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Friday, December 9, 2016

Christmas Activities

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Cute and Easy Thanksgiving Snack

Check out this fun idea I found for Thanksgiving this year! I found the idea on That's What Che Said. These are great for class parties, after school snacks, or even a preThanksgiving dinner snack to tide the little ones over while they wait. 
Gobble, gobble!

Here's What You Need

  • clear food prep gloves
  • popcorn (we used bagged kettle corn)
  • rainbow fishies 
  • small googly eyes
  • construction paper
  • twist tie
Here's What You Do
  1. Fill the fingers with fishies and the rest with popcorn then twist tie the bottom.
  2. Add googly eyes on both sides
  3. Cut an elongated hexagon for the beak (see the picture above) and a red wattle.
  4. Fold the pointed parts into a beak and glue the wattle to the back.
  5. Glue the beak and wattle onto the thumb. 
Easy peasy!!

Have an amazing Thanksgiving weekend and enjoy your time with family and friends!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

C is for Caterpillar Chain

We used our math skills to create pattern loving caterpillars during letter c week. 

I provided each child with a premade caterpillar head and the kids used paper strips to give each head a body. The trick was that they had to add the chain links in a pattern. 

Some of the kids did an abab pattern. Some did an abcabc pattern. One of our kids even did an ababcdcd pattern. It was fun to see them catch on so quickly. 

If you want to make your own caterpillar chains, here's what you need:

8-10, 1 x 12 inch strips of construction paper in various colors per student
1, 2 x 12 inch strip of paper for the head per student in a different color
googly eyes
2 small strips of paper for the antennae (curl the strips around a pencil or with scissors)

Give each child a premade head and let them create a pattern for the body. It can help to have them create the pattern completely before they start adding chains to the head. Make sure to remind them that after they link the strip through the chain, they bring it up and over the other end of the paper. They often want to sandwich them together in a tear drop shape instead of a chain. 

Happy learning!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Mixing Colors

We switched schools this year and our new school has a program where parents come in and teach art. It's pretty awesome for a state where art is not normally taught in elementary schools. My kindergartner came home with this amazing project last week and I had to share it. They used colored playdough to mix colors and create a color wheel. 

It's so simple, so easy to do with a large group, and not remotely as messy as using paint. 

(Sorry for the horrible picture quality, my daughter only let me have it long enough to snap a quick pic. :) )

B is for . . .

 . . . butterflies painted with bubbles!
Check out this post to get an idea of what we did then come back and read below to get more details on paint, dish soap, and water ratio. 

I don't have exact measurements, but I'll tell you what I did. Then, you can experiment with your own ratios to see what works for you. I'm such a visual learner that I made a little picture. I used a little dixie cup for each color and did something similar to the picture below then mixed it all together.
I don't have exact measurements so try it out different ways until you get a ratio of paint, dish soap, and water that works for you.  If you have too much water your colors won't be very vibrant. If you don't have enough water, you won't be able to blow bubbles.
After you have blown the bubbles, lay your paper on top of the muffin tin, then carefully lift it off without letting any of the colors drip. If you find some of your paper didn't get color on it, blow more bubbles and lay the white parts over the bubbles.  Lay it flat and let it dry completely before moving it. Some of the paper will have thicker paint on it and but letting it dry just like that, it enhances the effect.

. . . balancing while picking up letter Bs

. . . blocks and learning numbers. Can you build a tower that high?

. . . bugs that you can eat! (Celery, peanut butter, and different types of pretzels)

Just taking my caterpillar on a walk

Monday, October 17, 2016

A is for Apple

I love showing our awesome parents what we do each week and sharing with them the learning that went behind the projects that the kids take home. Most of these projects have more detailed posts that I have done before so I am posting a link for each one. Please take a minute to click on the links (the title of each activity) to see what we did and how we did it during letter A week.

Counting the dice pips so she knows how many apples to pick.

