My favorite Preschool Shows

I firmly believe in restricting TV, but I think a little bit is fine, especially when something needs to get done, the kiddos (or you) are sick, or when you just need a fun, relaxing thing to do together.  I recommend watching the shows with your kiddos (if possible) so that you can talk about the things happening in the show and bring up those stories later as needed.  All preschool shows are definitely not created equally.  The shows I’m recommending are a combination of education and entertainment and (hopefully) will be fun for grown-ups to watch, too!  Disclaimer: I don’t watch tons of different preschool TV shows, so your favorites might not be in this list!  That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy them, but I haven’t had the opportunity to.  If you have a favorite to add, leave it in the comments and tell me why I should try watching it!

1) Wallykazam!  This is a pretty new show by Nick, Jr. featuring colorful fantasy creatures like a troll, dragon, ogre, giant, and more!  Wally is a troll with a magic stick that can create things, but only if they start with magic letter (or rhyme with the magic word) of that episode.  On “H” day, he started by hopping on a huge hamburger!  There are great opportunities for learning letters, letter sounds, and rhyming words in this show, and it’s adorable!  The characters are lovable and the music is really great!  I’ve found myself taking a cue from Wally and making the whole day dedicated to the “magic letter”! Oh, and I adore Bobgoblin, the quirky little goblin with a funny voice who has a knack for finding trouble!

2) Team Umizoomi! Another gem from Nick Jr!  This one involves a tiny team of superheroes, Milly and Geo (brother and sister) and Bot (their robot friend), who use their “Mighty Math Powers” to solve problems all around Umi City.  Educationally, they teach numbers, counting, patterns, shapes, and so much more.  The show is colorful, fun, and also has great music that gets stuck in your head!  The other neat thing that Umizoomi does is work in live people with the CG animation, which makes the already unique look to the show even better!

3) Doc McStuffins! This one was created by Disney Jr.  It’s not exactly educational, but it does teach about hygiene, health, and problem-solving.  It can also help kids become less afraid of the doctor.  Doc McStuffins is a doctor for toys.  She gives broken and malfunctioning toys check-ups, diagnoses them, and fixes them so that they can feel all better.  It’s a great little show, and I love the diversity, since Doc is African-American, which you don’t see all that often in cartoons.  There’s some music in it, but it’s the same songs each episode, “Time for your Check-up” and “I Feel Better”, which can be boring, but it’s also great for kids to learn a song well enough to sing along. The predictable format of this show is also a plus for preschoolers, who typically like to know what to expect.

4) Peep and the Big Wide World! This one only airs on TV in Canada, but you can watch full episodes on the website for free, and they change them every week.  On the website, you’ll also find great online games, and loads of ideas for doing science at home!  I LOVE this show. It features lovable little bird characters (Peep, Chirp, and Quack) and their friends, who are always going on adventures and discovering new things.  The show focuses on teaching science topics, like weather, nature, seasons, and even some basic physics!  And if that’s not awesome enough, the show is narrated by Joan Cusack, who also voices Jessie from Toy Story!

5) Sophia the First! This one, like Doc McStuffins, is by Disney Jr and is not super educational.  However, it does talk a lot about friendship, diversity, and trying new things.  It features a little girl, Sophia, who was just a normal girl until her mom married a king and she instantly became a princess.  She constantly struggles to fit in and learn what it means to be a princess.  Along the way, she teaches her step brother and sister (who have always been a prince and princess) how to be better royalty, too.  There are great songs, wonderful moral lessons, and references to other Disney movies all over the place. I’ve gotten choked up watching this show.  It’s really sweet!

Advertisements

I’m kind of in love with contact paper.

Do you know about contact paper? You can find it in craft supply stores, and sometimes at Target or other similar stores, too. It’s a nice, thick vinyl (clear) that’s sticky on one side.  It comes in rolls, with quite a bit on the roll for about $10.  And there are soooo many great things you can do with it.

1. Tissue paper sun catchers: Cut a big piece, peel off the paper, and put the sticky side up on a table.  Let your little one place small pieces of tissue paper all over the place!  When there’s a satisfying amount of tissue paper, cut another piece of contact paper, peel the paper off, and stick it to the sticky side of the first sheet.  Then cut your sun catcher into whatever shape you like, and use a hole punch at the top to make a hole that yarn can go into to hang it up.  Bonus:  Make a sun catcher with other stuff too, like leaves and grasses, for example.

2.  Scratch off Tickets:  I tried making these with a pinterest post that I kept seeing, where you put paint on top of white crayon.  It didn’t work.  This contact paper version did, though!  Be sure to add dish soap to your paint, too!  You can personalize these in a number of ways and make great gifts for all sorts of occasions.

http://static.spoonful.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_420x420/public/crafts/scratch-and-win-valentines-day-craft-photo-420-FF0210VALENW03.jpg%3Fitok%3DEJLkf88E

3.  Nature bracelet:  When you’re going on a nature walk, make these fun bracelets, sticky side up, so that your kiddos and collect flower, leaves, and whatever else they enjoy.  If they want to keep it, use a hole punch on each end of the bracelet, and tie it on with yarn.

4.  Create a Sticky Wall:  Tape some contact paper, sticky side out, to a foam board, easel, or other hard surface.  You can let your kiddos stick all sorts of things to this, and they’ll come off easy enough too.  You could try little plastic animals, plastic beads, words or letters on cardstock, alphabet magnets, and so much more!

5.  Easy bookmarks: Cut out some card stock in a rectangle, decorate it with stickers, markers, crayons, etc. Cover both sides with contact paper and cut it out (with contact paper sticking out a little further than the card stock), and you have a great, easy gift that won’t just sit around!

6.  Make your own stickers:  If you’re comfortable with your little ones using permanent markers, let them make their own stickers!  Using an assortment of colors, have them draw pictures on the contact paper (before you peel of the paper on the sticky side.  Then cut the stickers out and have them place them on paper!  Fun!

There’s so many more great projects you can do with contact paper, so maybe I’ll make another list some time!

Valentine’s Day is Coming!

Break out the red, pink, and white construction paper!  The sparkly stickers and heart-shaped gems! The glitter glue!  And glitter paints! And glitter crayons!  (Everything is better with glitter. Duh.)  It’s time to spread the love! Here are some of my favorite Valentine’s Day crafts for kids:

Borax Crystal Hearts:  It’s a craft! It’s science!  It makes a beautiful gift!

 

“Love” picture with hand and feet:  This would be great to do with a smaller child who’s more limited in the crafting they could do.  Imagine how nice it’d look on a canvas!  Bonus- you could do this with 2, or even 3 kids by having them each contribute one hand or foot print, then write their names at the bottom of each print.

 

All-in-One Valentine Envelope:  Simple and cute! Cut out a heart and follow the easy instruction for how to fold it into an envelope. Younger kids can draw on the inside heart, older ones can write sweet notes.

“I love you” Sign Language Hand:  What kid doesn’t like to have their hand traced? Super cute, and you can use these hands on a heart, a card, a gift tag… the possibilities are endless. Bonus: this is a great opportunity to do a simple lesson in sign language and work on small motor as you teach the child to say “I love you” with his hand.

 

That should be enough to get you started!  There are so many great V-day crafts. It was hard to choose just a few! Share your favorites in the comments, if you like!