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!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Book List 2011

That's Not My Reindeer by Fionna Watt

We love these books of "That's not my..." They are really fun touch and feel books. This is a great Christmas book for the little ones.

This one is currently unavailable on Amazon, so I can't link to it for you.  Hopefully you can find it at the library or at a different bookstore.

Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney

This is another series we love at our house. This little llama is always full of passion. His mama is always patient about teaching him how to be, so it is a funny story that teaches the children correct behavior and reminds mom to always be patient.

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Bell! by Lucille Colandro

We fully enjoy this series also (notice a theme to these book recommendations...). These are silly stories where the lady swallows several different objects that she...regurgitates? in some way to produce a product. It is fun to look at how the small parts contributed to the whole picture.

Merry Christmas, Splat (Splat the Cat) by Rob Scotton

And yet another fun series. Splat the cat is a fun cat who is also funny. He is always messing up somehow :) In this book, he helps mom and dad out--in typical "helping" way.

Who Was Born This Special Day? by Eve Bunting

This one is not part of a series. I do have others that are fun, but this story is Kaitlyn's absolute favorite already this season, so I had to pass it along. This one is not silly and not fun--it is sweet. It goes through the animals and asks them if they were born this special day. They all explain when they were born. Finally it comes to the Christ child. This is a sweet Christmas book.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Round-Up 2011

Are you ready for Christmas? I feel like I am still mentally preparing for Halloween! Where did time go?!!???

Christmas Books and Recommendations

Get our 2009 Christmas Book Recommendations

Our book recommendations for 2010!

This activity creates a fun ornament for your tree while working on shapes, fine motor skills, and colors. 

This is a fun way to remember all of the fun you had this year as a family. See also:

Time Capsule

A fun tradition to do each year.

Learn about different Christmas traditions from around the world.

Super cute activity for the letter R and reindeer week.

If your kids are like mine, glitter is a favorite. This activity has glitter!

Get some fine motor practice in with present wrapping.

I call Raegan the queen of sorting activities, and she does not disappoint with this one :)

The shepherds are a humble part of the Christmas story. You can talk about them as you make these sweet lambs.

Gingerbread is a fun theme for a week during December! 

December seems to be full of natural fine motor practice. Take advantage of it all!

Straw Bed for Jesus

Help your children focus on the reason for the season.

Making the Holidays Memorable

Ideas for getting the most out of your holidays.

Christmas Symbols Poem

A poem for reminding us what all of our decorations symbolize.

Christmas Symbols and Meanings

A list of all of the Christmas Symbols and what they mean.

Gingerbread Tips

Making gingerbread items can turn into no fun for everyone if you don't do it right. Find tips for making this a fun tradition rather than a point of contention.

Candy Train

Make a yummy candy train.

Snowmen Ornaments

A darling keepsake ornament to make with your children.

Homemade Ornaments

More ideas for homemade ornaments.

Reindeer Week

Enough reindeer activities to more than fill a week up. They will leave you with your head spinning.

More Reindeer Activities

Just in case your head was not spinning fast enough, we added a few more reindeer activities.

Christmas Tree Art

A great fine motor activity that results in a very cute decoration.

Christmas Tree Rice Krispy Treats

Yummy, festive treats.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fabulous Fall Fun: Corn Maze

Fall is almost over for me (okay, let's be real, it was over about three weeks ago, I mean, it is snowing while I write this). Anyway, the "calendar" says fall so I am doing a fabulous fall post. 

One of our favorite traditions is to do a corn maze. I am sure not all of you will have access to a corn maze because corn doesn't grow everywhere. You might have a straw maze or something that you can go to.

Now, some places will have a corn maze that is kid-friendly--meaning it is not several miles of maze. If you do not have a kid-friendly version, don't be afraid of turning around and coming back out the entrance. We have done that several times. If you don't have an hour or two to walk through the maze, there is no problem with retreating out the entrance. 

