Friday, February 3, 2023

Valentine Crafts for the Young

It's coming on February 14th. Time to get started on Valentine crafts. Here are a few to try.

I know your children make Valentines in school and daycare, but there is nothing like getting out the art supplies and creating memorable decorations and gifts with your little one at home. This is something I cherished with my children and now my grandkids. Kids are only young once, savor every moment.

CD Photo Magnet—

This is a project you and your child can make for gifts and recipients can truly enjoy.  Recycle old CD’s (or the ones you get in the mail). Glue a picture of your child on the front, in the center.  With a colorful paint pen, write, “Your Love Makes My Heart Sing” around the disk. Decorate with cute little hearts, drawn freehand or you can use stickers. Attach a small piece of adhesive magnetic tape to the backside of the disk. This tape is easily found in craft stores.  Just think; this project idea can be used for multiple holidays—just by changing colors and decorative designs.  It’s also a craft project that older children may enjoy making themselves!

Everybody Loves A T-Shirt!

How about one with meaning? You can use this technique on canvas bags, baseball caps, and hand towels too. Use your imagination and have fun!  With a fabric paint marker write, “Behind every hand is a heart that loves Dad” (or Grandma, or whomever the shirt is for).  Gently paint the hands of your child with fabric paint and press them on any area of the shirt.  Use a variety of colors and allow the shirt to dry.  Make sure to wash your child’s hands thoroughly.  For an added touch, date the shirt with a laundry marker or fabric paint marker.

Making Tie-Dyed Valentines—

A tie-dyed print doesn’t have to be messy.  Here is a way to get this same effect using simple art materials.  Flatten a white coffee filter and place it onto a sheet of cardboard or anything that will protect your table.  Invite your child to draw Valentine designs (actually scribbles will do) onto the filter with washable color markers covering a vast surface.  Fold the filter into quarters and dip it into cold water for just a second.  Your child will be amazed as he/she sees the colors blend.  Open the filter and lay it flat to dry.  When completely dry, show your child how to cut hearts from this unique paper.

Spend quality time bonding and making memorable crafts for this holiday. They are fun too!
Happy Parenting,

Contact me for republication of any part of this blog post with a link back to Creative Preschool Time 

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

It's All About Family: Activities for Kids

Spend "together time" as a family. Celebrate this very special relationship by using a variety of activities that focus on the family theme. Take this theme into reading, writing, speaking, music, and art.
My Family Quilt

There is nothing cozier than a quilt. They feel like home. Begin this lesson by reading The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy and discuss the importance of family and what family means to each child. Talk about the making of quilts and how you can incorporate family heirlooms and memories inside this stitched piece of art.

Why not try an art project involving quilts? Cut out squares of pastel-colored paper. Invite the kids to draw and color a quilt block for each member of the family including pets. Draw the person and surround the headshot with things they love. Now, if you have an odd number of family members, just have the child create an extra quilt block (or two) with some of his/her favorite things. When all blocks are done, glue them together onto a sheet of poster board. Next, take a black marker and create stitch marks around each quilt block to replicate the real stitching on a quilt – a work of art that has spanned generations.

Family Fun and Laughs
For this themed activity, read the book The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant. It’s a fun pairing of words and pictures that capture the energy and love that flows from a family reunion. After reading the story together, take time to share memories of family experiences.

For a project, have the kids think of a specific family gathering.  At the top of the page of paper, write the event in a large circle. Next, branch down to the next level and add all the family members who attended. The third row holds circles for things that happened during the event.  The last row of circles includes thoughts of how the children felt during this family gathering.  This “graphic organizer” project helps kids to express how they feel about their family, the events, and even tips for future family gatherings. This organizer design is almost like an outline for when students are asked to write a story.
CONTINUE READING... (a Bright Hub Education article by Tania Cowling)

Books available on Amazon -- Click to Purchase

The Relatives Came
The Patchwork Quilt

Family is always a good theme to engage children in discussion and activities. Children learn through books and art -- get them involved today. 

Happy Parenting,
Tania  :)

This post may contain affiliate links. The money we make from linking helps to keep this website up and running. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Getting Ready for 2023 With the Kids: Games to Play

New Year’s Eve has all the fixings for a true children’s celebration—the chance to stay up way past bedtime, toss confetti in the air, sport silly hats, and raise a toast. Whether you want to ring in 2023 with your child at a family party or throw a sleepover bash for all his/her friends, the following games are here for you to consider.

Tape sheets of bubble wrap (small bubbles and large ones) to a hard floor or driveway.  When the New Year’s countdown concludes have the kids stomp on the bubble wrap to make loud popping sounds.  Sure safer than fireworks!

Give each child a noisemaker horn. Play some peppy music and while the music is playing the kids can blow their horns. When the music stops, the children freeze and yell “Happy New Year.”  This is a fun game—but beware—it can get very LOUD!

