax
  • measuring spoons/cups
*Safety note: Borax is safe when used in small amounts. But in large doses it can be dangerous. Make sure to keep the box and this slime away from small children and pets. Always use adult supervision. Clean up any powder spills right away. By all means, DO NOT EAT THIS!

  1. Squeeze the 8 oz bottle of glue into a bowl. I used a disposable pan that I use for our science experiments.  
  2. Fill the empty glue bottle with warm water and put lid back on. Shake, shake and shake. Empty the water into the bowl. Add a few drops of food coloring. 
  3. Fill a measuring cup with 1/2 cup of warm water and add 1 teaspoon of Borax. Mix.
  4. Slowly pour the Borax mixture into the water/glue. Squish it together with your hands. The magic will begin. 

There may be a little bit of water left in the bowl, don't worry the more you play with the mixture the more it becomes a solid. Our water was completely absorbed in a few minutes. 

My boys played with it for about 15 minutes. I then put it in a Ziplock bag to preserve. This is going to be a blast at our class party!

Have you made snot/slime before?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pudding Paint Pumpkins

Today I wanted to paint with something my toddler friends could paint with without worry, as a few of them put all the paints in their mouths. Pudding paint is the answer.

Supplies: Vanilla pudding, food coloring, paper plates, and paint brushes.

I chose the pre-made pudding option since I keep it in my classroom. You may want to make your own pudding. You will also need food coloring. I used 2 drops of red and 3 drops of yellow.

Our theme today was Halloween/Pumpkins. We read a great lift the flap book called Eek-A-Boo. It is simple enough to keep their attention, yet interactive.

I had my friends paint a paper plate pumpkin. Next week we will add the face after the pudding has a chance to dry.

I also did the popular 5 Little Pumpkin Felt Board Story. I found my copy here, at Mommy School by Oopsey Daisy. She has a great H is for Halloween pack.

Have you painting with pudding before?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Paint With Hay At PlayAway

Today's theme was farm animals. I have done several crafts including muddy pigs. This time I wanted to try something different. Today we painted with hay. Okay, not real hay due to allergies. I used fake hay. I have no idea what it is made from, but I got it at the local craft store. I got the idea from the great MaryAnn Kohl.

Supplies: hay (or fake hay), washable paint that you will water down, and thick paper. 

First make a paint brush out of hay. I grabbed a handful and then taped it together. You can have the children grab it with their hands or you can have them hold it with a clothes pin. 

I drew a barn on some thick red construction paper. I asked my friends to paint the hay around the barn. I love that they asked for more than just yellow. My mind made the hay  yellow, they knew better. Hay can be any color. 

We finished off with Old MacDonald felt story/song, and two great books. 

Have you painted with hay before?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Textured Pumpkin Art

This weekend my son and I were watching Artzooka, a CBC show. It is a great art show for older kids which shows kids how to make art out of recycled materials. We have been watching it since he was four and he loves it. Much of the art projects are for older kids, but some we can do. This textured pumpkin is an example of one.

Supplies: old crayons, school glue, thick paper with pumpkin drawn on it, grater to grate crayons, and art sticks.

Grate the old crayons (get help from your parents on this one kids). My three year old did this under my supervision. He had no problem and there were no boo boos. You know your child and their ability. Closely supervise or do this for them.

I used orange and black crayons. Mix your crayon shavings into a bowl of glue.

Take your art stick and gently rub the glue/crayon shaving mixture onto your paper. It will be thick and a little hard to move for little ones. My six year old had no problem.

Let it dry. It may take a couple days depending on the thickness. *It took at least 24 hours to dry, but the texture is really cool for the kids to feel.

Have you used crayons in a fun way?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Today was all about shapes. Circles, squares, triangles; oh my! We read Little Rabbits book on shapes.

Our art project was circle painting. My friends and I painted circles (really stamped) with paper tubes.

Supplies: You will need paper tubes (tp or pt tubes), paint, and paper.

Have child put tube into paint and stamp circles.You can also make the tubes into other shapes, although mine did not turn out well.

Our sensory was foam shapes in water. My friends splashed a lot today.

We also found shapes in our classroom and sorted them by shape. I put tape down on the floor in the shape of a square, triangle and circle. My friends sorted them into the shapes on the floor.

Here are some great links to other shape activities!

