CIRCUS & ZOO
FUN WITH FOOD
HEALTH & SAFTEY
ME & MY BODY
PLANTS & INSECTS
**Pretend Pet Shop
--Set up a pet shop for your child.
--Use her toy animals, and cages made out of boxes, pet food packages, play money,
--Include an area to “bathe” the animals, plus an exercise area.
--Have your child walk like a turtle.
--Make turtles out of paper plates: sponge paint the plates green, and glue on the head, 4
legs, and a skinny tail.
--Teach your child this finger play:
“There was a little turtle; who lived in a box
It swam in the puddles, and climbed on the rocks
It snapped at a mosquito; it snapped at a flea
It snapped at a minnow, and it snapped at me
It caught the mosquito; it caught the flea
It caught the minnow, but it didn’t catch me!”
**Go on a Bear Hunt
--Go to the library and borrow the book, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael
--Read the story several times with your child, designate a spot in your home that will be
the cave, and go hunt some bears!!
--Explain why some animals use camouflage to protect and/or hide themselves.
--Cut out a tiger shape using white paper. Have your child glue it on to a piece of orange
or brown paper.
--Give your child the scraps of orange or brown paper, and have her tear them into little
pieces to glue over the animal. Point out the fact that it’s hard to see the animal shape
--Thoroughly clean some large chicken or turkey bones with a bleach/water solution, and
--Hide the bones in the sandbox, or a dirt patch that you don’t mind your child digging in.
Add some water so that the bones are packed in well.
--Explain to your child what kinds of tasks a paleontologist performs, and tell him you’re
going to look for dinosaur bones. Give him small shovels, tooth brushes, tweezers, etc.
--If you don’t want to use bones, paint a small melon with brown/green spots, and hide
that instead. Tell your child you’re looking for dinosaur eggs, and eat it for snack!
--Give clues that describe an animal, and have your child guess which one.
--If necessary, act out the movements or make the animal sounds to help.
--Make sure your child gets a turn to describe animals for you, also!
--This is a nice snack to make after you sing one of the “5 Little Monkeys” songs:
1 Slice of bread (or tortilla)
Have your child spread peanut butter on the bread, place the banana on it, and
roll it up to eat.
**There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
--Teach your child the song (available in many versions at the library).
--Gather pictures of each of the animals named in the song.
--Have your child wear an apron with a pocket, and pretend to be the “old lady”. As each
animal is mentioned, she can make the animal noise and “swallow” the animal into her
--Give your child a bowl of animal crackers, and ask him to sort them. Have him count
how many zebra he has, how many animals with tails, etc.
--Tell your child a few facts about snakes: they’re reptiles; they hatch from eggs; they
have tough, dry skin; they’re cold-blooded so they need the sun to keep them warm; they
don’t have legs or ears; they eat frogs, mice, and toads.
--Have your child slither like a snake.
--Attach several toilet tissue rolls together with twisty ties. Have your child paint each
roll, and glue a face on the first roll.
--Make a paper chain snake.
Suggested Books: Animal Kisses (Barney Saltzberg)
Bear Snores On (Karma Wilson)
Is Your Mama a Llama? (Deborah Guarino)
Big Red Barn (Margaret Wise Brown)
Dinosaur’s Binkit (Sandra Boynton)
Animals at Home (Gallimard Jeunesse)
Hide and Snake (Keith Baker)
The Greedy Python (Richard Buckley)
--Go for a walk with your child to gather leaves/acorns/etc.
--At home, cut out the center of a paper plate so that you have a wreath shape, and have
your child paint it brown or orange.
--When the paint has dried, your child can glue on the items from your walk. Add a bow,
--This is sung to the tune of “London Bridges”; you can make up verses as you go:
“Leaves are falling on the ground, on the ground, on the ground
Leaves are falling on the ground, it is autumn.”
“Pumpkins are growing big and fat, big and fat, big and fat”
“All the kids go back to school, back to school, back to school”
**Mr. Pumpkin Head
--Provide small pumpkins or gourds and help your child design several different heads.
--If you don’t have the “Mr. Potato Head” facial props, make them by attaching paper
cutouts onto a wooden skewer. Or, provide washable markers and a damp paper towel
for erasing. Add small hats, scarves, old eyeglasses, etc.
--Cut 5 apple shapes (about 3-5” each) out of red, yellow, or green paper. Write a large
black number on each apple, 1-5.
--Cut out a worm shape, small enough to hide behind the apple shapes.
1st game: Hide the worm behind one of the apples, and say “There’s a little worm,
that you can’t see, where, oh where, could that little worm be?” Your
child then guesses which number apple the worm is hiding behind.
2nd game: Have your child stand and hold all 5 apples, and recite this poem: “Way
up high, in the apple tree, five little apples smiled at me. I shook that
tree (shake your child gently) as hard as I could, down came #5 apple
(your child drops the #5), mm was it good!” Repeat until there are no
--This is a good activity to do after going to an orchard to pick apples:
4 apples, peeled and cored
½ cup water
¼ cup sugar or honey
Help your child cut the apples into small chunks, using plastic knives. Put the apples in a
pot with the water, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the stove and stir in the
sugar or honey…your child can help with this part, and sprinkle the cinnamon on top.
Ask your child to name as many things as she can that are made with apples.
--Cut out several different large leaf shapes, in autumn colors. Try any of these painting
techniques to create colorful decorations for your home:
String Painting: Dip an 8” piece of yarn in paint, and then swirl it over a leaf.
Marble Painting: Set the leaf in a shallow box. Dip a marble in paint, and put on leaf.
Tip the box gently to help the marble roll designs onto the leaf.
Mirror Image Painting: Fold a leaf in half, and then open it back up. Paint ½ of leaf.
(Use an eyedropper or small brush). Fold the leaf while wet.
Rub the outside. Open to see a mirror image design.
--Cut out several different sizes and colors of apples and/or leaves.
--Put them all in a basket, and ask your child to sort them by color or size.
--For older kids, write letters on each, and have your child spell words with them.
--For very young children, simply ask them to hand you an apple or a leaf.
--You can also use these leaves/apples for a fun hide and seek game. Hide them, and ask
your child to find them. Then let him take a turn at hiding them, and you find them.
**Autumn Sensory Box
--Decorate a box (a little bigger than a shoebox) with your child. Explain that it’s going
to be a “feely” box and cut a hole large enough for her hand to fit in comfortably. Tell
her you’re going to put some items inside, and she needs to guess what they are without
looking at them.
--Select autumn items such as leaves, pinecones, nuts, small pumpkins, apples, etc.
--Cut leaf/apple/pumpkin shapes out of sturdy paper or cardboard. Punch holes all the
way around it. Give your child a shoelace or piece of yarn (tape the ends so they’re stiff)
and ask him to “sew” the item by putting the string in and out of the holes.
--Discuss with your child that scarecrows are used in gardens and farm fields to fool the
birds into believing that there’s a person standing there. Birds like to eat the seeds and
plants, but they are afraid of people.
--Make a scarecrow with your child, using old clothes, shoes, and a plastic pumpkin for
the face. Stuff it with newspaper, straw, hay, or plastic grocery bags.
Suggested Books: Apples and Pumpkins (Anne Rockwell)
Every Autumn Comes the Bear (Jim Arnosky)
Fall (Maria Rius)
Autumn is for Apples (Michelle Knudsen)
When Autumn Comes (Robert Maas)
Jeb Scarecrow’s Pumpkin Patch (Jana Dillon)
--Cut a Santa head shape out of construction paper, draw 24 circles on the beard, and
write the numbers 1-24 in the circles. Hang it where your child can easily reach it.
--Each day beginning December 1, have your child glue one cotton ball on the beard to
count down the number of days that are left until Santa comes.
--These are an easy way for kids to add some fun to boring sandwiches.
--Cut the sandwich diagonally so you have 2 triangles.
--Put one triangle on a plate, with the longest edge on top.
--Use raisins for eyes, pretzel sticks for antlers, and a cherry for Rudolph’s nose.
**Santa’s Little Helper
--Make a gift wrap area for your child. Provide wrapping paper, boxes, bags, tape,
ribbon, cards, “gifts”, old toy catalogs, and bows for him to wrap pretend presents and
put them under the tree. (Don’t forget to keep a trashcan handy, for all of the unwrapping
that’s sure to ensue!)
--Cut a Christmas tree shape out of green paper. Punch holes all over the tree.
--Have your child glue small pieces of different-colored tissue paper onto one side, to
cover the holes.
--Hang in a window to see the tree “light up”.
--These ornaments make great gifts for grandparents and teachers!
1 Cup applesauce
1 Cup cinnamon
1 Tablespoon glue
Mix all 3 ingredients together, until it reaches a consistency that is not too sticky
and can be rolled out easily. (Add more cinnamon, if necessary) Sprinkle some
cinnamon on a counter, and roll the mixture to about ½” thickness. Cut with
cookie cutters, and poke a hole at the top with a straw. Brush egg white on them
to give them a shine, and put them on a cookie sheet to dry for at least 24 hours,
turning them every couple of hours. When dry, decorate with fabric paints and
attach a ribbon or string for hanging. (If the edges are rough, use a nail file to
--Make sure your child understands that these are not edible!
--This is a fun twist to the popular “Hokey Pokey”. Substitute reindeer parts for human
parts—“put your antlers/red nose/hoof/tail in”.
--Hide small Christmas objects in a stocking, one at a time. Ask your child to feel
through the stocking and guess what’s in it. Suggestions: bell, candy cane, ornament, or
--Hide the stocking, and give your child clues about where it is until he finds it. Be sure
to give your child some turns at hiding it also. (Good practice on directional terms!)
--Have your child stuff a stocking with balled up newspaper or plastic grocery bags, and
play catch with the stocking, or try to toss it into a box.
--Hang a clothesline and have your child hang the stockings with clothespins. (Good fine
**Christmas Card Art
--Save the Christmas cards that you receive each year, so that your child will have fresh
material to create with. Provide plenty of glue and scissors (if old enough), and big
sheets of paper.
--Help your child to cut out pictures from the cards, and glue them onto folded sheets of
paper to make her own version of Christmas cards. Help her sign them and put them in
envelopes for special people in her life.
**Edible Christmas Trees
--This snack is not very nutritious, but the kids love making it!
--Turn a sugar cone upside down and frost it with green-tinted icing. Stick small candies
onto the frosting (jelly beans, M&Ms, gumdrops, etc.) to look like a Christmas tree.
--Sung to the tune of “Frere Jacques”
“Smells like Christmas, smells like Christmas
Mmm good, Mmm good
I can smell the pine tree; I can smell the pine tree
Mmm good, Mmm good.”
--Other verses: “I can smell the cookies/cinnamon/candy canes, etc.
Suggested Books: Mouse’s First Christmas (Lauren Thompson)
Dream Snow (Eric Carle)
Night Tree (Eve Bunting)
Shhh! (Julie Sykes)
Mother Hubbard’s Christmas (John O’Brien)
Christmas is Coming A Book of Poems and Songs (Ruth J. Morehead)
CIRCUS & ZOO
--Help your child make clown faces out of paper plates. Cut out eyes/nose/mouth shapes,
as well as hats, bow ties, etc. Provide glue/paint/markers, and watch her create her own
special clown. Attach a string if she would like to use it as a mask.
--Teach her this poem:
“I’d like to be a circus clown, and make a funny face.
And watch all the people laugh at me,
As I jump around the place.”
**Bean Bag Toss
--Make beanbags by putting about ½ cup beans/popcorn kernels/rice in a small zipper bag
and placing the bag inside of an old sock (preferably a brightly colored one). Twist and
knot the ends.
