Category Archives: Activity Tray

Cat In The Hat

We have been having lots of fun in the workboxes, and on the activity trays, during March with Dr. Seuss and Cat In The Hat learning activities.  Dr. Seuss published Cat In The Hat in March 1957 and every year his books and silly sayings are celebrated around the world. 

If you would like to hear the Cat In The Hat story read aloud, check out this video produced by Pizza Hutt for their Book It program.  The video features Justin Bieber reading Cat In The Hat by Dr. Seuss.

Activity Trays

On one of our Seuss Activity Trays this month was a wooden Melissa and Doug birthday cake.  The kids set up the cake and we pretended to celebrate Dr. Seuss birthday of publishing Cat In The Hat. 

 The cake comes with its own tray,  six wooden slices, a serving spatula, a plate, candy toppings, fruit toppings, and candles.  The kids put the cake together, added the toppings and the candles.  They counted the candles as they took them on and off the cake.  They sang happy birthday and practiced blowing out the candles.  They also practiced serving each other a piece of cake too.

The next Seuss Activity Tray held a bucket of red and white cubes.  We used the cubes for making patterns with the colors of the cat’s hat.   We first practiced making the pattern of the red and white horizontal stripes on the cat’s hat.  Then we practiced a similar but different pattern, in which the rows of blocks could be turned vertically to recreate the horizontal stripes. 

The three year old loved this activity.  He loved receiving praise for repeating the patterns I set out for him.  He also loved taking all the cubes apart and counting them as he put them back into the bucket.

He sorted groups of white blocks and groups of red blocks into piles.

He also used the red and white cubes to
fill in the patterns on this H is for Hat printable.

His sister, age 4, used red and white pom poms to create the stripes on the H is for Hat printable.

She also did a matching activity with lots of different hats.  Then we used the hats again in making patterns.


In our workboxes  for all of the children, I put lots of printables, worksheets and coloring pages in addition to our Dr. Seuss books.    We did word searches, math worksheets, measuring, and more.  I will write about some of the worksheets and activities that go with Dr. Seuss books in a future post.  See the links at the end of this story for lots of printables to add to your workboxes with this theme. 

I had the kids trade books on different days so everyone had a chance to have some one on one time with each of them.  We included Cat In The Hat, Foot Book, Fox on Sox, Left Foot Right Foot, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, and more.  Here is a picture of a few of the Dr. Seuss Books we have, and a few more are somewhere being read by someone.

I also had the older children read to the younger children.  This really blesses my heart to see the younger ones listening as their older siblings read a story.

 The kids love hearing the silly phrases and looking at the silly illustrations in the Cat in The Hat Book.  It seems that no matter how many times you read it, it is still funny.

 It is really funny to hear the three year old retelling the story as he looks at the pictures.

We colored Cat In The Hat pictures. 

We made paper bag puppets with some of our coloring pages and acted out parts of the story in the book.

We made silly statues of Cat In The Hat characters with snap Cubes.  See that story here.  These turned out so great!  We plan to re-make more Seuss characters with Legos sometime soon. 

We also spent some morning times watching the Cat In The Hat program on PBS Kids.  It is a 30 minute program on weekdays on TV on channel PBS.   We also played games and activities online on the their website.

Be sure to check out the lots of videos, games, and activities for Cat In The Hat on PBS Kids website.

We also ate dinner with Cat In The Hat at Golden Corral.  They also gave us some of the coloring pages we did to make our puppets.   See that story and lots more pictures

Time just seems to fly by.  I remember when my oldest was the toddler, and I would read the Cat In The Hat to him.  He loved all the Dr. Seuss books.  Here we are all these years later and those books, especially Cat In The Hat, still have a fun place in our lives, and we all enjoy them.


Cat In The Hat related products

You can find the snap cubes also on Amazon.

Cat In The Hat Printables and Worksheets


A to Z Teacher Stuff

Making Learning Fun

ABC Teach

This post will be linked up with
No Time For Flash Cards
ABC and 123
Sharing Time
Raising Homemakers

Please share.

Winter Story Bin

I found a new use for our WINTER SENSORY BIN.  We are using it to retell the stories we read in books, and recreate the scenes.  We have lots of books with a winter theme.

Today we read Snow Is Falling, by Franklyn M Branley.  It is a fun story about different things you can see and do when it snows.  It has lots of descriptive words to describe snow too.  This is a fun book to read and it is easy to recreate the various aspects of the story with props such as this Winter Story Bin.

