Friday, February 24, 2012

Homemade Marble Maze

I made this activity for my son this week. It was easy to make and just difficult enough that he had to work on it.

Gallon size plastic bag
Duct tape
Dish washing liquid or Hair gel
Marble or Bead(s)

I opened the plastic bag well and then I cut 4 strips of duct tape. Do not make the strips too long, they have to sit horizontally in the bag.

Now, taking one strip at a time, fold the tape strips upon themselves so that there is sticky side out all around. Put the strips in the bag, alternating the bag edge. For example, the first strip goes one inch from the bottom of the back, lined up against the right side of the bag. The next strip is an inch above the first strip, lined up on the left hand side of the bag.

Repeat this until you have all of the strips in the bag. Once all of the strips are in the bag, apply pressure to the bag to seal the tape to the front and back of the bag.

Now squirt dish washing liquid into the bag, you will have to use your fingers on the outside of the bag to move the liquid along the tape strips to the bottom of the bag. Once you have the liquid in the bag, add in your marble, zip the top of the bag and apply a strip of tape over the zip top to keep prying hands form opening the bag back up and making a mess. I will say, prior to applying the tape along the top edge of our bag, we tried it out first. I could not find our marbles, so I used a pony bead. I then thought the bead was too small, so I added about 5-6 beads.

Now, hand the bag over to your child and let them use their fine motor skills to move the marble along the maze. Encourage finger isolation, by showing them how to use their pointer finger to move the bead along the slippery dish washing liquid. We then proceeded to do this activity, one finger at a time, until all fingers had been isolated.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Making Bird Feeders

I have seen this idea all over the Internet and we decided to give it a try this week. It is easy and economical!

Cheerios or other round cereal
Pipe Cleaners

Two supplies! Now that is my kind of activity! We just threaded the cheerios on to the pipe cleaners, and bent the pipe cleaner into the desired shape.

Most of the time when I have seen this online, the pipe cleaners are bent into a heart shape. I do love those, but I wanted my son to make his own shapes. He has circles, ovals and abstract shapes.

We had lots of fun doing this and then we hung them up in the tree right outside the playroom window. We also hung some off the deck railing in the backyard. Each day, he runs to the door and window to see if there are any birds eating his cereal!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Draw the Winner

Who is the big winner? Kids are always the winners in our eyes!

Tuesday Teachings - Gingerbread Man

I am on a big math kick this week. We did another fun math activity.

I cut out a gingerbread man from brown construction paper. We then decorated the man with markers and crayons. Next we decided to work on circumference and area.

Time to pull out mini marshmallows, if I had any. Since I only had large marshmallows, we used Trix cereal. We laid the gingerbread man down and after we discussed exactly what circumference was, we started measuring. We laid the cereal side by side all the way around the gingerbread man. We then counted all of the cereal pieces (65).

Next we took the cereal pieces off of the gingerbread man and had a discussion about the area of the gingerbread man. Once we had an understanding about area, we talked about whether it would take more or less pieces to fill up the area. Once we decided, we used cereal to fill up the area of the gingerbread man . We then counted all of the pieces (118).

After all of that hard counting, we had a feast of cereal. I would like for you to learn from my mistakes. Do NOT use a round cereal for this activity. My son had a hard time keeping them from rolling all over the place. Marshmallows would have been much easier.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Meanderings - Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss's birthday is celebrated on March 2, so I thought I would start posting some activities to celebrate the big day. As far as authors go, there is no more well known name, than that of Dr. Seuss! Children and adults love his work. I even have a poster of a Dr. Seuss quote framed and hanging on my office door!

First up is The Family Kitchen with an adorable Cat in the Hat marshmallow hat snack.

Here is a Cat in the Hat activity from Teaching Two. I love this stacking idea. If you do not have the Styrofoam discs, they could be made with red tape around pool noodles too.

I would not normally encourage my child to jump on his bed, but this is too cute to pass up. obSeussed drew a picture of Pop, from the book Hop on Pop, onto her child's bed sheet and they hopped on Pop while reading the book. What fun!

Last but not least, we have I Can Teach My Child showing a great activity for Ten Apples Up on Top.

Have fun with your kids and with Dr. Seuss. He is my favorite Dr.!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Valentine Craft

Well, if you read the blog Tuesday, then you know that I cut out several hearts from construction paper. I was then left with the heart stencils and hated to waste them!

Next, I pulled out clear contact paper, the heart stencil shapes and a variety of craft supplies. My son sat down and made Valentines for family members.

I cut out a piece of contact paper and taped it sticky side up on the table. Next we laid down the heart stencil on the sticky side.

He then used the craft supplies to fill in and decorate the heart.

Once he completed one, we would put another piece of contact paper (sticky side down) on top of the heart, securing all of the craft supplies in the middle.

I then trimmed around the heart shapes and cut off the excess contact paper. Ready for gifting!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tuesday Teachings - Can You Make Plastic from Milk?

This is a great experiment. We have made chocolate milk and strawberry milk, but this time I decided to make plastic milk.