--Make a target by drawing a clown face or zoo animal on a large piece of cardboard, and
cutting out the eyes, nose, and mouth. Designate point values for each hole.
**Zoo Animal Bowling
--Make several different animals out of paper towel tubes. On the top of each tube, glue
yarn, buttons, tissue paper, etc. to make them look like various zoo animals.
--Line the animals up on the floor, and use a small ball or rolled sock to try and knock
over the animals.
--Make a big top tent by draping blankets over chairs or a table (if you don’t have a pop-
up tent). Set up a ticket stand—your child can make the tickets and play money; sell
popcorn or “circus snack mix”; perform some circus acts; have an animal parade.
**Circus Snack Mix
--This is an easy snack that your child can make by herself. To make it even more fun,
have her decorate paper cups or paper rolled into cone shapes, to serve the snack mix in.
--Combine any of the following in a zipper bag, and shake until it is mixed thoroughly:
animal crackers “o” cereal chocolate chips
peanuts sunflower seeds M&Ms
raisins pretzel sticks
--Tape a long line across the floor for walking the tightrope.
--Use a hula hoop with red/orange tissue paper around it for jumping through flames.
--If space allows, bring your child’s bike inside and decorate it with streamers. Paint his
face to look like a bear or clown, and have him perform on his bike.
--Use a chair or a bench, and a long string, to be the lion tamer.
--Juggle rolled socks.
--Help your child make this easy recipe, and then decorate his face however he chooses.
1 Teaspoon cornstarch
½ Teaspoon cold cream
½ Teaspoon water
In small bowl, blend together cornstarch and cold cream. Add water and stir.
Add one drop of food coloring at a time, until you get the desired color. Paint on
face with a small paintbrush or cotton swab. Remove with soap and water. Store
unused paint in an airtight container.
**Bear Climbed Over the Mountain
--Teach your child this song, and then make up additional verses about other animals.
“The bear climbed over the mountain, the bear climbed over the mountain,
The bear climbed over the mountain, to see what he could see,
And all that he could see, and all that he could see,
Was the other side of the mountain, the other side of the mountain,
The other side of the mountain was all that he could see!”
--Examples: “The penguin climbed over the iceberg”
“The monkey climbed over the banana tree”
--Pile up several pillows to be the mountain, and have your child act out the song.
--Set up a pretend zoo, complete with animals, ticket booth, and food stands.
--Make cages for your child’s toy animals out of laundry baskets and boxes.
--Have “feeding time”, and exercise time for the animals.
--Visit your local zoo to get more ideas!
--Use markers to draw faces on balloons.
--Play catch with a balloon; try to keep it in the air for as long as you can!
--Dip a balloon in paint, and then roll it across paper.
--Please supervise carefully when playing with balloons!
Suggested Books: Circus (Lois Ehlert)
If I Ran the Circus (Dr. Seuss)
Good Night, Gorilla (Peggy Rathmann)
1, 2, 3 to the Zoo (Eric Carle)
Dear Zoo (Rod Campbell)
Little Monkey Says, “Good Night” (Ann Whitford Paul)
Elmer and Elmer’s Colors (David McKee)
--Measure a piece of paper to fit around a paper towel tube. Have your child color it to
look like a rainbow.
--Poke holes in a cardboard paper towel tube, and have her stick toothpicks in the holes.
Glue the edges where the toothpicks stick out, and cut off as much of the remaining
toothpick as possible. Wrap the entire tube in the rainbow paper (to avoid the pokey ends
of the toothpicks).
--Help your child tape off one end of the tube, and pour rice inside. Tape off the other
end, and tell her to shake her rainbow stick so the rain will come, followed by a rainbow!
--Fill several clear containers halfway with water.
--Show your child how you can make colors by mixing two other colors together.
--You can also do this with ice cubes---make a few of each color, and have your child put
two ice cubes together in a clear container and watch them melt.
--Provide several different small containers of milk tinted with food coloring.
--Ask your child to “paint” a piece of bread any way he wants to.
--Toast the bread as usual, and enjoy!
--Ask your child to pick a color, and designate a day dedicated to that color.
--Try to involve as many aspects of her day around the color she chose: the clothes she
wears, the foods she eats, etc.
--Have her find items, make pictures, and make up stories about the color she chose.
--Gather collage materials for your child: paper, buttons, yarn, glitter, etc.
--In small plastic containers, mix glue with several different colors of food coloring.
Your child could help with this, and you could reinforce the concept of mixing two colors
together to get a third.
--Give your child cotton swabs, and have him create whatever he chooses using the
colored glue and collage materials.
--Gather 12 small rocks and paint them all different colors.
--Paint the 12 cups of an egg carton the same colors, to make a matching game.
--Hide the rocks in the sand box (if you don’t have one, put sand/rice/beans in a large
plastic storage container).
--Tell your child to dig for the rocks, and when she finds them put them with their
matching color in the egg carton.
**Coffee Filter Designs
--Show your child how to use medicine droppers to drip paint onto coffee filters.
--When he’s finished, have him spray the filter with water and watch the colors mix
--Teach this poem to your child, to help him remember his colors:
“I know my colors for painting fun
Green like the grass and yellow like the sun
An orange pumpkin and pure white snow
A red rose and a black crow
Blue like a mailbox, brown like an ape
A pink pig and some purple grapes.”
--Cover a window that is at your child’s eye level with a piece of colored cellophane.
--Talk about what she sees, and why it is a different color.
--Change the color of cellophane each day.
**Scat the Cat
--Tell your child this story, using 6 drawings of the same cat in different colors (black,
orange, red, yellow, blue, and green).
“Scat the cat was a black cat. Everyone in his family was black. But Scat the
Cat was tired of being like everyone else, so he said, (snap your fingers) “I’m
Scat the Cat, I’m sassy and fat, I can change my colors just like that!” And he
changed into a blue cat. He was as blue as the sky! Scat the Cat enjoyed being
blue for a few days, but then he got tired and said, (repeat, until he changes into
red as an apple, orange as a pumpkin, yellow as a lemon, and green as the grass).
Well, Scat the Cat had changed his colors a bunch of times, but he decided that it
wasn’t so bad being a black cat, so he said, “I’m Scat the Cat, I’m sassy and fat, I
can be a black cat just like that!”
Suggested Books: Who Said Red? (Mary Serfozo)
Angelina Ballerina’s Colors (Katharine Holabird)
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (Bill Martin)
Color Surprises: A Pop-Up Book (Chuck Murphy)
Purple, Green and Yellow (Robert N. Munsch)
Snappy Little Colors (Derek Matthews)
Mouse Paint (Ellen Stoll Walsh)
**Egg Shell Pictures
--Save your eggshells to use for pictures.
--Wash them thoroughly, and then soak them in a few drops of food coloring mixed with
a few drops of rubbing alcohol.
--After they’re dry, have your child glue them on to egg-shaped pictures.
--Have races with your child while carrying a plastic egg on a spoon.
--Have another race pushing the egg across the room using only your noses.
--Have your child try to toss the eggs into an Easter basket.
--Hide the eggs and have your child try to find them.
--Use refrigerated biscuits, and shape them into bunny heads (circle for face, and 2 halves
for floppy ears).
--Bake as directed. When cool, spread cream cheese on them and use chocolate chips,
raisins, or jellybeans for the facial features.
--About 10 days before Easter, plant grass seeds in 1/3 of a cardboard egg carton (4
cups). Attach a pipe cleaner for a handle. Place in a sunny spot and remember to
sprinkle with water daily.
--When the grass grows in, your child can put plastic eggs in it to decorate.
**Easter Bunny Song
--Teach your child this song and help him act it out: (“I’m a Little Teapot” tune)
“I’m the Easter bunny, watch me hop
Here are my 2 ears, see how they flop
I’m a happy fellow; here’s my nose
I’m all furry from my head to my toes.”
**Marble Paint Eggs
--Put 3 or 4 colors of paint in small containers, and a plastic egg in each.
--Put an egg-shaped piece of paper in a shallow box.
--One at a time, place a plastic egg in the box and roll it around to create a mosaic effect
on the egg.
**Paper Plate Bunny
--Use a large paper plate for the body, and a small one for the head. Glue or staple them
together (sideways, so the body is on the left and the head is on the right).
--Cut out pink bunny ears and glue or staple them on to the head.
--Glue cotton balls for a tail; use buttons for eyes; draw the face with markers or crayons.
--Glue a paper bowl on top of a paper plate to form a bonnet-like hat. Attach a string to
fit loosely under the neck, if desired.
--Help your child decorate the hat with paint/markers/crayons, ribbons, pipe cleaners,
bows, flowers, etc.
--Have an Easter parade to show off the new hats!
**Egg Guessing Game
--Place a small object inside a plastic egg, and have your child guess what it is by shaking
it and asking you questions.
--Suggested items: penny, crayon, dice, and small toys
--Be sure to give him a turn at hiding things also.
--This is a messy project, but kids love it!
--Blow up a balloon to get an egg shape, and tape it to a table lined with newspaper.
--Make the papier-mache paste using the recipe below:
5 Cups water (bring to a light boil)
Mix 1 cup water with ¼ cup flour until thin and runny; add to boiling water.
Boil for 2-3 minutes; transfer to a shallow pan.
--When the paste is cool enough to touch, dip strips of paper in the paste and apply to the
balloon. Be sure to overlap the pieces. Let dry completely (at least overnight).
--When the egg is dry, decorate with paint or tissue paper in pastel colors.
Suggested Books: Easter (Gail Gibbons)
Max’s Chocolate Chicken (Rosemary Wells)
The Grumpy Easter Bunny (Justine Korman)
The Stinky Easter Egg (Chris Tougas)
Chicky Basket (Jane E. Gerver)
The Best Easter Hunt Ever (John Speirs)
--Discuss families with your child; talk about how many people are in your family, your
pets, what the family likes to do together, your traditions, etc.
--Use a large sheet of paper, poster board, or a paper grocery bag.
--Help your child decorate the flag using photos, handprints of family members,
drawings, memorabilia, etc.
--Display it proudly during family events (birthday parties, game night, camping, etc.)
--Talk about family members that live far away; discuss the unique characteristics and
memories about each person.
--Make a tape recording, or video recording, of your child doing something special for
her faraway relative: singing, reading from a book, dancing, etc.
--Ask her to help you pack it in a box, and take her to the post office to mail it.
--Make a pretend house out of a large box; the kids can decorate the walls with markers,
magazine clippings, etc.
--Provide a suitcase and some smaller boxes for the children to pack clothes, pots/pans,
toys, telephones, etc. for moving day.
**Taking Care of Babies
--Explain to the kids why babies require extra care and attention.
--Provide dolls, clothes, bottles, blankets, brushes, etc. for pretend baby care.
--Let the children bathe the dolls or wash the clothes/bottles in the sink or bathtub (under
strict supervision, of course).
--Teach them some lullabies to sing to their baby dolls.
--Help your child plan an entire menu for the family, then shop with him, and help him to
--Main dish ideas: pizza, hotdog/cheese roll-ups, quesadillas, or BLTs.
--Other ideas: fruit salad, veggies/dip, cinnamon apples, or salad.
--Your child could make place mats or name cards, and help set the table, too.
--Create a newspaper for the family, with all the latest news.
--Use one side of a regular sheet of paper, or several pages, depending on how much
“news” is happening.
--The kids can decide what goes in the paper, and decorate it accordingly.
--Ideas: upcoming birthdays, recent “boo-boos”, visits from grandma, etc.