This game is based on the “Red Light, Green Light” activity.  One child is the “Grandfather Clock” and stands with his back to the players (mice). He calls out hours at random, and the mice race to take that number of steps before “Grandfather” turns around. Those who fail must return to start. The first mouse to “run up the clock” wins.

An adult hides a ticking clock. Gather the kids and have them find it.  Another fun way is to set the alarm for 5-7 minutes, if the kids don’t find the clock—the alarm will surely give a loud clue.

Set out a pie plate with homemade soap solution. Mix 3 parts water to 1 part “Joy” or “Dawn” dishwashing liquid.  For lots of miniature bubbles, tape together a bunch of plastic drinking straws.  Dip one end in the bubble solution, hold the other end about one inch from your mouth (do not put your lips on the straws) and blow. For the big dipper, twist one end of a pipe cleaner into a large loop, dip it in the soap solution then slowly wave it in the air to create a giant bubble.

Batting a balloon back and forth may sound easy, but in this challenge, there’s a catch:  Each contestant must link an arm with his/her partner, leaving just one hand free for the task. Whichever pair is able to volley their balloon the longest wins.



Photo courtesy of geralt, CCO Public Domain on
Sources for games:
Channels to Children by Carol Beckman, Roberta Simmons, and Nancy Thomas, copyright 1982
Family Fun Parties, culminated by Deanna F. Cook, copyright 1999

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Piggyback Christmas Songs for Kids -- What Fun!

Christmas is near and Christmas carols are being played on the radio, in programs, stores, and basically all around. Singing with children is such a lovely family tradition, but why not divert away from the traditional carols, maybe just for a little while and sing some fun piggy-back songs sung to traditional children's tunes? Here are a couple of my favorites to try:

Songs Around the Christmas Tree
The traditional Christmas tree fascinates children with all the bulbs and bubbles that adorn its branches. Christmas is magical for children, so these songs make it fun. Sing this first song to the tune of "This Old Man." The title is "Toys on the Christmas Tree" and has several other verses.

This little drum, on the tree,
Santa put it there for me,
With a boom-boom, rat-a-tat,
Christmas Day is so much fun!

Children love to sing "The Wheels on the Bus", so this time make it a fun Christmas song with these new words.

The lights on the tree go blink, blink, blink,
Blink, blink, blink, blink, blink, blink,
The lights on the tree go blink, blink, blink,
All Christmas day.

Continue singing all the following verses:
The presents at the house go rattle, rattle, rattle ...
The mom at the house goes bake, bake, bake ...
The dad at the house goes snore, snore, snore ...
The grandma at the house goes hug, hug, hug ...
The grandpa at the house goes kiss, kiss, kiss ...

Since this song is open-ended, think of new verses together to add to this song.
Have fun singing these songs together.

More songs to come!
Happy Parenting,
Tania  :)

(Song authors unknown)
Photo courtesy of

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Best Ever Hanukkah Songs for Children

Hanukkah begins before Christmas on December 18th. Get in the holiday spirit as children and caregivers sing these simple Hanukkah songs. Let the children learn that holidays are a special time for singing together.

The Menorah and its Candles
Today Jewish families celebrate the miracle by lighting one candle for each of the eight days of Hanukkah. A special candlestick called the menorah is used.

Hanukkah Candles (Tune: "Six Little Ducks")

Nine little candles in my Hanukkah light,
Burning brightly throughout the night.
But one little candle is taller than the rest,
We call that candle the Shamash.

We light the candles one by one,
We play with dreidels and have some fun.
We dance the hora and tell the story,
Of Judah Maddabbee and his glory.

Potato Pancakes, known as Latkes
During the celebration of Hanukkah, a characteristic food called latkes, or potato pancakes is served. These pancakes are fried in oil, to represent the holy oil used in the Temple.

Little Latkes (Tune: "I'm a Little Teapot")
I'm a little latke, round and brown,
Here is my upside, here is my down.
When I am all ready, take a bite,
And eat me up on Hanukkah night.

The Dreidel

A nonreligious symbol of Hanukkah is the dreidel. Children find this toy top a fun game to play during this holiday.

Spin the Dreidel (Tune: "Row, Row, Row Your Boat")
Spin, spin, spin the dreidel,
Spin it round and round.
Wait to see what letter comes up,
And the prize which you have found.

Even children who are not Jewish can begin to appreciate other cultures and faiths, by sharing this Hanukkah story and singing these fun songs. Children learn at an early age that singing is another way to use their voice. These easy piggyback songs kids can sing enhances learning with verse that young children can understand.

