Time for Art: Golf Ball Painting

 

I love this activity for so many reasons… it’s easy and not too messy, it’s a ton of fun, and it gets the whole body moving and experiencing! You’ve got to try it!

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I borrowed two golf balls from my husbands golf bag… I don’t know if this would bother a golfer or not, I didn’t ask. I figure they get smashed across the golf course that a little rolling around in paint won’t hurt them.

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Then, I squirted a couple of blobs of paint onto the paper inside of my container. This time my little guy wanted just dark blue. It’s great though if they use more colors because then you get a fun mixing of colors on the paper.

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Once it was set I helped him get the idea of what to do, and he went to town rolling the balls around, creating his masterpiece!

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Like I said earlier I love this activity because it gets the body moving and experiencing what they are doing. This is engaging the brain in so many ways… here are my two favorites in a nutshell:

Art: A couple of things here with art and creativity. In this activity we are using a new instrument (the golf ball) to paint. So, kids are learning to be creative and think outside the box to create. It is also a chance to see how colors mix and make new colors. It’s up to us to talk a lot about what we see happening.

Movement: Active little ones will love engaging their whole body to do this art activity. Figuring out how to move their arms and torso to get the balls to move just so, is getting the brain engaged in so many ways!

Happy Playing! 

 

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Spring Week 11

Spring Week 11: May 13-17

Week 11

At Real. Meaningful. Family. my goal is to provide information based on research for parents and caregivers, and to create regular opportunity for you to have special together time with your child. Toddlers and preschoolers learn from the environment and daily interactions. We are in no way seeking to create a school-like setting for your young child. Research has clearly indicated that academic learning (think reading, writing, and arithmetic) for these young children is not developmentally appropriate, learning for this age is in the every day details. The activities below have been created as a time to set aside specifically for parents and care givers to have a fun interaction with their children. I would recommend you first prioritize time to read, snuggle, dance, sing, move, rhyme, play, and then add these activities in as you can. Don’t stress… keep it simple, and just be together!
“The work will wait while you show your child the rainbow. But the rainbow won’t wait while you do the work.” -Erik Erikson

Art

Golf Ball Paint

IMG_1671This will be a fun, abstract piece of art for your child to enjoy! Lay construction paper in a container about the size of the paper. Then, let them choose paints they want to use and squirt blobs onto the paper. Drop in one or two golf balls and let your child roll the balls around in the container. This is a nice activity to combine some fine motor movements, some large motor movements, and the stimulation of colors moving and mixing. They can also have total control of what they are doing and be proud of their final product.

Stuff to Have

Construction paper

Paint

Golf balls

Plastic container, large enough to lay construction paper flat

Developing Skills

Fine motor, colors, art

Fine Motor

Button Flower

IMG_1468Lay out buttons and pipe cleaners. Demonstrate to children how the pipe cleaner can go through the button-holes. Let your child try to put pipe cleaners through the button-holes and make a button “flower.” If it starts to get frustrating for your child help them out. The point is to have fun and try something new. If you do help, try to find the balance between letting them experiment, and assisting them.

Stuff to Have

Buttons- various shapes, sizes, and colors

Pipe cleaners

Developing Skills

Fine motor, colors

Early Science & Math

Seed Sort

IMG_5700There are two main concepts in the seed sort, fine motor and classification, which is an early math concept. This week the focus is the classification of the seeds… noticing the differences and sorting based on them.Younger children probably aren’t going to sort them exactly the way we would, but they will experience the differences through feeling them and noticing difference in color and shape. No matter their age, they will benefit a ton from you talking about colors, shapes, and any other characteristics you notice as your child plays. What color are they? Which one is the biggest? The smallest? The weirdest? What are these seeds for? What do they look like? Take advantage of simple activities like this, and draw out learning experiences from all areas of development!

Stuff to Have

Various seeds (larger seeds like pumpkin, sunflower, and corn seeds are good for this)

muffin tin or ice tray

Utensils: spoons, cups, tweezers, tongs, etc. (optional)

Developing Skills

Fine motor, math (sorting), sensory

Cooking & Baking

Ants on a Log

IMG_5656The old classic, ants on a log! I was never a big fan of it, but my kids seem to like it and I like including healthy cooking activities as well as fun ones. And this activity really lets them get involved, there’s no cutting or difficult processes or cooking. Let your child spread peanut butter into center of celery. Then they can line raisins, “ants,” along the celery stalk.