In addition to retelling the stories in books, you can create your own stories too.
Here is one of the scenes from our own story the kids played out: 


The snowman has a house for his “people” guests to stay overnight.  He has lots of snowman friends, an ice skating pond, small, medium, large, and giant snowflakes and snowballs, and letters to spell snow, ice, snowman, and cold.


The kids are having lots of fun re-creating their stories with this bin.  This is a great way to review what they have learning in the book, and further extend their learning while playing. 

I’ll write more posts about the “winter theme” books we read, and story scenes we made with our bin.  I will post the links below.



         Animal Tracks


Check out more of our winter theme activities at the bottom of the Winter Sensory Bin post. 

What fun indoor winter themes have you done with your kids? 
Please leave a comment.  Thank you.

This post will be linked up with
No Time For Flash Cards
ABC and 123
Play Academy
Raising Homemakers

Please share.

Winter Sensory Bin

                                How to make a Winter Sensory Bin

This is a very easy sensory/discovery bin to make, and you just might have everything you need already on hand.  For our bin, I searched the house for items that were blue and white, and anything with a winter theme.

I came up with way more than I realized I had.

Recycled lids of different sizes, recycled snowman candy holders, lacing beads and string, craft beads, chunky letters of the alphabet, snap cubes, glass rocks, snow flakes, ceramic snowman, foam snowman, penguin, decorative boxes, dominos,  cotton balls, vanilla extract (you can also use a vanilla bean pod) ……..

And various trays, tongs, scoops, and containers for sorting items onto or into.

This bin turned into a fun project.  There are so many different objects to feel and explore.  The cotton is fluffy and the glass rocks are cool to the touch.  The glass rocks also make a fun sound when they touch other glass rocks.  The glitter covered foam snowmen feel like sandpaper.  The snowman candy holders have lids and are fun to open and close.  They are also fun to fill with beads and shake them to make rhythm sounds.  The snap cubes snap together and make a popping sound when pulled apart.  The dominos are cool to the touch, and have an indention where the colored dots are located so they feel both smooth and bumpy.  The smell of vanilla adds an extra sensory element to this bin.

Besides free play in the bin, the kids easily put the items to good use in practicing lots of learning skills.   They used tongs, scoops, and fingers to pickup, transfer, and sort various things. They had fun as they used gross and fine motor skills.

They used lots of different objects for counting, sorting, stacking,

putting small things inside containers, opening and closing,

making patterns with different objects, lacing,

grouping and matching, spellings simple words with letters (snow, cold, ice, snowman), and so much more.  

More of our winter theme learning adventures:

Snow Sensory Bin
Snowman Craft
Christmas Day
Winter Walk
Winter Story Bin
Snow Day
Snow Science
Christmas Matchup Game

This post will be linked with
No Time For Flash Cards
ABC and 123
Play Academy
Raising Homemakers

Please share.

Kitchen Sensory Bin

Do your kids enjoy helping you in the kitchen?  Mine sure do.  We love to work together making yummy foods for our family.  Check out some of our Kids In The Kitchen stories and you will see some of the kitchen fun we have.  But more than just having fun, we are building relationships and learning practical life skills.

My daughter, age 4, loves to help in the kitchen.  But she would like to do whatever she wants in the kitchen, whether I am available to help her or not.  She likes to be independent.  Some things are ok, but some are not.  Such as when she soaks the kitchen counter with dish water.

If only the counter was kid proof (water proof), it would be great.  But it is not kid proof and is showing signs of water damage, due to her, and her little brother’s, method of getting water everywhere.  I am constantly removing the chair she has pushed up to the counter, and trying to get her to understand she has to wait for help to do certain kitchen things, or wait for me to invite her to do a job in the kitchen along side me.  I wish I didn’t have to do this, but for her safety and for the sake of the kitchen counter, it is necessary.

We have a play kitchen that I got for my first child over 11 years ago.  It has served us well over the years.  All the kids have played with it almost daily, and though there are a few broken items on it, it still functions as a play kitchen.  We keep it in the bedroom with the other toys most of the time.  But sometimes we bring it to the kitchen or living room, and some nice afternoons we take it outside on the porch to play.

We also have a play water sink one of the kids got for a birthday.  This stays outside because of the sink’s water feature. 

But is a lot of fun to make grass foods, mud foods, and sand foods and use water in the yard on nice hot days.

Kitchen Sensory Bin

Wanting something more portable, indoors, and able to use independently, for her to play “kitchen” with, I decided to create a Kitchen Sensory Bin.  I was wanting her to explore, create, practice some skills, and enjoy being in her “kitchen”.  

