Lil' Miss Smarty Pants was created to share activities (mostly crafts!!) you can do with your own kids or in a teaching setting...almost all of the activities use simple everyday items that are found in most homes with kiddos. We have spent a lot of time looking for fun activities that also have teaching/learning value, and several years trying them out with our preK class. Here are our favorites!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Party!!

Parties are our favorite...and Christmas is no exception.
We help the kids make their own Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer hand print t-shirt.  Using wash-proof acrylic paint, paint their palm light brown and their fingers dark brown.  Add dark brown or black eyes and a red nose.

For fun, we send them home with a bag of Reindeer Noses...8 Whoppers and a red gumball!

And who doesn't like a craft you can eat?
This year, we made Christmas trees.

You'll need a sugar cone for each one, green frosting, and candy for the "ornaments." 

We use craft sticks as "knives" for the kids to spread the frosting on the cone.  When the frosting is all on, cover it with little candies.  

Had to share one of my favorite parts of the day...the kiddos played with the Nativity Little People during centers.  Here's a picture of Lightening McQueen catching a ride with a camel to meet the baby Jesus.

We have a present exchange with the kids to end the they all go home with a gift from a friend. 

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Wreath

This turned into one of my favorite Christmas crafts we did.
All the kids knew what a wreath was and most of their mommies have one on their front door.  So we made one for their bedroom doors!

Cut the center out of the middle of a paper plate.
Cut green construction paper into squares, and glue the first layer of green paper around the edge of the plate.

When they are finished with the first layer....

...they can start working on the inside layer.

After all the green is on, you can glue on the berries, red paper squares.  If you would rather, you can glue on cereal, sequins or anything else.

The kids even like this more than I thought they would!

We ended up with the cutest wreaths ever...wish I had one for my front door!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Penguins live at the SOUTH POLE...

It's kinda funny that we see penguins in Christmas movies with the reindeer and polar bears and Santa...because penguins don't actually live at the North Pole!  But they are still a fun animal to talk about and make cute things of with the Prek kids!

To make this funny paper plate penguin you'll need:

Glue them together like this:

Here's a fun little penguin counting song to sing while you play with your penguins:

Penguin's First Swim

Ten little penguins all in a line
One jumps in, and now there are nine.
Nine little penguins, how they hesitate-
One tumbles in, and now there are eight.
Eight little penguins pushin' and shovin'
One slides in, and now there are seven.
Seven little penguins, scarcely more than chicks-
One slips in, and now there are six.
Six little penguins can't decide to dive-
One falls in, and now there are five.
Five little penguins huddle on the shore-
One flops in, and now there are four.
Four little penguins fidget fearfully-
One hops in, and now there are three.
Three little penguins wonder what to do-
One rolls in, and now there are two....
Two little penguins missing all the fun-
They both leap in, and now there are.....
Ten little penguins, brave as they can be,
Splashing in the waves of the salty southern sea.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Candy Cane Sequencing

This is another fun activity that teaches while they play.
It doesn't look like Math, but it is!

Patterns and sequencing are very important to a little math mind.

For this activity, all you need is a print out of a candy this one, and construction paper in red and white cut in squares.  

Explain that candy canes have a, white, red, white, red, white.  Then they get to use their fine motor coordination and their math brains and build a candy cane!

We also happened to be talking about the letter "J" this same we handed out candy  canes and told them to turn it upside down to find a letter.  :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Here comes Santa Claus!

And once you have made reindeer...Santa can't be far behind!!

These paper plate Santa's were so fun and the kids loved them.

You are going to need to have paper plates (just the cheap, white ones), cotton balls, googly eyes, and construction paper: a peach colored circle for his face, a red Santa-hat shape, a pink nose, and two black circles to go behind the googly eyes.

Glue the peach circle onto the plate and then glue the Santa hat shape to the top of the plate.  Glue on the eyes and the nose, and the googly eyes.  Now use the cotton balls to make Santa's beard, mustache and hat trim.

