Halloween crafts and activities do not have to be complex. My preschooler’s favorite Halloween Craft are these Googly Eyed Monsters! Not only did she have a spook-tacular time making them, she loves making sure everyone sees them when they come in our home.
The best part about these monsters, you only really need to go buy googly eyes. Everything else are pretty common household items.
To set up this craft for Mila, I cut some squares from old cardboard boxes. We love to upcycle and reuse items. If we can make memories by doing that, I’m all for it!
Then, I put out the colors of paint she wanted to use. I tried to persuade her to use more Halloween colors. She insisted on blue though, but I think it turned out super cute even though it’s not a traditional color.
I let her free paint and do whatever she wanted. They didn’t start off as monsters, just as big blobs.
If you have older kids, they’ll be able to do this next part on their own. I went in and drew outlines of monsters with her blobs. She might be able to do it now, but I just follow her interest and patience level with these types of activities. There’s no right or wrong ways to outline them. Just let their artwork speak to you!
When the monsters were finished and dried, Mila put the eyes where she wanted them to be. Let your child pick out how many eyes and the eye color they think they need. It’s so cute to see how they end up seeing their monsters.
Then, you can hot glue a pipe cleaner on the back of the cardboard pieces to hand them. This is an optional step, but I love it.
I love this little progression picture. This activity came out so adorable and I’ll definitely be hanging these up throughout future Halloweens. At first, Mila was afraid of some of her pictures. Now she thinks they’re cute. She’s really getting in the spooky mood!
Another week, another activity box for Mila to explore. This week is a Mermaid Activity Box. Since summer is still here and she loves the beach, I thought it was a perfect time to do this theme. It’s fun, education, and a hit with Mila.
Although I over-themed it for mermaids, this could easily be altered to be more about sharks, fish, or any other ocean creature too.
Like the Dinosaur Activity Box, the Mermaid Activity Box is filled with sensory items, toys, books, and educational activities for toddlers and preschoolers. All of this fits inside a book box from Target so it can easily travel from place to place.
These boxes are such an easy way to help promote learning for you little ones with multiple family members and friends.
Every time Mila sees me start to take items out of the box and put new ones in, she gets so excited to see what she’ll be working with. I think by just getting her to sit down with the sensory toys, books, and activity worksheets, it’ll help her prepare for preschool. it can be a huge adjustment to start learning how to sit down for crafts and activities the first time they go to preschool.
Anyways… here’s what’s all in the Mermaid Activity Box.
I’m a big supporter of Mila reading books every single day. Even if she’s making her own words up with the pictures. Books help kids understand concepts, worlds, and places they don’t have the opportunity or option to explore.
These four books are amazing. I’ve definitely showcased three of them on past posts before. They’re just that good!
In all of these books, we love the stories, but the illustrations are just gorgeous. I think they really capture the ocean vibes with all the blues. Mila’s favorite for a long time have been the That’s Not My… series. She loves finding the mouse and learning new words that describe what the books about.
I’m always on the look out for more books too. If you have fun ocean, sea, or mermaid inspired books you think we’d love, let me know in the comments.
Sensory Play Items
We love sensory play. There’s SO many options for kids to learn by feeling and exploring.
The beautiful resin letters are from Beags and Bubs. I shouted Danielle out last week for her letters and knew I had to showcase them for this activity box. She also created the seek and find activity too (the clear circle in the top left) and the sand play-doh. I would 100% recommend her to anyone. Her Instagram feed is beautiful and she can make custom letters that will be perfect for you child.
I also added her mermaid pop-it. Mila is just amazed by pop-its. Whenever she gets overwhelmed, i’ll give her one and it calms her. This one is adorable, but can easily be carried around too.
She also always loves slime and I gave her blue play-doh too. The seashells were included so she can make impressions in the play-doh. This will allow her to extend her play and be imaginative with the toys too.
I have a ton of different sticker and coloring books for Mila. She loves them both. For her sticker books, I usually have another page or cardboard for her to put them on too.
The two pictured above were found at Joann’s for cheap! The marker page was actually 70% off. Mila likes the way the black feels and I love that it’ll help her stay in the lines. I also have other coloring pages from older coloring books that she loves to color in.