We do our school work at the kitchen table, so we are all in the kitchen nearly everyday.   It can be a challenge to keep the younger kids busy with learning activities while schooling the bigger kids.  Hoping to reduce the amount of times my daughter pushes the chair up to the kitchen counter to run the sink when I am not right next to her, I created a Kitchen Sensory Bin she can use at the table or on the floor, for her and her little brother to explore and use as part of their school work.

We made this fun Kitchen Sensory Bin full of lots of play food, dishes, silverware, cooking stoves, sponge for cleaning, and more. The small stoves, table ware (plates, silverware, cups), and mini-foods came from a local dollar store toys. This project cost about $6. I added in some colored pompoms and beads for pretend play and practice with practical skills such as picking up with tongs & scoops and stirring with spoons, etc.

I also added a container of playdough, a rolling pin, and cookie cutters to further the sensory experiences. You can use store bought playdough or you can make homemade vanilla playdough, chocolate playdough, cinnamon playdough, pumpkin pie playdough, and more to make this lots of fun.

My daughter added in a few pony tail holders for fun. I plan to also add a table cloth, cloth napkins, and placemats so she can set her table with and she can roll these up and tie with a ribbon when not in use. add in some spices (or spice bottles with cotton soaked in the spice or extract) to enhance the sensory experience.

I already had the plastic bin on hand and just re-used it for this project.  But I soon traded it for a bigger bin (too much stuff in it). 

The bin also serves as a portable sink for her to wash her other kitchen props. If you don’t want to use real water in the sink, use blue felt (or blue construction paper) to make pretend water (grey felt looks like soapy water too).

If you want to make a portable stove, turn the bin upside down, and pretend to cook your food on top of it.  We made our stove by taping construction paper burners and knobs on the bottom, but you can also create this stove on the lid too.

We used the Kitchen Sensory Bin for free play and exploration, counting, making patterns, sorting colors, sorting food groups, sorting hot foods and cold foods, practicing setting the table, sweet foods vs. salty or savory foods, washing dishes (put some soapy water and a sponge or rag in the bin to wash their dishes), play restaurant, play house and feed thei
r baby dolls and teddy bears, etc.

Here my son is transferring and counting popcorn (white pompoms) he made on the stove.

Playdough Recipes

Basic Homemade Playdough

Chocolate Playdough

Chocolate Playdough Activity

Cinnamon Playdough Activity

Vanilla Playdough

Extension Activities

Dramatic / Role Play using the items in the bin.  Include hot pads, an apron or jacket for a chef’s coat, chef’s hat,  and an egg timer, for lots of role playing fun.  Set up a table / eating area with teddy bears and dolls.  Pretend you are cooking for your family, a party, or at a restaurant.

Here is a printable by PreKinders that you can print off and have the kids
sort healthy and unhealthy foods.

Here is a fun color sorting activity with some dishes and foods.

Here are some fun kitchen theme printables you can use to further your child’s learning and go along with their Kitchen Sensory Bin:

Cooking potatoes on the stove.

Baking Bread in the kitchen.

Cutting Board.

Baking Cupcakes.

Spanish Kitchen Coloring Page.


Here are some fun vocabulary words, some also have pictures.  Use these in pocket charts, or fun memory games, spelling games, etc.

Kitchen Vocabulary Picture Cards.

Kitchen Vocabulary Flash Cards.

Word List.

Spanish Kitchen Vocabulary Words.

French Kitchen Vocabulary Words.

Kitchen Objects.

Kitchen Vocabulary Bingo.

Here are some place setting props.


Table Setting Placemat Craft.

Place Setting Practice Cards.

Felt Foods are a nice addition to this bin, and don’t take up much space.

Felt Food from Counting Coconuts

Here are some tutorials for turning your plastic bin into a stove for play.

Dollar Store Crafts Play Stove

Play Stove Tutorial from Delicious Ambiguity

If you have some Melissa and Doug cutting board and velcro vegetables, cake, cupcakes, etc. would add a nice experience to this bin too, but the more items you add, the bigger the bin you will need to hold it all.

After playing and exploring in your Kitchen Sensory Bin, open the real kitchen cabinets and explore some too. What can your child hold and correlate with items in her sensory bin? What about items she doesn’t have? Let her hold the whisk, or strainer, and talk about how these are helpful in the kitchen. How about opening up the spice cabinet and smelling some of the spices such as vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, cardamon, coffee, etc.

