hands on : as we grow http://handsonaswegrow.com Hands on kids activities for hands on moms. Focusing on kids activities perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. Sat, 31 Jan 2015 11:17:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Stuffed Heart Valentines Made with Your Child’s Artwork http://handsonaswegrow.com/stuffed-heart-valentines/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/stuffed-heart-valentines/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 13:15:07 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=38526 Stuff these heart Valentines with goodies for the kids at school. These heart valentines for school are a wonderful way to reuse your child's art.

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These heart valentines for school are a wonderful way to reuse your child’s art — or a reason to make art! Anything goes with these!

Their art is the sole focus of these cute valentines! But it doesn’t matter how it looks! Which is why this is perfect for younger preschoolers and toddlers.

You could try some of these “Big Art” art projects to get started.

These valentines are an oldie that we made for Henry’s classmates a couple of years ago. I shared them with Red Ted Art’s readers last year, and thought I’d pass them along here to you now.

After putting together one of my favorite collections of crafts, 33 Super Cute Valentines for School, I was inspired by Scrumdilly-do’s puffy heart valentines and made them a quick, goody bag version.

Stuff these heart Valentines with goodies for the kids at school.

They boys started by painting large pieces of paper (we use butcher paper – affiliate link – all the time for painting).

Make art for stuffed heart valentines

The boys used red and pink shades of paint along with a couple kitchen utensils to see how they could paint using them.

Make art for stuffed heart valentines

I set out a rubber whisk along with an egg beater.

Make art for stuffed heart valentines

The boys covered their papers with paint.

Seeing what designs they could make by rolling or bouncing the paint onto the paper.

Make art for stuffed heart valentines

After letting the paper dry, my husband and I did most of the grunt work by tracing hearts onto the backside of the paper and cutting them out.

Hand over the scissors to your kids if they’re up for the challenge though. My kids weren’t quite ready to cut hearts really well when we made these, and we were in a rush to get these done.

We cut enough hearts from the artwork the kids made to have one for each of his classmates.

And then cut that many hearts again from just plain paper.

With the hearts cut out, Henry wrote his name on each of the plain hearts. I wrote From: and To: ‘Kids Name’.

Writing names for stuffed heart Valentines

When we did these, Henry was just getting the hang of writing his name, so this was great writing practice, as well as for spelling his name.

Writing names for stuffed heart Valentines

How to assemble heart Valentines:

Next, we assembled the hearts to make it a stuffed valentine!

We paired two heart cutouts on top of each other, right sides out (one artwork, one plain).

I stapled them together. I started at the bottom and went to the top of the curves on each side.

Before finishing though, Henry would stuff it with his Valentine treats to give his friends at school.

Stuffing heart Valentines for kids at school

Then I stapled a ribbon to the top of each curve and finished closing the hearts.

Heart Valentines for the kids at school -- stuffed with goodies!

Stuff the hearts in a bag for your child to take to school to hand out as valentines, or give to Grandma! So sweet!

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Activities for 2 (or More) Kids Under 4 http://handsonaswegrow.com/activities-2-kids-under-4/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/activities-2-kids-under-4/#respond Wed, 28 Jan 2015 03:01:53 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=51271 What are some actual activities that you can do when you have more than one kid under the age of 4? This is the most asked question I get from readers.

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This is often the most asked question I get from readers, especially newsletter subscribers when I ask them what they’re looking for help with.

Often as parents of young children, we have more than one child under the age of 4… And juggling them can be super tough when you want to do an activity.

How do I do it? First of all, before setting up any activities, I ask myself these three questions. And that usually gets me in the right direction for success.

But… what are some actual activities that you can do when you have more than one kid under the age of 4?

I’m here to save the day and came up with a list for you!

Activities to do with 2 kids (or more) that are all under 4 years old

Activities to do that are great for any 1 to 4 year olds – no matter how many you have!

Learning activities can also be adapted for their skill — and be done together!

