Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Advent Calendar

As the holiday season is approaching I thought it would be a great time to show you an Advent Calendar that I made for my son this past weekend.

I sketched out a picture of Santa and on his beard I drew 24 circles and numbered them. Each day, we will glue on either a white pom pom or a white cotton ball. I have not decided which one yet.

This Santa is cute but he did not turn out exactly they way I had envisioned so I will give you some pointers on how I envisioned him working out. I wanted to make him magnetic to hang on the inside of our front door and each day we would use a magnet pom pom to fill in his beard. I had already even made the magnet pom poms by gluing magnets on to small white pom poms. However, I thought he would be sturdier if I drew him on craft foam so I traced my original sketch onto the white craft foam and then cut out red foam for his hat and glued that onto the white foam. I then glued on googly eyes and a large white pom pom for the hat.

Once that was dry, I put magnets on the bag and stuck him to the door. I have to admit, I was pretty proud of myself, until I tried to put a magnet pom pom on his beard and realized the craft foam was too thick for the magnets to be able to stick to the metal door. I was very disappointed but you can rectify this when you make one. Instead of using craft foam like I did, sketch the Santa onto card stock and then you can laminate him for durability and the magnets should still stick to a metal surface.

Feel free to print out a copy of the Santa for your use.

Happy Holidays! If you decide to make a Santa Advent Calendar, please send us a picture or a link to him!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Apple Pie Play Dough

Recently my son's class at daycare has been studying an Apple Theme. Since they started that he is obsessed with Apple Pie. I do not mean he wants to eat apple pie, he just likes to say apple pie. When he is leaving the room he even looks at me and says "Bye-bye, Apple Pie." It is adorable.

I tried to serve him some apple pie for dessert but he wanted nothing to do with it. I then decided that we would make a "pretend apple pie" with apple pie scented play dough.

 Dough recipe:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp cream of tarter
1 cup water
apple pie seasoning (I just shook it in until I liked the smell)
Red food coloring

Stir the ingredients well and then cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the dough forms a ball. Put the dough on the counter and fill your pan with water to soak. Now go back to your dough and you will knead it out until it is smooth and feels "right". Store it in a plastic bag that is zipped closed.

When I pulled out the dough, I also pulled out some rolling pins and some disposable "pot pie" pans. We rolled out a section of the dough and used it as the bottom crust. After we put that in the pan, we tore off small pieces of the dough and rolled them in our hands and dropped them into the crust. Once the pan was full, we rolled out another section to use as the top crust. I cut out a design on this to "vent" the pie.

My son loved this experience and we have played with the apple pie dough several more times since this first experience. I think I will be making pumpkin pie dough soon!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

We are enjoying the day with our families and hope that you are doing the same! If you are looking to fit in some holiday shopping, please check our Kids Matter website for some great products. As always, the proceeds go towards raising awareness of issues affecting kids and families everywhere.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Kids Matter goes Global!

After the devastation in Haiti, Kids Matter went to work and sold "Have a Heart, Lend a Hand" shirts. The proceeds from each shirt was sent to Haiti along with a youth size shirt. These are some of the many children we were able to assist with our campaign.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Meanderings - Thanksgiving Snacks

Since this is Thanksgiving week, I thought it would be nice to post some snacks that the kids can make to "help" you out.

First we have these very cute Turkey Track Crackers from Family Fun Magazine. Chow mein noodles never looked so creative.

From Kids Cooking Activities we have several ideas, including the cute Fruit Loop Apple Turkeys picture above.

Last but not least, we have Nick Jr with the very cute pilgrim hats made with ice cream cones. They are adorable!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Weaving Place Mats

Here is an easy activity for the kids to do for Thanksgiving. The only supplies needed are 2 sheets of paper, a pair of scissors and glue. You can laminate it or use clear contact paper to make the place mat sturdier.

We took one sheet of paper and folded it in half. We then made cuts in the paper from the folded edge to 1 inch from the other end. We made those cuts all along the length of the paper fold.

Next we cut the other page of paper into strips and weaved the pieces through the slits on the other page. The only place we glued the strips were on each end.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Button Up Turkey!

Okay, is this turkey adorable or what? I got this amazing idea from My Montessori Journey. If you have not checked out her blog yet, she has some great ideas.

She sewed her turkey and he is very cute. I used fabric glue to put mine together. I cut out two circles of brown felt and sandwich some batting between them to make it a little sturdier. I also went a little cheaper with mine and just used craft felt. She used very nice wool felt for her classroom but my son will be the only one playing with this so it should hold up just fine.

The best part is that the tail feathers really can be buttoned on and off of the turkey so it is great practice.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday Teachings - The Letter U

As you can imagine, the letter U was a little harder to think of activities to go along with. Not to mention that my child brought home a cold last week so he was not in much of a mood for crafting or learning. Some weeks are easier than others.

You can download your letter U here.

Words that start with letter U: unload, unlock, umbrella, unicorn, unhappy, uncle & unicycle.

For our crafts this week we focused on Undersea and Umpire.