Stuff to Have

Celery, cut into 2”-3” pieces

Peanut butter

Raisins

Developing Skills

Fine motor, creative play

Happy Playing!

4

Spring Week 10

Spring Week 10: May 6-10

Week 10

At Real. Meaningful. Family. my goal is to provide information based on research for parents and caregivers, and to create regular opportunity for you to have special together time with your child. Toddlers and preschoolers learn from the environment and daily interactions. We are in no way seeking to create a school-like setting for your young child. Research has clearly indicated that academic learning (think reading, writing, and arithmetic) for these young children is not developmentally appropriate, learning for this age is in the every day details. The activities below have been created as a time to set aside specifically for parents and care givers to have a fun interaction with their children. I would recommend you first prioritize time to read, snuggle, dance, sing, move, rhyme, play, and then add these activities in as you can. Don’t stress… keep it simple, and just be together!
“The work will wait while you show your child the rainbow. But the rainbow won’t wait while you do the work.” -Erik Erikson

Art

Card for Mom

IMG_5666Happy Mother’s Day week to all of the mom’s out there! So, this activity is kind of a weird one for us moms to have our kids do. No, I’ve never said “Mother’s Day is coming up, go ahead and make me a card.” Maybe dad, or grandma, or a non-mom friend can do this one? These activities with no structure are fun because kids get to use their creativity to think of what they want to put on their card. Younger children might need more help, but of course let them have freedom to try things on their own. Help them plan and collect the materials they think they might need to put it together and then let them go to work.

Stuff to Have

Construction paper

Decorations: Paint, stickers, ribbon, glitter etc.

Developing Skills

Planning and follow through, fine motor, colors, gift giving

Fine Motor

Button Flower

IMG_1468Lay out buttons and pipe cleaners. Demonstrate to children how the pipe cleaner can go through the button-holes. Let your child try to put pipe cleaners through the button-holes and make a button “flower.” If it starts to get frustrating for your child help them out. The point is to have fun and try something new. If you do help, try to find the balance between letting them experiment, and assisting them.

Stuff to Have

Buttons- various shapes, sizes, and colors

Pipe cleaners

Developing Skills

Fine motor, colors

Early Science & Math

Sprout a Veggie

IMG_5648Have your child wet a paper towel and place it in the jar. Place the vegetable seed on the side of the jar next to the wet paper towel. Place in an area where the seed will receive sunlight. Check daily to make sure the towel stays moist. Older children could track the progress with drawings or pictures of the seed’s progress. With younger children simply talk about what you are seeing as it changes.

Stuff to Have

Glass jar with a lid

Vegetable seed

Paper towels

Developing Skills

Science: growth of a seed, observation

Cooking & Baking

Mom’s Favorite Treat

Mom pick what you want to make this week! Have fun working together in the kitchen and enjoy your tasty treat!

8

Early Science & Math: Colored Carnation

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Five minutes… that’s all you need to do this activity! It goes quickly, but it has a lot of learning and fun packed into it.

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Just getting to experience picking colors, dropping the colors in, and watching the swirling transformation in a fun science experience in itself.

It really is kind of mesmerizing!

Then, getting to add in their white carnation and see what happens adds an extra element. And it’s really not too messy, unless you forget to warn your oldest that the last bottle of food coloring is different than the first two! Then, you end up with this and both kids start yelling “It’s blood!” Because obviously it’s automatically blood if it looks like it!

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So, what’s going on in this activity?

Fine motor… squeezing the color into the water and stirring the color in both engage the small muscles used to control the fingers and hand.

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Science & Math… Observing the color transformation and using water and food coloring are science and math components. It’s just fun for our kids, but it’s laying this early foundation of experience with these materials and with the different colors.

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 Sensory… If you let your child gently explore the different parts of the flower they are going to gain different sensory experiences.

Happy Playing!

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Time for Art: Build a Flower

This activity takes a little prep, but we have done it every year for the last 5 years and it is so fun to watch the transformation over the years as they become more and more aware of what they are doing.

