Sponge painting. I bought some cheap sponges from the Dollar Tree and cut them into different shapes. An easy art activity for any age.
My almost-three-year-old could cut paper all day long. One of my favorite items I’ve found at the Dollar Tree are these children’s scissors. I initially thought they were cheap and would break right away but they’ve held up so well I went and bought more. They aren’t sharp enough to really cause an injury but I always make sure my kids are sitting while using them. They work best cutting construction or thicker types of paper.
In an old post I mentioned that I save their old drawings and scribbles so that they can recycle that paper for cutting practice instead of wasting it. Cutting is really fun and even a two-year-old isn’t too young to begin with close adult supervision. They get a huge kick out of it and feel so proud of themselves at that age.
This is a very simple weather chart that can get your toddlers/preschoolers thinking about weather and the atmosphere around them. I made it from felt. My inspiration came from an image I saw on Pinterest (in photo below):
This paper plate version is very simple and I love the cotton balls for the cloudy weather. I wanted something more permanent and so I made it out of felt (and I was on a felt sewing kick for a while). I drew the images on paper and cut them out to use as stencils. I free cut all of the letters out (very tedious but they sell pre-cut felt letters at most craft stores which would be easier) and sewed everything down. It’s a very easy sewing project and the kids enjoy it!
Who knew colorful puff balls could be so entertaining. We already had some but apparently ones of different colors and shapes brought on a whole new world of play. I found these at the Dollar Tree and I’m probably going to go back and get one or two more of the different color variety packs.
They are also really great for color sorting activities and counting activities. I gave my almost-3-year-old some measuring spoons to scoop the balls and sort them into a container (in the picture below). I have her say each color out loud as she puts one in. Color sorting is old news for my 5-year-old so she decided to build a bunch of mini-snowman (in the picture above).
Great for counting practice too. ^
Another great color sorting material I found at the Dollar Tree are these heart beads. We use the basic pony beads a lot for color sorting and stringing but changing up the shape makes it new again! Worth the one dollar.
Pouring and scooping practice. I found the pack of mini paper cups at the Dollar Tree as well.
I should have snapped a photo of all the mess that was made afterwards when they discovered how fun it is to dump everything and scramble it all over the floor (but that quickly turned into clean up time)!
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!
Here’s an activity that you can do right now! Whip out some light colored construction paper (I’ve used tan) and a paintbrush and some water. Have your baby “paint” away.
My daughter is 17 months old and she loves this activity.
Yes, sometimes she just likes dumping out the water…
And then this activity turns into table washing, too!
This activity is great for improving fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and just plain fun. A little goes a long way!
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.