Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Magnetic Very Hungry Caterpillar

     For Eric Carle's birthday on June 25, a large number of ideas to do with his books were posted.  Since I liked so many of them I thought I would organize them here.

     First I'll share something I made when I was in college using colored magnet sheets and computer print outs.  All the pieces didn't make it through the move and my 2 year old but you get the idea.
The lollipop which was real melted and the tissue paper butterfly is missing, but they are easy to make.
If your interested in making a set, they make printable magnet sheets now or just print out on paper, laminate, and put a magnet on the back.
Here are some neat printable sites


Pretend corn on the cob

     Corn on the cob is the only vegetable my child will eat now that she has gone into super picky mode.  And, since you can get great sales in the summer we eat it a lot.  Needless to say she liked making it too.  I think you need to start out this project by feeling the texture of real corn with husks.  Let them shuck it and describe it.  A lot of vocabulary can come out of a simple daily activity.
Supplies you'll need
Toilet paper tube
yellow paint
bubble wrap
yellow yarn, string or pipe cleaners
green material or foam
glue gun

Start by painting bubble wrap yellow.  Mine is dark because all I had was black and I'm all about using what you have before going out and buying something.
When dry glue it to the toilet paper tube.  Now, you have the shape and texture of corn.  My daughter loved playing with it that way but I thought it would be fun to be able to peel it.

We added some pipe cleaners.  Yarn would work, too.

Then we added this green material for husks.  Foam would have worked better, but my daughter wanted to use this textured material, and it will be her toy.

Check out our ice cream, popsicle, and watermelon we already made and stop back in a couple weeks to see S'mores.  We are going to make real S'mores first on our beach vacation.

Until then we will be doing some other fun things.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pretend Watermelon

     Watermelons went on sale this week, so we got a large one, cut it open, and enjoyed the summer food.  My daughter loves watermelon but hates the seeds.  For our summer kitchen area, we have already made ice cream and Popsicles, so here is our watermelon.
First paint a paper green whatever way you want.

We tried Lego's and fingers and then just went with a paint brush.  My daughter doesn't like getting messy anymore.

Paint a paper red and add seeds.

I had this perfect piece of cardboard off a box, so I just cut and glue paper on front and back.  It reminds me of Eric Carle's paintings and the Very Hungry Caterpillar's dinner.

Check back tomorrow for corn on the cob.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer food craft

     Since it's summer, we are eating some of the traditional summer foods.  I thought we could make some to have in our kitchen area.  Today we made an ice cream cone.
First paint a square paper the color ice cream you want.  I would suggest water colors.  I used tempera and it just made the paper harder to fold.  My daughter likes this rainbow ice cream that stains wonderfully.  So she painted her ice cream many colors, especially blue.
Then follow these directions here to make it into a ball.
Next we painted a brown paper with brown paint by using this box wrapped with yarn.

Like this.

Roll it into a cone.  There you have an inedible ice cream. But fun to play with.

     I think it will be fun to make a bunch of scoops and let her use the ice cream scooper to put them in the cone.  Maybe we will make an ice cream truck.

Here is another favorite summer treat.
It is a toilet paper tube painted then stapled in the middle.  Her favorite flavor, blue.

Come back later for corn on the cob, watermelon, and S'mores. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Importance of Play Dough

Did you know the original Playdoh was suppose to be wallpaper cleaner?
And, that it was invented in 1956 and only came in off white color?
And, that 700 million pounds of Playdoh have been sold since then?  Wow!
And, that National Playdoh Day is September 18?

In my preschool classroom, the students always have access to play dough during their play times.  I have found that it is important for teachers to offer it daily for the following reasons.

1. Parents don't always allow it at home mostly because it is messy.
2.  It is a great fine motor and hand muscle exercises.  Molding, cutting, pushing, rolling all help little muscle and can even get out a little aggression.
 3.  It can help improve social skills as student work together.
4.  Students can work on letter recognition by using cookie cutter letters or rolling dough into a worm to form letter.  Here is some neat play dough letter mats. from 1+1=1 and more here
5.  Children use problem solving skills by exploring the properties of the dough.
6.  Pay dough encourages creativity.
yes, this is our gingerbread girl with a Christmas tree dress.  My daughter also added texture to her dress with a seashell.
Here is an NAEYC article showing how play dough meets learning standards.

TOOLS- rolling pins, hammer. blocks, cookie cutters, scissors, knives, store bought play sets (my favs are dentist and hair cutting).
ADD INS- food coloring, kool-aid for color and smell, peppermint sent (fun at Christmas time), other familiar smells, textures like coffee, glitter, beads
RECIPES- you have to experiment to find the recipe you like best.  I like the cooked recipe using cream of tartar but many teachers like the no cook recipe  so they can make it with the class.
NEAT LINKS- here are a couple of cute ideas I recently found

If you have a fun or unique idea you use with playdough, please share it.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Creativity and teacher help

My thoughts exactly.  Well, actually someone else's words.  Check out the link below.  The more we try to produce artwork instead of a well rounded child, the more pretty pictures and uninterested students we will have.  Pretty pictures are great memories but don't forget to allow the children to explore.  It's as easy as allowing children to paint their own picture or hand prints before you do it for them.