To start you need to make 5-7 petals… in the color of your child’s choice of course, a stem, and a circle for the center of the flower… this is also what everything gets glued to so it needs to be fairly substantial. I go ahead and make a couple of colors that I know my kids will want to use.

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Several years ago I got smart and made myself a template for a large petal and a small petal to make it easier on myself and make my petals uniform. Take a piece of card stock (heavier paper will hold up over the years), fold it in half, and draw half of your petal shape- kind of like mine pictured on the left. Remember the old trick to get a symmetrical heart? This is the  same concept you’re just making a petal shape. Does that make sense? This is what I do for every shape that I need to be somewhat symmetrical. Now, while it’s still folded cut it out, and then open it. Voila! You have a symmetrical petal to replicate over and over for years to come!

Once everything is ready, go ahead and let your child put together their flower. With my younger kids I help with the glue, but I try to let them have as much freedom as possible. It’s more fun to end up with their own creation rather than what we want to make, anyway!

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Let’s talk about what’s going in this activity:

Fine motor: Gluing and putting the paper together are great ways to engage the small muscles of the hand and forearm. It takes a lot of control to gently place paper where you want it! And this is definitely a fun way to work on this area of development.

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Art/Creativity/Independence: Knowing what something will look like and planning ahead is not something that we are naturally born with. Getting to have freedom in activities like this allows our children to explore and learn about what they can do on their own when they are in control. Let your child explore, make mistakes, get messy, and problem solve on their own. It is in these activities that we have to remember it isn’t the outcome we are going for, but the experience!

Happy Playing!

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Spring Week 9

Spring Week 9: April 29-3

Week 9

At Real. Meaningful. Family. my goal is to provide information based on research for parents and caregivers, and to create regular opportunity for you to have special together time with your child. Toddlers and preschoolers learn from the environment and daily interactions. We are in no way seeking to create a school-like setting for your young child. Research has clearly indicated that academic learning (think reading, writing, and arithmetic) for these young children is not developmentally appropriate, learning for this age is in the every day details. The activities below have been created as a time to set aside specifically for parents and care givers to have a fun interaction with their children. I would recommend you first prioritize time to read, snuggle, dance, sing, move, rhyme, play, and then add these activities in as you can. Don’t stress… keep it simple, and just be together!
“The work will wait while you show your child the rainbow. But the rainbow won’t wait while you do the work.” -Erik Erikson

Art

Build A Flower

flowers finalThere is just a little prep for you before getting started on this activity. Free hand a petal template and use it to make 5-7 petals. You can do it! I have free handed petals for the last 5 years, and drawing is NOT my strong suit. Then cut out a stem (just a long very skinny rectangle, leaves, and a circle out of orange or yellow for the center of the flower.

Now your child can build their flower by gluing the petals to the round center, and then the stem and leaves. Just like any art project with a toddler or preschooler, the process of putting it together is what they will learn from. The final product isn’t really important. Offer suggestions, but let your child take the lead in making their creation. They will learn what a flower looks like with time, right now they are practicing fine motor skills and learning about the different materials and colors. If you wanted, you could make your own flower ahead of time if you would like to demonstrate to children what they could make, or sometimes it is fun to make your own along side of your child. This way you can narrate what you are doing, while giving your child ideas for their own project. Keep the age and experience of your child in mind as you go through this activity and assist as you see appropriate for your child.

Stuff to Have

Flower parts: 5-7 petals, stem, leaves, yellow or orange round center

Glue

Markers, crayons, paint (optional)

Developing Skills

Fine motor, colors, problem solving

Fine Motor

Button Flower

IMG_1468Lay out buttons and pipe cleaners. Demonstrate to children how the pipe cleaner can go through the button-holes. Let your child try to put pipe cleaners through the button-holes and make a button “flower.” If it starts to get frustrating for your child help them out. The point is to have fun and try something new. If you do help, try to find the balance between letting them experiment, and assisting them.

Stuff to Have

Buttons- various shapes, sizes, and colors

Pipe cleaners

Developing Skills

Fine motor, colors

Early Science & Math

Colored Carnation

IMG_1667Several years ago when I was working with one year olds, I learned that adding food color to water was a fun and easy early science activity for that age group. This activity extends on that by adding the carnation component. You’ve probably all done this activity at some point in your life, and it’s always fun to see the final product.

