Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Works for me Wednesday: Assign a color




Each kid in my family has their own color assigned to them. They also have their own type of cup assigned to them. My boys have Batman and Superman, and my girl has Princess. If I am choosing other stuff for them Batman gets green, Superman gets blue, and Princess gets pink.

This works for me because I can automatically know who hasn't put away their stuff or hasn't done their dishes. Then I can tell that person to do it.

For other WFMW posts go here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Preschool: the Farm

I wrote more about this yesterday, and I forsee lots more posts about farm, because I keep discovering more great things to do. I feel like we've barely scratched the surface of this topic.

I got a farm bundle from CurrClick about farms (I was going to link it but it looks like the bundle has expired, so here's the two books: A Bundle of Hay and another book that is eluding my exhaustive search, but the linked book is the one I primarily used.

As I posted yesterday we put together our barn, and today we cut out the animals to fill it. This took a lot of skill and patience.

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And then I gave a lot more directions to Princess on how to cut these out, because she had tried to make confetti.
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We're going to use these again this week to sort the animals and classify them. I think it will be lots of fun to do it.

We also put together a book about chores kids do on the farm. This was a big hit, now the pictures aren't so understandable since it was just scribble like crazy on the pictures, but that's okay.

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I love the tongue.

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Now, for Princess I did cut it out for her, she doesn't have the control yet.

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And the final step glue the picture on, and then I get to rewrite the words because they've glued the picture over the words. Oh well, it's still readable that way.

And, here's a fun shot for everyone: Batman took a picture of the rest of us since he decided he was done.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Tot School: the Farm

Truthfully speaking Tot School and Preschool were pretty much the same this week, so I'm going to post about half of the activities here and the other half on my preschool post tomorrow. I usually try to differentiate the activities slightly, have Princess' materials mostly cut out, or have simpler activities, but it didn't happen this time. We're moving rooms around and so all my stuff is everywhere. So, here's what we did.

We sorted seeds from the activity here. I bought sunfl0wer, corn, pea, and pumpkin seeds and several little pots and let them take turns putting the seeds into the different pots.
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We also played a fine motor skills game: Feed the pig. I posted here, how to make it.
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They also loved making their barn for the beginning steps of their pseudo-lapbook.

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First we colored.


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Then I drew a line for them to cut around the barn. Princess would make a small cut, and then tear. After she did this I taped the barn back together. After they'd cut it out, I cut the barn doors and opened them up.

Next we glued them down on the outside areas so the doors could open. Apparently there are no pictures of this.

More to come tomorrow.

For more GREAT Tot School posts go here

Friday, April 24, 2009

Tutorial: Feed the pig Game




Lakeshore Learning has these really fun games. Every time we go into the store my kids have to go play with the sample versions, which is an excellent selling point. I was really struggling with paying $20 for a game I didn't think they'd play with much, so I came up with my own idea.

I was partially inspired by this Totally Tots post to make a pig version, but not for scooping things in the water, but to feed.

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What you'll need: a milk jug, construction paper, fun foam, paint.

Added bonuses: pipe cleaners, pom poms, googly eyes

1. Clean out your milk carton, it's no fun if your game starts to smell.

2. Paint your milk carton the color of your intended animal, since mine was a pig, the whole thing is pink.
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3. Next cut out a mouth. I figured out for this, it works better to cut it out so it can lay on its side. I used a combination of kitchen shears and steak knife to do this.


4. Make some eyes, I made them out of scrap paper, but you could also use googly eyes or fun foam. This was what I had on hand in our recycle bin. Glue them on.
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5. At this point realize you don't have anything pink, and run upstairs for the closest color, light tan fun foam. Cut triangular shapes for ears and an oval shape for nose. Color the inside of the ears pink, and two big black circles on the nose. Cut holes in the top of the carton and stuff the ears in. My holes were slightly smaller than the ears, that's partially because I made huge ears relative to the size of my pig. But, it made the ears look cuter, and I think they stay on better.
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6. Now gather pom poms, seeds, beans, or whatever other small object you want your child to master moving. Provide them with tongs, spoons, or other transferring objects and let them have at it.
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Now, while I was making this fabulous game, my boys were busy making their own amazing sculptures.
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Oh, and torturing their toys.

For more great crafts check out Ramblings of a Crazy Woman.

Boys are inquisitive

Yesterday Batman tried to cut the lamp that was plugged into the wall. I discovered this when I went to turn on the lights and they didn't work. I then noticed the lamp on the floor with the plug half pulled out and scissors on the floor next to it. On closer inspection the lamp plug is slightly burned. The scissors have a notch in them and a burn mark. And the actual plug in the wall has a burn mark. Near as I can tell, he thought, I haven't tried this. So he pulls the plug just enough out of the wall to get the scissors in there, starts to cut, sees a rather large spark and then runs like crazy.

