Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Children's Books for Monet Artist's Study

The kids and I love to do artist studies for a couple months at a time.  We slowly digest the masterpieces of the artist (usually by looking through art books--I get these from the library, of course!!), learn about their life, try some art in their style, and just have fun looking at their work.

We love to read some great books (from the lib, of course!) about each artist.  For Monet, here are some of our favorites: (I'll add more as we read more!!)

My son, especially, loved the train book because he is crazy about trains.  

Laurence Anholt writes several art books for children and they are all lovely.  

This book (below) is AWESOME!  It has different activities kids can do to learn how to "See" more fully when they look at artwork (I learned a TON!) and then different art activities done to explore the style of the different Impressionists.  I used many of these activities as the basis for our weekly art exploration and all of them were a hit with my kids.  I strongly recommend this book!

Linnea is a longer book and is historical fiction about a little girl that visits Monet's garden on a tourist trip.  It has lovely illustrations, photos, tons of information and is just plain FUN to read!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Crown of Thorns Bible Playdough Mat

I had mentioned in earlier posts that I love the Playdough Mats created on the FLAME website.  I printed them, put them in page protectors, and have a binder that my 3 year old son is allowed to work with during communion time each Sunday at worship.

He knows when the screen says the words "communion" that he can get his binder and playdough out, and he waits anxiously every week!

I read the mat to him in a whisper, and I love that he gets to listen to important scriptures about Jesus' sacrifice during this time.  Then he responds with the playdough in different ways, according to the various mats.

For communion time I printed the mats that have to do with communion, Jesus' death and resurrection.

This is a genius idea and I am so glad the Flame website created these!

I used their idea to make a couple more for our communion binder.  This would also be a great playdough mat for the Lenten season and for Holy Week preparation.

This week I made a CROWN of THORNS mat to add to our collection.  I will also put a handful of toothpicks into our bag for him to add to the crown.

If you'd like a copy, you can DOWNLOAD HERE for the printable pdf.

CLICK HERE if you'd like to download my other Playdough mat.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Great book for preschool-elementary aged families!

I can't recommend this book highly enough!  It is GREAT!  However I used most of the ideas from it at home....they were such wonderful ideas that engaged both my kids--of different ages and genders.  I learned some great new concepts and ideas, especially surrounding music. gotta check it out and thumb through it!  You will love it!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Science for Preschoolers....exploring with eyedroppers and water.

When doing science with kiddos, the best way is just to explore, explore, explore!
I put out this invitation for Beck (3) this week.  Actually, two of everything, because I sat down and worked next to him.

Small bowl of water, some pennies, a couple types of eyedroppers, and a sponge.  
 First I taught him how to use an eyedropper (hug him (squeeze), dip him in the ocean, then let him go!) which is tricky for preschoolers, but great fine motor!  A clothespin initially may help demonstrate the concept, as well.
 For a while he just squeezed up water and squirted it out.  Then I taught him how to gently squeeze the drops out one at a time, and we put them onto pennies.  He loved this!

Besides being perfect for fine motor development, this sets great foundations for using scientific tools that he will encounter later on down the road in chemistry!  Also useful for some art procedures!  Ours have paint in them because Q and I have used them to drip watercolor onto coffee filters for art!

Of course since this was the first time with this activity, he didn't spend a real long time with it.  I will bring it back out again repeatedly and he will grow in comfort with it and explore more over time.

I have a couple more directed dropper-water activities I want to do, so I needed to give him some free exploration time with the tools before he was ready to "do stuff" with them!  Stay tuned for more on this!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Best Audiobooks for Preschoolers/Older Toddlers

This list is a younger version of my AUDIOBOOKS FOR KINDERGARTENERS.  In that post, I discuss some of the nuts and bolts about using audiobooks with young children, so you might want to read it first.

The following is a list of some of our faves for the older toddler/preschool crowd.  Also, many of the books on the kindergarten list are also great for preschoolers!  I have a lot of the photos included on the Kindy list, so you can see which ones are in bagged sets with the book--best for littler guys.

I taught my little guy to use a CD player very early on (before he was even 2), so he is independent with it.  Kids love cd players and, with teaching and practice, can be very careful and independent with them, if it is expected of them.  I always had a cd player available for listening to stories in my 2 year old classroom and the children were allowed to use it on their own.  I'll try to remember to put up a post with some of the step-by-step processes we used to teach CD player independence!

Also, I strongly recommend THIS list of nature audiobooks that appeal to older toddlers and preschoolers from another of my past posts.

Also, I add to this list as we come across new titles, so it is growing all the time!

