Friday, July 29, 2011

Transportation: Painting with Cars

We finish up our transportation theme with a classic activity - car painting!!  It's so interesting to see how differently each child approaches it!

Guest Post by Terri:

As I mentioned before, my son Goober isn’t exactly the artsy-craftsy type.  I really wasn’t sure how he would react when I mentioned the idea of painting with cars...but I should have known.  They are cars, after all.  He immediately went to work selecting cars and sorting them into categories (big tires, smooth tires, bumpy tires, etc). 

We put tempera paint onto small plates and he got right to work.  For the next 30 minutes (the longest he’s ever spent on a craft), there was lots of this:

And this:

Which resulted in this:

He had such a blast.  I had a great time watching him, too.  And FYI for the moms...wet tempera paint washes right off of matchbox cars.

Bubby got in on the action as well: 

OK, not really...but he’s cute! 

Thanks again, Terri, for all of your help -- it's been a great blessing!

*Next week, I'll be focusing on organization (several of you have asked to see our *school room*).  Then, I've been doing some thinking (uh-oh!), and I have a few changes in store for this blog.  More to come...


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Planes, Trains, Automobiles (and Boats): Float Your Boat

Here's another super-easy idea for our transportation theme!


1)  Give your child a piece of foil (or two or three).  Have them construct a boat from the foil.

2)  Test out the boats to see if they float!

The girls added the blocks as "people"!

Extension Activity:  Place coins on the boat and see how many it takes to sink it.  Experiment with different designs to see if one can hold more coins than another.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Guest Post: Our Favorite "Transportation" Books for Preschoolers

Once again, I'm so excited to bring you a post from my friend, Terri!  She has compiled a wonderful list of "transportation" books.  Be thankful, because if I wrote about transportation'd probably get something with a pink car!  :)

(At least we do have one of these books!)

Guest Post from Terri:

As I mentioned in my first post, my four-year-old son’s favorite thing in the world is anything with wheels: cars, trucks, trains, etc.  His next great love is books.  When those two come together, I have one excited little boy.  Here are a few of our favorite books about things that go.

 Truckery Rhymes (Jon Scieszka's Trucktown)

Trucks:  Truckery Rhymes by Jon Scieszka

We have enjoyed all of Jon Scieszka’s “Trucktown” books, but this is the best of the bunch!  Scieszka adapts classic songs and nursery rhymes to feature the Trucktown gang, and the result is fun and giggles for everyone. 

If I Built a Car

Cars: If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen

This imaginative book has amazing illustrations and rhyming text that make it a natural read-aloud.  If little boys could design cars, they would certainly be like the one in this book. 

I Stink!

Garbage Trucks:  I Stink by Kate and Jim McMullen

Boys (and girls) will love the expressive vocabulary and cheeky attitude of this book’s garbage truck narrator.  The truck even gobbles up a garbage alphabet for some educational grossness.  This one is requested again and again.

Pete & Pillar: The Big Rain

Big Machines:  Pete and Pillar and the Big Rain by Jeffery Stoddard

My son loves this book because it’s about a truck and bulldozer.  I love it because it’s a really great story about true friendship, based on John 15:13.  We are both happy to pull this one off the shelf. 

The Little Engine That Could

Trains:  The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper and Loren Long

We have many books about trains, but this re-illustrated classic is one of the best.  Watty Piper’s original text is paired with bright and engaging illustrations by Loren Long to create a book that is nostalgic for me and enjoyable for my son.

We are always looking for new great books about cars and trucks and trains.  What are some of your favorites?


Friday, July 22, 2011

Gabby Moms Review: Godly Womanhood: The 5 R's for Homeschool Moms

As part of the Gabby Moms program, I have the opportunity to review products every month.  Lately, I've been feeling slightly overwhelmed with all of the things I need to get done in blogging and *real* life, so I decided I shouldn't be part of the program anymore.

Well...let's just say, God started convicting me that I needed to finish my commitment -- and do what I said I would do.

So, I downloaded the Godly Womandhood:  5Rs for Homeschool Moms pack to review.  And I'm glad I did!  The bundle includes 5 MP3 messages -- and also PDF printables to accompany each lesson.

