Toddler and Preschool Activities

Watercolor leaves step-by-step and what a city girl needs while camping with kids

Is it fall where you are yet? Yesterday we all wore comfy hoodies and took a walk through the woods to take in all the changing leaves... they were mostly green and yellow, sooo summer may not completely be gone yet. But it's on it's way out. So I thought it might be fun to share a fun fall art project with you. While camping, we took some time to make leaf watercolor prints to commemorate our trip. You all bring along a set of watercolors when you go camping, right? I'm not crazy....  


Step one: Gather some cool leaves

Step two: Trace a leaf in little pencil onto watercolor paper

Step three: Erase the pencil line you just drew until you can barely see it

Step four: Fill in the leaf with water, get enough on there so the entire leaf is wet at the same time

Step five: Get some watercolor on your brush a dab a spot on the leaf, no brushing here, just dabbing

Step six: repeat step five until the paint has bled throughout the inside of you leaf

**the water will carry the paint and bleed the different shades together for you giving it a really cool effect

Step seven: let it dry

Give this a try for your fall décor this year!


{PS: I got the idea from Martha Stewart!}

Have you seen the Fall Leaf Frames I did a couple years ago with leaves from Roaring River? A bit more involved, but still a fun fall activity.

Before we took our crew camping for four days I had a little panic attack when I realized that I'm pretty much a city girl. I would not describe myself as "outdoorsy", although I don't mind  being outside I have grown particularly fond of cleanliness {in a broad sense} and electricity and beds and being dry while I sleep.

I have a bunch of friends who like to camp and do so often, so I asked them for their best advice for a city girl taking her crew camping for the first time with no electricity.

{Full disclosure: We were at a Missouri State Park. This was not in the middle of nowhere, very civilized. I wasn't in the bush in Montana or anything. Don't let me alarm you, I tend to be a bit dramatic :)  }

Here is some good advice I got on what to bring {beyond the obvious} as well as what worked well for us!

1. If the kids can bring bikes, bring them. Or any favorite outdoor toy. The bikes were a great pastime while I was cooking or cleaning up the camp and daddy was off catching supper :)

2. An extra pair of shoes for each child. One to wear while the other pair dries. Because those little feet always find water.

3. A clothes line. If only for towels. I hate drying off with a damp towel. Maybe not a necessity, but made life more enjoyable :)

4. Some art supplies. Even if it's just a sketch book and some crayons. This helps the kids take in their surroundings and reflect on what they are experiencing. Again, not a necessity, but super worth it for me!

5. A cover for the picnic table. I borrowed this one from my friend. It was so nice to have some shade in the middle of the day {our campsite had two puny trees}.

6. At least 2 jugs of water per day. For hand washing, putting out fires, and washing dishes.

7. Two coolers. One for the food, one for the drinks.

8. A shovel. I was informed this was for digging a trench around your tent if it rained. We used it for more personal reasons when Tiger decided camping was a great time to take a vacation from potty training.

9. Coffee. And a way to brew it. I got the method but forgot the grounds... and it was not pretty. The tag shop at the park had complimentary coffee. It did the trick, but it was pretty bad. I can only imagine what a good cup of coffee would have been like in those beautiful surroundings and crisp morning air. I guess I'll have to wait until next year to find out. You can bet I won't be making the same mistake again!

10. If at all possible, bring along a grandparent or two. That will do wonders for the morale around camp :) Cameron's grands {the ones who have been bringing him since he was a boy} came up to join us a the river for a day. Four adults to four kids is a more reasonable ratio when camping.

Spring Break Recap

Wow. I think I might drop dead. Spring break is not for the weak, my friends. Monday afternoon we got out to fly kites. I told Monkey to take her kites and walk into the field. Instead she let it go right under a tree and spent the next 45 minutes untangling it. It's a good thing she's a Monkey and likes to hang out in trees.










































Tuesday the big 3 and I went roller skating with some friends in the afternoon while Tiger slept. Have any of you ever tried to explain why we call it a skating "rink" to a four year old? It's not easy.




At 4:30 the Dude called to ask,

What's the plan?

Which means,

What's for dinner?

I said,

Oh, I was about to get to that.

Which means,

Dinner? Oh yea, that's my responsibility. Hmmmm....

So he took us to Chilis!  Score one for dad saving dinner time!



Wednesday we spent the morning working at the church and the kids ran around with their friends. Big empty churches are a fun place for little kids to play. I remember doing that as a kid when my mom worked at church.


Thursday I took the clan to Wichita to the Exploration Place which is just a big science museum. We lasted three hours, beating our best time by an hour and a half! Woo-hoo! This was our big Spring Break stay-cation activity, and it did not disappoint!







