Crazy Eyes

Crazy Eyes

Get ready for this Halloween balancing project! Using different-sized Styrofoam balls, foam and pipe cleaners, your child will practice the art of balance and counterbalance while trying to assemble a free-standing sculpture of crazy eyes! The balls are held together with toothpicks, and the foam is glued in place. The arms that come out of the eyes are the trick to perfecting the balance. If Crazy Eyes leans too far left, watch out—he may fall over! But, if counterbalanced with a large hand on the right, he’ll stand up straight!

What You Need:

  • 1 large Styrofoam ball
  • 2 medium Styrofoam balls
  • Googly eyes (assorted sizes)
  • Toothpicks
  • Foam sheets
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Glue
  • Low heat glue gun (optional)
  • Tempera paint (red)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Pipe cleaners

What You Do:

  1. Have your child design eyes using red paint and googly eyes on each of the foam balls. Allow them to dry.
  2. Ask her to use the toothpicks to start assembling the foam balls into position. Lay Crazy Eye’s body on a table (he won’t balance at first).
  3. Have her cut some pipe cleaners to create arms. Push them into the Styrofoam.
  4. Draw, cut and glue on feet and hands.
  5. Encourage her to add googly eyes and move around the parts until Crazy Eyes is balanced and can stand on his own.

file_624297

 

 

Halloween Shadow Pumpkin Symmetry

Halloween Shadow Pumpkin Symmetry

At Halloween, it’s always fun to cut out those black shadow tracings of cats and ghosts and witch hats. You can add a twist and make a fun activity for you and your child to do together this Halloween. While you’re at it, you’ll also be giving her some great lessons in math and art by teaching her the concept of symmetry. This is part of early math knowledge and it’s also great help for young kindergarten brains learning to understand the world through concepts like left, right, center, straight, and curved!

What You Need:

  • Sheet of 9″ x 12” black construction paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Sturdy cardboard
  • Craft knife
  • Laminator or clear contact paper
  • Tongue depressor

What You Do:

  1. Fold the construction paper horizontally (“hamburger” style).
  2. Place it on table in front of your child so that it’s vertical (9” high, 6” wide) with the fold on the left—like a greeting card. Help her trace half of a pumpkin shape, starting at the fold, going out to the edges and using as much of the paper as possible.
  3. Have her draw one eye, half a nose (this will touch the fold), and half a mouth, with as many scary teeth as she likes.
  4. Now help her use the scissors to cut the pumpkin out of the paper and the face shapes out of the pumpkin. This is a good time to explain the concept of symmetry to your kindergarten and why the pumpkin face will be symmetrical when you are done.
  5. Open it up and you’ll have a symmetrical spooky face!
  6. Now help your kindergarten glue the pumpkin onto a sturdy sheet of cardboard. Your child can probably cut around the edge of the pumpkin herself, but you should plan to help cut out the eyes, nose, and mouth with an X-acto knife.
  7. Sandwich the whole spooky pumpkin between two layers of contact paper, or laminate it, and again trim the edges.
  8. Staple or glue a tongue depressor or Popsicle stick onto the back of the pumpkin. If you have a yard with ground lights, you can stick the pumpkin in front of them and let the light shine through to make a Halloween shadow decoration; or play with it indoors by placing it near a light and letting the spooky shadow spread on a wall. You’ll have a great Halloween decoration along with a fun math and art lesson as well.
 halloween-shadow-pumpkin-symmetry-bigthumb

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

Shaving Cream Paintings

Shaving Cream Paintings

Children love the “magic” of combining colors to make a new color. Here’s an activity that will give your kindergartener hands-on practice with this concept. Let your child mash, squish, and mix his way to an understanding of color with some shaving cream and food coloring. This art and science activity will show your child how primary colors combine to make secondary colors.

