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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Got Leaves?


 It's finally looking like fall around here. And now that it looks like fall, it's 80 degrees outside. Bah. Where is my hoodie weather?! 

ANYWAY, on the way out of the library today, Kin and I noticed a tree that was so radiant and gorgeous it really looked like it was glowing. I am a sucker for a hot-orange sugar maple! We dropped our books off in the trunk and took a little leaf-collecting walk (and a couple thousand pictures ;) ) before heading home. 


We were going to do a crushed-leaf name activity today from Pocket of Preschool and I already had her name printed on cardstock (check out the link, Jackie's got a great tool for making adorable printable name cards for crafts, and bonus, it's free!) but we just couldn't bring ourselves to tear up our beautiful leaf treasure, and that's when I remembered! 


I pinned an idea awhile ago that I really wanted to try-- using a decorative paper punch to make leaf confetti

Of course...just combine the two ideas! A leaf confetti name craft! Just a sec, my hands are busy patting myself on the back...okay, I'm back :)


Kinley decided hearts and stars would make the best confetti, so we both got to work punching. She got pretty frustrated--it's kinda difficult to get the curly leaf edges into the little paper slot, but she did a few and then she got started on gluing.


She just traced the letters of her name with "squirty glue" and stuck the confetti right on top, and she even had some leftover to decorate the empty spots.



It turned out just perfectly beautiful! I think when the glue puddles are finally dry, I'm gonna laminate it so the little leaf cut-outs stay gorgeous.

Have you got any beautiful leaves out in your yard that would be great for this craft? Most of our leaves still haven't hit the ground yet but, I'm sure they will soon and hopefully I'll think of some brand-new leaf crafts for us all! Happy finally fall, y'all! :)

 




Friday, October 28, 2016

Last Minute Frankenstein

I know, I know. This is super late. Halloween is, what, 3 days away? Well, the good news is this adorable craft only takes ten minutes from start to finish! So, that pretty much means you have tons and tons of time to still get it done before the countdown to Turkey Day begins, right?! Let's do this!

I should apologize first about how dark some of these pictures are. Kinley asked for another craft long after the sun had gone down tonight and I didn't think she would take "No, the lighting isn't right for perfect craft photos" for an answer :)

I used to do this craft with the babies when I was a daycare lady. I had them paint white paper green to give them an extra step they could do themselves--telling you this because if you have another little to keep busy during craft time, this could work for both kids at once.

Okay, all of that being said--CRAFT TIME!

You are gonna need:
  • green construction paper
  • black construction paper
  • gray construction paper (optional)
  • googly eyes
  • glue stick
  • staples and stapler
  • markers or crayons

First, I folded a piece of green construction paper in half hamburger-fold and traced some straight lines from the folded edge to about an inch and a half away from the other edge for Kinley to cut. No need to be super precise. She was totally proud of the crazy awesome cutting job she did!


While she was cutting the paper, I was cutting hair for Frank. I folded the paper over and cut through both layers because I was making my own Frankenstein with her and we both needed hair. You can also cut a strip for the handle while you've got the scissors and black paper in your hands :)


Next, just run a gluestick over the top of the green paper and stick on a strip of hair.

 
 And add googly eyes, a nose, and a marker mouth--smiley or scowly, you decide!


 Almost finished now! Grown-up assistance time--just roll the lantern up and staple once at the top and once at the bottom and while you are at it, staple on the handle.


If you want you can add little bolts, or bolt eyebrows :) at this point, annnnnnd....

Done! Dude, so easy right?! I ended up hanging them both from our wall shelves and they look adorably spooky.

Kinley insists that these guys are not spooky, and as a matter of fact, they are friendly brothers who like to eat candy. So rest easy! :)

Okay, that's all for now! I'm not promising to save the rest of our Halloween for NEXT year, so check back soon just in case ;)

Happy (almost) Halloweekend! :) 



http://www.homeschoolcreations.net/category/prek-and-k-community/
 



Saturday, October 22, 2016

Let's start at the very beginning...

It's officially our first letter of the week post and I want to make it as simple and easy to follow as possible. If it seems like it's not enough to fill up a whole four days, you are right. We have a theme of the month, too, so we mix in about half of both the letter and the monthly theme every week (this month is Healthy Foods.)

Anyway, I hope you find something here that will inspire you for your own Aa Week! 

Apple Tree ABCs 

I like to plan at least a few activities that include the entire alphabet, and this week we did one that Kinley and I both had fun working on together. It's an apple tree printed with all of the uppercase letters, and you are supposed to write all of the lowercase letters on red garage sale sticker dots and match the sticker "apple" to it's spot on the tree. We didn't have any sticker dots, so I wrote the letters on circles punched from red cardstock and we gluestick-ed them in place...use what you've got, right? :) 

Here's the link to the printable apple tree from I Heart Crafty Things. 


Aa Books

We read books like it's our job. For real. The librarians know us as the ones who always have to put a few books back because we have reached our limit of 50. And we go twice a week

Kinley said it best: "Books are INCREDIBLE!" :)

Anyway--our two favorite books this week were:

There's an Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer Mayer is about a little boy who has an alligator under his bed, and as if that wasn't a big enough problem, his parents can't see it. He has to take matters into his own hands in order to get any sleep. This is a classic--you might even remember it from when you were a kid! 

