Find the Letter & Swat It! Active Way for Learning Letters!

Click here to read Find the Letter & Swat It! Active Way for Learning Letters! on Hands On As We Grow®

Get active while you work on ABC skills with your preschooler. Try this fun spin to find the letter, then swat it with a fly swatter!

I’ve been working a lot on letters with George lately. He’s getting them down pretty good.

I’m just reinforcing what he already knows and building his confidence that he does know what the letters are!

This activity was inspired by an iPad app for young kids called KneeBouncers. It has all different areas of learning, but we focused on learning letters.

You choose whatever letter to work on and there are several games to play for each letter. They’re all the same concept, just with different letters.

It’s great repetition for young kids.

The Flowery letter game on KneeBouncers is about picking the flower that has the letter — whatever it is that they’re working on. It’s one of our favorites!

Find the Letter & Swat It! Active Way for Learning Letters!

I set up this find the letter and swat it game around the same concept, just with lots of physical activity. I thought it was a fun way to bring his on-screen fun into the real world!

Find the Letter & Swat It! Get active with this silly preschool ABC game!

I drew a bunch of circles on a piece of butcher paper (affiliate link) that I taped to the table. I just traced around an old cottage cheese container with Sharpie markers.

I purposely used several different colors to add helpful hints in the game later on, but it created another aspect of the game I wasn’t expecting.

In each circle, I wrote a random letter. I didn’t have enough room for 26 circles, so I just chose the letters that I knew George was already familiar with.

I picked those letter so that he would feel confident.

Find more ways to learn letters for toddlers and preschoolers with these 50 activities to learn the ABCs.

Find the Letter and Swat It!

I love this game because it is so simple, but can be played in different ways, too. We kept it super simple.

Find the letter and swat it! That’s it!

George came to the table when I grabbed two fly swatters, wondering what we were going to do for our letter activity!

Find the Letter & Swat It! Get active with this silly preschool ABC game!

I called out a letter, George would then find the letter and swat it!

Sometimes if he was having a hard time finding it, I’d act like I beat him to it. I would say, “There it is!” and swat it myself.

He thought it was super silly.

Sometimes I’d have him swat a letter and tell me what it was and then I’d swat it myself too.

Find the Letter & Swat It!

I’d also give him helpful hints with the color of the letter. For example, find the purple T.

Which turned it into another game.

If I told him it was a blue letter, he sometimes found another blue letter that wasn’t the one we were looking for.

So instead of telling him a letter to swat, I told him to find all the blue letters and swat them as he goes.

Find the Letter & Swat It!

Then George had enough and wanted to clean up our activity (he likes peeling off tape) and asked to play KneeBouncers again.

What are your favorite ways to bring screentime games into real life? Share your best crossover activities and games in the comments!

Paintbrush Santa Ornament – DIY Christmas Ornament

If you are into recycled crafts, this adorable paintbrush Santa ornament makes a perfect Christmas craft for kids to make. You can even make other characters and all of them will look amazing on your Christmas tree. *this post contains affiliate links* This Santa Paintbrush is a fun and inexpensive way to create a unique […]

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Leaf Rubbings Wreath – An Easy Fall Project for Kids

Make leaf rubbings & create a colorful wreath that will last indefinitely in this easy fall project from Joanna of The Blue Barn.

Glueing leaves to wreath

Hi Joanna Walker here from The Blue Barn and today I’m sharing a project that involves one of my favorite simple fall invitations – leaf rubbings.

This activity is not new to many of you I’m sure. But I wanted to take you through the simple invitation I left out for my children after school one day.  This activity grew and evolved into so many different projects that are great for all ages–all from a simple leaf.

Fall Leaf Rubbings

So to start with, here’s a highlight of the materials we used to create our finished wreaths. However, to begin with a simple leaf rubbing, you will only need a few items from this supply list.

Fall Wreath Leaf Rubbings for Kids

How to Make a Leaf Rubbings WreathThis post contains affiliate links.


  • Plain white paper
  • Oil Pastels (crayons will work too)
  • Tray
  • Watercolor paint – (we like liquid watercolors)
  • Acrylic paint
  • Cardboard hoop
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Materials for Fall Leaf Rubbings Wreath project

1. Prep supplies

I began by setting this project up on a sunny fall day, you know the perfect day where you need a sweater but the sun is warm and breeze smells good.

The kids were coming off the school bus and I didn’t want them to disappear inside and miss the last of the afternoon sun so I had laid out all that they would need to begin, right next to an afternoon snack. Because lets face it no–kid wants to get creative when they are hungry!

On a tray were a few sheets of the white printer paper, oil pastels in fall colors and a few leaves to get them going.

Autumn leaf rubbings

2. Create leaf rubbing

It didn’t take long for them to spot the oil pastels and leaves. I showed them how to take a rubbing from the back side of a leaf and they were off.

