Make a Mr. Shape Scarecrow

Make a Mr. Shape Scarecrow

Nothing says “Fall” like a spectacularly spooky scarecrow! And if you pay attention, you can see them everywhere this time of year. You can point them out to your child at the grocery store or in neighbor’s yards. This Halloween, you and your child make one of your own using some old clothes and a little creativity. Your child will practice his shape recognition along the way and he’ll get to see his scarecrow come to life. Not to mention he’ll be doing some serious recycling while he’s at it!

What You Need:

  • Paper plate
  • Markers
  • Popsicle stick
  • Glue
  • Yellow yarn or construction paper for hair
  • Fabric scraps or construction paper
  • Tape
  • Old long-sleeved shirt, pair of pants, and gloves
  • Straw hat
  • Lots of plastic bags for stuffingmake-a-mr.-shape-scarecrow-
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Tissue paper or newspaper (optional)
  • Safety pins

What You Do:

  1. Help your child stuff the clothes with the plastic bags. The most effective way to do this is to scrunch the plastic bags into balls and then stuff them into the clothes. Do this until you have filled out the clothes completely so that they’ve got some body to them.
  2. Add gloves to the ends of the sleeves. You can stuff the gloves with tissue paper if you like, or just leave them empty. You can attach them to the ends of the sleeves with safety pins.
  3. While you’re making your scarecrow, talk to your child about the different shapes he sees within the scarecrow. Does he see any triangles? Are there any circles? Or squares?
  4. Using markers, have your child draw a face on the paper plate. He can make it as scary or as friendly as he likes! Glue or tape a popsicle stick to the bottom of the back of the plate to hold the “head” up.
  5. Help your child cut different sized strips of yellow construction paper for hair or use yellow yarn. Glue onto the plate.
  6. Place the popsicle stick head into the neck of the shirt. You might need to reinforce it with some more scrunched-up plastic bags. Add a straw hat on top. You can stuff the hat with some newspaper as well if you like.
  7. Ask your child to name some shapes. Help him draw them on paper or fabric. Have your child cut them out. These will be the patches for the scarecrow’s clothing.
  8. Tape the patches all over your scarecrow’s clothes.

Sit your scarecrow outside in a visible place for all to enjoy! This makes for a great Halloween decoration to ward off those crows and any other unwanted guests!

Kindergarten Journal

Kindergarten Journal

Is entering kindergarten for the first time a scary and thrilling prospect for your child? Here’s an activity that gives your child a way to articulate his thoughts about the new school year. Create a back to school journal! Decorate and personalize a notebook, then set aside time once or twice a week to discuss and write down the questions and feelings your child has about school.

Aside from reinforcing reading and writing skills, you’ll be getting the chance to openly communicate with your child. And by letting him jot down his fears, hopes, and expectations, he’ll be practicing a positive method of self-expression that he can use in years to come. Plus, you’ll have a keepsake that will last forever!

What You Need:

  • Spiral-bound notebook
  • Decorations for the notebook like glitter, glue, stickers, pictures, etc.
  • Slips of paper for questions
  • Pen or pencil
  • Small paper bag
  • Clear tape
  • Optional: Snack and journaling juice
  • Optional: Door hanger

What You Do:

  1. Write 10 to 20 questions for your child to answer on slips of paper, and place in a small paper bag. Remember, you want to explore his feelings and help him understand what to expect. Some sample questions:
    • What do you think the first day of school will be like?
    • What do you think you will learn this year?
    • What is one thing you would like to do this year?
    • What is one thing you would like to learn in school this year?
    • Will mommy be driving you to school, or will you take the bus?
  2. About 3 weeks before school starts, help your child select an appropriate yet snazzy notebook to use as a journal. Encourage him to decorate it with markers and his favorite art and stickers.
  3. Select a time of day, once or twice a week in which your house is relatively peaceful. Set 10 minutes aside as “official” journaling time.
  4. At the start of each journaling session, begin by helping your child write his name, the day of week, and date at the top of the page.
  5. Ask your child to choose 2 to 3 questions from the bag, leaving the others as a special surprise for next time.
  6. Read and discuss one question together. Talk about his thoughts, encouraging questions and gently dispelling any myths.
  7. Have your child tape the question in his journal, and then help him record his answer below it. It’s unlikely that your child will be able to write much himself, but you can record his answers for him, and let him help with pictures or new words he’d like to add.
  8. Repeat this process for each question.
  9. Optional: Make his favorite snack and special “journaling juice” during this time, and hang a sign on the door that says “Do Not Disturb, Journaling Time!”