Let your child pick out a food color to add to the water for the carnation. Let them squeeze in a few drops and give it a little stir. It will be exciting to watch how the color changes the water. Trim off a small amount of the carnation stem, and then place it in the colored water. Talk about how the carnation is just like us, it needs water to live but instead of drinking it uses it’s stem like a straw to suck up water from the cup. It will take some time for the carnation to change, so find something else fun to do and check back periodically to see if there are any changes to the petals. The colored carnation will be fun to see, and will maybe start building a little understanding of how the water went from the cup all the way to the flower petals making it a fun early science activity.

Variation: leave one carnation out of water and the other in the water. Compare over several days how they are different.

Stuff to Have

White carnation (as many as you would like to color)

Glass of water

Food colors of your child’s choice

Developing Skills

Science, observation

Cooking & Baking

Flower Cookies

IMG_5720I’m not gonna lie, I haven’t always gotten this one to work for me! It’s a fun process though… so plan on abstract flower cookies! Roll dough into balls and roll each ball in a colored sugar. Place on parchment lined cookie sheets. Once dough balls are on the sheet use kitchen scissors to cut the balls in half. Then, cut each half into three parts. This should kind of result in a 6-petal flower, but don’t open the petals up, it actually worked better for me when I smooshed them down a little bit and then as they bake they kind of spread out into a flower shape. Bake according to package or recipe instructions.

This is a great activity for your child to roll and dip into the sugar, you can do the cutting of the dough, and then they can enjoy watching the transformation through the oven door, and tasting their creation!

Stuff to Have

Sugar cookie dough, homemade or store bought

Various pastel sugars

Kitchen scissors

Developing Skills

Baking, science, fine motor, colors

Happy Playing!

3

Spring Week 8

Spring Week 8: April 22-26

Week 8

At Real. Meaningful. Family. my goal is to provide information based on research for parents and caregivers, and to create regular opportunity for you to have special together time with your child. Toddlers and preschoolers learn from the environment and daily interactions. We are in no way seeking to create a school-like setting for your young child. Research has clearly indicated that academic learning (think reading, writing, and arithmetic) for these young children is not developmentally appropriate, learning for this age is in the every day details. The activities below have been created as a time to set aside specifically for parents and care givers to have a fun interaction with their children. I would recommend you first prioritize time to read, snuggle, dance, sing, move, rhyme, play, and then add these activities in as you can. Don’t stress… keep it simple, and just be together!
“The work will wait while you show your child the rainbow. But the rainbow won’t wait while you do the work.” -Erik Erikson

Art

Painted Butterfly

IMG_3734Put dots of various colors of paint all over the open coffee filter. Let children use wet sponges to dab and squish all over the wings. Colors will bleed together to form new colors and create a watercolor looking butterfly. Let the coffee filter dry. Once it is dry, twist the pipe cleaner around the middle so that it creates two equal size “wings” on either side. Trim the pipe cleaner so that the two ends form the antennae. This will go so fast you and your child might even want to make a couple butterfly friends!

This is a nice follow-up activity to last weeks egg carton caterpillar! It will be a lot of fun for your child to get messy and experiment with this new method of sponge painting and to see all of the new colors that come about.

Stuff to Have

1 Coffee filter

Various paint colors

Damp sponges (just wet enough that the water will help the paint bleed together)

Pipe cleaner

Developing Skills

Colors, fine motor, color recognition and mixing

Fine Motor

Button Flower

IMG_1468Lay out buttons and pipe cleaners. Demonstrate to children how the pipe cleaner can go through the button-holes. Let your child try to put pipe cleaners through the button-holes and make a button “flower.” If it starts to get frustrating for your child help them out. The point is to have fun and try something new. If you do help, try to find the balance between letting them experiment, and assisting them.

