ABC Puzzle

I once heard if you do activities with your children that you love, your children will have a joyful memory of the activity as an adult. I’m not sure why I love these ABC wooden puzzles but we can play with them everyday.


Melissa and Doug Toy Review


Melissa & Doug Self-Correcting Letter Puzzles is a wonderful toy to start to learn about letter sounds. We start by mixing up the tiles then I grab a letter and ask my toddler to find the matching picture. For example, Butterfly goes with B and so on and so forth.

Only matching letter and picture puzzle pieces fit together. Letter pieces feature both capital and lowercase while picture pieces labeled each image with the word below it.

My toddler was so proud when she found matches. Well, I was proud of her too.

Bead Heart

This week at my MOPS (mother’s of preschoolers) meeting, the kiddos made little heart ornaments from beads and pipe cleaners.


MOPS Activity for Kids


Twice a month, my MOPS group meets to discuss current topics and upcoming challenges of being a mother. I have learned so much from the guest speakers. Thus I’m a huge fan of MOPS.

When I had a toddler and going through a rough time trying to conceive my second, the other moms in the group were there to hold my hand and listen to my pain. I am so thankful to be apart of this group of women. I pray that every mom has something like this in their life and if they don’t I’d be happy to introduce you to MOPS in your area.

Anyways, while us mommies are learning about some new mommy skills, our kiddos are learning about Jesus and his love in the church’s childcare.

This is a great craft for preschoolers. During the MOPS meeting, the kids made this bead heart to symbolize Jesus’s love for them. The instructors began the meeting by reading a short story about ‘Children of Jesus’ from My Favorite Bible.

Similar to the snowflake ornament from last week, you can make this more challenging by having them follow a sequence to practice their coding skills. When they are done, the kids will have a cute heart to share with friends. Happy Hearts Day!

Supplies:

  • Pipe cleaners
  • Beads

Bead Snowflake Ornament

While on vacation, my family took advantage of their winter activities which included this cute snowflake ornament made of pipe cleaners and beads.


Snowflake for Kids


To start this easy craft, take 3 pipe cleaners and twist them together in the middle then separate the end out to look like a 6 point snowflake. I had to twist it together for the kids before they added the beads to each end. This is a great eye hand coordination activity for the kiddos. My toddler was very focused on adding the beads.

When you get close to the end, you will want to hot glue or super glue the last bead on the end so the beads don’t fall off. On one end, tie a ribbon so you can hang it on the tree.

Viola the snowflake is completed. It is an easy and fun activity for all ages. For a complete diy video, check out Crouton Crafts’s YouTube channel here.

For older kids, I recommend making it more challenging by following a pattern to transform this activity into a coding exercise.

Compli-Mat Activity

If you are looking for a fun and bonding experience with your family for Valentine’s Day, I recommend trying compli-mats at the dinner table.


Kindness and Writing Exercise for Kids


Do you know about Love Language? The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman is a self help book about how to express heartfelt commitment to your mate from 1995. Understanding your spouse’s as well as your love language is important but knowing your kids’ language is important too.

The five love languages are:

  1. Touch (hugging and snuggling)
  2. Quality Time
  3. Compliments
  4. Receiving and Giving Gifts
  5. Acts of Service

My love language is compliments while my daughters’ are quality time and compliments.

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, looking for activities to fill our love banks is my goal. I stumbled onto the kindness activity that fills my compliments love language as well as my kids.

Photo courtesy of Amazon

I love this exercise because it teaches my kiddo about kind words. We started by making a list of kind words to help her understand the difference between saying something nice verses mean. Here is the list that we came up with:

  • Loyal
  • Strong
  • Nice
  • Giving
  • Kind
  • Funny
  • Fancy
  • Honest
  • Brave
  • Friendly

This activity takes little prep. All you need is some paper and pens. I found this great free printable available at Teacher Pay Teacher. You will need to sign up for a free account to download the mat.

Once we had all the supplies and kind words list displayed in front of us, we passed the paper around the table. My daughter could copy the words in front of her. She wrote that I (and pretty much everyone) was friendly.

At the end, my daughter loved reading the kind things everyone said about her. Can you guess what her love language is?

Building Rollercoasters

For the last day of January, we received our Stem Club toy from Amazon. This month we received the Roller Coaster Challenge by ThinkFun.


Thrill Ride Building Game


Game time. My daughter loves this game. While playing, she asked me if I liked the game too since it is similar to my favorite game Mouse Trap. Not sure if it is my favorite game but I remember being obsessed with playing Mouse Trap as a kid. I recently gave my girls Mouse Trap as a Christmas gift.

