Slap a word!

I was searching for fun games for learning sight words and came across one where your kid slaps the words. Here is the original post about it. I wasn’t sure what words I wanted to start Sophia with at first. I looked at word lists from different websites. I ended up going with the “Tricky” words from Sophia’s Teach Your Monster to Read game (read about it here). I like to cross reference and relate things to each other as much as possible for a solid foundation. So this seemed like a great idea to me, at least.

Tricky word list we used for the slap game
Tricky word list we used for the slap game

Materials needed:

  • Sticky notes (I bought sticky notes in a multi-color pack, because more colors means more fun πŸ˜‰
  • Pen
  • A list of words

First, pick out a list of words you want to use. These could be lists from school, favorite books, tv shows (like Wally Kazaam), games, or a list you found online, anything really.

When I told Sophia I had a slapping word game in mind for her, she was all excited. She set off to cleaning up her toys and books from the table so we’d have room to play (win-win situation πŸ˜€ ). She wanted to be the one to write out the words. So I showed the picture with the words and she wrote them first and then I wrote the word on the paper after her.

Writing out words
Writing out words

We started the game with 4 words. (Keep them spaced out so there room for slapping πŸ˜‰ ) I called the word and she had to find it, slap it with her hand, and call it out. After she found all 4 she called them out for me to find, slap, and call out. πŸ˜€ Then we added 2 more words, played again, and so on until we had all 11 of them. 11 was pushing Sophia’s limit (she is after all still 3 for a few more months anyway). I honestly think she was enjoying writing the words out the most πŸ™‚

Our game words
Our game words

After we played out the 11 words Sophia wanted to go play more of the monster game to get more “Trickies” so we could add more words.

New list of Tricky words. She caught more after we played the slap game
New list of Tricky words. She caught more after we played the slap game

Sand Art Sticker Boards

Sand art board all done
Sand art board all done

I discovered this Pocahontas sand art set the other day. I’ve never seen any sand art sticker boards before so I was a little dubious of the stickiness of the board. I’ve done color and paint by numbers before and this looked fun like them so we decided to give it a shot. This is definitely a parent-toddler-together project.

Pocahontas sand art
Pocahontas sand art

The Pocahontas set came with 4 5×7 pictures. Sophia chose the one of Meeko to do first.

pocahontas sand art

In the instructions it says you can peel one section at a time and sand it or peel all of the same number to do them all at once. We went with the later option for all except the large blue area we uncovered one side at a time. I got the bigger stickers a little pulled up and then Sophia peeled them off. The small stickers I peeled off.

Peeling off the stickers
Peeling off the stickers

First you have to match up the sand colors to the color guide with the kit. I would recommend having several edged cookie sheets to work on top of. We poured the sand we were working with in to a cup and used a small spoon to scoop and pour on to the spot we were working on.

Scooping little sand at a time
Scooping little sand at a time
Working on getting the sand in the sticker parts
Working on getting the sand in the sticker parts
First color done!
First color done!

TIP: While working we discovered a bit later that the easiest way is to have a piece of paper underneath your project because some sand will go over the edges of the project. It’s easier to funnel the sand off the paper into the cup vs trying to do the same with the cookie sheet.

Instructions say touching the sticky glue with your hands will make it less sticky so we tried hard not to accidentally stick our fingers in them. This is why I did the biggest part (blue) in two sections (you can see in the picture below that the left half of sky is still stickered).

On to the blue
On to the blue

TIP: It’s easier to push the sand to the edges of the picture than try to pour the sand on the edge.

Spreading the blue
Spreading the blue

It’s ok to overlap the sand colors once one color is done

Gray sand placed on
Gray sand placed on
After shaking off the excess
After shaking off the excess

This set came with small bags to put the opened sand in when you move to the next color. To pour the sand in the little bags Sophia held them open and I used a piece of paper folded twice as a funnel to guide the sand from the cup into the bag.