Like with the Dinosaur Activity Box, I flipped through Mila’s workbooks and found mermaid and ocean themed pages for her to use. Usually preschool workbooks will have a huge range of themes they use in their books, which is awesome for using different themes!
Again, I love preparing her for preschool by giving her these pages now. It helps let her know that learning can be fun!
There’s also a ton of printables on Pinterest you can find for activity pages too!
Although they’re not added in this picture of the activity box, you can add so many other crafts and activities too. We’ve done so many ocean and mermaid themed sensory play and crafts that Mila has asked to do over and over again.
These crafts and sensory components can be put in bags or Tupperware containers to help organize them.
Wondering what crafts and sensory ideas you can do, check out this list:
S’mores are obviously a huge part of our summer. We have tons of fires and we’re always craving the gooey treat. Sometimes, you can have a ton of leftover marshmallows. Instead of just throwing them away before they get hard, try this Marshmallow painting.
If you’re by the campfire making s’mores, you have almost everything you’ll need.
To start this activity off, I had Mila go find sticks. It gave her some time to explore and find the perfect ones.
While she was doing that, I prepped the painting area. All you need to do is find a spot for your canvas, get a palette (I used old cardboard) to put the paint, and get out marshmallows.
Once Mila got back with the sticks, I stuck the sticks in the marshmallows to make a ‘brush.’
Before she started painting, I asked her to tell me a campfire story through her art. So, while she was painting, she was telling a big story. Everyone color represented something different.
The storytelling part of this activity is my favorite! People have been telling stories around the fire since the first humans.
I can’t remember exactly what Mila’s was about. There were a lot of details.
What I do recall is the story was about me, Mila, and Max. We rode on a bike to get plants and a tree. She was purple, I was pink, Max was orange, the plants and tree were green, the bike was blue, and there’s some colors she used again that I don’t remember why.
I should have been recording her tell the story, but I didn’t think about it until after. Either way, when I look at her little painting, I smile.
Afterwards, we enjoyed a little s’more and told more stories. It was such a fun activity to start our evening. Summer nights like these are my absolute favorite.
In the next week or so, I hope I can start writing down her stories. She’s been telling a lot of them and I want to make sure I always remember. When I do, I’ll make sure to write a post about it in case you’d like to do something similar.
Have you ever painted with marshmallows before? If not, what’s your favorite camping or summer craft you did as a child?
Here’s some other summer/camping crafts you might want to check out too!
Mila and I love watching birds in our backyard. After making DIY bird feeders, we thought it’d be fun to expand their spot on the tree. We created what I like to call a little birdhouse motel.
If you didn’t know, birds hold a special place in my heart. They remind me of Jensen and whenever I see a red or blue bird, I feel as if it’s him saying, “hello mom!” There are also birds on his urn. For some reason, his urn called out to me. It felt like it was a freeing image and after that, birds just felt right to celebrate him with. With that being said, we really welcome them in our backyard.
I’ve been looking at different birdhouses to purchase, but have been so busy I’ve forgotten to order one. Thanks mom brain! When I last went to the dollar store, I found two little kits, so I had to buy them. Then I figured we could reuse something at home too.
Not everything has to look perfect or expensive, it still turns out cute when made with love.
As I said before, if I could do this again, I probably would have ordered a different birdhouse kit. Yet, this one worked out perfectly because it wasn’t so big that Mila lost interest.
For the kits, I followed the instructions on the back of the package.
Honestly, I threw away the wood glue and went straight to my hot glue gun. It went a lot quicker! If you’re up for the challenge and have the patience, you could try the wood glue.
After the hot glue was dried, Mila and I each painted one of the mini birdhouses.
She wanted to pick out the colors and of course chose purple and pink. They’re truly her go to colors! It makes me laugh that most of the crafts and artwork in our house are bright and girly. Let’s hope the birds like it too!
While Mila continued to paint her birdhouse (which she did all by herself!), I cut out a big chunk of the juice carton and then washed it out. I also cut two holes across the top to pull string through to hang. It would have really helped if I had done this before I painted, but… I forgot!
Afterwards, I ended up painted it black (against Mila’s wishes) with a purple little heart on it. When it was dried, I pulled the string through and tied a knot.
When the kits were done, I also tied the string and hung them all together.