NOTE: Authors Unknown for all songs.
Photo courtesy of Flickr

Thursday, December 8, 2022

December Holiday Garland Craft

Children love the holidays and these crafts are adaptable to suit three different holidays. Surprise your group with a fun holiday craft this month. These crafts can be multicultural by just changing the colors. Be it red & green for Christmas, blue & white for Hanukkah, or red, green & black for Kwanzaa—adapt these crafts for your holiday!

Multicultural Children Garlands:

These garlands can be strung along a wall or across a doorway.  Use brown grocery bags that you have stored from shopping.  Dress the children cutouts in the colors of your holiday.

These are simple paper-doll instructions. Start by cutting a 5-by-4-inch strip from a grocery bag.  Next, fold the strip of paper, accordion-style, about four times.  On the top layer, draw a child shape. You can draw this freehand or trace around a child or gingerbread cookie cutter. The hands and feet you draw must extend out to the folded edges.  Cut through all layers of the paper, making sure not to cut where the arms touch the fold. Young children may need help with this task. The decorating is the fun.  Cut clothing from gift-wrap or construction paper.  Draw in shoes, hair, faces, and any extras with markers, puffy paints, or gel pens.  For texture you can glue on pom-poms, buttons, or pieces of fur.  Let your child’s imagination run wild.

Holiday Wreath:

Use your child's hands to make this holiday wreath. From a piece of cardboard, cut a 12-inch circle (a pizza box lid or carton works well).  Again cut another 3-inch circle in the center to complete the wreath. A craft knife is useful to make the cuts but only by an adult. Invite your child to paint the entire cardboard wreath with poster paint in the color of your holiday. After the paint dries, have the child make handprints on the wreath. Brush the child’s hand with a different color paint and press the hand down on the board. Continue to print handprints around the wreath in a circular fashion.

For another option, trace hands on complementary-colored stiff construction paper, cut out, decorate the hands if you wish, and glue them around the circle.

Make a bow from fabric, crepe paper, large ribbons or construction paper to decorate the bottom.  Make sure to write the date on the back of this memorable project.

Have fun with these two crafts.
Happy Parenting,
Tania  :)

Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved

Note: if anyone wants to use any part of this post or any other one, please notify me for permission and make sure you provide a link back to this site.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

T is for Toys: What to Know Before Buying Them

8 Mistakes To Avoid When Buying Toys

Each year many children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries. Even innocent-looking toys such as marbles and balloons can present a hazard to small children. The National Safe Kids Campaign recommends avoiding the following when choosing toys:

·      Toys with small removable parts. Small parts are hazardous and can pose a choking hazard to children under age 3. Use a small-parts tester (which can be purchased at a toy or baby specialty store) to measure the size of the toy or part. If the piece fits entirely inside the tube, then it is considered a choking hazard.

·      Toys with sharp points or edges. Children may unintentionally cut themselves or another person.

·      Toys that produce loud noises. Toy guns, high-volume music players and other loud toys can permanently impair a child’s hearing. Many toys have decibel levels high enough to cause hearing loss.

·      Toy darts and other projectiles. Propelled toys can cause cuts or serious eye injuries.

·      Toys with strings, straps or cords longer than 7 inches. Long strings and cord could wrap around a child’s neck and unintentionally strangle him or her.

·      Electrical toys. Electrical toys are a potential burn hazard. Avoid toys with a heating element, including batteries and electrical plugs, for children under age 8.

·      Toys painted with lead paint. Exposure to lead can result in lead poisoning, causing serious damage to a child’s brain, kidneys and nervous system. If the toy is a family heirloom, be sure the paint is safe. In addition, toys manufactured in other countries may also contain lead paint. Lead testing kits are available at hardware and baby supply stores.

·      Toy cap guns. Aside from potentially encouraging violent play, paper roll, strip or ring caps can be ignited by the slightest friction and cause serious burns.

Source with More Information:

Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Get Ready for Thanksgiving With Fun Turkey Songs

Turkeys are large birds, both wild and domestic. The Pilgrims hunted wild turkeys for their Thanksgiving feast and this bird has become a tradition in most American families for this holiday. Turkeys walk with a specific waddle that children love to imitate. Invite the children to pretend to be turkeys as they sing these songs.

How many ways can the Hokey Pokey be adapted? Here is a version for Thanksgiving with plenty of movement.

You put your right wing in (the elbow),
You take your right wing out,
You put your right wing in and you shake it all about.
You do the Turkey Pokey and you wobble all around.
That's what it's all about.

Continue singing and playing this game with these verses:
You put your left wing in...
You put your right leg in...
You put your left leg in...
You put your head in...
You put your whole self in...

This open-ended song emphasizes the sounds that turkeys make and young children love to act out the infamous 'gobble' sound. Sing this turkey song to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot."

