Body Stamps

Body Stamps

Let’s face it: kids love stamps. So why not let kids use their bodies to create their own? In this activity, get your kindergartener to create life-sized, body stamps using his own hands and feet. Your child will be amazed at what his own body looks like when it is used to make a stamp on a giant piece of paper. Explore with your child why some parts of his body like his hands and feet look almost exactly as they are when they are pressed to paper, but others like his nose and knees don’t.

This is a great activity to do with more than one child.

What You Need:

  • Large sheet of butcher or craft paper
  • Newspapers, for lining the room
  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Shallow dish for paint large enough to hold a child’s foot

What You Do:

  1. This activity can be messy, so first line your painting area with newspapers to make cleaning up easier. If you’re really gung-ho, feel free to line the floor of the hallway of your house from your art area to the bathroom as well.
  2. Roll out a large sheet of butcher paper or craft paper. This will be your child’s canvas.
  3. Have your child sit on the floor at the bottom of the craft paper, and let him paint his feet either by using the paintbrush if he can reach or by dipping his feet into the paint dish.
  4. Invite your child to get up and walk across the paper, taking slow, small steps so he doesn’t slip and fall. Ask him to observe what happens to the paint as he walks to the other side.
  5. If you have another child there, he can repeat the same process, placing his feet next to the other child’s footprints. If you like, compare the children’s hands and feet. You can talk about whose prints are bigger or whose have more lines on them or talk about why people have differing features. Talking about our differences with our children helps them understand how we all fit into the world.
  6. The children can repeat the process to make more “body stamps” by painting hands, elbows, knees, or even noses! Have them guess which print is going to be the most clear.
  7. When the paint dries, have the children write their names or initials next to their prints.

When finished, not only will you have an amazing collage of life-sized prints of your child, but hopefully your child will also have learned a little more about himself in the process!

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Paper Plate Ring Toss

Paper Plate Ring Toss

Remember playing ring toss at the county fair? Bring that fun home with this homemade version of your carnival favorite. Cut out the centers of paper plates, paint them, and you’ve got rings ready to be tossed! This game is a fun way to teach young kids about direction and number values, or teach older kids about addition! It’s a great creative project to do any day you’re yearning for the fair, and it stops boredom in its tracks!

What You Need:

  • Paper plates (4-8)
  • Black marker
  • Scissors
  • 3 bottles (glass or plastic)
  • Sand, or water
  • Tempera paint
  • Paintbrushes

What You Do:

  1. Cover the surface of your workspace with newspaper to protect your furniture from paint.
  2. Have your child cut out the center of each paper plate. The border that remains will be the paper rings.
  3. Using the tempera paint, have him paint each ring a different color. Encourage him to paint different designs and patterns on each ring. Allow the paint to dry completely.
  4. Help him to fill the bottles with water or sand to help weigh them down so they don’t tip during the game.
  5. Have him use the black marker to write ascending numbers on each plate to create a point system, such as: 1,2,3 or 10, 50, 100.
  6. Place the bottles on the floor, allowing enough room between each bottle which will allow the rings to land over the bottle without interference.
  7. Give each of the players the same number of paper rings.
  8. Have the players stand a few feet away from the bottles and toss the rings.
  9. Add up the number of points for each ring that is successfully tossed over the bottle. Whoever ends up with the most points after all the rings are tossed is the winner!

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Make a Parachute Toy

Make a Parachute Toy

Looking for an outdoor distraction? Make this parachute toy! You probably have all the supplies you need, without a scramble to the store, and this activity is a blast. Plus, it gives kids an excuse to investigate and experiment—the backbone of kindergarten science.

What You Need:

  • String
  • Bandanna or small piece of cloth
  • Button with four holes
  • Pipe cleaner, small stone, action figure or other small objects

What You Do:

  1. Build the toy: Cut four equal pieces of string, about 18-24 inches in length. Thread each string through a separate hole in the button, then tie them together, leaving a few inches trailing at the bottom.
  2. Lay out your bandanna or cloth and stretch the other ends of the strings, taping one string to each corner of the bandana. Voila! You’ve got a parachute.
  3. Make predictions: Ask your child what he thinks will happen when you drop the parachute. Will it matter if you drop it from a high height or a low one? Will it matter if you attach a stone or other object underneath the button? Will any of these things affect the speed the parachute falls or the path it takes? Have your child make predictions. Then take the chute out for some experimentation! Attach a figure weaved out of the pipe cleaner. Next, tie on something heavier. Drop the parachute from various heights and angles. What happens?

This is a great way for kids to explore and experiment, key elements of early science…and a lot of hand-on fun!

Note: A bandanna can work, but you need more height to drop it from and more weight on the end. An unfolded napkin might work for something lighter.

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American Flag Art

American Flag Art

It’s Independence Day! Why not add some red, white, and blue to your life, and give your kid some practice with a major math concept…counting to 100 independently. A little independence is a good thing…especially in time for July 4th!

What You Need:

  • one piece of 9 x 12 white construction paper
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • red and blue crayons
  • 100 silver foil star stickers

What You Do:

  1. Use a pencil and a ruler to draw lines to form a simple flag design on the construction paper (a rectangle in the upper left corner with no stars; thirteen horizontal stripes on the right.) Flip the paper over and repeat.
  2. Have your child color the flag on both sides. She should color every other stripe on the flag red, beginning with the top stripe, and leave the stripes in between white. Once she’s colored all of the stripes, it’s time to color the rectangle blue.
  3. Ask your child to gather her star stickers, and tell her she’s going to use them to make a very special flag. She’ll start with fifty on the first side, putting them one by one onto the blue rectangle. As she places each sticker, she should count it aloud. When she gets to fifty, ask her to flip the flag over, and start on the other side, counting from 51, all the way to 100.

Display the flag in a window so it can be viewed from both the inside and outside of your home. Happy Independence Day!

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Make Scented Play Dough

Make Scented Play Dough

Preschoolers can spend hours creating with play dough. Here’s a quick trick to put a fresh spin on an all-time kid favorite. Add in a packet of Kool-Aid powder and your play dough will smell like cherries, grapes, oranges, or strawberries! Your child will be fascinated by her new set of fragrant play dough, but she’ll also be giving the muscles in her hand the workout they need to get ready for all that writing, drawing, and cutting she’ll be expected to do in kindergarten. This activity is easy and fun, and it’s sure to bring a smile to your child’s face!

What You Need:

  • 1 large pan
  • 1 mixing bowl
  • 1 mixing spoon
  • 1 pack Kool-Aid powder, any flavor
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 3 cups water
  • Food dye (optional)

What You Do:

  1. Invite your child to pick a flavor of Kool-Aid mix.
  2. Help her measure and mix all the ingredients, and put them into the bowl. If you want to add some color to the play dough, squeeze in a few drops of food dye and mix it in well.
  3. Pour the mixture into the pan over very low heat.
  4. Stir until the mixture is no longer sticky, and then remove it immediately.
  5. Let it cool, and then present it to your child to play with! She’ll have hours of fun shaping and molding the sweet-smelling play dough. When she’s finished playing with it, store it in a large plastic zip lock bag. Experiment with different scents for a never ending fun time!

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