I am excited to join with a group of bloggers who will be bringing Playful Preschool learning activities to you every Wednesday. Each week, there will be a different theme and several blogs will be sharing an educational preschool activity related to the theme. This week’s theme is family. We talk a lot about family with the Sugar Snaps. As a psychologist and a parent, I want them to have solid sibling relationships. When they quarrel, which happens daily, we have them apologize, hug, and say ‘I love you.’ We have two puppies, Ember and Topaz and we talk about the importance of being gentle and loving to these new members of our family.
One creative way to represent family is to have the whole family make footprints. The feeling of paint on the feet of preschoolers is sure to make them giggle. It is also hilarious for them to see Mama and Daddy getting paint on their feet too. I was amused when my husband, Greg, curled his toes the same way the Sugar Snaps did when I painted his foot. We added our puppies to the mix and got their paw prints. It is a nice visual representation to emphasize that they are part of our family.
You will need:
- Tempera washable non-toxic paint
- Construction Paper
- Large paper to use to use as a background for the footprints: construction, butcher or poster board
- Paint Brush
- Wet soapy rag, baby wipes or paper towels and soap with water for cleaning feet and paws
- If you are printing pets: washable non-toxic color ink pad (usually used for children’s crafts)
The Sugar snaps each have a distinct favorite color which has not wavered, so I had them print in their favorite color. You could have one color for your whole family, or vary the colors as we did. We have done a lot of hand prints and footprints for craft projects, partly because their hands and feet are only this small once, and partly because they love the sensory experience of feeling the paint on their hands and feet. I never tire of hearing them giggle when I paint their feet. I have found that, for footprints, applying the paint on their feet with a paint brush works the best. I have them sit on a chair or on the steps and press their painted foot gently onto the paper. Then, I lift the foot from the floor and peel off the paper. I have also tried pressing the paper onto the foot with a book behind it but I found that to be more challenging. They have tried standing up on the paper too, but that usually creates a smear. That technique works great for the adult members of the family who know not to wiggle when they stand up.
This was my first experience printing puppy feet. I thought it would be similar to printing children’s feet and tried the same techniques. Boy, was I wrong! The puppies are much more squirmy and covered my pants and the floor in (thankfully) washable paint in no time! I figured, someone must have advice on printing puppy feet and did some online research. I came across a discussion forum where ink pads were recommended. I happen to have large washable ink pads so I decided to give that a try. It was a much better technique! I placed each puppy standing on the ink pad, and then had the paper next to it and they walked across it, leaving a paw print. Treats were involved in this process which helped a lot. I imagine an older dog or cat would be easier than a bouncy puppy.
Once the family footprints are done, allow them to dry and cut them out. Have your children compare the footprints and arrange them from the largest to the smallest. Glue them onto a larger piece of paper for the finished family project. This would also look nice framed on the wall. If you’re really daring, you could do this on canvas. There would be only one shot for each family member!
Plan your Family Theme Preschool Activities with these ideas from the Playful Preschool Education Team!
Family Theme Learning Activities: Reading – Writing – Cooking – Sensory – Art – Math
Bookmaking for a Preschool Family Theme from Fun A Day
Finding My Family on a Map from Powerful Mothering
Preschool Writing Activity: Letters to Family from Mom Inspired Life
Cooking with Kids: Family Recipe Books from Growing Book By Book
Our Family Tree: Sorting Family Members from Still Playing School
Family Themed Sensory Bin from Little Bins for Little Hands
Tips for Using Skype to Connect with Family from The Educators’ Spin On It
Family Portraits from Rainy Day Mum
Family Counting from Tiny Tots Adventures
Jamaican Games for Fine and Gross Motor Skills from Learning 2 Walk
Family Footprints from Capri +3