Detail of leaf rubbing

To make a good leaf rubbing, place a leaf bumpy side up under a sheet of paper.

Making leaf rubbings

Then, taking an oil pastel, rub the side of the oil pastel over the paper where the leaf is hidden. Note::  It works best to remove the paper from the outside of the pastel first. 

It was interesting to see how my kids all interpreted this simple invitation differently.

Autumn Wreath Leaf Rubbing

My youngest immediately took the tray and all the supplies and went off on a “leaf hunt”.  He wanted me to identify all the leaves he’d made rubbings of when he came back.

He would wander around the garden and when he found an extra special leaf he would bend down and take a print of it.

Boy making leaf rubbings on paper

My other son chose to take a few different shaped leaves and lay them under the paper. He then began to play a kind of hide-and-seek guessing game as to which leaf shape he was making a print of.

Leaf rubbings

My daughter, who is slightly older, took a more scientific approach and found great delight in very slowly uncovering all the different veins and lines on the leaf.

We talked about things she had learned in science and I answered questions it then triggered in my son about how plants eat and drink.

Fall Leaf Rubbings Activity for Kids

After a lot of leaf rubbings and easy chatter we had run out of paper so I collected all the different prints and told the kids we would take them inside and work some magic on them!

Painting watercolors over crayon leaf rubbings

3. Paint leaf rubbings

Next, I mixed up a wash of black watercolor paint. You could choose a more fall like color (yellow, red, orange) but I wanted the colors to pop through for the kids so I chose black.

Boy holding up leaf rubbing project painted with watercolors

We painted all the sheets of leaves and the kids were delighted to see how the paint ran off the oil pastels with the colors showing through.

4. Paint cardboard hoop

We couldn’t let all the pretty leaves go to waste, so while the leaves were drying we painted the cardboard hoops with acrylic paint.

Cutting out fall leaf rubbings

5. Cut out leaf rubbings

Once the leaves were dry we began to carefully cut them all out tracing around the outside of each of the leaf prints.

Glueing leaves to wreath

6. Glue leaves to wreath

Just add glue! Have the kids stick the leaves to their painted rings.

Fall Leaf Rubbings Wreath


Thank you for joining me, I hope you will go and enjoy some simple leaf art with your children. Let us know where it leads you.

About the Author

Joanna of The Blue Barn

Joanna Walker is the creator behind The Blue Barn which offers art experiences for children, and she teaches preschool art classes part-time. She’s a mom to four children ages 13, 11, 9 & 7.

If you’d like to see more ideas from Joanna, you can check out her blog, Blue Barn Living. You can also follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Her favorite place to hang out online is Instagram for the positive, supportive community of each other’s creativity– and there is SO much inspiration to be found.

Pin It For Later

Make leaf rubbings & create a colorful wreath that will last indefinteily in this easy fall project from Joanna of The Blue Barn. #fallcrafts #artsandcrafts #kidscraft #kidsactivities #craftsforkids #handmadegifts #recycledcraft #craftsforkids

The post Leaf Rubbings Wreath – An Easy Fall Project for Kids appeared first on The Artful Parent.

How to Draw a Turkey

Learn How to Draw a Turkey with our Step by Step Turkey Drawing instructions. If you are a teacher and want to do a Thanksgiving project with your kids, why not teach them this? Perfect for  beginners too! Love simple how to draw tutorials for kids? We have many waiting for you. *this post contains affiliate […]

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Gobble Up These 12 Turkey Crafts for Kids

Click here to read Gobble Up These 12 Turkey Crafts for Kids on Hands On As We Grow®

Get ready for Thanksgiving with super fun turkey crafts for kids! Which cute gobbler will you make first?

I’m not sure where this entire fall went, but it’s already November! And that means Christmas is way too close already!

Since we haven’t been doing a lot of crafting lately I thought I’d share some turkeys I found on It’s Playtime last week.

Gobble Up These 12 Turkey Crafts for Kids

I love these 12 turkey crafts and delicious turkey snack ideas. I’m sure that you will gobble these fun crafts up, too!

10 Turkey Crafts for Kids

We love spending the days and weeks leading up to Thanksgiving creating fun crafts for the holiday.

These are some of my favorite easy, low-prep turkey crafts for kids.

My kids gobbled up the yummy turkey-themed turkey treats! And we had fun adding Baby Louis to our turkey family, too.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving crafts for kids to make? Share your ideas in the comments!

Wood Block Snowman Craft – The Best Christmas Craft this Season

Bring new life to scrap wood (or get wood blocks from the store) by making this gorgeous wood block snowman craft!  This adorable little Christmas craft will make a wonderful decoration for your home, and it’s really easy to make! *this post contains affiliate links* This project is great both for kids and adults, and […]

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Toddler Christmas Advent: 25 Days of Easy Activities Ebook

Can you believe Christmas is almost here?

