Puzzles Feed

☘️Shamrock ✂️DIY ♻️Recycled 🍡Popsicle Puzzle Skip Counting by 🔟

Today, we are making St. Patrick's Day-inspired DIY  ☘️Shamrock puzzle with a 🔟math twist. 

DSC_0071What you will need:

  • recycled 🍡ice pop/popsicle sticks (or buy wooden craft sticks here),
  • a shamrock cutout (we are using this glittered one),
  • a green Sharpie,
  • a craft knife,
  • and a glue gun

DSC_0064Arrange craft sticks straight next to each other & place a Shamrock cutout on top.

DSC_0064Glue the Shamrock cutout to the sticks with a glue gun.

DSC_0064Once dried, carefully cut along the craft sticks' edges.DSC_0064

Prime the area where you will be writing numbers with a clear nail polish to prevent the writings from bleeding (running and spreading).

DSC_0071Write numbers zero through one hundred, skip counting by tens.
DSC_0071Offer your child to practice math skills and skip count by tens.
DSC_0071Also, mix up the craft sticks and offer your child to assemble them as a puzzle.

For more on St. Patrick's hands-on fun activities for your child, see here ☘️St. Patrick's Day Kids Activities.

Sticker 🚀Painting •Kids 🔢Math Puzzle Craft

Today, Adrian is making a completely new craft: creating pictures, one sticker at a time, while using a Paint by Sticker Kids book (buy here). 

DSC_0021The illustrated templates are printed on perforated card stock, and there are ten pages of stickers to fill in and create the artwork. The fun, vibrant images are rendered in “low-poly,” a computer graphics style using geometric polygon shapes to create a 3-D effect. Each template is divided into hundreds of spaces, each with a number that corresponds to a particular sticker. 

DSC_0021 We are using this lion (not included with the book).

These graphics style images also act as template-puzzles: the child reads the number (a great lesson on teens and tens!), then finds the matching number place on the picture while rotating the geometrical piece to have it fit exactly. Add the next, and the next, and the next and voila!

DSC_0011 It’s a rocket ship blasting through space! Adrian decided to cut it out, practicing his scissor skills.

DSC_0023Adrian loved watching his sticker-creations come to life!

DSC_0021Once fully assembled, he cut each picture and asked me to laminate them.

DSC_0025Adrian then secured the ice-pop stick to the back with a scotch tape, creating a puppet!

DSC_0025   It is a friendly toucan flying through the sky.


While the assembly is very meticulous (some pieces are very tiny), this activity is awesome for advancing fine motor control. Also, this process is tedious since there are generally around a hundred stickers to be matched. Despite all, Adrian really enjoyed it, and he kept going until he completed the entire image. Watching his painting, made out of hundreds of geometrical shapes come to life was a reward worth working for!

Have you ever painted your masterpiece with stickers?

See here for other educational materials, books, and toys we have been enjoying.

Emotions (Body) • Feelings (Mind) ✂️DIY 😃😮😡😢☹️😆Puppets ♻️🚽Craft 🎥 101

Please meet our EMOTIONS/FEELINGS puppet friends! 

Many people use the words “emotions” and “feelings” interchangeably. However, although highly related, the meaning of emotions and feelings is distinct.  An emotion is a conspicuous physical bodily response to a common change, while a feeling is a mental reaction to an emotion that is personal and gained through experience. Interestingly, emotions actually proceed feelings.   

IMG_9207 To apply our theoretical knowledge, we are making EMOTIONS puppets. 

DSC_0363What you will need:

  • recycled toilet paper rolls,
  • pipe cleaners,
  • hole puncher,
  • googly eyes, 
  • Pom Poms,
  • Sharpies pens,
  • and a glue gun. 

In this video, Adrian is making a 😢 sad crying puppet. 

DSC_0389 Meet Mr. 😢 Sad.

While I helped with drawing facial expressions (children drew a rough draft for me on the side), they were in complete control as to how to decorate their puppets.    DSC_0392

This craft can promote gross motor skills when the child has to press the hole puncher to make a hole in the paper roll. Also, it promotes fine motor control when the child has to insert pipe cleaners into the punched out holes. 


EMOTION puppets can be a great tool to help teach a child to identify and talk about feelings. Through role-play and pretend puppet shows, you can help a child gain confidence about how to express feelings and respond to them in an appropriate and healthy way.


Since emotions are physical, they can be noticed by facial expressions, blood flow, and a body stance. Feelings, on the other hand, are mental and as such, they cannot be measured precisely since they reflect one's personal associations to emotions. So, this was a great exercise to discuss how eyebrows and/or shape of the mouth can give us clues as to the puppet's emotional state.

