Monday, January 19, 2015

My first playdough mat! Isaiah 53:5 Playdough Mat

I love the concept of playdough response mats so much....I used them Sunday during communion with 3yo Beck to great success!  He loved them and we had some great whispered dialogue between the two of us as we processed some of the elements of remembering Jesus' sacrifice.

I decided to make another mat that could go along with my communion set.  I've been wanting to use this verse and provide some type of response/interaction to it for a long time, and these mats were the perfect venue!

You can download the mat HERE to print in .PDF.

Maybe more to come?  So thankful to Flame  (click for link) for this awesome idea and all of the mats I downloaded and printed and am using from their site!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Bible Play Dough Mats courtesy of Flame Creative Children's Ministry

Recently I stumbled upon an idea that I just love!  Flame, a children's spiritual development blog, had these amazingly awesome and so developmentally appropriate playdough mats they were sharing!  I knew this was perfect for my kids--for a bit of guided playdough time and response to Bible stories.

First off, I printed all of the mats relating to the crucifixion and communion and Jesus rising from the dead--I placed them each in a page protector to keep the playdough off the paper, and I will be bringing them to church on Sundays for my kids to interact with during communion time.

In this current season we are in, our kids are expected to sing/pray and participate in the first portion of church.  During communion I like to bring some type of manipulative/book/activity specifically related to some aspect of communion/remembering Jesus' sacrifice so they can participate on their own developmental level.  I have a basket of several different objects that I choose from each week.  You can follow the label link to my other posts on this.

These playdough mats are perfect!  I will bring a small can of playdough (1 color) per child and I don't see this being too messy.  Each child has a parent sitting with them, so we can help if needed.

I also printed off all the other mats for the kids to use at tablework time (like when I am making lunch, etc.)  The first time I introduced them they spent about 2 total minutes and weren't that into them.  As with any new activity, the more I bring them out, model how to do them, and talk through the activity, the more engaged they are.  I just love the tactile way these invite young children to respond to Bible stories.

Are you sold?  You have GOTTA print these off and add them to your toolkit!!
CLICK HERE to go to the Flame Playdough Mats Page

And below are photos of my Quinn using the mats (again, I did not create the mats--I printed them off the fabulous Flame site linked above).

I have made a couple of my own in the style of Flame's, click 
HERE to check them out!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Going on a leaf hunt!

Around here we still have leaves falling.  We had a fun walk trying to find as many colors of leaves as we could and making our leaf sticks pretty!  We just poked a sharp stick through our leaves as we walked around our nearby nature park.  I did a pile of green ones and then a pattern of red and yellow leaves.  A fun, simple activity that encourages mathematical patterning, observation skills and a little artistry when deciding how to arrange the leaves.  I did this activity with a 3 year old and a 2 year old and they both loved it!

Music and Art....our recent favorite!

With lots of rainy, cold days lately, we've spent more of our kitchen-school time indoors.  An activity we've started that everyone enjoys is drawing to music.  Here's how we do it:

-Get a hard surface for everyone (cookie sheet, sketch pad with a cardboard back page, etc.)
-Get a bowl of crayons--yes, just crayons.  They require more fine motor control to grasp--and especially if they are short crayons--these encourage a pincer grasp. Also you can use harder or softer pressure when bearing down with the crayon to make different types of strokes.
-lay in a circle on your tummies, facing into the bowl of crayons--laying is important because it uses core muscles and encourages good posture--and a different type of body movement than children typically experience during the day.
-play a song and draw during the song--no talking!  Just draw!

We use these musical concepts (and the activity itself came), from the book 101 Activities for Kids in Tight Spaces  by Carol Stock Kranowitz:
*tempo (can you make your crayon move as quickly or slowly as the music?)
*dynamics (how can you make your crayon move to the softness or loudness of the music?)
*Mood (How does the music make you feel?  Can you draw this?)
*Color (What color matches the music, do you think?)
*Rhythm (Can you hear patterns of musical beats?  Can your crayon draw that pattern?)

Usually I quickly talk through these concepts before starting the music.  I play the songs on my phone from Youtube.

So far we have done several Anderson songs--Syncopated Clock (my kids' favorite), Typewriter....all his stuff is good.

We have also done some Debussy--Golliwog's Cake Walk.

Kranowitz has a list of suggested songs in her book, or you can also just google some different pieces kids enjoy.  We have mostly used classical music so far, but am anxious to try some jazz, etc!

The first time we did this activity my kids were a little unsure and not super into it.  The second time they took right off and just love it.  Ever since then they get totally into the drawing and listening and often ask for the song again throughout the days.

Last time we did something extra fun as an extension--we completed the drawing/listening portion.  Then we played the music again and had fun dancing to it!  Such great ways to explore music, encourage body movement and critical listening skills.

You should totally do this!  It is super easy to pull off, takes 1 minute of prep work and your kids will grow to love it!

Ps) Quinn took a picture of the spot where we display our drawings (above).

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Three things three-year-olds love!

*introduce them with a solid dispenser and good quality tape.  The cheaper stuff is difficult to tear.
*teach them to take a piece about the length of their thumb.
*show them to pull out then down to cut, and to be careful of the cutting edge.
*Initially I just let my little tapers tear and place tape on construction paper, then move up to taping two items together.  
*show them how to tape small pieces of paper onto a bigger piece--the tape has to touch both pieces--a difficult concept for them to learn.  
*I have a rule that tape only goes on paper.  I don't want tape on my walls, furniture, etc.  We keep a blue roll of painter's tape for taking pictures and signs up on walls.  That way our walls remain undamaged.  
***Taping is great fine motor practice and also a practical life and art skill!***
*supply small pieces of colored chalk--the small pieces encourage a pincer grasp and not a fist grasp.
*a small eraser or piece of fabric
*get a small chalkboard---often craft stores have these in the unfinished wood items section
*threes love covering the whole board with chalk, erasing, and then using a moist rag to clean the board at the end of the session!
***fine motor, art, preliteracy***
*I put out a tray with the sharpener and a jar of pencils.  My kiddos know all shreds of pencil need to land on the tray.
*remember to teach safety because the sharpener can cut you
***fine motor, practical life***

We have a designated art table in the living room where I keep all of these activities/materials out for free use at any time and often in the mornings my kids naturally gravitate there to use them.