Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sorting Collage

Today I introduced Quinn to the concept of sorting. I had cut pictures of dogs and cats (objects she is very familiar with) from some magazines. I got two different-colored pieces of paper and explained to her that dogs go on the pink paper and cats on the white. I then put several dots of glue on each paper (sometimes I let her do the glue part, but this time I wanted her to focus on the pictures so I applied the glue) and handed her the picture one by one. We talked about whether it was a cat or a dog. She could tell me the name (cat or dog), but she did not grasp the "sorting" concept. She made no differentiation between the two different papers. Of course this is fine, as we were simply introducing the concept and will revisit it again often! I guided her placement onto the right papers, and we will post them for her to look at, calling them the "dog paper" and the "cat paper."

She is SOOOO interested in gluing. We also made a collage of mowers from the Sears ad and another collage of familiar foods from the grocery store circulars. Q had fun applying her own glue for these collages! Of course she stuck her finger in the glue and then tasted it. After all, she IS 21 months! :)
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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Card

We've been waiting until today to post these pictures because we didn't want Daddy to see the card before the big day!

For Daddy's card we traced both of Q's hands on blue paper. Then I traced them again on scrapbook paper. We made flaps on the three tallest fingers (3 middle) and glued the tips of those fingers (glue goes on the back of the scrapbook paper) down onto the colored paper.

We glued the hands onto brown cardstock, and then glued that onto a folded piece of light blue paper to make a card. Under each finger we wrote something Q loves about her Daddy....I tried to think of simple ones that would be good memories of things they do together that they might forget in a year or two.
Of course Q signed her name on the inside!
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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Up, Up, Up!

Here's a rhyme Q is loving! I revisited some old photos with this one in mind, perfect for this sweet rhyme!

Up, up, up in the sky like this (lift baby over head).
Down, down, down for a great big kiss (tip baby upside down)
Up like this (lift again)
Down like this (tip again)
'Cause you're my special baby! (pick baby up and hug her)

Quinn absolutely adores this rhyme, and she's not even really a baby! She loves for me to leave the end off and let her say, "special baby," which is so precious in her sweet little voice! She has fun when we lift and lower her really fast, but even tiny infants could participate in a gentler fashion.

This rhyme teaches great positional words!
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Fun with Music

We stumbled upon this great book at the Salvation Army a couple months back and it has come to be one of our very favorites. It ties in so nicely with my efforts to include more music in our days, as well! It's about monkeys that play the drums with their hands and thumbs, and the line on each page is "dum ditty, dum ditty, dum ditty dum." We couldn't help but find a "drum" to play along with this line! An empty laundry detergent bottle works great! Of course I had grand schemes about modge-podging cute scrapbook paper over the label. But Q loves to point to the orange on the front and also find the letters she knows in the words printed on the bottle. So I had to fight myself to allow her exposure to environmental print to trump my urge for aesthetics. :)

Q will randomly start one of the pages aloud to me, even when we are away from the book, wanting me to finish reciting it for her. I can already see that she is acquiring great concepts about rhythm, rhyme, body parts, vocabulary, memory, and comprehension. Also the book has a beautiful cadence the text follows that is so much fun to read aloud!!

I would definitely recommend checking this one out at the library!!
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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Our favorite fingerplay right now....

Pizza, pizza, pumpernickle.
Baby Quinn shall have a tickle (tickle her sides).
One for her nose (touch nose),
one for her toes (touch toes),
and one for her tummy where the hotdog goes! (tickle tummy!)

This is Q's current favorite fingerplay....
I leave the end word out of each line and let her say it. She LOVES for me to tickle her toes!

Even a little baby can begin to understand cause and effect as they learn that the words have certain actions corresponding to them.
The rhyming begins teaching letter patterns, a fabulous early literacy skill.
Plus, you just can't help but have fun saying this one!

Volcano Fun

The Early Childhood classes at Q's school are studying dinosaurs this month. I love the way the toddler teacher paced this great science investigation and wanted to share it for anyone looking for some great summer fun!

Day one--they made a batch of brown playdough (great recipes to be found via the internet) to represent the mountain.

