Monday, March 30, 2015

One Windy Day: Leaves & Weather Activity for Preschoolers

Preschoolers will be blown away by this fun book based weather activity! Learn about leaves and wind with this interactive book extension

Welcome to the Poppins Book Nook! I'm so excited to bring you our first activity in this wonderful virtual book club for kids. This month's theme is Weather, and we have a book & activity that will blow your preschoolers away!

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Our choice for this month is One Windy Day by Tammi Salzano. This fun storybook follows Fox as he tries to deliver the mail - but the wind keeps blowing his letters and the leaves every which way! The book is a great introduction to opposites for toddlers and preschoolers as Fox tries to catch his letters when they fly up & down, left & right, and near & far.

After reading this book we decided to try blowing some "leaves" of our own.

For this activity, you will need:
Set out your feathers in a pile on a low table top. After reading One Windy Day together, invite them to use the fan to blow the leaves off the table, just like the wind in the book.

My boys jumped at the chance to be the wind and to see if they could blow the leaves away.

They were so excited when they all blew off the table!

This was a great opportunity to talk not only about wind, but about up and down.

Also left and right!

We had so much fun with this activity. The photos don't quite capture how cool it was, so we took a video!

Be sure to visit all the wonderful Poppins Book Nook Co-hosts too!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Searching for Bugs Activity for Preschoolers

Bug sensory bin and fine motor activity for preschoolers! Toddlers and preschoolers will love exploring insects with this fun bug themed activity.

My boys love bugs. Since I'm not too keen on letting them play with the real thing, I thought I'd come up with a fun insect themed sensory bin and fine motor activity to let them check out some buggy friends. We had a great time with this and it was so easy to set up! 

This post contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy for more details.

Our activity is based on The Big Book of Big Bugs. This is a wonderful book for your bug lovers, with giant fold out pages that make big (and little) bugs come to life! After reading this, my boys were ready to explore the world of bugs, so we came up with a fun sensory and fine motor activity to do just that.

To set up your "Bug Bin" you will need:
  • Small plastic tub filled with sensory material. We used dried beans, but you could use sand, oatmeal, popcorn - anything that you can dig into.
  • Small plastic insects
  • Kids' Tweezers
  • Bug House (ours came from the $1 spot at Target)

Fill up your tub with your beans or other sensory material. Hide a few of your plastic bugs inside and leave a few visible on top. Set out with your plastic tweezers and bug house, and invite your kids to come explore.

My boys immediately started trying to pick up the bugs with the tweezers. This is excellent fine motor practice for little hands!

It took some work to get the tweezers onto the bugs but they were able to do it!

They also had fun exploring the bin with their hands, and digging for the hidden bugs.

Once they found them, they stored them in their bug house. Once they were all in the container, we dumped them back in the bin and played again!

This was a really fun activity incorporating our book, in addition to being a wonderful sensory experience and fine motor skill practice. We will definitely be trying this again!

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Easter Egg Color Matching & Stacking Activity for Preschoolers

Color matching & sorting activity for toddlers and preschoolers using recycled plastic eggs. Part of the 60 Day Junk Play challenge series.

Is it just me, or does everyone end up with a million of these little eggs around the house by the time Easter arrives? My boys love playing with them, so I thought up a fun learning activity to help them learn their colors, and do a little fine motor stacking practice too.

This is a great activity for toddlers and preschoolers that recycles plastic eggs as well as an empty cardboard egg carton. It's fantastic for color learning as well as stacking practice. And it's fun!

To play, you will need:
  • Plastic eggs in assorted colors
  • Empty cardboard egg carton
  • Markers matching your egg colors

Turn your egg carton upside down and use the markers to color the bottom of each compartment. Be sure to mix them up!

Separate your Easter egg halves. Put them in a bucket or basket and set them out with the colored egg carton. You're ready to play!

Invite your children to match the colored egg halves with the dots on the egg carton. My boys immediately picked up the idea and started stacking!

Point out the names of the different colors as you play.

You can also stack the eggs on top of each other and see how tall you can go!

My boys had so much fun with this activity! It held their attention and they wanted to play over and over again. It was a great way to recycle both our plastic eggs and an egg carton - we love simple, inexpensive activities like this!

Want more ideas for recycled play? Check out all our activities using recycled materials!

