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!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

More Octopuses...

One of my faves!  Another great around-the-house item is toilet paper rolls.  Before hand, paint these whatever color you want your octopus to be. 

This activity uses a few different FINE MOTOR SKILLS...
1.  The kids use kid scissors to cut "legs" out of the bottom of the toilet roll.
2.  Then they use their fingers to "curl" the legs (this isn't as easy for them as it sounds.)
3. They glue a fruit loop on the end of each "leg."
4.  Last step, they glue a couple googly eyes on his little face and they each get to take home a pet octopus!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Preschool is a Hoot!

So, if you are a preK teacher, the first thing I suggest you do is solicit your parents to send in their toilet paper rolls.  Because you're gonna want to do this one, too.  

"O" is for owl.

You're gonna need:

toilet paper rolls, tucked in and taped at the bottom and the top.
a small strip of colored construction paper
white circles cut from construction paper for eyes
patterned paper, if desired, cut into wings (tear drop shaped) and into a small triangle for the beak
googly eyes (of course!!) 

Wrap the strip of construction paper around the center of the tp roll and glue in place
glue on the wings first, then the whites of the eyes, then lastly the beak
follow up with the googly eyes

It always cracks me up to see how different the projects turn out with the same supplies and instructions!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Octopus

The Octopus

Tell me, O Octopus, I begs
Is those things arms, or is they legs?
I marvel at thee, Octopus;
If I were thou, I'd call me Us. 

You'll want to have them color it first...practice using those muscles that hold a pencil!!

Then give them a small cup of fruit loops cereal.  They glue the cereal onto the legs of the octopus.

Don't forget to talk to them while they work about numbers (how many legs does an octopus have?), about the ocean, ocean life, and of course, the letter "O!"

Friday, September 21, 2012

Baby, it's cold outside!!

Every fall when we talk about the letter I, the Antarctic visits our preschool for the day!!  The kiddos make an igloo! 

You will need:
a styrofoam bowl for each child
1/2 of a small white (bathroom size) plastic cup for each child
cotton balls


glue the bowl and the 1/2 cup on the paper ahead of time, giving it time to dry

Cover the bowl and cup with glue and glue the cotton balls on the igloo...
And there you have it!

You can really take this lesson anywhere.  You can strictly stay with talking about the letter "I."  Or you can do a whole theme day about the Antarctic and the animals that live there, or the climate, any number of things!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sequins and Letters and Glue! Oh My!!

Another easy and fun way to work on letter recognition is to print off a large block version of the letter you are wanting to work on and give them a bottle of glue and some sequins, or buttons, or pom poms, or whatever you would like.  They glue the objects on the letter!  Easy peasy.  Don't forget to talk to them about things that start with the letter while they glue. 

Here is a website with printable letters you can use:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Who doesn't like to make worms?  To work on fine motor skills, give each child a pipe cleaner and a plate full of beads and let them go to it.

You can give them specific directions (like make a pattern or use your favorite colors) or just let them be creative and tell YOU what they are making.

**Fun Christmas Variation:  instruct them to make a red/white pattern and make a candy cane.

You will need beads and pipe cleaners.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

File Folder Fun

The kids beg to play with these.  They have no idea that they are learning all kinds of things...sorting, categorizing, sequencing, colors, matching, numbers...the learning is endless!  We try to only pull these out once or twice a month, that way they think it is a treat, and it is a great activity to do when the weather is bad and they can't go out to recess!

This one has pictures of several items and they divide them into HOT and COLD.

This one lets them put the missing alphabet letters in the right order.

This one is more like a beginner puzzle, they match not only the colors of the hearts, but also the shapes of the edges.

These three are matching...the animal fronts to the animal backs, the patterns on the chicks to the patterns on the baskets, and the pattern on the bees to the matching pattern on the flowers. 

And who doesn't love cupcakes?  With cherries?  Match the numbers of cherries with the number on the cupcake!  They count the cherries, then use their number recognition. 

To make your own file folders, you will need file folders and an idea.  We laminated ours so that they would last longer through repeated use, you will probably want to do that, too.  

You can buy books that have file folder ideas in them at book stores or teacher supply stores.  You can also download and print from sites like this, they have free downloads.  Also try googling "file folders" for more ideas!

Monday, September 3, 2012

D.E.A.R (Drop Everything And Read)

I am totally involved in a love affair.  With children's books.  I love them.  And when my kiddos were growing up, I bought books for them anytime I got a fairs and Scholastic book orders were my best friend.  So it warms the cockles of my heart when our Pre K kiddos love to look at books, and it's no surprise that story time is my favorite part of the day.  

We start off every day with books.  As the kiddos arrive and wait for their friends to get here, they can choose to read or to do another activity that we have chosen out on the table (I'll talk about that later.)  And then a few times a month, we have DEAR.  Drop everything and read.

It's important to give kiddos access to books if they are going to learn how to love them!  In our class, we have a great bookshelf that was designed by Janette's husband, Superman.  

It's a great way to keep the books in good shape and make them easily accessible for the kiddos.  You can go to her blog to learn how to make one for yourself.  It would be a great addition to your playroom, or a child's room, or your own home classroom.  

Read on!