The kids love to have their very own decorations for Christmas to put up in their house!

Monday, December 10, 2012

You know Dasher, and Dancer, and Prancer, and Vixen...

One of our favorite preschool songs is definitely Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer!  All the reindeer have black noses, except of course, Rudolph.

You will need:

brown paper sacks
brown antlers
black paper eyes
googly eyes
a red nose (we used a red pipe cleaner spiraled up)
you could also use pom poms or paper for the nose

Cut off about 2-3 inches of the top of the sack, and round the edges.  You can put a wad of newspaper in the sack to make it stand up better.  Fold the top over and staple it shut.

Then let the kiddos glue on the antlers on the sides, the eyes, googly eyes and the nose.  Super easy and lots of fun to play with!

We let them hold them up during singing time and sing Christmas songs with them.  It was ESPECIALLY fun when we sang about Rudolph!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Building a Snowman

What do you do in December when you live in Texas and the kiddos can only dream of having enough snow to build a big snowman?  Build a paper one!

We combined this with a little lesson on shapes and sizes (big, bigger, biggest).

You can use any color of construction paper for the background, except white...LOL!!  

Cut 3 white circles...three sizes for the snowballs.
Cut a black square for the hat.
Cut small squares for his buttons.
And a little orange triangle for his nose.

We told them to put the BIGGEST circle on the bottom, then the middle sized circle, then the smallest circle.

Next, the BIGGEST square is the hat...and the small squares are the buttons.

Finally, they glue on the triangle nose and the circle (googly) eyes.

Monday, December 3, 2012

I like smiling, smiling is my favorite!

I love December!  Everything about preschool in December is fun.
The crafts, the worksheets, the songs, the stories, the games, the parties...the fun never ends!

Here is a quick and easy (and darling) craft to do to kick off the month long celebration of the happiest time of the year!

Most of the kids will have just "helped" mom decorate their tree at this is a chance for them to make one all of their own for their bedroom door or the fridge!

You're gonna need a plain piece of paper, a large green construction paper triangle, a small brown construction paper square, glue, and what ever you want that is pretty, sparkly, or colorful to "decorate" with.  We used sequins, but it would be fun to use buttons, cereal, candies...whatever you and your kiddos like.

Let them glue the green and brown papers on the white paper to make the tree.  Then glue the deco on the tree...however you want.

Sing Christmas songs while you decorate the tree...and be sure and smile.  Smiling's my favorite!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Give Thanks!! :)

So much to be grateful for when you have a class full of cuties at Thanksgiving!!

We start out with our Thanksgiving t-shirt...a TURKEY, of course!!  Dark brown palm and thumb, red, orange, yellow and green fingers.  Add a red wattle and orange beak and feet...all in laundry proof acrylic paints.  I love anything handprints...they grow up way too fast!

The kids always like to play BINGO and Thanksgiving is no exception...

We got ours here but you can Google Thanksgiving Bingo Cards and choose from others.

And then our parents join us for a Thanksgiving feast, complete with all the fixin's.

We have so much to be grateful for.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I am Thankful for...

Want to smile?  Ask a 4-year old what they are thankful for.

Our kiddos put together these sweet turkeys, then told us what things they were most grateful for.

It works best if you use a large piece of construction paper for the background.  Then cut out a large circle for the body and a small circle for the head.  Cut out different colors of feathers, a little orange beak and a red wattle.  Add a couple of googly eyes, then the fun begins.

Most of the responses are the touching ones that make their mommas' hearts melt.  But I think our hands down favorite was "the whole entire planet, even aliens, too."

Gotta love a kid who can be grateful for the aliens.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Toilet Paper Roll Turkeys

Our kiddos loved this simple activity...probably because of the "real" feathers!

It was a simple activity, but again, works on those small muscles!!  We painted the tp rolls brown ahead of time.