Meeko sand art board finished
Meeko sand art board finished

We had so much fun doing this project together! We can’t wait to find the time to do the next one. I’m very pleased as to how this turned out the board was perfectly sticky. We framed it so we can enjoy it for a long time (and since it’s behind glass I don’t have to worry about sand falling off from Sophia touching it all the time).

Practice Writing Sheets

Name Practice Writing Sheets
Name Practice Writing Sheets

Sophia started school this week. Some of the other kids in her class already knew how to write their names really well (like better handwriting than me). So I started looking for practice sheets for Sophia so she can start writing her name on her projects she does. I found these perfect ones here: http://tools.atozteacherstuff.com/printable-handwriting-practice-worksheet-maker/

You can chose the font and write whatever you want.

You can even laminate it and use dry erase markers for infinite use πŸ™‚

Color Books Recommended (baby to elementary school)

I don’t know about you guys but I’m always on the lookout for awesome books about color. I love vivid brilliant colors and beautiful pictures. You can never have too many colors books(… or books of any kind actually πŸ˜‰ ).

My favorite colors books from 9 months to 8+
My favorite colors books from 9 months to 8+ years

Here are my top 5 favorites I’ve found for a range of ages from baby to elementary school. I’m not an Usborne consultant (in case you wondered.) I just really love a lot of their large fantastic variety of non-fiction books (which I have had a really hard time finding for my non-fiction lover before I found Usborne) as well as their fiction ones too.

Usborne Baby's very first touchy-feely Colors Play book
Usborne Baby’s very first touchy-feely Colors Play book

First up is the Usborne Baby’s Very First Touchy-feely Colors Play Book. I love this one so much for many reasons.

Usborne Baby's very first touchy-feely Colors Play book
Usborne Baby’s very first touchy-feely Colors Play book

I love that there are a bunch of things to feel and do. There are cut outs, textures, finger trails and flaps to play with. I love the vibrant colors and illustrations on each of the pages. This book is age rated for nine months and up. This book and other play books similar to this for sale here https://t4783.myubam.com/252093.

Usborne Baby's very first touchy-feely Colors Play book
Usborne Baby’s very first touchy-feely Colors Play book

Second, is a book by DK publishing called My First Colors let’s learn them all.

My First Colors Let's learn them all!
My First Colors Let’s learn them all!

This book features bright vibrant colors and real pictures of objects. This is a fantastic vocabulary building book for toddlers.

My First Colors Let's learn them all!
My First Colors Let’s learn them all!

I love that this book goes beyond the typical colors and has silver, gold, and multi colored included.

My First Colors Let's learn them all!
My First Colors Let’s learn them all!

It’s a sturdy board book that will hold up well. It has tabbed corners that are great for little fingers finding their favorite pages. This book is available through Target.com as well as Amazon.com

My First Colors Let's learn them all!
My First Colors Let’s learn them all!
The Usborne Big Book of Colors
The Usborne Big Book of Colors

Third, is Usborne’s The Usborne Big Book of Colors. I think this is fantastic for older kids that have mastered the basic colors.

The Usborne Big Book of Colors
The Usborne Big Book of Colors

I absolutely LOVE that this book goes into shades of colors, naming them like magenta, turquoise, lime green, saffron, etc so it has tons of fabulous new vocabulary.

The Usborne Big Book of Colors
The Usborne Big Book of Colors

This one is recommended for age 2 and up. The pages are thinner board, so still sturdy yet slightly flexible.

The Usborne Big Book of Colors
The Usborne Big Book of Colors

Two special features this book has are a color wheel you can spin (not super sturdy, pictured in the first picture of this book above) and an acetate page where you can see color mixing (shown below).

I love that this book shows color mixing as well as moods and meanings of colors. Plus each color page has fun facts too. This book is available here https://t4783.myubam.com/252093

The Usborne Big Book of Colors
The Usborne Big Book of Colors

Fourth up is Usborne Lift the Flap Colors.

