How to Motivate Your Child to Practice Guitar

How to Motivate Kids to Practice Guitar


Whether you homeschool or not, you probably have a difficult time getting your child to practice their musical instrument. No matter the instrument, be it a ukulele, guitar, piano, clarinet, or saxophone, practice makes perfect. So, how do you motivate kids to practice guitar? Read on for some valuable parenting tips that may just save your sanity.



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How to Motivate Kids to Practice Guitar or Ukulele
How do you motivate your child to practice their musical instrument?

No matter how much your child loves playing the guitar or the ukulele, there comes a time when he or she isn’t in the mood to practice. When this happens, what can you do?


First, you need to determine why your child doesn’t feel like practicing. Perhaps they find their old guitar to be too unwieldy or cumbersome, or it won’t stay in tune and they’re not enjoying the sound that comes out of it. If the problem is the starter guitar, it would be a good idea to look into other guitar models that kids would like. A great-sounding small guitar is one of the best motivators for kids to keep practicing.



More ideas on how to motivate your child to practice guitar:



tips to motivate child to practice musical instrument guitar




Assess the practice schedule
If practice time is set too close to bedtime, your child may already feel too tired to pick up the guitar. Sit down with your child and talk about a good practice schedule he or she can stick to. Some children may enjoy a 15-minute practice session in the morning before school and another 15-minute session in the afternoon. Put your child in control of the daily practice schedule and give them a gentle reminder to stick to it.


Set up a reward system
Construct a reward system based on goals. For this you’ll need to work with your child’s guitar teacher so you’re on the same page. You can utilize a number of methods for the reward system, such as points for every goal met or number of minutes of practice. It’s up to you and what you think would work best according to your child’s personality. Find ways to keep the reward system fun - level up rewards or create bigger challenges to keep your child aiming for the gold.


Schedule regular performances
Performances keep young guitar players excited. Nervous too sometimes, but it’s part of motivating children to practice. After all, no one wants to play badly at a recital, so one is really bound to practice. Performances also work to hold kids accountable, while helping them develop confidence and keeping them inspired to keep on learning.


Offer words of encouragement
Learning to play the guitar isn’t always a sunny experience. There are good days and bad days. Children may become frustrated at not being able to play a particular chord or learn a new song. Times like these, it’s up to you as a parent to keep their pep up.


Ask how their guitar lessons went and ask them to show you what they've learned. Listen to them play the guitar and cheer them on. Tell them how proud you are of how good they’ve become and how they could get even better with more practice. When they see you are really interested, they are more likely to practice so they can show you more of their guitar skills.


Track progress
Many kids learning guitar may not feel up to practicing because they are not aware of the amount of progress they’ve made from Day One. To motivate your child to practice, track their progress and show them how far they’ve come. You can do this by taking short video clips of practice sessions and performances. When your child sees how much they’ve improved because of practicing, they will become more motivated to keep at it and make their guitar practicing more consistent.


Do you have other tips for motivating children to practice playing the guitar? Share them with us in the comments.


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Magnifier Lamp for DIY Crafting, Sewing, Drawing, and Reading

Magnifier Lamp for Intricate Art and Sewing DIY Projects


I was given a magnifier lamp for review. All opinions are my own.  
This post contains affiliate links. Click, make a purchase, and I get a small commission.

Brightech is an LA based lighting company that specializes in awesome magnifier lamps. Who needs a magnifier lamp? You do! Your grandma does when she's quilting, you do when your trying to thread a needle, artists do to make intricate designs, homeschoolers need one for science investigations, jewelers do when doing beadwork, your grandpa does when he's trying to do his favorite crossword puzzle, the possibilities are endless. No more magnifying glass. A magnifier lamp is the perfect tool for DIY crafting, sewing, drawing, and reading!