Are you tired of feeling disorganized or frazzled during the holiday season?

Are you overwhelmed with how many Christmas ideas are out there?

Do you want a plan that is easy to follow this December?

I’ve designed a Toddler Christmas Advent ebook to help you solve these problems and more! 

If you’re ready to have your December planned for you,

Make Your Own Simple Thankful Chain for Thanksgiving

Click here to read Make Your Own Simple Thankful Chain for Thanksgiving on Hands On As We Grow®

What are you thankful for? Use this thankful chain idea, from Brigitte, to count your blessings for Thanksgiving!

It’s a tradition for our family to create a thankful tree and a thankful chain each year for Thanksgiving.

Not only does a thankful chain encourage us to be thankful, but this simple craft can also promote many skills such as cutting practice, writing practice, color sorting, and pattern making.

Make Your Own Simple Thankful Chain for Thanksgiving

For our thankful chain, we used:

  • construction paper – red, yellow, and orange
  • ruler
  • pen
  • scissors
  • stapler or tape

To begin creating our thankful chain, I trace lines on to various colored pieces of construction paper using a ruler and a pen.

I often use red, orange, and yellow construction paper to match the colors of fall leaves. But you can use any colors that your family likes.

Create strips of construction paper to make your own DIY thankful chain for Thanksgiving!

Next, my daughters cut on the lines to create multiple strips of paper. This makes great cutting practice and works on fine motor skills, too.

Cut out the strips to make your thankful chain. This is great fine motor practice!

Then, they write what they are thankful for on one side of each strip. When they were younger, I would write the words as they told me them.

If your children want, they could draw a small picture on their strips to show what they are thankful for.

Work as a family to write down things you are thankful for to add to your thankful chain!

Use your chain to spark conversation with thankful conversation starters.

Next, my daughters sort the strips by color. This part of the activity doubles as color matching practice!

Sort your colored strips while you make your thankful chain!

Having the strips sorted by color makes it easier for them to create a color pattern with the strips. We decided to do red, orange, yellow as a repeating pattern the last time we did this project.

As my daughters hand me the strips of paper, I staple them together one at a time to make the chain.

Make a loop or ring with the first paper strip by bending the paper until the ends touch. Then staple them together.

For the rest of the rings, pass the colored paper through the last link you made. Then bend the paper into a loop and staple the ends.

If you don’t have staples on hand, you could also use tape.

Practice pattern making with different colors when you make your thankful chain for Thanksgiving!

You can decide as a family how to grow your chain.

Will you make a big long chain all at once? Or will you add a few links every day or every week?

It’s totally up to you!

Throughout November, we’ll keep adding links to our thankful chain.

It can be fun to measure the chain when completed and as it grows. Is it taller or shorter than each of us?

We always hang the chain somewhere around our house to display the things we are thankful for. It makes a great autumn and Thanksgiving themed decoration.

Decorate your house with a simple DIY thankful chain for Thanksgiving!

What are some ways you show what you are thankful for? Share your favorite thankful Thanksgiving projects with us!

Handprint Christmas Tree

This handprint Christmas tree craft makes a wonderful ornament for your tree and a keepsake to treasure for years to come. Why not make one each year and see the little hands change throughout the years? Oh so precious. We’ve got plenty more of jolly ideas – browse through some of our best Christmas craft […]

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Environmental Awareness, Quality Education and Sustainable Development Goals

Please note that this post was sponsored by Mattel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

If you’ve been looking for ways to teach your child about environmental awareness or how to teach your child about quality education and sustainable development goals, you won’t want to miss out on this amazing educational series by United Nations and Thomas & Friends!

Molding our children and teaching them is one of the most important jobs we have as a parent. From the moment that they are born, to well through their adult years, your child will be depending on you to give them a basis for learning and education. As a parent, there are times where this is easy and then there are times where outside resources will be needed to help. As long as everyone is working together for a positive learning outcome, what more can you ask for?

teach children about environmental awareness

How to Teach Your Child About Environmental Awareness, Quality Education and Sustainable Development Goals

Your child may not know about all the varying levels of education throughout the world. Luckily, Thomas & Friends has partnered up with the United Nations and Olivia Wilde to help lead, educate and promote the importance thinking on a large scale about our Earth, rather than just what’s happening in our own home.

Part of educating your child is showing them examples, right? This campaign has created 6 videos that parents and their children can watch together to then talk about what Sustainable Development Goals are and how they can start to implement them together as a family. Go to the All About For Global Goals page to watch these well thought out videos that include Thomas & Friends.

You can learn more about the campaign in the video below:



The videos are about:

  • Quality Education
  • Gender Equality
  • Clean Water and Sanitation
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • Responsible Consumption and Production
  • Life on Land

Every video was created to help encourage families to think on a larger and more global scale. Plus, they are fun with songs and different adventures to actually help your child understand what they are talking about as well.