Stuff to Have

Buttons- various shapes, sizes, and colors

Pipe cleaners

Developing Skills

Fine motor, colors

Early Science & Math

Seed Sort

IMG_5700Sorting by color, shape, size etc. is an early math concept. It is something that younger kids might not grasp yet, but just talk about what the activity is, talk about the differences and similarities in the seeds, demonstrate for them, and let them try. Don’t expect perfection, but let them experiment, mess up and occasionally get some right! I start my kids out by putting one of each seeds in an ice tray or muffin tin compartment, and then I let them try. With younger kids like I mentioned earlier describe what you see, help them notice differences and demonstrate what to do. With older kids, you can start the same, and then let them give it a try. Keep talking about colors, shapes, and any other characteristics you notice as your child goes through this. What are these seeds for? What do they look like? Are they big or little? Smooth or bumpy?

Cooking & Baking

Pretzel Butterfly

IMG_5653Cooking and baking activities don’t have to be complicated or too messy, but they can definitely be great fine motor activities and even artistic! When you stick two mini pretzels together they take on the look of a butterfly. Set out a bowl of pretzels, a bowl of M&M’s, and a scoop of peanut butter, along with a plate to build on and a plastic knife or back of a spoon to spread peanut butter. Demonstrate how the peanut butter makes the pretzels stick together and how you can make a butterfly with all of the ingredients. Then, let your child take over and experiment with everything. It’s ok if it doesn’t end up looking like a butterfly, let them try, get a little messy, and learn a bunch through it all!

Stuff to Have

Mini pretzels (the classic pretzel shape)

peanut butter

Chocolate M&M candies

Developing Skills

Fine motor, problem solving, follow through, sensory

Happy Playing!

 

Spring Week 5

Spring Week 5: April 1-5

Week 7

At Real. Meaningful. Family. my goal is to provide information based on research for parents and caregivers, and to create regular opportunity for you to have special together time with your child. Toddlers and preschoolers learn from the environment and daily interactions. We are in no way seeking to create a school-like setting for your young child. Research has clearly indicated that academic learning (think reading, writing, and arithmetic) for these young children is not developmentally appropriate, learning for this age is in the every day details. The activities below have been created as a time to set aside specifically for parents and care givers to have a fun interaction with their children. I would recommend you first prioritize time to read, snuggle, dance, sing, move, rhyme, play, and then add these activities in as you can. Don’t stress… keep it simple, and just be together!
“The work will wait while you show your child the rainbow. But the rainbow won’t wait while you do the work.” -Erik Erikson

Art

Egg Carton Caterpillar

IMG_1449This requires hanging onto an Egg carton and using the individual compartments for the body of the caterpillar. To get started cut apart 4-6 of those compartments. Now, your child can start to create their caterpillar by painting each of the “body parts.” They can use fingers, brushes, sponges anything they find fun to get their caterpillar bodies painted, and in any color they pick. Let the body parts dry.

Once they are dry, have your child pick a head part (just pick one of the segments to be the head). They can add eyes to the front and antennae to the top to be bent or curled however your child prefers (just poke 2 holes in the top about a ¼ in. apart to stick one of the pipe cleaners through in a v-shape). Next, your child can add legs to the sides of each of the body parts. Poke holes on either side, and push the pipe cleaner in and bend down. Finally, attach all of the pieces together by poking holes in the front and back of each body part. Thread the yarn (or pipe cleaner) through the holes from front to back, tying a knot on each end to keep it from coming apart. Cut off excess yarn. The finished product should be a cute moveable caterpillar, fun to play with or just to enjoy the work your child put into it!

Stuff to Have

4-6 individual egg carton compartments

Yarn

Craft eyes, or eyes made from construction paper

Pipe cleaners, (1”-2” pieces for antennae and legs)

Various paint colors

Paint brushes

Glue

Developing Skills

Color recognition, fine motor, art

Fine Motor

Button Flower

IMG_1468Lay out buttons and pipe cleaners. Demonstrate to children how the pipe cleaner can go through the button-holes. Let your child try to put pipe cleaners through the button-holes and make a button “flower.” If it starts to get frustrating for your child help them out. The point is to have fun and try something new. If you do help, try to find the balance between letting them experiment, and assisting them.