And if you'd like even more Easter ideas, check out all our Easter activities & crafts here.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Frugal Family Linky: March 26

Frugal Family link party for March 26, 2015 featuring low cost or free Spring outdoor activities for kids!

Welcome back to the Frugal Family linky! Last week we had so many wonderful ideas posted that it was impossible to choose just two - so I've picked three posts to feature. 

This week is all about SPRING and playing outside. I am so ready for warm weather and spending as much time as possible outdoors. These 3 ideas will help you get out and having fun.


Monday, March 23, 2015

10 Awesome Activity Books for Kids on Spring Break

10 Awesome Activity Books for Kids. Perfect to help keep kids entertained over Spring Break.
Spring break is right around the corner! What are you going to do? A lot of families are planning trips around this time, by car or by plane. And even if you're not going anywhere, the change of routine can often mean hearing "I'm bored" just a couple of days in. And in unpredictable March & April, rain and cold can often put a damper on outdoor plans.

Whether you're traveling or staying home, Spring Break is the perfect time to stock up on activity books. I've pulled together a list of awesome books that will keep kids busy in the car, while waiting at the airport, or at home when a case of boredom strikes.  I can't wait to try these out myself!

This post contains affiliate links.

Little Children's Activity Book is perfect for car trips. It's packed with puzzles, games and stickers to keep kids entertained.

Airport Sticker Book. Flying somewhere for Spring Break? Take along this sticker book for airport fun!

365 Science Activities. Budding young scientists will have plenty to do during Spring Break and all year long with this big book of activities!

Animal Alphabet Activity Book is a great way for young learners to work on phonics and letters while having lots of animal fun!

Big Wipe-Clean Activity Book is full of doodles, dot to dots, and mazes that can be wiped clean to reuse over and over again!

Little Children's Rainy Day Activity Book.  April showers bring bored kids... unless you have this book filled with fun for when you can't play outside.

100 Paper Planes to Fold & Fly. Have a windy day? Let these awesome airplanes fly! Young engineers will love this one.

Big Doodling Book. Young artists will love almost 100 pages of drawing prompts from animals to robots and beyond!

Step by Step Drawing Book. Another perfect choice for budding artists, this book gives step by step directions on how to draw lots of favorites from monsters to animals to trucks.

Wind Up Train Book. Is this a book, a puzzle, or a toy? All of the above! The included toy train runs on the track embedded in the pages, which can be lifted out and pieced together.

See it in action here: 

Whether you are home or traveling, have a young artist or engineer, one of these choices will be perfect to keep your kids entertained all week long!

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Friday, March 20, 2015

DIY Spring Stamps

DIY Spring stamp craft. Make a butterfly and flower shape from pipe cleaners to use as stamps for painting.

We had so much fun crafting with our Shamrock Stamps for St. Patrick's Day that I thought we'd try to make some shapes for Spring. These turned out great! They require just 2 supplies to make and create adorable Spring shapes - perfect to make a Mother's Day card.

We made stamps in 2 shapes - a butterfly and a flower.  To make both, you just need pipe cleaners (2 per stamp) and a clothespin to use as a handle.

To make your flower stamp - take a pipe cleaner and wrap it around your first 3 fingers.

Pull it off, and twist together to form 3 "petals."

Repeat this step, then twist your 2 halves together to form a flower shape with 6 petals. Clip a clothespin to the base to use as a handle.

To make the butterfly, wrap the pipe cleaner loosely around your first 2 fingers.

Pull it off, and adjust the loops to look like 2 wings.

Repeat, and twist the 2 halves together to form a butterfly shape. Twist the tail of one of the pipe cleaners around the center to be the butterfly's body. 

Attach a clothespin to the base to use as a handle.

Ready to stamp! I put these out with a palette of Spring colored paint and let my boys have fun.

The stamps worked great! They make adorable flower and butterfly shapes, perfect for Spring crafts. They would make excellent prints for Mother's Day cards or even wrapping paper. We love how they turned out!

Want more Spring crafts & activities? See all our Spring ideas here.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Frugal Family Linky: March 19

Frugal Family link up for March 19, 2015. Featuring time and money saving ideas from bloggers around the world.
This week's Frugal Family features are all about PLAY. I love finding ways to turn ordinary items into activities and new experiences for my kids. This week we had 2 fabulous posts that did just that!


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

15 Books For Your Easter Basket

15 kids books that are perfect for Easter! Put these books in your kids' Easter basket as an alternative to Easter Candy. Our favorite Easter books for kids!

