Monday, January 16, 2012

National Soup Month

“Soup’s on” in January as we celebrate National Soup Month.  Keep the “brrr” cold outside and warm the tummy with delicious hot soup.  This meal-in-a-bowl can combine a multitude of food groups, providing a potent serving of nutrients in each spoonful. Here are a few ideas to make “soup” a fun meal!


It's nice to have a placemat under your bowl of hot soup. Why not create your own "soup mat" using real vegetables. Give each child a sheet of light colored construction paper.  Gather vegetables such as carrots, bell peppers, celery, potatoes, corn-on-the-cob, pea pods and more.

Prepare paint pads by placing a folded paper towel into shallow pans.  Pour the tempera (poster) paints on top.  The artist can dip the cut vegetable in the paint and then press down onto the placemat paper to make a print. Continue printing all types of vegetables using colors of orange, green, yellow, brown and white.

When the sheet is completely dry, cover the mat with a sheet of clear adhesive plastic.  The "soup mat" can be wiped clean and used over and over again.

NOTE:  Have each child personalize their mat with their name, and favorite soup names before laminating it.


The fun of soup is what's floating on top.  Here are a few favorite garnishes:

*star shaped croutons (toasted bread)
*Goldfish crackers
*oyster crackers
*bacon bits          
*bagel chips
*crumbled tortilla chips
*dollops of yogurt or sour cream  (make a smile face)
*grated Parmesan or Cheddar cheese
*sesame seeds
*fresh snipped herbs (use a kitchen scissors)


*Americans consume more than 12 billion bowls or soup each year. January is the most popular month.

*Three most popular soups are Chicken Noodle, Cream of Mushroom and Tomato soup.

*In one year, Campbell's uses 1 million miles of noodles in its chicken noodle soup, enough to circle the equator approximately 40 times.

*Campbell uses more than 44 billion stars each year in its chicken & stars soup.  In three years, Campbell produces more stars than are in the Milky Way.

*In one year Campbell produces almost 11 billion letters for its alphabet soup.


Photo courtesy of Clarita
Previously posted on Caring For Kids

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Zoo Play At Home ~ Animals From the Art Cart

Children love animals! A trip to your local zoo is bound to be a hit, but when that's not possible you can have lots of zoo fun at home. With a variety of animal activities and with a spark of imagination you and your kids can 'take a walk on the wild side!'

From the "art cart"

With paper, glue, paints, crayons and the recycle bin, your child can create a menagerie of animals at home.

Gentle Giraffe - Cut out the shape of a giraffe on yellow construction paper and let your child put spots on it with a bingo marker or ink stamp.

Slithering Snake - Your children can make a snake out of a paper plate. First, draw a line that goes around and around from the edge to the middle and stops. Next, invite your youngster to sponge paint the plate (dab, dab, dab) with green and brown poster paints. When dry, the kids can cut on the line (lots of curves) to make a spiral. Punch a hole at the top, thread in a piece of string and hang the snake. It will wiggle and cause lots of giggles!

Zebra Stripes - Draw and cut out a horse-shape from white construction paper. Using black poster paint, invite the children to marble paint this animal. Do this by placing the paper shape in a baking pan. Tape it down on the bottom of the pan with a rolled piece of tape. Coat a couple marbles with black paint and then place them into the pan. Your kids can tilt the pan back and forth, letting the balls roll over the animal. Children love to see this "horse" turn into a zebra. As a variation, ping-pong balls can be used.

Thumbprint Monkeys - Give your children a piece of construction paper with the outline of a tree drawn on it (older children can draw their own tree). Set out inkpads and felt-tip makers. Let your kids make thumb print monkeys all over their tree picture. To create monkeys, have them press a thumb on an inkpad and make two thumb prints, one above the other on the paper. Then complete the monkeys by adding faces, arms, legs and tails with the markers.

Playing zoo can be loads of fun and a good way to bring out all the stuffed animals your child has hidden in her room. Whether you have a rainy day or one where staying home is the call, creative play is so productive to your child's development.

Previously posted on 

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Circus is Coming to Town~~~

Come one, come all - the circus is coming to town! So "step right up" for activities with a circus theme that children will love. Whether you have the opportunity to visit the circus in person or conduct a pretend one at home or school, the children will find this very entertaining.

The special enchantment of the circus is made up of many things that has always spelled excitement. Children can have this in preschool or daycare with just a little imagination from the caregiver. Here are a few ideas to get started. 

Try this clown craft from for a fun project.

Suggested books to read:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Don't Forget About Thank You Notes!

There are many reasons to give thanks, especially at this time of year. The holiday season is full of gifts and invitations that call for an important gesture - a thank you note, even from the youngest recipients. Giving a "thank you" is one of the most fulfilling gifts you can give a person. Feelings of gratitude are important to nurture. To help children get in touch with these feelings, make time to create thank you activities, from the simple note to other creative ways of showing appreciation.

Read on for fun and creative ways to sent notes and other forms of gratitude.

Also, check out some of the paints and art supplies available for crafting with preschoolers.

Images courtesy of