Save some time to explore together, and make something fun to eat or drink to further the learning experience and your relationship.

This post will be linked up with
No Time For Flash Cards
Play Academy
ABC and 123

Please share.

Skill Practice With Connect Four

                                                                Toddler Workbox

What’s in the workbox today?  A fun game to play.

Connect Four is a fun game that my whole family loves to play.  It is a game of strategy,  and is recommend for ages 6 and older.

But did you know you can help your toddler, and preschooler too, with many skills by allowing him (or her) to play Connect Four by himself?

Once you get over the fear of him loosing pieces to the game, set out a game in his workbox.  Just kidding, there is no need to be afraid of loosing pieces, as you can find this game at lots of garage sales and thrift stores and its a great idea to pick up a couple so you have spare parts, just in case.   This game comes in different sizes and a smaller size game fits nicely in a workbox.

Also in our family, more than two kids want to play at a time, so having a couple of these games on hand lets us all play, and even have tournaments and switch off players.

Free Play

Free play is my favorite.  Just let your toddler play on his own, placing the disks into the slots.  He will be thrilled at his accomplishment of getting them into the holder and watching them slide down the slots into position.  It helps him with awareness of his environment, as he sees his progress, and how his choices impact the colors, and patterns that appear.

Lots of eye hand coordination and fine motor skill is involved in picking up one disk from the pile, and putting it into the slots.

Recognition and thinking skill are involved in making patterns, designs, counting, and sorting.

You might even see some artistic flare in your tot as they come up with fun designs and great big smiles.

Guided Play
You can also work with guided play ideas.

You can try all of these ideas out on the same day, or use them on different days.  I prefer to use them on different days. 

Make patterns
Make a pattern on the table and have him repeat it on the game.  
Make a pattern on one collum of slots and have him repeat the pattern in the next collum. 
As their skills improve, you could draw out a page of patterns you want them to practice, and eventually they may be able to do it independently.

The game has wonderful bright colors to sort.  I love working with two colors at a time with my toddler.  Comparing the colors helps him remember them better.
Color sort into piles. 
Discuss the two colors. 
Try using only one color at a time to fill the slots.  
Call out the name of the color you want him to use. 
Alternate every other color, etc.

Practice counting to four or more. 
You could have the child place four of a color, then change and place four of the other color.  
This skill will help him get ready to play the real game of connect four. 
But they can also have fun counting to ten or twenty, whatever their skill level may be.

Two by two:
Have the child practice placing two disks, one in each hand, at the same time in the slots.   This helps them learn to coordinate their left and right sides.  This can be lots of fun.

Set out an hour glass timer like for one minute or three minute and have the child race the timer to see how many disks they can place into the slots before time runs out.

Heads or Tales:
Flip a coin.  If it lands on heads, you put in one color.  If it lands on tales, then you put in the other color.  In the end, did you have more head or tale tosses?  As your child gets older, they can learn to graph the results of their tosses.

Art Practice:
Besides practicing patterns and designs, draw a circle on a piece of paper and have the child lay the disks onto the circle.  They could just cover the line, or fill in the circle.  Try other shapes too.
Place the disks on a picture to make certain objects such as flowers, trees, animals, or spell their name.

The more ways you incorporate using the disks in your child’s hands, the more ways your child’s brain will process the skills. 

Eventually you can teach them the rules of the game, but until then, just have fun playing in various ways with the pieces.

Soon your child will be “connecting” all the fun learning you have been doing together, and they might even beat you at a real game of Connect Four!

This post will be linked up with
No Time For Flash Cards
We Play
The Play Academy
ABC and 123
High Paw

Please share.

Green Sensory Bin

                                                    Whats in the box?  A Green Sensory Bin

Each month I build at least one or two sensory/discovery bins for my children around a letter, a holiday, or a theme/unit study we are learning about. 

This Green Sensory Bin goes along with our Letter Of The Week G, our Garden Unit, and the color green theme.  There will also be a second Garden Sensory Bin for the Garden Unit to show you soon.