Mila went to find some grass, small sticks, and a little bit of bird seed to welcome in our new friends. It was so cute seeing which objects she thought the birds would like. If I were them, I’d feel right at home!
I can’t wait until we can get more birdhouses and maybe do another DIY.
These two were simple enough for us to do it in an evening. As she gets older, we can definitely do more complicated things. For now, she’s in love with our birdhouse motel. I am so proud of how well she painted and worked on her little project.
Now we get to wait to see who decides to move in and benefit from the motel. Hopefully different types of birds will visit and maybe even a bluebird or two. Fingers crossed!
What’s your favorite type of bird? Let me know in the comments.
If you love birdhouses and want some other inspiration to do a DIY one, check out what these moms have done.
We love process art! With spring here, as well as the bugs, we had to find a creative way to make a unique piece of art. This time, with a flyswatter and a hyper toddler!
Mila has a love hate with bugs. On one hand, she’s afraid of most of them. Then, on the other, she likes butterflies and the ‘pretty’ bugs. She despises flies and gnats, but was pretty impressed last year when she was introduced to the flyswatter. It’s like she’s on fly patrol whenever she sees one.
To get her creative and being active (which she loves), I thought this activity would be fun for her!
Not only is it fun for Mila to paint and have fun with it, the texture the flyswatter made was amazing to me. It turned out to be a great project.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Canvas or paper
‘Bugs’ (aka paint)
I love activities that have an easy set up. It works for Mila’s patience level and if I just need a quick activity, it’s so nice. This one was just like that.
The only real planning we did was picking out paint colors. Mila, of course, went for her normal colors: pink, blue, and purple. We had everything else already on hand, but you can find all of these materials almost anywhere.
Then, I just poured little dots of paint all over the canvas. I told Mila to pretend they were bugs and to smack them!
She had so much fun hitting all the different bugs. If I do this activity again, I’ll have her hit the certain colors to practice color matching. It would be fun seeing if she or any toddler would try their best not to hit any other colors too.
The patter the lines on the flyswatter made were perfect. When she asked for more bugs, the layered look was so cute. Somehow, the paints didn’t all muddle together and you could see all the different colors. I was worried they’d just become a huge purple blob!
Mila had a ton of fun hitting the canvas and we ended up doing the same activity on a big wood board too.
I hope to finish her painting off with writing a quote on it in the near future. I love to combine her artwork with encouraging words! It just makes for a fun team project that I know we’ll enjoy for years to come.
Let me know in the comments if you like bugs or if you’re on Mila’s side of the flyswatter.
Check out how some other moms incorporated bugs and insects in their learning.
In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, femininity, and art, Mila learned more about one of my favorite historical woman: Frida Kahlo. Of course, we had to do a craft of a Frida portrait; just with a toddler spin.
If you don’t know about Frida, she’s truly an amazing woman. Her history was tragic, but her perseverance to keep going against all odds really speaks to me. Through everything, she became one of Mexico’s greatest artists. She did a ton of self portraits, which is why we honored her this way.
Now, I understand Frida has NOTHING to do with Cinco de Mayo. This holiday commemorates Mexico’s unlikely defeat over France in 1862. Since then, it’s turned into a huge celebration.
With Mila being three, I don’t feel completely comfortable talking about war with her yet. It’s still a great way to teach her about Mexican culture. Frida is a huge cultural icon and since we love learning about art, it felt perfect.
Anyways, you can look up all kinds of information about CInco de Mayo and Frida all over the internet. Now it’s time to get to our little craft.
Honestly, i wish I had a free printable for everyone to make this craft a little easier. The elements in this project are a little detailed, but the end result is worth it.
To prep for this craft, I drew the different elements of Frida’s face on the construction or craft paper. They don’t have to be perfect. I think the more unique it is with its imperfections, the more it connects with Frida and her work.
I drew Frida’s hair, nose, eyes, and unibrow on black construction paper. Her lips on red scrapbook paper. The accessories on yellow scrapbook paper. Her body is made out of brown construction paper and the dress out of floral scrapbook paper.
Once everything was drawn, I cut them out.
Since we used a canvas, I hot glued Frida’s body and part of her hair down. Then, it was all up to Mila.
She has seen Frida and her artwork for her entire life. We read books with her in them, but I showered her a picture before she started. After, I asked if she could make her face.