--Discuss all the different types of homes that families can live in (apartment, condo,
--Give your child a sheet of paper shaped like your home, and ask her to draw windows
--Cut around three sides of each window or door, so that they can open either sideways,
or up and down.
--Help your child glue pictures of people behind each door and window (or draw them),
to demonstrate who lives at their home.
**Little Mouse game
--Cut out several different colors of houses, using paper or felt (about 4-6” each).
--Also cut out a mouse, smaller than the houses (or use a picture if you have one).
--Line the houses up, and review the colors with the kids, then hide the mouse under one
of the houses.
--Ask one child at a time to guess which house the mouse is hiding in by asking, “Little
Mouse, Little Mouse, are you in the _____ house?”
--The child that finds the mouse can hide it for the next round.
**Family Song (sung to the tune of “10 Little Indians”)
--Discuss with the children how each family is different and unique; some have no
grandmas, some have 2 daddies, some have only sisters, etc.
--Change the words to the following song to fit each child’s family:
“Mom and dad, and sisters and brothers;
Mom and dad, and sisters and brothers;
Mom and dad, and sisters and brothers;
These are the people in my family”
--Can be changed to: “Mommy and Grandma, Grandpa and Kitty” etc.
--These are an easy treat that your kids can help make, and enjoy during a movie, game
night, or at sporting events.
1 bag microwave popcorn
6 tablespoons butter
4 cups mini marshmallows
Pop the popcorn, and set it in a lightly greased bowl. Melt butter in a small
saucepan, then add the marshmallows and stir frequently until melted. Pour over
the popcorn, and mix gently until popcorn is coated. Allow mixture to cool
slightly. Coat hands with butter or non-stick spray, and form balls.
Optional: roll the balls in sprinkles, chocolate chips, nuts, etc. Makes 8 balls.
Suggested Books: How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? (Jane Yolen)
ABC A Family Alphabet Book (Bobbie Combs)
Good Dog, Carl (Alexandra Day)
Napping House (Audrey Wood)
There’s a Mouse in My House (Sheree Fitch)
--Talk to your child about the fact that everyone gets mad sometimes, and that it’s okay
to feel angry. Discuss things that make her feel mad, and positive ways for her to deal
with the anger. Be sure to praise her when she does them.
--This cookie recipe is something your child can make all by herself, and it’s great for
letting off steam!
3 Cups quick-cooking oats
1 ½ Cups brown sugar
1 ½ Cups flour
1 ½ Cups butter or margarine
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
Put all of the ingredients into a large bowl, and let your child attack the batter by
pounding, punching and kneading it. When she’s done mixing, roll batter into small balls
and bake on an un-greased cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes at 350.
**Happy Face, Happy Face…
--Draw a variety of simple faces, each on a regular size sheet of paper.
--Include happy, sad, sleepy, angry, and surprised, plus any others you can draw well.
--Discuss each face with your child, and talk about what makes him feel those ways.
--Teach him the following song, and watch him “read” it all by himself. To begin, hold
up the happy face:
“Happy face, happy face, who do you see? (Show sad face next)
I see a sad face looking at me
Sad face, sad face, who do you see? (Show angry face)
I see an angry face looking at me”. Etc.
--Discuss the feeling of pride with your child. Tell her all the things that you can do that
make you feel proud, as well as all of things that she can do to make you proud.
--Ask her to name things that she’s proud of and make a chart called “I CAN DO IT!” to
--Tell her that you’re proud of her artwork, and hang a clothesline up high in her
bedroom with colorful clothespins to display all of her artwork.
**Paint to Music
--Set out paints and plenty of paper for your child.
--Play some different types of music for him to listen to while painting.
--Choose upbeat music first, and then switch to calm, soothing sounds and see if you
notice a difference in his paintings.
--Feeling thankful shouldn’t be reserved for Thanksgiving. Encourage your child to
express her thanks anytime she’s grateful (birthday presents, special treats, etc.)
--Ask her which people she is grateful for. Make it simple by asking, “Who are you so
happy to see/play with/visit” and ask why.
--Help her to make grateful cards to send to those special people. She can draw a picture,
write her name, or have you write down her feelings to that person.
**What Am I Thinking?
--Play this simple charade game with your child, to demonstrate how people can express
themselves in many different ways.
--Act out different emotions, such as happiness, anger, and jealousy and help your child
to guess. Ask her to act out some feelings also.
--Help your child cut out several small circles and draw on different facial expressions.
--Glue the circles onto craft sticks, and put on a puppet show for your child that
incorporates all of the different feelings of the puppets.
--Give her some time alone to put on her own puppet shows.
--If your child could use some extra practice using scissors, give him some magazines
and ask him to cut out pictures of different feelings.
--After he is done, ask him to tell you about the pictures that he chose.
--Help your child make a book about her feelings.
--On each page, write one sentence on the bottom and ask your child to fill in the blank:
I am happy when ______
I am sad when ______
I am frustrated when ______
--Choose words that your child is familiar with, and help her to express herself.
--Ask her if she would like to draw what she’s feeling on each of the pages.
**Match the Emotions
--Cut out pictures (or draw) several different types of emotions.
--Hand them to your child, and tell him to match the pictures with what you describe.
--For instance, when you tell him a child is having a birthday party, he would select the
happy picture. If you told him a child fell off his bike, he would select the sad or hurt
Suggested Books: Glad Monster, Sad Monster: A Book About Feelings (Ed E. Emberley)
Today I Feel Silly & Other Moods That Make My Day (Jamie Lee Curtis)
Hug (Jez Alborough)
Goldie Is Mad (Margie Palatini)
The Very Lonely Firefly (Eric Carle)
**Five Senses Song
--Teach this song when you’re beginning to talk about the five senses, and name the
coinciding body parts (sung to the tune of “Where is Thumbkin?”)
“Five senses, five senses,
We have them; we have them
Seeing, hearing, touching,
Tasting and smelling
There are five. There are five”.
--Discuss with your child each of the five senses, and help her to imagine what it would
be like if one of her senses did not work.
--You might want to try some of these activities, depending on your child’s age:
Blindfold—so she can realize what it’s like to not have a sense of sight.
Orange colored water—so she can realize what it’s like to not be able to taste.
Mouthing words at her—so she can see what it’s like to not be able to hear.
**The Nose Knows
--Make a smell test for your child, to teach her that everything has a distinct smell.
--Use film containers, or anything else that is small and non-transparent.
--In each container, put a small amount of items that have a distinct/strong scent.
Suggestions: vanilla extract, lemon juice, peanut butter, orange, pizza sauce, banana,
onion, coffee, and apple.
--Open the lid just a little and have your child smell, then guess.
**Soapy Finger Paint
--To use this, cover a table with a plastic tablecloth or old shower curtain, and put a paint
smock on your child. Add small toys/glitter for added play.
1 Cup soap flakes or soap powder
½ Cup water
Food coloring (or paint)
Whip the soap, water, and a few drops of color until thick and frothy.
--Tape two toilet paper tubes together to make “binoculars”. Have your child decorate it,
and attach a string for around the neck (to avoid choking, please supervise!). Put colored
cellophane at the ends, so that everything your child sees will be colored.
--Play “I Spy” with the glasses.
--This can be played with 2 or more people, inside or outside.
--One person takes a whistle, and goes and hides somewhere. She then blows the whistle,
and the other players try to find her. The person that finds her is the next person to hide.
--This is a quick project that emphasizes the sense of smell.
--Stick whole cloves into an unpeeled orange. Wrap a ribbon around the orange so that it
can be hung above the kitchen sink.
**Peanut Butter Play Dough
--Make this treat to emphasize the sense of touch and taste.
9 oz. peanut butter
3 tablespoons honey
Nonfat dry milk
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, using enough dry milk to get to the
consistency of play dough.
--Provide cookie cutters, plastic knives, rolling pins, etc.
--Be sure to explain to your child that this is a special kind of play dough that can be
eaten, but most play dough cannot go in his mouth!
--If desired, add chocolate chips, raisins, etc.
--Cut out several sheets of paper in a hand shape, and staple together to make a book.
--Help your child find items with interesting textures to glue into the book. Label how
each item feels (soft, bumpy, etc.)
--Suggestions: sandpaper, cotton balls, corduroy material, foil, and bubble wrap
**I Spy Bottles
--Fill a 16 oz. plastic bottle about ¾ full of clean play sand.
--Add several small items and mix the sand so that they’re hidden.
--Seal the bottle well.
--Show your child duplicates of the items you put in the bottle, and ask your child to find
--Make a touchy-feely box by cutting a hole in a sturdy shoebox (or slightly larger box).
--Make sure the hold is big enough for your child’s hand to fit in comfortably.
--Decorate the box with your child.
--Tell her she’s going to guess what’s in the box, by only using her hands.
--Suggestions of items to put in the box: ball, crayon, brush, spoon, mitten, and block.
Suggested Books: My Five Senses (Margaret Miller)
Sense Suspense (Bruce Mac Millan)
I Can Tell by Touching (Carolyn Otto)
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? (Bill Martin, Jr.)
It Looked Like Spilt Milk (Bernard Shaw)
What’s That Smell? (Janelle Cherrington)
Fun with Food
**Pretend Grocery Store
--Set up a grocery store, and watch your child get busy!
--Put empty boxes/bottles from food and toiletries on low shelves (or the floor).
--Or you could use real boxes/cans of food, if you’re brave enough
--Provide grocery bags, coupons, play money (you could make it), telephone, paper,
markers, cash box/shoebox, etc. on a small table. If you have a toy shopping cart or
picnic basket, even better!
--Buy some cheap wooden spoons at a dollar store, and help your child create “people”.
--Provide yarn, buttons, glue, markers, etc.
--Encourage your child to name each one, and put on a puppet show with them.
--Use a large plastic storage container. Set it on the floor on top of a large tablecloth.
--Fill it about half-full with dry beans or rice or popcorn kernels.
--Add measuring cups, spoons, funnels, small toys, etc.
--This can be stored endlessly as long as the lid is tight fitting.
--If you plan on cooking a lot with your child, he will feel special if he has his own apron.
--Either make one out of an old heavy shirt and strings, or buy one at a craft store.
--Help your child decorate it with fabric paint, appliqués/iron-on transfers/etc.
--Select several different fruits for your child to explore.
--Provide a cutting board and plastic knife for her, as well as a sharp knife for you.
--Talk about the color, shape, texture, scent, and size of each piece. Name them.
--Help her cut each one open, and compare the insides. Do they have seeds? What are
their peels (skin) like? Do they taste bitter/sweet? Are they hard, or mushy?
**5 Little Cookies
--Here’s a finger play to teach your kids when making cookies. You could cut out
cookies and put magnet tape on the back, so that they can play along on the refrigerator.
“5 little cookies with frosting galore, mom ate the white one, then there were 4
4 little cookies, 2 and 2 you see, dad ate the green one, and then there were 3
3 little cookies, but before I knew, sister ate the yellow one, then there were 2
2 little cookies, oh what fun, brother ate the brown one, and then there was 1
1 little cookie, watch me run, ‘cause I ate the last one, and now there are none!”
--You can change it to the names of the people in your family, and choose your own
**Make Your Own Lunch!
--Your child will feel proud to be able to make her very own lunch. Here’s a menu that
she can do completely by herself (except for the oven and blender parts).