This game was amazing because it is challenging and educational. There are 40 roller coaster challenges to solve starting at easy level going up to expert. My daughter completed the easy levels with little help from me. She is doing math and engineering problem solving to figure out the different post and track configurations.

Once she thought she constructed a successful roller coaster track, she gave the little roller coaster car a push and watched it go.

Toward the end of the easy level, the challenge includes a loop the loop. I think my daughter finished the first 9 challenges so she can try the loop the loop.

We didn’t get a chance for free-form play yet but I’m sure my daughter will be excited to mix tracks up and be creative.

Computer Science- Coding Your Name

Review

Today is day 30 of the 30 day 4h challenge. To celebrate the last day, let’s review the last 29 days before seeing today’s ‘code your name’ activity.

  1. Bird Feeder
  2. Plant a garden
  3. Visit the farm
  4. Zoo Excursion
  5. Nature Walk
  6. Raising Butterflies
  7. Mason Jar Garden
  8. Pressed Flowers
  9. Card Making
  10. Chemistry
  11. Egg Drop
  12. Boat Races
  13. Lemonade Stand
  14. Lemon Battery
  15. Volunteering with Animals
  16. Thank You Letter
  17. Homeless Care Package
  18. Helping Senior Citizens
  19. Cooking New Foods
  20. Kids Yoga
  21. Gratitude Journal
  22. Meal Planning
  23. Food Drive
  24. Trash Pickup
  25. Art in the Park
  26. Campfire
  27. Crayon Candles
  28. Bath Bombs
  29. Robotic Hand
  30. Coding Your Name

The Activity

To celebrate the 30 day ‘inspired to do’ calendar, 4‑H and Google are launching an exciting National Youth Science Day challenge called Code Your World. This new challenge starts tomorrow, October 1, throughout the whole month for ages 8-14. For more info, click here.

4H offers you a Code Your World kit to get ready for National Youth Science Day.

As for today’s activity, ScienceFriday has fun examples coding your name using UTF-8 binary code.

What is the UTF? The name is derived from Unicode  Transformation Format – 8-bit and has been dominant character encoding for the World Wide Web since 2009.

We started the activity by folding a piece of paper into a grid. 8 squares across and 8 lines down. We only need 7 for my daughter’s name.

Then she drew a line for each 1 and 0 making up her name. Blue represents 0 and orange represents 1.

For example, the letter j is 010010010 which is the first letter of her name and mine.

Can you figure out the other letters of her name? Here is a key to help you by ScienceFriday.

Finished

Engineering- Robot Hand

Review

4H Challenge is to build a robotic hand. I found this great example while on Pinterest. Check it out here.

Just one more day to enter into the 4H photo contest. I just checked the number of entries and there are over 1.1 million. Crazy but happy for the interest of getting kids ‘inspired to do.’

The Activity

Today we traced my daughter’s hand to try and make a robotic hand.

Once her hand was traced, we cut it out then proceeded to bend the paper hand at the same location of her finger joints.

Next, we cut and taped small pieces of straw about the same length of her hand bones.

Did you know? Your hand has 27 bones, 14 of which are the phalanges (small bones) of the fingers and thumb.

After adhering the small straws to the paper hand, I helped her thread the straws with different colors of thread. The different colors will help us figure out which digit we are going to move without having to try them all.

Last, we taped the ends of the thread to the paper finger tips and the paper hand to the table. This way the hand doesn’t move when we pull the strings.

Supplies

  • 5 different colors of thread
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Thick paper like cardstock
  • 5 straws

Engineering- Egg Drop

Review

4H’s daily challenge is accept and conquer an egg drop challenge by designing and creating a container that will prevent your egg from cracking when dropped from let’s say the second story of your house. To check out future and past challenges look at my earlier post, 4H 30 day challenge, or go to 4H.org to learn about the chance to receive a $10,000 scholarship.

The Activity

Egg drop is a great activity that promotes creative thinking and problem solving. We used K’NEX to create a vessel to protect our egg. K’NEX are a great engineering educational toy. They come to tons of different kits so kids can build cars to trains to planes. Oh my.

My daughter created this rectangle container with support braces on each side then I helped her attach the egg inside with a twist tie and egg carton holder.

The Result

A broken egg. Sorry to say it didn’t serve the fall from the second story but it was great fun trying.

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