Magnifier Lamp for DIY Crafting, Sewing, Drawing, and Reading


If you have a budding artist, this magnifying glass lamp is the bomb! The light is adjustable. Just grab the handy handle and move it to the desired position. The light flicks on with the press of  a button on the top of the magnifier lamp. Get your own lamp here: Brightech Magnifier Lamp.


magnifier floor lamp



Whether it's light or dark, your magnifier lamp is there to help! We currently use it for artwork, but we are anxious to try it for homeschool science investigations and when my tired, old eyes need to thread a needle. You can even get these magnifier lamps with a rolling base. Wish we would have made that choice, because they are sturdy, durable, and somewhat heavy.


lamp for artists


magnifier lamp for sewing projects art projects crafting



Pin it!

Magnifier Lamp for Crafting, Sewing, Drawing, and Reading


So, how would you use a magnifier lamp? Tell us about it in the comments. 



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Inspiring Business Stories for Kids

Inspiring Kid Entrepreneurs


Deciding what you are going to do with you life is a daunting task for anyone, formally educated or not. Some homeschoolers are apprehensive about their future. Will they attend college, technical school, apprentice, or jump right into the world of business? Of course any and all of those are great options. But, imagine if you started a business before you graduated. Imagine if you could use the profits from your business to fund your future endeavors. As entrepreneurs, we're always looking for inspiring business stories for kids. The most important tip is to follow your passion.



Inspiring Business Stories for Kids Homeschoolers


If you ever watch Shark Tank, you've probably seen the flops and the successes. The most inspiring business stories are always the ones that start with a kid with an idea and a family who rallies behind them with support. After all, a successful entrepreneurship relies upon a team that believes in the project. Mark Cuban offers tips on how to help children with an idea for a business start up.

Inspiring Business Stories for Kids

Most kid entrepreneurs start with a lemonade stand and then move onto something else. Jack Bonneau did that, but expanded on the idea. He operates lemonade stands at farmers' markets and malls. You can get in on the action by starting your own Jack's Stand.

Origami Owl is a direct selling business founded by 14 year old, Bella Weems, with the support of her mother, Chrissy Weems. This is truly an inspiring business story, because as a dba jewelry company, you can earn extra money by becoming a designer (sales associate) or earn products by hosting your own show.

Leanna Archer wanted to share her grandma's recipe for all natural products. She started making the products and giving them away to friends and family. Now, Leanna's Essentials are sold worldwide.

Have these kid business stories inspired you? If you need more inspiration, check out these 50 inspiring business ideas for kids.

Now, that you've been inspired by these business stories, create a plan of action. Whether, you want to use it as a homeschool lesson or as the beginning for your inspired business plan, brainstorming and writing out a plan is a great way to get started. If you aren't' quite ready to write out a business plan, start with a list of things you know how to do best or things you absolutely love (your passion.)

The best small businesses start with something that is unique to you. You may not even see it as something special because it is part of your everyday activities, but to someone else with a different life experience and skill set, your hand knitted daisies, handmade fleece afghans, or grandma's applesauce, could be just the thing they need to enrich their lives.

Here at Kids Creative Chaos, we love birds, birds of all kinds and all sizes. Our entrepreneur list includes lots of ideas for things to do with birds. We started out raising chickens and giving away the eggs. Think about the possibilities! We can sell eggs, raise hatchlings to sell, sell egg based products... the possibilities are endless.


What will you do?


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Easy Beer Cheese Dip for Pretzels Recipe

Beer Cheese and Pretzels Recipe


This homemade Easy Beer Cheese Dip for Pretzels Recipe is delicious! You'll feel like you're eating restaurant or bar food at home. Who can resist the warm baked goodness of homemade soft pretzels? Beer Cheese and pretzels are the perfect fall snack. Enjoy!


This post contains affiliate links.

Easy Beer Cheese Dip for Pretzels Recipe


How to Make Beer Cheese Recipe


Ingredients:
2T butter
2T flour
1/4 t salt
1 c beer
1/2 c milk
1/2 t ground mustard
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t paprika
1/4 t pepper
2 - 2 1/2 c sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Hot sauce to taste (optional)

Directions:
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour. Whisk, while heating, until mixture is golden brown, 1-2 min. While continuing to whisk, gradually add the beer. Cook, with stirring, until mixture partially thickens. Add milk; continue to whisk until mixture reaches desired consistency. Remove from heat. Stir in mustard, garlic powder, pepper and cheese. Stir until cheese has melted. Adjust seasonings as desired.