Pizza: English muffin halves on a plastic plate
Small bowls with pizza sauce, shredded cheese, her favorite toppings,
and plastic spoons
--Tell her to make the pizzas however she would like, and then you should
transfer them to a cookie sheet lined with foil to bake. (10 minutes at 400)
Shaked Salad: Large zipper bag
Salad fixings already chopped up and placed in small bowls
--Tell her to put whatever salad fixings she chooses into the bag, along with a
little salad dressing, then zip it shut and shake it!
Fruit Smoothie: ½ cup flavored yogurt
¾ cup milk
Small amount of her favorite fruits with plastic knife
--Tell her to put the yogurt and milk in the blender, then chop the fruit into tiny pieces
and add that also. You blend it until smooth and creamy!
--When you’re at the grocery store with your child, buy 5 or 6 items that your child has
never tried before. Possibilities: water chestnuts, tamales, figs, or different cheeses.
--Make a chart that lists each item, and have your child mark whether he liked it or not.
**Where Does Food Come From?
--Ask your child to tell you where different types of food come from (bananas, milk,
hamburgers, bread, eggs, etc.) Discuss which foods we get from animals, and which
foods we get from plants.
--Visit a farm, if possible, or go to the library to check out books and videos about
--Cover your child’s clothes with an old shirt or paint smock, and cover a tabletop with
big sheets of waxed paper.
--Give your child a bowl of pudding, and let her finger paint on the waxed paper. Add
whipped cream and sprinkles for a different effect.
--Licking fingers is encouraged, of course!
Suggested Books: Eat Your Dinner, Please (Allia Zobel-Nolan)
Tickle Tum (Nancy Van Laan)
Food is Fun! (Marcia Leonard)
I Smell Honey (Andrea Davis Pinkney)
Pancakes, Pancakes! (Eric Carle)
Macaroni and Cheese, Hot Dogs and Peas (Christine Hickson)
One Little Spoonful (Susan Aliki)
**Torn Paper Pumpkins
--Cut a pumpkin shape out of any type of paper.
--Help your child tear pieces of orange and black paper into small bits (very young
children will have difficulty with this—you might have to do that part ahead of time).
--Show your child how to glue the orange pieces onto the pumpkin shape by overlapping
to cover the entire surface. Ask her to then put the black pieces on to turn the pumpkin
into a jack-o-lantern.
--This is something that you can do for your kids as a special Halloween surprise, or they
could help you make all of the following:
“Pumpkin Burger”—cut a face out of the slice of cheese that you put on a burger
“Ghosts”—mashed potatoes shaped into ghosts, with black olives for eyes/mouth
“Witches Brew”—grape juice mixed with Sprite, with peeled grapes floating in it
--Discuss with your child that pumpkins grow on big vines that sprawl across the ground.
--Provide a pumpkin, a can of pumpkin, and a pumpkin pie.
--Give your child plenty of time to explore all 3---cut open the pumpkin to explore the
inside; stick your fingers in the canned pumpkin; taste the canned pumpkin and the pie.
--Talk about the difference between cooked and raw; discuss the differences in color,
smell, taste, and texture.
--Have your child toss beanbags or small balls into a plastic pumpkin.
--Hide a pumpkin, set a timer, and see if your child can find it before the buzzer.
--Cut pumpkin (or ghost) shapes out of paper; write instructions on each one; place them
in the plastic pumpkin and have your child choose one at a time to do. (Examples: “hop
on one foot” “sing your favorite song” “count to ten”)
**Halloween Matching Game
--Use the metal lids of frozen juice cans, or cut out 2-3” squares of poster board.
--Put Halloween stickers on them, making 2 for each sticker.
--Put one set on the table and ask your child to find their matches.
--For more of a challenge, flip all of them over and turn it into a memory game.
--This is messy, but fun!
--Have your child mix white school glue and cooked spaghetti with his hands.
--When it’s good and gooey, have him pull out one strand at a time and place on black
paper to look like a spider web. Sprinkle on some white glitter, if desired.
--After it is dry, the spider web should peel off of the paper. Attach a plastic spider ring
to it, and hang it by a string!
--Teach your child this poem, using coinciding pictures if you have them.
“There’s a round orange moon in the dark black sky
And I see 2 owls on a tree nearby
There’s an orange jack-o-lantern with a great big grin
And he’ll wait right there for the fun to begin
And I won’t be surprised if a witch is seen
Because I checked the calendar and today is Halloween!”
--Have your child step barefoot into white paint, and then place his foot on black paper to
make a footprint.
--When it’s dry, cut around the shape, turn so the toes are at the bottom, and add eyes and
a mouth to make a ghost.
--Help your child make the following recipe:
1½ cups flour ½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon ½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup milk ½ cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla 5 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg, beaten optional: ½ chopped nuts/raisins
Grease 12 muffin cups. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients in another
bowl. Combine both bowls, stirring just until moistened. Batter will be lumpy. Fill
muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 18-20 minutes at 400.
--Die different shaped pasta for lacing. Place the pasta (rigatoni, penne, etc.) in a
water/vinegar solution to dye (one cup water/1 teaspoon vinegar/food coloring).
--Allow the pasta to dry overnight.
--Provide shoelaces or yarn with taped ends for lacing.
Suggested Books: Sweets and Treats (Toni Trent Parker)
Big Pumpkin (Erica Silverman)
The Biggest Pumpkin Ever (Steven Kroll)
Five Little Pumpkins (Dan Yaccarinno, Illustrator)
Who Walks on This Halloween Night? (Harriet Ziefert)
Joey, The Jack-O-Lantern (Janet Craig)
The Witch Next Door (Norman Bridwell)
HEALTH & SAFETY
--Create a doctor’s office for your child to play in. You could include an examining table
(sleeping bag or exercise mat), white doctor’s shirt, scale, tape measure, flashlight,
bandages, strips of cloth, and an eye chart.
--Make sure your child has turns being both the patient and the doctor/nurse.
**Safety Hazard Hunt
--Tell your child you have a very important job for him—Safety Inspector! Give him a
badge or clipboard or anything else that looks “official” and go from room to room to
check for safety hazards.
--Prompt your child into noticing things that are unsafe, and discuss the reasons why.
--Tell him that it’s his job to tell an adult if he sees a safety hazard.
--Spend a lot of time discussing what your child should do if there is a house fire.
--Let her hear what the smoke detector siren sounds like, and show her at least two
escape routes; stress the importance of leaving the house immediately. Designate a place
outside to meet. Practice!!
--Teach her “Stop, Drop and Roll” for if her clothes catch on fire. Practice!!
--Arrange a visit to a fire department, for more fire safety tips.
--Discuss why it is important to keep our hands clean. Ask your child to name good
times to wash his hands (after toileting, before eating/cooking, etc.)
--Tell your child you’re going to practice washing hands. Cover his hands with a thick
layer of shaving cream, and ask him to wash it off. Point out any places that he missed.
Encourage him to scrub his fingers together under the running water to get them clean.
--Stress the importance of thoroughly drying hands (because germs like to live in wet places).
--Talk about the importance of exercise.
--Let your child choose some music, and ask her to help you create an exercise routine.
--Give suggestions when needed—how about 5 jumping jacks, can we do some ballerina
twirls, should we do “Head Shoulders Knees and Toes”?
--Discuss with your child the importance of being safe when crossing the street. Take
him to a crosswalk, and practice looking both ways, listening for cars, double-checking,
and crossing quickly. Be sure to stress that he should always cross with a grown-up.
--Teach him this poem:
“Stop, look, and listen, before you cross the street,
Use your eyes, use your ears, and then use your feet”
**Red Light, Green Light
--Help your child make three traffic lights by cutting out brown rectangles, about 6-8”
long and 3-4” wide; and 9 circles, about 2.5” in diameter (6 black, 1 red, 1 yellow, and 1
green). Glue the circles on to the rectangles to make 3 different traffic lights (red,
yellow, and green) and glue the lights onto craft sticks.
--Explain to your child what each colored light means, and then practice by having her
walk across the room while obeying the traffic lights. You could also play this game
outside, while she rides her bike.
--Talk to your child about the importance of taking care of his teeth. Sing this song while
you demonstrate how to brush:
“This is the way we brush our teeth, brush our teeth, brush our teeth,
This is the way we brush our teeth, so early in the morning”
--Add verses, such as “before we go to bed” or “This is the way we rinse and spit”.
--This is a good recipe to make with your child when you’re discussing dental care.
4 Teaspoons baking soda
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon flavoring (peppermint or vanilla extract)
Mix together, and store in an airtight container.
--This is an easy snack that your child can make by herself:
One graham cracker, broken into the 4 pieces
Red, yellow, and green M&Ms
Spread peanut butter on the graham crackers; place the M&Ms to create traffic lights.
Suggested Books: Tumble Bumble (Felicia Bond)
No Dragons for Tea: Fire Safety for Kids (Jean Pendziwol)
I Read Signs (Tana Hoban)
Wash Your Hands! (Tony Ross)
Brush your Teeth Please: A Pop-Up Book (Leslie McGuire)
--Help your child make his own alphabet puzzles, using index cards.
--On each card, write the uppercase letter on one side and the lowercase letter on the
other. Help your child find a picture of something that begins with that letter, and glue it
in the middle.
--When the card is finished, cut it in half to look like 2 puzzle pieces.
--A good way for your child to start recognizing letters, and practice pre-reading skills, is
to label items around your house.
--Ask your child to choose which items she would like to label. Neatly print the words
on clean white paper or index cards, and help your child hang them.
--Tip: for your labels, use the first letter uppercase, and the remaining letters lowercase
(Label rather than LABEL or label). This will be the most familiar way for when your
child begins to write her own name.
--Make this recipe with your child for a fun and delicious way to learn letters:
1 package yeast
1 ½ Cups of warm water
1 Tablespoon sugar
4 Cups flour
1 beaten egg
Mix the yeast, warm water, and sugar. Slowly add the flour, and knead the dough until
smooth. Shape into letters. Brush with egg and sprinkle with salt, if desired. Bake at
425 for 15 minutes, until browned.
--Mix 2 parts cornstarch with one part water and some green food coloring to make a
batch of “oobleck”. It’s neither solid, nor liquid, and is irresistible to little
--Put the oobleck in a shallow container and encourage your child to practice writing
letters in the mixture. He’ll soon find out that the letters erase away easily!
--Read Dr. Seuss’ Bartholomew and the Oobleck and look for letters on the pages.
--Alternatives to oobleck: shaving cream, finger paint, or pudding.
**Pin the Tail on the Letter
--Write large letters in a haphazard fashion all over a big piece of paper.
--Set the paper on a table within easy reach of your child.
--Blindfold (or have your child close his eyes) and point his finger somewhere on the
paper. Ask him to identify whichever letter he’s pointing at, and find some things in your
home that start with that letter.
--Write the first letter of your child’s name on the outside of a bag, and put objects that
begin with that letter inside.
--Have your child reach in and pull one item out at a time and identify it.
--Encourage your child to find other objects in your home that begin with that letter.
**Find the Letter
--Write one letter in large print at the top of a piece of paper.
--Below that, write several smaller letters in no particular order, and be sure to include a
lot of the letter you chose at the top.
--Ask your child to go through the letters and circle all of those that are the same as the
one at the top of the page, and put an X through those that are not.
--Use 26 different sheets of paper, with one letter on each sheet.
--Help your child cut out pictures, or draw, items that begin with each letter (photos of
family members work great too!)
--After all 26 sheets are completed, glue or staple them together to make a big alphabet
--Use glue to print your child’s name on a piece of paper.
--Have your child sprinkle powdered gelatin over the letters.
--After it dries, your child will have a multi-sensory way to explore his name!
