Crafts and Projects · Writing Appearances

What Does Cotton Ball Transfer from Room to Room Mean?

I’ve enjoyed writing a number of posts for Hands On As We Grow as a monthly contributor. Completing the activities and projects that I write for them gives me some motivation to do even more fun activities with my daughters. It also keeps the creative juices flowing as I try to come up with new ideas.

Recently, I was asked to come up with an activity that involved a “cotton ball transfer from room to room”. If you were asked to do that, what would you do?

I wasn’t quite sure what to do at first. I ended up grabbing some painter’s tape and started making designs from my kitchen to my living room.

From there, I invented an activity that ended up being great practice for color recognition (different colored clothespins), counting (cotton balls in shapes), shape recognition (how many sides), gross motor skills (walk the lines), and fine motor skills (using clothespins).

Even my cats wanted to check out the activity, although I don’t think they learned anything!

You can find more information about the cottonball transfer challenge for kids on Hands On As We Grow here.


For more posts about Hands On As We Grow writings, check out:

Celebrate National Penguin Awareness Day

25+ Books About Owls

Celebrate Dinosaur Day!

Build Sand Castles Inside Using Brown Sugar

Crafts and Projects · Jobs of a Preschooler · Ramblings

Hands-On Science: Raising Butterflies

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission at no extra charge to you if you click on a link and make a purchase. Thank you!)

A couple of months ago I mentioned how it can be fun to find butterflies and moths while out on a walk.

Today, I thought it would be fun to talk about a hands-on experience to teach your “little scientists” more about caterpillars and butterflies. Raising your own butterflies!

Jobs of a Preschooler- I'm a scientist...

I have used caterpillars purchased from Insect Lore twice now, and we have had positive results both times. (You can find more information about Insect Lore here if you are interested.)

If you do order through Insect Lore, you will receive a butterfly net (which you can use multiple times), a voucher code for caterpillars, and instructions. Once the caterpillars are ordered, they are shipped in the mail to your location. There may be an additional charge to receive the caterpillars.

The caterpillars arrive in a small cup with “food” on the bottom. They stay inside of the cup, eating and growing. Eventually, they form a chrysalis (moths form cocoons) on the top of the cup on an insert. Once all the caterpillars have turned into chrysalises (also known as chrysalides), you must carefully remove the insert and secure it to the top of the butterfly net with a safety pin.

Then, you wait until the painted lady butterflies emerge. Here you can see the insert hanging on the top of the net with some of the butterflies emerging.

butterflies emerging from chrysalis

Here is another picture taken after some of the butterflies have emerged.

butterflies emerging from chrysalis

The second time we did this, the butterflies laid (super tiny) eggs, and we had a bunch of teeny tiny caterpillars shortly after. Although this isn’t a great picture, all of those little lines are teeny tiny caterpillars.

teeny weeny caterpillars

When we were releasing the butterflies, one of them landed on my daughter’s finger.

painted lady butterfly

If interested, ask your local nature center if they offer some kind of a Monarch Butterfly program. You may be able to help tag butterflies, release butterflies, and possibly even take home a caterpillar to raise.

I have talked to some people who have raised monarch caterpillars and then released them as adults with tags. One book my daughters and I have enjoyed looking through that talks about raising monarchs is How to Raise Monarch Butterflies: A Step-by-Step Guide for Kids by Carol Pasternak.

More information about tagging monarch butterflies can also be found on Monarch Watch here.

I took the picture below at a monarch butterfly program my daughters and I attended. I enjoyed watching the caterpillars munching away at the milkweed.

monarch caterpillars on milkweed

What will you learn today?


Crafts and Projects · Ramblings

Display Spring and Summer Activities

The first day of spring was already 24 days ago!

I’ve mentioned in the past that my daughters and I brainstorm a list of activities to do for spring and summer in early spring and a list of activities to do for fall and winter in early fall, and we find a fun way to display them.

We had “bucket lists” for quite a few years using buckets I had purchased at the Dollar Tree (2/$1) and clothespins.

After my daughters each decorated a bucket, we wrote the activities we wanted to complete for the upcoming two seasons individually on the clothespins. These clothespins were then placed inside of the buckets. As we completed the activities, we clipped the clothespins to the outer rim of a bucket.

bucket lists

The buckets were fun, but we have since moved on to other ways of displaying our seasonal activities.