The first session was entitled Refresh! 

What a very humbling and timely message!  It was all about taking time to learn God's Word, pray, and just spend time with God.  In our *instant* culture, where we want everything quickly, it's not always easy to keep our priorities straight.  As moms with little ones, it is often a challenge (at least for me) to spend time a lot of time with God -- but really it is a matter of giving God the firstfruits of our time!

Although convicting, it was also encouraging.  There were ideas for Bible Study, memorization, and prayer. 

The 2nd lesson was entitled Rekindle!

The author, Lorrie Flem, moved from our relationship with God to our relationship with our husband.  Some of the topics of the message and book are romance, intimacy, setting the mood, and taking time (with a special acronym) for each other.

I feel like this is a pretty strong area of my life right now, but I was able to glean a few new ideas!  Good marriages take a lot of work, so I try to do everything I can to learn and grow!

You can find the 5Rs Bundle over at Eternal Encouragement.

By the way, the Gabby Moms program is currently accepting applications, so if you have a blog and you're interested, you can find out more here.

*Disclosure:  I did receive the 5Rs Bundle for review, but all opinions and thoughts are my own!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Planes, Trains, Automobiles (and Boats): Twinkle, Twinkle, Traffic Light

This is a song we learned several years ago at a rec. class (Thanks, JoAnn).  For some reason, it stuck with us...and it's perfect for our transporation theme!

(If you're viewing this via email subscription, you can find the video here!)

Twinkle, Twinkle, Traffic Light
(Sung to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star)

Twinkle, twinkle, traffic light
Standing on the corner bright.
Green means go -- we all know.
Yellow means wait -- even if you're late.
Red means STOP!

Twinkle, twinkle, traffic light,
Standing on the corner bright.

The song is also the perfect opportunity to practice a few basic signs - like stop and go!


Monday, July 18, 2011

Transportation: Learning Numbers with the Parking Space Game

Here is another great idea from my friend, Terri!

When Goober was about three years old, a friend of mine tried to include him in a game of War with her girls.  He wasn’t able to play and was very frustrated.  That’s when I realized that while he could count far past ten, he really wasn’t able to recognize all of the numerals.  I also knew he could use some additional practice with matching the numerals to the corresponding number of objects.  Thus, the parking space game was born.

I knew Goober would be on board if I pulled out his cars, so I decided to create cards with the numeral, the number word, and the corresponding number of parking spaces.  I used heavy white card stock and they have held up well. 

Goober was excited to gather a bunch of cars together and fill up all the parking spaces.  He very patiently counted every single car as he parked it, and we discussed the numeral and word for each card. 

Lo and behold after playing the game just a few times, he was able to identify all of the numerals.  Looking at the cards now that he is older, I realize that I could pull them out and use them to work on his understanding of odd and even numbers.  We could try to count all the cars together or use two cards as addends for some addition practice. I could also cover the numerals so that he could practice reading the number words instead. 

Again, cars prove to be the key to all kinds of amazing learning!

(You can also check out Terri's post on utilizing cars to teach math!)


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Planes, Trains, Automobiles (and Boats): Car Ramp Experiment

Honestly, we don't build too many ramps around here, but this was a great little experiment!

Boards of varying lengths (or stiff cardboard)
Laundry basket or other surface

1)  Make ramps for cars with boards of varying lengths!  Experiment!

The laundry basket worked perfectly for this project!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (& Boats): Lego Train Game

This is such a ridiculously easy game that I hesitated to share it -- but the girls loved it!

Legos or Duplos

1)  Roll the die. 

2)  Add "cars" to the train equal to the number rolled.

3)  Play however many rounds you'd like!  The winner of our game was awarded the "engine"!!


Monday, July 11, 2011

Planes, Trains, Automobiles (& Boats): Using Cars to Teach Math

Today, I'm so excited to share a guest post with you from my friend, Terri!  One day, I mentioned to her that I thought she should write a blog (she's a teacher, mom, excellent cook, and has tons of great ideas)!  She wasn't quite sure she was ready to do that though, so I asked her if she would be willing to share here.  Our current transportation theme is right up her alley...