Ideas in our bin are:
Garden creatures such as insects, turtles, frogs, and dinosaurs (they ate from ancient gardens!)
Green plants that grow
Green trees
Green feathers
Green magnets
Green marbles
Green cubes for counting and measuring
Green ribbon for threading and counting
Green pipe cleaners for threading, counting, bending,  and poking into containers
Green containers.  I had recycled parmesian shaker bottles.  These are great for various activities.
Green cars for counting and free play
Green shapes: circles (lids), squares (blocks and foam), triangles (foam shapes), rectangles (wooden blocks)  these shapes are great for tracing, building, stacking, and more
Geen stamps
Green pony tail holders
Green magnifying glass for looking at things up close
Green crayons for tracing
Green magnetic letters and numbers for spelling and counting
Green foam letters and numbers for spelling and counting
Green letter beads that spelled the word “green” 
Green pom poms
Green juice lids
Green popcycle or craft sticks
Green stacking cups in three sizes for small, medium, and large
Green legos
Green broom and dust pan
Green ball, lots of fun to roll across the table or across the floor to a partner
Green buttons in various sizes for counting, sorting sizes, and lacing
Green dice
Green cookie cutters
Green playdough

Also scoops, trays with holes or slots, tongs, spoons, a large green basket (for a scavanger hunt), and more.

The bin is a simple plastic box.    We also use these boxes for school work and then they are called a workbox or activity box.  I rotate the items in the bin from different themes, and reuse the container when needed.  I keep a couple empty bins on hand so I have one available when its time to make the next one.  You can find affordable bins for $1 and up, the cheapest place being the Dollar Tree.

There are so many fun activities built into this little bin, I am not sure I can tell you about them all in one post.

In the picture above, my two year old son was putting green pom poms on a paint pallet and then discovered how fun it was to put a green cube on each of his fingers.  He loves to put his fingers into holes, and this has gotten him into difficult situations before.  He just couldn’t get over the sensation of how each finger felt inside the cube.  As he wiggled and moved, it caused different sensations than when his fingers don’t have these contraptions on.  This amused him for a long time and he kept holding his hands up to show me how neat it was.

My three year old daughter loves this bin almost as much as her pink bin we created in February.  Though the pink would win her first vote.  She asks for her pink bin all the time, so I haven’t yet dismanteled it.  It has gotten a workout over the past two months for sure. 

You can read about the pink valentine bin here

In this photo, she laced green counting frogs onto a green pipe cleaner. 

Then she took green pom poms and scooped them from a basket into the holes on the paint pallet.

We had green ice trays on hand to fill the compartments, and they work great for lots of different items.  You could freeze some green colored water or juice in them for an activity.  But we put in insects, magnets, trees, popcycle sticks, juice lids, and cubes and they sort well into these larger spaces.  

One favorite item to put into the long slots of these ice trays are dominoes.  Yes, I know they are white, but some of them have green pokadots as well as other colors, and I just can’t seem to seperate the children from dominoes.  They all love dominoes.  So into each of our monthly bins, I put in the dominoes.


Even my older boys ages 6, 8, and 10 had fun with various items in the sensory bin.  First of all, I sent them on a green scavenger hunt to help me locate the many items we have that are green.  Large items were put into a green basket, and the smaller items we put into our sensory bin. 

In the picture below, the older children used the dominoes and various green insects and dinosaurs to set up a mini play world.  They made a catepult with the scoop and secret caves and passageways from various items.   Insects and dinosaurs were flying through the air and competing for distance and territory.  I think ultimately the dinosaurs died out, and the insects won the contest.

I love to give the bins to the kids to just play and explore on their own.  Through out the week or month, we pull different items from the bin for guided play and learning activities too.  But just to see them explore and create on their own,  and watch how their minds work, is pure joy for me.   Kids are very creative.

Since we have a large family and the children have to share the bin, it gives them a chance to show thier better side of taking turns, or including the other person in thier role play and games.
< BR>Sensory bins are a wonderful way for children to explore, play, practice skills, and learn.

This post will be linked up with

We Play
No Time For Flash Cards
ABC and 123
The Play Academy

Please share.

Spelling With Beads

                              Beads Are A Literacy Tool

Whats In The Workbox?  Beads

Beads are a really neat medium for arts and crafts.  You can do so many things with them.  They are also really useful for teaching math, colors, sorting, and patterning concepts.   They can also help strengthen a child’s eye hand coordination, fine motor skills, and more.  But did you know they could also be used for literacy?

My ten year old son, does not like to write.  He loves to talk.  He will dictate a story for you to write.  He loves to draw.  He loves word puzzles, word search and crossword puzzles.  He loves to read and gets in plenty of reading time.  He loves math, and is a whiz at it.  His favorite subject is science and engineering.  But he doesn’t want to write sentences or work on spelling words. 

His test scores are high in every category, except when it comes to spelling.  I know this is normal for a boy of his age, and I choose not to worry about it.