We got home at 2:50. The two littles had been asleep for about 30 minutes... not really an adequate naptime when they are used to 2.5 hours each day! But Monkey had to be at piano at 3:30 so there really wasn't a choice. We stayed outside and cleaned our the van. Took Monkey to piano, came home for 1 hour, took dinner to a friend who just had a baby (I had the forethought to wake up early and put a double batch of chili in the crock-pot), came home and crashed until daddy got home at 7:30pm. I'm pretty sure this is the day that did me in.


Friday I planned to spend the whole day in the kitchen making Navajo fry bead. I'll tell you why in a sec. So I got up early and started frying.... three hours later I was still frying. The kids just got a good 'ol "go play" morning at the house. :) When everyone was about to rip each others' heads off we paused for lunch. At naptime, Bear helped me make French bread and then their friends came over to play for a bit which always helps. You mommas out there with lots of kids driving you nuts. Or even just one. Try inviting some friends over, your momma friend will love you forever and it will actually be bit of a break for you!


After naps we took the car to the shop and walked to the library. A bit windy, but sunny. We couldn't decide if we were hot or cold. At the library, each child picked two books and we sat on a carpet and read them, then they each got some computer time. We got back to the house right at dinner time, in fact, the Dude beat us home! But that's okay, because I had the forethought to put roast and potatoes and carrots in the oven 4 hours ago! Score one for mom and planning ahead!


Saturday. Another busy day. We dropped the kids off with their sleepy aunt and uncle to be spoiled for the morning and the Dude and I headed to church for a 4 hour meeting. Sounds like we got the raw end of the deal, but I left encouraged and refreshed. I love that kind of meeting! Plus, my pastor always supplies ample amounts of really good coffee. So there's that.

The afternoons agenda was more fry bread and kitchen prep. Chopping tomatoes and lettuce, and scooping 50 cups of icecream for a church-wide meal at church in the morning. Monkey came with me and helped chop lettuce. That girl will do just about anything for 1-on-1 with momma. I love her.

By this time I was wondering if I could even drive home. Exhaustion was an understatement. Thankfully, the Dude took care of supper with grilled steaks and dogs and we ate outside in the breezy sunshine. Then I went to bed :)


What a week, I'm tired after just typing that! and I'm sure you're tired of reading! So I'll get back to you about Sunday, which housed a whole week of activities in itself.


Thanks for hanging with me! Here is my sum-up. After so many activities I am left with gratitude for the dreamy life I am living. My God is good. Constantly teaching me through His Word, applying it to our goings-on minute-by-minute and showing us mercy after mercy. My kids are full of energy and excitement. They are eager to spend time as a family and just enjoy  life together and for that I am truly blessed. My husband is hard working and selfless, creating a nurturing environment where his clan can just run around having fun all week long.


PSS Review {God chooses Solomon to Build a Temple}

Scripture: 1 Chronicles 28, 29:1-19; 2 Chronicles 6:12-18Target Age: 4-5 Years old Focus: God is sovereign over his temple

Lesson: We read from the Gospel Storybook Bible. Here are the key highlights:

- David wanted to build a house for God. But God did not want him to, he told David that his son Solomon would build him a house.

- David collected the materials and told Solomon to serve God with all of his heart and mind.

- After David died, Solomon built the temple for God. It was modeled after the tabernacle and had a special room inside called the Most Holy Place for the ark of the covenant.

- When the temple was completed, Solomon prayed and fire came down from heaven and the glory of God filled the temple.

Where is Jesus in this story?

- The temple that Solomon built was very special and beautiful, no one could believe how wonderful it was. But God does not dwell in the temple anymore. In fact, the temple was destroyed thousands of years ago. So where does God dwell now? The Bible says that he has built a temple out of people!

- Everyone who trusts in Jesus becomes a part of God's temple and his Spirit lives inside of them! Are hearts are like the Most Holy Place!

Activities: Building Blocks: Build a temple with building blocks together. Make sure to leave a room for the Most Holy Place and put a gold box inside for the ark of the covenant. Shine a flashlight down into the temple to illustrate how the glory of the Lord filled The temple.   First they wanted to each make their own. This sweet little one decided to use a globe piggy bank for her ark of the covenant. :)


Lots of different temple interpretations in this room.

Then we decided to work together. Some were more happy about that than others.

photo (1)

Craft Option 1: Scratch art.

Supplies: scratch art kit such as the one pictured above, people stencils {one boy and one girl}, a wooden skewer for each child for scratching the paper.

