Thanksgiving Turkey Art

SnipBlog106cHere’s a really easy Thanksgiving project for your kids of all ages! Cut out the shapes ahead of time for your preschoolers if necessary. Draw the shapes onto construction paper or any type of colored paper. Let kindergarteners use safety scissors to cut them out themselves. The pieces do not need to be perfectly shaped to create this project. If you want the finished project to fit on an 8 ½ by 11 sheet of paper, the feathers can be about 3-4 inches long, and the body about 4 inches across.

Draw a small circle in the very center of a plain piece of paper and let your child use a glue stick to glue the feathers part way around the circle. Glue on the body shape next, overlapping the wings just a bit, then glue on the head, wing, legs, etc.



Have a very thankful Thanksgiving!

Back to School – Make Your Own ABC Book!

It’s nearly fall and children are going back to school.  Whether you homeschool or your children attend public or private school, you may enjoy doing this activity with your preschool or kindergarten student.


At ages 4 and 5, children should still be playing a lot of the time, so learning should be casual and informal. If your child shows an interest in learning the alphabet, you can teach the letters in many different ways. You might post a large letter on the wall or refrigerator (one at a time) and talk about its name and sound at random times during the day. You can read ABC books together.  You can point out words for objects that begin with a specific letter.

Your child might also enjoy making his/her own ABC book. This is a fun activity for your preschool or kindergarten students that can help them begin to recognize letters and learn letter names. Teach just one letter at a time.  It really does not matter at this age whether you teach a letter every couple of days or one a week. Let your child’s interest be your guide.

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Your child will need to be able to cut reasonably straight lines with scissors first.  Then he/she will be able to do this activity with just a little guidance from you. Use plain white cardstock or typing paper for each page and bind it when you complete the project—or purchase an inexpensive spiral notebook to paste the letters and pictures into. Give your child the pictures for just one letter.  Ask her to cut out each picture for the letter she is learning. Show her how to paste the letters and pictures onto the paper. It doesn’t need to look perfect. Use a glue stick rather than liquid glue. Young children may find it easier to use a glue stick that looks purple when applied, but dries clear, so they can see where they have put the glue.

Here’s where you can get your FREE Cut & Paste ABC Book from Sound Bytes Reading:

ABC Cut & Paste Book – part 1 & part 2


Winter Art and Descriptive Writing


Here’s a great way to inspire your kids to write—connect a creative art project to a descriptive writing assignment! Students will enjoy creating a work of art and then writing a little bit about it. 

Make the picture first. For the picture, start with an 8 x 10 piece of cardstock.  Use color pencils to wash the paper in shades of blue and green or even purple and pink.  Then take a piece of plain white paper and use scissors to cut out some tree branches.  Children can try to cut a tree shape in a single piece—or they can cut lots of long and short pieces.  

Next, use a glue stick to glue the pieces onto your colored paper to make a tree and its branches.  Imperfect shapes will work best, just as tree branches are not uniformly shaped. If you want mounds of snow, cut mounded shapes out of your white paper and add them to the picture.

This is a project that kids of all ages can do.  You will need to do the paper cutting for 3-4 year-olds, but they can learn to use a glue stick at this age with some help.  Most children at this age will not be able to write yet, so the younger set may only be creating the picture. Some might be able to copy the letter “S” onto their paper.

Next is the writing assignment. Some preschoolers with good small motor skills might be able to copy the word “SNOW” to label their picture.  5-6 year-olds may be able to write a sentence or two if they are beginning to read and write, and you can help them by writing out the sentence they dictate and then letting them copy the words onto their own paper. Older students may write an entire paragraph or more without help.

A few weeks ago I wrote about learning to describe what you hear, see, smell, taste, or touch—and writing about each of the senses in a separate assignment. That exercise will help your students learn how to describe things in writing. You can print out the graphic organizer from the blog that follows that one here:  Helping Students Think About Descriptive Writing.

Time to do a fun winter art project and write about it!


Make Your Own Magnetic Letter Tiles

SnipBlog81aA while back I wrote about teaching students how to spell. The easiest way to teach spelling is in connection with reading, so children should be learning to spell the same words they are learning to phonetically decode. Spelling is a lot more fun if you teach it with a hands-on activity. My spelling game includes a list of very simple words for a student who is just beginning to read, but you can adapt it to any phonetically regular spelling list. A side benefit to this game is that your child is also gaining phonemic awareness while playing around with spelling. You can read the blog and get the spelling game here:

Recently I was channel surfing and ran across a great idea.  The TV channel was ION Life and the program was “She’s Crafty” featuring Wendy Russell (11-14-2013).  I could not find a link to the specific program—but I’ll describe the quick and easy craft project she demonstrated that you can use to make magnetic letter tiles for spelling.

Use the letter tiles from an old Scrabble game for this craft.  Purchase a roll of Roll-N-Cut Flexible Magnet Tape (cost is around $6). It has an adhesive backing so it’s really easy to attach to the letters.  Cut off squares the size of the letter tiles and attach them to the back of the Scrabble letter tiles.  Now you have inexpensive magnetic letters for your kids to play with and learn to spell with (all capital letters).

Put the magnetic letters on the refrigerator and help your kiddos learn to spell while you cook. I’ve included some lists below to get you started. One list is for first graders, the others for second and/or third graders. The target spelling pattern is underlined in the first word in each list. Use whatever works at your child’s spelling level.  Have fun playing around with spelling!

SnipBlog81cSnipBlog81dPrint a PDF copy of the Spelling Word List here:

Art Projects in August—Free Family Fun—Part 2

Here’s another art project for the kids during the last long hot days of August!  Cut colored construction paper—or any other colored paper you have on hand—into long strips.  Older kids can use a hole punch to punch out lots of tiny circles.  Be sure to empty the punch onto a small piece of paper each time you change colors so you have separate piles in different colors.

Think about what kind of picture you want to create.  It could be nature, animal, vehicle, or, abstract art. Now use a glue stick to outline one section at a time on your paper.  Sprinkle the dots onto the section you have glued.  You may need to fill in with more glue and dots in some places.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  Just have fun.

Save all of the long strips that the older kids punched holes out of and let the younger kids use them to make a picture of their own.  Use a glue stick to place glue on the paper where you want to put the strips because the strips may tear if you use the glue stick on them.  It might be a random abstract art picture like this.

Some kids may enjoy creating a picture with a little more structure like this one. Be sure to let the glue dry before placing anything on top of the picture.

This is an easy, easy art project that is fun and it will keep the kids busy for a while.

Have a happy end-of-the-summer creating art with your kids!


An Art Project in August—Free Family Fun—Part 1

Is the heat keeping your kids indoors at the end of the summer? Need a fresh idea to keep the kids busy?  Here’s an art project that is fun and easy and can be easily adjusted up or down in difficulty depending on the age and ability of each child.

You will need:

  • a few sheets of plain white paper
  • some colored paper or construction paper
  • a pair of scissors
  • a glue stick

This project is very easy for school-age children.   Three and four-year-olds may need you to help with cutting.  You can draw a shape and let them cut on the lines if they know how to cut with scissors.

1.  Create a border for the picture by drawing a text box on the computer and printing it out on a piece of plain white paper.

2.  Ask your children to think about what kind of picture they would like to make.

3.  Let them cut out some geometric shapes from the colored paper.

4.  Your children can arrange the shapes on a piece of paper until they like the way the picture looks.

5.  Then they can glue the pieces onto the piece of paper that has the border printed on it.

Older children may want to make pictures that are more complex.

They might also want to include background images in their picture.

Find a place to display your child’s completed artwork so you can enjoy it!