Honestly, she did a great job. She loved talking about the different parts of her face and was in love with the flowers. I think she said Frida about a thousand times too. It amazes me that she picks up on all these new words.
I think she did a really good job. She put it in a prime spot for all to see! I love that she loves all her hard work.
Plus, it was a fun way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
Tonight we’ll be enjoying tacos and I’ll have a margarita. We love to celebrate these holidays and learn all about new culture.
Let us know what you think about this Frida craft and how you celebrate Cinco de Mayo!
Before you go, check out how these moms celebrate Cinco de Mayo and Mexican heritage.
If you’re like me, you might be running a little behind getting Mother’s Day presents. One thing I always seem to forget is the card! This year, try these DIY watercolor cards!
These are a fun way to share your child’s creativity and a way for you to get involved too. Mila loved seeing our creations and I know they’ll be a hit. This could also be a great tradition to start with your children too. They could end up just making them for you as they get older.
Go to an area or set up one that you’re okay with paint getting on. Then lay everything out. This specific water color paint was already mixed up. This made it easier for Mila so she didn’t have to dip her brushes in water first.
After, let them paint whatever they would like. There’s no right or wrong way for them to paint or create these.
Once they’re done with a specific card, have them sprinkle salt on the paint. Not only does this help it dry, it creates an amazing texture to the cards. Plus, it’s a little science experiment that your child will love!
They can continue with their painting and salt.
When the salt is dried, you and your child can rub it off. They’ll love seeing how it looks and Mila was in awe of how the salt was colored too.
The next part is up to you. If your child is older, you can instruct them to draw flowers or something that reminds them of the female figures in their lives. Mila wasn’t interested in this, so I personally drew flowers that flowed with her painting. It’s so much fun to take their creations and help make it even more special.
I ended up taping the paintings to cards. On the inside, I wrote a special note for each of Mila’s cards and had her sign it.
They turned out so cute and I really love them. Mila loved the outcome of her cards and was so proud of her painting. I think seeing it all come together helped complete her vision. As always, she will be so excited for her loved ones to receive them.
Honestly, I’m keeping one for myself so I can see how Mila’s art skills grow. Plus, I’m just as proud of her as she is of herself.
If you end up trying this activity, let me know in the comments. Make sure to tag me on Instagram if you share on there too.
What are your favorite types of Mother’s Day gifts?
If your toddler is anything like Mila, they love flowers. Spring is the perfect time to not only go and pick flowers, but to learn and identify parts of flowers too!
After learning about the water cycle, it was an easy transition to learning about flowers. While reading the Little Raindrop Book, Mila noticed that flowers and plants were a part of a raindrops journey. Since I have a ton of plants, she connected how our houseplants get thirsty and that they needed water to live.
So, we reread the book, talked about what makes a flower, a flower, and made a fun craft too.
To do this activity with your child, you only need a few supplies.
Before beginning this activity, there’s a little prep to do.
First, cut out pieces to make a stem, flower, leaves, sun, and dirt. I did basic shapes, but you can be as creative as you want. For the flower, I left it white so Mila could paint and personalize it.
Then, cut squares for your child to actually label the flower. There should be six squares. Label them with these: sun, flower, stem, leaves, dirt, and roots.
There are a few ways to introduce this activity to your child. Mila interacts with flowers and plants everyday at our home and through the book I mentioned. Your child might enjoy going outside and actually seeing flowers before doing this.
After you talk to your child about flowers, it’s time to set up the activity.
I first had Mila paint her flower with watercolors. Since we’ve been in a creative mood, she loved this part!
After that was finished. I had Mila tell me what she remembered about flowers.
To get to the main part of the activity, I asked her a few leading questions. The first was where do flowers live. She instantly said dirt, so on our paper we laid down where dirt would be. Then I asked her what part of the flowers lived under the dirt. Roots! This is a difficult question and I think she only knew this through my plant propagations.
We glued down half of the ‘dirt’ and then drew roots underneath the other half. This makes this project interactive.
With the dirt and roots set, it’s a little easier for them to figure out what comes next.
Mila ended up putting the stem, leaves, and flowers on by herself. She helped me glue the pieces of paper and placed them where she wanted them to go. For the sun, I asked her what gives the plant life. the sun and water. She placed the sun in the top corner and said that was in the sky.
