Friday, April 30, 2010

Ladybug Snack

It's not Tasty Tuesday, but here is a very easy "ladybug" snack!

1)  Toast 1/2 of a bun or English muffin.  Spread with red-tinted peanut butter (or cream cheese).

2)  Put raisins (or chocolate chips) on for ladybug spots.

This makes an easy, decently-healthy snack!

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Painted Ladybug Rocks

I was trying to make a plant poke, but couldn't quite get it right -- so we made these cute little ladybug rocks to put with our houseplant!

1)  Go on a nature walk to find some "ladybug" shaped rocks.  Paint the top of the rocks red.

2)  Use a permanent marker to draw on spots and decorate the ladybug (or make a smiley face!!).

3)  Place the ladybugs in a potted plant container.

On our walk, we actually found a live ladybug to put in the bug jar from yesterday!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bee Buzzer

I just got my new FamilyFun magazine, and it had a perfect activity for our bug theme!  You can find their directions here.  I adapted the directions using things I already had at home!

1) Using a craft stick, place pencil erasers on both ends.  You can see I adapted it by using a pencil.  We put a thumbtack in the eraser side and wrapped the other side thickly with tape.

2)  Cut an index card into a 3" square (we used our extra kite triangles).  Decorate it, center it on the pencil, and staple (or tape) it.

3)  Tie a piece of yarn on one side.  Stretch a rubber band across the pencil.

4)  Swing the hummer in a circle to make a buzzing noise!  If you don't hear a buzzing sound, try reversing your circle.  You also have to swing it quickly! 


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bug Jar

My middle daughter has a bug jar she made at a rec. center class, and the oldest wondered when she would get her own bug jar (I'm not sure why, because she professes to hate bugs!).  We tried an empty peanut butter jar, but we ended up breaking the lid and not having any luck painting it.  I had an empty peanut jar with a metal lid, so we tried that instead.  It worked!
1)  Poke air holes in the lid.  I used a hammer and nail.  Use a permanent marker to color the lid black.  If you want to do a ladybug, paint the lid red.

2)  Place small strips of tape across the jar to form a guide for painting stripes.  If you are making a ladybug, paint black circles on the lid.

3)  Paint the stripes yellow and remove the tape.

4)  Cut a pipe cleaner for the antenna.  Hot glue the antenna and wiggly eyes.

Time for a bug hunt!


Monday, April 26, 2010

Montessori Monday--Another Pincer Grasp Idea

This is a great activity for strengthening your child's hands in preparation for writing!

1)  You need an ice cube tray (I picked mine up at a garage sale for a dime!), cotton balls (you could use large beads, wadded up paper, or something else you have on hand), tongs, and a container.  Place a cotton ball in each opening.  Show your child how to squeeze the tongs and move the cotton ball into the container.

2)  Move the cotton balls back into the tray.  If the tongs are easy for your child, use tweezers.  Once they can manipulate the tweezers well, trade the cotton balls for something smaller -- like beans or small beads.  You can also have your child remove the objects from left to right for reading preparation.

I like to pull out this activity box for the younger girls during school time with the oldest.  It is very simple, but they like it!


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Lids, lids, lids

My mom sometimes tells me stories about how she would put things in the trash -- and find it in my sister's closet later (she was quite small when she did this -- maybe preschool to elementary-aged!!).  It seems my sister loved to use the various pieces of trash in her creative pursuits.   I'm not sure if she still "rescues" trash in the same way she did as a kid -- but now I do!!  Since we are visiting my sister this weekend, I thought it would be fun to show off one idea for reusing trash! 

An easy item to collect for projects is lids.  I try to recycle anything I can, but I usually save lids in a container under my sink.

What can you do with lids?

--Utilize them in artwork
--Make game pieces with them
--Use them as templates for circles
--Let your child practice tracing skills with them
--Use them to hold glue or paint when doing projects

Do you have any ideas?!!


Friday, April 23, 2010

Misty Morning Drawing

A light mist is perfect for bleeding the colors of these pictures.

1)  Use washable markers to make a springtime drawing.  A heavier paper (preferably cardstock) works best for these drawings.

2)  Place pictures outside during a light rain (not for very long).  If there is no rain in sight, use a spray bottle.  Spray a very light mist over the picture.

A little piece of "Impressionistic" artwork

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rain Stick

I'm so excited!  We actually made a working rain stick!!  I've always wanted to make one, but couldn't find one I thought would be easy enough for preschoolers.  I finally did at Family Fun (can you tell I love that website?!!)  The saddest thing is that I accidentally deleted the pictures of the girls making the rain stick, so you won't get to see the process.

1)  Tape or cover one end of a long tube (wrapping paper or mailing).  Roll a long sheet of foil lengthwise.  Coil it around a broomstick handle.  Push into the tube.

2)  Pour 1/2 to 1 cup of rice into the tube.  Tape or cover the other end.  Decorate!

I had a wrapping paper tube on hand, so we used it instead of a mailing tube.  We also covered it with dots (leftover from our rainbow project) and wrapped it in contact paper for durability.

It really does sound like rain!!!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Corn Syrup Rain

I thought of a way to use the left-over triangles from the kites last week!

1)  Cut the triangle to look like an umbrella (or just use the triangle shape for your umbrella - see the green umbrella at the end).  Paste onto a piece of paper.  Have your child draw themselves under the umbrella (or cut out a photo of your child and glue it down).

2)  Mix light corn syrup with blue food coloring.  Using a craft stick, drip or dab the syrup on the paper like raindrops.  Allow to dry for several days (big blobs might not dry very well).