DSC_0382While emotions are usually fleeting, the feelings they evoke may last for a long time. And because emotions can initiate feelings, and feelings in turn initiate emotions, it is important to teach children to understand how they feel to prevent a cycle of at times painful and confusing emotions. 

Here, Adrian is making an 😡 Angry Guy, associating the color red with a strong emotional state. 

DSC_0389Meet Mr. 😡 Angry. 

DSC_0389Meet our 😃 Happy Puppet. 

DSC_0389Meet our 😮 Surprised Puppet. 

DSC_0389Meet Mr. ☹️Sad. 

DSC_0389Meet the 😆Laughing Puppet. 

DSC_0383Meet our EMOTIONS Puppet Friends! 

You may also prompt your child to play out puppet faces in order to help him/her connect the emotions with physical sensations. This way, the child can see that emotions affect what he/she does, and that there is a choice about how to respond to a particular feeling. Julia, for example, if she is upset or unsettled, needs to have a "TTYL" with me (Talk To You Later), meaning that she wants my undivided attention for a minute or two to express how she feels and what troubles her. This seems to always work in making her feel better and centered. Adrian, on the other hand, is not very emotional at his age, so no elaborate routine is required: a hug and a sorry always do the job.


I hope that you will find our EMOTIONS Puppets craft useful in teaching your child that there are many different feelings, and that it is totally normal to feel them all. Feelings may be comfortable or uncomfortable, and feeling emotions, whatever they are, is a natural phenomenon. Young children deal with many of the same emotions adults do. Children get frustrated, sad, angry, nervous, happy, or shy or embarrassed, but they often do not have the words to describe how they are feeling. I hope that with the help of this puppets craft, you can enhance your child's socio-emotional development by helping him/her understand feelings and express emotions in a healthy balanced way.  

DSC_0070I also made this EMOTIONS puzzle where a child has to match two parts of the face. Make sure you color-code on the back of each piece by placing same-color stickers on halves that make the whole. (For example, the 😡angry face will have two 🔴🔴red stickers on the back of each half; this way the child can self-correct.)

DSC_0070Once the child matches the puzzle-pieces, as a control of error, he/she can turn the faces and see if the assembly was correct.

The Center for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation has a great article here about different ideas on how to teach children about emotions.

Also, Emotions and Mindfulness go hand in hand, so read here a post "🕉Mindfulness with Children (☮️PEACE Education)" and here "Montessori ☮️PEACE Shelfie (Grace &Courtesy, Gratitude, Pillars of a Peaceful Character)."  

✂️ DIY 🍂Fall Inspired 🖼Puzzle

Puzzles are an excellent tool for enhancing your child’s cognitive and mental development, by stimulating intellectual abilities such as critical reasoning through fine-motor manipulation. I encourage Adrian to complete at least one puzzle a day (at his level: 48-60 pieces does not take him⏳ long). Julia, on the other hand, works with large quantity piece puzzles (she is currently working on MonaLisa 300 pc puzzle buy here), so we always have a puzzle on the floor that she is working on.

Surely, children have their favorite puzzles to which they go back to and assemble over and over again, but there is nothing like an excitement of assembling a new puzzle for the first time. So, what about making a puzzle! This✂️ DIY is very simple, quick and inexpensive. Use a vivid 🖼picture from a catalog, calendar or even a large picture of the family/children and cut it in pieces, creating a DIY puzzle. 

DSC_0107I am using is a double-sided 🍂 Fall picture I found in a catalog. With this type of DIY puzzle, you can adjust the level of  📈📉difficulty based on your child's age.

DSC_0107I laminated the picture for durability and used paper-cutter for cutting.

With smaller children, 📉choose a bright image with many distinct objects and cut it in fewer pieces (2 or 4 squares) or simply cut the picture vertically, for easier assembly.  


📈With older children, the smaller the pieces, the harder it will be to assemble the puzzle, so cut it accordingly to your child's level.
Offer a child to assemble the puzzle.

For more on puzzles, read here "Jigsaw Puzzles Roundup for a Three-Year-Old," and for more on the importance of puzzles read here a post  "National Puzzle Day."

Also, see here "Anatomy Puzzle & DIY Interactive Puppets 🎥 (Inside of the BODY Unit Study)."

Adrian really enjoys the Solar System puzzles (see here) a post "🌌COSMOS Unit Study." 

For logic puzzles, see here a video of Adrian assembling Color Code in a post "Color Code Logic Puzzle Game (Sensorial 🖐️👀👂👅👃 101 🎥 Series 🎇)," and here "Wooden Tangram Puzzle at 41 months."