Homemade soft pretzels for beer cheese recipe
Homemade Soft Pretzels.


Homemade Soft Pretzels for Beer Cheese Recipe


Ingredients:
1 1/2 c. lukewarm water
1 package active dry yeast
1 t salt
1 T brown sugar
1/4 c butter, melted
4 c flour
8 c boiling water
1/2 c baking soda
1 egg, beaten and diluted with 1 t water
coarse salt


pretzel dough recipe


Directions:
Dissolve yeast, salt, and sugar in warm water. Allow the mixture to sit until the yeast begins to foam or bubble. Add the melted butter, followed by the flour, 1 c at a time. The dough should be workable and not sticky. Knead the dough on a floured surface for several minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl,  cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size.


how to roll pretzel dough
How to roll pretzel dough.




The perfect homemade pretzel.
The perfect homemade pretzel.


While the dough is rising, boil water and add the baking soda. Stir until dissolved. The baking soda bath with be used to give the pretzel a puffy dough with a golden and shiny crust.  You should also assemble a few handy tools:  a tape measure, a large flat spatula, your baking sheet, and parchment paper. The parchment paper is not essential, but it will make the pretzel much easier to remove from the baking sheet.

How to Make Pretzel Shape Pretzels at Home
Divide the risen dough into 10 equal pieces. Roll each into a 20 inch rope. To form the pretzel shape, bend the rope into a "smile" shape. Cross the ends slightly. Grab the cross and fold it towards you, bringing it down to meet the front loop of the pretzel.


How to Make Pretzel Shape Pretzels at Home
How to Make Pretzel Shape Pretzels at Home.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Using your large spatula, place each pretzel individually in the baking soda bath. Allow it to sit in the bath 30 seconds to 1 minute, making sure the top gets wet as well. Carefully remove the pretzel with your spatula and place on the baking sheet. Once the sheet is full, bake for 10-12 minutes. Repeat as needed until all pretzels are baked.





Hand twisted, homemade baked pretzels.
Hand twisted, homemade baked pretzels.



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Don't have time to make them? Just buy Bavarian Soft Pretzels and Beer Cheese Dip on Amazon.

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5 Household Items Party Games for Birthdays

5 Birthday Party Games for Kids Using Household Items

Kids want to be entertained, especially on their birthdays. Give your kids a fun, memorable birthday celebration with games for birthdays that use household items. These kid party games are easy to do with little prep, and you probably already have the items in your house. No need to plan ahead when you do these household items party games for Birthdays!


5 Birthday Party Games for Kids Using Household Items

This post contains affiliate links.

Playing interactive games that get your kids moving at birthday parties is a great way to introduce them to kid activities that are active and engaging. Perhaps the next time they have a playtime choice, they’ll choose one of these games rather than a video game. After scouring the internet for games to play at birthday parties, we found several games for kids that are simple to set up with common household items. As always, we've updated old games with fun new twists! If you don't want to plan the party activities and implement them yourself, Yabadoo Kids Parties are another fun way to make birthday parties fun and memorable.


5 Household Items Party Games for Birthdays

Keep your kids in the loop. Give them choices and let them help plan their own birthday party by scrolling through this list of kids party games and letting them choose their favorite activity to play with friends and family.

Common Household Items Party Games


  • Life Size Board Game

This great game for kids is suitable for kids of all ages. Life Size Board Game is a  fun party game activity that has players jumping forward two spaces, singing a song, turning in circles, telling jokes, reciting  nursery rhymes, jumping up and down periodically, and moving back three spaces.

During game play, the players begin by rolling oversized  dice to see where to move. The first person to reach the finish line is declared winner.  You can simply use white paper or the inside of recycled cereal boxes to create the game board. To make a permanent yard decoration, use stepping stones.

  • Clothespin Snatch Game

Every player is given a clothespin. Wrapped candy and trinkets (you can even use coins) are sprinkled on the floor. During this game, players will try to pick up as much candy or trinkets as they can using only their clothespins. Set a timer for one minute and let the fun begin!