3)  Glue on a piece of construction paper or cardstock for a more "finished" look.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tasty Tuesday - Thunder Cake

Are any of your little ones afraid of lightning and thunder?  Share this wonderful book by Patricia Polacco with them and then make your own "Thunder Cake".

Thunder Cake

Thunder Cake is a beautifully written story about the author's childhood experience of overcoming her fear of thunderstorms.  In the beginning, her grandmother finds her hiding under the bed.  She is then led by her grandmother on a journey to gather ingredients for a special cake.  In the end, she finds she is much braver than she thought!

Let's make a cake!
The original recipe is here at Patricia Polacco's website.

1)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two round pans.  Cream together one at a time:
3/4 cup oil
4 Tbsp. butter or margarine (preferably unsalted)
(The original recipe calls for 1 cup of shortening instead of the oil and butter)
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
Blend the yolks into the mixture.  Beat the egg whites until they peak (about two minutes) and fold them in.
1 cup cold water
1/3 cup pureed tomatoes (the secret ingredient!!)
Sift together:
2 1/2 cups flour (I used all-purpose.  The original recipe calls for cake flour)
1/2 cup dry cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Combine the dry mixture with the wet mixture.  Pour into prepared pans.  Bake for 30-40 minutes.  Don't overbake!  Our cake turned out a little dry, because I got distracted!!

Frost with chocolate buttercream frosting or the ganache found here.  Top with strawberries.


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Monday, April 19, 2010

Making "Rain" -- A Science Experiment

My girls love when I say, "Let's do a science experiment!"  They think it is very exciting to do an experiment, so we made some rain!  Please be very cautious and make sure the little ones stay back from the stove.  I used the back burner.

1)  Boil a pot of water (this is an ocean).  Fill a pie plate with ice cubes (this is a cloud).

2)  Place the pie plate above the steam (evaporation).  When the steam comes in contact with the cold pie plate, droplets of water form (condensation) and fall back into the pot - kind of like rain (precipitation)!  I used this experiment to introduce these "big" words to my three year old. 

An easy explanation of the water cycle along with a printable sheet is here.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Noah's Ark

Spring's rain and thunderstorms have arrived!  Our theme this week is rain, so I thought we would start with a story about a whole lot of rain!

Noah's Ark by Peter Spier is a wordless book illustrating the Biblical story of Noah.  I read our children's Bible first and then shared this version with the girls. 

Noah's Ark (Picture Yearling Book)

When reading the story of Noah's ark with my preschoolers, I try to focus their attention on God's protection of Noah and His promise to us.  We made a rainbow to remind us of that covenant.

1)  Cut a piece of black 8.5" by 11" paper in half.  Draw four curved lines for the rainbow in pencil.

2)  Have your child stick colored dots on the lines to make a rainbow.

Finally, we made Banana Arks for a snack.

1)  Peel a banana and place on a plate or in a bowl.  Spread with peanut butter.

2)  Find matching animals to put on the ark!

Another easy snack idea is to make Pita Pocket Arks.

1)  Cut a pita pocket in half.  Have your child spread peanut butter and jelly inside the pita pocket.

2)  Match pairs of animal crackers.  Put them in the ark!

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday Scoop - Traveling

We are heading to Nashville in just a few days!!  I've been pondering what to bring along for our long car trip.  Here are a few ideas.

Magnetic letters (or numbers, animals, any kind of magnets) on a cookie sheet allow for exploration while keeping everything "stuck" and close at hand.  You could also put magnets on the back of puzzle pieces (I usually buy a long roll, so I can cut the magnets in whatever length needed).  It also doubles as a lap desk for writing and drawing (we always have paper and colored pencils with us, too!).

A bag of pipe cleaners can be twisted into all kinds of creations (Thanks for that idea, L.M.!).

A geoboard or a simple board you've pounded nails into can be used with rubber bands to make designs.

11 x 11 Pin Geoboard

Lacing cards that you've made yourself or purchased can be "sewn" while you are driving.

Melissa & Doug Lace and Trace Farm

A few of my favorite purchased items are any sticker books from Usborne.  The girls especially like the Sticker Dolly Dressing Books.  I should disclose that I am actually a consultant for Usborne Books, but I really do think they have top notch books.  I haven't been very active with it lately, but I still have a website!

Usborne also offers a leaning pallette and wrap-ups for learning basic alphabet/reading skills and math skills.  These are good for traveling as well. 

We also enjoy Highlights Hidden Pictures Sticker Fun magazines.

Highlights Hidden Pictures Sticker Fun (v. 1)

We usually take along a few big books with lots of stories in them.  Our favorite is the 20th Century Children's Book Treasury. 

The 20th-Century Children's Book Treasury: Picture Books and Stories to Read Aloud

Do you have any suggestions?!!  I would love to try some new ideas this week!


Friday, April 16, 2010

Kite Math and Snack

Go fly a kite!!! can't have a kite theme without actually flying a kite!  Take some time today or this weekend to make a memory with your little one(s)!  You can even sing to them, "Let's go fly a kite up to the highest height..."  And when you're finished, you can do this quick math and snack idea!

We had some leftover Easter candy, so I made a quick "Kite" math activity.

1)  Draw a few kites on a piece of paper.  Number the kites.  Let your child decorate them.

2)  Have your child place the corresponding number of snacks for the kite tail.

For a little more gluing practice, cut down a few triangles (leftover from Tuesday's kite).  Form the kites, glue, number, and place the corresponding snacks for the tail.

When you finish, enjoy a treat!

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