Friday, September 30, 2011

Preschool Basics: Alphabet Game Board from a Shower Curtain

Recycle an old shower curtain into an alphabet game board!

  • Shower curtain
  • Permanent marker
  • Bean bag
1)  Draw a grid on a shower curtain with permanent marker.  Then, add a letter in each section of the grid.

To Play:
Toss a bean bag on the game board.  Ask your child to name the letter it lands on.  You can change the game by asking your child to name the sound of the letter or ask them to name a word that begins with the letter.

You can find an easy way to make a bean bag here.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Five Minute Activity: Active Skip Counting

Sometimes, the best way to learn is kinesthetically! A quick activity we often do in the middle of our school day is to count by fives and tens (and sometimes twos).

Hold open one hand, push it out, and say "Five".  Push out the other hand and say "Ten".  Continue alternating hands until you reach 100!

Count 10, 20, 30, 40, etc. and jump as high as possible on each number.

Hop like a bunny (and add "two" ears) as you count by twos to twenty.

Alternate and hop on each foot as you count by ones to 20, 50, or 100.

Feel free to share your active learning ideas!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Scotch Thermal Laminator for $17.99 (Today ONLY)

Head over to Amazon and pick up this Scotch Thermal Laminator for just $17.99! It's only available at this price for today (as part of the "Deal of the Day").  I have this one -- and use it all the time for school projects, crafts, etc.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Pinterest: Fall Activities for Kids

It's the first day of fall!  I've put together a few of my favorite activities for little kids over at Pinterest on a board called "Fall Activities for Kids".  

Feel free to share your favorites with me!  I've only just begun...there are so many fun ideas out there!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Preschool Basics: Yarn (& Sand Paper) Letter Practice

I saw a version of this idea last month in FamilyFun magazine, but I decided to adapt it to give the girls an opportunity to practice forming letters!

  • Sand paper
  • Yarn
  • Scissors

1)  Cut several pieces of yarn in various lengths.  I cut four longer pieces and two short pieces.  Then, I just cut a few random sizes!

2)  Ask your child to make various letters on the sand paper.

You could also use this to review numbers or shapes or just give your child a bag of yarn scraps and let her create whatever she wants!  I'm thinking this would make an excellent Learning Bag...and you could also take it with you to a restaurant, appointment, etc.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Learning Bag: Apple Tree Number Game

It seems like all the activities I've wanted to do with the girls have been focused on apples lately, and I thought this would make a simple learning activity.  You can store it easily in a plastic bag.

  • White paper
  • Green paper
  • Brown paper or bag
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Marker
  • Notecards
  • Red pom-poms


1)  Cut a sheet of white construction paper in half.  Make a tree (we used green paper for the top and a paper bag for the trunk).  Glue it to the white paper.

2)  Write numbers from 1-10 on notecards.  On the back of the notecards, draw corresponding dots for each number.


We play this as a game.  One person draws a card and puts the number of "apples" (pom-poms) on the tree.  The other person turns the notecard over and places each pom-pom from the tree on a dot to check for accuracy.

You can also use this as a single person activity -- just have your child put the number of apples on the tree, and then he can check his own work by putting the pom-poms on the dots!

Labels: ,

Monday, September 19, 2011

EXPIRED: Get Up to 10 eBooks for FREE from Scholastic

I wanted to make sure you knew about this deal (it ends tomorrow, I think). You can get $10 worth of eBooks from Scholastic Teacher Express for free when you use coupon code 10THANKS.

Currently they have quite a few $1 downloads, so this is the perfect opportunity to get 10 eBooks for FREE!!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Preschool Basics: Trash Can Alphabet Review

Who says you need boring old flashcard drills to learn your ABCs?!!  (You know it's definitely not me!!) 

Scraps of paper
Trash can
1)  Use scraps of paper and write the letters of the alphabet your child is working on.  You can include capital, lowercase, or both.

 2)  Ask your child to find a particular letter (i.e., capital B).

 3)  After they find it, have them wad it into a ball and shoot it into the trash can!

4)  Take the pieces out of the trash, smooth them out, and play again!

You can easily adapt this game to practice numbers, spelling words, sight words, math facts, etc.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Servant Heart: Serving Each Other at Home

One of the ways I try to encourage a heart for service in my girls is by encouraging them to serve each other at home!  It doesn't have to be hard, but you do have to be intentional.  

Here are a few things we do:
  • Talk about what it means to serve someone and brainstorm ideas for serving each other.
  • Help each child pick one way they can serve a sibling or parent every day.  For instance, we will often put away someone's laundry without them knowing or work together to pick up someone's messy room.  I always verbally draw attention to the fact that we are serving each other.
  • Share stories of ways you've served others in the past (or how you're serving others now).  Share stories about how your child/children have served.
  • Read stories from the Bible and talk about ways the people served each other.
What are some ways you encourage your children to serve one another in love?

(Also, I'm working on a list of ideas of ways families can serve each other, the church, and the community.  If you have any ideas, please let me know!!)


Monday, September 12, 2011

Clay Pots: Outdoor Discovery for Musical Monday

Do you have any old clay pots around?  Use them to make a fun, outdoor musical instrument!