We’ve built ice cream cone scoops for our spring and summer list for a couple of years. As the activities were completed, they were added to the ice cream cone.

display your spring and summer activities

We’ve built a wreath with paper leaves and light bulbs for our fall and winter list.

Display your winter and fall activities!

This past fall and winter, we decided to write on leaves and light bulbs again for our fall and winter activities, but we decided to display them differently as they were completed.

We created a tree with the completed activities using the paper leaves and light bulbs.

Fall and winter activities

Now that it is spring, it is time to create a new list of activities for the upcoming spring and summer months. We have done the ice cream cone for a couple of years now, and we decided we wanted to try something a little different this year.

After some brainstorming, we decided to show our spring and summer activity list this year with bubbles.

We had a large circular hole punch that we were hoping to use for the bubbles, but it unfortunately broke after making just a few circles. So, my daughters traced circles on white card stock using the few circles that they were able to punch out.

They wrote the activities individually on each of the bubbles, cut them out, and added a small line on the top of each circle trying to make them appear more like bubbles.

Then we taped them to a wall using painter’s tape.

spring and summer activity list

On the adjoining wall, we taped a bubble wand one of my daughters drew on yellow construction paper and cut out. As the activities are completed, they get moved to this wall.

We’ve already completed some of the activities, so they have been moved.

spring and summer activities

When we do activities that weren’t written down, we will create new bubbles to add to the completed list, too. That way at the end of spring and summer, we can look back on all of the activities we have done.

Show spring and summer activity list.

I have always enjoyed doing these lists because it gives us some ideas of activities to do on days when we may not have anything else planned, makes me more intentional with doing activities with my daughters, and shows us what we have been able to do together.

It’s fun to listen to my daughters as they remove the activities from the previous seasons because they talk about some of the activities in detail recalling what we had done.

What will you be doing this spring and summer?


For more information on seasonal lists, check out these posts:


Crafts and Projects · Writing Appearances

Simple Valentine’s Day Craft

Can you believe we are already almost done with January?

Did you celebrate any holidays in January? There were so many to choose from! New Years Day (January 1), National Spaghetti Day (January 4), National Cuddle Up Day (January 6), National Popcorn Day (January 19), National Penguin Awareness Day (January 20), and National Compliment Day (January 24) are just some that you could have celebrated within the comfort of your home.

If you are looking to celebrate a national holiday this Februrary, you may enjoy National Wear Red Day (February 1st), National Groundhog’s Day (February 2nd), National Send a Card to a Friend Day (February 7th), Valentine’s Day (February 14th), National Random Acts of Kindness Day (February 17th), and President’s Day (February 18th).

Recently I had a post published on Hands On As We Grow that goes into detail about a simple stamped heart Valentine’s Day pipe cleaner craft, which my daughters and I had tried for the first time last year.

Create stamps using pipe cleaners

This simple craft doesn’t only need to be used for Valentine’s Day, though. It could be used on a card or letter for National Send a Card to a Friend Day or for National Random Acts of Kindness Day.

Pipe Cleaner Heart Project

What will you celebrate in February?

Check out these posts for more National Holiday fun.

Birthday Party · Crafts and Projects · Themed Books · Writing Appearances

25+ Books About Owls

Whoooo loves owls?

My daughter does! She loves owls so much she decided to have an owl themed birthday party last year. Her love of owls and the need of a wintery type theme were my inspiration for my most recent post on Hands On As We Grow.

You can check out my compilation of 21 snowy owl crafts and snacks on Hands On As We Grow if you are interested.

We decided to use a few of the crafts and snacks from the list for my daughter’s owl themed birthday party. I have had a lot of fun planning my daughters’ themed birthday parties over the years!

We expanded on the Deviled Owl Egg Recipe found on The Rebel Chick by adding black olive wings and carrot noses to our owl deviled eggs.

owl deviled eggs

These treats reminded me a lot of our penguin snacks we created last year using round crackers, cream cheese, black olives, and carrots.

We used the Snowy Owl printable from Learn Create Love to create a few snowy owls. We decorated our snowy owls using q-tips, cotton balls, and black ink.

Here is a printable owl one of my daughters decorated. We tried to make it look like the owl was in a hole in a tree by putting black construction paper on the side of a kitchen cabinet (and green streamers across the ceiling attached to the top of the cabinet).