Anatomy Puzzle & DIY Interactive Puppets 🎥 (Inside of the BODY Unit Study)

We are continuing our BODY Anatomy Unit Study by exploring how the amazing body mechanism works. It can be hard for a child to conceptualize what goes on the inside when most of the process remains unseen while taking place on a very small scale. So I try to make abstract concepts concrete with hands-on materials, puzzles and interactive fun so that the child gets a better understanding of how the body works.

To illustrate different body systems, I made "Organ System Puppets" using recycled ice-pop sticks and interactive LeapFrog stickers which work with Tag Reading System Pen (buy here). LeapFrog interactive human body discovery set (buy here ) includes a jumbo two-sided activity board, which offers a child a hands-on opportunity to learn human body facts, body systems, health nutrition and more. And to make human organs as concrete and tangible as possible, we are also using organs from a Human Torso model (buy here).

Adrian really enjoys assembling this Boy 5-Layer BODY Wooden Puzzle (buy here) which includes five puzzle systems that exist within the human body: skeletal, respiratory, digestive, muscular, and integumentary system.

By making the learning experience hands-on and interactive, unseen mysteries are being revealed, offering a child a glimpse of the inside of the body!

DSC_0009Muscles make up 40% of your total body weight. To take one step, you use 200 of them! Also, you can be using nearly 2,000 muscles when you wake up in the morning and go to brush your teeth! Muscles cannot push, they rather pull. So a perceived body "push" is actually another muscle's pull. Did you know that it takes triple the amount of muscles to frown than to smile? And, guess what is the strongest muscle in your body - the tongue! 

DSC_0009Our heart, the only muscle that never stops working, is relentlessly supplying our body with life-potent oxygen and nutrients, even when we are sleeping. However, in addition to functioning as a natural pump and producing blood full of oxygen, the heart also creates its own electrical impulse while producing electrical energy as well as blood. Carrying nutrients and oxygen from your heart to the other parts of your body, bloodplays an important part in your body’s function. Laid end to end, an adult’s blood vessels could circle Earth’s equator four times! 
DSC_0009The digestive system has two main functions: to convert food into nutrients the body needs and second, to rid the body of waste. To do so properly, the system requires the cooperation of a number of different organs throughout the body, including the mouth, stomach, intestines, liver, and gallbladder. 

Did you know?

  • The large intestine is actually shorter than the small intestine, only being about 5 feet long in an adult. The intestines are named for how wide they are, not how long they are.
  • 90% of what we eat is assimilated in the small intestine.
  • In your lifetime, the digestive system (mouth, esophagus, stomach, intestines, pancreas, liver) will handle over 50 tons of food and liquid! 

DSC_0029The liver is the largest and most metabolically complex internal organ in humans, performing over 500 various functions such as neutralizing toxins, fighting off infection, manufacturing proteins and hormones, controlling blood sugar and helping to clot the blood. Did you know that the liver is the only organ that can regenerate itself, making it possible for one person to donate part of their liver to another person? 
DSC_0029Humans cannot survive for a long time without oxygen. The longest period a person was ever able to hold the breath was six minutes. Lungs are responsible for receiving, filtering, and distributing that air throughout the entire body.  The surface area of the lungs is very big (up to 800 ft2!) because the inside of the lungs is covered in tiny bumps called alveoli, which help lungs absorb more oxygen all at once. Did you know that your left lung is about 10 percent smaller than your right one?DSC_0009 

Other fun facts about the BODY (for more read here):

  • Human bodies give off a tiny amount of light, which is too weak however for the eye to see.
  • Neuroscientists have found your brain is more active while you sleep than while you are awake.
  • Babies don’t shed tears until they are at least one month old.
  • Human bones are around 31% water.
  • When you listen to music, your heartbeat changes in response to the tempo of what you’re listening to.
  • Your pinky finger is responsible for 50% of your hand’s strength.
  • Our mouth produces about one liter of saliva each day (which equals to more than 2.5 cans of your favorite drink)!
  • The average person has 67 different species of bacteria in their belly button.
  • Scientists estimate that the nose can recognize a trillion different scents!
  • Sneezes regularly escape your nose at more than 100 mph, the speed which is excessive if driving in America.  Coughs often can get up to 60 mph. (That’s about how fast you can drive on most highways.)
  • You lose about 4kg of skin cells every year! (Not to mention losing 100-125 hairs per day, from a stack of about 100,000 hairs on one's head).
  • Human teeth are just as strong as shark teeth.
  • Humans are the only species known to blush - Horray to human humbleness :)

For more on inside of the body materials and activities, see here the "💉 Inside of the BODY Anatomy Unit Study" summary post.