This blog is here for you to find fun learning activities to do with your children. We share great ideas we find and love on the Internet, as well as ideas we come up with on our own! We also like to share resources we find helpful.

To find ideas for your child, click on the age range blog label or on the theme/topic you are looking for (on the left side of the page). In each post, we try to list optimal age ranges for the activity, but you must judge for yourself if it is appropriate for your child. When you try an activity out, please comment and let us (and everyone else) know how your child liked it!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Books We Can't Live Without!

I hear a lot of friends say things like, "If I have to read that book one more time..." or "We just need something new to read!"
We make frequent trips to the library just to get some fresh reading material. But every now and then we come across a book that stands the test. You know...the "this is the 19th time I've read this today and I haven't tried to skip any pages yet" test. Okay, maybe I exaggerate a little. Nineteen times a day for any book would make me skip some pages.
But I thought it might be helpful to recognize a few books that make our Favorite Books Ever list. I'd really be sad if these weren't on my shelf. I would have missed a lot of uncontrollable giggles and a lot of really sweet times when both of us are sad when the book is over. As a bonus, they are have great opportunities for teachable moments, due to content, illustrations, or both!
I included the amazon.com link for you. Some of them are available for less than $1 if you buy it used!
Many of these authors have other great books not listed, so when you are at the library, try to browse more books by them!
So, here's my list...

Me With You by Kristy Dempsey- A sweet rhyming book about a little bear who is most like herself when she's with her grandpa. Beautiful illustrations!
Gossie, Peedie, Boo Boo, and Ollie by Olivier Dunrea- Quick reads! Short stories dealing with goslings, each with a special quirk. Also available in board books. Great books to read with kids with shorter attention spans (like a baby that just wants to walk!)
Duck and Goose by Tad Hills- Hilarious book about a duck and goose that find a ball and mistake it for an egg. Great story about becoming friends and finding commonalities with others that seem very different at first. If you love this (which I'm sure you will!) there are a bunch of Duck and Goose books.
Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton- A funny story about a sheep that can't fall asleep. My 2 year old cracks up at the illustrations. A definite favorite!
Toot and Puddle by Holly Hobbie (series)- Great stories about two pigs that are completely different and the best of friends. One loves to go on wild adventures and the other loves to stay at home in Woodcock Pocket. I believe a TV show has been made out of these books. Again, if you love them, there's a bunch of Toot and Puddle books!
Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae- A rhyming book. Gerald the giraffe is embarrassed because he can't dance like the other animals.
Wet Dog by Elise Broach (illustrated by David Catrow)- Funny book about a dog trying to cool off on a hot summer day. The illustrations make the book!

The Pout-Pout Fish- (by Debbie Diesen) A favorite in our house! A grumpy fish learns that he doesn't have to be grumpy all the time. My daughter literally laughs out loud when we read this book. The illustrations are great, too.

Over in the Garden by Jennifer Ward- A rhyming and counting book. Hidden numbers, clues to find to determine the next bug, and a great rhythm to the book. My daughters have loved this book from an early age. She also has other books along the same lines (in the desert, ocean, Arctic). We read this so many times the pages fell out.
Too Many Frogs by Sandy Asher- A silly book about a frog that invites himself to story time each night at Rabbit's house. Rabbit learns that sharing a book is better than being alone and Froggie learns some manners! Great discussion book.

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn- Great book to read for kids that are going to be away from loved ones for any length of time (babysitters, day care, military deployment, starting school,etc). A little raccoon is nervous about being away from his mom, so his mom gives him a special way to remember her when they are apart.

Listen Buddy by Lynn Munsinger- A story about a rabbit that never listens and ends up learning a very important lesson. A fun read, and very silly!

Karen Katz Lift-the-flap books-Great books for babies and pretoddlers!

Mirror Me- A Baby Einstein book with mirrors on each page. Talks about making faces. My girls both loved this book from infancy through about 18 months. Even at 2.5 my oldest will sit and look at it. There's something about mirrors...
What's your "can't live without it" book? Let me know!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Marshmallow Snowmen

Materials: Large marshmallows, pretzel sticks (or toothpicks), mini chocolate chips or raisins, craisins (something for the nose), fruit leather/fruit roll-up/pull-and-peel licorice for the scarf, marshmallow fluff (for "glue").

