Category Archives: To Do At Home

Fall Leaf Art

There’s a definite crisp to the air in the mornings now, and there’s some leaves on the ground.  Kids love leaves, so why not take advantage of Fall’s arrival and make some leaf art?

  1. Have your child draw tree trunks on some paper, or cut out construction paper and glue a tree trunk to the paper.
  2. Select food coloring that you water down a little or liquid water colors and set them in jars or cups
  3. Give your child a couple straws (one for each color) and teach them how to hold water in the straw with their finger over the top of it.  If this is new to them, practice first with some water in a jar until they get the hang of it.
  4. Let your kiddo blow through the straw to get the color out and on the paper.

The blend of fall colors all over the page will be fun, a little messy, and a great hit with kids of all ages.

**If your child is too young to grasp the concept of the straw art, or is struggling to get the straw to work well with their little fingers, try using a medicine dropper to drip the paint on the page.

Chalk Paint

Chalk paint is all the rage with vintage lovers, but this is a different type of chalk paint. This is sidewalk chalk paint–for kids!  All you need is equal parts corn starch and water and food coloring in the shades you want. Mix the ingredients together and go! Having tested this recipe, brighter is better for the food coloring, especially the neon colors.

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 3 plastic cups or bowls
  • Food coloring in 3 hues
  • Paintbrushes

1. Mix water and cornstarch together until smooth.
2. Divide mixture equally among plastic cups or bowls. Add food coloring, a different hue to each container.

Fun Tip: Try the Pendulum Painting activity with the chalk paint on the driveway or sidewalk.

 

Photo credit and recipe from http://www.allyou.com/budget-home/sidewalk-chalk-paint

Pendulum Art

This is almost too much fun.  Pendulum Art….combining the science of motion and gravity with the art of painting. The set up is easy, string some twine or yarn through a styrofoam cup, fix the string to a broom suspended between two chairs, lay paper on the ground, poke a small hole through the cup bottom an pour in some paint.  Let your child move the cup and learn how pendulums work and make some pretty neat art.  The more detailed instructions can be found at https://handmadekidsart.com/pendulum-painting/

Happy Painting!

Disappearing Egg

This is a tried and tested activity, and the kids that tried it (aged two to six) thought it”crazy” “cool” and “neat”. This project only takes time, an egg, vinegar and a jar. Soak an egg in vinegar overnight. It will swell and the shell will deteriorate. You can rinse the remaining shell off, or leave the egg to soak more. The egg is still very fragile with only the membrane protecting it, but you can bounce it a little, and feel the rubbery texture. You can even have children guess from how high you can drop it before it busts.

Rock Stamps

Blending nature and art is a favorite toddler activity, and this is no exception.  The “easy factor” of this craft is off the charts, and the options are as endless as your sticker and rock supply.  To make the stamps, find flat rocks, preferably river rock style so they are smooth.  Pick up a bag of the foam stickers (our local box store carries animals, letters, and other foam shapes).  Fix the stickers to the rocks and just add color!  For more detailed instructions and fun tips, check below!

 

Fun Tip:  use washable markers for your ink and your stamp can print a couple colors at once.  This is perfect for flowers and stars.

Rock Stamps

Lemon Volcano

This is a fun activity to do with the kids. It does require some adult prep, but the effort is minimal. Lemon volcanoes, combining smell, science and fun all in one lesson. The instructions are below, and more detailed information and fun tips are on the website.

 

  • Step One (Adults only) Prep your lemon by slicing the bottom off to make them sit flat. Flip the lemon over and slice out the core. If you are making an open faced volcano, slice the lemon in half.
  • Step Two Prepare extra lemon juice by slicing a second lemon in half and juicing it. Pour juice into a cup and set aside.
  • Step Three Place your cored lemon on a tray. Use your craft stick to mush the center of the lemon and bring out the juices. Be sure to keep the juice in the lemon!
  • Step Four Place a few drops of food coloring or liquid watercolors (do not dilute) in the center of the lemon.
  • Step Five Add in a good squeeze of dish soap to the lemon. This is not necessary but causes the bubbles to ooze and froth more and longer.
  • Step Six Add a spoonful of baking soda into the lemon. It should start to fizz. Take your craft stick and stir the lemon and lemon juice. It should start foaming really well as you stir it!
  • Step Seven To keep the reaction going alternatively add more baking soda, coloring, dish soap and the reserved lemon juice to the reaction. Squeezing the lemon to release the juices also enhances the reaction. Or if you are like my kids, just stick your whole hand in there and give it a good squeeze.

Science Activity for Kids: Lemon Volcano

Exploration Sets

In almost all our classrooms you can find exploration sets or bead counting trays. They are pretty little wooden trays that make grabbing small objects, classifying and counting them much easier and structured for little hands.  If you are looking for a fun way to do this at home, you need look no further than your refrigerator.  Myhomemademanipulatives.blogspot.com has a couple different fun ideas for how to do this and different activities, and you can see a sampling of one below.  If you would like more tips on how to set these up on a budget, follow the link!

 

http://myhomemademanipulatives.blogspot.com/2011/03/rock-and-shell-exploration-egg-carton.html

Eclipse Corona Predictions

NASA Has some really neat activities for all ages to introduce the eclipse. With it coming up in just a few days, here is a great little activity for younger kids:  Predict what the corona will look like.  Long before photography capabilities were in everyone’s pocket, and before astronomers had solar telescopes, an eclipse was the only way they could truly study the sun. They would often draw what they saw at the corona of the eclipse.  This fun activity is a nod to that time, and great for young explorers.

 

Materials: (you provide)
• Paper, dark blue or black. Smooth cardstock paper works best
(not construction paper).
• White, non-toxic chalk
• Pencil
• Scissors
• Masking tape
• Circle templates cut from cardstock, file folders or cereal boxes
• OPTIONAL: Brightly colored construction paper or foam sheets for
cut-out horizon detail.
To Do:
• Make circle templates on stiff paper. Trace around the masking tape roll
with a pencil, and cut out the template. Make several for group activities.
• Place the template on a piece of dark paper. Secure with a loop of
masking tape or simply hold down with one hand.
• Draw a thick circle of chalk around the template.
Go around 2 or 3 times. It does not need to be neat.
• Holding the template in place, smudge the chalk away from the
center of the circle using a finger to create the corona of the sun.
• When you are done smudging, remove the circle template.
• Add words, pictures, or fun designs.
• You’ve made total solar eclipse art!

 

 

https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/NASA_Eclipse_Activity_Guide.pdf

Mystery Box

A mystery box is a wonderful way to teach children about their sense of touch.  This DIY activity is easy to set up, and can be made with supplies you keep around the house.  Simply cut arm size holes in a box and put a few different objects in for the child to feel and guess what they are.  Have them describe the textures, if it is hard or soft, if it is big or small, if it warms to the touch or is cool. The options are only as endless as what you can put in the box!

 

For more detailed instructions and further ideas, check the link below:
http://www.howwemontessori.com/how-we-montessori/2015/07/five-minute-montessori-diy-mystery-box.html

Scent Jars

Teaching children about their world involves teaching the senses. One of the more fun senses to teach about is smell. Making smell jars is super easy during the summer growing months. Most gardens have herbs and flowers a plenty. You can use mint, basil, lavender, rosemary, geranium leaves, and any other plant that has a strong scent.  You can also use coffee, cocoa powder, and spices. Make it a game to see how many smells they recognize. You might be surprised to find even a two year old can identify common smells.