We used the little pompoms to talk about seeds. Since seeds are in the middle of the flower, we put them there. Although we didn’t talk about seeds, I did extend her learning and told her seeds go in the ground. Then I told her they sprout roots and flowers from that one little seed. She seemed pretty amazed by that.
After it was all laid out, I made her go through all the parts to label them.
As she stated what part of the plant was what, I glued down the appropriate label so she could see the words by them.
Overall, it was a fun activity that she’s really proud of. She’s showed everyone who’s came over.
Make sure to check out these seven spring books that can help you talk to your toddler about flowers and spring. They all have beautiful illustrations and I know toddlers and young children will LOVE them.
Rain rain, go away, come back another day! Or if you insist on staying, it’s a perfect time to introduce the water cycle to toddlers.
Mila LOVE experimenting. I try to tailor to her learning style as much as I can. She would prefer doing an experiment every day, but that’s not always possible. Thankfully, teaching her about rain and the water cycle gives us an amazing opportunity to get dirty and make what she calls Stormy Clouds.
This experiment is fun for both toddlers and adults. It not only talks about the rain cycle, but you can incorporate color recognition, the Scientific Method, and motor skills too; so much learning packed in one rainy day activity.
I’m going to first start off by saying this activity can get messy. Whenever there is food coloring, it somehow gets everywhere. I’d recommend placing a plate, mat, or some sort of paper under your big jar. Of course, food coloring will clean up, but it’s nice to just take some precautions.
Once you get an area where you’ll experiment set up, fill a big clear jar with water. The jar I used had a lip on it. I filled it up to the bottom of the lip so it gave me some room to put the shaving cream.
Next, mix your food coloring with water in little jars and bowls. Your child will be either scooping the colored water with a spoon or using a pipette. I used very small Tupperware containers for this step. For the water/food color combination, I used 8-10 drops of food coloring and eyeballed the water. I wasn’t too scientific about the measurements!
Then, add shaving cream to look like a cloud on top of the BIG jar of water. I did this step after the food coloring because Mila would not have had enough patience to wait for all of the colors.
After you’re set with the cloud, have your toddlers start spooning or dripping the dyed water over the could.
It takes a little bit for the water to penetrate through the cloud, but once it does, it’ll look like rain drops are coming out of it. Mila enjoyed using purple the best since it was easier to see. Although, it was fun to do a huge mix of colors.
Throughout the experiment, we talked about how clouds make the rain and then it goes down to Earth. I’m not a huge science buff, so I turned to Little Raindrop, which is a cute book that talks age appropriately about the water cycle! It has adorable pictures and tells the story about a single raindrop. Mila got this when she was one and it was too advanced for her. At almost three, it’s perfect!
Even if your child is not interested in learning about the water cycle or even into rain, the activity is fun to just make a mess and play with colors. I showed a group of adults this activity and they enjoyed it too. It really is fun watching the shaving cream turn different colors.
Next time it’s raining or anytime you want a hands on activity to do with your child, this Stormy Clouds Experiment is perfect!
If you liked or tried this activity, let me know in the comments!
Check out these rainy day activities from other moms!
If you’re looking for an easy Thanksgiving craft to do, look no further.
Mila had a blast making these turkey day cards for family and one to keep. Most of the supplies I had on hand, minus the feathers and small canvas. I got both at the local dollar store.
Brown or copper paint
All you need to do is get your computer paper or canvas ready, paint your child’s hand like a turkey, and place it on the paper or canvas. It’s really as simple as that.
When you put paint in their hand, really put a lot on there or it’ll dry before you get everything painted. I painted the brown last and it seemed to help. With the one paint application, I was able to get four turkeys. One on canvas and the other three on paper.
After the turkeys dried a little, I glued on the feather and added the turkeys face and legs.
To make the three into a card, I taped them on scrapbook paper and wrote a little message on the back. Then it was done.
You can personalize these however you’d like or even add them to tea towels or plates with the right kind of plate. For us, it was easier to do this and they turned out adorable.
We all know this year is not a normal one, but it’s still nice to still make memories and send out cards to the ones we love.
If you give this Turkey Day craft a try, post in the comments so we can see. Lastly, Happy Thanksgiving!