Thursday, December 17, 2009
I am due for a baby in a couple of months and I know there won't be time to plan activities for my two year old for a while, so I am doing it now. I have made my plans with songs and activities and prepared the materials for them for March and April. I have the rest of the year sketched out and you will see those activities appear over the next couple of months. When we do the activities, I will post pictures so you can see the results.
I am going to try to write about several Easter activities in one post. Many of these ideas were taken from 123child.com. All of these activities are a great way to develop language in your child, and many of them will help develop creativity, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, and critical thinking skills.
1. Sponge Painting with Easter shapes. You can buy or cut out Easter shapes for your child to paint with. Fine motor, language and creativity
2. Sandpaper rubbings - cut Easter shapes out of sandpaper and have the child put another paper over them and color them. Fine motor - also science related because the child will see what happens when you color on different kinds of paper, language
3. Cottonball Easter bunny. I cut out a bunny shape and I will have my son glue cottonballs on to it. Fine motor skills, language
4. Painting on Easter egg shapes. I cut out large Easter eggs and I will have my son paint on them. I am also going to cut out an Easter egg large enough for the wall so he can color it with crayons at will. Fine motor, language, creativity
5. Bunny Hop: I cut out several large Easter egg shapes. I am going to cover them with clear plastic laminate and my son will be able to jump from one to another. We can talk about colors as we do this: "Jump to the green one." gross motor, language
6. Size sorting. I cut out different sizes of bunnies and different sizes of Easter eggs so he can sort them according to size. I also cut out two of each Easter egg for him to match up. Critical thinking, language
7. One little, two little, three little Easter eggs. Four little, five little, six little Easter eggs. Seven little, Eight little, Nine little Easter eggs. Ten little eggs in my basket. I cut out small eggs - enough to match up with each number. I wrote out the song on construction paper and taped the appropriate number of eggs under each part of the song. Language
Other fun activities:
Shaving cream painting with pink or yellow shaving cream.
Shaving cream painting with pink or yellow shaving cream.
Put plastic bunnies and eggs in the water table or bathtub.
Put yellow or pink food coloring in the water table.
Set up a farm with animals and tractors so they can act things out.
Owen's Marshmallow Chick
Five Little Chicks
The Easter Bunny that Overslept
The Easter Egg Farm
The Night Before Easter
A Colorful Easter
I Need an Easter Egg
Just and Easter Egg
It's Not Easy Being a Bunny
The Runaway Bunny
If You Were My Bunny
Rosie Rabbit Goes to Preschool
My Friend Rabbit
The Velveteen Rabbit
Little Rabbit Goes to School
The Rabbit Who Didn't Want to Go to Sleep
Informational books about bunnies, chicks, eggs, etc.
I have to look into these books a little more to see what ages they are appropriate for.
Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato
by: Tomie dePaola
Jeremy Bean's St. Patrick's Day
by Alice Shertle
by Teresa Bateman
Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland
by Tomie dePaola
Informational books about potatoes and Ireland with pictures appropriate to the age of my child.
Disclaimer: I haven't read the books I have listed, so I don't yet know what age they are appropriate for. I will let you know when I get to March.
This could be a fun activity to use in a lot of different ways.
1. Use it as a reward system for a behavior you are trying to teach. Each time they demonstrate the behavior, they get to put a piece of gold in the pot.
2. Use it to teach numbers. This is what I am doing with my son. We are only going to use 5 gold coins because that is the number he is working on counting to. I want him to start recognizing the numbers as well as knowing them. This is just an activity that I will have sitting out and he can play with it when he wants to.
3. You could also use this as a number/object matching activity. Let's say the child is practicing counting to 3. Cut out six pots and the numbers 1, 2, 3. The child will match the number with the correct number of pots. This would be appropriate for older preschool children.
This website has tons of ideas for every holiday.
When I do songs, I like to write the words out and have pictures that go with them. As you can tell, they don't have to be perfect pictures. Just a symbol that represents the idea in the line or in a couple of lines that will help the kids remember. The more kids see language, the better.
This is fun for kids of all ages. They can even help you tear the paper. Tearing paper is good for their fine motor skills and is a skill that is assessed in some preschools. There are many ways to do this activity. You can just have a blank sheet of paper that they glue or tape the papers on or you can have St Patrick's Day shapes that they can glue or tape the papers on.
Cut five shamrocks out of green felt and use the following verse. Taken from the following link:
Five green shamrocks growing outdoors
(child's name) picked one, and that left four.