If you go for the long haul, we have found this to be most pleasant if it is warm, so going on a Saturday in the middle of the day is better for us than trying to beat the sunset after work on a weekday. Bring a stroller for young kids--even young kids who typically walk (unless you don't mind carrying this young child). Bring blankets, hats, and coats. 

We let Brayden take the map and navigate us through the maze, which he is very happy about. If you don't want to hand it all over to the child, let the child help look at the map and talk about which way to to to get out. 

A maze is a great activity! You get exercise, you can practice map reading and maze-following as well as instruction following. Lots of fabulous fall fun!

Monday, November 21, 2011


Though the Wampanoag Indians who were involved in the first Thanksgiving did not live in Teepees, Teepees are associate with Indians in general, and Thanksgiving is a time of year we talk about Native Americans, so I thought it was an appropriate time of year to share this activity idea.

It is simple. You take a tortilla, roll it into a cone, then secure with a toothpick. You then let your child paint and decorate it. It is fun and a novel item to paint.

You could add some history to the activity by studying the Plains Indians and teepees and share the knowledge with your child as you paint. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

L is for Leaves

This was a fun activity that incorporated a fun fall hunt, fine motor skills, letter review, sensory, gluing practice, and lots of teachable moments on the walk!
Before the walk we talked about:
*Color of changing leaves
*Items that represent fall
*What to collect, what to avoid
Then off we went! We collected pine needles, pine cones, crunchy leaves, leaves that are just changing, acorns, dried branches, and anything else that represented fall.
For this activity it's best to make sure you collect some crunchy leaves.
We played some I/eye spy games:
"I spy with my little eye, something squirrels collect!"
Then at home, with a previously prepared Ll paper, they crunched and smashed the leaves, and sprinkled them like glitter over a glued surface.
L is for leaves. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pilgrim Cookies

I saw these pilgrim hat cookies and thought they were adorable and something even a toddler could accomplish. I did make a few quick changes from the original I saw here. Their cookies were more accurate and cuter, but a few changes meant J could be that much more involved (and truth be told, I don’t think I could’ve iced a buckle so small).
We used yellow Reeces Pieces for the buckle instead of the yellow icing and I went with a chocolate covered cookie instead of the ginger snaps (because I don’t like ginger snaps so much!). I did try cutting a marshmallow for the white band around the middle, thinking J could create every part. I couldn’t get the marshmallow to look right, so I scrapped that. Maybe someone else has good luck with it though.
You need:
  • small brown cookies (I used Archer Farms “Dark Chocolate & Caramel indulgent cookies from Target, just 8 in the box, so good for a small group)
  • Small Reeces Peanut Butter Cups
  • Yellow Reeces Pieces (or M&Ms)
  • White icing
What you do:
  • Squeeze a drop of icing onto the center of the cookie. Stack the Reeces Peanut Butter Cup on top (upside down). Line the base of the RPC with white icing. Use the icing to “glue” the yellow Reeces Pieces on as a buckle.
These cookies were really good and REALLY rich (dark chocolate caramel cookie with Reeces Pieces AND Reeces peanut butter cup…. not really part of any diet). Last year J and I gathered all his cousins to work on these the morning of Thanksgiving.  They gave them a part in preparing the meal (the best part of the meal… dessert!). Everyone loved them.
They have the side benefit of providing the opportunity talk about the origin of Thanksgiving. I used it as a review of who the pilgrims were.

Becca also blogs at Fun & Engaging Activities for Toddlers.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cornucopia of Thankfulness

November is definitely a time when our thoughts are centered around what we are thankful for. This activity provides that focus for children while building fine motor skills as well as pasting skills.

Supplies Needed:
  • Have your child color the cornucopia and glue it to the construction paper.
  • Have your child go through magazines to find things they are thankful for and cut them out. 
  • Have your child glue those things into the cornucopia. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving Turkey Card

This is a cute gift to give people at Thanksgiving time--I am thinking Grandparents or parents if you teach young children.