Directions: I built one first to show my daughter how to do it. Take one marshmallow and stick a pretzel in it. Some of the pretzel will still be sticking out. Take another marshmallow and stick it on the pretzel piece sticking up. You now have 2 marshmallows stacked. Stick another pretzel stick in the 2nd marshmallow and add the 3rd marshmallow on top.

Add 2 pretzel sticks for arms.

Twist around whatever you decided to use for the scarf. They'll need help with this!

I let my daughter use a pretzel stick to smear on some marshmallow fluff (we used ricemallow creme) on the face or on the individual chips. The chocolate chips/raisins/craisins will all stick to it and you won't be able to see the fluff since it's also white. :)


Then eat! Yum.

Skills: fine motor, hand-eye coordination, hand strength, building and stacking, self-control not to eat :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Circles and O's

This is a simple activity you can do to learn about several different things. You can talk about colors, the shape circle, or the letter O. I also thought you could turn this into an Olympic rings on the flag activity. Brayden did this (pictured) at preshool.

Toddler and up. You might find this appropriate for some pre-toddlers, also.

  • Paper
  • Paint
  • Paper Cup
  • Plate to put paint on
  • Gather supplies
  • Prep work area (tablecloth or whatever you use to protect your work space)
  • Prep child (aprons or whatever you do to protect clothing)
  • Pour paint onto plates (one color per plate)
  • Have your child dip the paper cup into the end (open end down)
  • Have your child stamp the paper with the cup
You could do this with a variety of items, including cookie cutters.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Defrosty the Snowman

Snow melting? Ours is! Instead of mourning, we're celebrating! Everyday Fun magazine had this cute idea last winter, and I thought I'd share it with you!
What you'll need:
-White candy melts (one 14-ounce package makes 16 snowmen)
-Miniature chocolate chips
-Light cocoa candy melts
-Candy corn (I used a piece of a real carrot for lack of candy corn)
Here's the directions they give:
For each snowman, you'll need 6 mini chocolate chips, a light cocoa candy melt, and a Rolo. To make the nose, cut the orange section from a candy corn, then slice it in half lengthwise. Roll the piece between your fingers to form a carrot shape.
To assemble your snowman, melt the white candy in a bowl according to the package instructions, then scoop a rounded tablespoon onto a sheet of wax paper. With the back of a spoon, smear the candy into a puddle. Working quickly, stick on the light cocoa candy melt, add a dot of white melted candy, then place the Rolo on top. Finally, add the candy corn nose and mini chocolate chip eyes and mouth.
Have fun!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Where is the Room?

Age Range: 1-2 years old

Hold your child's hand and lead him to his room. Tell him that this is his room. Next lead him to the bathroom and your room, telling your child the names of those rooms too.

Ask your child to show you his room. Praise him if he correctly shows you his room! If he seems confused, take him to his room and tell him again that it is his bedroom. Do this a few times until your child can show you his own bedroom.

If there is still interested, continue with having your child show you where the bathroom and your bedroom are. If he seems frustrated or confused still, try again in a week, it could take several days for him to go to the correct room when requested.

-an awareness of rooms and their positions
-following directions
-language interaction

To make this activity applicable for a 3-6 year old, turn it into a scavenger hunt. Write clues on pieces of paper and have them guess the room that the next clue is in. Read the clues aloud for your child if she's not reading independently yet. End the scavenger hunt with a special treat for lunch, a picnic outside, or a special art activity.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Olympic Ring Coloring Page

This activity is good for working on your child's fine motor skills. It also is a good activity for following directions.

Preschooler and older. Your child needs to be old enough to follow instructions and possibly old enough to color in lines. Brayden did this well at 4.5, but it is definitely beyond 2.5 year old Kaitlyn.


  1. I Googled "olympic ring coloring page" and found this coloring page

  2. I copied the picture and pasted it into Word.

  3. I added a title for my own benefit. I like titles.

  4. I printed the page off.

  • Start by talking about what the Olympic rings symbolize. For information on this, see this page on Wikipedia.

  • The colors of the rings are specific. We got out each color for each ring. I then highlighted the word of each color for each ring in the respective color. So I highlighted the word "yellow" with a yellow crayon.