Boys are very inquisitive

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

BLUEBONNETS!

Anyone who's lived in Texas knows you have to get Bluebonnet pictures with your kids. Sadly, bluebonnets this year are rather sparse and hard to find. I kept hoping I'd find a magical patch of perfect bluebonnets, but they were hiding mainly on the side of really fast highways I wasn't willing to get my kids out at.



So, finally I broke down and pulled over to the side of the road one day and got some not fabulous pictures, but some fun ones. Here's my favorites.



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Batman would not look at me for his pictures.



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For once she's not sticking out her tongue.


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Really, they're hugging.

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Sigh, I love bluebonnets.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Preschool Corner: Very Hungry Caterpillar

I made the boys activities a little harder than for Princess, after all they're almost 2 years older. A lot of my activities come from Carissa's AWESOME tot school pack.

First we started off putting the caterpillars and butterflies in order by size. Unlike their sister, they actually had to cut out the pictures. This takes a lot of concentration.
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Batman completing his Dot-to-dot found here.
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Superman really enjoyed the dot to dot.
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Not that it's obvious yet, but this is a caterpillar to feed. Right now it just looks like a milk carton, imagine it painted and with eyes. This was very popular, and a great fine motor skill activity. They got to practice both with spoons, tongs, and then pouring the pom poms back out.
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This was a great activity from Carissa's tot pack. It could be used so many different ways. I think she planned to use it as a book, it could also be a memory game, we laminated it and used it as alphabet tracers, can you tell which one the four year old did and which one was done by a two year old?

And of course we made egg carton caterpillars, completed pictures to come soon.
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Superman actually used multiple colors, this is a big deal for him.
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We had a blast, and didn't even get to all the activities I thought of.
See more great preschool posts here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

New Room for Princess

She's been in the nursery up until now, and we've moved her into her very own room. This used to be our schoolroom, but we're playing musical rooms. The old nursery is now the guest bedroom. My sewing room used to also host the guest bedroom, but will now also be the schoolroom. Towards that end I need to finish painting up there, but I wanted to show probably the only picture we'll ever see of her room looking this clean.

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I can say this for a fact because during their thiry minutes of playing in there, they brought every toy food item into her room, then went into the closet go out the sleeping bags, and now the room is quite a mess. It's actually kind of sad.

Tot School: Very Hungry Caterpillar

Tot School

I loved the Tot Pack Carissa made, so I've been looking for a good excuse to have this as our theme. I finally gave up and just deicded to go with it. It's been wildly popular and we haven't even gotten to all the activities I wanted to do.

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Glueing the caterpillars down in order. We're going to put all of her materials in a lapbook this week.

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Putting together a butterfly puzzle from here (which will be linked as soon as evernote is back up).

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Tracing her alphabet using the alphabet Carissa made (see the link above). I laminated them, and let them have fun tracing the alphabet as one of the options for their work trays. It had two great purposes, it let her practice the motions for writing, and it let her excercise fine motor skills in erasing.

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We made caterpillars out of egg cartons. This is a great post-Easter activity when you have lots of egg cartons. We never got around to the coffe filter butterflies, maybe when we study plants and farming this week we'll do it then, only make flowers.

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Coloring her workbook. She knows what the right answer is, but she wants to keep coloring once she's gotten everything done...... I'm trying to balance encouraging her creativity and expression with getting her to follow directions.

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And our fabulous gross motor skill activity! Sword fighting! With two older brothers you have to learn how to defend yourself. This was followed soon after by the discovery of rollie pollies, which had to be explored for the next 15 minutes.

For more great Tot School ideas visit Carissa.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?

And now I can't remember the next line in the song, oh well.

We went there for opening weekend, and had a blast! This was Princess' first time to go, and she enjoyed it a lot.

Here's where we went:

Scottish arms demonstration

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Here are Princess and Batman as English soldiers, right before the Scottish army comes and attacks.

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Ignore the fact that she's trying to take her dress off. She did a great job of entertaining the crowd as she went exactly opposite of where the man said to go. She's a smart English soldier, she knew if she stayed there she'd get stabbed, so she went and hid behind Batman. The crowd about fell over laughing as she wandered from place to place. They now have badges proclaiming they were killed by Boomer at the arms demonstration. Don't worry, they got better real fast.

We rode a pirate ship, which the boys thought was fun at first, but as it got higher it became a little too scary.
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We watched the birds of prey exhibit, which had Superman talking about for a long time afterwards, they're real life animal rescuers....
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Seeing a real bald eagle was very impressive.

We rode the elephant.
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Fought bad guys.
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Watched turtles race, it took a while. Contrary to popular belief, they're not speedy.
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Got bows and arrows which required being shot a lot, and of course meant lots of falling down and dying.
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And ended the day asleep on Daddy.
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And on each other.
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