Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Meanderings - Groundhog Day

Well, Groundhog Day is Wednesday, February 2nd and personally I am hoping for no more cold weather. We have had lots of snow in Kentucky and we are ready for more sunshine. Here are some activities to do with the kids.

First up is Preschool - What fun we had with a very cute little groundhog craft. You even let to get him come out of his "burrow".

I had lots of trouble finding some good links for this holiday but I did find the Official Punxsatawney Phil Website that has some ideas and some interesting things for kids.

My own contributions are below:
Learn a tongue twister - How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? (Woodchuck is another name for Groundhog)
Go outside and trace each others shadows on the driveway or sidewalk.
Once Phil makes his prediction, track the weather for the next six weeks to see if he is correct.
Discuss how shadows are made and then make hand shadows on a wall.

Enjoy Groundhog day!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Salt Box

I have seen these in shops for $20 or more but decided I could make one inexpensively at home. The theory is to give the child a sensory activity to go along with writing a word. I know that the more activities that I do with my son, the more he retains the information.

I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a cheap little wooden box with a sliding top for just a couple of dollars. Once I got home, I painted the inside of the box with a flat black craft paint and the outside of the box was painted in an apple green color. Once it all dried, I just poured in a layer of salt. You do not want too much salt or it is too difficult to clear a path and see the black contrast on the bottom of the box.

Now ask your child to use their finger to draw letters or shapes in the salt layer. This is a great resource for teaching but trust me when I say you want to watch your child using this. Trust me on this, salt is hard to clean up and gets everywhere if you do not watch them. Also trust me that just because it has a lid, it is not spill proof! If your child is not proficient with letters yet, you can write the letters on index cards for them to look at as they "write".

I was able to make this activity, even purchasing the paint for less than $5.00.

Have fun learning!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snowman Names

We had another snow day in my house so I worked with my son on recognizing the letters of his name. I got this great idea from the blog Musings of Me. If you have not checked out Michelle's amazing blog yet, please do. She has some of the best free downloads that I have found online.

Anyway, back to the project. I cut out 6 snowballs from white sticky backed foam. One snowman was the head so I used markers to draw on a face. The other five were for my son's name, one letter per snowball. I then wrote my son's name vertically on an index card. I went ahead and stuck the snowman head on a piece of blue paper (actually two pieces taped together to be long enough). I then gave the snowballs to my son in no particular order and the index card with his name on it. I asked him to put his name in order just like the index card.

He did an amazing job and then we stuck the snowballs onto the blue paper and glued a hat and scarf cut from foam onto the snowman. This is hanging on his bedroom door and he likes to show it off all the time and as he goes into his room he always stops at the door to read his name.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tuesday Teachings - Math + Cookies = Happiness

One of our winter traditions is to bake cookies a few times a month. That is a lot of baking, so I like to sneak in some "extra education" when ever I can. On the week-ends that are just too crazy to take time out to bake, we play with math cookies.

To make these you will need:

Tan construction paper
round cup for tracing
black marker
other construction paper

To make these, trace your cup on the tan paper for as many cookies as you would like to make. Cut out all of the circles.

Once they are all cut out, use your black marker to draw "chocolate chips" onto the cookies. You can put as many or as few as you would like. If you are going to play with your cookies as often as we do, you may want to laminate them. Ours looked bad after just one week, so I cut out new ones and laminated them.

When I made mine, I made 21 cookies - that is enough cookies to have from 0-20 chocolate chips. I also wrote the word for the number of chocolate chips on the back of my cookies. Now we can also work on reading skills while playing with out math cookies.

We play with them a few different ways.

1) My son can put them in order from 0-20.

2) I pick out certain cookies and lay them on another piece of construction paper and draw a line beside each cookies. My son then counts the number of chocolate chips and writes the number on each line.
3) I give my son the cookies, a cookie sheet and a spatula. He then pretends to bake up cookies for friends, family and stuffed animals.

