Monday, November 29, 2010

Practical our day to day.

I am always looking for opportunities to encourage self-reliance, sensory exploration and fine motor practice into our daily rhythm. One thing I do is let Q do some scooping of food. Today she requested some vegetables for lunch. I keep a tupperware of frozen veggies in the freezer for lunches and snacks on those days our fridge is bare of anything fresh (today being the first day home after vacation is a prime example!!). I set Q up on her stool, the veggies on her left and the bowl she would scoop into on the right. She then used her spoon to scoop veggies from left to right (to train her brain in the way print runs). She felt so proud helping and she exercised so many toddler skills in this simple activity. She also scoops yogurt, cheerios, and other foods at lunch time.
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Three Bears--toddler version

Our 26 month-old is right on the cusp of being ready for paperback storybooks...we're still hanging on to some favorite, longer board books, but she's ready for a bit more plot and length. This is a tricky world--finding trade books that are simple and short enough to keep her attention. Here is one of our current favorites:

I love that the book tells the story of the three bears, but the text is kept very sparse and just the necessary details are given. Here's a sample page:

The way that there is a small phrase above each illustration is a great tool for teaching text-to-picture awareness. The child begins to see that the text connected to the picture describes the illustration.

I also love the way that there is a separate illustration for each step in the story to help facilitate comprehension for little ones.

This book is a fabulous choice for toddlers who are entering the world of "real" stories and my girl just eats it up when I read this one to her! She's learning some great vocabulary--porridge, cottage, etc. She's also getting her first taste at the elements of plot in all stories--setting, characters, problem, solution....I try to briefly discuss these with her in a natural fashion--for example:
"Look, their cottage--that's another word for house--is in the woods. See how there are trees all around it?"
"Uhhh-ohhh--will the bears be happy that Goldilocks came in their house without knocking?"

Counting Book Fave

Here's another favorite counting book on our shelf right now. There are tons of versions of this traditional song, but I love this one by Ezra Jack Keats. The illustrations are beautiful! There is a tune that goes along with the text, so we sing/read the book. Besides counting, children also learn about the names of different animals, what types of homes they have, and some information about animal babies. We love this one!
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thankful Tree

I found a great dried plant (tree? Small bush? not sure) on a walk a couple weeks ago. Clipped off some pieces for a project. On Saturday in Home Depot the bright fall-colored paint chips caught my eye when we passed by I grabbed a handful in different fall colors. At home I used a leaf cookie-cutter, traced the leaf on the back, cut them out, burnished the edges with a dark brown stamp pad and painted the names of our family members on the leaves with white paint. Today Q and I hot glued them onto the branches--she picked where each one would go.
Inside the glass vase are river rocks and white lights.
Love a reminder of people we are so thankful for! Will have fun "reading" the names with Quinn--she can recognize all of them by their first letter!

A free, pretty fall project!

*if I wouldn't have had a leaf cookie cutter I'd have printed a template off google images (put in leaf cookie cutter), copy the image, paste it into Word and make it the size you want.
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Paper-covered table

Last night for our church small group I covered the kitchen table in brown craft paper for the kids to do a project and my table to stay protected. I decided after group to just leave the paper and writing supplies out for Q and me to play with today. We had the BEST time writing and drawing all over the table this morning! Q dictated words and names for me to write and we had some great discussion about letter sounds. Then we explored with the different writing tools. Fun times, and very easy!
I bought the craft paper rolls at Dollar Tree in a bin of packaging/shipping supplies they always have out at the holidays. The rolls have a surprising amout of paper on them and I find so many uses for this simple brown paper!!
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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Leafy Turkey

On a walk we collected brown, red, orange and yellow leaves (Q loved helping with that!) We glued them onto paper, added a bark body we found in the backyard, some twig legs, a couple of lentils for eyes and used yellow and red leaves for the beak and waddle. He is making our fridge oh-so-festive!
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Fall Gathering Collage

So simple...collect a basket of neat things on a walk outside and glue them onto a collage!
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Oldy but Goody #2

Paper bag pumpkins are one of my favorite fall crafts!
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An oldy but goody!