Day two--they made a batch of black playdough to represent the ash.

These two activities involved great math skills such as measuring and counting, pratical life skills of stirring and cooking, gross motor skills of kneading the dough, and science skills as the children observed the changes of states of the ingredients--from a liquid to a solid.

Day three--they made a volcano by covering a plastic cup with the two colors of playdough, forming a volcano shape, and adding flowers, ferns, etc. They used artificial foilage, but you could also use sticks and leaves and even dirt from the yard. And no forgetting the dinosaurs!!

Day four--Volcano explosion day!! Mix vinegar and food coloring in a measuring cup (about 1 c. liquid total, but precision does not matter here), pour about 1/4 c. baking soda into the volcano cup, then add the vinegar/food coloring mixture and watch the volcano do it's thing!! If the volcano stops bubbling, add more baking soda and then more vinegar.

The children talked about volcano vocabulary--hot, ashes, magma, explosion, was a wonderful exploration and they were so amazed!

I have done this outside with my older students and just printed the directions and let them try to follow them on their own. They went crazy for this! Best of all, the ingredients are very inexpensive!! If you don't have plastic dinosaurs, you could make stand-up cardboard ones!!

Thanks for the pic, N!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Zoo!

I took my summer students to the zoo today....which reminded me of a zoo idea I wanted to share, as I know lots of families do the zoo in the summer!

Here is a song I use with the zoo:

This is the way we go to the zoo
Go to the zoo, go to the zoo.
This is the way we go to the zoo.
On a ______ morning (or afternoon, if applicable).

This is the way the tiger roars....

This is the way the elephant stomps....

I always look for examples of any opportunities for my preschoolers and primary students to create their own self-written books. Sometimes as a class, with each student creating a page, and other times each student makes their own book.

For the zoo song, each child could choose an animal, write their own verses following the pattern, and illustrate the picture. For pre-writers, a parent could write the verse, or allow the child to write the letters/words they know.

If you take photos at the zoo, you could tape the photos in the book and write verses about the animals pictured!

Today while I was at the zoo with my big uns, I couldn't help thinking how much Q would LOVE every animal we saw! We have a zoo trip on our summer agenda when my parents come to visit, for sure! And I am thinking we will definitely use the zoo song to make a book after our trip!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bubble Painting!

One of Q's teacher sent home some bubble wrap for her to paint as her homework over the weekend. See why I love her little school? Any school that sends painting as homework is right up my alley. :)
Of course we painted with yellow since that's the color we are practicing. I gave her two brushes to choose from. The bigger brush did better getting paint on the bubbles--the smaller one was harder to work with. I had to show her, first, how to put the paint on the bubbles. She would paint them a bit and then wanted to wipe it off with her hand. I am sure it felt so interesting to her! Great sensory exploration--feeling the texture of the bubbles!
I had to tape the bubble wrap on two sides down to the art try to keep it from shifting around as she painted. Masking tape would be ideal, I think, because the scotch tape kept pulling off the wrap. However, I didn't want to leave Q with paint and run out to the garage, so I just kept re-sticking it.
The next thing we did was press some scrap paper onto the painted bubbles. It left neat circle prints all over the paper! So pretty...I am imagining what it would look like if you painted each bubble a different color and then stamped. Older kids could totally do that and it would look great! Would also make great background for a project paper--or even wrapping paper! You could do it on a brown paper sack to turn into a custom gift bag!!
We loved this project and plan to do it again!! I am working to come up with a neat use for the yellow-painted bubbles, too!
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Friday, June 11, 2010

Color Cards

Q isn't preferring to read in her playroom much these days--she likes the couch or the recliner, so most of her books are living out there. So...I found a use for the empty bookshelf. I had these color cards from when I taught 1st grade. I put one in each slot for her to take down and look at. We can also play a game where we try to find objects of each color to place on the card!
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Letter Soup!

