Other than apple pie and stuffing, the next best thing during the Thanksgiving season is crafting turkeys. And I don’t mean just one or two turkeys, I mean crafting LOTS of turkeys. Because turkeys on paper are a lot better than turkey on my plate. Well, that’s my opinion anyway. So we’ve been making lots of turkeys and talking about things that make us thankful: roller coaster rides, trains, and popcorn. Hope you’re getting into the thankful spirit, too.
Fall colors. Boots. Tea in the afternoon. Walks through the woods. This is what fall is when you’re a professional nanny. Trust me, I am not complaining! These things are the perfect recipe for great days. And last week, we attempted to bring it all together when we went on an adventure. I gave the kids a brown paper lunch sack with their initial on it. This was their bag and whatever leaves they wanted to put it in, they could. Through the woods we walked, looking on the ground for the prettiest leaves we could find. The forest floor was covered, which was lucky for us, with all sorts of reds, and oranges, yellows and even some left over green leaves. Some, as I was told, were even “tye-dyed” which was pretty exciting. Just how does Mother Nature DO THAT, we wondered aloud.
Days after our walk through the woods, we sat on the porch in the sunshine with paper, glue, sticks, tape and a tree trunk cut out. Then, I dumped the bag of leaves on top of them, making a not so neat swarm of leaves in the middle of us. I let the kids pick out their favorite leaves and together we glued and taped them on the tree trunks. Afterward, we took the circle moons I had pre-cut for them and glued them as the background of our trees. Once the tree trunks with leaves were attached to the paper, we let them dry before finding a very special place in the house to hang them.
This was definitely one of the more entertaining art projects that the pre-schoolers and I have done together. They loved that they were the ones to find the leaves and then incorporate them into a project. It was also fun and different for us to have an art project that extended throughout the week. We’re excited to see what we will be able to do with our leaf collection next!
Typically, I steer away from a doing any type of “cookie cutter” art projects. I think it’s really important that children come up with original ideas and use their own minds to create, rather than seeing an example and then repeating someone else’s idea. But last week, I saw a project that I knew my little chick would love so much, I had to cave in! I saw a cute sample on Pinterest (unfortunately the original link could not be found) on how to make chickens from your child’s hand. With a quick change here and there, and without attempting to interfere, we soon had a whole hen house full of little chickens!
To help make this project more child-focused and a little less about completing a “correct” project, I decided to help more with the inital set-up of the project, then slowly disappear from the craft scene once she got started. The thing about kids and art I have learned, is that they really don’t need as much help as we tend to think they do. To organize this project in a way that she could do it on her own, I decided to cut everythingbefore she began; including the shape of her hand, the eyes, the beak and gobbler. Then, I put them all over the table with the blank heads. At that point I didn’t say anything, I just let her decide where each of the body parts should go. Quickly and independently, she figured everything out. And although some of the eyes were off-centered here and the gobbler was upside-down there, it didn’t matter. She was doing the project exactly as she wanted. All I had to do was hang that little bird up when she was done.
And goodness, was she ever proud when they were all done. Just in time for her Dad to come home and see them! He thought they were very cute, of course. Don’t you?
Sometimes when you’re watching kids, do ever just really want to play a game? That happened to me last week. I was tired of dolls and coloring… all I wanted to do was play BINGO! Insert problems here: 1. The standard rules of BINGO are a bit complex for three year old’s; and 2. We didn’t have any BINGO boards around the house.
So I decided to take matters into my own hands. Luckily, we have this box filled with game mysterious game pieces. And since no one knows what the game pieces actually go to, we are free to use them however and whenever we want. As a side note: I wanted there to be some sort of learning involved. However, I didn’t want the twins to pick up on the fact that they would be doing a “learning” activity. So, I decided I would only focus on one lesson: learning the letters of their names. Having a narrowed focus makes it less intense for young ones. With that said, here is how I made our simple homemade BINGO boards.
1. Create a grid on the back of the old kid’s homework left-overs.
2. Place images and letters on each of the squares.
3. Make two copies of the papers & the use contact paper to strengthen each.
4. Cut one of the copies into small pieces and place them in a container. These will be the pieces they place on top of their boards. After this was done, we played! The rules were pretty simple, I would draw out the pieces and they would yell, “Yes!” if they had it. The first person to yell “yes” earned the piece and would then place it on their board. Once your board was completely filled, you would yell “BINGO!” Sometimes we would yell, “cannonball” too and that was just as fun. Hey, whatever works.
What games have you had to change the rules of for your preschoolers? Do you also make your own games to pass the time? Please share!