One cup of Milk
4 teaspoons of white vinegar
Glass measuring cup

Pour the milk into the glass measring cup and heat it in the microwave. You want the milk hot, but not boiling. We warmed it for two minutes in our microwave. Once it is hot, add the 4 teaspoons of vinegar and stir well for one minute.

Pour the milk through the strainer and into the sink. You will now see blobs of milk in your strainer. Let the blobs cool off and then rinse them with water while pressing them together.

I will tell you that I found it gross while stirring and straining but I love the texture of the completed project. Prior to that, it just reminded me of curdled milk.

Did you make plastic? Not exactly, since plastic is a bit more complicated. We made Casein. This is a by product of the protein in the milk coming in contact with the acid in the vinegar. The protein will not mix with the acid so instead, it forms blobs.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Do the Valentine Hop

We played a fun game to work on our gross motor skills this week. I cut out several hearts from construction paper.

Next, we laid the hearts out down the hallway. First we laid them out in step formation to work on walking.

Next, we put them in a straight line and worked on jumping from one heart to another.

As we got better and better we advanced the game. We also set up the hearts in a random pattern. I would them call out a color near my son and he would find the color and jump to it.

This was a fun activity and we played with it for quite a time. Be sure to save the "stencils" that you made from cutting out the hearts. We used ours and will post that on Friday!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Meanderings - Valentine's Day

Well, tomorrow is Valentine's Day and here are some great homemade Valentine ideas for you, just in case you haven't done anything yet!

Owls are very popular right now and this is a great play on words. I found this on Inspiration for Home.

I love this idea from The Gunny Sack. I am not sure of I could do enough for a classroom in one night but I am definitely doing this for my son! He may be afraid of popping the balloon but he will love finding something inside the balloon.

This is another favorite idea for me. Glow sticks from the Dollar Store and no candy! This idea is compliments of The Teacher Wife. She has an amazing blog!

I'll leave you with a "sweet breakfast" idea from Your Commissary Insider. If you re going to make pancakes, why not make them cute?

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Meanderings - Valentine's Day

It is the season of love! Here are some great ideas that I discovered on line. As we all know, boys are not always into the lovey-dovey gushy Valentines. These are great alternatives!

 This creative idea came from Jocelyn Murphy. She has a few other designs too. Love this!

This is from Family Fun Magazine. They always have some of the cutest ideas. I might have to hit the Dollar Store soon and look for some shovels.

Next, we have The Crafting Chicks with am idea that just made my heart bounce! You can find those balls for a very low cost!

Lastly, we have Katherine Marie Photography showing you the perfect way to recycle those candy hearts! I would love to be served my lunch in a candy heart box! Check out her blog for the pictures. She reused the large assorted box and the smaller heart boxes to serve up a meal.

Be sure to check back next week when we feature some more great Valentine's ideas!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Oh MY!

Did you know that Kids Matter uses more than just this blog to get our news out to families?

Like us on Facebook - Kids Matter. We have a second page on Facebook that is our Child Care Council Providers page. On the Kids Matter page, we post a large variety of articles and ideas for families and teachers. On the CCC Providers page, we post lots of articles geared towards teachers and we also post about the trainings that we offer in our office.

We are also on Twitter. We publish a daily paper on Twitter using the hash tag #preschool, in addition to links we find of interest to parents and teachers.

We love our page on Pinterest. It is lots of fun to be able to go to the page, look up any subject and find a large amount of activities to go along with it.

Be sure to check us out in all of these places! Become a fan and show the world that you think Kids Matter!

Childhood Obesity

If you read any newspapers and/or magazines, you have probably seen that headline lots. It is in print, it is on the news, it is the new buzz phrase. Even though we are all talking about it, it does not seem to be going away any time soon.

Here are some links to help you keep your family healthy and happy. If you want the kids to learn about nutrition you can go to Nutrition for Healthy Kids and they have a free home school curriculum, broken down by subject.


All Day I Dream About Food made gummy fruit snacks that contain no added sugar. This link is to all of her recipes that are labeled "healthy snacks". She has some yummy ones, including a revised gummy fruit snack that is more shelf stable.

Real Simple shows a snack station that is stored in the refrigerator for the kids. They can go in and help themselves to a healthy snack.

I also love the blog Super Healthy Kids. She posts amazing recipes and tips but the best part: Healthy Meal Plans! Check out her blog, you will wonder how you managed before you found it!

Since the current generation is the first to spend more time indoors than outdoors, I have scoured the Internet looking for fitness ideas also.

Most people are familiar with First Lady Michelle Obama's quest to help us raise a healthier generation of kids and her Let's Move Campaign is helping to do just that. She has brought to light many facts and findings on health and is inspiring many to get up and move!

Kids Health and Sesame Workshop partnered to provide Healthy Habits for Life. You can download the book and read through it with your kids. The above link takes you to the Preschool edition but they go up to 12th grade.

E Max Health has a list of 50 ways for kids to exercise, without them even realizing it.

What does your family do to stay healthy?