  • Marshmallow Catch

Marshmallow Catch is super easy to set up. Grab a bag of mini marshmallows a timer, and some plastic party cups. Standing on opposite ends of the room, players try to catch marshmallows that are thrown by other party-goers. After one minute, the team with the most marshmallows in their cup wins.

  • Spoon Relay Race Game

The Spoon Relay is an old party favorite, you can make this party game more complicated by adding fun elements like playing while turning in circles, skipping, walking backward, or any fun way that will make the birthday party game more challenging or difficult for the players.

Any small household object will do, but mini marshmallows and cotton balls are the most common items used with plastic or wooden spoons. In the course of this game, players race against each other to be the first team finish. Divide party guests into two or more teams. Each team is given a marshmallows and a spoon.

Lining up single file, the first person on each  team takes a marshmallow and begins passing it down the line using only their spoon.  The first team to get their marshmallow to the end of the line wins.

  • Balloon Bust Game

Before the party, fill balloons with candy or small prizes. Rub the balloons on your head to give them static cling and then place them on a wall or table. Play begins with birthday party guests choosing a balloon. Tell the kids to hold the balloons with two hands, careful not to pop it. Then, tell them to sit down in a circle using their balloons as chairs. On the count of three, have everyone tries to pop their balloon chair to discover the prizes. First one to pop a balloon, gets a special grand prize in addition to the trinkets inside.

Have you played these games with different variations? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear about more fun birthday party games and ideas for kids that use household items.


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Go Green with 6 Eco Friendly Kid Activities: Fall

6 Going Green Activities for Kids


Whether you call it Fall or Autumn, the cooler weather is a great time to go green and focus on eco friendly kid activities. Going green isn't just about sustainability or recycling, it is also a great way to be eco friendly. When you use items from nature in games and craft projects, you're going green! Take the kids on a nature hike, collect twigs, leaves, and rocks and then start creating win the found materials. We've curated five beautiful and fun eco friendly activities to do with the kids that will make beautiful gifts or home decorations for fall. As always, don't forget to make it an educational experience with a companion lesson. We've included a few for you.


Go Green with 6 Eco Friendly Kid Activities: Fall


Whenever we do a craft, we like to pair it with a lesson. The eco friendly kid activities listed here are perfect companion craft activities for a lesson on the environment. After your nature hike, teach the kids about sustainability, going green, and even climate change. Adrian Rubin  has great articles that are perfect for high schoolers or college students to read on their own. For middle school or older elementary students, the articles, like this one on climate change and red tide, make good read alouds. Check out NASA for more in depth articles and lesson plans on global climate change.

6 Eco Friendly Kid Activities



  • One of our fellow bloggers and favorite crafters, is Maggie, from Red Ted Art. She created a beautiful leaf lantern that is the perfect fall eco friendly kid activity


Eco Friendly Leaf Lanterns from Red Ted Art.

After you hike and create your leaf lantern activity, watch this Global Warming Climate Change video from Brainpop. If you're a teacher or homeschool parent, you'll love that you can create your own quiz or find lesson ideas here.



Eco Friendly Kid Activities: Evergreen Wreath
Evergreen Wreath Activity from Raising Lifelong Learners.


eco friendly nature hike craft activities for preschool kid
Alphabet Rock Walk from Melissa & Doug.




ecofreindly kid activities nature hike mystery bags
Collect items on a nature hike for a mystery bag activity.


Make an eco friendly tic tac toe game from found objects.
Make an eco friendly tic tac toe game from found objects.

  • All kids like to pick up twigs. They make great swords, don't they? They also make cool eco friendly crafts, like the Christmas Tree ornaments pictured below. Collect the twigs in the fall and gift the eco friendly ornaments during the holidays.

eco friendly kid made holiday ornaments decorations
Eco friendly kid made holiday decorations.from Kids Creative Chaos.



For more eco friendly kid activities and sustainable ideas check out our Pinterest board on Art and Craft Activities for Kids.