My daughter decided to add the (cats’ toy) mouse. I’m glad the cats didn’t try to steal it back!

snowy owl with mouse

Here is another printable owl my other daughter decorated. It ended up in a “tree” I created using brown paper on a column and green streamers across the ceiling.

snowy owl in tree

If you are thinking snowy owls probably wouldn’t be in a tree with green leaves, then you are thinking the same thing my daughter told me after I put this all together. Just pretend it’s an evergreen tree.

My daughters still thought the “trees” were neat, and they lasted in my house for quite a few days. It seemed like a waste to only leave them up for a few hours!

Here is the printable snowy owl I decorated. My daughter decided to add a tree limb (construction paper), nest (construction paper and pieces we had in our craft supplies), baby bird (purchased in a pack of 24 from Oriental Trading Company when I had a coupon code for free shipping on any order), and worm (pipe cleaner) to the wall.

snowy owl and baby owl on limb

I really liked the cute owl cupcakes from Hip Foodie Mom that were included on the craft and snack list. I decided to make cupcakes for each of the kids, but I had the kids decorate them during the party.

I gave each of the kids a cupcake, 2 cream filled cookies, a scoop of frosting on a paper plate, and a plastic spoon. I had two small bowls of M&Ms on the table for them to choose from.

All of the owl cupcakes turned out adorable. Here is one of my daughter’s decorated cupcake. They were almost too cute to eat!

owl cupcake

We had even more owl fun (handmade owl earrings, owl balloons, owl ornaments, etc.), but those were the creations we did that were included in the 21 snowy owl crafts and snacks recently published on Hands On As We Grow.

In addition to the snowy owl crafts and snacks, I have compiled a list of more than 25 books about owls (not just snowy owls) to read together.

Children's books about owls

These are all books I was able to check out from the library, but I have included links for your convenience if you would like to find more information about them.

These are affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission at no extra charge to you if you click on them and make a purchase.

Children's books about owls

I was surprised by the number of books I found starring owls at the library. I had to stop looking because I may have ended up going home with even more books!

Children's books about owls

There are books about owls for all ages of children.

Owl Diaries books

I have divided the books into four different categories: board books, fiction picture books, nonfiction children’s books, and chapter books.


Board Books

Even little ones can enjoy books about owls with these owl board books.

Owl Come Out and Play! by Debbie Rivers-Moore

This rhyming owl boardbook has very simple text (about 50 words total) that describes an owl playing at night with friends and sleeping when the sun rises.

Night Owl by Toni Yuly 

This board book is about a baby owl in search of his mommy. He hears noises (woodpecker, train whistle, cricket, toad, and thunder) as he tries to find her. He finds “the nicest sound of all” when he finally finds his mommy.

Little Owl’s Day by Divya Srinivasan

This board book tells the story of Little Owl who ventures out in the daytime. She is quite surprised by all of the daytime sights she sees since she is normally awake only at night. She sees butterflies instead of moths, open flowers, dragonflies instead of bats, a rainbow, and more.

That’s Not My Owl

Children may enjoy feeling the different parts of an owl in this touchy-feely board book as they follow a mouse searching for a specific owl. Kids can find the mouse on each of the page spreads within this book.

Hoot: A Hide-and-Seek Book of Counting by Jonathan Litton

Children can practice counting and finding colors with this rhyming board book as they follow Blue Owl searching for his four friends. Finger holes are used in place of the owl eyes. The holes gradually get smaller and smaller as the book progresses.

Owl and Friends: What Am I? by Joyce Wan

Even though this board book has a picture of an owl and has the word owl in the title, it is actually more about a tree than the owl. This story is written in first person from the perspective of a tree. For example, one page says “…earthworms tickle my toes” along with an illustration of worms and roots underground. Children have to guess “what am I?” at the end of the book before opening a large flap to discover that the story had been about a tree all along.

Olivia Loves Owl by David McPhail

This board book shows the differences between a young girl named Olivia and an owl as they stay together throughout the day and into the evening.

Goodnight Owl (A Lift-the-Fap Bedtime Book) by Dwell Studio 

Children may enjoy repeating “whooo! whooo!” throughout this board book as they lift flaps to discover which animal creatures are sleeping behind, near, and in various places.

Little Owl Says Goodnight (A Slide-and-Seek Book) by Emma Parrish

Little Owl sees many animals as she prepares for bedtime one evening. Children may enjoy the pull out sections of this board book as they try to guess “whoo-who” each page is describing.