Then, all you need is a few feathers, some googly eyes, a triangle piece of orange paper, and a piece of red yarn for the wattle.

Be warned, some of the kids had a little difficulty with gluing the feathers on the inside of the tp roll, the coordination was just a little too much and they needed a little help.  The rest is self explanatory.     

Just don't eat them!  :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Stone Soup

Have you ever had stone soup?
It's delicious.

There is an old story about three strangers, hungry and tired, who pass through a war-torn village. Embittered and suspicious from the war, the people hide their food and close their windows tight. That is, until the clever strangers suggest making a soup from stones. Intrigued by the idea, everyone brings what they have until-- together, they have made a feast fit for a king!

We ask each of the kids to bring one ingredient, some brought carrots, others brought onions, peas, broth, noodles...and we provide the chicken.  

We read them the story and then we all go into the kitchen and everyone gives what they have....

...and then we sit down together and enjoy or own soup, fit for a king!

It's a fun story, a great day, and a valuable lesson.  We can always do more together than we can alone!

(For information on how to make the above "table for five," go here.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Once there was a Snowman...

Paper plate crafts rock again!!  

For this fun Snowman craft, you will need this for each kiddo:
a paper plate
a pipe cleaner 
construction paper cut into circles for eyes, a long triangle for a carrot nose, and lots of little squares for the mouth
2 pom poms

Using their sweet little fingers, they glue the eyes, nose and mouth on the plate first.

Then they glue the pom pom/pipe cleaner ear muffs on to the freezing cold snowman ears...

...and you've got the cutest little snowman head with warm ears ever.  Just be careful he doesn't get too warm, he may melt!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Musical Letters or The Best Letter Game Ever!!!!

 We stumbled on this game quite by accident.  We love to play a couple of different music games with the kids...musical chairs and freeze dance.  One day, Janette's husband came up with the idea that we combine them along with the letters to make a fun letter game...and the kids loved it.  

We lay the alphabet around the rug in random order... 

The kids stand in a circle around the rug...and then we start the music.  The more upbeat, the better.  We love the kid's versions of many of the popular songs...the kids dance around the rug and  when the music stops, QUICK!!  Find a letter!!

They all drop down by the letter they are close to.  Then a letter is called, and the one who has that letter brings it to the front and exchanges it for a small an M-n-M or skittle.  We have them tell us the sound of the letter and sometimes a word.  

Several of our kids who were struggling with letter recognition at the beginning of the year are learning and they love it!

Then the music starts again and off they go!

When it gets down to not having enough letters for each to have their own, they share.  So then there can be more than one winner in that round.  Sometimes we throw numbers in, too.  Just to mix it up.  The kids love the movement and the music and the competition! 

We love this game, and so do our kids!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Party!!

Love a good Halloween Party!!
One of the keepsakes that we love to make for the kiddos is a hand-print t-shirt.  For this year's Halloween Party we did spiders.

I LOVED the way they turned out.
We always fold the shirts and put a piece of paper in between the two sides of the shirt so that the paint doesn't seep through to the back.  Also, be sure to use a laundry proof that won't wash off or out in the laundry.  We use acrylic.  We drew the "web" on with a sharpie, and used a red acrylic paint to dot the eyes on.

We also have each of the kids bring a treat to share with their classmates, so each kid goes home with a treat from each of their classmates.  They all bring a trick or treat bag and we divide them out!

Of course we give them some treats, too...Pumpkin and Ghost poop.  (Preschoolers think poop is hilarious!)

So fun to eat the scary food!  We had Mummy Cupcakes and Hot Dog Mummies.  Yum!

Four year olds are also getting good at playing games and Bingo is a favorite.  A couple of years ago we downloaded this Bingo Game from Jamie @ The Crafting Chicks.

They can use Skittles, M-n-M's, cereal, or marshmallows as markers for the game.  And they love to eat the treats at the end!

Happy Halloween!  Have fun with your little ones!