First up, we colored a background page and added fish and bubble stickers to is. This was then cut out and taped to the back of the letter U to resemble a fish tank. For those wondering about the texture of the colored U, I bought an inexpensive sheet of plastic canvas at the craft store and I use it for my son to do rubbings on. He enjoys the texture and the feel of the plastic canvas under the pressure of his crayons.

Next, we cut out a letter U and made black lines on it like an Umpire's shirt. For the face we cut a circle out of craft foam and used crayons draw the face.

Foods that start with U: Ugli Fruit, Udon Noodles, Unsalted butter & Upside down cake.

We did not make a snack this week due to the illness in our household but we were going to make Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes from Family Fun Magazine.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday Meanderings - I Love to Write

In honor of I love to Write Day, we are going to cover some writing ideas for kids.

Before we get to the links though, let's talk about pre-writing. It can be very difficult for a child that does not have enough strength in her hands to try to hold a pencil for a long time. In addition, it can be difficult to old a full size pencil. Imagine if you as an adult tried to hold a long carnival style pencil and write for very long. Your hand would cramp up and the writing will probably be illegible. This also applies to a child. With my own child, we try to use golf pencils. They are smaller, about the size of a crayon and he is better able to control the pencil.

Demonstrate  to your child how to properly grip the pencil between the thumb and pointer finger, letting the pencil rest on the middle finger. This is called the Tripod Grip. This will take awhile to teach. Be patient and if your child seems uninterested, come back to it later. You want your child to enjoy writing and if they are pressured constantly they will never enjoy it. To help your child relax, have her shake her hands, make drawings in the air or in a salt box (see below), or roll a piece of clay between her hands.

Our first link is PB & J Preschool discussing how to set up a Preschool Writing Center. She has some great ideas. I really like the thought of doing a Journal with my child to track his improvements over time.

Next up is Mama Jenn with the directions on making a homemade salt box for the kids to practice writing in. I love this idea! It is very sensory aimed and will give the children an opportunity to feel the letters.

Have you seen Sandpaper Letters? I bought some and they set me back about $30.00. Wish I had found Beautiful Sun Montessori prior to my purchase. She has a step by step tutorial on making your own letters. These have been great for working with my son on the letter sounds.

So we have covered pre-writing activities, let's move to some thoughts on writing. Here are some things you could have your child write:

1) Thank you notes for all gifts. If the writing is illegible, you can write something to the recipient also to let them know about the thank you.
2) Grocery lists. Cut out pictures of items you need then let your child glue them to a page and then write the names beside them. Your child can then also do a scavenger hunt (see our blog post of 6/10/10).
3) Their name. I have a small chalkboard that I painted my child's name on and he practices writing his name below it. I made the chalkboard with a piece of cardboard and chalkboard contact paper. There will be a blog post soon for all of the uses of chalkboard contact paper.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Making a Suncatcher

When I was a girl in elementary and middle school, we would sometimes pour white glue on our hands and allow it to dry and then try to peel it off in one big piece. I recently did an activity that was very similar to this. By the way, I know I am not the only person that did the glue on my hand!

I used a plastic lid from a food container and poured out some glue on it. I covered the majority of the lid with the glue and then I set it aside for a few days to dry. Once it was completely dried, it peeled right off. I then used a nail to poke a hole in the top of the dried glue and proceeded to paint a design on it. I then thread some yarn through the hole after the paint dried.

It was easy and cheap and looks cute!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pick an Apple for Math Lessons

Above you will see a very cute apple tree that I cut out with the Cricut machine. You could also have your child just draw and color a tree. Once the tree was ready I found some red pony beads and used those as apples.

The game is played with two people. Person one will roll a die and whichever number comes up (1-6) is the number of apples they will remove from the tree. Then the second person will go and they continue to alternate turns until all of the apples have been picked.

Once all of the apples have been picked the person with the most apples wins the game. This is lots of fun in our house and my son always wants to count my apples and his.

Have a great time playing and counting.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tuesday Teachings - The Letter T

Another week, another letter. This week we are learning about the letter T.

You can download your letter T here.

Words that start with the letter T: Tell, Tale, Tip, Tongue, Toes, Top, Train, Track, Tree, Trip and Tumble.

For our crafts we focused on Tiger, Turkey and Time.

Our first craft was the Tiger. We colored the letter T with the orange marker then made black lines on it. Next we cut out a tiger tail and ears from orange craft foam and glued them on.

Our second craft was a Turkey. We colored the letter T with brown marker, drew on the face and glued feathers along the top of the T.

Since daylight savings time was this past weekend, I decided for our last craft we would focus on Time. I could then explain daylight savings to my son and teach him about the letter T. I found some clip art which you can print here.

Foods that start with T: Tuna, Toast, Taco, Tamale, Turnip, Tomatoes & Tangerines. For our snack, we focused on Turkey.

We made the cutest Turkey cookies. I am not sure who to credit these too as I have seen them all over the web. We used sugar cookies as the base/body and attached candy corn tail feathers and Reese Pieces eyes with chocolate icing. We then used red gel icing for the legs and black gel icing for the eye pupils.