What You Need:

  • Smock or apron
  • White aerosol shaving cream
  • Food coloring
  • Three zippered sandwich bags (more for extra discovery and exploring!)
  • White paper
  • Cotton swabs or small paintbrushes

What You Do:

  1. Learning can be messy, so make sure to put your smocks on first! Now put a plum-sized dollop of shaving cream into each of the three zippered sandwich bags.
  2. In one bag, carefully squeeze 3 drops of red and 3 drops of blue food coloring onto the shaving cream. In another bag, squeeze 3 drops of blue and 3 drops of yellow food coloring. In a third bag, squeeze 3 drops of red and 3 drops of yellow food coloring. Zip each bag closed.
  3. Ask your child to observe what happens when he kneads the shaving cream in each bag. How does the shaving cream change? What happens to the food coloring? What colors did red/blue, blue/yellow, and red/yellow turn into?
  4. If you want to extend the experiment, you can ask your child to predict what will happen when more or less drops of one of the primary colors are used. How can we make the colors deeper, less purplish, or more green? Will red and yellow always make orange? Will blue and red always make purple? Will blue and yellow always make green? Give him more shaving cream and zippered bags to find out.
  5. When he’s mixed enough colors, have your child use the cotton swabs or small paintbrushes to paint a picture using the colors he has created. The finished product with its unique color and texture is great for framing!

What’s Going On:

A opportunity for art as well as science, this activity allows your child to see first-hand how the primary colors (red, blue, yellow) can create the secondary colors (purple, green, and orange). And experimenting is an important part of discovery learning, and discovery learning is learning that lasts. As a bonus, the act of kneading the shaving cream for thorough mixing of colors gives your child an opportunity to work fine motor muscles that will be important in handwriting.

My Shape Book

My Shape Book

At the beginning of the year, kindergartens spend lots of time on shape recognition. more often than not, kids are introduced to shapes in preschool, but in kindergarten, they’ll start learning more about the way our world is made up of all those shapes. Here’s a great way for your child to get ready for the new challenges in a kindergarten classroom. Back in preschool there were lots of books to teach kids about shapes. Now’s a fun time to switch the roles. Help your child make her own shape book.

What You Need:

  • Construction paper in bright colors
  • White card stock paper
  • Marker
  • Scissors
  • Several 5×8 index cards
  • Digital Camera

What You Do:

  1. Take a walk with your child around your home and look for shapes.  You can help point out windows, or doors, or pictures, and trace your finger in the air around the object to help her visualize the shapes.
  2. Ask your child what shape she sees.
  3. Write the name of the object along with the a picture of the shape it represents on on an index card, and then tape it up.
  4. For example: “Door” would be an example of a rectangle.
  5. If your child knows the letter sounds, have her help you write the word. Have her sound it out phonetically.
  6. For example: Your child may only write “D-R” for door. Many kids do this—vowels are among the hardest letters to understand and use. Let your child misspell at this stage – there will be plenty of time later for corrections! If this is too challenging, however, don’t fret: let your child dictate and you can write the object’s name in clear block letters.
  7. Now take a photograph of your child next to each one of those shape locations, and make a book!
  8. Help your child make a cut-out of each shape, out of colored construction paper. Make sure to cut the shape no larger than 3×3 or so.
  9. Each page of the book will be a piece of white card stock paper, oriented horizontally. Glue the cut-out shape onto the upper left hand side of the page. On the other side of the page, help your child glue down the photo of her standing next to that particular shape in your home. Do this for four or five shapes, and you’ve got a shape beautiful book!
  10. Take one extra piece of blank paper, and help your child make it into a cover. Write “Shapes in My House” on the front, and have your child add decoration—whatever she likes! Make sure she signs her name as the author, too!
  11. Bind your book by stapling the left hand margins. This is sure to make your teacher’s day!

When you and your child are finished with the book, before she gives it to her teacher, go over the book with her and she how well she can recognize and identify the shapes in her home. You can do this activity without making a book any time you like with your child, to help giver her a leg up on those important kindergarten skills.

make-shape-book-kinder-bigthumb

First Day of School Craft

First Day of School Craft

There is perhaps no greater milestone for young children than beginning kindergarten. The first day of kindergarten is exciting and emotional for both parents and kids. And as parents know, kids grow up fast, and the first day of kindergarten flies by in an instant. Before you know it, your child will be in High School!

