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.”
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 once we upgraded from our Fisher-Price Keyboard to an electronic piano, I wanted to use more gentle sticker adhesive so created these Removable Piano / Keyboard Stickers. 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.
For more song selections and removable color-coded piano stickers, please visit my Etsy Shop.
The other day, Jacob was jamming away on his toy piano singing ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ – eyes closed, head bopping, slamming random keys on the key board… I loved the enthusiasm and figured the boys are probably old enough to start reading beginner sheet music, so I decided to put together a few songs for them.
I am by no means a musician, but I did play piano back in the day and remembered some of the basics. I wanted to keep it simple with what I feel is a reasonable goal for toddlers and preschoolers: Find Middle C and play a simple song with one finger (not at all insisting on proper finger placement). I’m not trying to raise Mozart – I just want them to have fun and become comfortable with the basics of sheet music while doing so.
POST UPDATE: I originally cut down circle dot labels I had on-hand (as seen in my photo below), then upgraded to these Color Coding Dot Labels which coordinated perfectly. Once we upgraded from their Fisher-Price Keyboard to an electronic piano, I created these Removable Color Coded Piano Key Labels – Now the colors coordinate exactly and I love that they have a less harsh, easily removable adhesive.
Using the color-coded labels, I created coordinating sheet music for a couple of their favorite songs. Click on below sheet music image to download a FREE printable.
For more song selections and coordinating color-coded sticker labels, please visit my Etsy Shop.
As simple as that – now my boys understand the concept of reading and playing music on the piano. With or without an accurate rhythm on the keyboard, watching their faces and sense of accomplishment after completing a song is absolutely priceless!
Related: Star Wars The Imperial March Beginner Piano Sheet Music
Related: Color-Coded Beginner Piano Music Book