One of my favorite activities is easy DIY projects. I like projects that require materials already in my home. It is not practical for me to buy items for a project that I will use one time. If I purchase something for a project, it will have multiple uses. Today’s activity, Salt Art Painting, fits this criteria.
This activity is a wonderful STEAM educator. Children will observe how salt melts ice. They can combine two colors to make another color. Also, they will see how water can change from a liquid to a solid when turning water into ice.
My son had fun doing the Salt Art Painting. He was amazed that he could create a rainbow before his eyes. This is a great project for preschoolers, kindergarten, and up. It is safe to say that your child may ask to do this activity again.
As a parent, I love that the set up and cleaning afterwards is quick and easy.
The video below provides directions on how to do the Salt Art Painting. The video comes from my son’s YouTube channel, Corban’s Fun Learning Adventures. Please subscribe if you like what you see.
Christmas is around the corner and kids will be home for the holidays. Sometimes kids get bored when they are in the house for long periods of time. If this happens, don’t worry because I have the perfect activity to beat the boredom. It is called the DIY Canvas for Painting. This is a great project to put on your “easy science experiments for home” list.
We will show you how to do this activity in the video below. First you will learn how to make Oobleck slime. Then you will paint on the Oobleck canvas you made. Kids will find this project fun and easy to do.
Making Oobleck is considered a scientific project because it is a non-newtonian fluid. This means it can change from a liquid to a solid and vice versa. Kids will use their artistic skills once they paint on the canvas.
Parents will love this project because you most likely have all the ingredients in your home. The ingredients needed for this project are as follows:
Are you looking for the perfect activity to do in the final weeks of summer? This DIY chalk paint activity is great for the whole family! Younger kids can enjoy using this decorative paint (that easily washes away!) to create sidewalk masterpieces, and older kids or adults can use it to make fun or inspirational chalkboard signs to display around the home!
Check out the step-by-step guide for DIY chalk paint below and also be sure to download some or all of the three awesome stencil packs that both kids and adults can use to elevate their chalk paint art.
Guide to DIY Chalk Paint
The process of making your own chalk paint is simple! You just need water, cornstarch, and food coloring. Once you mix together these three basic ingredients, you’re well on your way to creating masterpieces at home.
To help guide your artwork, download these stencil packs:
My son is generally excited to do most of the art projects I present to him. However, there are some art projects that don’t appeal to him. This is why I generally let him choose his own as a way to promote interest-led learning.
When I showed my son the 3D Salt Art Painting craft, he was not thrilled to do it. I requested that we try one, just to see if liked it. He agreed.
Once we tried one Salt Art Painting, he wanted to do more. In fact, he did a total of four pictures in one session. This really surprised me! After doing the first picture, he asked if we could make a video showing others how to do it. I said “yes.”
My son has a YouTube channel called, Corban’s Fun Learning Adventures.On his channel he shows kids and parents how to do his favorite science experiments, art projects, pretend play scenarios, and to play with fun games and toys. He is learning new concepts, such as math and vocabulary, while doing all these activities.
My family and I recently went on a much needed vacation. We visited amusement parks, saw a musical, and became one with nature. There were days where we relaxed and explored the local area. On some relaxed mornings and evenings, my son and I would either play with a toy, read, watch television, go to the pool or playground.
One of our traditions when traveling is to cook so we don’t have to eat out for every meal. This means we go to the grocery store and also purchase household items from a retail store like Wal-Mart. While in Wal-Mart, my son and I picked up one container of Play-Doh. The next morning I saw him playing with it. He looked at me and asked if I wanted to play as well. Of course my answer was, “Sure.”
We began our playtime with making various shapes and objects. Then my son said let’s play a game with the Play-Doh. We put on our thinking caps to make up a Play-Doh game. After conversing and adding on to each other’s ideas, we came up with the Play-Doh Challenges.
These challenges were fun and caused the morning to go by really fast. I will share the challenges with you below.
Let’s Get Started!
Enjoy Our Play-Doh Creations Below!
The first challenge is called Guess What I’m Making.
Guess What I’m Making
Each person takes Play-Doh and makes something with it.
You may either give each other a time limit to make something or simply wait until you all are done creating.
Next guess what the other person made.
You may give clues if the other person is struggling to guess the correct answer.
If the person guesses correctly, they receive a point.
Please note: You don’t have to play with points as it will make the game more competitive.
The next challenge is Name that Category.
Name that Category
Each person takes Play-Doh.
One person names a category.
Creators will have to make something within that category with Play-Doh.
The other creators will guess what you made.
My son named the category “Toys.”
As a result, we both made toys.
