Train Counting Puzzle

Does your little one love trains?  How about puzzles?  Let’s add some counting to the mix for good measure, and we get a Train Counting Puzzle.  My inspiration for this was the Caterpillar Counting Puzzle I talked about yesterday.

This is what we did.

I cut three cereal boxes into squares/rectangles.  I thought Jamie’s idea for painting in a baggy was a brilliant idea.  So we tried it.

Aiden pretty much hated it.  I tried to sell the idea by showing him how the paint squished around.  I even pulled out a rolling pin so he could flatten it.  Yeah, not so much.  He wanted to use a paint brush.  This didn’t work in the baggy, so he just opened the bag and that was the end of that brilliant idea.  Maybe it will work for you though.  Jamie’s toddler loved it.

I gave in and let Aiden paint with a sponge brush not in a baggy.  I squirted some paint onto the cardboard and he went to town asking for more paint ever so often.

Aiden would choose to have all of the colors on every cardboard piece if I let him.  Did you notice that on his paper bag art piece?  Most everything he paints turns out gray.

I carefully limited his color choices so we would be able to vary the colors of the train.  I did let him use all of the colors on a couple of the pieces.

I painted edges after Aiden was done painting each cardboard piece.

We let the cardboard pieces dry while we went off to play.

Later, I turned our painted pieces into train cars and an engine.  I rounded corners on some of the cars and cut various shapes out to make the train.  I had a super fun time cutting out the circles.  I had a few circles leftover from our Valentine Matching Games, but not enough for all of the train.  I should have pulled out my Silhouette to let it cut out the circles for me.  Instead I traced the bottom of a paint bottle and cut the circles by hand.

I put together the engine and glued on the wheels.

Now for the puzzle creating part.  I just cut out a random shape from a train car and attached it to the car/engine in front with a skinny rectangle in between.While I was turning the train into a puzzle, Aiden decided it would be a good idea to color on the train cars with crayons.  Who am I to stop him?

I put the train puzzle in order and numbered the cars.  Then, I added animal stickers to each car.  Train car number 1 received one bear sticker, train car number 2 was allowed two snake stickers, etc…  Aiden was off doing something else at this point, otherwise I would have had him add the stickers to the train cars.

That’s it!  Aiden put the train together and we counted the animals as he did this.  Then, he decided it would be fun to march around the train to “The Ants Go Marching,” so, of course, I broke out in song so he could march.

Left click on the train image to view a bigger size.

We paired the train counting puzzle with some books as well.

We read 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo by Eric Carle  {It’s a counting book about a train full of animals – how fitting!}

We also read Skippyjon Jones 1, 2, 3 {a board book that counts some of the things a naughty kitty gets into}

Lastly, we read a Thomas the Train lift the flap book.  No numbers or counting in this one {except for the numbers on Thomas and James}, but it is fun to see the things under the flaps.  You could always count the things you find.

I’m linking up with my favorite places.

What are your favorite train or counting books? {bonus for both}

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Paper Bag Creative Challenge

What fun can you have with a paper bag?  That is essentially the challenge from Tinkerlab: Grab a paper bag and some other materials and see what your child will create.

Before we started with the paper bag, we went outside to gather some supplies.
Aiden collected rocks and acorns from our front yard.

I cut up the paper bag to make a canvas for his creation.

I set up some watercolor paints {we later broke out some different paints}.

Here’s how the art piece progressed:

Aiden started by finger painting with the watercolors.

Then, he grabbed a brush.

He wanted to move on to different paints, so he mixed them up and used a sponge brush to paint some of the rocks and acorns we collected along with the paper bag.

We had some cut out shapes leftover from our Valentine Matching Games.  Aiden applied those to the art piece as well.

We also crumpled up a coffee filter we painted and added it to the corner.

Here’s the final product:

It was definitely about the process for us:
Searching for rocks and acorns outside;
Playing with shapes and colors;
Combined with the sensory experience of painting
Makes for a fun time!

”Tinkerlab”

Here are some of the blogs that are taking part in this challenge:

Paint Cut Paste, Imagination Soup, Hands On: As We Grow, Child Central Station, Putti Prapancha, Irresistible Ideas for Play-Based Learning, Teach Preschool, The Chocolate Muffin Tree, Nurture Store, Small Types,Make Do & Friend, The Imagination Tree, Toddler Approved, Red Ted Art, Mommy Labs, Kids in the Studio, Rainy Day Mum, Glittering Muffins, Sense of Wonder, Mom To 2 Posh Lil Divas, Come Together Kids, My Creative Family, Kitchen Counter Chronicles, A Mom With A Lesson Plan, Angelique Felix, The Golden Gleam, Share and Remember, Clarion Wren, Living at the Whitehead’s Zoo, Let Kids Create, De tout et de rien, PlayDrMom, Creativity My Passion, Messy Kids, Kiwi Crate, Tinkerlab

Check out what they are doing.