--Teach this quick poem, adapting it to your child’s name:
“J is for Joey,
J starts your name,
So come on Joey,
And play the alphabet game.”
--Take your child to the grocery store and help her find ingredients for soup that begin
with as many different letters as possible (asparagus, beans, chicken, dumplings, etc.).
--You can also pick up alphabet pasta, if available.
--Come home and make the soup with your child, and be sure to point out all of the
different letters that are represented.
Suggested Books: It Begins with an A (Stephanie Calmenson)
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (Bill Martin)
Alphabet Under Construction (Denise Fleming)
The Handmade Alphabet (Laura Rankin)
Q Is for Duck: An Alphabet Guessing Game
(Marcia McClintock Folsom)
Old Black Fly (Jim Aylesworth)
Ready to Read (Rosemary Wells)
ME & MY BODY
--Choose a container (shoebox, zipper bag, coffee can, etc.) and help your child decorate
it any way he wishes.
--Discuss his individual characteristics (eye color, passion for dinosaurs, etc.) and
encourage him to select a few items to put in the time capsule that represents who he is.
The items could be a piece of his artwork, magazine clippings of his favorite things, a
sample of his handwriting, or his current height/weight.
--Choose a time (6 months, next birthday, etc.) when he can open the time capsule to see
what has changed about him, and what has stayed the same.
--Trace and cut out the shape of your child’s body. Let her decorate it using
crayons/markers, yarn, scraps of cloth, etc. Be sure to provide a mirror!
--Select an area where you can mark your child’s height, such as the inside of a closet
door or a wall in the garage. Mark his height, the date, and his weight. (If you don’t
have a place to mark, you could cut out a long piece of paper to look like a tree or flower,
and write “See How I’ve Grown” on it---then fold it up to save for future measurements).
--Re-measure every 3 months, and show your child how much he has grown.
**Body Parts Songs
--Ask your child to name as many parts of her body as possible, and introduce her to
some new ones. Sing “Hokey Pokey” and “Head Shoulders Knees and Toes”, but extend
the songs by adding unfamiliar body parts. For instance, “put your wrist in”, or “heel,
collarbone, thigh and shin”.
**All About Me Chart
--Use a large sheet of paper, poster board, or whatever you have on hand and draw lines
on it to divide it into several different-sized sections. Label each section with whatever
information your child wants to list about himself, and help him to complete it. Be sure
to display it in a prominent place!
--Examples: My Family--he can draw a picture, or glue a photo in that area
Me--same as above, or you can write his weight, height, age, etc
My Favorites--clip and glue pictures of foods, toys, animals, etc
Places I Have Visited--glue postcards/photos, or draw them
My Friends--draw, or glue photos
**Body Part Riddles
--Ask the children to guess what body part you are talking about.
--Examples: You have two of them, and they have lashes.
These get a lot of boo-boos, and are in the middle of our legs.
--Encourage your child to make up her own riddles for you to guess.
--This could get messy; be sure to cover your child’s clothes with an old shirt, and spread
newspaper down in the area that she will be working.
--Explain how every person’s fingerprints are different, and point out the lines and swirls
on her hand and yours. If you have a magnifying glass, use that to investigate further.
--Use a big sheet of paper so she has plenty of room to create (a paper grocery bag cut
and laid flat works great), and finger paint from the following recipe:
3 Tablespoons sugar food coloring
½ Cup Cornstarch dish liquid or soap flakes
2 Cups cold water
Mix the sugar and cornstarch over low heat; add water, stir until thick. Remove.
Divide into as many small cups as you want; add the food coloring and a pinch of
soap to each cup.
--If you want to save a handprint, get out a separate piece of paper and help her to make a
print; otherwise, you’ll have a smeary, brown mess!
--Discuss with your child the importance of taking care of our bodies. Ask what could
happen if we don’t take good care of our bodies. Ask your child to name some ways that
we can take care of our bodies (eat healthy, be safe, exercise, get rest, etc.)
--Teach your child this song (sung to the tune of “Where is Thumbkin?”)
“This is my body, this is my body
It’s the only one I have; it’s the only one I have
I’m going to take good care of it; I’m going to take good care of it
Yes I am; yes I am.”
--Use a bathroom scale to weigh your child. Write the number down, and then have him
search for items that he thinks weigh the same as him.
--Make a chart, or put the items in piles, according to whether they weigh more, or less,
than your child.
**English Muffin Faces
--Set the following items out, and let your child create a face snack.
English muffin halves String cheese Raisins
Slices of cheese Licorice ropes Sliced carrots
Sliced olives/carrots Pretzel sticks Peanut Butter
Suggested Books: Making Faces (Nick Butterworth)
Parts (Tedd Arnold)
Here Are My Hands (Bill Martin)
Dancing in My Bones (Sylvia Andrews)
I Am Me (Karla Kuskin)
My Own Human Body (Cristina Mesturini)
Eyes, Nose, Fingers, and Toes: A First Book All About You
**Dancing with Scarves
--Give your child a scarf or ribbon, and turn on some music for her to dance to. Choose
different styles of music, to see which one “moves” her the most.
--Help your child find items from around the house to use for making music.
--Try the old stand-bys (pots, pans, wooden spoons, etc.), but also try to find some new
items to make music.
--Save the paper tubes from rolls of paper towels to use as drumsticks.
--Have your child sit on the floor opposite you, and imitate what you are doing.
Start out tapping them together, and then tap your head, your knees, etc. Ask
your child to try some things for you to imitate.
--When he tires of that, have a marching band with them.
--Help your child make musical instruments using items from around the house.
--Suggestions: beans or rice inside stapled paper plates, coffee can drums, spoons, bottle
caps in small containers, and paper tube flutes.
--Tell your child you’re going to clap a song, and have her guess what song it is.
--This is harder than it seems, so you may need to hum along as you clap, to help.
--Give your child a chance to clap a song for you to guess, also.
--Teach your child this song, and insert whichever musical instruments she likes in place
of the drums. (Sung to the tune of “Mulberry Bush”)
“The finger band has come to town,
Come to town, come to town,
The finger band has come to town,
To play some beautiful music.
This is the way we play the drums,
Play the drums, play the drums,
This is the way we play the drums,
When we’re making beautiful music.
--Have your child dance to music. Every time you yell “freeze”, he must stop and hold
the position that he is in until the music begins again.
**A Song a Day
--Go to the library to get books and cassettes of songs for children, and teach your child
one new song every day, or sing one that she already knows.
--Play quiet music while bathing her and at bedtime, to calm her.
--Fill several different glasses with varying amounts of water.
--Give your child a spoon, and have him tap the glasses gently to make sounds.
--Compare the sounds, and then alter the amount of water to change the sounds.
**Musical Instrument Snacks
--Make snacks that look like musical instruments, and play some music while your child
--Roll a piece of lunchmeat and put olives on top, to look like a flute.
--Alternate peanut butter/cream cheese on graham cracker to look like a piano keyboard.
--Use pretzel sticks as drumsticks.
Suggested Books: Hush Little Baby and Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (Sylvia Long)
Any book by Raffi
Jazzy Alphabet (Sherry Shahan)
I See a Song (Eric Carle)
Froggy Plays in the Band (Jonathan London)
Mole Music (David M. McPhail)
Jamberry (Bruce Degan)
--Give your child a jar of coins, and ask him to sort them into piles.
--Make a chart to show him how five pennies equals one nickel, etc.
--While driving in the car, ask your child to pick a number for both of you to hunt for.
--Point out numbers on road signs, other cars, advertisements, etc.
--This is an important skill to teach your child.
--Write your telephone number down on a large piece of paper, and point to each number
as you say it with your child. Hang the number in a prominent place.
--Give your child a telephone, and have her practice “dialing” your phone number.
--Cut out 6 donuts in different colors, and mark a number on each one.
--Put them all on the floor, and sing this song with your child:
“Down around the corner at the bakery shop
There were six little donuts with sugar on top.
Along came (your child’s name) all alone,
She picked up the red one and ran on home.”
--Continue with the song until there aren’t any left.
--Ask your child to choose a number, and dedicate an entire day to that number.
--Try to incorporate the number into as many things as possible (five chicken nuggets at
lunchtime, 5 stories at bedtime, etc.)
--Cut the number out of poster board, and have him decorate it any way he wishes.
--Save several plastic milk jug lids, and coffee cans.
--Put one number on each can (1-5) and show your child how to toss the lids into the can.
--Explain that she needs to get 3 lids in the #3 can, 4 in the #4, etc.
--Help your child make a birthday cake out of play dough.
--Provide 10 birthday candles, and birthday cards numbered 1-10.
--Have your child select one card at a time, and put that many candles on the cake.
--Cut a number out of poster board, and give your child different types of pasta noodles
to glue on.
--When he’s done, let him paint the noodles with watercolors.
**Goldilocks and the Three Bears
--Put the numbers 1, 2, and 3 on chairs, bowls, beds, and bears—either use real props, or
cut out pictures.
--Tell your child the familiar story. Be sure to point out the number 1 for the Papa Bear,
2 for Mama, and 3 for Baby.
--When the story is over, help your child make this recipe for porridge:
1 Cup rolled oats
2 Cups water
½ Cup unsweetened applesauce
½ Cup raisins
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
Put oats, water, and 2 shakes of salt in a pan. Bring to a slow boil; stir and cook for 5
minutes. Add applesauce, 1 shake of cinnamon, and raisins. Stir and cook for 5
additional minutes. Put in bowl, top with brown sugar, and enjoy!
**Deck of Cards
--Give your child a deck of playing cards and ask her to sort them by number.
--When she is done, ask her to hand you three #5s, 6 #4s, etc.
--Put all of the cards in a bag, and have your child select one at a time. Whichever
number she chooses is how many of a particular item she needs to gather (#5—find 5
blocks, #7—find 7 socks, etc.)
Suggested Books: The Right Number of Elephants (Jeff Sheppard)
Ten, Nine, Eight (Molly Garrett Bang)
Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On (Lois Ehlert)
Counting Crocodiles (Judy Sierra)
Nine Ducks Nine (Sarah M. Hayes)
--Visit your neighborhood library, and then go home and set up your own version. Put
out books, library cards, videos, table/chairs, phone, pencils/paper, etc.
--Each night, have your child go to her library to pick a few books to read before bed.
--Use several different sizes of boxes to build a city. Paint or cover the boxes with paper,
and help your child draw windows/doors/etc. Look around the house for other things to
add to your city: hollowed-out cups for tunnels, toilet tissue tubes for trees, or toy cars.
--Use a large cookie sheet if you don’t have a magnet board.
--Cut out pictures of places in the community, such as a police station, school, park,
grocery store, as well as items that go with each of those places, such as books, food,
badge, etc. (Clip art has a lot of good choices).
--Attach magnet sheets to the back of each piece (laminate first if you want them to last).
Have your child identify each place and put the items in the proper place.
--Stress the importance of keeping our community clean—so it looks nice, to keep the
animals and plants healthy, etc.
--Talk about garbage collectors, and the important and difficult job that they do.
--Make a special treat for the garbage collectors and give it to them when they collect the
garbage at your house, as a thank you for the good job they’re doing.
--Take a grocery bag with you on a walk through your neighborhood, and help your child
pick up trash. Be sure to take gloves along!
--Visit a construction site in your neighborhood and watch from a distance. Briefly
explain how things are built, from clearing the land to the finishing touches inside. Talk
about safety issues, and the noises.
--At home, make your own construction site in the sand box or a dirt patch.
--For realistic hammer and nails play, give your child golf tees, a toy hammer, and big
chunks of Styrofoam.
