Paper Clip Challenge

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Travis and I took the day off from tracing, but I challenged him with this activity that hones fine motor skills and sorting skills – two great things to work on in the summer before kindergarten!

First, I cut construction paper into squares using four different colors. Each color corresponded with a colored paper clip.

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The goal was to gather all the paper slips of one color, and affix them together with the corresponding paper clip.

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He was an avid participant, combing through the pile of papers to make sure he didn’t miss a single one.

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When it came time to clip on the paper clip, I realized he’d never used one before! I showed him how the end with two loops will naturally slip over a stack of paper, one loop in front, one behind, and hold them together. This was like magic to my 5 year old!

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Needless to say, he eagerly began searching for the next color. “You have all the green,” I said, pointing toward the green paper clip. “Nope, missed one!” His eyes are better than mine!

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At the end, he had four neat stacks.. .and loved the task so much that he wanted to play with the paper and clips for some time after.

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Fourth of July Paper Pinwheels

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Just in time for a Fourth of July parade, we threw together these quick pinwheels! This is actually a project we’ve tried in the past but only had brads on hand to attach the paper to pencils. This time, I had proper straight pins on hand!

Draw patterns on paper with markers to start. For today, we knew we needed blue and red markers on white paper of course, but really you could tailor this craft for any holiday – or any day of the year!

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Older kids can concentrate on making their drawings and patterns symmetrical. Or even use patterned paper in a pinch! Make sure to also color in small circles on a separate sheet of scrap paper, which will be the center of the pinwheel.

Cut your paper into a 6-inch square; cut a 3-inch slit diagonally in toward the center from each corner, and cut out the scrap circle.

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Poke a straight pin through the paper circle, then begin folding in the corners of your square, alternating corners and poking the pin through each layer as you go. This was a mommy step!

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Poke the pin through the center of your square and down into the eraser of an unsharpened pencil.

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Your pinwheel is ready to twirl in the wind as the parade marchers go by! Baby sister loved it, too!

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In addition to this fun craft, we set the stage for the holiday with a few other activities. First we needed a playlist of Fourth of July tunes.

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Think of bandstand favorites like “You’re a Grand Old Flag”, then add anything with America or U.S.A. in the title! We made our own list, but relied on this one from Raddish Kids for inspiration.

Then we struck up some table talk, also suggested by Raddish Kids; we tackled intriguing questions like who is your favorite president (Travis chose Washington!), how many states can you name, and what is a favorite family 4th of July tradition?

Finally, I showed Travis a red, white, and blue flag quiz. For big kids, make it a true quiz or competition – winner gets a prize! For Travis, it was more of a teaching moment. He liked Great Britain’s flag best, and was intrigued to learn so many other countries use the same color trio as we do.

Happy 4th!