Book Inspired Activities for Kids

We love a a great book.  What makes a good book even better, si a fun craft or activity to go along with the book.  Kids remember the activity long after the book has gone back to the library and will even pull out a, “Hey mom, remember when we made that snack to go with that book about buttons?”  I love when we see a particular book again on the shelves at the library and Little Guy says, “Hey! we did a craft for that one!”  We pulled some fun features from Share It Saturday this week…all about literacy for kids and activities, crafts, sensory bins, and learning that goes along with great books.  

book inspired literacy crafts, activities, sensory bins, learning for preschool and toddlers.

Book inspired activities for kids:

Fox in Socks fine motor rhyming activity from My Bright Firefly
Ten Apples Up on Top counting activity from Teaching Mama
Press Here necklace from Buggy and Buddy
The Very Hungry Caterpillar number flashcards from From ABCs to ACTs
The Duckling Gets a Cookie?! counting chocolate chips activity from 3 Dinosaurs
Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? activities from Living Montessori Now

Some of our favorite books and the activities we’ve done:

Jack Be Nimble Nursery Rhyme Craft

The Nursery Rhyme craft and activities series is in full swing and we’ve had some great ideas shared for some classic nursery rhyme favorties.  Today’s craft is one of our favorite Nursery Rhymes.  We’ve loved this short little rhyme since we started book babies at the library years back.  It is a fun rhyme to recite and always brings a smile to my kids’ faces. 

Jack be nimble
Jack be quick
Jack jump over the candlestick.

Jack Be Nimble Jack Be Quick, Jack jumped over the candle stick craft for nursery rhyme loving toddlers and preschoolers.

Jack Be Nimble Jack Be Quick Craft for Toddlers and Preschoolers

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To make a Jack Be Nimble craft, you’ll need:

cardstock in white, another color (we used blue) and a background sheet (we used green)
tissue paper (in red, yellow, and orange)

Start by cutting the simple shapes you’ll need to make the candlestick craft.  Older kids can work on scissor skills to cut these simple shapes.  Cutting from card stock is a great way to work on scissor accuracy because the resistance is greater than regular printer paper.  This allows children to slow their snipping speed and better accuracy when cutting along lines.

Cut a semi-circle from colored paper and a rectangle from white paper.  Tear a square of each color of tissue paper.

Glue the semi-circle onto the paper.  This is a great opportunity to talk about shapes with your toddler or preschooler.

Glue the rectangle on top of the semicircle.

Draw a flame shape with the glue.

Have your child tear small pieces of the tissue paper.  Tearing and crumbling tissue paper is a great way to work on fine motor strengthening, opening of the web space (area between the thumb and index finger), and defining of the arches of the hand.  All of these areas are important for pencil grasp and endurance in handwriting and coloring.  Tearing tissue paper is such a great fine motor strengthening activity and one of my favorites!

Glue the tissue paper onto the top of the candle stick.  You’re done!  So much fun for little ones who love Jack be nimble!

Be sure to stop by and see all of the Nursery Rhyme crafts and activities from this week and next week!

What is the favorite nursery rhyme in your house?  Stop by our FB page and let us know!

How to Make Crayon Play Dough Recipe

Did you know that September 16th is National Play Dough day?  Me either, until a blogging buddy brought it up.  What a better day than to share our DIY Rainbow Crayon Play Dough recipe?  It’s one of our many crayon play dough recipes that we have here on the site. 

We first made our crayon play dough recipe to go along with a book activity that called for purple play dough.  But when the kids started playing with this dough every single day?  I loved it for the fine motor benefits.  My kids just thought it was cool to make play dough from old crayons.  I knew we had to make a few other colors.  
And that turned into every color of the rainbow. 
This Crayon play dough recipe is so easy, that you’ll want to make it in every shade, too.  Here is everything you need to know about How to Make Crayon Play Dough:
How to make crayon play dough using broken crayons.
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How to make Crayon Play Dough:

You will need just a few ingredients to make play dough using old crayons. The other ingredients are probably in your kitchen cupboards right now!

crayons, chopped into pieces.  We used 2 and a half of each crayon color.
vegetable oil 
cream of tartar

This DIY crayon play dough recipe is great for kids.

Now, when we made play dough in a rainbow of colors, things were moving very quickly over the stove.  I didn’t get a chance to take many action shots.  With the heat of the stove, hot oil, and chopping up the crayon bits, this is a job for the mamas or papas rather than helpful kids.  Older children certainly could do this recipe.  I wasn’t able to take pictures while making our dough. 🙁

You can see how the crayons were chopped in our Harold and the Purple Crayon post that inspired more colors of play dough.  Start by chopping up your crayons into pieces.  This is where your broken crayons will come in handy.  We used a variety of brands of crayons mixed together and it didn’t seem to alter the texture of the dough.

How to make crayoon play dough. Use this crayon recipe as a sensory play activity
The kids had fun picking out the shades of the colors for our dough.  Baby Girl insisted on having pink.
Use broken crayons to make rainbow crayon play dough recipe.