--Make sure your child has on old clothes when you mix this concoction up outside!
--Add trucks, scoops, shovels, etc.
1 Cup salt
2 Cups flour
½ Cup cold water
Mix well; it will be very thick!
--Talk about those people who make a living out of repairing things. Discuss any recent
repairs that were done at your home, and explain that some repairs require an expert to do
--Give your child something “real” that is broken and that you don’t mind if it gets torn
apart, such as an old clock, phone, or radio. Tell her that she can try to be the expert and
fix it. (Be sure to cut the electrical cord off first, so you won’t have any mishaps).
--Provide pliers, screwdrivers, tweezers, masking tape, etc. and encourage her to take the
object apart to see how it works.
--Talk to your child about several different kinds of occupations. Discuss what the
people in his life do for a living. Discuss what he might like to do when he’s an adult.
--Play the “I’m Thinking of…” game with your child, by describing occupations and
having him guess which one you’re thinking of. (This game is good for car rides).
--Examples: “At this job, you wear a white hat, and a white apron”.
“For this job, you sit most of the time, and see a lot of cars”.
“This person is in charge of a lot of kids”.
**Fire Truck Snacks
--Discuss the importance of having firefighters in your community, and talk about what
their job entails.
--Visit a fire station, if possible, or check out books/videos at the library.
--Make a fire truck snack with your child:
1 whole graham cracker (4 squares)
1 chocolate sandwich cookie
Red frosting or cream cheese
Gently cut off one square of the graham cracker, to make a fire truck shape.
Have your child spread the frosting/cream cheese on the cracker, and pry apart
the cookie to make two wheels.
--Sing “Hurry, Hurry, Drive the Fire Truck” while you’re making the snack.
**Take Your Child to Work
--If your job allows it, take your child with you for part of a day. Show her what you do
and explain why you work. Tell her that you have to follow rules at work, and that you
have specific jobs that you’re expected to complete, just like she does.
Suggested Books: Who Drives This? (Charles Reasoner)
Building a House (Byron Barton)
Richard Scarry’s What Do People Do All Day? (Richard Scarry)
People in My Neighborhood (Anna Nilsen)
Clifford and the Grouchy Neighbors (Norman Bridwell)
Good-Bye, Curtis (Kevin Henkes)
PLANTS & INSECTS
--Discuss with your child the life cycle of a butterfly, and teach him this song (sung to the
tune of “Up on the House Top”):
“First comes a butterfly and lays an egg, out comes a caterpillar with many legs
Now see the caterpillar spin and spin, a cozy chrysalis to sleep in
Oh, oh, oh, wait and see! Oh, oh, oh, wait and see!
Out of the chrysalis my oh my, out comes a beautiful butterfly!”
--Give your child a piece of thick yarn or string, and have him dip it in brown paint, and
then pull it across the paper to make worm tracks.
**Flower # Game
--Cut out 12 flowers, each about 3” big, and glue them on craft sticks. Write a number
(1-12) on each one.
--Invert an egg carton, write the numbers 1-12 on each cup, and cut a small slit for the
craft sticks to fit.
--Give your child the flowers, and have her match the numbers by sticking each flower in
its coinciding eggcup.
--You could use anything to match: shapes, vocabulary words, letters, etc.
--Go for a walk with your child and look for insects. Take along a magnifying glass and
look under logs, rocks, and in grassy areas.
--Discuss that insects have 6 legs (spiders are not insects—they have 8 legs); and 3 body
parts (head, abdomen, thorax).
--Ask your child to name as many insects as he can.
**Bucket of Dirt
--This is a fun dessert that you and your child can make for the whole family.
2 large packages chocolate instant pudding
1 small package chocolate cookies
1 clean plastic flowerpot, lined with aluminum foil (or large bowl)
Plastic flower (or a paper flower attached to a craft stick)
Make the pudding, as directed. Help your child crush the chocolate cookies into
small bits, using a zipper bag and the back of a spoon. Stir most of the cookies
into the pudding. Pour the pudding in the flowerpot or bowl, and top with the
remaining cookies. Stick a flower and some gummy worms in the middle, and
--Your child pretends to be a hungry grasshopper looking for lunch (real or paper leaves
placed several yards away from your child).
--The object of the game is for your child to hop over to the leaves and “eat” lunch.
--In order to hop, your child has to complete one activity at a time. You decide the
activities, based on your child’s patience level. Suggestions: sing the ABC song; tell me
your favorite color; do a somersault; roll a number 6; etc.
**How Do Plants Eat?
--Fill a clear glass halfway with brightly colored water (from food coloring).
--Cut off about one inch from the bottom of a stalk of celery with leaves and show your
child the little holes, called veins. Explain that plants drink through the holes the same
way we drink through straws.
--Put the celery in the colored water, and check it in a few hours. Your child will
discover that the leaves have started to turn the same color as the water.
--Cut out several butterflies in different colors and sizes, provide craft materials, and
encourage your child to decorate the butterflies any way she wishes.
--When she’s done, attach string to each butterfly and hang from the ceiling to create her
own butterfly garden.
**Ants on a Log
--Here’s a nutritious snack kids enjoying making themselves. Spread peanut butter on a
stalk of celery, and add raisins on top to look like ants marching.
--Your child might enjoy making homemade peanut butter:
One bag of peanuts in the shell
Help your child shell the peanuts and remove the skin. Chop in a food processor
or blender. Add 1/4 teaspoon of peanut oil at a time, until desired consistency.
--Explain to your child that seeds need water and sunlight to grow.
--Ask him what he thinks would happen if a plant didn’t get any sun or water.
--Help your child plant any kind of seeds in two small pots. Place the first pot in a sunny
place, and have your child water it each day. Place the second plant in a shady place, and
don’t give it any water.
--Check the progress daily. After the first plant has sprouted, you might want to water
the second plant and place it in a sunny place so your child will see it grow too.
Suggested Books: How a Seed Grows (Helene J. Jordan)
The Tiny Seed; The Very Hungry Caterpillar; The Grouchy Ladybug;
The Very Lonely Firefly; The Very Quiet Cricket (Eric Carle)
Planting a Rainbow (Lois Ehlert)
How to Hide a Butterfly and Other Insects (Ruth Hellers)
Inch by Inch: The Garden Song (David Mallett)
--Ask your child to choose a shape that he would like to look for.
--Set a timer for 2 minutes, and have your child rush through your home to point out that
particular shape. You follow along and keep count for him.
--Make a chart of each shape you hunted for, to see which one had the most.
--Pick a shape that your child is familiar with, and serve only foods shaped that way. Try
to serve them on shaped plates, with shaped napkins.
--Use cookie cutters or a knife to carve fruits/veggies/sandwiches into the shapes you
--Show your child an assortment of flat objects (penny, key, button, etc) and help her
--Then put one item at a time in an envelope, and have her guess what is inside by feeling
the shape through the envelope.
--After she guesses, show her how to rub a crayon over the object until the shape appears.
Was she right??
**What Am I Drawing?
--Have your child sit next to you and try to guess what you’re drawing. First draw a
circle on the paper, and ask him if he can guess what it’s going to be (a dog). Add two
small triangles on top of the circle (ears), and then an oval shape (body). Continue, using
only shapes, until your child guesses or you finish the picture.
--Suggestions: train, snowman, cat, Christmas tree.
--Cut several different large shapes out of sturdy poster board.
--Have your child “paint” them with watered-down glue, and then cover them with
glittery salt made from this recipe:
½ Cup salt
Add several drops of food coloring to the salt, and stir well. Microwave on high
for two minutes. Stir well. Store in airtight container.
--Use colored glue to write the name of each shape on them.
--Hang them in a prominent place for your child to review.
--Cut out, or have your child cut out, several different shapes in a wide variety of colors
--Give her glue and paper, and tell her to use the shapes to make anything she wants.
--If she needs help getting started, show her how a square and triangle can make a house.
--Use several cutout shapes to play along with this song. You sing the first part, and your
child sings the second part. (Sung to the tune of “Mulberry Bush”)
“Oh do you know what shape this is?
What shape this is, what shape this is?
Oh do you know what shape this is
That I’m holding in my hand?
Oh yes, I know what shape that is.
What shape that is, what shape that is.
Oh yes I know what shape that is
It’s called a ______.”
--Make shape people with your child and give them silly names to help him remember.
--For instance, make “Trixie Triangle” using a large triangle for the body, a smaller
inverted triangle for the head, triangle arms and legs, etc.
--Make a batch of this play dough, and have your child make different shapes using
2 Cups flour
1 C salt
4 Tablespoons cream of tartar or alum (found in spice section)
2 Cups water
2 Tablespoons oil
In medium saucepan, combine water, salt, oil, and food coloring. Boil for 5
minutes. Remove from heat, and add the flour and cream of tartar. Mix well.
When cool, put on counter and knead until smooth. Store in airtight container.
--Divide a large piece of poster board or cardboard into 8 sections, and draw a shape in
each section (circle, square, oval, triangle, rectangle, star, diamond, and heart). Label
--Have your child toss a beanbag or rolled up sock onto the cardboard, and tell you which
shape he landed on.
Suggested Books: The Shape of Things (Dayle Ann Dodds)
Bow Wow: A Pop-Up Book of Shapes (Chuck Murphy)
Shapes, Shapes, Shapes (Tana Hoban)
Circle Dogs (Kevin Henkes)
Bear in a Square (Stella Blackstone)
--Talk to your child about what fog is, and why it’s hard to see through it. Explain that
fog is a cloud that comes close to the ground, therefore it blocks the sun and our view.
--Have your child draw a picture using a crayon on colored paper, and then have them
paint over the whole paper using watered-down paint. The paint will stick to everything
but the crayon, leaving a “foggy” effect. If your child wants the entire picture to be
hidden by fog, add a few drops of liquid dish soap to the paint.
--Make a crown (headband) by fitting a piece of paper around your child’s head and
stapling it closed. Write “Welcome Spring” on it.
--Provide markers, glue, and paper/silk/real flowers for your child to decorate with.
--This is a good activity for a rainy day. Select a small, clear container for catching the
rain, and mark the inches on the outside of the container with permanent marker.
--Ask your child to select a spot to put it where she can see it from inside.
--Have the whole family guess how many inches of rain the container will have by
dinnertime. Your child could make a chart of everyone’s guesses.
--Check it at dinnertime; if you wish, bring the water in to give to the houseplants.
--If your child is afraid during a thunderstorm, this is a good activity to do to take his
mind off of it: stomp around and make your own thunderstorm!
--Wind: Turn a ceiling fan on high.
--Thunder: Give everybody pots/pans or other items to clank together.
--Lightning: Use a flashlight intermittently.
**Paper Bag Kites
--Use a large, lightweight lunch bag. Ask your child to decorate it with markers and
tissue paper (don’t forget the streamers at the closed end!)
--Punch a hole near each of the four corners of the opened end of the bag, and use paper
ring reinforcements on each hole so they don’t rip. Cut 2 pieces of string, about 3 feet
long. Tie one of the ends of the first piece to a top hole, and the other end to the other top
hole to form a loop. Do the same for the bottom. Cut another piece of string and tie it
through the two loops to make a long handle.
--Have your child hold on to the handle and run—air will fill the bag and help it to “fly”.
--Help your child make a weather chart for the week; list the 7 days down the left side of
a page, and draw pictures for sunny/cloudy/windy/rainy/foggy/snowy across the top.
--Each day, have your child check the boxes for the weather that day, and discuss the
activities that you can do for that type of weather, what you wear, etc.