I love putting books in my kids' Easter baskets. While we do love candy, putting a book or two in their Easter basket is a wonderful alternative. They last so much longer than candy and are so much better for them! There are so many wonderful choices that I want to share some of my favorite Easter books for kids - a few classics mixed with new picks as well.

This post contains affiliate links.

Home for a Bunny.  This is not just my favorite Easter book, this is my favorite book from childhood. Margaret Wise Brown's lovely story of a bunny looking for a home is the one my mother read to me and now I read to my children. I just love it.

Here Comes the Easter Cat has become one of our new favorites. We picked it up at the library last week and I have read it about 100 times already. It's a really fun story about a grumpy cat who is jealous of the Easter Bunny. You'll love it!

That's Not My Bunny. We love the "That's Not My..." series of books with wonderful textures for babies and toddlers to explore. This Bunny version is perfect for Easter baskets!

Guess How Much I Love You. This adorable story of Big Nutbrown Hare & Little Nutbrown Hare is perfect to tell the little ones in your life how much you love them.

Book of Bible Stories. Easter is more than bunnies and candy. This treasury of Bible stories with read-along CD is perfect for anyone looking for a more meaningful gift.

Illustrated Bible Stories is another lovely collection of Bible stories for young readers.

Pat the Bunny.  Originally published in 1940, this book is still a hit with the tiniest readers to be. Perfect for baby's first Easter basket.

Baby's Very First Little Book of Little Bunnies is another perfect choice for baby's first Easter. It's filled with adorable photos of bunnies that babies and toddlers will love.

Baby's Very First Touchy-Feely Animals Book is another one that's perfect for a first Easter. Babies will love to touch and feel all the soft animal textures.

Hoppy Clubhouse Easter. Anything Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is a hit in our house, and this book is no exception! 

The Biggest Easter Basket Ever. Another one of our favorite series, see Clayton & Desmond's take on friendship and working together in this fun Easter adventure.

Elmo's Easter Parade. We got this one last Easter and it stayed in our bookshelf all year round. My boys love watching Elmo and all his Sesame Street friends make fancy bonnets for their Easter parade.

Eggs and Chicks is an adorable and educational book for beginning readers. 

Happy Easter, Mouse!  This book is going in one of our Easter baskets this year. Perfect for fans of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

Duck & Goose Here Comes the Easter Bunny! We love the Duck & Goose books and this fun tale of their search for the Easter Bunny is sure to become a favorite.

Want more Easter fun? Check out all our Easter crafts & activities!

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Welcome to Usborne Books and More

I am an independent consultant for Usborne Books & More, and receive a commission on purchases made through my online bookstore. All ideas and opinions are my own.

I love books. I have been a voracious reader since my sister taught me to read "Go Dog Go" at age 4. One of my greatest joys as a mother has been reading to and instilling a love of books in my own children. When I was introduced to Usborne Books & More I was instantly hooked and I want to share my new passion with you!


Friday, March 13, 2015

Paint Chip Easter Egg Craft

Paint chip Easter eggs! A fun and easy Easter craft for toddlers and preschoolers - recycle paint chips to make a fun Easter egg craft!

I can't believe that Easter is just around the corner! It feels like Spring has just started. We're getting in the Easter spirit around here with a fun and easy collage craft that's perfect for little fingers. 

Earlier this week we headed to the home improvement store to pick up sand for our sandbox (yay!). I wandered into the paint aisle and grabbed several paint chip cards. One of my boys loves using glue sticks lately, so I thought we could do a fun collage craft for Easter. 

For this project, you will need:

  • Assorted paint chip cards in Spring colors
  • White or cream card stock
  • Scissors
  • Glue

To set up, I first cut large egg shapes from the card stock.

I then cut out shapes from the paint chip cards. I made zig zag lines, circles, squares, and triangles.

I put everything together on a tray with glue sticks and invited the boys to check it out.

They immediately grabbed their glue sticks and started to create!

Picking up the small pieces of paint chips and using the glue sticks was great fine motor practice.

And of course it was a lot of fun!

And our finished products. Lovely! One of my toddlers was a little heavy handed with the glue but it gives it some character. I was so happy with how they turned out!

This was a really simple and fun collage craft to make very cute Easter decorations. It would also work great to make Easter cards for the grandparents!

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