My 3's and 4's did these in October.
Construction paper hand and painty fingerprints for the leaves. Some kids even added leaves on the ground and leaves falling (mid-air!)
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Fall Nursery Rhyme

Next year we'll want to make flannelboard Peter and Mouse and a pumpkin to put them in!! This year we had lots of fun simply learning this great rhyme and identifying letters Q knows in the words (especially P for Papa!!)
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Pumpkin Counting Work

Encourages counting, one-to-one correspondence, automization of numbers (being able to look at a group of objects and visually recognizing how many are there without counting), left-to-right progression, and sensory awareness (touching fluffy pom-poms).
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Pumpkin Life Cycle

I found lots of great options for pictures for the life cycle of a pumpkin. I printed one of my favorites out twice--colored both, glued one set on a sentence strip and left the others seperate. Makes wonderful matching work--for little ones they can look at just the picture and readers can read the words. THIS is one...not the one I used, but a good one!!
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Toddler Pumpkin Pie

Love this fall activity--we did it with our 3's at school, but I am going to do it with Q next week, too!
-cut 2 circles--a larger brown one and a smaller orange one
-use a paintbrush to cover orange circle with glue
-sprinkle on cinnamon (we used the cinnamon-sugar mix because it was on sale for 50 cents at Walmart!) (pinching and sprinkling glitter--or cinnamon!--is great fine motor!!)
-crinkle crust--we actually showed our kids the real way you crimp a pie edge and some got it and some didn't, but it was great fine motor practice for them to fold the edges some way

VOILA! A yummy-smelling fall pie!
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Turkey Songs and Fingerplay Book

For each "unit" or subject we study in Kitchen School, I make a little book of songs and fingerplays to go along with it. I keep this in my purse and we sing it in the car, store, etc. I also get it out for Circle Time a couple days a week so Q learns the songs and rhymes.

To make this book I traced a turkey cookie cutter on brown construction paper.
I glued a photo of a turkey (from Google Images) on the front of each turkey.
On the back I typed out each of the 4 songs/fingerplays I'd chosen and glued them on. I punched a hole, used a pipe cleaner to put them all together, and voila!
You can click on each photo for a larger version if you want to read the words of the songs/fingerplays.

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Gluing feathers on a turkey

Today was a simple project....she used a glue bottle to put feathers on a turkey we had traced (from a cookie cutter) and cut out of a paper bag.
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Dinner time!

We learned that turkeys eat snails, acorns, worms, seeds, amont other things. So we feed our turkeys a good dinner each night--acorns we gathered, some bell pepper seeds I saved, some "worms" made of cut black cord....Our turkeys have the best of manners, too!
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bubble Wrap Corn Painting

Simply draw a corncob on paper. Dip bubble wrap in paint, and press onto corn to get kernals. I can see a more advanced version where you paint different colors (brown, red, orange, yellow, white) onto the wrap to make indian corn!
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Feather Painting

To go with our turkey unit, we painted with feathers. They aren't turkey feathers, but they are duck feathers we collected at the park. If we had turkey feathers, that'd be cooler. :)

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Simple Graphing

Next we will count them, write the number on a card and stick it next to each row.
Object graphing is the way you introduce children to graphs, once they are comfortable with simple sorting.

Be sure:
-each graph has a name
-rows always go left to right OR top to bottom
-objects are placed right next to one another
-you expose your child to horizontal (pictured above) graphs as well as verticle graphs (the paper is shifted to portrait orientation and the columns start at the bottom and progress to the top)
-you can write the number of objects
-you can talk about which has the most, least, how many more, etc.
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Bubble-Wrap Pumpkins

I love painting on bubble wrap, and Daddy brought Q a big piece home, so I knew we had to do a pumpkin patch out of them!
First I cut 4 different-shaped pumpkins out of the wrap.
Q and I used some of our fun paint tools (a roller and a fuzzy one) to cover the wrap in orange paint.

A couple days later we painted a sheet of newspaper brown and another one green. I wanted to recycle some paper we already had and provide another painting opportunity!
When everything dried I cut out some pumpkin leaves (after looking at their shape on the internet) and we put up a patch in our dining room window!
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