Archive for the ‘Crafts’ Category

I stumbled over these a few months ago and immediately fell in love. Who knew such fun could be had out of such an unassuming box? I know… we need to decorate it and make it more fun, but you know… its on the list.

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File Folder Games are self-contained educational entertainment for almost any age group.  They are extraordinarily easy to make and super inexpensive.  All you need is card stock, a printer, some scissors, glue, laminating sheets, and a file folder. Most of this you’ll probably have on hand! The laminating sheets aren’t required but they will make you games pieces last longer. You don’t have to buy the laminating machine if you don’t want to. They make these cool sheets that laminate very well without the machine. I’ve also heard that you can use contact paper, but I haven’t tried that myself.

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These are a great “filler” activity. Its great for after lunch as we wind down to nap time. Or something to keep the kiddos occupied while dinner is being prepared.

This is one of those activities where the boys have different rules. Cole, who turns 4 in July, has to complete any game he begins. He has a tendency to want to stop all together when it gets difficult. Knowing the rules ahead of time removes the fight later if he feels like giving up. He can take a brain breather if he needs to but he doesn’t get out of the chair until he’s done.  Since the game in front of him is something he is very capable of doing, it gives him a real sense of satisfaction when he completes one. For Zane, who is 2 1/2, the rules are a little different.  He doesn’t have to finish. I try and encourage him to finish by helping or being a little silly, like doing it wrong so he will correct me. The great part is they get to pick. The file box that the games are in are on their height and they can get it out and open it, pick a game and enjoy. Of course, this is followed by the “you got it out, you have to put it away before you get something else out rule.”

Its amazing the variety of games you can put in a folder. Science, grammar, math, colors, counting, sequencing…. it goes on and on.

This is our favorite place for free games:

From that site we have made these, a few of our favorites.

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The folders even come pre-designed to hold all their pieces!

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A fun way to match colors.

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A slightly trickier way to match colors.

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Now there are two colors to match.

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Our most used one… can you tell?

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A great way to practice one-to-one counting.

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Another favorite

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The game is called “Down on the Farm” but in my head I always call it “The Match the Butt Game”. So very happy that my children can’t hear what’s inside my head.

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Now, this next one is a bit tricky. For the parent.

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Be careful when you cut them out… they are in order. Sometimes it isn’t a lizard for L but a newt for N.

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I wrote the names on the back not just for me but as an added way to help the kids match them. This is a phonics game, but if they get stuck they can look on the back and look for the letter.

And please! There are many grown-ups that would have a hard time with this one anyway!

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And look… surprise, surprise…

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Sorry, what can I say? I have radar for turtles.



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The Gigantic Turnip is an awesome, fun book that is great to read straight through or to stop along the way and talk about the animals and count everyone on the farm.

For a craft, I thought it would be fun for the kids to make their own group of people and animals that will pull their own big turnip out of the ground.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

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Glue or tape
2 pieces of green or brown construction paper
several strips of construction paper in a different color
This pdf: Gigantic Turnip Craft

I am all for scissor practice but this would be way too much cutting in one sitting for the little guy. So, I did all the cutting myself.

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First, secure three of the edges of the two pieces of construction paper with glue or tape, making a big pocket.

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Cole calls this ‘making raindrops’. Thank you preschool!

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Then you need to plant your veggies! Glue or tape the veggie squares along the bottom of your pocket.

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or if you are a 2 1/2 year old, you have the option of laying on the floor with your blankies and milk….

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Not really fair when Mommy tries to get you involved with a craft right after nap time.

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We went through the book and counted how many of each animal we needed in our line up.

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Then we attached the animals along the strip of construction paper.

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The last step is attaching your old man to the turnip. Make sure its on tight! Its going to have to withhold a lot of pressure!

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Now your kids can pull out their own gigantic turnip!!!

Happy gardening!

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My Granny Went To Market is a fun Barefoot Book of counting and geography.  We love the rhymes. I mean who would think to put Japanese with breeze? or Istanbul with wool? This is why my blog doesn’t contain a poetry section. Not my strong suit.

And here we have it. The boys with their book:

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You just have to love the excitement of these two. While I was setting everything up all I heard was,”Mommy! Can we do it now?! Is it time yet?!” Its so hard to be patient when you’re a little guy. Okay, maybe its hard to be patient in general. Once again, not my strong suit. I’ll tell ya what though… having children has given me a LOT of practice.  I kept praying to God for patience and then my wonderful sister-in-law, Noora, pointed out to me that when you pray for patience God usually just gives you lots of opportunities to develop patience. I’ve stopped praying for patience – I’m good, thanks.

Anyway, on to the craft! Here’s what you need:
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Something to color with like crayons, colored pencils, or markers
kiddo scissors
This pdf: How Many – My Granny Went to Market
Here is where you can print the map I used: World Map
Here is where I found a mask template: Mask (Don’t you just love PBS Kids??)
Beads, buttons, or something else cool to glue onto your mask
**I forgot this in the picture but I scrounged up some pipe cleaners to use instead of string (which I never seem to have) to secure the masks with.

I gave each boy their own How Many sheet
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and let them choose a pencil.

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I held the book open for all to see and we flipped from page to page counting each of the items writing on the page how many of each item Granny bought.

Cole can’t quite write his numbers by himself so after each time we counted I would write the number with a dotted line and let him trace it.
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Next, we talked about the places that Granny went to.  Before we started, I took the printed map and numbered the locations from 1 to 10 making a connect-the-dots page.  Zane just colored on his
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and Cole connected his numbers.
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Now for some scissor practice on the mask. Love the intense concentration.
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I cut out Zane’s and then we got to coloring
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After they did a little bit of coloring they were ready to glue. We had a cup of beads on hand and they went to town.
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And voila! the finished products:
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Have fun!

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