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Family Fun

Here is a project that I adapted from the book Kids Create! By Laurie Carlson. Your village can make a great centerpiece for your Thanksgiving meal. Doing the whole project at once may be too long. Instead, break it up into four or five different projects, which you will eventually put together. The whole activity is a bit more involved than the ones I normally recommend. I feel, however, that the final product is so much fun and so educational that this one is worth the extra effort. If you don't have time to do all the sections, just try activities #1 and #2 and then talk about the differences between them.
Here's a great idea arts and crafts idea that we received from Wendy Jackson, one of our readers. I always save puzzle pieces that no longer made up a whole puzzle and I was glad to get a great idea on how to use them. I tried this idea with my kids and it was a big hit.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED: An empty plastic bottle from purchased mineral water (or any other empty, plastic see-through container with a secure cover.) You can decide if you want a small or a large one. The activity will work with both. Glitter, Tinsel, A few marbles or beads that you don't need, Blue Food Coloring.

Optional: Colored plastic sheet or cellophane that can be cut into shapes (can be purchased in a craft store)

I hate store bought play-dough. It's expensive and rarely lasts for more than a few play sittings. Here's a great recipe for play-dough passed down to me by Katie Browning, the first pre-school teacher I had the privilege of working with.
Here's a simple and fun activity to help develop your child's language skills! Appropriate for ages: 4 to 5 Time needed: 15 minutes WHAT YOU'LL NEED: * Family photos or old catalogues or magazines * Scissors * Glue * Magic Marker * Construction Paper * Tape or Stapler WHAT TO DO: 1. Go through your family photographs or through old catalogues or magazine and try to find three photos that have something in common. Children love stories that talk about themselves and their lives so this is a great way to use family photos that didn't come out perfectly and are not worth putting into an album.
Published in Early Childhood Fun

I suggest making two of these at a time so that you can compare the two sounds. You can of course, start with only one and then add others later on. Appropriate for ages: Two and Up Time needed: 15 minutes WHAT YOU'LL NEED: * Paper towel or toilet paper roll insert. * Masking tape * Plain piece of paper * Scissors (child scissors if you want your child to cut) * Colored construction paper * Aluminum foil * A small amount of rice and beans. Don't mix the two - you only need one of these if you are making one maraca.

Published in Early Childhood Fun
Appropriate for ages: Three and Up Time needed: 10 minutes for stringing Ten minutes for painting WHAT YOU'LL NEED: * Round pasta with a large hole in the middle (such as Tortellini) * Yarn * Paint * Paint Brushes * Newspaper (or any paper that will protect the painting surface) * Scotch Tape WHAT TO DO: 1. The adult should take a long piece of yarn (long enough for a necklace), string it through a piece of pasta and tie the piece of pasta to the yarn. Make sure the knot is tight and that it is tied so that other pasta pieces will not be able to pass the one you tie.
Published in Early Childhood Fun
Taken from the book Preschool Art, by Mary Ann Kohl What you'll need: * Dried corncobs without kernels (After eating the corn, leave the corncobs outside for a few hours in the sun or let them dry on your counter overnight.) * Tempura paint * Large plastic or paper plates (One for each color you want to use.) * Corn holders or nails * Paper * Newspaper or other paper to cover your work area What to do: 1. Cover your work area with newspaper and put out a large piece of paper for the project. (Thick paper will hold up better.) 2. Put the corn holders on the dried corncobs. If you don't have corn holders, then you can use long nails.
Published in Early Childhood Fun
Here's a simple and fun activity to help develop your child's language skills! Appropriate ages: 3 to 5 Time needed: 15 minutes WHAT YOU'LL NEED: * Old catalogues or magazines * Scissors * Glue * Magic Marker * Construction Paper WHAT TO DO: 1. Go through old catalogues and magazines and let your child cut out pictures that interest her. You can do this activity with all different types of magazines or catalogues. I find that children's toy catalogues are particularly great. 2. Keep the pictures in a bag or container and ask your child to pick their favorite picture.
Published in Early Childhood Fun
Here is a very simple activity that I have seen packaged commercially for about 5 times the cost of doing it with materials you already have at home. Appropriate for ages: Two and Up Time needed: 15 minutes WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 1. Sponges 2. Different color paints 3. Paper (or regular) plates to hold the paint 4. Construction paper (or a thicker paper) WHAT TO DO: 1. Cut the sponges into different shapes. Start with basic shapes such as circle, square and triangle. If these are too simple, you can choose higher level shapes -- oval, rectangle, octagon etc.
Published in Early Childhood Fun
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