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!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Blast from the Past: Pumpkin Faces

Last year, Raegan came up with this idea to make pumpkin faces. I did this activity at playgroup this last week with several 3 year olds and a 4 year old. It was a hit! Here are two of the finished products. 

I love this activity because it is a fun, simple craft. It is something you can use to decorate and it looks cute no matter how the pieces go on. You can also talk about colors and shapes, and it works on fine motor skills. Great, well-rounded activity.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mummy "M"

Mmm...fun Halloween letter activity.

Age Range
Toddler and up. Young toddlers will need help.

Skills Learned
Letter and fine motor

  • Construction paper
  • Letter "M"
  • White Crepe paper
  • Glue
  1. If you are working with a toddler, cut out the "M" before you start.
  2. If you are working with a preschooler or older, have her cut out the "M" herself. 
  3. Have your child glue the "M" to her piece of construction paper.
  4. Have her glue crepe paper over the "M" to turn the "M" into a Mummy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Paper Cup Spider

This is a simple, fun craft to do at Halloween, while learning about insects, or while learning about the Eency Weency Spider nursery rhyme. This is something Brayden made a year ago at Preschool.

Age Range
Older Toddler and up.

Skills Taught
Fine motor

  • Paper cup
  • Pipe cleaner cut into pieces (for legs)
  • Eyes
  • Marker for drawing if desired
  • 1/8" elastic if desired (for putting around wrist)
  • Glue
  1. Cut paper cup down to size
  2. Poke holes in paper cup for legs. This will make it easier for your child to get the legs in
  3. Cut elastic to size
  4. Cut pipe cleaner to size
This activity is simple. You have your child glue eyes on the spider and draw anything they want on the spider's body. You then have your child poke the pipe cleaner into the holes. Glue or staple the elastic to the bottom of the cup if desired. 

Your child can then put the cup on his wrist and walk it around and be a spider.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Halloween Books 2010

Last year, Raegan posted some of our favorite Halloween books. I wanted to add some more for you to check out this year.

Corduroy's Best Halloween Ever!Corduroy's Best Halloween Ever

This has been a favorite of Kaitlyn this year (age 3). She loves the Corduroy character.

Corduroy's Halloween (A Lift-the-Flap Book)Corduroy's Halloween

This is another favorite this year. It is a lift-the-flap book and is a favorite of Kaitlyn and McKenna (18 months).

Where Is Baby's Pumpkin?Where is Baby's Pumpkin? by Karen Katz

This is McKenna's absolute favorite book this year. She carries it around all over the house, she looks at it while I change her diaper...she loves it. I love Karen Katz. She makes great books. This is lift the flap along with some touch and feel.

Go Away, Big Green Monster!Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley

This isn't necessarily a Halloween book, but one I think is great to read this time of year. Kaitlyn just giggles the whole way through this book. It is a great book for telling those mosters to go away and that they aren't scary!

The Haunted Ghoul BusThe Haunted Ghoul Bus by Lisa Trumbauer

This is Brayden's (age 5) favorite this year. It is great for school-aged children. This book is great. It is a bout a boy who accidentally gets on the Ghoul Bus instead of the School Bus. At first he is scared, but comes to like the "scary" folks on the bus. By the end, he is super sad to see them go. Great for teaching to get to know people, and also great for kids who might have some exposure to scary things around Halloween to help them not be scared.

I Like PumpkinsI Like Pumpkins by Jerry Smath

This is another favorite of Brayden and also Kaitlyn this year. This book talks about all of the fun things to do with pumpkins at this time of year.

Duck & Goose Find a PumpkinDuck and Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills

This is a new one with the beloved Duck & Goose characters.

Scaredy-Cat, Splat! (Splat the Cat)Scaredy-Cat, Splat! by Rob Scotton

Also new and based on a popular character. Splat wants to be a scary cat at Halloween, but is too much of a scaredy cat to scar anyone.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Teaching About Fire Safety

Teaching children about fire safety can be difficult to do. I have been trying to think of ways to teach my young children what to do in case of a fire. Here is what I have come up with.

First, I reviewed this website:  Fire Safety.gov for Kids

Second, I wrote a list of notes from the website. If you have an older child (five or older), you can review the website together, but I think younger kids will much prefer to hear it mom's own words. I actually think all kids prefer that.

In Action
Monday night, we had a lesson and practice time for fire safety.

First, we went over rules for preventing fires and burns. We discussed rules that applied to our home (for example, we don't have a fire place so we didn't discuss fire places).

Second, we talked about smoke detectors. We pointed out the smoke detectors in our home. We tested them. This a)tested the alarms and b)let the kids hear what a smoke detector sounds like. An idea from the Fire Safety for Kids website is to also take this moment to clean smoke detectors, but I knew we would lose the focus of the kids at that moment, so it wasn't a family affair.

Third, we talked about our escape plan. Firesafety.gov has an Escape plan grid you can use to write out your evacuation plan.

We talked about how if our smoke detectors go off, we need to get out of the house as fast as we can. We talked about staying low to the ground. We practiced touching the bottom of doors first to make sure they aren't hot.

Fourth, we practiced our evacuation plan. We had the detector go off. We dropped to the ground and left the house. We ran to our designated meeting spot. We practiced leaving each room two ways.