Monday Meanderings - Valentine's Cards

I love, love, love homemade Valentine's cards. They are so much better than store bought so I thought I woudl find some cute cards to make online.

First, we have Silicon Valley Mom Blog with a very cute butterfly card. Perfect for the girls in your life! They also have a cute alien card that is perfect for the boys.

Next we have (Anti) Social Development with what has to be the cutest elephant card that I have ever seen. Not that I see lots of elephant cards or anything but it is still adorable.

Skip to My Lou has these very cute flower cards, plus I love Tootsie Pops!

Have fun making some adorable Valentine's Day cards!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

My son and I recently read Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. He did not fully understand it but he liked the flow of the book. Once we finished reading the book we did a few crafts.

I had a couple of extra CD's laying around the house and decided it is time to put them to good use. I used the CD as a pattern and cut out two circles of blue construction paper and two circles of yellow construction paper.

Other supplies needed for the Cloudy picture are two blue chenille stems, three white pony beads, cotton balls and glue (we used glue dots).

Attach three glue dots to one side of the CD. Cut the chenille stems in half and put a white pony bead on teh bottom of three of the stems. Fold the end of the stem up over the bead to hold it on. You will now put the non bead end of the stem in the glue and allow it to dry. Once dry, glue a blue construction paper circle on teh back of the CD and a circle on the front of the CD. Now you can glue your cotton ball clouds onto the blue sky.

Other supplies needed for the Sun picture are glue and orange tissue paper. I cut out lots of orange tissue paper triangles to go around the edge of the CD. Go ahead and glue those on. Once they dry, glue the yellow construction circles on teh front and the back of the CD.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Staying Healthy

In Kentucky the winter weather is in full force. Anyone that has a child in child care or school knows that this is a rough time. When you get a few kids together and one of them has a cold, the others usually end up with it also. Below are some tips on keeping your family healthy.

1) Wash hands. It is not enough to just run your hands under the water and maybe use a dab of soap. Let the water get warm, lather well and sing the ABC song while washing to be sure you get your hands clean.

2) When washing your hands be sure you are scrubbing between your fingers and on your nail beds. Here at the Child Care Council we have one of the germ finder boxes. After you wash you put your hands under the light and see all the germs you missed. It is very enlightening.

3) Sneeze and cough into your elbows. If you are having trouble teaching your kids to do this there is a great product called Germy Wormy which is basically a bandage that you put on the child's elbow. There is a very cute picture of a worm on the bandage and the kids like coughing on the worm. Once they do this, explain that the worm now has their germs. You could easily make something at home to mimic this product using your child's favorite cartoon character and a bandage.

4) Clean the heavily cleaned items. These are items I do not usually think about cleaning as often but clean your phone, doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, sink faucets and any other items that get touched frequently in your home.

5) Get enough sleep.When you are sleeping is when your body "recovers" from the day. Make sure you and your children are getting enough sleep every night.

6) Eat well. Make sure there are fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy products in your diet every day. If you are not getting enough, consider a daily supplement but it is always best to get your nutrients from healthy food.

7) Exercise. It is cold outside but you can still get some exercise inside. Your body needs a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate activity each day. This helps your immune system and helps to fight off bugs.

Follow these tips and try to take are of yourself. Spring is getting closer every day.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday Meanderings - Math Lessons

With the new year come resolutions of financial freedom so why not get the preschoolers involved in learning about money. Most schools do not take enough action to teach about financial goals so the parents must pick up where they leave off. We all want fiscally responsible children so we need to start teaching now.

First up is Blog, she wrote with a great idea to get kids involved in sorting change in the house. If you have a preschooler that still puts things in her mouth, be extra diligent in watching.

Next up is Sensible Math Education with some great facts about using Thomas the Tank Engine to help your child be successful with math.

Next we have Quirky Momma with a game that you could make for the kids in less than five minutes.

In addition to these links, there are a number of ways to teach math skills at home. Singing the One, Two, Buckle My Shoe rhyme, using a timer to help kids understand the length of time you are discussing or using a reward chart.