**Bird’s Nest Snacks
--Take a walk and look for signs of spring. Look in trees for bird’s nests, and explain that
baby birds are born in the spring. When you get home, make this snack:
1 can of refrigerated biscuits
1 cup coconut, dyed green (a tiny drop of food coloring)
Small bag of jellybeans in assorted colors
Help your child hollow out the inside of each biscuit, so it has a nest shape.
Bake as directed. When cool, have your child spread peanut butter on the inside
of each biscuit. Top with a little coconut, and some “eggs”.
--Sung to the tune of “London Bridges”
“Leaves are growing on the tree, on the tree, on the tree
Leaves are growing on the tree; it is springtime.”
See the birdies build their nest…
All the grass is turning green…
Watch the flowers start to grow…
--Select several small objects, such as a penny, feather, spoon, cotton ball, etc.
--Talk to your child about wind, and explain that sometimes the wind is a gentle breeze,
and other times it’s very forceful.
--Help her figure out ways to make wind (blowing, waving a book, turning on a fan, etc.)
--Have her guess if the wind can move each of the objects that you selected; she can be
the wind first, by blowing to see if that works. Then try the fan, for a more forceful wind.
--Help her make a chart called, “CAN THE WIND MOVE IT?” and fill in the yes or no
answers for each object. She can pick other objects for the experiment.
--Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.
--Make caterpillars out of egg cartons, using paint, pipe cleaners, etc.
--Make a fruit salad, using the fruits mentioned in the book.
--Pretend to crawl like a caterpillar and fly like a butterfly.
Suggested Books: Spring (Maria Rius)
Flora’s Surprise (Debi Gliori)
What Can You Do in the Wind? (Anna Grossnickle Hines)
When the Wind Bears Go Dancing (Phoebe Stone)
Flower Garden (Eve Bunting)
Hide and Seek Fog (Alvin R. Tresselt)
Amy Loves the Wind (Julia Hoban)
**Picnic on a Stick
--Help your child prepare the following foods to take on a picnic:
Meat & Cheese Sticks
--Cut up small cubes of your favorite meats/cheeses and put them on a
--Same as above, except add marshmallows between the pieces of fruit.
--Roll large pretzel rods in peanut butter, and then chocolate chips. Store
them in plastic wrap until it’s time to eat them.
--Set up a tent, either inside or outside. (If you don’t have one, use blankets, clothesline,
--Plan a camp-out with your child: ask her if she wants to invite anyone, what games she
would like to play, what snacks she would like to have, etc.
**Slip & Slide
--Lay large sheets of plastic (garbage bags work well) on a grassy area that is clear of
rocks and sharp objects.
--Drizzle a little dishwashing liquid on the plastic, and squirt it with a hose or sprinkler.
--The kids can get a running start and slide across the plastic sheets.
**Tennis Ball Painting
--This could be one of the messiest activities that you will ever do with your child!
--Make sure everyone is in old clothes, and there’s nothing nearby that could get ruined.
--Pick an open space outside, and spread a big sheet of paper in the middle of it.
--Provide several shallow containers with different colors of tempera paint in each (mix
in a lot of liquid soap to make clean-up easier). Place a tennis ball in each container.
--Have your child pick up one ball at a time, and bounce it across the sheet to make an
abstract, colorful picture.
--If necessary, hose down the area that you were working on.
--Talk about shadows with your child, and then do this easy experiment.
--Place a small object with a distinct shape, such as a triangular block or magnet letters,
on top of a dark-colored piece of construction paper. Set it outside in direct sunlight for
several hours. When the color has faded from the paper, lift the object to see its
--Poke a hold in the side of a small paper cup, about one inch from the bottom.
--Insert a straw halfway into the cup.
--Pour dishwashing liquid into the cup until the straw is covered. Add some water, and a
drop of food coloring, and have your child blow gently into the straw. The bubbles will
fizz over the rim of the cup and float through the air.
--This activity is for older kids who will be able to blow through a straw, rather than suck
in (although it won’t hurt them if they swallow it).
**Ice Cream Sandwiches
--These can be made ahead with your child, and pulled out for a quick snack.
Graham Crackers (any flavor—chocolate works well)
Ice Cream (slightly softened)
Place about ½ cup ice cream on a graham cracker; cover with another graham cracker and
wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze for at least 3 hours. These last for a couple of
--This song can be used for several types of weather, and is sung to the tune of “BINGO”.
“There was a time when we got hot and sunny was the day-oh
SUNNY, SUNNY, SUNNY, and sunny was the day-oh”
--Substitutions: We got wet, and rainy was the day-oh
We got cold, and snowy was the day-oh
We couldn’t see, and foggy was the day-oh
--Set up an obstacle course outside so your kids can burn off some energy.
--Use whatever you have handy: mini trampoline, balls, hula hoop, bikes, etc.
--Vary the activities; make sure they do some running, throwing, crawling, skipping, etc.
**Paint the House
--Give your child a big bucket of water (add soap if desired) and ask her to paint the
house for you. When she finished that, ask her to do the sidewalk, picnic table, etc.
--Add different sized brushes and sponges for a change of pace.
Suggested Books: Summersaults (Douglas Florian)
It’s The Bear (Jez Alborough)
Counting to Tar Beach (Faith Ringgold)
Froggy Learns to Swim (Jonathan London)
Lottie’s New Beach Towel (Petra Mathers)
**Brown Bag Turkeys
--Use either a lunch bag or grocery bag, depending on how big you want the turkey to be.
--Help your child stuff the bag with newspaper/plastic grocery bags, about halfway full.
--Twist and tie the bag around the middle with yarn.
--Cut strips from the top edges of the bag down to the yarn. Paint each strip to be the
--Make the face on the fronts of the bags, using whatever materials you desire.
--Teach your child this short poem: “The turkey is a funny bird; his head goes
wobble/wobble; and all he says is just one word: gobble/gobble/gobble.”
--Help your child mix the following recipe:
4 Cups flour
1 Cup salt
1 Cup hot water
Stir the salt and hot water together for about one minute, and then add the flour.
Knead for 10 minutes, until non-sticky and elastic. (Add flour/water as needed).
Store in plastic wrap or zipper bag for a few hours, to let the salt dissolve.
--When the dough is ready, show your child how to roll it into balls. Use a straw to poke
holes through each bead. Flatten some of the balls, or roll them out to be oval-shaped, for
some variety. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 2-4 hours at 100 degrees.
--Paint the beads and add yarn to make beautiful Native American necklaces!
**5 Little Turkeys
--This is a nice finger play to teach your child to show off to visiting relatives
“5 little turkeys by the barn door, 1 waddled off and then there were 4
4 little turkeys under the tree, 1 waddled off and there were 3
3 little turkeys with nothing to do, 1 waddled off and then there were 2
2 little turkeys in the noonday sun, 1 waddled off and then there was 1
1 little turkey better run away, soon it will be Thanksgiving Day!”
--You can cut out the 5 turkey shapes, number them, and put magnet tape on the back for
your child to play along on the refrigerator or magnet board.
--Make a paint pad by setting folded paper towels in a shallow container and saturating
them with a little bit of paint.
--Show your child how to put a corncob on the towel and roll it to get it covered with
paint, and then roll it on paper to make fun designs.
--Cut one corncob in half for your child to use for stamp painting.
**Paper Bag Vest
--Make a vest by cutting holes for a head and 2 arms, and fringe along the bottom.
--Help your child decorate it with paint and feathers.
**Shake & Make Butter
--Your child can make this all by himself for the Thanksgiving meal.
--Pour one pint (2 cups) of cold, heavy cream in an airtight plastic container. Add a
pinch of salt to taste.
--Have your child shake it repeatedly until the cream solidifies. Pour off the small
amount of excess liquid and enjoy!
--This is a version of “musical chairs”, meant to burn off a lot of energy!
--Make turkey tracks on the floor by putting masking tape shaped like a “Y” with an extra
line extending through the middle of the “v” on top.
--Turn on some music, and have your child “strut” around the room. When the music
stops, he has to quickly get to a turkey track and wait for the music to start again.
**Teepee Guessing Game
--Cut teepee shapes out of several different colors of paper.
--Cut out an Indian and a Pilgrim small enough to fit under the teepees.
--Hide both under separate teepees, and teach your child to ask this phrase when guessing
where they are:
“Pilgrim, or Indian
Who will I see?
Hiding behind the______ teepee”
--After she has found both, hide them again, or let her hide them and you guess.
--Set several Thanksgiving-related natural items on a tray or in a large shallow container
for your child to investigate. Provide magnifying glasses, tweezers, plastic knives, etc.
--Suggestions: an ear of corn/popcorn, raw/cooked potatoes and cranberries, bark, grass,
sticks, stones, and gourds.
--Talk about the characteristics of each item, and discuss how they relate to Native
Americans from long ago.
**Make a Teepee
--Your children will play in this for hours, which means more free time for you
--Help them paint an old sheet/brown grocery bags laid flat/poster board with lively
colors and symbols for bears, fire, corn, rivers, etc.
--Use 3 poles of any kind to make the triangular shape, and tie them together at the top.
--Drape the material over the poles (you might have to tuck, tape, or tie in places).
--Be sure to cut out a flap for a door, so your little Indians can play inside!
Suggested Books: I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie (Alison Jackson)
1, 2, 3 Thanksgiving! (W. Nikola-Lisa)
One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims (B. G. Hennessy)
Thanksgiving is For Giving Thanks (Margaret Sutherland)
Clifford’s First Thanksgiving (Norman Bridwell)
Thanksgiving Day (Gail Gibbons)
**Paint with Vehicles
--Place a small amount of different colors of paint on paper plates.
--Place one toy vehicle on each plate (anything with wheels that will leave a print).
--Your child can “drive” the vehicles on the paint, and then on a piece of paper.
--When he’s done, let him wash the cars in a bucket of soapy water.
**Cardboard Box Vehicle
--Get a large box (from a TV, refrigerator, packing store, etc.) and ask your child what
kind of vehicle she would like to make.
--Cut out doors/windows/etc. and eliminate any sharp edges.
--Help her to add accessories, such as a steering wheel, stick shift, seats, horn, oars, etc.
--When she tires of it, change it into a different vehicle.
--Set up a small travel agency, complete with telephone, paper/markers, paper tickets,
play money, suitcases, sunglasses, etc. Hang up posters, maps, and brochures of travel
--Pretend that you’re going on a trip with your child.
--As you play, help her to name as many different ways of traveling as possible.
--Have your child glue one tongue depressor onto another, to make airplane shapes.
--Provide paint, buttons, craft scraps, glitter, etc. for him to decorate the airplanes.
--Attach a piece of yarn or fish line and hang them from the ceiling.
--Cut out, or have your child cut out, a wide variety of shapes in different colors.
--Provide glue and a big piece of paper, and ask her to make a train using the shapes.
--Read the story “The Little Engine That Could” by Watty Piper, and talk about things
that your child can do.
--This is a fun snack that also happens to be nutritious!
One apple, peeled and cut in half
One pretzel stick
Peanut butter or cream cheese
One slice of cheese
Place the pretzel stick in the middle of the apple. Put a small amount of peanut
butter/cream cheese towards the top of the pretzel. Stick a triangle-shaped piece
of cheese onto the pretzel for the sail, and enjoy!
--Set up two rows of chairs, with an aisle down the middle, and a larger chair up front.
--Put a container up front for the money, and something round for a steering wheel.
--Provide play money/tickets/driver’s hat to the kids, and take a bus trip with your kids!
--Sing “Wheels on the Bus” as you pretend to be driving.
