Toddler Red, White, and Blue Easel Art

Use this toddler red, white, and blue easel art activity to address skills needed for fine motor skill development, visual motor skill, bilateral coordination, and visual processing. An easy easel activity like this one is a vertical surface activity that can be done indoors or outdoors for a low-prep developmental activity for kids. 

We have been doing a few red, white, and blue crafts and activities this week.  Baby Girl had fun with this

Easy Patriotic Activity for the 4th of July.

I put a piece of contact paper on our easel (sticky side out) and took it outside.  How is it that an “inside toy” brought outside is immediately super cool and new and fun??
We have a bunch of construction paper scraps in our craft supplies and I pulled out the red and blue ones.  We had some white tissue paper pieces in the bag too, and they were added to the easel trays, too.
 I stuck a couple of pieces on the contact paper and left it there in the yard for a while.  The big kids were busy playing and I was pulling a few weeds.  When Baby Girl saw this set up, she knew just what to do.
She got busy making art work!
(While her big brother camped out under the easel.  There are Bad Guys everywhere!!)
This is a great Fine Motor activity for toddlers.  They manipulate the small pieces of paper, and grasp the edges with a tip to tip grasp (think about the tips of their pointer finger and thumb grabbing at the paper).  While they are holding onto the scrap paper, they must use an extended wrist to place it on the elevated slope of the easel.  This is so good for fine motor dexterity and development of the small muscles in their little hands. 
We had fun enjoying the sunshine and making art.  Have you done any Red/White/Blue crafts?

Mexican Taco Empanadas

Taco Empanadas
This recipe is just too easy not to share with you…and the best part is our kids love it (and love to help make it)!  I made these one day last week for a play-date and the kids thought they were pretty neat.  You can improvise the filling with anything you think would be good…I have made them with chicken, ground turkey, and the traditional beef empanadas. 

Mexican pastry shells
1-1.5lb ground beef
One package Taco Mix
6oz salsa of your choice
Start out with these pastry shells, I get them in the local Mexican store in the refrigerator section.  I usually pick up several packages and keep some in the freezer. 
I browned some ground meat in the slow cooker, added a package of taco mix and half a jar of mild salsa.  Let this cook until the meat is browned and it is ready to fill the shells.
 Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray so the shells don’t stick.
Here comes the part the kids love helping with…

 Fill the shells with the meat mixture and fold over.  Use a fork to press the shells together.  Wisk an egg and lightly paint the shells with the egg.  My four year old daughter loves helping with this part.  Using the fork while pressing into the dough is great for her little fingers. 

Bake in oven at 375degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Delicious!

Small World Play: Animals at the Lake

We used our DIY Colored Santo do a little pretend play one rainy afternoon.
We used our refrigerator farm animal magnets and had fun with our pretend lake. Once you know how to make colored sand, you can use it for so many sensory bin activities!

It was a fun day at the lake 🙂
The bunny went swimming…
And the temptation was too great…we HAD to mix the two colors of sand together. 
Stick around to see what we do next with our greenish-bluish sand…You won’t want to miss this!

Beach Play Dough

Invitation to Create a Beach

Brown and Blue Play Dough, sand, rocks, palm tree food picks, and a bowl of beachy manipulatives were put on a tray for Big Sister and Little Guy.  They played with this in our basement in a baby pool we have going on down there right now. 
I love how Little Guy put the dolphin in the blue play dough like it was leaping into the water 🙂
What are we learning through play?

Imagination Play

Pretend Play

 Fine Motor Dexterity

Tripod Grasp to pinch and sprinkle the sand

Index Isolation and Tripod Grasp to press the little items into the play dough

Enjoy Today!

Snowy Farm Sensory Bin

Before this weeked, we’ve had a super cool spring.  With a handful of days where it snowed.  We are ready for outside play in short sleeves, running in the yard, and grass stained knees.
But, we have been loving this fun play activity too 🙂

We had a boat load of shredded paper from doing taxes recently.  It came in pretty handy for a

small world snowy farm scene!

We put some farm animals, the Little People barn, and of course, Little Guy’s construction vehicles.
(how else can the farmer move allll that snow??)
Little Guy went to farm-town with imagination stories and pretend play.
Baby Girl loves to make the animal sounds and had a blast finding them in the shredded paper.
My fun-loving Baby Girl instigated this little incident…
she just couldn’t help herself 🙂
What are we learning through play?

Imagination Play

Pretend Play

Learning Animals

Animal Sounds

Visual Scanning

Sensory PlaY

Using Pipe Cleaners for Fine Motor Development

This was the invitation to play that I had set up for the kids.  A cardboard box with holes poked all over, and pipe cleaners. 

This was the end result 🙂
They all had so much fun creating a work of art with pope cleaners, all while working on their fine motor dexterity, tripod grasp, and eye-hand coordination.
(These two were pushing each other to get in there.  They are WAY more like siblings than cousins…)


Have you seen our recent post Pipe Cleaner Fun where we shared how to explore colors with pipe cleaners?  There are so many fun ways to use them for fine motor development with kids!