Four little shamrocks, green as they can be.
(child's name) picked one and that left three.
Three little shamrocks, playing peek-a-boo.
(child's name) picked one, and that left two.
Two little shamrocks nodding in the sun,
(child's name) picked one, and that left one.
One little Shamrock for St Patrick's Day fun.
(child's name) picked one, and that left none.
Cut out shamrocks of three different sizes and have kids sort them from biggest to smallest or vice versa. You can also do a matching activity with these. Just cut out two of each and have them match the size to each other and then sort them.
I got my patterns from the following websites:
Friday, December 11, 2009
Fun things to add to your child's art kit or to add variety to their art experiences:
Paint Cups to store and use the paint from. They can be purchased at teacher supply stores.
Paint Brushes - different sizes and shapes
Sponges with different textures
Water Color Paints
Large and small paper
Paper cut into strips
Torn paper of different sizes and shapes
Pens and Pencils
Dry Erase Markers
Easel for painting
Easel with a white board and/or chalk board
Tape - a variety, some stores even carry colored tape.
What you can add to your child's art experience from the kitchen:
You certainly don't need ALL these things at once. These are just some ideas to keep you thinking of what you can do to add variety to your child's art experience.
Shaving Cream is so fun for kids to play with and there are so many different things you can do with it...and it's CHEAP.
Add to it for variety:
It's fun to make the colors and scents match the season.
They can do it on anything:
My husband and I design and make our own gingerbread house for a date night every December - well, I should say, we just started doing it last year, but we are looking forward to doing it again this year.
For Family Home Evening, we do one as a family. It doesn't have to be precise. It's just fun. My son thought this was the best because he got to decorate the house with candy, frost the crackers and eat his work for a few days afterward. We had the best time just letting him put the crackers and candy wherever he wanted to put them and, as you can tell, we ended up with a pile of candy on one side of the house. He just loved it.
Whoever knew glue could be so much fun. One day, my son asked for a bottle of glue. I gave him a piece of construction paper and I let him do whatever he wanted. We have been able to talk about circles, lines, holes - sometimes there are holes in the glue dots on his paper. It's fun to say - "how many have holes - 1, 2, 3 of them have holes. The rest have no holes." His little 21 month old brain thinks this is so fun. It seems to be helping him develop hand/eye coordination and fine motor skills. He is starting to be more precise with where he puts the glue and is becoming purposeful - wanting to make circles big or small, make lines, or just make dots - whereas before he just would squeeze the bottle and it would come out however it came out. I let him have a few googly eyes to add to his art and he thought that was the best.
Five little gingerbread men lying on a tray.
One jumped up and ran away, shouting,
"Run, Run as fast as you can. You can't catch me.
I'm the gingerbread man".
Continue with 4, 3, 2, 1
I traced my gingerbread men from a paper template onto felt, then cut them out. Then I glued SMALL googly eyes on them and drew a smile with a permanent marker. My son likes to do the story on the floor. We do the first part and when they run away, he takes one, makes the gingerbread man run, and puts it behind my back. To add more math in, I ask him how many are left and we count down each time (4, 3, 2, 1).
I adapted the story from this website:
and from the book, The Gingerbread Man by Karen Schmidt.
I cut out 3 gingerbread men shapes. We used cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and ginger. This is messy. First, Andrew squeezed glue onto the gingerbread men. Then we sprinkled the spices on. In order to conserve my spices and to keep down the mess, I put tape over most of the holes on the spices. When we had a pile of spices on the table, I scraped them into a bowl and he was able to practice scooping and pouring.
Hand/Eye Coordination - putting the glue just where they want it, pouring the spices just where they want them, and if they are scooping and pouring - that is a pretty involved skill for a little guy.
Fine Motor Development - It takes a lot of strength to squeeze out the glue
Science - smelling different spices and watching them stick to the glue.
Vocabulary Development - gingerbread men, spices, glue
Math - Recognizing 3, counting to 3 (Depending on your child's age)
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
This is a great story to use during December and there are many versions to choose from. There are so many activities that go with it. A very common version is written by Jan Brett. If you google the gingerbread man, you will find lots of activities related to her version. There are other versions and for fun for older kids you could take two or three different versions and compare them to each other. You could even use a simple graph to compare two or three things in the stories. I would stick with one version for younger kids. You will know your kids and what they would be interested in as well as their comprehension.