  • Have your child color the rings appropriately.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Paper Plate Snowman

This activity is pretty straight forward. My little girl asked if we could make a snowman, so I dug up a few supplies. It's super quick and really fun to let them put together. You just need buttons, wiggly eyes, construction paper (or foam), glue, and tape.
I cut all the pieces and let her decide where she wanted to place everything. She was so tickled that there is a button on the snowman's carrot nose. Fun craft in a pinch, especially if you want to keep the winter theme going. We're trying, despite the 61 degree weather today.
We also made snowflakes! I cut them out and she unfolded them and helped decide where to hang them.

Monday, February 15, 2010


With the Olympics going on, I wanted to do some Olympic inspired activity. First, we talked about the Olympics. We talked about the many different countries from around the world that participate in the Olympics, then looked at flags from around the world.

Once we had done that, I told Brayden and Kaitlyn that they were going to create their own flags. Pictured are their creations (Kaitlyn--2.5--left and Brayden--4.5--right). This photo was taken while still wet, so we don't have the lamination or stick on yet.

Skills Taught
This activity taps into your child's creative side. You can use it as an opportunity to talk about the history of the Olympic games and/or your country's flag.

Age Range
Old enough to do art projects of any sort.


  • Art supplies. I broke out the art box and told them they could use anything they wanted to create their flag: paint, crayons, markers, glitter, stickers, do-a-dots, etc. You could also use this as a shape activity and do something along the lines outlined here.

  • Paper

  • Contact paper to "laminate" (optional)

  • Stick to hold flag on (optional)

  • Talk about flags and that they represent things. You can talk about country flags, state flags, etc.

  • Have your child create his personal flag.

  • Allow dry

  • Cover with contact paper if desired

  • Attach a stick so your child can carry his flag
I plan to do some Olympic games as a family during the Olympic games and will have my children bring their flags to each event :)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Age Ranges

On each post, we try to put the age range we think is appropriate for each activity.

At the end of each post, you can now mark if the activity worked for your child's age. Please take the time to do so--then other parents can see if it is working for children in that age range. Thanks!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Winter Games

Supplies: toilet paper, streamers (optional), old clothes, construction paper buttons, carrot nose (cut out of construction paper)
Directions: Break off into teams and see which team can decorate their snowman the fastest. Use TP to wrap (even the head, if you want!), tape on nose and buttons, use a real scarf or streamers for the scarf, and old clothes to dress.
This is a silly game that I think kids will really enjoy! It's fun to get a little crazy with your kids and a great game for your first snow day (like we recently had!).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Clay Hearts

Kids love to make stuff. This is an activity where your child can make something, and you can have a cute memento to hang on to forever. I love memento . I got this idea from the Sibling's Busy Book.

You can make this work for all ages.

  • rolling pin
  • baking sheet
  • marker
  • butter knife
  • oven
  • zip-lock baggie if doing with baby
  • homemade clay (recipe below)
  1. Make clay. If your child is old enough to help with this process, let him!
  2. Grease baking sheet
  3. Have your child flatten the clay out on the baking sheet until it is 1-2 inches thick
  4. Draw a large heart on clay using marker
  5. Cut heart out with knife (this is for you)
  6. Have your children decorate the heart with other clay or making designs in the clay. This represents how each of them are in the gift receiver's heart. Awww. Cute
  7. Make a hole in the top of the heart with a pencil so you can put a string through it later
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 300 degrees until exterior has formed a crust
For Baby
You can put clay in a baggie for baby and let her squeeze it. You can press her hand into the heart to make an impression.

  • 1 1/2 cup salt
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • food coloring
Mix the salt and flour in a bowl with a spoon. Add water gradually. When dough forms, knead it well, adding water if it is too crumbly or flour if it is too sticky It should be firm. If you want more than one color of clay, divide into separate bowls for adding food coloring.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Icy Winter Scenes

Drawing winter snow scenes is a fun thing to do with your kids. For a new twist on the usual snowmen, snow forts, and trees with snow, add some salt!
For glistening and glittery snow, painting with Epsom salt is the way to go! Here's what you do:
Mix about 1/2 cup Epsom salt with 1/2 cup of hot water. I prefer to do it on the stove top, but that's your choice!
Have the kids draw a winter scene (or cut out snowflakes) on dark paper. It doesn't have to be black, just darker than a white or yellow. Blue works great! You can also draw with white chalk for ease in drawing. This is fun to do with your kids and talk about things you see outside in the winter, what happens to the trees. A great book to read with this is When Winter Comes by Nancy Van Laan.