  • Follow the ____ maze. Set up mazes side by side for each child. Do numbers and letters for preschoolers, or sight words for older kids (or even addition problems), and maybe simple shapes for younger preschoolers (and older toddlers), or just colors or stickers for toddlers.
  • Make sensory bags. I did this with all three boys at the same time. A sensory bag for each. My oldest got math problems (or try sight words), my preschooler got sticker shapes to match (as well as writing numbers), and my youngest toddler got to squish it all around however he wanted!
  • Rainbow toy hunt. The kids could hunt for toys together. Toddlers would just love to find any toy, even if they don’t know the colors and the older child can help them find where to put it.
  • Find the ____ & swat it! Make a paper for each child – either take turns with the fly swatter or have one for each child. Ideas to put on the paper: Letters, numbers, shapes, colors, sight words, lowercase letters.
  • Roll the ball, what shape does it land on? One that they can play together! Even if your toddler isn’t old enough to understand the shapes, it can just be about rolling it back and forth for them.
  • Use blocks to learn shapes and colors – as long as the child is getting the concept of shapes and colors, this one the kids can build and sort together!

Without giving specific activities, some general suggestions I love to give (and do) are:

Do activities that are geared for the youngest child you have.

If you have a 4 and a 2 year old. Look for toddler activities to do for 2 year olds and your 4 year old will gladly join in. It’s often easier to add in learning elements to a simple activity. Also, this gives your older child more confidence because they’re not feeling pressured to ‘perform’ or anything like that. They can show their little brother or sister new things and feel good about themselves!

Here’s a great list of toddler activities to get your started.

Sensory activities are often great activities to try for multiple ages. 

These activities are all about exploration and discovery. There’s no how-to or right or wrong way to do it. The only thing to watch out for is small things that the little one could put in their mouth.

Here’s a list of edible sensory activities if you have a child that puts things in their mouth.

Scavenger hunts can often be open-ended and all ages can join in.

Whether the youngest one is really hunting or just running along side their older sibling giggling. It’s all about having a good time. Often scavenger hunts can be split while you’re doing them for each age group too.

Here’s a list of many scavenger hunts for all ages!

I hope this list helps save the day a little bit… I know its tough to find things to do with young kids in general some days — let along when you have 2 or more kids to try to entertain.

Are you a parent of 2 (or more) kids under the age of 4?

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Can You Follow the Number From Start to Finish? http://handsonaswegrow.com/follow-the-number-maze/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/follow-the-number-maze/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 02:00:46 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=51095 Make a maze to follow the number (or letter, sight word, shape, color, etc) from start to finish. A fun number maze to reinforce number recognition.

Can You Follow the Number From Start to Finish? on handsonaswegrow.com

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George is on a roll with counting and learning his numbers. Now that he can count to 20 pretty well on his own, we’re working on number recognition a little bit now.

We play UNO a lot, which helps a lot with number recognition. However, I notice when we’re playing that he gets stuck on the number 8 often.

This simple number maze reinforces learning a single number (or letter, sight word, shape, color, etc) in one setting.

Find more ways for preschoolers to learn to recognize numbers, count and one to one correspondence here.

George won’t forget the number 8 now after following it through the maze!

follow-the-number-with-tape

I made a number maze by writing a grid of numbers on butcher paper – or art paper (affiliate link). You can do this smaller on just a sheet of regular paper too. But we like doing things big!

I first wrote the number 8 from the top to the bottom, going back and forth, making sure it was connected like a maze.

Then I filled in with other random number to 10.

I set out a roll of painters tape and a scissors (affiliate link) for George to follow the number 8 from the start to the finish.

follow-the-number-through-the-maze

He connected the first number 8 to the next one and cut off the tape.

Then again, connecting that 8 to the next one. And so on.

He observed that his tape lines looked like numbers too – at first it looked like a 4 and then towards the end he thought it looked like a 5.

following-the-maze

He kept telling me:

There sure is a lot of 8’s Mom!

number-maze-with-tape

He did it successfully. He thought it was so tough and hard to do. But yet didn’t struggle at all with any of it. I love thinking that he’s being challenged when in reality its something he’s fully capable of doing.