The next challenge is Create the Word
Create the Word
I want to give you some background on this game. My son has been learning to write in cursive. He really likes practicing the curves, twists, and turns in cursive writing. If you follow my posts, you will know that we like to do hands-on activities with what we learn. This is one of those activities.
Each person take Play-Doh.
Have each person name a word.
The other player will have to create a word said by the another player.
For example, my son said the word “yell” and I made it with Play-Doh.
I said the word “cat” and he made it with Play-Doh.
If your child is not writing yet, another option is to make letters or numbers with them
This is a great activity for number and alphabet recognition.
About a year ago, my son and I went outside and played in the snow. We took our snow sled and joined the other kids in the neighborhood to slide down the hill. Afterwards, we had a fun snow ball fight, made snow angels, and created snow mountains. We had a blast!
A couple days later, the sun melted the snow. We were happy to see the sun but a little disappointed because we could not have fun in the snow. Spring was making itself known in our city.
We didn’t want to let go of the fun we had with snow, so we decided to make our own. My son and I did this activity a little over a year ago and I forgot about it.
It wasn’t until my best friend, Donna, asked me if we had ever made our own snow. I told her “yes” but forgot to share it with others through this blog.
I live in an area where we get snow every year. However, Donna’s children hardly see snow, so this was the perfect activity for them.
About two days later, Donna sent me pictures of her son and daughter making snow. She said this activity kept them busy for two hours!!!!
Making your own snow is a great hands-on activity for kids. I will show you how below. All you need is two ingredients that you most likely have in your home.
Let’s Get Started
White Conditioner (some people use shaving cream as an alternative)
Container or Pan to make and play with snow
Action Figures (optional)
Cookie Cutter (optional)
Start mixing 1/2 cup of conditioner and 3 cups or baking soda.
We did not measure when we did this activity.
We kept adding more baking soda and conditioner until we got the consistency we liked
Make play time more fun by doing pretend play with action figures in the snow
Donna gave her kids cookie cutters to make various shapes in the snow.
Have your kids create artwork in the snow with sticks from outside.
Below are pictures of the fun our kids had making snow!
Today I challenged my son to find something creative to do while I cooked dinner. He spent some time blowing up a balloon then watched it fly through the air after releasing it. He played with his cash register and a DIY water gun we made earlier that day.
Next he saw the book, Draw Alphabeasts by Steve Harpster laying on the table. He decided to view it while he ate a snack. This book teaches you step-by-step how to make over 130 monsters, aliens, and robots from letters and numbers.
I checked this book out from the library about a year ago. We enjoyed drawing the characters so much, that I purchased it from Amazon.
This month is October and I thought his book choice was great because Halloween is soon approaching.
My son, Cory, skimmed the book and decided to draw a monster named Zeep starting with the number 4. After drawing, he showed me his picture and I was very impressed.
Cory then asked if I was almost done with cooking. My reply to him was “yes.” He wanted to pick a character for me draw. He chose a character named Freddy Bones, who resembles a skeleton and robot simultaneously. Again, it was the perfect picture for Halloween.
Below is a picture of our drawings, along with the step-by-step instructions we followed from the book. This book is perfect for beginning artists and for those who just want to be creative.
Try these out. There are characters drawn from numbers 1-20 and the alphabet in this book. Buy this book if you want to draw more characters! I highly recommend it!
Many parents ask me how my son started writing at such a young age. He wrote his first letter A at 21 months. He could also write the alphabet and numbers 1-100 at the age of 2.5.
Teaching a child to write can be a difficult task, especially if the child does not have a desire to learn. Below I will answer the most frequently asked questions when it comes to handwriting skills and children. You will find creative and enjoyable teaching techniques in my new book, Fun and Easy Ways to Teach Your Toddler to Write.
It has over 135 activities, resources and tips for teaching writing with PLAY.
The Book is Available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle! Click on the Image Below to Find It.
GO TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST TO GET THE FIRST CHAPTER AND HALF OF THE SECOND CHAPTER FOR FREE.
Let’s Get Started!
How Can I Help with Writing?
Part of learning to write involves remembering how letters, shapes, and numbers are formed. Most children are taught this through tracing letters, numbers, lines, and shapes repeatedly. Although this is very effective, there are other scientific-proven tricks that can accelerate the learning process and make it fun.
One Fun Scientific Trick to Use When Teaching Your Child to Write
One scientific trick I have used is called Picturing Information. I read about this method in the book, Learning How to Learn: How to Succeed in School Without Spending All Your Time Studying; A Guide for Teens and Kids. Picturing Information makes it much easier to remember. This involves using both the right and left brain strengths into learning. One way to do this is to convert a fact into a picture, so you can remember it more easily. If the picture is strange or unusual, it is easier to remember. Additionally, if the picture involves movement, then it makes the connection stronger.
