Friday, February 10, 2012

5 on Friday: Paint

Of course you can use brushes to paint but beyond them there are a lot of other fun and different ways to make a neat painting. These are all cheap ideas you can dispose of afterward. Makes clean up a lot easier.

1. Q-tips.
Put one in each color to prevent too much mixing and brown paint. It really bugs my 4 year old when my 2 year old dips his red-covered paint brush into the yellow paint, then the blue, the green, the purple, the orange, making 6 different cups of brown, brown, brown.

2. Sponges
Cut them into different shapes and use them as stamps in paint.

3. Cotton Balls
Dip into different colors and press onto paper to make dots.

4. Toilet paper rolls
Either dip the ends in paint and stamp to make circles or dip the sides in and roll it onto paper to make blocks.

5. Potatoes
We used to cut potatoes in half and then an adult would cut a star shape out of the cut face so it was like a stamp. Then we'd stamp stars allover brown paper to make our own wrapping paper.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Games: Crazy Shapes

While Spiff and I were playing Crazy Eights the other night it occurred to me that it would be great to play it with shapes and colors as a fun way to commit those shapes to memory (and colors for Squidgee). I can't let an idea like that go, so of course I got to work. I made this printable deck of cards which he colored and we've already played about a dozen times. Most times I've lost, but who's counting? Oh yeah, Spiff.

The Printables:

Here's how you play. Pretty much it's Crazy Eights, but here's the longer version:

The Set-Up:
  • Shuffle the cards.
  • Deal out 5 cards to each player, face down.
  • Place the remainder of the cards face down in a pile between the players. This will be the Draw pile.
  • Flip one card over from the Draw pile and set it up face up next to the pile. This will be the Discard pile.

The Play:
  • Youngest player goes first, and play continues to each player clock-wise.
  • On each turn the player plays a card from his hand on top of the Discard pile that matches the top card in either Shape or Color.
  • If a player doesn't have a matching card, then the player draws from the Draw pile without playing a card and play continues to the next person.
  • If a player has a Wild Card, he can play it any turn regardless of what's on top of the Discard pile. He gets to choose which color- Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue or Purple (yeah, I know, I left out Indigo, I wonder when Spiff will notice.)- is to be played by the next player.

The Winner:
  • Whoever plays all of the cards in their hand first is the winner. Hooray!
Did I miss anything? Let me know. It's apt to happen!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Valentines: Bugs!

Here are some buggy valentines to give to your love bugs. Just print these up on some paper or card stock, color and cut. These fit in standard invitation envelopes. Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Q-Tip Dino

Often I come across a craft that is so cute and easy and clever I just have to go home and do it with the kids even if it means buying white q-tips for a whole dollar at the store (pardon us, our q-tips had pink sticks.). We went to our local children's museum one day and all around the art room these guys were hanging:

Of course, having a couple dino-kids as I do, I was so excited to go home and try it. And then we did it again, and again. I think Spiff made about a dozen of these in one week alone. By the end of that week, I had moved onto Euplocephalus fossils just to do something different. Just cut out a dinosaur skull from white paper and make the appropriate black holes for eyes and nose. On a another piece of paper draw some lines for guides then go to town with glue and q-tips. Bend some for the feet, cut 3 into halves for ribs. Easy peasy and pretty darn cute. If we're calling dinosaur bones cute.

Friday, February 3, 2012

5 on Friday: Paper and Pencil Games

Here are a few great games to play out and about at a restaurant or in a waiting room. All you need is a pen and some paper. When I was a kid this was all my mother ever had in her purse (and if you were lucky, some Certs.) and usually the paper was a receipt or an old bill envelope (we got really excited if there wasn't a window in it. The little things!). Needless to say, we knew a lot of games you didn't need anything at all for, but that's a post for another day.

1. Tic-Tac-Toe:

I think it's safe bet everybody knows this game for two players, but it's a good oldie which is why everybody knows it.

What You Do:

You make a grid of 9 squares by drawing two lines across and two lines down. One player is X, the other is O. Take turns filling in one square at a time. The winner is the first to get three in a straight line, across, up-and-down or diagonally.

tip: When I had a hard time getting Spiff to practice his letters I used this game a lot, letting him choose whatever letter from the alphabet he wanted. He got a fun game and I got to feel like he was learning his letters. ;-) (Which he was!)

2. Hangman

This is one we used to play a lot in elementary school. It's a great way to practice spelling and any amount of people can play. We're not quite here yet in our house, but maybe you are!

What You Do:

Whoever is "It" picks a word or a phrase and draws a blank line for every letter. Like this: _ _ _ _
Then they draw a hangman's post (I feel morbid just saying that, but, hey, that's the game!). Looks sort of like a 1. The other player trying guessing which letters are in the word. A. No. Draw a head on your post. B. Yes. Fill in all the b's. (B_ _ _). So forth and so on until the players guess the word/phrase or you have a dead man on a stick. You can make the body as detailed or not as you want, just agree to it first. Whenever I played with little kids, I might add five fingers on each hand and five toes on each foot just to give them a good chance, but usually it was a head, a body, two legs, two feet, two arms, two hands and a hat. I don't know why he had a hat. That's just how I was taught. ;-)

3. Squares (aka, Boxes, Dots and Boxes.)

This is one I've been playing a lot with my 4 year old Spiff. He really likes it. He's not very good at it yet, but he loves it, and it gives him good practice making some squares and helps him logic how to keep me from getting some. ;-)

What You Do:

Draw a grid of 16 dots, making it 4x4 dots. Two players take turns drawing lines up and down or across from one dot to a neighboring dot, trying to make squares. No diagonal lines, of course, then you don't have any squares but some rhombuses and triangles. When a player closes off a square by making the forth side they get to stick their initial in it. When all 9 squares have been made, count up each players squares. The player with the most wins.

Of course you can make even bigger grids if you want.

4. Heads and Bodies

This is another good game for little kids, and big ones too. And there's no winner or loser, just a fun collaborative art that will make you giggle.

What You Do:

Two or three (or maybe even four) players take turns drawing various body parts to make a whole person. Or animal. Or monster. We've come up with a few that really make us laugh, complete with floral bonnets and whoopie cushion shoes.

An alternative to this is to fold a piece of paper into thirds so it's three rectangles stacked on top of each other. One person gets to draw the head in the top rectangle. Another person the torso and arms. A third person the legs and feet. To really make it goofy, the players can hide their parts by folding them behind before giving it to the next artist.

5. Word Scramble

This is another we did a lot of in elementary school. It's really good for spelling and reading.

What You Do:

Pick a nice long word. Like, I don't know, pteranodon. Now all players try to list all the words (No places or names) they can find in that one word without using a letter more than once. You can put them in any order but the letters had all better be in the original word. Any word with three or more letters counts. So:



You get the idea. The person with the most words wins.

Of all of these, the three very preschool friendly games are: Tic, Tac, Toe, Heads and Bodies, and Squares (or Dots or whatever you want to call it.). I am thrilled that we have finally reached a stage when we don't need to cart toys everywhere and can wait for our dinners with just the back of a placemat and the crayons provided.