Usborne Lift-the-flap Colors
Usborne Lift-the-flap Colors

It is recommended for age 4 and up, however I think it would be fabulous for younger kids as well for building vocabulary, learning counting, and small motor skills with the flaps. The games and activities of this book are geared for pre-k.

Usborne Lift-the-flap Colors
Usborne Lift-the-flap Colors

I think this is a great early reader book. Flap books are very engaging and create a hands on learning experience which promotes decision making and critical thinking skills. This book is available here https://t4783.myubam.com/252093

Usborne Lift-the-flap Colors
Usborne Lift-the-flap Colors

Last up, is The Usborne Art Book about Color.

The Usborne Art Book about Color
The Usborne Art Book about Color

This book is rated for age 8+. It begins with a history of how paint has developed.

The Usborne Art Book about Color
The Usborne Art Book about Color

It then goes on to explain how colors are used to achieve desired effects. Then finishes with how our eyes actually see color. I love all the art in this book. I only took pictures of some of the pages (it has 48). This book is available here https://t4783.myubam.com/252093

The Usborne Art Book about Color
The Usborne Art Book about Color

Stamping fun with a toddler, making cards

Excited to stamp!
Excited to stamp!

I’ve been wanting to do a stamping project with Sophia for a while but I didn’t have many stamps and I know they can get expensive fast. However, yesterday I scored a ton of stamps off of a garage sale app for only $10 for it all.

I scored all these stamps from a garage sale app for only $10
I scored all these stamps from a garage sale app for only $10

Luckily I had bought an ink pad at my last outing to Hobby Lobby, so we got right into to stamping first thing this morning.

What you will need:

  • White card stock
  • Stamps of your liking
  • Ink pad(s)
  • Wet wipes (for easy cleaning)
What you will need
What you will need

I picked out several stamps I thought Sophia would like to stamp with. I found a pink ink pad that had come in an art kit Sophia had received as a Christmas present. The purple on is the new one I got on sale. We folded the card stock in half.

The pink ink pad is a bit dried out so it wasn't really working
The pink ink pad is a bit dried out so it wasn’t really working

TIP: Test the ink pads before hand. I should have tested pink one but we found out it was a bit dried out so it wasn’t really working well.

Testing out the purple ink
Testing out the purple ink

It took her a little bit to get the hang of the process. She wanted to just keep stamping with out grabbing more ink on it in between.

Pushing the stamp down with all her might
Pushing the stamp down with all her might

I told her to push the stamp all the way down since she was only pushing half the stamp, so then she pushed on it with all her might πŸ™‚

Sophia got ink on her finger and she said "I'm sooo pretty" I think she likes the ink color :)
Sophia got ink on her finger and she said “I’m sooo pretty” I think she likes the ink color πŸ™‚

TIP: Have the wet wipes with in easy reach for wiping off ink from little fingers πŸ™‚

Making butterflies
Making butterflies

After the first card was all stamped up, Sophia wanted to make another one.

Fronts of the two cards Sophia made
Fronts of the two cards Sophia made

Finished cards πŸ™‚

Insides of the cards
Insides of the cards

This is a great activity for exploring new vocabulary, a new multi-step process, listening skills and learning to follow instructions.

Depending on the stamps you use, these can be modified for any occasion or holiday. Very quick easy fun to make.

Perler Beads for a toddler?

Sophia and I made a perler bead fish
Sophia and I made a perler bead fish

The recommended age for perler beads are 6+ according to the packages you buy at the store. However, I feel that in a supervised setting toddlers can benefit greatly from practicing with them. It is great for fine motor, hand eye coordination, concentration, and following directions. Also, it provides for great talks about color, patterns and provides opportunities for learning new vocabulary.

Perler beads
Perler beads

We did this fish together as she wouldn’t have the patience to do one by herself.

I would recommend to do this in a tray of some sort as the beads do roll away easily. We love doing projects like these in her highchair πŸ™‚

Pure concentration
Pure concentration

She’d knock some over and I would just comment about it being OK and I’d knock some over too. I felt that this is a good way to show her that it’s not bad and not to get frustrated when some fall over.