Fiction Picture Books

I noticed when I was attaching the links to these picture books that some of them are actually available as board books, too. I have included in the descriptions which ones appear to also be available as board books. I have them in the fiction picture book section simply because that is where I found them at the library.

Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan

This book shows all of the sights Little Owl sees at night before going to sleep for the day. This book is written by the same author of Little Owl’s Day (mentioned in the board book section), Little Owl’s Colors, Little Owl’s 1-2-3, and Little Owl’s Snow. It appears this book is also available as a board book.

Little Owl’s Egg by Debi Gliori

Mommy Owl tells Little Owl there will be a new baby owl, but Little Owl doesn’t want that. He is the baby owl, and that is how he likes it. This leads to Mommy Owl and Little Owl thinking of different creatures that may be inside of the egg instead of a baby owl. At the end, the two of them agree a baby owl would be nice (as opposed to all of the other possibilities). Mommy Owl ensures Little Owl that she will always love him even when the new baby owl hatches. It appears this book is also available as a board book.

Little Owl’s Orange Scarf by Tatyana Feeney

There are many things little owl loves, but his new itchy, long, orange scarf is not one of them. He tries many ways to “lose” his scarf, but his mom keeps finding it. Eventually, he really does lose his scarf. Mom Owl decides they will make Little Owl a new scarf, but this time Little Owl gets to pick out the softness, the size, and the color for his new scarf. He likes it so much better, and he ends of finding out who has his orange scarf. This book has very simple illustrations. It appears this book is also available as a board book.

Little Owl Lost by Chris Haughton 

Little Owl is rudely awakened when he falls off of his perch and discovers he is lost. A squirrel tries to help him find his mom using Little Owl’s descriptions, but she continuously leads him to other animals besides his mom such as a bear, a rabbit, and a frog (or toad?). Eventually, Mommy Owl and Little Owl are reunited. It appears this book is also available as a board book.

Wow! Said the Owl: A Book About Colors! by Tim Hopgood 

Owl stays awake all day long and is amazed at all of the beautiful colors she normally doesn’t see because she is sleeping. She discovers pink, yellow, white, blue, green, red, orange, gray, and the beautiful colors of a rainbow. At the end, she decides “the nighttime stars are the most beautiful of all”.

Whobert Whover, Owl Detective by Jason Gallaher

Whobert Whover is on a case. He is determined to find out who has scared Perry the possum. He blames other creatures as he examines clues and finds eyewitnesses, but none of them are the culprits. Finally, Perry the possum declares that it was Whobert Whoever himself who had scared him. Unfortunately, Whobert Whover isn’t convinced and continues his case.

The Littlest Owl by Caroline Pitcher

There are four baby owls born in one nest, but there is one in particular that is the smallest. He doesn’t do anything as much or as well as the other owls, but he doesn’t let that stop him. The littlest owl must prove himself one stormy night, and he finally learns to fly so he can get to safety with his mom and siblings.

Owl Howl by Paul Friester

Little Owl keeps howling and none of the other animals can figure out how to get her to stop. She finally stops howling when she sees her mom. Her mom asks her why she had been howling all along, but she simply can’t remember.

Owl Howls Again! by Paul Friester

Little Owl must stay home all by herself while mom is away to get some food. Mommy Owl tells her to not let anyone in the house while she is away. Unfortunately for Mommy Owl, Little Owl won’t even let Mommy Owl in when Mommy Owl returns. This leads to other animal creatures helping Mommy Owl convince Little Owl that it truly is Mommy Owl who is wanting inside.

Hoot Owl Master of Disguise by Sean Taylor

Hoot Owl is hungry. He dresses in various costumes to try to catch some unsuspecting prey, but it doesn’t work. The rabbit, sheep, and pigeon all get away even though he has thought of some clever disguises. He finally finds a disguise that works and catches a tasty treat – pepperoni pizza.

Owl Sees Owl by Laura Godwin and Rob Dunlavey

This book has four words maximum on each page that describe what is happening in the pictures. For example one page says “tree nest hop look”. Through the simple text and the illustrations, the reader can follow Owl as he leaves his nest, sees his reflection in water, and flies back home back to his family.

Good Night Owl by Greg Pizzoli 

Owl is trying to sleep, but he keeps hearing a noise. He can’t figure out where the noise is coming from even after he tears apart his entire house piece by piece. Finally he discovers where the noise is coming from…a mouse who is seen throughout the entire book.