I was brainstorming how I could incorporate more fun ways for him to work with letters. He loves legos and working with his hands.   So rather than writing worksheets, spelling tests, or journaling which he just doesn’t seem ready for, I was trying to think of other ways to build his word skills, including typing on the computer, magnetic letters, letter puzzles, letter tiles, and such. 

When we were at the local craft store, I found some really nice alphabet beads.  I bought a package of colored alphabet beads for $4.   I figured I would get him involved making something with letter beads.  Even if he didn’t want to, at least I could use them with the younger kids.

I wasn’t sure how my son would take to this activity, but he surprised me and was very interested.  At first I told him I needed his help sorting them and spelling a word for the younger kids so they can get used to how it is spelled. 

( I know, I should be re-named the sneaky mother, as I am always finding ways to get him to participate even if it is a subject he hates.  You should see what I sneak into his meat loaf!  But it works with him and with his dad and siblings too.  His personality is geared so that if I say I could really use his help, he will help even if it is a task he doesn’t like.  His younger siblings?  Forget it.  You could beg and plead and if they don’t want to, they won’t!  It takes lots of different “sneaky” strategies to make this house of seven flow.)

We are doing activities this month with the color “green” and I asked him to find the letters to spell “green” for me.  As I mentioned, these letters were going to be used later in a letter activity with the younger kids.

He organized the whole container of beads by color, and found all the letters for the word “green”.  He attempted the words of the other colors, but there was not enough letters to spell the colors.  I was proud of him, as I didn’t ask him to go to that step.  So, now I knew this was a manipulative that was peaking his interest.

After sorting out the colors and the word “green”, we put the other beads away.  I gave him some cord and pony beads, and clear beads and he strung a necklace.  He counted how many pony beads he wanted on each side. Then how many clear beads to place next to each letter bead and he came up with a nice pattern.

As he worked, he changed his mind a few times and unstrung the beads.  Then he started over with counting and spacing them again.

He was really proud of the outcome.  He especially likes it if he thinks it was all his idea. Shhhhhh.  We won’t tell him he was set up…

He remade this again, taking it all apart and adding in black pony beads.  You can see that version in the middle of the table below.

His brothers also wanted to work with the beads and spelling words, so we brought out a package of black and white alphabet beads also purchased from the same store for around $4.

This turned out to be a very good activity for boys.  I knew girls enjoy making necklaces, but I never thought my boys would enjoy it and want to wear them.  This is really a great activity for boys and girls.  I think using colors that appeal more to boys, and using alphabet letters, made it seam like a guy thing.  I am sure if we were using pink, purple, and delicate colors and flowers, my boys would not have been very interested.

In the picture below, the six year old is making a necklace with a message for his dad.  We talked about making a pattern.  He doesn’t yet have the insight to make the pattern first in his mind.  He needs to lay out the parts and then follow the steps.  Where the ten year old is able to see the pattern in his head and work from there.


The eight year old could not quite get the concept that if he picked up the necklace, before tying an end closed, his beads were going to slide off.  I bet we picked up his beads at least a dozen times.

For some reason, he wanted to show me the necklace he made in a vertical position.  Yep, you guessed it.  Beads went everywhere over and over.  He just wanted to hold it this way, but would forget to hold on to the bottom, at all times.  Once he let go, we had beads all over the room.  (I think he might have enjoyed this.)

When the ten year old had a huge array of alphabet letters to work with, his language skills really started to show.   He made up all sorts of words, quickly and easily.  Then he used two pipe cleaners, and put on the words “Back Jack”.  Then he started chuckling and adding more beads and presented me with his funny necklace “Back Jack This Means You”.  He laughed and laughed.  I am not sure why it was so funny.

He continued making more words with the letters.  I it was really obvious this was working as a learning tool for him.

Later that night, he wore his creation to the 4 H meeting.  (To my horror. I hope
d no one would see it as disrespectful, because that wasn’t his intention, he just thought it was funny.)   But he was so proud of his creation, I just couldn’t say no when he asked if he could wear it to the meeting.

Making beaded necklaces was a great activity, because various skill levels can participate and still have fun.

All of the boys had a lot of fun.  We will definitely make this a regular activity in our workboxes.  I would like to create spelling worksheets or various printables to go along with this. 

I will keep you posted.

How do you incorporate words with your reluctant speller? 
Leave a comment.  Thank you!

This post will be linked up with
Kids Get Crafty
The Play Academy
Learn and Link

Please share.