I'm a little turkey,
My name is Ted.
Here are my feathers,
Here is my head.
Gobble, gobble, gobble,
Is what I say,
Quick run...It's Thanksgiving Day!

Thanksgiving Dinner Song

Today this holiday is celebrated with a feast (just like the first Thanksgiving) with family, relatives and friends. Sing this song about what good food might be on the table. Use the tune of "Are You Sleeping/ Frere Jacques."

Turkey dinner, turkey dinner,
Gather round, gather round.
Who will get the drumstick?
Yummy, yummy drumstick.
All sit down, all sit down.

Cornbread muffins,
Chestnut stuffing,
Pudding pie, ten feet high.
We were all much thinner, before we sat for dinner.
Me, oh my, me, oh my!

All children benefit from experiences with music. It enhances learning especially the child's language development. These Thanksgiving songs for children will enlighten the holidays with fun music and energetic movement.

Note About Songs: Authors Unknown
Photos courtesy of --
Thanksgiving, Kaz/1443 and Turkey Cartoon, GraphicMama-team-225; all CCO Public Domain

You have several weeks to teach these cute songs to your children. Music puts us into the happy, holiday mood. Don't you think?

Happy Parenting,
Tania :)

Friday, October 14, 2022

Pumpkin Crafts for Kids: Harvest and Halloween Ideas

Pumpkins are fun! Their size, color, smell and taste make them perfect for children's observations and explorations. Pumpkins are a type of squash that symbolize both the bright orange color and lead us into the spirit of the fall season. This is the best time to experience the numerous possibilities of using pumpkins during your "together time" activities. Your kids may consider pumpkins only with Halloween and jack-o-lanterns; however, you can de-emphasize the holiday connection and use this variety of pumpkin-related activities for fall and harvest.

Pumpkin Sun Catcher-

Place a piece of adhesive paper down on the table sticky side up. You may need to tape this in place. Encourage your child to tear and place pieces of red tissue paper on one side and pieces of yellow tissue paper on the opposite side. When finished, fold the paper in half and see what happens when the red and yellow paper overlap. Cut a pumpkin shape from this now "orange" paper and hang in a sunny window. 

Popcorn Painting-

Here's a new experience in painting! Place a cup of unpopped popcorn into a nylon knee high stocking and tie the nylon stocking in a knot. Holding the top end of the stocking, dip the bottom (corn) into poster paint and then "bounce" it onto paper. This makes a neat design and so complimentary to the season. Cut the paper into a pumpkin shape and you now have a unique painting.

Pumpkin Mosaic - 

Give your child a paper plate and orange construction paper. Let him tear pieces of the orange paper (little ones really like to tear paper) and glue them onto the plate. Help him brush on the glue and after he is finished you make want to brush on a final layer to keep the pieces flat. Make a leaf shape from green or brown paper and glue this on top to complete the pumpkin.

Pumpkin Prints - 

Buy pumpkin cookie cutters and let your child dip these into tempera (poster paint) and then press them onto paper. This makes really cool prints and good for eye/hand coordination. As a variation, buy a small fresh pumpkin and cut this in half. Invite your youngster to dip the pumpkin half into orange paint and make a print.

So, whether you use pumpkin projects for harvest or Halloween -- just have fun and do these activities with your children. It's the bonding time that really counts!

Pumpkin photo property of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved

Friday, October 7, 2022

Fun Halloween Crafts for Kids

Get ready, as Halloween is coming on the 31st of October. What a wonderful family holiday; a perfect time for parents and children to spend time together carving pumpkins, designing costumes and planning trick-or-treat activities. Kids can lose themselves in fun without having to worry about normal, proper behavior. They can act out their fantasies, dreams and imaginations, it's OK because it's Halloween. Spend good days together making these fun Halloween crafts for children.

Make a Bat with Hands
Make use of a child's hands to make this fun Halloween bat. Trace each hand onto black poster board, heavy construction paper or fun foam. Then cut out a headpiece with pointed ears. Assemble the pieces with glue or tape. The handprints are the bat's wings. Decorate the head with googly eyes (or paper ones), a pompom nose, and a freaky mouth cut from white paper. Add a yarn or ribbon loop at the top to hang this bat decoration around the house.

Halloween Tic-Tac-Toe
Take the traditional tic-tac-toe game and give it a Halloween flair. Cut a large pumpkin from a sheet of orange poster board. Draw the game grid with a black marker. Cut game markers (in Halloween shapes) from construction paper. Another good tip is to use your computer and find clip art that would serve as markers, you need at least five markers of two different shapes. Preserve your game board and pieces covering them with clear plastic adhesive paper if you wish. Enjoy playing this game with the children and think about how this game can be made for other holidays too.

Photos courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved

Use the month of October to make crafts and decorate the home or classroom. Have fun bonding with your children and give them big hugs!