After drawing, let them paint the mixture (cooled) on the paper wherever they want that snow crystal effect. Let dry! I wish I could do the pictures justice on film. I'm just not that talented with a camera. It's really amazing to see how the snowy pictures transform into snow crystals that glisten like snow. Have fun!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Valentine's Day Snacks

It's fun to focus on heart shapes, the colors pink and red, and all things lovey during the week prior to Valentine's Day. So here's a few ideas how to make breakfast, lunch, or snack time even more fun!

  • bagel w/ strawberry cream cheese OR bagel and add a dot of red food coloring to a blob of sour cream before spreading.
  • Strawberry cut like hearts! When cutting the tops off of strawberries, cut in a V formation rather than straight across. Then slice in half, and you have heart shapes.
  • Use heart shaped cookie cutters to cut sandwiches, toast, cheese, lunch meat, etc.
  • Use letter cookie cutters to cut H (for heart) or V (for valentines day) into foods.
  • Strawberry, raspberry, or cherry yogurt with red grapes or craisins (my daughter's favorite)
  • In the blender, blend milk, strawberries and a little honey. Pink milk!
  • On an English muffin, make mini pizzas. After the sauce, put a slice of cheese (or do your best w/ the shredded cheese) in the shape of a heart before melting.
  • For a special treat, I bought cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Add a drop of red food coloring to the icing included, and then you have pink icing for the top. Or top regular icing with a few pink and white sprinkles.
  • Heart shaped pancakes in the morning, dusted with powdered sugar and sliced fruit.

I literally went through the pantry and fridge and looked for pink, red, and white colored things. I also looked for anything that could be cut w/ a cookie cutter.

Have fun! Be creative!

Sensory Activities

My children love to do sensory activities. Give them a container full of beans and they will be entertained for days. I recently saw this idea for beans and hearts on No Time For Flashcards. Both children have enjoyed it; Kaitlyn has loved it. She plays with it several times a day. I keep it in the kitchen so she can play with it while I am in there.

You can do lots of different things for sensory activities. You can make them similar to this one and add whatever suits your theme for the week. You don't have to use beans. You can use things like rice, sand, and packing peanuts. Brayden's preschool teacher filled her tub with sand during dinosaur week and the children looked for dinosaur bones.

After you fill it, give your children items like spoons and measuring cups to scoop, pour, and dump.

Yes, there will be spills. Personally, I wouldn't' do sand in the house because I am OCD. That is what we have a sandbox for. But I don't think there is anything wrong with it if you will have sand in it in your house. You can teach your children to pick up the beans and packing peanuts as they spill or when they are done playing. Messes clean up :)

One warning, if you have carpet that is plush in the least, I don't recommend you use beans on it. We learned that the hard way about 8 months ago. We found beans in the carpet for months! I now do this on hardwood floors.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Winter Book Recommendations

I know winter is in full swing, but with the holidays you may not have had a chance to check out some good books about winter! Here's a few to get you started!

**When Winter Comes by Nancy Van Laan-rhyming and full of information. A great into to the changing of the weather.

The Jacket I Wear in the Snow by Shirley Neitzel-builds and repeats. Pictures replace some words, so it's fun for your toddler to read with you!

The Snowman's Path by Helena Clare Pittman- Longer story. A boy and a snowman become friends.

The Hat by Jan Brett- Cute story about a hedgehog that mistakes a stocking for a hat. Cute! Fun for all ages.

Old Winter by Judith Benet Richardson- When Old Winter decides not to leave town, the town gets messy! A fun way to talk about the ups and downs of each season.

The Mitten by Jan Brett- When a little boy loses his white mitten in the snow, a bunch of animals decide to make the most of their snuggly new find.

Snow Friends by M. Christina Butler- A great story about making friends. Appropriate for small children (due to length).

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin- A story about the man who took pictures of snowflakes. Based on a true story. Includes photographs of snowflakes at the end of the book.

Snow Day by Patricia Lakin- A story about principals that are excited about snow and call a snow day.

Sledding by Elizabeth Winthrop- Rhyming book about playing in the snow.