Learning Red, Apples

This Apple Gross Motor Activity is the perfect way to introduce learning about the color Red and Apples this Fall with toddlers, preschoolers, and babies.  We made our own life-size apple tree (well, make that Toddler-life size!) that kids can really climb and develop gross motor skills while learning.  We’ve recently update our Toddler Play page with all of our play ideas in one place.  Your Toddler will love some of the other creative play ideas we’ve shared in the past.
Gross Motor Apple Tree activity for learning red and apples with toddlers and preschool children. Kids love this in the Fall!

Gross Motor Apple Activity for Toddlers and Preschoolers

So, two days a week, I have my nephew here with us while my sister is working.  That makes a 5 year old, 3 year old, 1 year old, and 11 and 1/2 month old.  We had a Red/Apple play day one afternoon, with something for each age to love! (This post contains affiliate links.)
Even with two children in two different stages of preschool (3 y/o class and Pre-K), it is easy to supplement school lessons at home (and keep the babies occupied).  Keeping the activities PLAY makes learning fun.  They never know that you are actually teaching so many ideas (turn taking, manners, colors, handwriting, developing motor skills…& so much more)!



 This time of year, it is all about apples in preschool. My 3 year old is learning all about red, apples, and circles in his class. We pulled those concepts into our play with this fun apple tree activity.  I placed this set up on our living room floor and had the kids pick ‘apples’. We counted them as we put them into baskets.  My 5 year old loves writing when I spell out a word, and so we worked on writing the words “red”, “apple”, “circle”, and “tree”.  She was “in charge” of  simple math ideas (We have two apples in the basket. Adding one more apple makes 3 apples).


The babies loved putting the red balls into baskets, taking them back out and then putting them into a different basket.  They are learning through exploring!




We did some Gross Motor balance beam play on the “trunk” of the tree. This was a hit for all of the kids.  These babies WATCH the big kids and try their hardest to keep up!



Gross Motor Apple Tree activity for learning red and apples with toddlers and preschool children. Kids love this in the Fall!
Gross Motor skills are tasks that require the large movements of the body.  Development of gross motor movement is important for so many play skills of childhood (riding a bike, throwing and catching a ball, hopping, skipping, climbing).  Developmentally, we refine our fine motor skills after and as a result of, appropriate gross motor skills. For example: Stable shoulder girdle strength is needed to produce controlled fine motor control needed to hold the pencil and write in a small area.

Baby Apple Theme and Red Learning Activities

The big kids did a few more motor tasks including tossing the balls into the baskets.  The controlled balance needed to stand on the balance beam, while tossing the ball into the basket is really working their eye hand coordination and can be a challenge for many kids!  
(The babies had a blast carrying the baskets around).
We went on a search for red toys, keeping with the red theme. These were put into a pretzel tub that we keep to store the baby pop-beads.
Babies love to manipulate objects, explore how they can move objects…love to see what they can do to a toy (chew it, bang it, throw it…).  And then see if they can do it again!  


Baby Girl is always putting these stacking rings onto her wrist. She’ll walk all over the house with one on her wrist, just like a bracelet. My other two never did that at this age! Is she a future fashionista??? Have your babies done this???


The babies loved pulling red objects out of the bin, chewing on a few, putting them back in (…pulling them away from each another, grabbing it back with a screech…these two cousins are more like siblings…LOL)
This is a great opportunity for language development.  Say each item that baby has.  Babies, at this age, love to hear your voice in different pitches.  Describe to baby the details of a toy, pointing out interesting parts.  Talking constantly to baby truly does wonders for their language development.

We finished up with a snack of sliced apples for the big kids and applesauce for the babies.
This post was originally posted in 2012.  We’ve recently updated to share with you again!

Our favorite ways to work on gross motor skills:

Pizza Dip

Delicious Pizza Dip
I made this dip for a Labor Day party and it was AMAZING!  I will be adding this to my recipe book and making it again. It smells like someone just baked a pizza in the kitchen…it is hot and bubbly and tastes like a warm gooey pizza.  You gotta try this!  Scoop it up with some bruchetta bread or crackers.
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded/grated
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded/grated
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese shredded/grated
2 ounces pepperoni, chopped slices
2 tablespoons chopped green pepper
2 tablespoons black olives, sliced
1/2 tsp italian seasonings
  1. Mix the cream cheese, sour cream mayonnaise, mozzarella and parmigiano reggiano and spread it across the bottom of a pie plate.
  2. Spread the pizza sauce on top and sprinkle on the cheese, pepperoni, green pepper and olives.
  3. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until the sides are bubbling and the cheese cheese has melted and turned golden brown on top, about 20 minutes. 
~Posted by Leanne