While you’ll do most of the writing, encourage him to practice forming letters, learn new words and express himself by drawing pictures. When school starts, tuck the journal away for safe-keeping and revisit it once he’s had a few months of school under his belt. Or continue the journaling process even after the school year begins.

If he likes journaling, you can even make this an annual tradition and have him write at summer’s end about what he looks forward to and what he wishes might happen in the upcoming year.

 

 

Make Your Own Ruler

Make Your Own Ruler

Who says that all school supplies need to be store-bought? Teach your child about recycling and reusing with this simple math-based activity.

The preschool and kindergarten years are a time when your child will start (and continue) to discover beginning mathematical concepts such as counting and measuring. The Make Your Own Ruler activity encourages young learners to explore these concepts within the framework of a drawing based art activity. Canvas your house for reusable supplies, and get ready to measure the fun that your child will have creating his own ruler!

What You Need:

  • 1 piece of sturdy paper or cardboard (reused)
  • Scissors
  • Crayons or colored pencils in dark colors
  • School glue

    make-your-own-ruler-

  • Paint brush
  • Tape measure or other measuring device

What You Do:

  1. Search your home for a suitable piece of sturdy paper or cardboard to reuse. Boxes work very well. Examples include cereal boxes, packing boxes, cracker boxes, or shoe boxes. Make sure that the box is large enough to cut it to at least twelve inches in length. Additionally, look for materials that are sturdy but not too thick to cut by hand.
  2. Have your child help you to measure twelve inches across the cardboard. Make a mark with a pencil or crayon at this measurement.
  3. Cut the twelve inch length from the box into a ruler shape that is approximately two to three inches wide.
  4. Show your child a ruler or tape measure for reference. Ask him to line up the numbers with the cardboard cut out.
  5. Have your child draw lines for each inch mark with a thin crayon or colored pencil. These may be done in multiple colors. Make sure that the colors are dark enough to see.
  6. Ask your child to draw the numbers one through twelve at the correct lines (Optional: If you use the metric system use centimeters instead).
  7. If desired, seal the ruler by having your child paint a thin coating of school glue across the cardboard, covering the entire surface. Other glue base sealing products are available from craft stores. If you would like to choose such as product only use those clearly marked as non-toxic, non-flammable, water based, ACMI certified, and safe for young children to use. If you are unsure about the product that you have, do not use it and skip this step completely.
  8. Allow for drying time.
  9. Watch your child count and measure!

Add extra flair to this activity with paint and glitter on the opposite side. Have your child paint the non-numbered cardboard first, and then lightly sprinkle glitter over top!

Self-Portrait Collage

Self-Portrait Collage

Does your kindergarten dream of becoming a photographer or an athlete? Does she imagine herself flying a jet plane or cooking up a scrumptious meal? Whatever her future holds, help her visualize it by creating a self-portrait collage of jobs she’s interested in.

What You Need:

  • Photos of different careers
  • Profile photo of your child
  • 2 sheets white paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue

What You Do:

  1. Since your daughter is making a collage, the profile photo needs to be large enough to combine several images. If necessary, scan and enlarge. Cut out the profile to use as a pattern.
  2. Help your daughter trace the photo on one of the sheets of paper. Cut it out so she has a hole shaped like her profile. This will be glued over the collage so that portions of the photos show within her profile.
  3. Discuss with your daughter the jobs shown in the photos. What are these people doing? Which of these jobs would she like to do? Why?
  4. Have your daughter select the photos that she wants to use. Glue them onto one of the pieces of paper, overlapping to create a collage.
  5. Glue the profile cutout over the collage.

Once your daughter has made her own self portrait collage, she can make collages of her friends and family members, using photos that depict the many jobs that they do.

 self-portrait-collage-slide