Penguins Penguins Everywhere by Bob Barner- A book about penguins in hot and cold climates

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Valentine's Day Cards

I don't know about you, but I LOVE getting real mail, you know the kind that requires actual paper, an envelope, and a stamp. It's such a joy to see in between those piles of bills and junk mail a letter from a real person that I know and love (or even like).

So, for Valentine's Day my goal is to send cards out to all our family and friends. I have the perfect excuse to be corny and cute after all--I have a kid :)

Here's what we're doing:

Materials to gather:
-butcher paper (we have a whole roll from IKEA that was quite cheap)
-digital camera
-a child (after all, this wouldn't be as cute with big adult feet)

1) pour paint into a shallow plate or bowl
2) dip your child's feet and hands into the paint and make footprints and handprints on the butcher paper
3) allow your child to add stickers, scribble with crayons, or paint as they please to finish up the picture.
4) take a picture of it
5) give the actual piece of artwork to your spouse
6) print out cards on the computer using the picture of the artwork as the front cover
7) under the picture write (or have your child write) I love you from the tips of my fingers to the tips of my toes.
8) mail out to friends and family in time for Valentine's Day. Kids usually love putting things in the mail so let them walk it out to the mailbox and put it in.

You might want to extend this lesson for preschool age children to talk about how the mail works and how to address and stamp a letter.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Valentines Galore!

I was planning out my learning activities for the next couple of weeks. Naturally, I am focusing on hearts an valentines with the upcoming Valentine's Day. I started browsing some blogs and WOW! There are a lot out there. Here are some of my favorites. Any photos on here are photos of our creations. I don't want to put the photos from the original blog on here because I didn't take them. I will post a link to each activity and each photo on the original site--links open in new windows.:
  • Letter H: This is a super cute activity to help familiarize your toddler with the letter H.

  • Heart Match: This is a sorting activity similar to the one I posted using Pom Poms. This activity is posted in the same post as the Letter H activity; just scroll down. Photo
  • Valentine Dump Truck: This would be appealing for younger boys. Photo
  • Friendship Wreath: I love this one. I am planning on doing this as our grandma valentines. Wait...I hope they don't read this! Photo
  • Hearty Pizza: I love working our shape of the day into our meals if possible. This is a fun way to keep hearts going all day long! Photo
  • Easy Valentines Craft: This is a great one for your children who can't draw hearts yet...which I would guess are all most under five when it comes to hearts. I plan to make some valentines with this, too!

So there you have a collection of some great Valentines learning activities. Since we are a young blog and don't have archives for you to go to yet, I thought it might be fun for you to have some easy access to some great activities!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Snow Painting

Thanks to Val for the great idea!
For our first real snow in possibly 20 years, Val gave us the great idea to do some snow painting. It's easy and really fun!
All you need is a spray bottle or 2, water, food coloring, and snow!
Mix together and have fun! The more food coloring the better, in my opinion. I made 2 mistakes: not dark enough (but I wasn't going back inside to fix it at that point) and I chose blue. If I'd gone darker, blue would have been fine. But since everything takes on a blueish color anyways when it snows, it didn't show up as well as I'd hoped.

Giving her snowman a snow scarf!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Cotton Ball Snowman

Winter is alive and well at my house, so we are still celebrating snow. Celebrations make you happy :) This cotton ball snowman is a fun texture activity. You can learn about snow, "soft", and circles all while making a cute art project. Pictured are Kaitlyn's (age 2.5--left) and Bradyen's (age 4.5--right)

  • Cotton balls
  • Glue
  • Paper to put snowman on
  • pen/pencil
  • Items for buttons, nose, eyes, hat, and arms. We used paper for everything on the body and Do-A-Dot for the arms and hat.
  1. Gather supplies
  2. Draw three circles on paper.
  1. Have your child put glue on the bottom circle. If your child isn't old enough for doing glue herself, do it for her. Oh, and take notice of my nice table cloth. I got this at the dollar store so I could protect my table from things like glue and paint. It is the craft table cloth, it cost a dollar, and I don't care what happens to it. Everyone has more fun.
  2. Have your child put the cotton balls all over the circle.
  3. Repeat for other two circles.
  4. Create your arms, hat, nose, eyes, and buttons.
  5. Allow dry and display!
Be sure to talk about how soft the cotton balls are as well as the shapes you are using to create your snowman. Talk about the biggest circle and the smallest circle to get some spacial relationships learning in there.


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