Let’s use a letter as an example. If your child is learning to write the letter A, you may want to connect it with a picture of a triangle. While tracing or showing them how to write it, tell your child the A is part triangle with a line in the middle. It is important to use what is familiar to your child for the picture. In other words, ensure the child knows what a triangle and line look like. If they don’t know, then use another picture such as stick man legs with a line in the middle.
You may also describe an A as stick man legs with a line in the middle.
When should a child be able to write?
Most experts say that children learn to write between the ages of 3-6. I believe children learn to write before they actually start writing if exposed in the right way. This begins once a parent exposes their child to how letters, numbers, and shapes are formed through reading books, building, doing art, and participating in physical play. When children see letters, shapes, and numbers in books or in the real world often, their brain is taking note of how they are formed. When children start writing they will know letter and number formation which makes it easier to write.
How play can help In teaching your child to write
Building and doing art can help strengthen a child’s hand muscles to prepare them for writing. Building various structures with Legos, magnetic tiles, or Play-Doh helps develop a child’s pincer grasp, which is the coordination of the index finger and thumb to hold an item. This is also a great way to develop fine motor skills. A child is using the pincer grasp when they hold a paint brush, put money in a piggy bank, and learn to button their shirt.
Physical play is a great way to develop a child’s handwriting skills. Children can make letters with their bodies through creative dance. Also, crawling and yoga is a way to strengthen hand muscles which is beneficial for writing.
How can I help my child write faster?
Often I am asked how I got my son to write the alphabet and numbers as a 2-year-old. It wasn’t that he learned to write quickly, I just started earlier. When he was a baby, I read aloud to him various colorful children’s books about shapes, letters, and numbers. Not only was I reading to him, but I would take my finger and outline the shapes, letters, and numbers in the book.
We also built structures often with blocks and Play-doh. We created letters, shapes, and numbers with these toys and more. While creating we discussed our process in structuring each object and how they were formed.
So, if you want your child to write faster, simply start early through PLAY and fun exposure.
Fun and Easy Ways to Teach Your Toddler to Write Book
I wrote this book to show parents ways to expose their children to the formation of letters, numbers, and shapes in a fun way. This book will take you through a step by step process of how I taught my son handwriting skills. It gives you games/activities to do with your child along the way to make writing a process that is fun, natural, and stress free for the parent and child.
This is a great tool for parents with children ages 0-7!
This book provides the following and so much more…
Fun scientific techniques in teaching kids handwriting skills.
How to execute fun in-depth learning
How to teach children to write before they actually start writing
How to incorporate digital media in your child’s learning
The stages of writing
How to use PLAY when exposing your child to handwriting
The importance of learning in different settings
How to teach your child to hold writing utensils correctly
What to do when your child does not want to write
Hand strengthening activities that will prepare your child to write
Once your child begins to write, how to continue to build their handwriting skills
Here is What Others are Saying about the Book
This is a fantastic, thoughtful resource for anyone who wants to give their child a head start for school as well as cultivate a love for learning. It gives parents or caregivers who want to spend quality time with their child clear instructions and a wide variety of activities so they can strengthen their bond and create lasting memories with their child while teaching them valuable skills and having fun. An indispensable resource for those with young children! —Stacey K., editor and mother of 4
“This book is a fantastic resource for parents and educators in the midst of teaching their children literacy skills. It provides excellent activities, book references, and resources to teach toddlers how to write, along with educational insights regarding children’s brain development and cognition. I love how Andrea uses fun and creative literacy techniques to instill an early love of learning in young children. As a mom of two toddlers, I am excited to use these engaging techniques with my girls!” —Amber., counselor and mother of 4
This book is a great companion to Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play. The book contains many activities for different learning styles. It is definitely not a one-size-fits-all approach to learning how to write. Parents and children can bond with each other and have fun while figuring out what works best for them. If your child enjoys nature, STEM, crafts, role-playing, or music, you’ll find something to pique their interests inside the pages. Not only does this book help your child learn to write, Andrea includes scientific insight about brain development to support the value of these child-centered and age-appropriate activities. Once again, Andrea has made learning fun! —Danielle J., Attorney and mother of 2
The Book is Available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle! Click on the Image Above to Find It.
Not sure yet? Get a free excerpt of Fun Ways to Teach Your Toddler to Write by completing the form below.
Colors is a topic that all kids learn. My son learned his colors around 16 months with a combination of fun activities. I remember spreading out various colored poms poms on the floor and asking him to bring me specific colors. He got them all correct! He learned because I used in-depth fun learning to naturally expose him to it. In-depth learning is exposing your child to new concepts in various ways such as sight, hearing, and touch. The activities below will help you incorporate these types of learning techniques.