Use Broken Crayons to Make Crayon Dyed Play Dough:

You’ll need the following ingredients:

2 Tbsp oil
2 and half broken crayons (each color)
2 cups water
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cup salt
2 Tbsp. cream of tartar

I halved these ingredients to make each shade.  If you read our Harold and the Purple Crayon post, you saw that we used 2 and a half chopped up crayons for the full recipe as well.  When I halved the ingredients, I kept the amount of crayons and we got bright, bold colors for our dough.  Perfect for playing!  

First, chop up 2 and a half crayons.  

In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, salt, cream of tartar)
Next, heat the oil in a pan.  Add the chopped crayons.  Stir until the crayons are completely melted.  Slowly stir in 2 cups of water while stirring.  Certain types of crayons will either make a clumpy and gooey looking liquid.  Other types will make a smooth liquid once the water is added.  Either way is fine.  Just keep stirring. 
Slowly, stir in the dry ingredients.  The dough will pull together in a ball over the heat.  Once the dough pulls together, dump it out onto a cutting board or counter.  Let the dough cool until you can tolerate kneading.  Knead the dough for a few minutes until smooth.  
By the time we got to our last color, we ran out of cream of tartar.  I know that in certain areas of our readership, cream of tartar is unavailable.  Without the cream of tarter, the dough recipe still worked fine, just a little less smooth.  

To make all of the colors of dough, I had to hustle a little; I made one color, plopped it onto a cutting board, let it cool while starting the next batch.  When the first color was cool enough to touch for kneading, I took a little break from the stove mixing and crayon chopping.  It got a little hectic in the kitchen, and you may want to completely mix up one color at a time.  For your own sanity 😉

Note: If you have an old pan, use that to melt the crayons down.  I was able to get any waxy residue out of my pan with soaking and boiling dish detergent on the stove, though. 

This dough is such a soft dough but is it is still a great way to incorporate fine motor skills and strengthening in a vividly colorful way.  In fact, playing with crayon play dough would be a great way to work on pencil grasp and an awesome addition to one of the top 5 blog posts that we’ve shared, on improving pencil grasp with fine motor activities

A few more play dough recipes that look like a fun way to celebrate National Play Dough Day:

If you like the idea of using your broken crayon pieces in something as fun and creative as play dough, then you will love to try a few different ideas, too.  We’ve given crayon play dough a run for it’s fun and tried a few different versions.  Check them out and if you make a batch, let us know how you get creative with crayon play dough!

Favorite Play Dough recipes and activities for kids:

Click on the images or the links below each image:
 3 Ingredient Kinetic Sand Play Dough
 Fizzy Baking Soda Play Dough RecipeGLitter glue salt dough recipe for kids to play with in sensory playPatriotic Crayon Play Dough Recipe Crayon Salt Dough Recipe
 Body Wash Play Dough Recipe Frozen Pixy Sitx Candy Play Dough Pencil Grasp Play Dough Exercise
Do you LOVE using play dough as a sensory and fine motor tool in therapy and in play? I have a subscriber-only play dough mat that is designed to work on the intrinsic hand muscles which are needed for pencil grasp and fine motor skills.  Read more about the play dough mat and the areas it will help with HERE.  

This play dough mat is available for FREE only for our Play Dough is Awesome newsletter group.  (This is a different email list than our regular subscribers.  If you’re on our subscriber list, you’ll still need to sign up for this one to receive the play dough freebies coming your way!)


Use broken crayons to make crayon play dough
Recycle broken crayons to make crayon play dough

Nursery Rhyme Crafts and Activities

Nursery Rhymes are the classic stories to tell to kids.  What a wonderful way to bring together generations through stories, rhymes, and classic tales we’ve all heard since childhood.  There is something about the sing song rhythm of nursery rhymes that pull in a child, lull them to a calm before sleep, and bring a smile to their faces.  

We joined up with a team of wonderful children’s activity bloggers to bring you nursery rhyme crafts and activities.  These are the projects you will want to do with your toddlers and preschoolers after reading classic nursery rhymes.  Each day this week, a new blogger will bring you a craft or activity that goes along with a nursery rhyme.  Each day, us Aunts will update this page with the new crafts and activities.  We’re excited to see all of the fun and can’t wait to share it with you!

Toddlers and preschoolers will love doing these crafts and activities that accompany 10 classic nursery rhymes.

Nursery Rhyme Crafts and Activities for Kids

We’ve got 10 days of 10 different nursery rhyme projects for you.  This is going to be fun!

Tuesday:  Lalymom~ Pop Goes the Weasel Craft

Wednesday: Mamas Like Me~ Hey Diddle Diddle

Thursday:  Sugar Aunts~ Jack Be Nimble Jack Be Quick

Friday:  My Nearest and Dearest~ To Market To Market to Buy a Fat Pig

Monday: Still Playing School~ Hickory Dickory Dock

Tuesday:  Fun-a-Day~ Baa Baa Black Sheep

Wednesday:  Wildflower Ramblings~ Mary Mary Quite Contrary

Thursday:  Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails~ Humpty Dumpty Eggsperiment

Friday:  House of Burke~ Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Sensory Bin

We’ll be updating this page each day as each of the bloggers post their activities.  Stop back each day to see the fun!