Office rings or paper clips
Yarn or twine
Various sizes of clay pots
Spoons, sticks, etc.

1)  Tie a metal office ring with a 1.5-2 foot piece of yarn or twine (if you're going to leave these up for a while, I would recommend twine or rope).  Thread it through the hole in the bottom of a clay pot.  The pot will be upside down and the ring will be inside it.  

If you don't have office rings, you can manipulate a paper clip to form a circle.  I used paper clips on two of mine.  We actually think those two make the best sounds when struck.  Hmm...

2)  Tie the pots to a rod of some sort.  We used the swing set bar!  You can also do this inside using a pocket chart stand, hanging stand, or something like that.  Explore the sounds by using various objects to hit the pots (spoons, pens, sticks, etc.).


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Giveaway: (2) 2-Year Zoobooks or Zootles Subscriptions ($60 Retail Value)

I've decided to do a quick giveaway!  You can sign-up below to win either a two-year subscription to Zoobooks or Zootles. If you're the winner, you can choose which one you'd like to receive.  I'll be giving away two subscriptions!

To enter, simply type your name and email in the form below. You can earn EXTRA entries by doing the following:

*Share this giveaway on Facebook (just push the little share button at the bottom of the post).

*Retweet the giveaway on Twitter.

*Sign up via RSS or E-mail Subscription (or let me know you already follow that way).

*Become a Facebook or Twitter Fan (or let me know you already follow that way).

This giveaway will end Friday, September 9th at 11:59 PM (CST), so get your name entered quickly! Once I've sent out the email to the winner, you will have 48 hours to claim the subscription!

Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by me! :)

If you're viewing this via email, please go here to sign-up.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Book Basket: Four Favorite Read Alouds for Boys

I have had readers and friends ask specifically about good books for little boys, so I'm super-excited to bring you this guest post by my friend Terri.  Now, these books aren't *just* for boys, but they come recommended by a teacher, former librarian, and mom of two boys!

Guest Post by Terri:

I almost hesitate to say that these books are for boys, really.  I’m sure girls would love them, too; I just don’t have any girls around here to try them out on!  These are just a few books my four-year-old son really gets a kick out of right now:

Robot Zot!

1)  Robot Zot by Jon Scieszka

We love so many of Jon Scieszka's books, but this is the latest one to make it into our library bag.  David Shannon contributes fabulous illustrations to this tale of adventure and excitement starring Robot Zot.  We both can’t help but giggle as Robot Zot conquers such harrowing foes as a toaster and a vacuum cleaner hose.  Will Robot Zot save the queen from the commander general?  Will “Robot Zot conquer all”? 

Dirt Boy

2)  Dirt Boy by Erik Jon Slangerup

Boys and dirt just go together; just ask my washing machine.  Dirt Boy is the story of Fister Farnello, a boy who loves dirt so much that he goes to great lengths to avoid a bath.  He meets up with one very grungy giant and a whole lot of filth along his way back home.

Dragon Stew

3)  Dragon Stew by Steven Smallman

This author was new to me but I will be looking for more of his books.  The rhyming text is fun to read aloud, and the story has plenty of humor just right for little boys.  (Be warned that there is a “steaming pile of dragon poo” lurking near the end.)  Bumbling Vikings and tea-sipping dragons are a winning combination.

Parts (Picture Puffins)

4)  Parts by Tedd Arnold

Parts is the clever tail of a little boy who is convinced he is falling to pieces.  Arnold’s silly illustrations highlight the horrors of belly button lint and peeling skin.  Of course, Goober’s favorite part is when “a little piece of brain” falls right out of the poor little boy’s nose.  Great fun for all!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Masterpiece Monday: Claude Monet

This month's artist for Masterpiece Monday (happening on Tuesday because of Labor Day yesterday!!) is Claude Monet.  Throughout the month, we'll be reading books about Claude Monet and "analyzing" his artwork.

For my oldest daughter's birthday, we gave her several of the Anholt's Artists Books for Children(I highly recommend this series of books.  They narrate a story from the artist's life, and it's much more interesting than some of the art books I've found.  The girls actually beg to have these books read to them!)

Today, we read the book The Magical Garden of Claude Monet before we pulled out the paints.  We also found several of his paintings in some of our Usborne art books, too.

After reading the book, I didn't give any specific guidelines for the girls other than asking them if they'd like to create like the artist.  I put out watercolors, brushes, water, paper, and a few books with his paintings in them. 

(My middle daughter became frustrated because she couldn't draw a bridge,
so she decided to cut out a bridge instead.)

I just love seeing what they create!


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Saturday Savings: FREE Sesame Street and Veggie Tales 5-Song Downloads

You can download a FREE Sesame Street: Amazon Sampler with five songs:
  • Wheels on the Bus
  • Ladybug's Picnic
  • Let's Go Tubbin'
  • Oh, Look What Our Baby Can Do
  • What's the Name of the Song
There is also a FREE Veggie Tales:  Five Super Silly Songs download.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Preschool Basics: Names, Names, Names (Ideas from Pinterest)

I've decided to make boards on Pinterest for each of our Preschool Basic ideas!  Since this month was working on names, you can check out some of my ideas -- and some ideas I've found over here

If you'd rather, you can see all of our Amazing Mess activities here.