                                                  Teach Preschool on adult participation

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

4th of July Fireworks

     When you work with young children, you have to remember things don't always turn out the way they were planned.  Then, you add in a new supply, which makes things even more difficult.  That was today.  First, I wanted to  try spraying with water color paint. I tried using old markers to tint the water.  I saw it somewhere. 
Great for recycling but it didn't show up on the paper very well.
It just got the paper wet.
Then, I added food coloring to water. That helped, but just wasn't giving the firework affect.  I have done this with watered down paint and it does work, but I was hoping to do something different.

So I found this funny thing still in its wrapper.  I think it is a vegetable washer.
I just put paint on a plate.  And found some glitter glue.

Then she made another one with people watching.  Look at the cute little people.
And as most projects end up with 4 year olds.
I thought we had just done enough with color mixing.

here are some other great holiday activities

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Felt board pieces

     Ever since I saw this post on how simple it is to make professional looking felt board pieces by using your printer I have been dieing to try it.  Alas, my printer is out of ink and I don't actually own an iron. So while I work on getting those things, I thought you might like to see the thing I found to help you make your own flannels.

Once you've bought the paper, I got mine at Walmart,

Try these sites for free printables.  If you find something that you think might make a good flannel board piece please let me know.

All kinds of stories, but my favorites are Brown Bear Brown Bear, Polar Bear Polar Bear, and the Hungry Caterpillar- they are quite big so I saved them to a word program and shrunk them a bit

Leo Lionni's mouse -it's suppose to be a stick puppet but I think it would work great.

tons of paper dolls- my daughter loves dressing the one girl flannel I have with the few cloths I have.

more paper dolls

Go Away Big Green Monster- put the monster together

Monkey with Hats

lots of book prompts

even more book prompts- including chicka chicka, Dr Seuss, 5 Little Monkeys, Spilt milk, the old lady who swallowed a fly, Mouse Paint, and more, if you don't find it there try here

The Three Little Pigs,  5 monkeys, apples, and pumpkins

You also might want to check your favorite book's and author's web site.  Many of them allow you to print their characters.

If you would prefer to buy them or need something unique try here.  Prices seemed reasonable.

DIY projects

     Since I haven't had a lot of time to prepare something fun to blog about, I thought I would get my favorites organized.  These are all ideas and links of do-it-yourself projects I would like to try one day.
     Thanks to everyone for sharing your great ideas.
Although the containers are beautiful, they are covered in chalkboard paint, homemade.  You can make it in any color.

Post image for DIY Kids: Play Dressing Table from a Cardboard Box
Cute as can be made from a card board box.

Roll-up Kitchen Playmat
Simple and easily stored because it rolls up.

These are in the process, but printer is out of ink.

Cute and colorful.

This has always been on my to-do list.  Ten years running.

Hopefully, I can write backwards.
Also, perfect for special ed.

DIY Light Table and color disks.

And here are some more DIY stuff
egg carton bulletin board
egg carton bulletin board

Texture Lid
texture boards and here are more

edible paint

water play board and window easel

Teach Preschool has amazing ideas I always love.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Surprise Box

The surprise box is something I did with 4 year olds in order to reduce the need for show and tell.  They can only bring something that will fit in the box and they have to think about the clues.  It makes children use their critical thinking skills as well as helps children reduce fear of talking in front of others.
First you need a box you can not see through.
I tape these directions on the side.

      Before I send the box  home I send home a note explaining the process to parents and to allow students to come up with the clues.  I also encourage them to help their children write the clues themselves. Then I send it home with each child in alphabetical order by first name. 
That keeps me organized and also helps kids with the letters in the alphabet.
I do an example before I let the kids can take it home.
1. It is pink.
2. I use it in the dark.
3. It lights up.

It is a flashlight.

As the year goes, I hang up some of the clue sheets to show parents what others have been bringing in, but also to show them how they can encourage students to become more involved in the clue making process.
So you get clue sheets like this

and as the kids get better at writing this

Some kids liked giving clues the others could guess easily while others made it more difficult.  All the kids enjoyed the experience
Surprise Box
Chose something to put in the box.
Write 3 clues to describe the object.
Practice saying the clues so you can
share with the class.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The things kids say

The thing I love about children is there innocents.  They have no fear of embarrassment or a great knowledge of social etiquette.

Today while shopping at Walmart, my husband went to the bathroom but came back right away saying there was a line in the bathroom.  My daughter turned to me and said, "Is there really a lion in the bathroom, Mommy?"

While teaching 3 and 4 year olds, I would hear comments that would make me laugh all the time. I always said we should write these sayings down because everyone would love to have a laugh like that.

Do you have any funny stories like that to share?

More play with color

I found this little light box that changes colors from red to blue to green at the Dollar Tree. 
I made some color cards from some left over tissue paper squares and contact paper.  If I were to make them again, I would use one sheet of color instead of squares.
When you hold the color cards over the light you can see some mixing of colors.  Worth $1.
We also used the cards with a flashlight.

I'm always jealous when I see people with a light table. But thanks to Deborah at Teach Preschool, we can all afford one.
I will be making my own version of the light table.