Letter Of The Week P

Letter Of The Week  “P”

Workboxes, Activity Trays, and just for fun activities. 

Our “Letter Of The Week” this week is “P”
Our color is pink
Our number is 3
Our shape of the week is the heart.


My goal for the week, and for the month really, was to tie in lots of  “P” words and activities to reinforce our learning of the letter “P”, the color pink, the shape of the heart, and the number 3.  

Many of the “P” words we focused on were things we are familiar with in our everyday life, such as “pink”, “picture”, and “pizza”.  It is really important to use words they are familiar with to reinforce the letter.  Then I expanded with words they may not be as familiar with or new words.  Some of the new words for my kids were “peace”, “planet”, “prince”. 

Three of the holidays this month that worked well with “P” were Valentines Day, Black History (civil rights and peace between the cultures), and Presidents Day.  So we were able to do so much more with our letter of the week, and make it more like a letter of the month!

Each of my three younger children ages 2, 3, and 6 participated in these activities on their skill level.  The older two children ages 8 and 10 did related work to the theme (Valentines, Presidents Day, Black History, and more) that correlated nicely with these activities that the younger children were doing.

Listed below are several vocabulary words you can pick from one, or a few, or brainstorm other fun ideas for a theme to give your child more practice with the letter ‘P”.

Our main vocabulary focus from the list was on the words “pink”, “pig”, “pasta”, “peace”, and “pizza”.  

Vocabulary words:

P is for pig
P is for pink
P is for prayer
P is for panda
P is for puppy
P is for puppet
P is for pennies
P is for peace
P is for pail
P is for pattern
P is for Pinkalicious
P is for pokadot
P is for President
P is for Pastor
P is for Papa
P is for planet
P is for pizza
P is for pasta
P is for piano
P is for play
P is for park
P is for purple
P is for pumpkin
P is for practice
P is for peanut butter
P is for picture
P is for pretty
P is for princess
P is for prince
P is for pirate



John 14:27   Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Books we read:

Pinkalicious Pink Around The Rink

The Three Little Pigs

My “P” Book


Pink pig

Pink panda paper bag puppet

Pink Valentines Day Hearts

Letter “P” with pasta


Math, Counting, Numbers, Patterns, Colors, Shapes, Practice,
Separate pink from other colors of manipulatives: legos, cubes, letters, pompoms,
Sort and transfer pompoms.  Read about it
here .
Use a pink magnifying glass to view pink butterflies and pink hearts.
Count up to three.
Count backwards from three.
Count three pennies and place into three compartments
Count three clothes pins and attatch them to a pink pail.  You can read more about this and several other listed activities
here .


Played with the valentines day discovery bin full of pink, white, and red items.  Read about it here.


Thread pink ribbon
Thread pink beads
Make a pink pattern
Say a prayer
Dora coloring page
Pig coloring page
Make a pink (and red and white) Valentine Park mini world with legos. Read about it here .

Role play with pink kitchen items. foods, pink babies, and pink stuffed animals in pink clothes.
Play with pink and purple playdough
Write the letter “P” with playdough, crayons, dots, pasta,
Play at the park


a Science comparing dry pasta and rehydrated pasta.  Read about it here .


TIC TAC TOE TOSS using Pink Bean Bags

Scavaenger Hunt: PINK

Scavanger Hunt: Starts with the letter “P”



Tap out notes on the piano

Recipes with Kids In The Kitchen

Pepperoni Pizza

Pink popcorn snack mix
Pink and purple smoothies
Pink lemonade
Pink punch
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Pasta with cheese

Pears cut up
Pumpkin Bars (will get a link to this posted soon)


Pink and purple are my three year old daughter’s favorite colors.  In addition to all the fun activities, we also looked in her closet and found all her clothes that were pink and purple or pokadots (shirts, pants, dress, underwear, socks, shoes).  She practiced trying them on, folding, and lining them up.  She has the colors pink and purple memorized!!!

My daughter has asked me to make her a “purple pizza”.   I am trying to figure out how to accomplish this. 

I considered making a purple onion pizza, but none of the kids like onions.

I thought about a plain or a purple sugar cookie crust, layered with blueberry, or blueberry-blackberry smooshed cream cheese frosting, and topped with blue berries and purple grapes.  Possibly could use some Pomegranate Blueberry juice for color and flavor in the crust, or sauce (frosting) too.  But I am not sure what combinations will taste good.  Guess I will need to try out a small one and see if it works.   