We just went with random colors (no set pattern)
We just went with random colors (no set pattern)

She learned a great technique of flipping the fallen ones back up on to the pegs all by herself by just experimenting. (I was working on the tail, the rest were hers.)

Almost there
Almost there
The finishing touches
The finishing touches

 

All done
All done

I didn’t let Sophia assist in the ironing process, since she had just spent a lot of time concentrating on the project. I felt that her attention span would be too short to be safe for her work with the hot iron.

All ironed
All ironed
Added a string to hang it up
Added a string to hang it up

Dinosaur matching game FREE (3 part Montessori cards)

I discovered this free print out for a dinosaur matching game, 3 part Montessori cards.

Matching the names
Matching the names

I personally love dinosaurs and was fascinated by them growing up. I wanted to introduce more dinosaurs to my daughter and this was perfect.

Fun new matching game!
Fun new matching game!

Sophia loves to do matching games and this has different options on what to match, which I love and so did she when I introduced this game to her this morning.

All I did was made a free log in for the website Teachers Pay Teachers, link for it here. Then after you log in you can print out the free ones or purchase ones if you wish. They have Spanish card sets as well for free.

I printed them, cut them out and “laminated” them in contact paper.

Matching the names
Matching the names

After a few times of playing by looking for a matching picture Sophia wanted me to ask her to find them by name only, and she would find the two matching pictures. She got most of them right with out me showing which dinosaur I called out.

She loved this game so much that I already have printed out a marsupial and a vegetable set also. I just need to cut and laminate them as well. There is a free template for the three part Montessori cards so you can make your own too if you wish.

Primary color mixing experiment with coffee filter snowflakes and heart-flakes

I love the color wheel and love seeing what colors you get from mixing paints. This was the perfect project to let Sophia experience the wonder.

Finished snowflakes
Finished snowflakes

This is a project I’ve been dying to try out with the liquid watercolors… you can substitute food coloring or even cake watercolors (you would need paint brushes for this option).

What you will need:

  • Liquid watercolors/food coloring
  • Cups for your watercolors
  • Pipettes
  • Coffee filters
  • Scissors
  • Wet wipes (for clean up)
  • Baking sheet
  • Tinfoil
  • Oven (not necessary)
Heart-flakes and snowflakes cut out
Heart-flakes and snowflakes cut out

Flatten, fold and cut out your snowflakes to your liking from the coffee filters.

I cut out 3 filters on top of each other in the heart shape and 4 together on the snow flake. For painting them I placed them on the baking pan 2 on top of each other (I didn’t think Sophia would have the patience to repeat the process 7 times and 4 seemed just right). One of the heart ones was on the pan singly (for the math minded πŸ˜‰ )

Ready to experiment with primary colors
Ready to experiment with primary colors

I diluted the liquid watercolors quite a bit. I put about a 1/4 inch of water on the bottom of the cups and then added the paint to my liking.

Below is a time lapse video of Sophia having fun squirting and mixing the paints together.

So much fun mixing colors
So much fun mixing colors

All done with the first set.

Snowflakes ready to dry
Snowflakes ready to dry

The second set got more brown as she liked putting all the paint in one spot.

Heart-flakes ready to dry
Heart-flakes ready to dry
Drying in the oven with the light on for heat
Drying in the oven with the light on for heat

I placed them in the oven to dry, with just the oven light turned on for a small source of heat. I wanted the end results to be as vibrant in color as possible, so I wanted all the paint to dry on to the coffee filters. It took about 5 hours for the hearts to fully dry.

TIP: You can remove the snowflakes off the cookie sheets and set to dry on a dry surface. Note that the colors will not be as bright if you do this though.

The colors dry a lot lighter
The colors dry a lot lighter

It’s crazy how much less vibrant the colors are after they dry.

TIP: If you want to get some of the wrinkles out, place them in side a book. Each snowflake on their own separate page and then place a weight (or more books on top). Let sit over night.