Let’s get started with learning colors in a fun way!
Sorting is a great way for kids to learn colors. Below are some ways to accomplish this at home.
Gather various colored items in your home such as blue, yellow, green, purple, red etc.
Help your child to put all items of the same color together.
For example put all the red items together.
My son, Cory, likes to sort his toy cars and balls.
Make a game of it by racing all the green cars, then blue cars, and so on.
You can also create a ball race between the various colors.
Pick a color day in your household.
Pick a day where everyone in the family wears the same color clothes.
Everyone can wear the same color shirt, pants, or socks.
This activity is like St. Patrick’s Day where everyone wears green.
However, you will pick a different day of the week to wear a certain color.
For example, on Monday everyone wears a blue shirt and then on Tuesday everyone wears a red shirt.
Pick the Color
This activity was actually how I found out my son knew all his colors. This is a fun one for the kids.
Being able to use colors to create pictures is a great learning tool for children.
Once your child learns certain colors have them paint a picture using that color.
You may also create stories using the picture.
For example, paint a yellow stick man playing with a blue stick man and write a story about it.
Make Color Potions
Making potions is a great hands-on activity for kids. Below is how to do it.
Make a simple potion by mixing glitter, various food coloring, vinegar, and baking soda.
Your child will see bubbles while creating this chemical reaction.
Mix water, cornstarch and washable paint until it feels like glue.
You may use food coloring instead of paint.
Let your child play in the slime.
Books with Movement
Before my son knew the colors, I would go to the library weekly and get books about colors. Reading a variety of books about colors helped my son see colors from many perspectives. Don’t just read books, but get physical as well. Once you read about a color in the book, look around the room or your home and try to find that color.
Below are 10 great books to read to your child about colors
The Melissa and Doug Sort and Snap Color Match was given to my son as a birthday present. Your child will be able to create various colorful pictures using boards and snap caps. It is an interactive educational tool that is great for color recognition, sorting, and beginning math skills. Cory liked creating the pictures. It is a good way to supplement your child’s exposure to colors.
My son, like most young kids, loves to do activities that are hands-on. We have tackled a number of building activities from playing with Legos and Magnetic Tiles to Bristol Blocks.
When I realized that we had the opportunity to make our own 3-D paint, I became excited. However, my son had to sign off on the project. When he saw that we could make our own paint from scratch, he was all for it.
I like this activity because we had all the ingredients in the kitchen. Also, it was a great opportunity to practice writing and incorporate literacy in a fun way!
So let’s talk about our exciting scientific art experiment!
How to use this project to increase your child’s reading and writing skills
The project below will provide a fun and educational hands-on experience for kids. It is called the 3-D Puffy Paint Project and can encourage children to practice writing letters and numbers. This activity can be used to create stories and during pretend play. Additionally, constantly squeezing the paint out the bottle is a great hand strengthener to prepare kids for writing.
My son created a story while doing this project. The story was about a monster who played with friends. The monster started playing with one friend and then as time went on, the amount of friends grew exponentially. By the end of the story, the monster played with over 100 friends. We learned the words exponentially, introduce and exhausted, while doing this activity.
I exposed my son to new words by retelling the story. After my son told me the story, I said the following…
Me: So you are telling me that this story is about a monster who played with one friend at the playground. Then he kept meeting more and more friends as the day went on. This means his friends grew exponentially from 1 to over 100. Right?
My Son: Right
Me: As they were playing, he became very tired or exhausted. So how did he meet all those friends?
My Son: He went up to friends and said, “My name is Monster, do you want to play?”
Me: Oh, so the monster introduced himself to the new friends, and then asked them to play.
My son: “Yes, Yes, that’s right!”
Quick Tip: Use the new vocabulary as you are casually talking to your little one so they will internalize the information.
Another way to make this project literacy based is to have your child read the directions on this post while making the puffy paint. Encourage your child to sound out or say words that they know if they are beginning to read. If they can’t read yet, help them to use the pictures in this post to show how to make the paint. Your child will be reading because they are interpreting meaning. Additionally, read the instructions to them while following along with your finger so they see that words are needed in order to make the paint.
Now Let’s Make Paint that is 3-D!
2 Tablespoons Flour (30 ml)
2 Tablespoons Salt (30 ml)
2 Tablespoons Water (30 ml)
Mix flour, salt, and water in the bowl.
Add two drops of food coloring.
Pour mixture into the squeeze bottle.
Make a few colors by following the first three steps.
Squirt lines, curves, dots, and PICTURES on the cardboard.
Make this a fun literary activity by doing the following…
Paint or draw a picture and create a story about the image.
Have the child practice writing their name.
Have the child practice writing their letters or numbers.