And now, our favorite audiobooks for real little ones:

Brown Bear And Friends  by Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle

Curious George series by H.A. Rey

The Frances Audio Collection by Russell Hoban

It's a Tiger! by David LaRochelle

Brand-new Pencils, Brand-new Books by Diane deGroat

Bad Rats by Eric Drachman

Green Eggs and Ham and Other Servings of Dr. Seuss

Too Many Toys    and   A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon

George and Martha series by James Marshall

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa Series by Erica Silverman (these are longer, so best for older preschoolers)

Diary of A Fly by Doreen Cronin (or any of her books)

Petite Rouge Riding Hood by Mike Artell

Skippyjon Jones books by Judy Schachner

Fairy Tales by Paul Galdone (Rumpelstiltskin, etc)

Maynard Moose Series by Willy Claflin

The Little Moose Who Couldn't Go to Sleep by Willy Claflin

Little Bear Series by Else Homelund Minarik

Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller

Brave Irene by William Steig (a longer one)

Alice the Fairy by David Shannon

Bat Loves the Night by Nicola Davies

One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies

Surprising Sharks by Nicola Davies

Mole Music by David McPhail

The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone

Apples to Oregon by Deborah Hopkinson & Nancy Carpenter

Happy Birthday, Sam by Pat Hutchins

Houndsley and Catina Series by James Howe

Lulubelle and Her Bones by Vashti Farrer

Geronimo Stilton Series by Geronimo Stilton (for older preschoolers)

Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories by Dr. Seuss

The Cat in the Hat and Other Dr. Seuss Favorites by Dr. Seuss

The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot! by Scott Magoon

Leroy Ninker Saddles up by Kate Dicamillo

LMNO Peas by Keith Baker

One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein

This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

Young Amelia Bedelia Series by Herman Parish

A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Bear Has a Story to Tell (both by )  by Phillip C. Stead

And Then It's Spring by Julie Fogliano

Murmel, Murmel, Munsch by Robert Munsch

Olivia Series by Ian Falconer

We're Going On A Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller

The Gigantic Turnip by Aleksei Tolstoy

Mouse and Mole Series by Wong Herbert Yee

Pete the Cat series by Eric Litwin

The Story Tree by Hugh Lupton

Mr. Putter and Tabby series by Cynthia Rylant

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

Young Amelia Bedelia Audio Collection by Hermann Parish

Arthur series by Lillian Hoban

Fancy Nancy Series by Jane O' Connor

The Dog Who Had Kittens by Polly Robertus

Amelia Bedelia Series by Peggy & Herman Parish

Bailey Goes Camping; Chester's Way or any/all Kevin Henkes books

Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino

Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing by Judi Barrett

The Biggest Snowman Ever by Steven Kroll

Arthur Series by Marc Brown

Bear's Toothache by David McPhail

Anna Banana and Me by Lenore Blegvad

Biscuit Series by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

Annie and Snowball Series by Cynthia Rylant

Mr. Putter and Tabby Series by Cynthia Rylant

Ask Mr. Bear by Marjorie Flack

A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon

Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel

Bear Books by Karma Wilson

Frog and Toad Series   and    The Arnold Lobel Audio Collection by Arnold Lobel
(any of his stuff is great!!)

The Bear's Bicycle by Emilie McLeod

Grin and Bear It by Leo Landry

Berenstain Bear Stories by Stan and Jan Berenstain

Zelda and Ivy series by Laura Kvasnosky

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle

Wolf Pie by Brenda Seabrooke

The Teacher From The Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler (my kids loved this and weren't scared...but if your kids get scared easily, you might want to thumb through it with them first and let them see the ending....) 

Kindergarteners+Uno=fun magic!

We have been having a blast playing Uno lately!  She has trouble holding and seeing all her cards while still thinking through game strategies, so this piece of board with two grooves cut in it works perfectly.  I found in in Matt's scrap box, so I have no idea what it is really for, but HERE is a tutorial if you are a bit handy in the shop and want to make one yourself!  If not you can always prop the cards against a shoebox or use a clothespin!

So much fun to watch her strategizing improve!  This is a great game for kindergarteners--requires little skill (yet you can still employ strategies) and uses enough luck that it makes it a fair game to play with an adult, even if you are 6!  

Rocket Science for preschoolers!

My little man is very into rockets.  Through his enthusiasm, the rest of us have followed course!  Last week I set up some simple invitations for rocket "labs" for us to explore some different preschooler-friendly rockets!

First off was a string, two chairs, a straw with a balloon taped to it.  We blew up the balloon, taped it to the straw, then clipped a clothespin on the end of the balloon.  Insert a countdown (their favorite part!) unclip the balloon, and watch it fly!  We had fun making different changes  to the experiment and noticing what happened (reversing the balloon direction, adding fins, etc.)

 Next was another straw rocket--for this one we rolled and taped paper into a cylinder slightly larger than a straw (diameter).  We also cut a circle, cut a line on the radius, and then taped it into a cone for the top of the rocket.  Then a straw slides into the opening in the rolled paper and we can blow our rockets using our air to power them!!  We used tape on the floor to mark our distances in a little rocket launch!

Fun times and science learning abounded!!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Puzzles keep these two occupied while Mama makes lunch!