--This activity should keep your little ones happy on a warm sunny day.
--Provide a bucket of soapy water and some sponges, and have them wash their bikes.
--This would also be a good time to wash other toys as well.
--This game can be played indoors or out, depending on how elaborate you want to get.
--Help your child set-up several ramps of varying heights by using pieces of cardboard,
an ironing board, blocks, etc.
--Guess which ramps will be the fastest/slowest, and why.
**Traffic Light Song
--Teach your child this song when discussing street safety.
(Sung to the tune of “Where is Thumbkin?”)
“Where’s my red light? Where’s my red light?
Here I am. Here I am.
Tell me what you say, sir. Tell me what you say, sir.
I say STOP. I say STOP”
--Continue with yellow and green lights.
Suggested Books: Freight Train (Donald Crews)
Going Places (Todd Parr)
I Spy Little Wheels (Jean Marzollo)
Bear on a Bike (Stella Blackstone)
Little Orange Submarine (or any by Ken Wilson-Max)
Let’s Look at Things That Go (Nicola Tuxworth)
**Valentine’s Day Crown
--Cut 4 slits through a paper plate as if you’re cutting a pie into 8 pieces, but leave about
a one-inch border on the edges.
--Help your child bend the 8 triangles formed by the slits upwards, to make the crown
--She can paint the plate red or pink, and then glue little hearts to each triangle.
**Pretend Post Office
--Set up a post office with your child so he can pretend to send out his Valentine’s Day
--Provide plenty of paper, envelopes, crayons/markers, stamps, boxes, etc.
--Paint or cover a large box to make a mailbox, and cut a slit in the front and back for
easy mail removal.
**Marble Paint Valentines
--Cut out a large heart shape, and put it in a shallow box.
--Have your child dip marbles in red, pink, or purple paint, and put them on the heart in
--Show him how to tilt the box to help the marbles roll along the paper to paint the heart.
--Hide hearts for your child to find unexpectedly, such as under her pillow, on her car
seat, near her toothbrush, in her shoe, and by her favorite toy.
--Put messages on them for her to feel special, such as “I’ll always have a hug for you” or
“Thanks for making me smile”.
--Cut several hearts in different colors and sizes.
--Ask your child to try to make animals using the hearts.
--Suggestions: caterpillars, mouse, butterfly.
--Cut a large heart out of paper, and ask your child to color it.
--When he’s done, help him cut it into 6 or 8 puzzle pieces, to make his very own
**Heart Hop Game
--Put several large paper hearts on the ground in a line.
--Have your child roll a die, and hop that number of hearts.
--When he gets to the finish line, do the same thing, only backwards!
--Your child can help make these tasty tarts for Valentine’s Day:
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons sugar
Mix the flour, salt, margarine, and water into dough. Form one-inch balls, roll in sugar,
and make thumbprints in each. Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes, until browned. When
cool, spoon the strawberry jam into the thumbprints, and enjoy!
**Five Cheerful Valentines Poem
--Make five hearts (pink, purple, yellow, red, and blue), so your child can act it out as she
recites it. If you have a toy mailbox, she can put them in that.
“Five cheerful valentines, from the 10-cent store
I sent a pink one to ____, now I have 4
Four cheerful valentines, pretty ones to see
I sent a purple one to ____, now I have 3
Three cheerful valentines, yellow, red, and blue,
I sent a yellow one to ____, now I have 2
Two cheerful valentines, my story’s almost done
I sent a red one to ____, now I have 1
One cheerful valentine, a beautiful blue one
I sent it to ____, and now I have none!”
--Cut out several hearts in different sizes and colors, and ask your child to decorate them
with crayons/markers, glue, glitter, etc.
--Attach strings to each heart, and tie each string onto a hanger. Hang the hanger in a
Suggested Books: Love Bugs (David A. Carter)
Valentine’s Day at the Zoo (Nadine Bernard Westcott)
Emily’s Valentine Party (Claire Masurel)
Hugs and Hearts (Toni Trent Parker)
Who Wants a Valentine (Linda Lowery)
One Zillion Valentines (Frank Modell)
--Use a clean plastic bottle with a tight-fitting lid (16 oz. soda bottles work well).
--Fill it almost to the top with a water/vegetable oil mixture (2:1 ratio).
--Add drops of blue food coloring to tint, and small fishes/whales/turtles, etc.
--Screw the tops on tightly, and shake the ocean bottle to watch the fish swim!
--Use a wooden dowel, ruler, or other long thin object as the “pole” and tie a 12-inch
piece of string or yarn to one end. Attach a magnet (not small enough to be swallowed)
to the other end of the string.
--Cut out different-colored fish shapes (about 3-4”), put a metal paper clip on each one,
and lay them on a blue blanket or piece of paper (the ocean).
--Your child can “fish” for them by trying to bring the magnet and paper clip together.
--This activity is a fun way for your child to learn colors; you can write letters, names,
vocabulary words, or numbers to practice those skills too.
**Sink or Float?
--Use a small shallow container, or an outdoor pool, or the bathtub for this activity.
--Tell your child you’re going to do an experiment to see what things can float on top of
the water, and which ones sink to the bottom. Help her gather several small items to test.
--Ask her to guess what each item will do, and then have her drop it in the water. You
can chart the results, if you like.
--Please be sure to supervise carefully around the water!
--Cut a fish shape out of a paper grocery bag, and staple around the sides. Help your
child stuff the fish with newspaper, packing peanuts, or whatever you have on hand, and
then staple the rest of it closed.
--Your child can decorate the fish with paint, markers, glue/glitter, etc.
--Have your child spread blue-tinted cream cheese on ½ an English muffin.
--Add goldfish crackers and/or gummy sea creatures, and enjoy!
**Spray Bottle Painting
--This is definitely an outside activity--put old clothes (or a swimsuit) on your child!
--Fill several spray bottles with water, food coloring, and a few drops of dish liquid.
--Set up large sheets of paper, or items that you don’t mind getting wet and colored, and
watch your child get busy!
--Here’s a good recipe for making your own bubbles:
2 Cups warm water
1 Cup liquid dish soap
¼ Cup glycerin (ask at the pharmacy)
1 Teaspoon sugar
Mix all 4 ingredients together. Store in a plastic container with a tight lid.
--Find items from around your home to use to blow bubbles.
--Suggestions: plastic rings from 6-packs; funnels; straws; plastic lids with center cut
**5 Little Fishes
--This is a fun action song to teach your child. It’s a spin-off of the “5 Little Monkeys
Teasing Mr. Alligator” song:
“5 little fishes, swimming in the sea
Teasing Mr. Shark, “You can’t catch me!”
Along comes Mr. Shark, quiet as can be,
And he snapped one fish right out of the sea!”
--Continue on until there are no fish left. You could make fish puppets on craft sticks for
your child to play along, although the hand motions are just as fun!
--On a blue piece of paper, help your child create an underwater sea scene.
--Glue sand to the bottom of the ocean, and add sea animals, sunken treasure, and
seaweed, made out of a variety of materials (foil, yarn, paper, etc.).
--When she’s done with the picture, cover it with a piece of plastic wrap to create an
underwater effect. (Blue colored plastic wrap looks the best!)
--Visit the fish department of your local pet store to look at all the different kinds of fish.
--Point out some fish facts: they use fins to swim, gills to breathe, etc.
--Teach your child a “fishy” rendition of “The Hokey Pokey”: put your left gill in; put
your right fin in; etc.
Suggested Books: Out of the Ocean (Debra Frasier)
Water, Water (Eloise Greenfield)
Hello Ocean (Pam Munoz Ryan)
Captain Bob Sets Sail (Roni Schotter)
Water Dance (Thomas Locker)
Bubbles, Bubbles (Kathi A. Appelt)
**Snow Ball Pick-Up
--Put several cotton balls in a shallow container, and give your child a pair of tongs. Ask
her to pick the “snow balls” up with the tongs, and transfer them to another container,
then start all over again.
--Discuss the animals that we see in the winter (birds, squirrels, deer) and talk about why
it is difficult for them to find food if the ground is frozen and covered with snow.
--Help your child make animal feeders by spreading peanut butter/honey on
bread/buns/corncobs and rolling them in crumbs or birdseed.
--Go for a winter walk to look for animals, nests, and animal tracks in the snow. Leave
the feeder where your child will be able to observe it from indoors.
--Give your child a piece of paper, and have him draw a winter scene (or glue on cotton
balls for clouds, cutout circles for snowmen, etc.)
--Mix two tablespoons of water and one tablespoon of glue, and have your child paint the
mixture onto the entire sheet of paper.
--Give your child soap flakes or instant potato flakes to spoon over the wet picture to
create a snow scene.
--Make several different colored ice cubes by using a small drop of food color.
--Discuss the fact that water turns to snow or ice went it gets real cold.
--Put tape on a flat cookie sheet to divide it into 2 or more sections (depending on how
many are playing) and designate different colors for each area with a label.
--Each person gets their own color, and sets their ice cube in their designated area.
--See which color melts first. While you’re waiting, sing “Frosty the Snowman” and
discuss why Frosty melted.
--Fill a large plastic storage box with snow, or white packing peanuts, and set it on a
tablecloth on the floor. Provide measuring cups, various sizes of spoons, tongs, small
toys to hide, etc.
--If using real snow, have mittens and towels available too.
--Help the children to measure/estimate/guess what happens to the snow/etc.
**Shaving Cream Fun
--Cover your child’s clothes with a smock/old shirt, and squirt some white shaving cream
on a table. Tell her it’s a big snowstorm, and watch her get busy!! Add toy
cars/spoons/cups/glitter/etc. as needed. (Remind her not to touch her face).
--Discuss some penguin facts: they live in Antarctica, where it is very cold (so do seals);
they have thick feathers and blubber to keep them dry and warm; they are excellent
swimmers; the dad is in charge of taking care of the egg before it hatches—he carries it
around on his feet.
--Have a penguin race by balancing a beanbag/rolled sock on your child’s feet and have
him shuffle across the room—if the “egg” falls off, he has to start over.
**Weather Wear Game
--Pack a suitcase, box, or bag with clothes for every type of season (swimsuit, raincoat,
sunglasses, snow boots, mittens, shorts, hat, etc.)
--Have your child select one item at a time, and ask her when she should wear it.
--This would also be a good time to practice getting dressed.
--Make these cookies ahead of time (the kids can help), and after they’ve cooled, decorate
them to look like snowmen.
Preheat oven to 375. Mix and set aside: 2¾ Cup flour
1teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
In large bowl, blend: 1Cup butter, softened
1½ Cups sugar
Beat in: 1 egg
1teaspoon vanilla extract
Blend in the dry ingredients, refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.
Roll into 3 sizes of balls, flatten and pinch together to make a snowman.
Bake on un-greased cookie sheets, 8-10 minutes.
Decorate with chocolate chips, raisins, pretzel sticks, licorice, small candies, etc.
**Chubby Little Snowman
--Act out this finger play as you recite it with your child.
“The chubby little snowman, had a carrot nose
Along came a bunny, and what do you suppose?
That hungry little bunny, was looking for his lunch
He ate that snowman’s carrot nose,
Nibble, nibble crunch!”
Suggested Books: Snowballs (Lois Ehlert)
Footprints in the Snow (Cynthia Benjamin)
Snowy Day (Ezra Jack Keats)
All You Need for a Snowman (Alice Schertle)
Busy Penguins (John Schindel)
Froggy Gets Dressed (Jonathan London)
Bunny’s First Snowflake (Monica Wellington)
The Mitten (Jan Brett)