Here are some versions of the story:
The Gingerbread Man by Catherine Mccafferty
The Gingerbread Man (Easy-to-Read Folktales) by Karen Schmidt
A fun thing to do is to read the story until your kids are familiar with it. Then make gingerbread cookies with your kids. Let them cool and decorate them. The next day or soon after, set up a little search for a gingerbread man. Leave notes in various places and go on a hunt for him. The notes will say something like, "You didn't find me here, check under the table. Run, run as fast as you can. You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man". Do this in 3 or 4 locations until you find the gingerbread man and then you get to eat the cookie when you find it - well, your kids do, anyway!
If you can, you can always make a flannel board story so the kids can see the story and manipulate the characters. You will have to make a felt character for each character that is in your particular book (each book is slightly different). They can also practice sequencing with the characters.
Reading books over and over is something kids naturally do. You may get tired of it long before they do, but it is really beneficial for their language development. Anything you can add to the story, like flannel board characters, or acting it out is really good for their language development and their story comprehension.
Here are two links with patterns you can use for flannel board stories.
Trace your kids on long paper and them have them decorate it. Add cinnamon to paint or have them color it with markers or crayons. Display it where they can see it.
For a literacy link, write the words to the gingerbread man story on it:
Run, run as fast as you can
You can't catch me
I'm the gingerbread man.
Divide one or more cans of evaporated milk evenly among several containers. Add food coloring. Paint on construction paper.
For containers, there are several options. Teacher supply stores sell nice painting containers, but they can be a bit pricey, however, they are worth it if you plan to paint a lot. They also come with lids so you can store the unused paint for the next time.
Otherwise, you could try cheap plastic cups you can buy at Wal-Mart or even paper cups.
This is an activity that would be most successful with preschool age kids, but toddlers could give it a go, too. Here is the link.
Do You Know the Gingerbread Man?
(Tune: The Muffin Man)
Do you know the gingerbread man, gingerbread man, gingerbread man?
Do you know the gingerbread man, who ran and ran and ran?
He said, "Catch me if you can, if you can, if you can!"
Then ran and ran and ran.
The following were taken from www.preschooleducation.com in 2001:
Dance Like Snowflakes
(Sung to Frere Jacques)
For this one you could use scarves and have them twirl them and toss them during the song.
Dance Like Snowflakes
Dance Like Snowflakes
In the air
In the air
Whirling, twirling, snowflakes
Whirling, twirling, snowflakes
Here and there
Here and there
I'm a Friendly Snowman
(sung to I'm a Little Teapot)
I'm a friendly snowman big and fat. (stretch arms out to sides)
Here is my tummy, here is my hat. (point to tummy, then top of head)
I'm a happy fellow, here's my nose. (smile, then point to nose)
I'm all snow from head to toes (point to head, then toes)
I have two bright eyes so I can see. (point to eyes)
All the snow falling down on me. (flutter fingers downward)
When the weather's cold, I'm strong and tall. (stand up tall)
But when it's warm, I get very small. (crouch down low)
There is no link for this. I cut it out of a magazine, but it originally came from Kraft foods. Their website is www.kraftfoods.com. I don't know the magazine I got it out of.
1/4 c. butter or margarine
1 pkg. jet-puffed marshmallows (6 cups)
1 pkg. Fruity Pebbles or Cocoa Pebbles (about 8 1/2 cups)
Microwave butter in 4 quart microwavable bowl on high 45 seconds or until melted. Add marshmallows; toss to coat. Microwave 1-1/2 minutes or until marshmallows are completely melted, stirring after 45 sec. Stir in cereal. Mix well.
Shape 1 c. of cereal mixture into a ball, using wet or greased hands. Repeat, mixing a total of 6 large balls. Shape remaining mixture into 6 smaller balls, using about 1/2 c. of mixture for each ball.
Place small ball on top of large ball to make a snow person. Gently press balls together to secure. Decorate as desired. Makes 12 servings, 1/2 snow person each.
It looks like you can use licorice, fruit roll-ups and other candy to decorate them.
Update: After trying this project, we were not very successful. The snow people would not hold their shape as you can tell from the picture. We had fun anyway.
Recipe1 c. flour
1/2 c. salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 c. water
1 tsp. veg oil
Mix dry ingredients in a cooking pan (I mixed it in a bowl to begin with so Andrew could help me pour and mix the ingredients before I cooked it). Add the other ingredients. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes. You'll be able to tell when it is close to done. It will start to get pretty firm and hard to stir. Put on a lightly floured surface and turn until it's soft and smooth. Store in a Ziplock bag.