Want to preserve those special memories of your kindergartens very first day of school? Here’s a fun way to keep those special memories “hanging around!”

What You Need:

  • Plastic tube clothes hanger
  • Yarn
  • Scissors and hole punch
  • Photos from your child’s first day of Kindergarten
  • Colored card stock, or a colored index card
  • Markers, stickers, and crayons and any other decorative accessories your child might like

What You Do:

  1. The night before her first day of school, write “My First Day, Hooray!” on the card stock, along with the date. Have your child decorate the card with crayons, markers, and stickers etc however she likes. Then punch a hole in the top of the card, and attach it to the top of the hanger with a some yarn.
  2. Be sure to take some photographs from her first day: getting ready for school, packing the backpack, meeting the teacher, getting on or off the bus, etc. Punch a hole at the top of the photos.
  3. Save bits and pieces of items from your child’s first day of school: a note from the teacher, her name tag, a pencil from her supplies box, a snippet of a wrapper from her snack or lunch, a drawing of her teacher or classroom, etc.  As with the photographs, punch a whole at the top of any of the paper items you’ve saved.
  4. Lay the hanger flat, and arrange the items (the photographs and the keepsakes from her first day) below the hanger. Tie a length of yarn to each item and connect it to the bottom of the hanger, so that items will hang at different lengths, creating a mobile.
  5. Hang the completed mobile in your child’s room, where it can remind her of her very first day of school. Next year, when she’s ready to move on to the next grade level, hang her first day outfit on the hanger the night before school to help ease those first day jitters!

This activity is a great way to help your child shake off some of those nerves and get her excited about her first day of kindergarten! You can extend this activity by making a first day mobile for each grade that your child enters, to keep a creative and memorable record of all of your child’s First Days along her journey as a student.

first-day-school-mobile-bigthumb

Marshmallow Pops

Marshmallow Pops

What’s red, white, blue, and yummy? 4th of July marshmallow pops, of course! Whip up a tasty Independence Day treat with your preschooler to share with the family as you enjoy the fireworks. It’s a fun way to get him involved in the kitchen and sneak in some counting practice too.

What You Need:

  • Lollipop sticks
  • 6-8 large marshmallows
  • 4 tablespoons chocolate chips
  • Sprinkles in red, white, and blue
  • Custard cup or other small microwave safe bowl
  • Small plate
  • Juice glass

What You Do:

  1. Help your preschooler insert a lollipop stick into each marshmallow.
  2. Have your preschooler count the marshmallow pops, then help you measure the chocolate chips and pour them into the microwave safe custard cup or bowl.
  3. Microwave the chocolate chips for 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir. If they haven’t melted yet, continue to heat for 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each round. Keep an eye on the chocolate at all times; once the chocolate starts to melt, it will be ready very quickly. Don’t microwave the chocolate for more than 15 seconds at a time or the chocolate could burn.
  4. Decorating time! Help your preschooler dip a marshmallow pop into the melted chocolate, then hold it over the plate and sprinkle red, white, or blue sprinkles over it.
  5. Place the finished marshmallow pop into the juice glass for the beginnings of a marshmallow pop display.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 with each marshmallow, varying the color of the sprinkles each time.

Share this sweet treat with the family before the fireworks begin!

 4th-july-marshmallow-pops-lthumb

Yankee Doodle Three Cornered Hat

Yankee Doodle Three Cornered Hat

Are you looking for a fun craft for this 4th of July? Make this hat with your child and let him march around the room like a Revolutionary soldier! This project will help teach your youngster about patriotic colors, and boost those fine motor skills while he’s at it. Why not add a feather and sing Yankee Doodle together?