It is a great way to give him confidence in himself for new things he’ll be learning.

follow-the-line-of-numbers

Have you seen our other number mazes?

Can You Follow the Number From Start to Finish? on handsonaswegrow.com

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Find the Letter on the Heart http://handsonaswegrow.com/find-letter-heart/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/find-letter-heart/#respond Mon, 26 Jan 2015 02:00:05 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=51163 A find the letter activity with a Valentine's twist. H is for Heart also works on fine motor skills as your child finds the letter!

Find the Letter on the Heart on handsonaswegrow.com

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Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be only about crafts for the kids to do. We usually use it as an opportunity to sneak in some lovely learning too!

Plus, this one works on fine motor skills.

I adapted this find the letter activity from a previous activity we did in the fall that I shared on PBS Parents, that was A is for Apple.

Find the letter on the heart and clip it!

The point of this activity was to work on lowercase letters a little bit.

I knew George had the uppercase letters down pat.

And I am pretty sure he has most of his lowercase letters figured out too. But I know they’re still new to him, so I want to work on them just a bit. In a super fun way, of course.

Find the letter - H is for Heart activity

I cut out a large heart from 12×12 scrapbook paper. Pink, of course.

In the center, I wrote:

H is for Heart

h is for heart

Twice, because I wanted him to find both the upper and lowercase H’s.

And then around the outside of the heart, I first wrote a bunch of H’s and h’s spaced out and then I filled it in with random upper and lowercase letters.

I made a toddler version for Louis too. Working on shapes instead of letters though. Just a simple ‘Find the Heart Shape’ version instead.

Instead of Find the Letter - Find the Shape!

For both of them, I included a fine motor element.

Paper clips for George and clothespins for Louis.

I thought the paper clips would be too tough for Louis to figure out.

Clothespin fine motor skills

Turns out the clothespins are still too hard. Louis struggled a lot with them.

I helped him pinch them open (along with him, so he’d see and also work his fingers a little still). He’d point to the heart and I’d help put the clothespin on.

Find and clip the letter on the heart

George clipped each of the letter H’s around the heart with a paper clip.

H is for Heart

Not tricky enough for him! He found them all with no problem. Upper and lowercase. Way to go George!

Find the Letter on the Heart on handsonaswegrow.com

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It’s a Windy Race to Make the Kids Silly http://handsonaswegrow.com/windy-race-silly/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/windy-race-silly/#respond Thu, 22 Jan 2015 01:35:13 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=50897 This fun activity doesn’t require much explanation. But it’s fun nonetheless. You’ll need paper plates and tissue paper. And something to mark as a goal. We used a dining room chair and underneath it was the goal.  But anything can be used – a clothes basket, table, anything that gives them something to aim for. The […]

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This fun activity doesn’t require much explanation.

But it’s fun nonetheless.

You’ll need paper plates and tissue paper. And something to mark as a goal. We used a dining room chair and underneath it was the goal.  But anything can be used – a clothes basket, table, anything that gives them something to aim for.

Make a windy race to challenge the kids

The object is to move the tissue paper with wind.

And to create the wind by fanning the paper plate.

Any type of movement works as long as the kids don’t touch the plate to the tissue paper (my boys tried that…)

I loved seeing all three boys doing an activity together for this!

A race for all ages of kids to explore air movement

Of course, Henry understood it a lot better and found easy ways to blow the tissue paper. He swung his arm back and forth standing up.

Louis just laughed and giggled while he moved his. Not really understand what he was doing, but joining in anyway.

A race for all ages of kids to explore air movement

George tried so, so hard. Fanning the paper plate without much success. Fanning it soooo fast and didn’t know what wasn’t working.

Finally, I mentioned that his plate needs to be behind the tissue paper and not over the top.

That did the trick!

Blow a tissue paper with only a paper plate

They raced their tissue paper to the chair! Make it a challenge or a race, whatever your kids get more excited about!