We had lots of fun making these cookies and plan on making them again for an upcoming bake sale.

Have fun with the letter T.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Meanderings - Turkey Roundup

Due to the fact that Thanksgiving will be upon us soon, I have suspended Monday Meanderings this week to bring you some great turkey crafts that we did in our house.

First up is the obligatory toilet paper roll turkey. We used an empty toilet paper roll and the body , beak and feathers cut from craft foam.

As I cut out the feathers and body for the toilet paper roll turkey, I went ahead and cut out doubles of everything and glued magnets to the back of everything for my son to play with the turkey on the door in our kitchen. We work on our colors as we put the feathers on the turkey.

Next we made the coffee filter turkey. We used markers to color the coffee filter then sprayed it down with water to get the colors to bleed. Once that dried we glued a construction paper body to the front.

We also made the hand print turkey, which is an oldie but goodie.

Since our hands were already a mess, we finger painted a piece of paper and then trimmed it down to be a turkey tail and added a construction paper body.

We painted another piece of paper with sponges and did the same thing.

The last turkey crafts we made this weekend were a craft foam body and Fall leaves for the tail feathers. We did one with Oak leaves and one with orange/brown leaves. My son said they did not need beaks. Not sure how they will eat but you never question an artist.

Hope you make some time to do some turkey crafts with your kids. Feel free to post more ideas in the comments. We love to hear from our friends.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Draw a Bird

This activity is more a way to check a child's attention to detail than to actually teach him how to draw. My theory on art is that is a personal creative experience and you can not copy a picture and call it a creative outlet. This activity teaches a child to pay attention though because they have to recreate what they see.

The theory is to give a child a piece of paper, 4 crayons and the picture cards. You can do the cards one of two ways. Give them to the child unattached and they can put them in order before beginning or you can give them to them in order and attached in the corner.

The child is to re-create each card on thier own paper until they have a bird completely drawn.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Copy What You See

Sometimes my son's mind wanders just like everyone else. Some days he pays great attention to detail, other days it could be a Mack Truck and he would not notice it. To try and bring his awareness factor up, we worked on replicating things he sees in photos.

We painted the back of a paper plate orange to make a Jack O Lantern. I then used black constriction paper to cut out a variety of Jack O Lantern facial features. As I made a face, I took a picture of the face. I then printed out the faces.

Now, I lay the pumpkin on the table and give him all of the facial features along with one photo to replicate. Sometimes he gets it right, sometimes he gets aggravated with the variety of facial features. On those days, I take away some of the facial features and we try again.

He enjoys the activity and it is helping him to understand the concept of a Jack O Lantern as we had trouble with the concept of a pumpkin becoming a Jack O Lantern.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tuesday Teachings - The Letter S

This week's letter was lots of fun but a bit of a challenge to think of an activity to do that I do not see all over blog world already.

Download your letter S here.

Words that start with the letter S: Sun, Sand, Sail, Sailboat, Splatter, Spill, Speak, Sing, Song, Steamboat and Stars.

For our crafts we focused on Snake, Sponge and Snow.

I know, I know, everyone does a snake for the letter S but he is so cool looking and the perfect shape so we made a snake also. We used markers to color the letter S, then we cut it out and glued a red tongue to the back.

Our next craft was Snow. We used a pencil eraser dipped in white paint to make the snow on the blue paper and the blue S. My son really enjoyed this as he never gets to use that end of the pencil!
We will probably follow this up later in the week by making a snowman activity.

Lastly, we did some Sponge painting. This was by far the most fun in our house. I used a regular kitchen sponge and cut a strip from the short end. I then cut that strip into thirds and picked out three clothespins to use as the handles. We clipped the sponges into the clothespins (good fine motor practice).

We then dipped the sponge into paint and painted the letter S. This was a double activity as the sponge side that was dipped was a Square so we discussed squares versus other shapes. My son loved this and every time the sponge touched the paper he screamed, Bop, Bop, Bop! We will definitely be doing this more!

Foods that start with S: Squid, Sausage, Smoked Sausage, Sandwich, Salt, Salmon, Sponge Cake, Spaghetti and Stuffing.

For our food we made a Snake Stromboli. It was quite tasty. I used a store bought pizza crust, put some pizza sauce, cheese and pepperoni down the middle and then we folded over the sides. Once the sides were pulled over, seal the seams and lay the Stromboli, seam side down.

Next we put a little milk in two separate bowls and I mixed blue food coloring in one bowl and red food coloring in the other. We used pastry brushes to paint red and blue stripes in the "Snake". Once we completed the stripes, we mixed the red and blue together to get purple. I made two indentions in the head of the snake with the end of the pastry brush and we put some purple in each indention for the eyes.

We then baked as directed on the pizza crust. This was delicious and my son loves to help in the kitchen. When we sat down to eat he kept saying, "I do, I do".

The Attached Mama's Alphabet Craft Collection