Other Materials to use:
rolling pin - a small one is best for your little child's hands to manipulate
plastic knives (these aren't as sharp as metal knives)
anything they can use to smash, roll or cut
*We used Halloween and Thanksgiving cookie cutters, so we practiced those vocabulary words - turkey (and words like feather, gobble), bats (and words like wings), pumpkins (and words like stem),
*We also made snakes (and used words like long, sssss) and balls. Andrew has been learning about size, so we practiced small, medium and huge (one of his favorite words right now) by making 3 different sizes of balls. That's just what Andrew's interested in. You could use whatever words your child is working on and develop the concept during play dough time.
* Other play dough vocabulary words to use: pat, smash, roll, pinch
* Different sizes of balls: small, medium, big or huge
* We made 5 small balls and counted them during the process. Andrew is working on counting to 5.
* long and short with different sizes of snakes
Fine Motor Development:
This is great for them to develop fine motor skills. When they are first starting out, and especially when they are very young, their hands won't be as strong, but that won't stop them from trying. We use a rolling pin and cookie cutters and Andrew is really starting to push harder and get the concept of it.
p.s. Don't worry if your child puts things in their mouth still. After they put this in their mouth once or twice, they won't do it again. It's disgusting.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I don't have any pictures of these because we just mailed them to grandparents and cousins and I forgot to take a picture ahead of time. You can do this in different ways. Here are two options:
1. If you are brave: Use finger paint. Have your child dip his hand in paint and then put it on whatever you are using for your card. When it drys, draw eyes on the thumb or use small googly eyes. Use feathers you can buy at Wal-Mart or a craft store. Let them use the glue sticks to make the card sticky. I cut the feathers for Andrew and he stuck them on the sticky parts of the card where he had placed the glue. Then use a sentence stem - "I am grateful for _____________". If the child is preschool age, they may be ready to write the word in themselves. If not, you write what they tell you. Andrew didn't totally get it. I had to help him with that part. (Also - a side note - the feathers came off pretty easily, but most of them stuck and they only have to make it through the mail and through Thanksgiving.)
2. If you are not feeling brave (I wasn't) trace their hand and follow the same steps as #1, only let them color with crayons, pencils, or markers to add color.
We made one for each set of grandparents (there are three sets) and one for his cousins that live in North Carolina. He helped me put the cards in envelopes as well as a picture of himself. He also "helped" me address the envelopes - I had to be careful not to get too much scribbling on the envelope so the address could be read, and we went to the UPS store and mailed them together. He got a huge kick out of it.
The most important thing to remember - It doesn't matter if the feathers are in the right place - they could be on the turkey's feet or the sky for all I care. They are toddlers and preschoolers and their version of art and how things should look is different from ours! Just have fun with it. The younger they are, the more help they will need and the less they will use their own creativity.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
We will be talking about gratitude all month. Each night our family will each say something and talk about something we are grateful for. We will use the gratitude lesson out of the Nursery lesson manual to teach Andrew in his morning lessons and at Family Home Evening about gratitude.
Make a hand turkey:
1. Trace your child's hand and let them decorate it with paint, crayons, glitter, googly eyes - anything you have on hand.
2. Paint with feathers after reading books that talk about turkeys. They have feathers you can buy in the craft section at Wal-Mart or at Michael's. Encourage use with brown and orange paint.
3. Make play dough and give them turkey cookie cutters to use with the play dough. For interest and color recognition, make play dough with brown food coloring.
There are many more art projects you can do with your kids for this month. These are the ones I find most appropriate for Andrew's age.
Five Little Turkeys standing at the door,
One waddled off, and then there were four.
Four little turkeys sitting near a tree,
One waddled off, and then there were three.
Three little turkeys with nothing to do,
One waddled off, and then there were two.
Two little turkeys in the morning sun,
One waddled off, and then there was one.
One little turkey better run away,
For soon it will be Thanksgiving Day.
Reference: www. dltk-holidays.com
These are some books about Pilgrims and turkeys that I am checking out from the library. I will let you know what I think of them.
