Cut out some cardboard in the shape of a hand mirror. Cut out some aluminum foil in the size and shape that will fit the cardboard cut-outs. I used a glue stick to adhere the foil to the cardboard, and it worked really well to smooth down the foil.
I think these magic mirrors could be made a lot better than I did here. I didn’t have good scissors to cut the cardboard so they are far from perfect. A box knife would work a lot better! They also could be decorated with stickers, glitter, and painted for another project.
All-in-all they were fun for my 5-year-old and almost 3-year-old. They pretended the mirrors were the magic mirrors from the movie Beauty and the Beast.
Anyway, It beats having to supervise them with real mirrors. Of course, it doesn’t work as a real mirror but it’s still fun for pretend… and it’s basically free to make if you already have the materials on hand!
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). 😉
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!
Most of us familiar with the Montessori method of education know that Practical Life activities (learning how to help with everyday cleaning, self-care, etc.) are very important to establish in the early years of life. Part of this is having items necessary for a child’s growing independence accessible. One very easy way to do this is to give your toddler or preschooler a cupboard (or drawer) of their own in the kitchen that they can access themselves.
As you can see above, I have cleared out one of our bottom cupboards for my 3-year-old’s dishware, so that she can grab a bowl, cup, and silverware all by herself during snack and meal times. We have had this cupboard for her for over a month and she has loved it! She enjoys being able to choose from what she eats out of and with. She also usually has napkins in there, and a pitcher for practicing pouring. Unfortunately, she has a lot of plastic stuff in her cupboard. My goal is to eventually replace those items with non-plastic items. The Sippy cups in the back of the cupboard are stored there for her 15-month-old sister. We have graduated my older daughter from Sippy cups, even though they sure were a lot easier. She does like to sneak her sister’s Sippy cups when I’m not looking.
If you can’t spare a cupboard or drawer you could always try a tiny shelf in the kitchen or dining area.
The beauty of having accessible areas for my daughter is that it does make it easier for me, too! 😉
In the photo above, my daughter is painting from a booklet that has the ready-to-go paints on each page. She has a basic watercolor set, but these paint booklets are sort of a novelty for kids. I first introduced watercolors to my daughter when she was a lot younger, maybe two-years-old, and it took a lot of explanation. Now that she’s almost three-and-a-half she has no trouble at all using the watercolors by herself.
less messy painting
Here she is using the do-a-dot art paint pen set. These were a gift to her so I’m not sure where they were purchased. Probably most craft stores carry them, or try Amazon. These are great because sometimes I don’t have the time nor the energy to get out finger paints (which she needs help cleaning up afterwards), but she still can get her paint kicks out.
She also has fun with this activity because of the little bottles and the caps that need to be screwed on and off. It sort of duals as a fine motor development exercise with all of the unscrewing of the caps. And she has fun sorting the bottles together. Anything that requires coordination and concentration is preparing her for later being able to excel in the classroom. It all counts!