If you have any ideas for making a purple pizza, or any activities, crafts, recipes you use teach the letter P, please feel free to leave us a comment.   Thanks in advance.

This post will be linked up with

Tot Tuesdays
ABC and 123
We Play
Play Academy

Please share.

P Is For Pasta

                                    P Is For Pasta

We have been learning about the letter “P” for our Letter Of The Week.  You can read a summary of our Letter Of The Week “P” here and I will add more links as I get them published.  Be sure to check the side bar for more stories and helpful how to’s for the Letter Of The Week.

Making colored pasta is very easy and a frugal craft to do with your kids.  Pictured below is about $0.20 worth of pasta in the containers, and we will have left overs to use again.  It can be used later in lots of different ways besides this letter art project today.  It can also be used in a bin to hide learning objects in, to fill containers to make musical instruments, to use it as a medium to make collages or other art projects, to string and make jewelry or sew it onto a card or use a funny button on a felt outfit or puppet.  You can also make it a fun science project when you include the children and let them experiment with various colors and learn about staining objects.  See our colored rice project here for ideas on using pasta in place of rice for a science project and lots of other ideas.

To see the directions for making colored pasta, read here.   We made ours pink for the letter “P”.

Activity Tray:

On a tray, I placed a piece of white paper with the letter “P”.    I traced a lid for the circle and a book edge for the line of the letter P.  Then I free handed the inner circle.  I traced it in pencil first and then with a pink crayon over the pencil line (if you are setting out this activity for older children, you can let them make the letter ‘P” themselves too).   I also set out some glue, a Q tip, and pink pasta on the tray.

Playing with colored pasta is a really fun sensory experience.  My 3 year old loves to feel it flow and move between her fingers as she scoops up a handful and then lets it slowly fall back into the pile.  She can hear it go “tap tap” as it falls.  It makes a “whoosh” sound as she scoops it up again.  Visually she sees a single piece of pasta as well as a mass of pieces together.  She can mound them up or press them down.  She can remove one, or some, to see how they look individually too.    

After my daughter had her fill of playing in the pasta, it was time to make the letter “P”.

I squirted dots of glue inside the “P” .

She used a Q tip to spread the glue.  I asked her if she thought she could paint the glue inside the lines and she said “sure I can” and I was impressed that she kept it all in. 

Sometimes how you present the idea makes all the difference in a child understanding the concept.  On the other hand, if they are not ready, they may not understand, no matter how many ways you present the idea.

About this time, younger brother age 2 decided he wanted to make one too.  I had anticipated this and had a tray ready for him, minus the plate of pasta.  I wrongly assumed they could share the same container of pasta.  Oh boy, an argument ensued!  This is what I mean that even if you try to explain a concept, (such as today we are sharing one plate of pasta to make our letter p) they may not quite understand or agree.  In this case, neither child wanted the other child to have the container with the special valuable sensory exploding pasta, so I ended up dividing it into two plates of pasta, one for each.

I was quite pleased that they went right back to the activity as soon as a second container of treasured pasta came to the rescue.

The two year old would add some pasta and then go back and paint a little bit with his Q tip in the next spaces.  I think he had more fun with the Q tip as he was exploring how it smeared the glue and then how the glue made the pasta stick to the page.

They both had a lot of fun with this activity, and next time I will use the leftover pasta to practice learning to spell their names.  Maybe we will use a rainbow of colored pasta next time.

I thought it was interesting how both the 3 year old and the 2 year old followed directions, but ended up with a slightly different looking “P”.


How do you play and learn with pasta?  Leave us a comment.  Thanks!

This post will be linked up with

Tot Tuesdays
Play Academy
We Play
ABC and 123
No Time For Flash Cards

Please share.

Colored Pasta

How To Make Colored Pasta

I made this colored pasta for less than $0.20 

Similar to making colored rice, making colored pasta is fun and frugal.  You can read how we made colored rice here.

You will need two cups of pasta.  1 teaspoon of rubbing alcohol.  A few drops of food coloring of your choice.  A plastic bag (reuse an old one if available, ziploc or bread bags or any left over bag will do).

Add all of your ingredients to the plastic bag and zip or tie it shut.

Then shake it around for several minutes to evenly distribute the color.

Leave it in the bag for about 1 hour and shake it now and then to be sure the color stays evenly distributed.

Spread it out on a paper towel to dry for a couple of hours.  Now it is ready to use.

You can make just the color you need or make lots of colors for future projects. 

Have FUN!

Please share.