Have the boys place the boy stencil over their scratching paper and scratch off the black to reveal color. Have the girls do the same with the girl stencil. On the back or with the scratcher on the front write the phrase “I am God’s temple! {I Corinthians 3:16} I like this craft option because the pretty colors behind the black on the scratch paper remind me of the glory of the Lord filling the temple - and now our bodies are the temple. It's a cool thought. But we didn't actually do this one because I was running out of scratching paper...

Craft Option 2: Foam People

A few weeks ago I found this package of foam people on clearance at Hobby Lobby. I had the kids make people that looked like themselves. Then we glued them to paper and wrote, "I am God's temple!" 1 Corinthians 3:16 You could also use paper dolls, stencils, or just have them draw a picture of themselves!


This is my son. He's a goof ball.

Praying this lesson is a blessing to you!!


Be sure to check out my other creative Bible lessons for kids!

PSS Review {David breaks God's commandment and repents}

Scripture: 2 Samuel 11-12 and Psalm 51 Okay- this is another doosie for young ones. In case you are new to the site, we use the curriculum called He Established a Testimony from Children Desiring God. Sometimes in young kid’s Sunday School classes we can build up David to be super-human. Because David had a heart after God’s own heart and killed and giant and became king, he can be given super hero status. These chapters show David in a much different light. A sinner in need of God’s forgiveness. This is how I approached the lesson with my class, maybe you will find it helpful and a useful tool in describing sin and modeling repentance to our kiddos.

Focus: Sin displeases God and God will punish sin; God is rich in mercy and His forgiveness is great

Target Age: 4-5 years

Opener: Play with musical instruments. Play, dance, and sing a worship song to God. Lesson: From the time David was a little boy, God had blessed him with musical ability. David played the harp for king Saul to calm him down and bring him peace, and he sang and danced before the Lord often. David wrote many songs which are written down in the book of the Bible called Psalms. It is fun to go through Psalms and try to see what was going on in David’s life when he wrote that song. Psalm 51 is one of the songs that David wrote and the Bible tells us what happened in David’s life right before he wrote the song. One day David was walking around in his room and he saw something that wasn’t his, but he wanted it. He wanted it so bad. At that moment, his heart loved that thing more than he loved God. When our hearts love something more than God, it is called sin. David decided to take the thing that he wanted and make it his. So David sinned against God. It started in his heart and then it happened with his actions. Discussion: David loved God, but he was still a sinner. Every person is a sinner and unable to love God fully. When we sin it makes our hearts dirty. When our skin gets dirty we can wash it with soap and water to make it clean, but how to we wash our hearts when they are dirty with sin? Read these verses from Psalm 51:

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! (1-2) Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. (7) Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. (10)

David was repenting, he was telling God that he knew he had sinned and his heart was dirty and asking God to forgive him and to clean his heart. That is what we need to do when we sin too. Where is Jesus in this story? David’s heart was dirty and needed to be cleaned by God. He was a sinner, but Jesus never sinned his heart was the only human heart ever to be white and never get dirty. So when Jesus dies on the cross, he took the dirt from our hearts onto his clean heart so that the sin was punished when Jesus died. If we put our trust in Jesus, like David did, (Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Psalm 51:11-12) our hearts will be washed clean because our sin was already punished.

Activities: Pudding and shaving cream heart paintings

Supplies: plastic tablecloth, smocks for each child, a bowl of shaving crème, a bowl of chocolate pudding, a large sheet of paper for each child, black marker, bucket of warm soapy water and a towel Give each child a large sheet of construction paper. Have a big bowl of chocolate pudding for them to share and a big bowl of white shaving crème for them to share. Draw two large hearts on each child's paper and write the verse Psalm 51:7b "wash me and I shall be whiter than snow." Have the children 'paint' one of the hearts with chocolate pudding. Explain that our hearts our dirty because we are sinners. Right now our hands are dirty. How should we get our hands clean? (The kids will probably suggest washing them in the bucket of soapy water.) Yes, that's right, washing our hands with soap and water will get them clean, but how will we get our dirty hearts clean? Can we wash them with soap and water?

Jesus was the only person every born to never have a dirty heart because he was not a sinner. But when he died on the cross, he took all of the sins that make us  dirty and was punished for them. So if trust in Jesus, the Bible says he will wash our sins whiter than snow.

So how do we clean our dirty hearts? By trusting in Jesus!!

Wash the children's hands and dry them. Then let them paint in the other heart with white shaving crème.

When they were finished I moved the papers to an area to dry and let them play in the shaving crème on the plastic tablecloth. It was a lot of fun for them, but I had to keep a close eye :) shaving creme


I hope you enjoyed this lesson and can see the value in teaching the "hard" ones to small children.


Come again!