Once you and your child have watched the videos, there is also a website available that is jam-packed full of fun resources and topics ideas to talk about including family activity ideas to follow each of the above six videos.

Playful Learning – Cleaning Water

One of the videos talks about the importance of having clean water and sanitation. While we are all fortunate to have that on a daily basis without worry or thought, there are millions of people in the world who are not as lucky.

My child and I went to the website and read all about clean water. It was extremely informative and there was a simple yet interesting activity listed below the video that I knew we had to try! It’s important for me to show my child in detail what we’ve just spent time watching and reading about!

learning about clean water

Supplies Needed for Clean Water Experiment

  • coffee filter
  • sand
  • jar
  • bottle full of dirty water (let your child make up some mud water, they’ll have a blast!)

preschool science experiments

Yep, go ahead and let her mix that muddy water!

Steps to create clean water

Before starting the process of cleaning the water, ask your child whether she would ever want to drink that water? Why not?

Then, explain how some people don’t have any other choice but to drink water that looks like this.

Once you have your discussion, it’s time to start doing the steps to try and clean the water.

Place the coffee filter over an empty glass. Use a rubber band to secure the coffee filter. Now pour water slowly through the coffee filter (on top) and watch it drip down.

preschool activities

Give your child the bottle full of dirty water and have them slowly pour that over the coffee and sand filter that you’ve created.

Then, it’s time to watch and discuss.

environmental awareness


Questions to ask your child could be:

  • How different does the filtered water look now compared to how it was before?
  • Do you think that this looks clean enough to drink or should you run it through the filter again?water experiment

If you have an older child who is extremely interested, you can even do this experiment happening with other variables besides using the sand. Test with gravel instead of sand, or try using a paper towel as the holder instead of a coffee filter. Then, talk about the differences as well!

Quality Education

quality education

We have been making our way through each of the sustainable development goals. Each week we are focusing on one video and working on some activities to encourage understanding on that particular goal.

For the quality education goal, I was a “student” in my 5 year old’s class. She taught me, as well as all our “classmates”, all about puzzles and how to put them together. She explained how you know a puzzle piece is a corner piece (2 flat sides) and how you know a piece is a side piece (1 side).

Explain to your child how not every child in this world has a free education nor access to schools. My older two children had seen this first hand when we lived in South Africa. Many of the children who lived there did not go to school and in some areas, the schools weren’t organized at all. This is a good discussion to have when you are traveling to other countries.

Questions to ask:

  • Do you like school?
  • What would you do the whole day if you didn’t have a school to go to?
  • Where would you learn?
  • If you don’t have a school, how can you help teach those around you?

Environmental Awareness – Responsible Consumption and Production

Did you know that if you use a plastic straw, this straw “lives” on the earth for up to 200 years. Something that you use for literally not even 5 minutes has a lasting effect on our planet. There are small ways that we can make a difference like using a paper straw instead of a plastic straw. Nurture environmental awareness habits in your child when they are young so that we can all join in on these sustainable development goals.

This is one of my favorite sustainable development goals to work on. Once you teach a child about environmental awareness you can be sure that your recycling bin at home will be used a lot more.

Showing a child an online video showcasing where their trash is going is a huge wake up call, not only for them but also as a reminder for us as adults too. We need to take responsibility for what we are using and what we are throwing away.

Discussion questions:

  • What are some things that we use at home that we often throw away?
  • Can we change this by using something reusable?
  • If not, can we find something to take its place that is recyclable?

When it comes to educating your child about the variances throughout the world, talking about sustainable development goals is key! Education begins at home and these 6 videos and learning activities are a great educational resource.

environmental awareness

Don’t forget to check out the All About For Global Goals activity page to find all the videos! This is a great educational campaign to incorporate into your home and classrooms.

Share what you learn! Use #AllAboardForGlobalGoals

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Amazing Pumpkin Painting Ideas & Other No Carve Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

If you plan to make a no carve Halloween pumpkin this year , you’ll love these unique pumpkin painting ideas – from the roaring dinosaur pumpkin to simple emoji pumpkins. Many cute ideas as well as scary ones! Browse through these pumpkin decorating ideas and we are sure you won’t be able to pick just […]

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Pumpkin Craft Template

Print out pumpkin craft template and make the coolest little Jack-o-lantern or regular pumpkin display in your classroom or in your home. What makes this craft special are the leaves! Gather them at your next nature walk or cut them out of paper and get crafty. While you are in the mood for spooky crafting […]

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How to Paint a Camera – Acrylic Painting for Beginners

In this easy acrylic painting for beginners art lesson we are going to show you how to paint a camera. The tutorial is suitable both for kids and grownups and is one of the easier painting project you can make (great to enter the wonderful world of painting). *this post contains affiliate links* Canvas paintings […]

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