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14 Valentine Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Kids http://handsonaswegrow.com/14-valentine-scavenger-hunt-ideas/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/14-valentine-scavenger-hunt-ideas/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 02:00:51 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=50598 While I was looking for ideas to do our latest Valentine scavenger hunt, I found a bunch of Valentine scavenger hunt ideas to try too, they're so lovely!

14 Valentine Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Kids on handsonaswegrow.com

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There are so many ways to do a scavenger hunt, aren’t there? We have so much fun with them! Whether its a spur of the moment scavenger hunt or a themed one like these Valentine scavenger hunt ideas!

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and while I was looking for ideas to do our latest Valentine scavenger hunt, I found a whole bunch of other Valentine scavenger hunt ideas to try too, that I thought I’d share them with you.

If you’re ever looking for any type of scavenger hunts to do with the kids — here’s 32!

Below are 14 ways to go on a Valentine scavenger hunt. The kids will sure LOVE these!

14 ways to go on a Valentine scavenger hunt!

14 Lovely Valentine scavenger hunt ideas!

Our latest… and my favorite if I must pick one… a scavenger hunt for the kids to find all the ways I love them. Every day, until Valentine’s Day.

Send the kids on a heart scavenger hunt and work on letter recognizing and letter sounds! From Mom Inspired Life.

Or a heart scavenger hunt that has them matching numbers!

Or add a secret message when the letters are put in order! From Reading Confetti

Go on a heart hunt…. over and over again! From the Pleasantest Thing

Have the kids hunt for the things they love.

Try this Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt with clues from Teach Mama.

A combinations of the things you love about your kids and clues to find the next one! From Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

A scavenger hunt with clues (you can use!) to find a Valentine’s Day prize at the end. From Savvy Spending

Send the kids on a hunt to find all the hearts to find the secret message. It comes with free printables too! From The Educators’ Spin On It

A treasure hunt for their Valentine’s Day goodies! This is great for even the littlest one to search for! From Love Play and Learn

Search for hearts everywhere and snap photos! From Still Playing School

Set out Hershey Kisses to hunt for and match the numbers! From Reading Confetti

A wonderful scavenger hunt with clues that also has them doing activities together before getting their next clue! Love this from Sonshine Classical Academy

Valentine scavenger hunt ideas for kids to do

And Easter is right around the corner, you may be inspired by some of these not-so-traditional Easter hunt ideas for kids!

14 Valentine Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Kids on handsonaswegrow.com

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LOVE Banner for Kids to Make http://handsonaswegrow.com/love-banner-kids-make/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/love-banner-kids-make/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 02:00:22 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=51081 I LOVE this LOVE banner the boys made! This is so simple and fast to do. I don't know why we wouldn't make a banner like this for all holidays & occasions!

LOVE Banner for Kids to Make on handsonaswegrow.com

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Its official. I’m officially in Valentine’s Day mode… and that may be good or bad since its still only mid-January! Eek!

But, I LOVE this LOVE banner the boys made! I think I could keep it hanging in the doorway all year long!

Its beyond simple too.

LOVE Banner for the kids to make

I cut out the letters from white card stock.

The boys decorated them however they wished! They chose to use crayons and make their own designs.

Designing their letter for the LOVE better

George and Henry both colored them. They each picked two letters to do.

George the L and E and Henry got the O and V. Louis was off playing trains that he didn’t want to join in.

I cut out 4 squares of pink card stock while they were making their designs.

I also punched two holes at the top of each square, a couple inches apart.

Glue letter onto pink square to make LOVE banner

When their letter designs were complete, they each glued their letters on the pink square.

Then they threaded their letters onto red yarn. They worked together to decide what order they needed to be in to spell LOVE. Henry was an awesome older brother helping George know where his letter should be.

Thread letters together to spell LOVE

I then hung it up in a doorway. Or it would look great in a window too!

You know how I love window decorations! Did you see our heart garlands we made last year?

LOVE Banner for the kids to make

This was so simple and fast to do. I don’t know why we wouldn’t make a banner like this for all holidays and occasions! How cute would this be with their name for their birthday?!

LOVE Banner for Kids to Make on handsonaswegrow.com

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