Teach Preschool and Hands On: As We Grow both had this fun shape sorting/exploring activity. I put mind on our sensory table since it is low enough for my friends to reach comfortably.

Crayon Frekcles has this great pattern with shape activity.

TinkerLab has Circular Patterns.

A favorite food of mine - Twizzlers - over at Pink and Green Mama.

Glittering Muffins has shape sorting.

These are just a few ideas. What have you done?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I love Fall. Cooler temperatures, leaves cracking under your feet, apples/cider/doughnuts, and of course the beautiful colors. There are so many great ideas out there for fall art activities. I kept it simple; egg carton leaf stamping.

Supplies: You will need paper, fall colored washable paint, and an egg carton. Cut the egg carton to where you have 4 spots where the eggs would be. The center will become the handle for little hands. It works great.

There are two ways to do this activity. You can trace your childs hand or you can draw a tree trunk. I prefer the hand tracing. Once you trace their hand let them dip the carton into the paint and stamp away.  They love the sound and feel of stamping. My 3 year old could not stop stamping. We stamped several trees.

I apologize for the lack of photos, my friends in class where so entertaining that I forgot to take enough photos!

Here are some other great fall activity ideas from fellow bloggers thanks to Moms to 2 Posh Lil Divas for compiling a great list!

What fall activity did you do this week?

Friday, September 21, 2012


Colors is a theme you can do any time of year as nature is providing such bold and beautiful colors most of the year. If you are fortunate enough to live in a climate with out a cold snowy winter, you can do colors all year round. Spring gives us tulips, green grass growing, and blue skies. Summer gives us colorful fruit and vegetable gardens. Fall gives us leaves that turn gorgeous colors. Winter, well here in Michigan, nature gives us white and gray.

Colors is not always an easy lesson to learn, and some can be tricky for my friends. I found a great resource for finding books for children, in particular colors at this site. You can find many of these books at your local library; don't feel as if you have to rush out and get them. Some are more complex than others, so you will want to look at them to see which one is appropriate for child's level of comprehension.

I choose several of these books to read. I won't read them all, I just go with the flow of my friends and see which book would be appropriate. Some days story time is really short and others it is long.

  • little blue and little yelllow by Leo Lionno (yes, I know lowercase. That is how it is supposed to be)
  • Frieght Train by Donald Crews
  • The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse by Eric Carle
  • White Rabbit's Color Book by Alan Baker

Our art activity to go along with our books is a simple splat art activity. You will need thick white construction paper, colored washable paints, and wax paper. Yes, it is this simple. As always you will need a smock. No matter how clean I try to make an activity, it ends up messy. It is a childs job to play and get messy. They do it well. 

Place drops of paint on the construction paper. All over. Try and get them close together in order to allow the colors to mix. Place the wax paper on top of the paint. Then instruct your child to smack the paint. Yes, it is okay to hit your paper today. This will throw some kids off. My son loved doing this so much, we did it six times. 

There is no right or wrong way to do it. While they are smacking their paint discuss how the colors are mixing and turning into new colors. Ask them to shout out what colors they have. Older children can even chart their colors and how they turned out once they mixed.

Our sensory bin was full of warm water. I encourage my friends to play in it. They splashed for a bit and then I introduced our colored ice. Now the fun really began. We discussed the colors and what happened to the water once the ice cubes melted and the colors mixed. My friends splashed, poured, and stirred colored water.

Finally we ended with a color hunt. I have done this activity several times before and it never gets old. I place out different colored construction paper on the floor. I have my friends search around the room for colors. They bring the colors back and place their object on the corresponding color paper. For my 1-2 year olds I bring a bin of colored objects to my circle and we discuss the colors. If they can help, I have them place them on the colored paper.

How do you play with colors? 

Friday, September 14, 2012

All About Me (Names)

This week at PlayAway, we focused on All About Me. I read a simple book Hands Can, which discusses all the things hands can do. We sang Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. We did art with our names.

Ms. Theresa and I decided that our friends need to have a folder to bring all their art work home with them, and to store in our room since it is almost never dry when class is done. My friends like their paint and they like to put it on thick; it is half the fun of art.

This project is so simple, and yet it gets such different results. We placed the childs name on a file folder in foam letters. We supplied washable paint, smocks, and a variety of paint brushes.