We went into each child's bedroom and discussed and practiced the two ways to escape. It was great to do. We, the parents, were able to observe the children executing these plans and became more aware of things we need to do to help aide in a quick escape. An example is in Brayden's room. He likes to play with his cars on his large window sill. We don't often clean those up each night because he just gets them out the next day and they aren't in the way. But as he was practicing escaping from his window, he was severely slowed down by the cars. He also didn't want to just brush them onto the floor as we suggested. So we will now have him clean those up each evening before bed.

We also realized that our three year old would be unable to open her window on her own. So we practiced having her leave through her door. We also instructed her of what to do if the door was hot. We told her to leave it shut and go stand in a specific spot close to her window. In that spot, we could break her window from the outside and then reach in and grab her if needed.

We spent about an hour practicing our escaping over and over from room to room.

Now, you may be thinking this over and starting to realize if you talk about fire safety, you are going to have a scared child on your hands. This is most likely true. Even Kaitlyn was scared, and she just doesn't get scared. I do think, however, that it is a small price to pay for preparing your children for a fire. Better a little scared today than unprepared tomorrow.

While house fires are relatively rare, they do happen--obviously. Over the last weekend, a home in our community burned down and is a total loss. Luckily no one was hurt. It was started while the father was grilling outside--one spark. It doesn't take much, and it can happen. This really brought to light the importance of preparation on this topic.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Making the Old New Again

Do you have any toys that you don't want to get rid of, but have been sitting stationary in your house for a while? Our play kitchen was like that.
The girls seemed to be on a hiatus from playing with this kitchen. One beautiful day, my 3 year old herself had a brilliant idea. "Wouldn't it be fun to take the kitchen outside? I can cook outside, like Daddy does on the grill!" Genius!!! Per her request and to her sister's delight, I loaded her up with some fun "mommy stuff" to cook with...extra flour, some random spices, sprinkles, etc. She had so much fun making a normally not allowed and extremely large mess. :) Oh, how I love cleaning up with a garden hose. Ignore the extension cord...husband was doing some yard work while they played happily.
Atalie was not too fond of Charis's creation, but sampled it multiple times anyways. :) Muffin tins, a washable mess, and happy kiddos.
Take a look around your house today! What toy would be more fun or made new again by just a different environment? Grocery cart? Baby stroller? Tea set? Have a party with stuffed animals? Picnic outside (don't worry, the ants will clean up your crumbs)? Even a doll house or trucks and cars?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Jack-O-Lantern Pancakes

My husband made these pancakes for us, and I just had to share them. The kids loved eating them. 

First, you make some pancake batter. Put a small amount in one bowl (for the green) and the rest in another bowl. Dye the small amount green and the large amount orange.

Heat a skillet.

Put the green of the pumpkin on first. Do the eyes, the stem, and the mouth. My husband used a fork and drizzled it on there.

Then pour the orange around the green.

Cook and serve! A fun, festive breakfast. Our kids waited a while before eating them because they liked looking at them :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins...

Besides the usual carving pumpkins with the kids, there are other things you can do with them, too! We roasted the seeds this year and the girls devoured them! An easy recipe:
  1. Boil water (1 cup for every 1/2 cup of seeds). Add salt. (1 tsp per cup of seeds, more if you like them pretty salty).
  2. Add rinsed pumpkin seeds and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Drain. On a cookie sheet, drizzle some olive oil and roll the seeds in them. Spread the seeds in one layer.
  4. Cook for 15-20 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Look for them to be golden brown.

Charis scooping and sorting seeds:

Atalie was a little young to help with the carving and not that interested in the pumpkin goop. So, I pulled out the paint and let her design her own pumpkin. She had a BLAST. (FYI- if you use washable paint and they want to do the activity again, let them
give the pumpkin a bath, dry, and start painting again!)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Blast from the Past: Apple Prints

Last month, we tried out Raegan's idea for making apple cards. If you haven't tried this out, I think your kids will love it! Paint is always fun. We used ours to send a cousin a birthday card. I wrote "Have an "App"solutely Amazing Birthday!" Aahh cheesiness. How I love it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fire(man, fighter, truck) Books

As Raegan mentioned, October is National Fire Prevention month. If you have a son, you likely haven't ever needed  special month to pay attention to anything firetruck related. But in honor of the month, I thought I would share some of our favorite "fire" books.

At the Firehouse by Anne Rockwell
This is a fun book about visiting the local fire station

Firefighters A to Z by Chris L. Demarest

This book focuses on firefighters. It also shows kids that a firefighters job has an element of danger without scaring children. It also has the bonus of being an A to Z book. Very well done.

Clifford The Firehouse Dog by Norman Birdwell
Kaitlyn loves Clifford, but doesn't have an overly strong interest in firetrucks. So a book like this is great because it combines the fire theme with a favorite character.

Curious George by H.A. Rey
The original. It has a firefighting sequence in it. There are also Curious George firefighting books if you want one just about firefighting.

Big Frank's Fire Truck by Leslie McGuire
This has long been a favorite book of Brayden's. It is full of information for the curious little mind.

Firefighter Frank by Monica Wellington
This one follows a fire Chief throughout his day.


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