Stuff to Have

Buttons- various shapes, sizes, and colors

Pipe cleaners

Developing Skills

Fine motor, colors

Early Science & Math

Seed Sort

IMG_5697Sorting by color, shape, size etc. is an early math concept. It is something that younger kids might not grasp yet, but just talk about what the activity is, talk about the differences and similarities in the seeds, demonstrate for them, and let them try. Don’t expect perfection, but let them experiment, mess up and occasionally get some right! I start my kids out by putting one of each seeds in an ice tray or muffin tin compartment, and then I let them try. With younger kids like I mentioned earlier describe what you see, help them notice differences and demonstrate what to do. With older kids, you can start the same, and then let them give it a try. Keep talking about colors, shapes, and any other characteristics you notice as your child goes through this. What are these seeds for? What do they look like? Are they big or little? Smooth or bumpy?

Cooking & Baking

Free

Have fun!

Happy Playing!

2

In the Kitchen: Resurrection Rolls

Resurrection rolls are such a fun easy way to round out this week leading up to Easter. I always save them to be closest to Easter Sunday so that we can share them at our Easter gathering or eat them for breakfast before church. Easter for us is about Jesus’ death and resurrection… but even if that is not what you celebrate on Easter these are a fun, simple, and tasty treat to make with your little one. You can’t go wrong with bread, butter. cinnamon and sugar… the final product is gooey, caramel-y, cinnamon-y deliciousness!

The ingredients are super simple: A can of biscuits or crescents, (we used biscuits this time and they cracked open, our marshmallow didn’t just disappear it burst out of our biscuits!), 8-10 marshmallows depending on the number of your crescents/biscuits, cinnamon sugar (about 1/4c sugar combined with 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon- this is up to your flavor preference), and a half stick of melted butter.

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To get started have your child first dunk the marshmallow- representing Jesus’ body-first into the butter and then into the cinnamon sugar. These represent the oil and spices used to prepare his body.

Then, wrap the marshmallow inside of the dough- this is the tomb. Be sure to pinch all of the openings closed, or you’ll end up with a big puddle of buttered marshmallow on your sheet pan. Yes, I’ve learned from experience on that one. On that note, I recommend covering your pan with foil or parchment! Just in case of a major explosion you have less to clean up!

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We had a little butter and cinnamon sugar left over, so we brushed the tops with butter and sprinkled them with the remaining cinnamon sugar. Yum!

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Now bake according to your package instructions- ours was 400 degrees for 10-13 minutes and 10 minutes was all we needed. Like I said, for some reason our biscuits exploded this year! Our marshmallows were very, very gone!

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If your rolls don’t explode like ours did, go ahead and cut them open when it’s snack time and talk about how the marshmallow disappeared. This represents Jesus having risen again on Easter Sunday. It’s fun no matter what Easter is for you, it’s a chance to work together with your child in the kitchen!

In this activity there are a lot of great chances for fine motor movements (picking up, dipping, coating the marshmallow, wrapping up the marshmallow…), sensory experiences (feeling, tasting, and smelling), and early science… that disappearing marshmallow!

Hopefully you enjoy this activity as much as we did!
Happy Baking!

 

 

 

Time for Art: “Cut” and Paste Cross

I love these tearing gluing combo activities! My kids love them too because for some reason it seems like they always found paper to tear… usually a document or list that they weren’t supposed to destroy. So, with this activity they can tear apart paper to their hearts content. Check out this week’s plan with a full list of materials for this activity.

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We make a cut and paste cross every year, but you could easily make an Easter egg if you would rather. It is really as easy as it looks to set up this activity. Cut out your cross or egg, let your child choose a color, or several colors to fill in their object, and then let them get to work tearing a part the paper and gluing it on.

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When my kids are younger I squirt some glue out into a dish or onto some newspaper. It seems a little easier for them to dip their paper scraps into the paper and then stick it onto their cross. As they get older I start to let them experiment with the glue bottle.

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So, what’s happening in this activity?

Art: Even though it’s pretty simple, your child is still getting the chance to do whatever they want with their paper scraps. This is big for their independence and creativity. They need chances to be in control of something and make their own decisions. Those chances are very few and far between for our little ones. So, with this freedom they are learning what happens when they are in charge. It’s our job to talk about what we see them doing, encourage, and ask questions.

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Fine Motor: Obviously this activity is heavy on the fine motor movements. It takes quite a bit of strength to tear paper, so your child might need you to help them get started. They will still get a good little workout for their fingers and forearms.

Happy Playing!