A Plump and Perky Turkey
I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie
10 Fat Turkeys
One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims
Over the River: A Turkey's Tale
'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving
This First Thanksgiving Story
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
This is a perfect month for teaching fractions. You can cater it to your child's age and stage. We are talking about apples a lot this month. We have books about apples. We look at the apples and the seeds inside and talk about them. There is a book we have that talks about how apple trees grow. We also add fractions in and talk about the whole apple and halves. We haven't done quarters yet.
This is the perfect month to teach triangles because of candy corns and witch's hats. I try to include triangles into everything we do. Cut sandwiches into triangles, paint on triangles, color on triangles, post triangles where they will see them and you can talk about them.
Sung to I'm a Little Teapot
I'm a little scarecrow, stuffed with hay. (stand with arms outstretched to your sides)
Here I stand in a field all day. (stand with arms outstretched to your sides)
When I see the crows, I like to shout, (flap arms like a bird and then cup hands around mouth, like you are shouting)
"Hey you crows, you better get out!" (point and then point thumb out to the side when saying "get out.")
Sunday, October 18, 2009
When we went to Mother Nature Farm, Andrew was able to pick out a pumpkin. They had small pumpkins for the kids to pick out and then decorate. They had permanent markers and foam stickers to decorate the pumpkins with. This kept Andrew entertained for a half hour easily. Michael's has craft pumpkins you can use and they are often on sale, or you can use their 40% off coupons. Paint and other markers work well, too.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
OK - so this one I did by myself. I didn't think it would be safe for Andrew to help because it was so hot and he is so little. It didn't work out, but it was still fun to try! I'll try again next year and hopefully the results will turn out a little better!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
You will find that math and literacy often go hand in hand.
Here are some ideas.
1. Engage your child in a variety of cooking activities. I like to try to include my child in a cooking activity at least once a week. To encourage recognition of numbers, words and letters -write, and include pictures, of the ingredients and directions. Simple pictures are best. Just a cue picture to remind them of what the word is. They will begin to recognize numbers, including fractions, pretty quickly as they are exposed to them in this format. I will have examples posted soon.
2. Offer measuring cups during bath tub time or water play. My son uses a measuring cup to scoop out the corn meal when he is painting.
3. Sing a variety of Halloween songs that can be found online. I have a flannel board story called the Five Little Pumpkins that I found online. They had a template that I was able to copy to make the flannel board story with and it also came with the words to say. http://www.preschoolprintables.com/felt/5pumpkins/feltpumpkin.shtml
4. Check out informational books from the library about pumpkins and apples.
5. Post pictures in a play area of your home of pumpkins and apples that are labeled as such. Post the letters A and P and talk about them throughout the month. Just having them up in your home will promote discussion of them and recognition of those letters.
6. Check out books from the library related to Halloween and put them in an area that encourages your child to read them. Check out books with repetitive language. Pick out one story to become really familiar with and act out.
Our city has a pumpkin patch that is just down the road. There are more in the area, but they are more expensive. At this farm, the entrance fee includes a hay ride, seeing the animals they have, picking out a small pumpkin, decorating it and jumping in a bounce machine. We spent one evening at the farm just having a great time. It was a great family outing.
Children love to help cook. It teaches them math, critical thinking skills, obviously cooking skills and it is a great bonding time. Play Dough, clay, and cut-out cookies are all great for also developing fine motor skills. For Family Home Evening, we made clay ornaments and we let our child help with the preparations and of course we had a lot of fun cutting them out with cookie cutters. Again, if you want to add reading into the process, just write the recipe down - using pictures that are either hand drawn by you or actual pictures of the process, and refer to it during the preparations. Your child will quickly begin to recognize certain letters and words.
To add interest and variety to painting, offer your child dried corn husks to paint with in the fall. You can also add corn meal to the paint to give it texture. I let mine just scoop it out of a bag and pour it on his paper. He enjoyed mixing the paint together with the corn meal and it really did change the texture. For younger children that need to learn their colors, I would encourage painting with black and orange during October and other fall colors during November. If you want to increase their recognition of letters and words, you can write the colors on cards in the color that they are and tape them up in the room where you are painting.
I have a book called The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything. It's about a little old lady who goes for a walk in the woods. On her way home, she encounters successively a pair of shoes that clomp, a pair of pants that wiggles, a shirt that shakes, a pair of gloves that clap, a hat that nods and a pumpkin head that nods. As each object is added to the story, it also repeats the previous objects and their actions. We love to act it out. I just pulled out some old articles of clothing from our closet and that's what we use to act it out. There are many stories that lend themselves to being acted out.