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1. Where the Wild Things Are, RTA
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2. Valentine Animals on Bag
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3. Mini Coloring Book

4. Paper Bag Monsters
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5. Child Directed Projects
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6. Paper Bag Puppets & Literacy
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7. Paper bag dress with hanger
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8. Paper Bag Windsock
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9. Paper Bag Thankful Book
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10. Paper bag bean bags
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11. Paper Bag Princesses
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12. paper bag weaving
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13. Bark george: Origami Dog play
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14. Paper Bag Heart Gifts
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15. paper bag purse
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16. Paper Bag Fan
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17. Stuffed Puffy Heart
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18. Paper Bag Fairy Dresses
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19. Paper Bag Valentine Satchel
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20. A Clowns Hat
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21. Paper Bag Angry Birds
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22. Paper Bag Knights Helmet
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23. Childrens Art Lanterns
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24. Hot Air Balloon Night Light
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25. Patterned paper heart banner
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26. paper bag envelopes
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27. Paper Bag Walnut Grove
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28. A Hunt for Love
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29. Gruffalo paper bag
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30. Cave art
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31. Tall Giraffe Puppet Tutorial
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32. Paper Bag Backpack
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33. Painted Paper Bag Fairy Book
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34. Mystery Bag

35. Paper Bag Art
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36. Simple Paper Bag Weaving
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37. Paper Bag Love Owl
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38. Paper Bag Love Bomb
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39. Valentines Bags for 2s
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40. Bag Vests w Design Papers: LUV
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41. Handcrafted Bangles from paper
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42. LOVE Luminaries
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43. Small play hut from Paper Bag
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44. Goldfish Bag Puppet Tutorial
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45. Hungry Paper Bag Lion
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46. Paper Bag Painted Rose Bouquet
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47. Learning Color Words

48. Paper Bag Boat
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49. Ferocious Paper Bag
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50. Josephs Colored Coat
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51. Paper Bag Whale
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52. My Book of Colors
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53. Stained Glass Paperbag
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54. Letter Monster
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55. Tinkerlab Challenge Rules
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56. Paper Bag Chrysalides
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57. Bird Nest
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58. Paper Bag Museum
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59. Paper Bag Hat
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60. Paper Bag & Valentine Mail Box
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61. Whats in the Bag?
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62. Heart Lamp Shade Cover
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63. Paper bag vines
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64. Rubble – construction craft
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65. Paper Bag Playground
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66. I Lov U Sensory PaperBag
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67. Paper Bag Turkey
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68. Distressed Paper Bag Art
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69. Paper bag vines
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70. Paper bag Valentines card
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71. mixed media valentine
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72. printing on brown paper bags
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73. paper bag gift tags
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74. Lunchbag Gift Bag
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75. Paper Bag Cheese
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76. Sweet Little Heart Village
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77. 4 Ways to Recycle Paper Bags
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78. paper bag valentine lantern
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Do you have any creative ideas for paper bags? 

Visit Tinkerlab to join in on the fun.  Submit your idea to the Pinterest contest.

Thanks for stopping by!
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Making Cards with Toddler Art

Aiden loves to color.

I wanted to share his art with our family back in Missouri, but I didn’t just want to mail the coloring pages to them.  I thought it would be fun to incorporate his art into our Christmas cards!

I let Aiden color on several pages of cardstock – all different colors.  {We did this over several days – I’m not a mean mama who made him slave away in one sitting…}

Then, I cut out shapes with my Silhouette machine.

For some of the cards, I simply added a star to the inside of the card – a small touch of Aiden.

I also made a few using his coloring page as the main background.  I cut out different shapes and stamped ”Merry Christmas” on the outside.  I added some glitter for sparkly fun.

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A nice message and bible verse is on the inside (and a few more cut out stars colored by Aiden).

I added one more picture on the back, a little stamp, and note saying the artwork was by Aiden.

I hope everyone likes their cards!

{I think I’ll save one for myself.}

Enjoying this Christmas season!  Much love,

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Drawing Games

I want to share with you a game that Aiden and I have recently been playing.  He loves to color, and he especially loves it when I color with him.  He points to the paper wanting me to draw on it.  I draw something, and he says what it is.  I mostly draw shapes, numbers, and letters.  If he doesn’t remember the name of the item I drew, he waits for me to say its name, then he repeats it.  He’s not very good at saying some words, so he makes up his own version of the word.  Frog has become fuff; circle is sirsel; you get the idea.  Aiden points to another spot on the paper, and I draw something there.  Sometimes I draw more complicated things.  I drew a picture of Daddy (he has curly hair).  Aiden said, “Mama.”  I had to laugh.  I said, “That’s Daddy!”  Aiden exclaims, “Daddy!”  Apparently, I am a horrible sketch artist!

You can see that Aiden has colored all over the paper. Then, he had me draw in specific places.

Daddy gets in on the fun, too! Most of this page is his sketch work. He drew the curly haired figure this time, but it’s definitely not a self portrait!

 Here’s a summary of the game:

  1. Grab some paper and a writing utensil.  Crayons are great.
  2. Draw a shape, a number, or a letter.  (Or if you are brave, you can draw an animal or person.)
  3. Ask your little one to tell you the name of the item.  (“What shape is this?”  “What number did I draw?”  “What letter do you see?”)

 This game keeps Aiden occupied for quite some time.  And the best part?  He is practicing what he knows and learning at the same time.

 This also works for practicing and learning colors.  Just ask your little one about the color of your drawing.  (This is why I said crayons are so great.)

 One more tip:  I keep a mini composition book (it’s smaller than my wallet) and some crayons (or at least a pen) in my purse.  This drawing game provides a wonderful means of entertainment when you are in a place that your little one cannot run around (waiting rooms, lines, church, restaurants, etc.).  It can be a silent game if you just take turns drawing things.  A bit of a warning though:  If you usually play this game while talking about what you draw, don’t expect your little one to understand when you want him to play the game silently.  He’ll mostly likely yell out everything you draw even if you don’t want him to.  That’s what Aiden does anyway!  Not to worry though – most people find it adorable to hear him calling out letters and shapes – it’s way better than a screaming child!

Try a drawing game with your little one soon!  Let me know how it turns out!