I ordered some plastic needles and plastic sewing canvases from Amazon. There are some nice First Sewing Kits out there but keeping it simple is less frustrating. My 5-year-old is able to make basic stitches by herself! Even my two year old attempts but she still needs a lot of guidance with it (I help her put the in and she has fun pulling it through).
She did most of the stitches in the picture above (not all at once).
Sewing is great for improving fine motor skills, concentration, and a practical life skill. It’s more of a craft these days but it’s still important to learn IMO. At this stage I help her correct any errors so it’s not frustrating for her. I want her to be comfortable with stitching before worrying about anything else.
“Paint” with water on a chalkboard. My kids love this. They also like washing it this way (which is a bonus because they clean off all of the chalk dust).
Stick tooth picks into play doh. As simple as this may seem it was very interesting to a 2.5-year-old and a 5-year-old. They pretended like the toothpicks were birthday candles on a cake, arms and legs on a person, etc.
No play doh? Mix together 1 cup hair conditioner and 2 cups cornstarch. It’s very soft and fragrant! I’ve seen this recipe (sometimes called cloud dough) all over the internet and it really is worth trying out. Next time I’ll add some food coloring and make it colorful.
I’m back to blogging again after taking a break for a year. In that time I had my third child! I want to continue where I left off with posting DIY and other preschool activities that I am doing with my children. My inspiration and ideas come mostly from around the web (all the great parenting blogs out there and Pinterest) and other parenting resources. I wrote more about this in my About Me section that you can find at the top of my webpage. Thanks and would love to have you follow along and hear other ideas!
Play with beads. Fill them up. Pour them out. Toddlers love this but require 100% supervision.
Dip toy cars in water and make water tracks across colored construction paper. You don’t need very much water so even if it spills it’s not a big deal.
Use Q-tips for painting. Great for tracing letters.
So, I’ve seen this melting of the broken and forgotten crayons lots of places, and I finally tried it out myself. Actually, I stole the directions from this lady’s blog: http://www.imagineourlife.com/ Her blog has tons of awesome free quiet book patterns as well!
For the nice round shape of the crayons I just used a regular muffin tin.
My almost-four-year-old helped me sort the colors into the muffin tin, and after they were finished she loved coloring with them.
But most of all, both of my daughters loved stacking them over and over, and hiding them around the house like buried treasure. Lots of fun and worth the effort… not to mention SO EASY. I also feel good about using up all of our broken crayons.
I have been wanting to try this activity out with my almost-four-year-old for some time now, either with salt or cornmeal. I am really glad we did! Basically, get a shallow tray and fill just enough with salt to create a thin layer. Then practice! To erase just shake the tray gently.
In the above photo she is practicing an “F”. Writing in the sand doesn’t always produce a perfect looking letter no matter how precise you try to write it. It’s a fun way to get your kid to practice though!
And my daughter would have fun just drawing in it too. She would often turn away from me and lick the salt off her fingers… as if I didn’t know what she was doing!
For this fun little project I actually recycled some cardstock scraps. Initially, I had been cutting out random preschool printables and almost threw away the scraps, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it! I’m glad I didn’t, too, because my daughter absolutely loved making these bookmarks.
First, we color and drew on strips of the cardstock (as you can see below):
Afterwards, I had her punch holes at the top of each bookmark, and she loved it:
And finally, we cut strips of yarn and tied them through the holes! Here’s a few examples of my daughter’s bookmark creations:
This DIY bookmark craft project turned out to be a winner. It was super fun, didn’t cost us a thing (because we recycled paper and had the rest of the materials already), and the bookmarks will make fantastic gifts (not to mention they will make fantastic bookmarks). 😉
Here’s an activity that resonates with the phrase “less is more”. Basically, I set three picture cards in one side of the tray, and three words that correspond with the pictures on the other side. In the middle are three cups in which to place each match. Anyway, I was tempted at first to try and have my daughter match all of the dozens of cards at once, but she would have quickly become overwhelmed and disinterested. Having only 3 cards that need matching allows her to quickly do the activity and get practice all by herself! I told her that each day I will rotate which cards need to be matched. A fun and easy daily activity.
This activity utilizes printables from the Montessori Print Shop. I purchased the Montessori At Home eBook from there, and it was quite a deal.
I’ve seen really neat sensory bins and tubs all over the internet. In fact, we have had fun with our rice sensory bin and sand activity many times. However, the idea behind this one is that it does NOT take me 15 minutes to vacuum up hundreds of pieces of rice or piles of sand afterwards. Sometimes I am simply too exhausted to get out messy activities! So, with that said, this sensory bin I can have right on her shelf and she can play with the random stuff whenever she likes.
In the bin are a package of glass “gems” found at the dollar store. I also have used these in our ABC bingo game. Also, I threw in some scoops and measuring spoons. The rest of the objects are random tiny things that I have been storing away for the past year in order to keep my 15 month old from choking on. In the photo above she is using two different scoops to transfer objects, so this is great “practical life” practice as well!
Above, my daughter is using her mini pink flashlight to examine coins and things. If you’re wondering what that glowing thing in the photo at the top of this post is all about, it is actually her shining her flash light through one of the glass gems!
Another point of interest is that I threw in an old container that originally contained cinnamon toothpicks. She gets a kick out of smelling it. I bet I could find other fragrant things to add next time. Coffee beans?
I would love to hear other ideas! Thanks for reading.
Sometimes painting on paper gets old for a preschooler, I’m afraid to say. So, we have to spice up the activity a bit! I found a couple of wooden boxes at Target for 3 dollars. My first intention was to use them as-is for activity trays, but as they just sat around empty I realized maybe I could spare one for an art project. I said, “Hey, you wanna paint a box?” My daughter was all for it.
Once the paint dries I will let her have at it with glue and sequins and glitter and whatever else I find laying around. I might not want to use it as a decorative piece when she’s done, but she’ll sure have fun. 😉
Also, this project got me to thinking that I could probably let her paint other unconventional things and objects for fun: plastic bottles, tin cans, and the sky is the limit. In the end, all of this painting practice helps advance her dexterity and fine motor development. And it’s fun!