Since my boys were 3 years old, this US Foam Puzzle has been a favorite go-to of theirs. At 1st it was just fun for them to put together, but as they got older it became a great learning tool. They are now familiar with most US states, their shape, general location, as well as some facts we’ve learned along the way.
Jacob has been asking about the difference between city, state, country and continent lately, so I wanted to come up with a hands-on way for him to understand the bigger picture. Since they enjoyed the other foam puzzle so much, I decided to purchase this World Map Puzzle with Flags & Capitals. Understandably due to size constraints, it doesn’t include EVERY flag in the world. If it did, I think that would be too overwhelming anyway. The puzzle has a total of 65 flags (based mainly on country size) which seems to be the perfect start.
The foam puzzle, flags and map provided are great. Unfortunately there is no ‘key’ to know where each flag goes. I was able to figure it out using the original sticker sheet, but both Jacob and Evan were at a complete loss putting the puzzle together without my help. To give them the independence of easily figuring it out on their own, I created a color-coded diagram showing all of the 65 flags and the corresponding country by continent. I also made a color-coordinating continent map for easy reference.
Click on image below for FREE Printable:
Once I gave them my diagrams (other than some adorably incorrect pronunciations) – easy peasy. Both Jacob and Evan were able to correctly identify 65 flags, place them in their corresponding country, and understand which continent they belonged to as well!
I have no doubt this puzzle will be another one of their favorites – learning more as they grow and discovering new things each time they complete it. 🙂
Related: Color-Coded Beginner Piano Music Book
Related: Constellation Sticker Craft
“Without geography, you are nowhere.”
Right now Avery is OBSESSED with everything unicorn. Anytime she spots something at a store with a unicorn on it, she ogles at it like it’s a lost baby kitten and is convinced it was made for her. So to no surprise, this year we decided to create Valentine’s Day cards with this mystical creature – and just the right amount of sparkle!
Since Valentines these days usually come with a fun favor attached to them, I purchased cute unicorn fans to include with Avery’s. Some other ideas if you are interested in adding a favor (which you can either tie on, attach with double sided tape, or use a fun glitter or unicorn Washi tape)…
Based on whichever size you would like, click on the above image to download and start creating your own magical Valentines!
Related: DIY Heart Breaker Valentine’s Day Cards
“Always be yourself, unless you can be a unicorn. Then always be a unicorn.”
Last year I hosted a Christmas party with 12 kids. How did I keep that many little ones occupied with a craft that didn’t end up with a huge mess?? — STICKERS!
Using only these cute foam snowflakes and rhinestone gems from Amazon, each kid was able to create their own shimmering piece of art! (Individual gem packs are usually available at your local craft store)
This year, I still had left over snowflakes and rhinestone stickers, so we combined them with some glitter glue for a little extra sparkle!
With a little bit of water, these snowflakes also stick great on glass / windows. The kids love wetting them down the back and playing with them on our sliding glass patio door. 🙂
“We are like a snowflake all different in our own beautiful way”
The boys have mastered the Color-Coded Beginner Piano Sheet Music I created for them, so I thought I’d put together another song. They are super into Star Wars right now, so The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s theme) seemed like the perfect option. Simple, yet dramatically fun – and perfect to get in the mood for our upcoming trip to Disney World!
All I had to do was add a few more color-coded note stickers to our keyboard. POST UPDATE: I originally cut down circle dot labels I had on-hand (as seen in my photo), but recently upgraded to these Color Coding Dot Labels, which I highly recommend. The colors coordinate exactly and they are the perfect size for full-sized piano keys / keyboards.
Click on below image to download FREE printable color-coded sheet music…
…And may the force be with you.
All things outer space has been a huge interest of the boys lately. They enjoy star gazing, identifying planets in the sky, and were thrilled to see the Super Blood Moon this past summer.
Although it would be amazing if the moon were really that huge, it’s enlarged for effect 🙂
Jacob’s favorite thing to wear are his constellation pajama pants (as seen above) and he’s always asking us to point out the Big Dipper, especially after reading Touch the Brightest Star – one of his favorite interactive books, where you trace the Big and Little Dipper with your finger as part of the story. (Great book for any toddler’s bed time collection!)
I wanted a fun way to teach them the basic constellations, and ones that are easy to spot in the sky, so I came up with the following craft worksheets…
Click on individual worksheet above for FREE printable, or HERE for pdf with ALL Worksheets.
First I had the boys place star stickers on the grey dots, then using the picture as reference, draw lines to create each constellation.
After learning the constellations, the boys got creative with their worksheets – connecting the dots without stickers, outlining the constellation in all star stickers, putting other stars in the sky, tracing the letters to spell the constellations, etc. I enjoy watching them explore whatever materials I give them. It’s fun when they think outside the box and come up with new ways to do things… A great hands-on way to learn while using imagination and creativity!
“Don’t wait for the stars to align. Reach up, rearrange them the way you want them to be. Create your own constellation.” – Pharrell Williams