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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here are a few easy things that we did at our Thanksgiving party. 

We wrote 4 things we're thankful for and made our own hand print turkeys. You can't see it very well, but I wrote the 4 things that the kids were thankful for next to each "feather" on the turkey. 

We  made turkey snacks using apples, marshmallows, and candy. It works really well to cut the apple in half and cut out the seeds before you start. The first day we did it, I gave each student their own apple and there was a lot that was wasted. So the second day, I gave each child half an apple and it was much better. 

Here's What You Need:
  • apple
  • circus peanut candy
  • colored marshmallows
  • toothpicks
  • twizzler nibbles
  • yellow frosting
Here's What You Do:
  1. Pipe eyes and a beak on the circus peanut. Cut a twizzler nibble to the shape of the snood. 
  2. Use frosting to attach snood next to the beak.
  3. Put marshmallows on the toothpicks and stick them into the apple in a feather type pattern.
  4. Use frosting to attach the body to the front of the apple.

Popsicle Stick Puzzles

We made some Popsicle stick puzzles today for Thanksgiving. These could be used for any holiday or occasion or letter, they are really versatile. You just change the picture to fit your needs.

They are a lot of fun and it was a good combination of fun and challenge for the kids. They got to make their own puzzle to take home and play with over the break. Want to make your own?

Here's What You Need
  • Jumbo popsicle sticks
  • masking tape
  • picture cut to size
  • permanent glue tape (this was a little bit of a splurge, but it saved so much time and was a lot easier than modge podging the picture to the sticks individually, which is another way to affix them.)
  • Exacto knife
Here's What You Do:
  1. Size your picture so it is a little less wide than the popsicle sticks. Then measure how many popsicle sticks you need to cover the up and down length. 
  2. Tape together the sticks needed to back the picture.
  3. Flip the sticks over and attach the picture by doing two strips of the glue tape like what you did with the masking tape then put your picture on top and press it down.
  4. Have the kids color the picture. The more color they use, the better. If they color the whole picture one color, it makes it harder to put together. I encouraged the kids to color every feather and part of the picture a different color. 
  5. Flip the picture over again and put a couple of layers of cardboard underneath it. Use an exacto knife to cut between the popsicle sticks and through the paper.
  6. Give the pieces back to the kids and let them put the puzzle together! 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Planet Mobiles & Magic Painting

One of the questions that both classes asked on our KWL chart was "What planets are there?" To study it a little more we made these simple planet mobiles. 

They aren't traditional planet mobiles. It isn't completely scientifically accurate, but I have my reasons for doing it this way- Preschoolers don't really have a concept of really long distances and I wasn't interested in comparing the planets' distance from the sun, I wanted to compare the size of the planets and count with the kids how many there were all together. So, this is definitely a preschool planet mobile because it is linear instead of 3-D. 

Anyway, we used this to discuss the different planets, the size of the planets, we compared their sizes and counted the planets. We also discussed how earth is the 3rd planet.  

Before we attached the planets, the kids made magic painting. As they painted, suns and moons and stars magically appeared on their paper. If you ever choose to do magic painting with your kids be prepared to hear words like, "Whoa!" and "It's magical!" and "Zowie wowie!" I kid you not, these are some of the things that the kids said while they were painting. 

To make your own magic painting, draw a picture on a white paper using a white crayon and then paint the paper using water colors.

Here's What You Need:
  • a long strip of white card stock paper with magic painting on it (see above instructions). I just cut 3 inch strips on the card stock and stapled two together.
  • water color paints
  • black pipe cleaners
  • tape
  • pictures of the planets - I used these three links which I found on first-school.ws but it's kind of complicated to get to so I hope these links work for a while. : )
 Here's What You Do:
  1. Paint your magic painting strip with water colors and let dry.
  2. Cut out the planets.
  3. Tape planets to 1/4 of a black pipe cleaner and then to the painted strip of paper. 

S is for Star

To start our study on outer space, we learned how to draw stars. I made five points on a black paper and labeled them a through e.

Before the kids connected the dots, I showed them how to draw a star  a bunch of times. We practiced saying which direction our hand should move with each line we made. Then, the kids each choose a chalk color to draw their own star with and they connected the dots and colored in their own star.

We sang Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and I taught the kids the star wishing rhyme: 

Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight.
I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.

We also made shooting stars that turned out to be a big hit with the kids. 

I was surprised at how much the kids loved them because they were so simple to make.

Here's What You Need:
  • Sticky backed glitter foam paper (I found it in packs at Walmart)
  • Dowels
  • Gold ribbon
Here's What You Do:
  1. Cut out two stars from the foam paper. My stars were 3.5 inches in diameter. (I ended up cutting the stars out for the kids because it was a challenge for my kids to cut it out by themselves.)
  2. Cut 3 lengths of gold ribbon. Mine were 6 inches. 
  3. Put the 3 ribbons on one side of the sticky foam. Put the dowel in the middle.
  4. Sandwich the other star on top of the ribbon and dowel.

Shooting Space Ships

Coolest activity ever! We made space ships that actually shoot up into the air using plastic cups and rubber bands. 
5, 4, 3, 2, 1 . . .
Blast off!

Miranda was so patient with me because it took a lot of tries before I got a shot of her rocket in the air. So sorry for the funny faces, but as we say at our house, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit." 

I sincerely, recommend you try this activity because it is so much fun. When I made them and tried them out the night before, I had fun playing with them too. : )
Here's the rocket outline I made for this activity. Feel free to use it if you want.

Here's What You Need:
  • two plastic cups (they have to be the same size)
  • two rubber bands (thin rubber bands don't work as well unless you use a drill)
  • tape
  • scissors or a drill (if you have one)
  • rocket outlines
  • crayons
Here's What You Do:
  1. In one of the cups, cut 4 equally spaced slits on the top of the cup about a 1/2 inch long. Put a piece of tape at the top of the slit to prevent it from getting bigger. OR if you have a drill - Drill 4 small holes  equally spaced apart around the cup. This works much better because then the rubber bands don't slip out of the bottom.
  2. Cut one of the rubber bands and slip it into two opposite slits. Tie a knot on each end. (It should be fairly tight.) Repeat with the other rubber band. (You can see what it looks like in the picture above of the rocket flying.)
  3. Print out the rocket outlines. Color and cut out. 
  4. Tape rocket outlines to the rubber band cup. Pull the rocket cup down over the other cup and let fly!
I got the idea from familyfun.go.com.

S is for . . .

. . . silly scissors!
Here's Trevor making a silly face while using our silly scissors.

. . . snow! I was so excited to find a snow machine that was in perfect condition at a garage sale this year. I wanted to do this last year, but couldn't. We read the book Clementine's Wardrobe by Kate Spohn

and talked about what kinds of clothes we wear in the snow.

Then we read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

and made our own snow.

. . . skipping. We read the book Ready, Set, Skip by Jane O'Connor

about a little girl who can do lots of things, but she just can't skip. Then we learned how to skip using a step, hop pattern.