Apple Theme Activities

Fall is in the air and apples are aplenty!  With back to school behind us, it’s time to think fall and all that it brings.  What better way to play and learn than with an apple theme this time of year?  

This round-up of activities includes math, spelling, art, fine and gross motor and sensory so your Apple Theme is complete for school or home school.  Hey, it would even be fun to just pull a few of these activities for an afternoon of apple themed play.  Call a few friends up and invite them over for an apple play date.  I know what the snack will be!

Apple Theme Activities

Apple themed activities for learning and play: Math, spelling, fine and gross motor, art, sensory. This is perfect for school or home preschool apple themed week!

Apple learning and play ideas for play dates, preschool, or apple week:

Introduce the apple theme with this easy Apple felt play from The Magnolia Barn.

Create apple stamp art from There’s Just One Mommy.

Work on counting, skip counting, number practice, graphing and more with apple math printables from Embark on The Journey, or this apple math pack from 3 Dinosaurs.

Practice word decoding with apple word game from There’s Just One Mommy.

Work on spelling games with these super cute apples created from cups from JDaniel 4s Mom.

Make a yarn apple tree for the art portion of your apple theme from 3 Dinosaurs.

Play in an apple sensory bin from 3 Dinosaurs.

Cook up some salt dough apples from Sugar Aunts.

Make paper roll apple stamp art from Sugar Aunts.

Apple Snack ideas:

apple sauce
apple slices
apple chips
apple wedges with peanut butter
And one of this Aunt’s pregnancy cravings (posted on our instagram feed): apple wedges dipped in peanut butter and granola. Yum.

Cola Soda Pop Play Dough Recipe

Call it cola, soda, pop…what have you…we are playing with it!  This sensory dough is no-bake and very cool to play with.  

We are joining the the 12 months of sensory dough bloggers to bring you a No-Bake play dough recipe this month.  You can see TONS of fabulous ideas from these bloggers for all kinds of sensory doughs.  They’ve been mixing up dough for sensory fun all year long and you will definitely want to check them out.  

Now it’s true that we love mixing up play dough and creating all kinds of concoctions.  Crayon play dough, anyone?  This month, September brings you no-bake play dough in the sensory dough series and we were more than happy to join in on the fun!  We made Cola Play Dough!

cola soda pop no bake play dough recipe for sensory play

No bake play dough recipe:

We started with just a few ingredients.  This no-bake recipe is easy, I promise!  Flour, salt, cola.  And that’s it.

Measure out 1 1/4 cups flour.  Stir in 2 Tbsp salt.  Make a small well in the center of the flour mixture.  Pour in 1/2 cup soda.  Watch the bubbles.

Stir the mixture until the dough starts to pull together.  Then, plop the dough onto a counter or floured surface and knead, knead, knead.

This is such a fun sensory experience for the kids (and mom).  The scent of the soda really is noticeable while mixing the dough up.  

If your dough is too sticky, add a little more flour until it no longer sticks to your hands.

This dough will last a few weeks in a closed plastic container or plastic bag pouch.  You will need to add a bit more flour the longer it sits.  It seems to get stickier the longer it sits.  

We pulled out a few clear cups and straws to play with our soda pop dough.

Ahhhh, refreshing 😉

The straws were great for poking holes in the dough, too.  A great fine motor task!

Don’t you want to play?

Press Here book sensory play activity

We’re back with another activity in the Preschool Book Club.  I don’t know about you, but we are LOVING each and every book in this series.  It has been so much fun coming up with play and learning ideas for HaroldElmerPete, and more.  This week, we’re reading and playing with the book, “Press Here” by Herve Tullet.

Sensory play activity for the book, Press Here. From Sugar Aunts

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Press Here is a new book to us.  And what a fun book it is!  The bright and bold pictures, the movement and direction following, and the fun instructions made this book a huge hit in our house.  Little Guy (age 5) is STILL talking about this book.  He loved following the directions to shake, pull, push, and move the dots and even the whole book.  We decided to put the movement into our play activity with a sensory based interpretation of this fun book.

I started with rainbow cardstock and a circle hole punch.  I punched a bunch of holes from all of the colors.  Little Guy (age 5) LOVED helping me with the hold punching.  Fun stuff!
How pretty are these colorful dots??
Add shaving cream to a container, and sprinkle in the colored dots.  Sensory play is ready for little fingers!

We pushed, pulled, and poked the dots just like in the book.  Be sure to talk about the colors while playing.  This is a great sensory bin to work on color identification.  Sensory play and learning go hand in hand, and this is a great way to learn and play.

Check out the other Preschool Book Club bloggers for more Press Here ideas.  And be sure to watch for our next book club activity. You won’t want to miss it!

Mama. Papa. Bubba. blog: Magnetic Sensory Bag
Buggy and Buddy: Necklace Craft
Homegrown Friends: Movement Game
Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails:Eraser Painting
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