What You Need:

  • Poster board in red, white and blue
  • Construction paper
  • Glue
  • Safety scissors
  • Stapler
  • Feather

What You Do:

  1. Cut 9″ x 4″ strips from red, white and blue poster board. This size hat will fit a preschool-age child. Adjust the length of the strips for a larger child.
  2. Have your child trace around a star template and cut out yellow construction paper stars to glue on the blue strip.
  3. Cut out stripes from white construction paper to glue on the red poster board strip.
  4. Why do we use stars and stripes on patriotic pictures? Where else do you see these symbols?
  5. The white strip is great for an original drawing by the child or stickers that represent Independence Day.
  6. Staple the short ends of the strips together to complete a three-cornered hat.
  7. Glue or tape a feather in one of the corners.

Invite your child to wear this patriotic hat while celebrating the birthday of the United States on July 4th.

 yankee-doodle-three-cornered-hat-slideshowmainimage

Paper Fireworks

Paper Fireworks

Who says paper art has to be 2-dimensional, flat, and blah? Help your child turn strips of paper into a quilling-style firework. If you cut the strips, they’ll be bigger than quilling paper and easier for small hands to manipulate.

What You Need:

  • Construction paper in various colors
  • Scissors or paper cutter
  • Pencil
  • Clothes pins or binder clips
  • Black construction paper
  • White glue
  • Aluminum foil

What You Do:

  1. Using construction paper of various colors other than black, cut the paper into 1-inch wide strips.
  2. Help your child roll 8 or more of the strips into tight coils around a pencil. When the strip has been rolled, add a dot of white glue to the end and hold it in place with a clothes pin or binder clip.
  3. When the glue dries, slip the finished coils off the pencil.
  4. Glue these coils together, on end, near the top of a black sheet of construction paper. This will be the center of the firework.
  5. Begin rolling a coil but leave a long tail. Make at least 8 of these streamers. You will use them to form the star burst shape for your firework.
  6. Glue the streamers onto the paper one at a time. The easiest way to apply glue to the entire streamer is to put some glue on a piece of aluminum foil and dab the paper into the glue. Position these streamers around the center of the firework.
  7. Let the glue dry and then the firework is read to display.

Help your child make several pieces of firework art to set up a special art show for the 4th of July.

paper-fireworks-slideshowmainimage

4th of July Shirt

4th of July Shirt

Help your child develop his own sense of style. Small hands can easily grip the cookie cutter that you use as a stamp, developing fine motor skills while creating a fun shirt they can be proud to wear to the annual 4th of July picnic.

We did this using pipe cleaners stamps instead of cookie cutters. You can bend pipe cleaners into any shape you want. I like it because I think it makes a bolder image. This activity was a hit with the kids because they love designing their own shirts. We even used glow in the dark fabric paint, so we can’t to see how they’ll look on the Fourth of July while we’re shooting off fireworks.

 

What You Need:

  • Clean, ironed T-shirt
  • Cardboard to slip into T-shirt
  • Red and/or blue fabric paint
  • Paper plate
  • Scrap paper

What You Do:

  1. Help your kid slip the piece of cardboard into the shirt through the bottom. Explain that with the cardboard in place, whatever he prints on the front of the shirt will not bleed through onto the back.
  2. Pour a small amount of paint onto the paper plate.
  3. Have your child dip the cookie cutter into the paint and then use it to stamp star designs on the scrap paper. It may take some practice to avoid leaving dribbles or smearing the stamp when lifting up the cookie cutter.
  4. Once your child has the technique down, it’s time to stamp stars onto the shirt. Your child can add as many or as few as he likes to create his very own design.
  5. Leave the shirt in a safe place for the paint to dry.

Options: Your child can also use glow in the dark or glitter paint on a dark-colored shirt. In addition to stars, you can also use heart shaped cookie cutters, snowflakes, ghosts and more. Make shirts for the whole family and have a special family “uniform” to wear to any upcoming event.

 fourth-of-july-shirt-slideshowmainimage