Felt Board Story Time

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Felt boards are a fantastic visual… and slightly magical to kids, too, since the pieces stick together but then peel right off. Today, I wanted to tell Veronika some familiar stories and rhymes using a felt board as a visual.

If you want, this could be a DIY craft: cover a board with felt and staple the edges in place. Then you’ll need to cut additional shapes from other colors of felt to act out the stories. I confess, though, that I used a pre-made felt story board. This made it a lot easier to focus on the storytelling for Veronika, and not on my negligible crafting skills!

She was intrigued the moment I pulled out the board, no doubt from the bright colors of the felt.

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And the texture!

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After letting her have some time for exploration, I set up a story. Goldilocks and the Three Bears was fun, with a little house shape, and a semi-circle for a bowl of porridge.

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Then I set up a little “boat” and sang “Row Row Row Your Boat.”

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This one was Jack and Jill going up the hill!

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And tumbling down.

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Obviously there is a bit of stretching the imagination that needs to happen here, but it was great fun to mix and match the shapes and watch her reaction.

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This is definitely a game I hope to continue as she gets older, especially since we can use smaller pieces and more intricate shapes once she doesn’t put everything in her mouth.

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Sprout Sculpture

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This little project is sort of a DIY chia pet, but you get to control what it looks like! It’s a neat way to introduce kids to the concept of a greenhouse, too.

To set up our “greenhouse,” Travis and I first spooned about 2 teaspoons chia seeds into a measuring cup, and filled with 1/2 cup water. Let sit while you put together the sponge structure.

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We glued two sponges to a paper plate as a base, then built upwards using other colored sponges.

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Have fun cutting some of the sponges into smaller pieces or shapes, or perhaps getting architectural with your design!

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Note: We found that hot glue worked best for holding the sponges in place; a few of them had a slight tower-of-Pisa lean when we tried to use white glue.

Spoon your chia mixture over the sponges. Travis thought it was so goopy!

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We spritzed with a water bottle until the sponges and chia seeds were nicely saturated.

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Place inside a clear plastic container (this is your “greenhouse”) and set the container some place with plenty of sunshine.

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We made sure to spritz at least twice daily and within about four days, we had some sprouts!

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By one week, it was looking quite sculptural! Definitely a neat experiment.

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A+ for Teachers

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May 7 is National Teacher Day, so in appreciation, Travis put together “report cards” for his two preschool teachers!

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Ahead of time, I bought a few packs of school-themed stickers. These served as helpful prompts as I asked him to think about how his teachers help him. For example, cookies and juice reminded him, “They help me at snack time.” Glue, scissors, and paint jar stickers reminded him, “They help me with crafts.”

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We also added a few more abstract ideas, like “they are patient with me” or “they encourage me.”

Of course for each sentence, we graded his teachers an A+! Once he’d written in his name, the cards were complete.

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What will you do for your kids’ teachers in appreciation? Please share in the comments!


Cardboard Tube Marble Run

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This DIY marble run is a fantastic way to get your kids engineering and learning about laws of motion – all while they just think they’re playing!

I saved up cardboard tubes (from toilet paper and paper towel rolls) for a few weeks, until we had a good-sized collection.

First we needed to decorate our tubes. Travis loved covering them with washi tape, and insisted on being in charge of snipping off the pieces of tape we would use.

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Next, we cut the tubes open, which he also loved doing!

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If your child wants to, decorate the inside of the tubes with marker or crayon. But at this point, Travis was so excited to design our marble run that he said let’s skip the markers!

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We headed over to a blank portion of wall, and I taped up the first tube with masking tape. Slowly, we decided where each tube needed to go.

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This part will involve a bit of trial-and-error, and a few test runs! Check to see where marbles bounce out or fall off tubes, and adjust accordingly.

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I recommend placing a small container with sides at the bottom to catch the marbles.

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We were so proud once we had a run that perfectly deposited the marbles inside our container.

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