The Lady with the Alligator Purse by Nadine Bernard Westcott is another old-school favorite :) You remember this one, right? Miss Lucy had a baby, his name was Tiny Tim...if that's not ringing any bells, this video should help you with the tune. 

 
Journal Prompt
 
I bought Kin a little composition notebook that we call her special journal and once a week I give her a prompt (usually something to do with one of our letter of the week books) and have her draw a picture and I fill in her words and descriptions. We read There's An Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer Mayer before this week's journal entry and her prompt was:

"If there was an alligator under my bed, I would..."

(In case you were wondering, she answered "blow pink bubbles and try to get him to follow them." :) )
  
Apple Volcano

This was far and away the most Amazing and Awesome letter Aa Activity (see what I did there? ;) ) We did this on repeat for two weeks, no joke. It's so simple and, luckily, we had a giant bag of grody mealy apples that we didn't mind wasting.

All you have to do is hollow the center out of an apple like you do when you are carving a pumpkin, put some baking soda in the hole and squirt some vinegar on top. Easy peasy! Oh, by the way, make sure you put the apple in something (we used a pie plate) before you squirt the vinegar or you will have a crazy mess on your hands! 

Kinley likes to use my measuring spoons and count out how many teaspoons of baking soda she "needed" for each try. Such a big girl! :)

 
Alligator Swamp Small World Sensory Bin

There are sensory ideas ALL over the place these days. Kinley and I have been doing sensory bins since she was old enough to sit up, so I've been looking for ways to switch it up. This week we tried a new kind of sensory bin called a Small World. I found a really great list of small world bins to coincide with all the letters of the alphabet on Still Playing School, including this one!

It's basically a bin with a bunch of different sensory objects inside. It's a set-up to pretend and have fun and I've gotta tell ya, our first go was a huge success. Kin spent hours playing with her alligator swamp. She gave all the gators names, buried them in the sand, took them swimming in the marble "water" and used hours and hours worth of awesome 3 year old imagination.

We use a big under the bed storage bin for our sensory bin, and this week I just filled half of it with clean play sand, and the other half with flat clear glass marbles and regular blue round marbles. Then, I just added some grass cut from craft foam, flat rocks from our lake vacation and a paper towel roll/more craft foam palm tree, Oh, and the gators of course!


Apple Printing 
What would Aa Week be without a good apple-printing project? Luckily we had even more of those grody mealy apples mentioned above, so we didn't even have to waste good food :)

We just printed the upper and lowercase A's from our ABC curriculum, but you could write the letters on paper or cut them out or even just open up Word and blow a letter A or two up to ginormous proportions yourself! :) 

Super easy--just slice a couple of apples, squirt some washable paint on a plate or plastic cutting board, and get to stamping! Just like our own preschool days.

    
Apparently, now that I am sitting here writing about it, we should've just called this apple week! Apples, apples and more apples. I should mention that we were also filling in with Nutrition/Healthy Foods Month activities, so apples kind of checked both boxes :)

Just in case you hadn't had enough of apple things, here's just one more

Torn Paper Apple

Such a simple craft, but one that we had a lot of fun making

All I did was cut an apple shape from cardstock (just because it holds up better than regular paper when an entire bottle of Elmer's is squirted on--you know 3 year olds!) and give Kin a sheet of red construction paper.

I showed her how to tear strips and then tear the strips into smaller pieces, and then how to squirt glue and stick the little pieces on until the whole thing is covered or until your little is over it.   

I don't know if you've ever had your kiddo try tearing paper, but it seems to be one heck of a great way to get their rage, ahem frustration, out. Kinley loved the tearing, but she also loved being in charge of the glue. Girl LOVES her some glue! She drew the little leaf on green paper and cut that out herself, too. She was so proud of this project that she dragged her daddy straight out of the car and into her schoolroom to check it out when he got home from work.  Super cute, huh? :)

 
YouTube Videos

On the first day of every new letter week, I like to show Kinley a few videos that show words that start with that letter and even better if they repeat the letter sounds a lot. Did you know the Montessori method of teaching the alphabet is to teach them the sounds first instead of the names of the letters? Pretty much everything about Montessori excites me, so I try to add in as much of it as I can here and there. 

Anyway, here are our favorites from this week:

Storybots--Hooray for A!  
Sesame Street--Letter A 
Sesame Street--A's Anatomy
ABC Mouse--Letter A Song    

Way Up High in the Apple Tree

We are crazy for feltboard stories and songs and this one is one of our favorites!

All you need to cut out of felt is 5 apples, a tree trunk and leaves for the tree. 

To start, construct the tree on the feltboard and put the apples on the leaves--Kinley likes to do this part and then sing this song:

Way up high in the apple tree,
5 little apples smiled down at me.
I shook the tree just as hard as I could!
Down came an apple (take an apple off and pretend to eat it)
MMMMM it was good!

Continue counting down the apples as you go :)


Here's a video in case you need to hear the tune.

If you need any more ideas, I keep a running hoard of Pinterest ideas for pretty much every possible theme, and Letter Aa is no different! It's right down there at the bottom if you wanna check it out :)

Alright, y'all...that's about it for Aa Week. We had a lot of fun and Kinley definitely knows her Letter A at this point :) I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions, just holler! I'd be happy to help :) 

Happy Aa Week to you!