Practicing fine motor skills.
Use tongs to pick up apples and drop them in the can.
 Apple Seed Counting (Free Printable)
Practicing number identifying, writing the number, and adding the right amount of seeds to each apple.

Taste testing different types of apples.

Identifying numbers and picking apples
We rolled a 12 sided dice, said the number, and picked that apple


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Frugal Fun - Tip of the Month

 As the weather is turning colder and more wintry, Saturdays can sometimes rough to know what to do with your kids. It isn't as easy to say, "Go play outside!" 

One thing that my kids and I love to do is the free kids workshops at our local hardware stores. We have tried them at Home Depot and Lowes. They are usually offered once a month on the same Saturday each month. They often relate to upcoming holidays. I don't know if they do the same one nation wide, but you should check it out!
Workshop image
November's project at Home Depot is this Veteran's day helicopter.

Each workshop provides your child with an apron, a wooden project, a pin for that project and a space to work. Each project is usually assembled with nails, glue, and a hammer and even the littlest toddler can complete it with help from mom and dad. They sometimes provide paint or specialized stickers to decorate your project. 

Lowes requires that you preregister and from our experience, Home Depot is on a walk in basis.

I don't know about your house, but my kids are almost never allowed to use a hammer at home so these workshops are a big deal for them because they really get into that DIY spirit. 

So go check out if your local store offers this fun opportunity. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Shape Zoo

Image result for color zoo
Last week we read the book Color Zoo by Lois Ehlert. 

We used this mentor text to learn about shapes and how we can use shapes to make different pictures. Before the class, I asked the kids what their favorite animal was. I printed a picture of each of those animals and worked with the kids one on one to talk about what shapes might be used to make that animal. I had a variety of shapes precut in different sizes to help the kids talk more easily about what shapes might be used. We looked at ears, noses, and eyes to talk about what shape might be used. The kids did an amazing job. Here's what they came up with. 


 Shapes are some of the first math concepts that young kids learn and they tend to love them. We always take some time at the beginning of the year to review shapes and practice working with them. I know I have said it before, but this year's class is amazing! We have already started talking about octagons and pentagons because they are just so darn awesome. Here are some of the fun things we did working on shapes the last few weeks. 

Pipe cleaners and straws were a favorite center for our shape learning kids. The great thing about this center is that it lends itself to 3-d shapes as well. Brandon and Jaxon are working on making squares. You can see a cube that Connor and I made in the background. In the foreground you can see a heptagon (7 sided shape) that Valerie made. Lucy made a pentagon and made the connection that it looks like a house. Pretty cool shape learning going on there. To check out how we did this center, click here for more detailed instructions. 

You all know that I can't sing enough praises about pattern blocks. They are so amazing for teaching different subjects like fractions, angles/geometry, colors, and of course shapes! Today we worked on matching and fine motor skills by building premade pattern block pictures. As you can see the kids were really engaged and also really proud of themselves when they finished. It may not seem like a big deal, but when you are still working on how to control your hands and fingers to do hard things, putting those blocks in just the right place without disturbing the rest of your picture can be a hard thing. Do you know what else is a hard thing for them?  Turning the block in just the right way as you put it in just the right place. It's a good thing that these kids can do hard things! We found our pictures a long time ago and I don't have the link, but if you google "printable pattern block pictures," lots of great ideas come up.

 Learning numbers and shapes? Yes, please. We played this game where the kids worked on counting the dots on a side of a die and matching it to the shape for that number, then coloring that shape on their robot. As you can see, we didn't finish during class, but I gave kids the option of taking it home for "homework" and they all brought it back.

I know that all of you have these shape block toys at home. Ours is a little more advanced because it has shape holes on 5 sides so you have to turn the cube to match the shape. These are a great way to talk about shapes! The kids learned fun words like trapezoid and rhombus while working on their matching skills. I know these toys often gather dust in a closet, but pull yours out and open a dialogue about shapes with your young ones. They will have a lot of fun.