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Educational Scholarships for Homeschoolers

College Scholarships for Homeschool



How do homeschoolers get a proper undergraduate education? Wondering how to pay for college? As long as the parent/learningcoach/teacher/caregiver/ keeps track of their student's classes and attendance with a transcript, college applications are no different for a homeschooler than for a public school student. In fact, the word on the street is that many universities seek out homeschooled students because of their enrichment activities, volunteerism, and community service. But, how do homeschoolers pay for college? Of course, a job is a great way to start, but students can supplement their college tuition with an educational scholarship. Are there specific educational scholarships for homeschoolers? Sure, homeschoolers can apply for most college scholarships.


Educational Scholarships for Homeschoolers
Educational Scholarships for Homeschoolers.


Be sure to check the entrance requirements to see if the school requires SAT or ACT scores. Many students score better on the ACT. Perhaps, this is because the ACT allows the use of a calculator for all math questions. The higher the score, the more likely you will win a scholarship. Here's an article that does a great job of explaining the differences between the ACT and the SAT and why one might be better for your homeschooler than the other. The SAT gives diagrams with math formulas, whereas, the ACT expects these formulas to be set to memory. However, this gift of formulas doesn't mean the overall score will be higher on the SAT. Do your research. Despite the cost, it is often a good idea to take the test more than once to improve the score. Sure, it's a hassle, but the second time around, the student knows what to expect, has less nerves, and will likely improve their score. Even a few points can improve chances for an educational scholarship for your homeschooler.

So, the schooling is done. The tests are taken. How do homeschoolers apply for scholarships for their education? Are homeschoolers eligible for scholarships? Of course, when reviewing college scholarship opportunities be aware of the applicant requirements. Also, think about your homeschooler's background, even consider their quirks and hobbies. While most educational scholarships are athletic, academic, or need based. there are many scholarships with completely random requirements. Write an essay about motivation to keep goals for the Dr. Summit Shah scholarship. Skilled in duck calling? Have a strange name? Yes, there's a scholarship for that. Check out these unusual scholarships for college.

Scholarships for College


Federal Financial Aid is available for those in need. Always, fill out your FAFSA first. Federal aid is available for colleges and technical career schools. After that's done, it's time to think outside the box. Start searching for the perfect scholarships for your child's personality.

Many homeschoolers love to teach themselves music. Got a ukulele player? Yep, there's a scholarship for ukulele.

Want to run a grocery store? Then, you'll want to apply for an Asparagus Scholarship for Grocer Students.

Like to sculpt? Apply for an Ice Sculpting Scholarship.

Chicken keeper? Poultry Scholarship.

On a bowling team? Bowling Scholarship.


You get the idea. The educational scholarship options for homeschoolers and public school students are endless. Do the research early and score as many scholarship opportunities as possible for you secondary education goals. If you're lucky, you'll get more than one scholarship, so apply for as many as possible.

Concerned you aren't preparing your child with the proper homeschool high school education? There are many online homeschool high school options to help you keep track of attendance, transcripts, and the courses necessary for college. Here's a list of our favorites: Time4Learning High School, Acellus, (they also have a less expensive app option for high school) and Connections Academy (free online public school.)


Kentucky Down Under Reviews: Petting Zoo

Things to do in Kentucky: Kentucky Down Under Petting Zoo


Are you planning a trip to southern Indiana or northern Kentucky? You can visit the best petting zoo ever, just a few miles outside of Louisville, Kentucky! Have you read the reviews? Kentucky Down Under is an Australian themed zoo where you're allowed to pet the animals. Not only that, you can walk right into their areas and feed them too!


 This post contains affiliate links.


Kentucky Down Under Reviews: Petting Zoo
Kentucky Down Under Reviews: Petting Zoo.

On our trip to Kentucky and Tennessee, we mapped out a route that allowed us to see as many animals of all kinds as possible. We saw Black Bears in the Smoky Mountains in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We saw Parrots, Cockatoos, and exotic birds in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. And, we saw the outback in all its glory at Kentucky Down Under just outside of Louisville, Kentucky.

Kentucky Down Under is a different kind of zoo. It's a cross between a farm and a petting zoo. Just like other zoos, there are daily animal shows. However, you don't have to wait for a show to get up close and personal with native Australian animals.



Things to do in Kentucky: Kentucky Down Under Petting Zoo
Things to do in Kentucky: Kentucky Down Under Petting Zoo.