We instructed the child to paint over their name and all over the folder. Some of my friends went right to it. Some hesitated and painted around it. Some painted one spot and promptly walked away. This is what happens with 1-3 year olds. You never know what they are going to love.

What my friends do not know is that they will be learning is about creating a resist with the letters and paint. Once the paint dries, we pull off the foam letters and (hopefully) their name pops through the paint as you can see in Samuel's name.

I was suprised by the response. My 1-2's sat for a really long time (10-15 minutes). My 2-3's did it and did it quick. I even had friends that cried because they did not want to finish painting. Ah, a budding artist.

Have you done name art in your home? Even thought they are young, it is never too early to help them learn their name. You can make a placemat with your childs name, you can have them paint over it as we did, you can sing it, and more.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Taking Time To Smell The Playground

It sure has been quiet around here; on the blog I mean. It has not been quiet at my house AT.ALL. That is good though. Summer is for having fun and we sure are. We are getting wet, dirty, silly, exhausted, full of bug bites, laughing, crying from bumps and scraps, and just having good old fashion fun.
Playing with cousins on the beach.

I decided to take a break this summer from classes and posting weekly to enjoy time with my six year old and my three year old boys. It has been the best descion ever, well next to staying home with my boys. We have taken several trips up north, visited our local zoo and museums, splashed in the puddles after a long awaited rain storm and stayed up way too late. It has been so much fun for myself and my husband.

At the zoo.

I have read so many books that I have lost count. I cannot remember the last time I read this many books. Perhaps pre-kids 6 years ago. We go to the library every week and spend as much time as we want there, after all we are not in any rush. We have little to no agenda. It is like being a kid again.

Watching our favorite band The Verve Pipe at our local zoo.

Reality is creaping back in though. We still have over a month of summer left, however, I am working on my fall class schedule, and creating curriculum. I am taking quick reality breaks and then jumping right back into the fun. Ahh summer, you go by way too fast.

Are you having fun this summer? What are you doing?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Volcano; A Science Experiment

Today my boys returned after a four day visit at Grandma and Grandpa's in the country. It was so quiet around here, it was strange. I am happy to have them back, but my husband and I really needed the alone time. 

As soon as they got home, we got right to it! My oldest just turned six on Sunday. He got some great science gifts, which he really wanted. One was a kitchen science kit. We started right off with the volcano. We have done this before but not with a handy plastic volcano; we just made one out of baking soda. 

Ingredients: baking soda, vinegar, red food coloring, and dish soap. 

If you do not have a handy plastic volcano, make a large pile of baking soda into a volcano. Add a few drops of red food coloring and a drop or two of dish soap. Why dish soap? It slows down the reaction between the baking soda and vinegar, allowing you to have a couple minutes of fun rather than a quick 30 seconds. 

We did this over and over and over and over and over...and over. My boys loved it. We ran out of food coloring and that is what stopped us. 

Have you made a volcano with your kids?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Dinosaur Egg Fossils

This past week was my son's sixth birthday. We had a hard time deciding on a theme and after much deliberation we decided on dinosaurs. What sealed the deal was the idea for a dinosaur hunt from a book that he considers his favorite right now; a boys only book.

I had to scramble for ideas since this was all decided about a week prior to the party; isn't that always the way it happens? Thank you Internet! Also, thank you KBN (a group of kid blogger) for all the great ideas.

Dinosaur Egg Fossils which I found here.

What you will need is coffee grounds, flour, salt, sand, water and small plastic dinosaurs.Follow the recipe from attached link and combine in a bowl. I let my boys mix the ingredients, which turned out to be messy. I am warning you. They want to touch it and throw it at each other.

Once it has reached a bread dough consistency, you add the dinosaur. Then shape into an egg. Mine ended up more like an oval pancake.

You will bake them150° for 20 minutes per instructions, but mine took about an hour. Once dry, I hid them outside for the kids to find. Don't laugh because they look like cat poop! I was cracking up once I put them down. It didn't matter because the kids loved it. As a bonus it smells super yummy; coffee.

We then broke them open over our sand table and had some dino play.

Want more dinosaur ideas?

Check out Sense of Wonder's blog:
Dinosaur Fossils
D  is for Dino Dig

The Imagination Tree has a dinosaur land.

Dinosaur songs over at Carrots are Orange.

Lots of dino ideas at Make, Do & Friend.

Teach Preschool shape dinosaurs.