Thursday, May 27, 2010

Picnic Basket Guessing Game

Challenge your child's sense of touch with this activity.

You will need:
Picnic Basket
Various picnic items:  juice box, spoon, fork, cup, plate, napkin, apple, etc.

1)  Show your child the items and place them in the basket.

2)  Have her close her eyes, put her hands in the basket, and pick up one item (keep the lid down if possible).

3)  Ask her to feel the object.  Ask what she has in her hand.  Have your child bring it out and check to see if she was right!

Another idea is to ask your child to find a particular item (i.e., fork) and take it out of the basket (with eyes closed, of course!)


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Drink Carrier Picnic Basket

Every picnic needs a picnic basket!  Here is an easy way to make a picnic basket for playtime.

You will need:
1 drink carrier (ours was from Sonic - a great excuse to hit Happy Hour!)
Paper bag
Sponge (or cotton ball)
1)  Cut a paper bag so it lays flat.  Mark a checkerboard pattern (so your child know where to stamp)

2)  Cut a sponge into a small rectangle and clip with a clothespin to form a stamp.  I didn't have a sponge, so I improvised with a cotton ball.  Since we weren't doing too many stamps, it held up okay.  I think a sponge would be preferable though.

3)  Stamp a "basket" pattern on the paper bag.

4)  Open up the carrier by cutting out the cardboard separators and making the sides even.

5)  Glue the paper bag onto the drink carrier. 

Picnic time!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Picnic Treat -- Ice Cream in a Can

Take the ingredients for this treat along on a picnic.  You'll have some tasty homemade ice cream within thirty minutes!

You will need:
One large coffee can (or other large round container that can be rolled)
One medium size coffee can (or two smaller containers -- I used almond cans)
Duct tape
Table salt

For each serving:
1/2 cup milk (We used whole milk.  Almond milk works, too!)
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. sugar

1)  Mix the ingredients (milk, vanilla, sugar) in small or medium can.  We put one serving in each small almond can (but I think we could've fit two).  We were able to put two small cans in the large one.  If you use a medium can, my guess is that you can fit 4-6 servings (but I'm not sure since we didn't do it that way!).

2)  Tape the lids on the containers with heavy duty tape.

3)  Put the small container(s) into the large container.  Fill with ice and 8 tsps. of salt.  Tape the lid securely.

4)  Roll the container back and forth with your child (and siblings if applicable).  It will take anywhere from 15-30 minutes depending on how many servings are in the can.  If you get tired of rolling, take turns kicking it around or shaking it.

5)  Take the small can out and shake it.  If you don't feel any liquid moving around, it should be ready!  Rinse the outside of the container to keep salt from getting in the ice cream.


Labels: ,

Monday, May 24, 2010

Masterpiece Monday: A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat

Today, I wanted to introduce Masterpiece Monday.  I thought I would intersperse these with Montessori Monday, and eventually, I hope to add a Musical Monday!

Introducing preschoolers to art is not difficult, but it does take a little planning.  A visit to the library should provide you with plenty of material.  If not, you might consider purchasing a book of masterpieces (while I am partial, I still think Usborne has some of the most beautiful books for art including The Children's Book of Art, The Usborne First Book of Art, The Usborne Art Treasury, and The Usborne Book of Art).  Obviously, you won't go into great detail, but a preschooler will enjoy looking at the artwork.  Share a few background details, then you might ask a question or two about what they see (to help focus their attention).        

Our theme for this week is picnics.  While not a picnic, per se, this work by Georges Seurat gives a serene and peaceful feeling of leisure (which reminds me of a picnic!).

You can see the work at the link below:
A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

Georges Seurat developed the technique of pointillism (which he called divisionism) in the 1880s.  Pointillism is painting dots or small brushstokes of color close together.  From a distance, the colors will blend and appear to form a new color.  Seurat worked on A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte for two years.  The painting has 3.5 million dots!
I was able to view this work a few years ago in Chicago, and it was impressive.  I had seen prints of the painting but was unaware of the painting's size.  Check out this photo from The Art Institute of Chicago to give you an idea of it's enormity!
Here is a simplified version of pointillism for preschoolers!

1)  Fill an egg carton with various colors of paint (I prefer washable!).  Give your child several Q-tips.

2)  Show your child how to make dots on the paper to form designs (or just do something abstract). 

3)  Another idea would be to give your child a coloring page or book and have them "dot" the picture.

Be careful if doing this with a two year old!  Sunshine thought it was fun to say, "Dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot" the whole time she was painting!  Then, when I was helping the other girls, she continued the "dot, dot, dots" on herself.  So, today really was an amazing mess!

abc button


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Caterpillar to Butterfly Craft

Last year around this time we had a butterfly garden.  It was such an amazing
experience for the girls to see each stage of the butterfly's life!  I think we will do it again next spring. 

In the meantime, I thought a craft that changed from a caterpillar to a butterfly would be a fun refresher!

Pom poms
Small wiggly eyes/beads
Coffee filter
Toilet paper tube
1)  Glue pom poms onto a clothespin to make a caterpillar.

2)  Glue on eyes.  I didn't have any wiggly eyes that were small enough, so we substituted beads.