The kids had a wonderful time feeding Emus. You can even pet Emus, Kangaroos, and giant Tortoises as they lounge around in their "natural" habitat soaking up the sun.


Feed Emus things to do with kids in Kentucky
Feed Emus in Kentucky.

Play with Emus Kentucky Zoo

What do Emu eggs look like?
Emu eggs, just lying in the middle of the pasture.

Kentucky Down Under has its own cave. No need to spend extra money to see a cave that your children might not enjoy. The first time seeing a cave can be frightening for the kids, no matter their ages. The cave here was discovered in the early 1800's. It is a small cave (in and out quickly) with all the bells and whistles. Meet at the gift shop for the tour.


visit cave with kids kentucky things to do

Mammoth Onyx Cave, Kentucky Down Under.
Mammoth Onyx Cave, Kentucky Down Under.

kentucky down under cave
Caves in Kentucky.

Kookaburra sits on an old gum tree. Yep, he does. You can hear the Kookaburras talking to each other as you walk through the park. We even saw a Peacock on a roof of one of the bird houses.


See a real Kookaburra Kentucky things to do with kids


Animals of all kinds, sheep herding shows, snake shows, you name it! Kentucky Down Under is not a drive by. You can't see anything from the interstate or even the parking lot. Take the plunge, it is well worth it. Keep in mind, you will walk up some steep trails. Don't like to hike? Rent a golf cart for the day. They have plenty of golf cart rentals available for guests. Click here to see pricing info for Kentucky Down Under.



Beautiful Kentucky Down Under Views
Beautiful Kentucky Down Under Views.



Just a few miles away is the little town of Horse Cave, Kentucky. We visited this little cave and museum years ago. Horse Cave seems run down these days, but don't let that deter you. Eat at Turtlelini's Pizza and Pasta (they have a buffet.) Zipline and explore the unusual cave, and stay in the little family owned Horse Cave Motel. It's not a perfect hotel, but it is clean, the rooms are big, and the family that owns it is very nice. You'll be safe and close to three nearby caves. Happy Spelunking!!


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Art Activities for Preschoolers

Easy Preschool Art Activities


Preschool art activities don't have to be all finger painting and paper plate crafts. We've collected some art activities for preschoolers that include sensory fun. Read on for easy preschool art activities that are destined to become mini masterpieces.

This post contains affiliate links.

Art activities for preschoolers.
Art activities for preschoolers.

Bubble Painting is a fun, sensory way to introduce your preschooler to art. They can experiment with color mixing, layering, and layout. Scoot on over to Kelly Noel's Living the Dream blog for more details.

art activities for preschoolers bubble painting
Bubble Painting Preschool Art Activity from Living the Dream.


Another fun way for preschoolers to experience sensory art activities is to let them play with food coloring and shaving cream. Skip over to our post on how to paint with shaving cream


Coffee Filter Mobiles. All preschool teachers adore coffee filter crafts. Remember the days of the milk carton crafts? Wonder what we'll all switch to when coffee filters become a thing of the past? These coffee filter and cardboard paper towel tube painted mobiles are self-explanatory. We found them posted here but are sure they originated somewhere else. Please leave a comment if you know the original source.



Coffee Filter Mobile Preschool Art Activity.


Art, like sensory play, develops critical thinking skills and hand eye coordination. Click here to learn about how art can aid in brain development.

Handprint and footprint art is a staple in the world of preschool. Introduce your preschoolers to Pointillism with these beautiful fall handprint trees from Arty Crafty Kids.


Handprint Art Activities for Preschoolers
Handprint Tree Preschool Activity from Arty Crafty Kids.

The Jammy Jigsaw offers up an art activity for preschoolers that serves double duty as a science project. This salt dough bone necklace is the perfect companion art project for a lesson on dinosaurs.

Salt Dough Bone Necklace Art Activity for Preschoolers from The Jammy Jigsaw
Salt Dough Bone Necklace Art Activity for Preschoolers from The Jammy Jigsaw.

Looking for more art activities for preschoolers? Visit our Pinterest Board, Preschool Scavenger Hunt.


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For activities and games to play with preschoolers check out our Circle Time Handbook on Amazon.