Love how these snowflakes turned out
Love how these snowflakes turned out

Once dry they are ready to tape to your windows.

My favorite one
My favorite one
Snowflake and heart-flake in the window
Snowflake and heart-flake in the window

Love Bugs 3 versions trials and tribulations

You may have seen these cute critters on Pinterest. We made 3 different versions since we kept having glue issues. I’ll show you what we all did. With pro’s and cons as they appeared.

Toddler approved
Toddler approved

1. First we tried to make them with Elmers glue as a post on Pinterest had suggested. I found it very flimsy and not toddler friendly as I had to hold the pieces on for a long time and the pom poms sucked in all the glue I put on. However this is a great version for older kids with patience and enough skills to do this on their own.

Things for the Elmers glue version
Things for the Elmers glue version

What you will need:

Put glue on the clothes pin
Put glue on the clothes pin
We wanted our Love Bug to have legs so we cut a pipe cleaner in 3 and folded little feet at the ends
We wanted our Love Bug to have legs so we cut a pipe cleaner in 3 and folded little feet at the ends
Placing pom poms
Placing pom poms
As you can see the 4 pom poms didn't fit all that great and were having trouble drying nicely
As you can see the 4 pom poms didn’t fit all that great and were having trouble drying nicely

2. The second Love Bug we tried Removable Clear Mounting Squares instead of the Elmers glue. This version is great for toddlers as a sensory and exploratory experience, as there is no messy glue to work with. However, the end product is not stable to hang up and the mounting squares don’t grip very strongly. So we ended taking it apart and using the pieces in the final version.

What you will need:

  • Elmers Glue
  • Clothes pin
  • Googlie eyes
  • Deco Tubing ribbon for the legs
  • Red and pink pom-poms
Removable clear mounting squares trial
Removable clear mounting squares trial
Sticking on the legs
Sticking on the legs
Great art material  exploring experience
Great art material exploring experience
Toddler approved
Toddler approved
Love Bug with removable clear mounting squares
Love Bug with removable clear mounting squares

3. The final and most successful version, we used hot glue. As I mentioned we used the pieces from the second version so the googlie eyes are already attached. This method will give you the most durable end result. Not as toddler friendly unless they know how to use a glue gun. Sophia is good about listening to instructions so I don’t have problems with her putting pieces on to the hot glue dabs I place. Plus I’m like a hawk with 100% attention on what she does when we are working together. I think in a few months (if I can find a suitable glue gun) I’ll let her practice holding it.

What you will need:

  • Hot glue gun and glue stick
  • Clothes pin
  • Googlie eyes
  • Deco Tubing ribbon for the legs
  • Red and pink pom-poms
  • Glitter foam sheet (for cutting feet from)

Plug in your glue gun and let it heat up before starting.

Hot glue version we added little feet on to the ribbon
Hot glue version we added little feet on to the ribbon
I hot glued the feet on to the ribbon before hand
I hot glued the feet on to the ribbon before hand
Love Bug hot glued
Love Bug hot glued

Since we were working with a hot glue gun I didn’t get any action shots. But I would put a dab of glue and Sophia would stick either a leg or pom pom into it, as she wanted.

Glue Batiks with a Toddler

 

Framed Butterflies
Framed Butterflies

I found this awesome idea on All Our Days blog. They had done two different variations and I combined the two together to make it easier for my daughter and still have a bunch of fun colors.

The Cat framed and ready to hang

Here isΒ All Our Days blog’s many day project they did one with non watered down paint, instructions here.

Here is their version of making solid colors with watered down paint in a spray bottle, instructions here.

Horse framed and hung on the wall
Horse framed and hung on the wall

I combined both painting methods for a faster project. I didn’t think I could get Sophia to keep interested in a project over many days and yet I wanted a bunch of different colors in our end results. Here is the instructions I wrote of just painting the fabric. (We made these for Christmas presents so I couldn’t post about this at the time πŸ˜‰ ).