I love to read The Amazing Mess and to see what Stacie is up to with her girls. She is inspiring! I have a drawer dedicated to craft supplies, where everything from scissors and glue to paints and ribbons are available at all times. I have books and links and files...and my son couldn't really care less.

Yes, I have boys.

As a girl myself, I’ve had to adjust my expectations about how I will teach and learn with my four-year-old son. As he has grown, I’ve realized that to capture his attention I need to start with what *he* loves, not with what I think is fun. And he He would be one happy boy if I would sit on the floor with him and just play cars.

I was doing just that recently when I decided to start making a line of cars that were all the same color. That caught Goober’s attention right away. We spent the next twenty minutes in deep discussion about whether that car was green or blue and what to do with the cars that were more than one color. As we worked he noticed other attributes of the cars: this one has the engine showing and that one has stripes.

When the cars we all sorted, I asked him questions about the size of the groups. Which color had the most cars? The fewest? Are there more blue cars or orange cars? I encouraged him to estimate and then we counted to check. This was wonderful practice in counting past twenty and comparing groups of more than ten.

He wasn’t thinking about math, though, he just wanted to know about his cars!

Next we decided to sort by type of vehicle. We made a group of cars, one of trucks, and one of big machines.

Again a good discussion followed. There was a problem, though. There were far too many cars to count one-by-one. This gave me the opportunity to introduce grouping and counting by tens. (Yes, we have a lot of cars!)

As we cleaned up the mess, I realized that cars could lend themselves to teaching graphing, probability, multiplication...the list goes on. If I use cars, he’ll never realize we’re “learning”.

Next week, Terri will share how she used cars to teach Goober the numerals from one to ten when he had just turned three!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Saturday Savings: FREE Unit Study Planner + FREE Printables and Lapbooks from Heart of Wisdom

Heart of Wisdom is offering a FREE Homeschool Unit Study Planner.  She also has tons of other free printables -- including lapbooks!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Planes, Trains, Automobiles (and Boats): Sidewalk Chalk City

I just had to show you.....

We do have a car rug!!!

If you don't have one of these, you can easily make your own sidewalk chalk city outside!  (Thanks to Fumbling Through Parenthood for the idea!)

Sidewalk Chalk

1)  On a walkway, patio, or driveway, use sidewalk chalk to make a town! 

2)  Start with roads.  Add whatever else you desire!

3)  Play!

I wasn't sure how much the girls would enjoy this...but the two older ones really got into it!  We added houses, flower gardens, a grocery store (and parking lot), a swimming pool, and tall buildings!


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Planes, Trains, Automobiles (and Boats): Simple Sort

I know that I often skew towards the girly side of things...but this month, we're focusing in on transportation!  Planes, trains, automobiles, and boats are on the schedule.

Believe it or not, we do actually have a car rug AND a few cars (although one of those happens to be pink)!!

Today's idea is a simple sorting activity to get us started!

White, green, and blue construction paper
Cars, planes, trains, etc.

1)  Round up all your planes, trains, boats, cars, etc.  Place them in a pile.  (We used a puzzle, because we don't have many of these toys.)

 2)  Sort the items by land (green paper), sea (blue paper), and air (white paper).

I'm guessing you have more of these types of toys than we do...  :)


Monday, July 4, 2011

Have a wonderful 4th!

Happy 4th of July to you!! 

Hope you have a wonderful day celebrating, relaxing with friends and family, and covering your little one's ears when those fireworks go off (at least that's what I'll be doing)!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Saturday Savings: Learn Your Letters...and Learn to Serve Preschool Curriculum for $10 Off

Laura at Heavenly Homemakers is currently offering her "Learn Your Letters...and Learn to Serve" preschool curriculum" for $10 off the DOWNLOADABLE set with the code SAVE10KIT. You can get the Printed Version (240 colored pages + shipping) for $10 off with the code SAVE10BOOK.

The curriculum includes: Learn Your Letters, Learn to Serve Book of ideas, instructions, recipes, tutorials and service planners - Alphabet Practice Packet - Alphabet Project Packet - Memory Verse Packet - Parent Planning Packet. Laura also blogs about menu planning, recipes, gardening, and more! I LOVE her idea of a service project for your family every week!

This sale ends Thursday, July 7th.