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell

Sarah, Percy, and Bill are three owl babies waiting for their mom to return. Sarah and Percy try to figure out where mom has gone, how soon she will be back, what she will bring back, and what they should do while she is gone. Bill just wants his mommy back. Finally, their mom returns.

Owl Boy by Brian Schatell 

Al is obsessed with owls. He wants to be like an owl until he gets lost in the woods at camp and tries to eat like an owl. He learns being an owl isn’t as great as he thought it would be…mice taste disgusting! He decides he still likes owls, but there are other things in life besides owls.

Owl Bat Bat Owl by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

There are no words in this book, so it is fun to make up words for the story that takes place within the pictures. A bat family moves in on the same branch an owl family lives on. The baby owls and the baby bats are not allowed to talk to each other until a storm blows all of the babies away forcing the mom bat and the mom owl to work together to bring the babies back.

Click here for 8 books about bats.

Nonfiction Children’s Books

There are definitely more nonfiction owl books than what I have included here, but I was trying to find nonfiction owl books at my library that didn’t include a lot of text. Here are three I found.

Animals in my Backyard: Owls by Aaron Carr 

Simple text tell about characteristics of an owl. Pictures of different types of owls and their features are included throughout the book. The back includes owl facts with more details about the information included within the text.

Animals and Their Babies: Owls and Owlets by Howard Hughes 

Learn about owl eggs, how owlets are able to break open their eggs, what newborn owlets look like, what happens as they grow, what they eat, what pellets are, how owls hunt, and when owls are ready to leave the nest. A page at the end summarizes an owl’s life cycle with four pictures.

Owls by Gail Gibbons

Learn what a raptor is, the number of owl kinds in the world, the characteristics of an owl, how owls hear, what owls eat, how owls hunt, what a pellet is, the places owls can live, the noises owls make, the owl life cycle, how owls habitats have been destroyed, what reserves are, and more facts about owls.

Chapter Books

I was able to find four books of the Owl Diaries series at my local library. It appears there are 11 books in this series. The backs say they appeal to first through second graders and are written at a second grade reading level.

Owl Diaries: Eva’s Treetop Festival by Rebecca Elliott 

Eva is an owl who loves her new diary. She writes about herself, her family, her pet bat, her best friend in the whole owliverse, and her new flap-tastic plan. She takes on more than she can handle on her own and learns about the importance of teamwork. Although the final result doesn’t go as she had planned, Eva’s diary writings end on a happy note. There are a few questions at the end of the book to discuss after reading.

Owl Diaries: Eva Sees a Ghost by Rebecca Elliott

Eva introduces herself at the beginning in diary format, so it does not appear to be an issue if you were to read these books out of order. Eva and her friend are planning an upcoming sleepover. Eva thinks she sees a ghost, but no one else believes her. She tries to prove it. Later, she and her classmates end go on a ghost hunt after they see two “ghostly white beasts” swoop past their classroom window. Eva and her classmates think they have finally captured the ghost, but instead Eva finds a new friend. Eva does nickname one classmate “Meany McMeanerson” because she is so mean, but she ends up surprising Eva by doing something nice. Eva also calls her brother and one other owl “squirrel heads” (she doesn’t like squirrels). Again, there are questions at the end of the book for further discussion.

Owl Diaries: A Woodland Wedding by Rebecca Elliott

Eva introduces herself, so the book does not have to be read in order; however, the friend she met in book number two is now shown as one of her classmates in this book. Eva’s teacher is getting married so Eva and her classmates work hard to make the wedding a success. Unfortunately, her teacher’s necklace is missing, so the classmates become detectives and search for clues. Eva and Sue, the owl Eva calls Meany McMeanson, work together to create a beautiful surprise for their teacher. That turns out to not be the only surprise in this book. Again, there are questions at the end of the book for further discussion.

Owl Diaries: Warm Hearts Day

Eva again introduces herself. Eva and her classmates prepare for Warm Heart Day, which is a reminder to be kind. Eva decides to call Sue Nicely McLovely instead of Meany McMeanerson for the week. Eva shows kindness to some other creatures and gets rewarded for her gratitude. Again, there are questions at the end of the book for further discussion.

Owl Diaries: Books #1-#5

Books one through five are available as a box set. The remaining books to the Owl Diaries series appear to be available individually at this time.

Are there any other owl books I haven’t mentioned that you enjoy?