You make a cut out of the child's hand. Then you have the child list things she is thankful for and write them on each finger/thumb. You then add a head, eyes, etc. The poem says:

This isn't just a turkey,
as you can plainly see.
I made it with my hand,
which is a part of me.
It comes with lots of love,
especially to say,
I hope you have a very
Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Turkey Countdown to Thanksgiving

We used our turkey countdown for the first time last year.  It's held up to reuse again this year!

I saw this cute Thanksgiving countdown and had to try it. I adapted it a little so that I could reuse it every year (or at least for a few years). I used foam and cardboard instead of construction paper and cardstock. I also made it magnetic and keep it on our fridge.
Our turkey actually isn’t this full yet, I just took a picture of what he would look like in all his glory. J adds one feather to him each day. You could do the reverse and pluck a feather each day, pretending to ready him for Thanksgiving dinner. I think older kids would find that really funny actually.
First check out the original site if you like to change things up each year and are ok with a temporary version. I liked how she made the head 3D.  
Since J is so young I know that this will still be exciting for him next year.
My materials: colorful foam, cardboard, googly eyes, adhesive magnets and glue. It took about 30 minutes to make, but could be done much faster since I had to redo things a few times or find new materials to work with. This is also something your little one could help make. I just did it during naptime since our week is so busy and wanted it done in time for a decent countdown.
How I made it:
1. Cut the feather strips out of colorful foam. (You want thin strips so they fit behind Mr. Turkey, especially if you plan for a full month’s countdown.)
2. Attach an adhesive magnet to the top of each strip. This will allow you to have that fanned look to the feathers. If you place the magnets closer to the bottom, they will simply create a single file line across the turkey’s back. (This was my first mistake!)
3. Cut two circles out of brown cardboard, a large one for the body and small one for the head. **I suggest having a very large body so you have plenty of room for your feathers to fan out, especially if you plan to start on Nov. 1st. The cardboard circles that come with frozen pizzas work great.
4. Glue the smaller circle onto the larger one.
5. Cut out a strip of cardboard and glue on the back of the large circle. **Place it on the base of the body since the feather strips will be stuffed along the top. (This was my second mistake!) When dry, place 1-2 magnetic strips on the back of the turkey’s body. The cardboard backing allows Mr. Turkey to be lifted slightly when attached to the regrigerator. This allows the feathers to slide behind him easily.
6. Cut out the feet, beak, and snood and glue them onto the turkey, along with the googly eyes.
7. Test it out before getting your little one’s excited about it. I’m glad I tested it first since I needed to rearrange the magnets on my pieces. Now we have a cute turkey that J can easily slip a feather behind on his own each day.

Becca also blogs at Fun & Engaging Activities for Toddlers.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Top 5 Pinterest Thanksgiving Finds

Here are my five favorite things I have on my Pinterest for Thanskgiving ideas!

Treats from Ourbestbites.com

Lunch from Meet the Dubiens

Turkey Countdown from Make and Take

And see our own Becca's version here:

Thanksgiving Galore from KatharineMaries.com

There are at least 11 Thanksgiving ideas in this post

Turkey Craft from DLTK.com

You can follow me on Pinterest here: http://pinterest.com/valplowman/

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thanksgiving Books 2011

Here are five new recommendations for you for Thanksgiving books this year!

Fancy Nancy: Our Thanksgiving Banquet

Love Fancy Nancy books! You can't go wrong with these.

The Littlest Pilgrim

This is about a little pilgrim, but the things she can do even though she is small. This made me think of my youngest because she is smaller than the rest of the family, but always finding her own way to contribute.

Give Thanks for Each Day by Steve Metzger

I love that this book focuses on all of the things we have to be thankful for daily.

Thanksgiving Is Louise Borden

A simple book about Thanksgiving.

This First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Story by Laura Krauss Melmed

This is a counting book about Thanksgiving!


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