What you will need:

  • White cotton fabric. (TIP: You could use pre-made napkins if you wanted to)
  • Elmers Glue Gel (the blue kind)
  • Tin foil (for underneath the fabric while gluing)
  • Acrylic paint
  • Cups (for watering down paints)
  • Regular paint brushes
  • Foam brushes
  • Packaging tape
  • Wax table cloth (the paint will go through the fabric and on to the surface below it) Or something else to protect your table
  • A cup with water for setting dirty paint brushes in
  • Wet wipes (for easy clean up)

If you want to frame them like I did you will also need the following:

Since I already posted about how to paint the fabric here.

I’ll just go into the glue portions of the project and framing in detail.

Glue Octopus
Glue Octopus

Place a piece of tinfoil under your fabric (as the glue will eventually soak through it). You can either free hand your designs or you can opt for finding templates to trace. I did two of each kind.

TIP: Leave at least an inch blank around the edges of your design for framing purposes

Glue Seahorse
Glue Seahorse

The Ocean Scene and Butterflies I did free hand.

Finished Ocean Scene
Finished Ocean Scene

TIP: The thicker you put the glue on the clearer the lines on the finished product will be.

The Horse image I found for a template
The Horse image I found for a template

This is the Horse picture I used as a template to trace with glue.

TIP: While tracing an image you will want to tape down the paper image and the fabric over the top of it so they don’t move.

When you are happy with your design allow it to fully dry before moving onto painting it.

Again instructions here for painting.

Painting the Butterflies
Painting the Butterflies
All painted and waiting for the paint to dry on the Ocean Scene
All painted and waiting for the paint to dry on the Ocean Scene
All painted and waiting for the paint to dry on the Butterflies
All painted and waiting for the paint to dry on the Butterflies
The Cat paint dried
The Cat paint dried

Don’t worry if you can’t really see the glue like in the cat picture above.

Fully dried paint and ready to soak in warm water
Fully dried paint and ready to soak in warm water

Once the paints have fully dried put the fabric fully submerged in to a bucket of warm water and let sit for about 20 minutes. The glue will begin to melt away. You can speed it up by rubbing the fabric together or scraping it with your fingernail. This is my favorite part, you get to see the art you just created with your little one!

Glue removed from the Ocean Scene
Glue removed from the Ocean Scene

Just washed Ocean Scene, still wet.

After you have all the glue removed hang up your fabric to air dry.

Once dry they are ready to frame. If you chose to make napkins this is where you need to follow an extra step of heat setting your paint.

 

Ironed and ready to frame
Ironed and ready to frame

Since it took me several months to figure out how to frame the fabric pieces, I needed to first iron all the creases out of them. Follow your irons guidelines for your fabric. I used misting and low heat for mine.

TIP: don’t let the iron sit in one spot too long as it may damage the paint.

Cut foam poster-board to size
Cut foam poster-board to size

I finally settled on using poster-board for the framing. Use your razor knife and cut a piece to size. You will want to leave about an inch on all sides for wrapping.

Cut a small "V" to the corner
Cut a small “V” to the corner

Put a bead of hot glue down the first edge of the poster board push the fabric firmly on it. Glue a second bead on the opposite side and pull the fabric taught before pushing it down on the glue bead.

Next cut a “V” in to the fabric where the corner of the board is. That way it wont bunch up when you glue the corners down.

Fold the over hanging piece and glue down on the board.

Gluing the second corner
Gluing the second corner

Next glue the second corner, the side of the unglued fabric, and fold down and glue. After both corners are glued as shown above put a bead across and pull the fabric taught and push into the bead. Glue other side.

Figure out where you want to place the self leveling picture hanger. As close to the middle is best. I hot glued mine on top of the folded over fabric. Once satisfied with the location put generous globs of hot glue on both ends of the hanger.

It is then ready to hang.

Horse framed and hung on the wall
Horse framed and hung on the wall