3)  Use markers or watercolor paints to color a coffee filter.

At this point, we oohed and aahed over the caterpillars they created.  The girls went to bed, and I finished these steps.  I thought it would be a fun surprise, but you could have your child do each step themselves.

4)  Scrunch the coffee filter and clip with the clothespin to form butterfly wings.

5)  Place the butterfly in a toilet paper tube.  Tape and wrap a streamer around the tube to form a chrysalis.

The next day, I asked the girls where the caterpillars went.  We "found" the chrysalises and decided the caterpillars must be in them!  Later, I cut a slit in the bottom of the tube and pulled the butterfly out slightly.

The girls helped the butterflies emerge from their chrysalises!

Labels: , ,

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sipping Nectar (and our Butterfly Lunch)

Use this easy activity to help your child understand how a butterfly eats. 

You will need:
Construction paper
Small cup
1)  Cut out a flower shape from construction paper.  We used paper from our scrap box (the tissue paper was already glued on it!).  Then, bend in half and cut an X shape in the middle.

2)  Slide the flower over the cup and tape the flaps to the cup.

3)  Bend the petals around the cup.  It's a flower!  Fill the cup with juice (nectar).

4)  Give your child a straw.  Explain that most butterflies feed on nectar through a proboscis and have your child use her straw (like a proboscis) to sip nectar like a butterfly!

We had an impromptu Butterfly Lunch complete with nectar and cookie-cutter butterfly PB&J sandwiches (thanks to a suggestion from Little D -- "Mommy, wouldn't it be fun to make butterfly sandwiches?").

Labels: ,

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Potpourri Butterfly

Another butterfly idea...

1)  Print or trace a butterfly template onto cardstock paper.  Cut out.  I found mine here.

2)  Put plenty of glue on the butterfly.

3)  Cover the butterfly with potpourri.

It smells wonderful!  We're going to punch a hole, thread some string, and hang it in the car.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tasty Tuesday -- Snack Bag Butterflies

I can't remember where I saw this recently, but I think it would make a fun treat bag for a Butterfly-themed birthday party!
1)  Fill a snack bag with trail mix (using whatever ingredients you have on hand).  We used pretzels, Cheerios, M&Ms, peanuts, and raisins.

2)  Scrunch and clip the center together with a clothespin.  Draw a face.  You could also use a pipe cleaner instead of the clothespin.

You could do today's snack project, rinse out the bag, and use it for yesterday's Scrap Paper Butterfly to reuse the plastic bag.

Labels: , ,

Monday, May 17, 2010

Scrap Paper Butterfly

I have a box of scrap paper for the girls to use for art projects, and sometimes they like to use it for scissor practice. I can remember our oldest just sitting and cutting small pieces of paper for long periods of time.  It drove me crazy because the scraps would be everywhere, but it kept her occupied and she learned to control her scissors! This project uses some of those paper scraps to make a butterfly!

1)  Fill a snack or sandwich bag with scraps of cut or torn paper.  Seal the bag and fold the top down.

2)  Twist a pipe cleaner around the middle of the bag.  Form loops for the antenna.

The girls wanted them taped to the mirrors in their bedrooms.

Labels: ,

Friday, May 14, 2010

Caterpillar Cookie

We made this for a friend's birthday!  Happy birthday, Ashlee!!

1)  Make 12-18 chocolate chip cookies.  Tint a container of frosting green. Spread frosting on top of a cookie and connect it to another cookie.

2)  Form a "body" with the cookies.

3)  Break pretzel sticks in half and place four on each side for legs.

4)  Use pretzels for the antenna (or birthday candles).  Put frosting on the back of candy bits (like M&Ms) and design a face!

We decided to move it to a glass plate and add a few paper leaves!

Labels: ,

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Paper Chain Caterpillar

Make this cute caterpillar for some practice with folding paper, using scissors, and gluing!

1)  Help your child fold a piece of construction paper in half, then in half again, and then in half again.  Have them cut on the lines made from the folds.

2)  Link the strips together to form a paper chain.

3)  Cut a short length of pipe cleaner and poke up through the first link.  Glue on wiggly eyes (or draw them with a marker).  Draw a mouth.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bug Hats

The girls were needing new summer hats, so I stopped by a craft store and picked some up for just over $1.00!!  They are just a smidge big, but maybe that will protect their little ears and faces from the sun!

1)  Pick a hat.  Any type will do!  We sat our hat on a plastic storage container.  Pick your paint colors and pour in a lid or on a plate.

2)  Have your child press a finger in the paint and push it on the hat. Check for paint on other parts of the hand and clean them off if necessary (we learned this the hard way and have a few stains on the hat to show for it!).  Then add more fingerprints!  If you find the bowl cumbersome, just lay the hat down flat to work on it. Make sure to have cardboard between the layers or your paint might soak through to the back of the hat.

2)  After the paint is dry, use a permanent marker to add detail to your caterpillar (or other bug!).  Place in the dryer for 20-30 minutes to set the paint and marker.

I wanted each girl to have a different bug, so Sunshine chose ladybugs!

Princess made a butterfly!

They're ready for some sun!  Too bad we don't have any today!

Labels: ,