I put the whole container of foam letters in a big metal bowl and we have so much fun stirring them up and pretending to eat letter soup! Q loves scooping them all over the floor (while at the same time she is practicing her motor skills!), finding letters she knows, and putting them on her head! I do typically keep my baby clothed, by the way, she just made a mad dash for her letters right after we'd finished painting. I hadn't gotten her shirt back on before I snapped the pic.
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Summer fruit magnets

I had these summer fruit magnets saved in my stash of junk....They were from an advertisement I got in the mail trying to get me to buy a certain brand of fruit snacks. I have saved them about a year, and Q is finally old enough for them! They are great for teaching vocabulary--especially distinguishing fruits that look similar--grapes and cheeries, for example. You could easily make a set of your own with magazine pictures, clipart or real photos of fruit glued onto magnets!
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Goin' a little Old School with the cassette tape player!

One of Q's teachers at school sent home this little tape player and a copy of the tape and book of GOODNIGHT, MOON! It was become one of her very favorite stories, and she can fill in the blanks anytime you pause in the story. "Goodnight, red_____," "Goodnight, cow jumping over ___________." She loves listening to her tapes! Her teacher also sent home a blank tape that we enjoy talking and singing onto and then listening to what we taped! So fun!
We'll be using the cassette player a lot, I think! The library has tons of books on tape we can't wait to explore! Quinn also loves pushing the buttons, of course.
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Song "Cookies"

On Q's bulletin board I put some "song cookies." They are brown circles with the name of a song and a corresponding picture on each one. I used these with my preschoolers--we kept them in a cookie jar and took turns choosing a "cookie" during circle time. For now I am just putting them on Q's board, but at some point when she knows all the songs, we'll move them to a jar! This is a great pre-reading activity, as the child begins to associate the picture with the song title and can quickly learn to "read" which song is written on each cookie.
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Yellow Bag

To reinforce the fun we've been having learning colors, Q and I made a "Yellow Bag." I quickly sewed 3 seams to make a drawstring bag out of yellow fabric. We looked around the house to find all sorts of yellow things to add to the bag. We like to open the bag and look through all the objects. A favorite activity is seeing how many we can put on the dog before she runs away. :)
This activity is great for teaching beginning classification and sorting principles.
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Monday, June 7, 2010

Yellow Book

To reinforce our Yellow color theme, I made Q a YELLOW BOOK.
I collaged photos with "yellow things" that I knew Q would be interested in. (I used Picasa to make my collages). I printed them out, laminated them, and tied them together into a book with yellow ribbon. You could also just cut and paste regular printed photos if you don't want to do it digitally.
Here is the cover--I incorporated some of her artwork.

And a few of the pages:

This incorporates literacy and print awareness (we will start pointing out the word "yellow" in the text as well as names of family members and Q's own name), vocabulary development, and color skills. We can add in some math by counting some of the objects!
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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cats and Dogs Collage

Q loves dogs and cats, since we have one of each! I noticed this week's Walmart ad in our mailbox was all about pets. I cut a handful out, and Q had fun gluing them onto paper to make a collage today. We used a gluestick today. I verbalized each step of the gluing process as I guided her hand. "Turn over to the back....slide the glue all around....set the glue down....turn over the picture.....put it on the paper....pat, pat, pat it down....hold up the paper--did it stick?"
She was so proud to show Daddy when he got home! She likes pointing out the puppy's claws and collar and the kitty's paws--great vocabulary work!

Junkmail makes great impromptu art projects for toddlers!
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Yellow Collage

We are working with Q on learning her colors and focusing on Yellow right now.
Yesterday we did some yellow collage gluing work. I try to use all different mediums for gluing. Yesterday I raided my scrap ribbon box and found some yellow things. I cut them up and put them into a yellow bowl (of course!). Then I put glue dots (using liquid glue in a bottle) on her paper and showed her how to stick the ribbon pieces down.
She explored the glue by sticking her fingers in it, dotted it with her finger on the edge of the art tray, and stuck her fingers together in it. She also enjoyed sticking the ribbon pieces down and then taking them off again. I, of course, allow her to do this, but explain to her that when we glue we want our work to get stuck to the paper. After we glue each piece, we turn the paper upside down so she can see it is stuck.
Glueing is still a very new activity for her, so it usually doesn't go perfectly, and sometimes she's only interested in gluing for 2-3 minutes. That's okay....she's learning!
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