Tuesday, June 30, 2015

11 Children's Books That Teach Compassion


This past week we had some awesome finds from our local library.  On the top of that list is a book by David McPhail, The Teddy Bear.  This book was the perfect read for not only my 5 year old but for my 9 year old also.


I skimmed through it at the library and immediately knew I had to borrow this one.  The book is about a little boy who has a favorite teddy bear (something most kids can relate to) that goes everywhere with him.  Sadly, the boy loses his bear but the bear is not lost for long as another finds it and loves it just as much if not more.  It's the person who finds it that's the surprise and from there a very strong message is shared.  The Teddy Bear is a story of compassion, love and kindness.

Once I finished reading this aloud to both of my children I asked questions to be sure they understood the message.  My 9 year old grasped it better than my 5 year old which I expected but with a bit more explaining my 5 year old understood enough to appreciate this sweet read.

This book and the message it shares encouraged me to find a way for my children to spread the same compassion as the boy in the book.  As most kids, my two have their fair amount of stuffed animals and normally we save them up and donate them to Goodwill. However, I wanted to take things a step further so I searched and found organizations that accept stuffed animals for children AND the elderly who are experiencing traumatic type situations.  Places like firehouses, police stations, emergency services even nursing homes are happy to accept stuffed animals to have on hand.  They use them to comfort the sick, injured or whatever emergency/crisis they are tending to.

From now on as my kids go through their stuffed animal friends we will put them away until we have a large enough bin and then we will donate them to our local police, fire and emergency services.

If your child(ren) or organization that you might belong to, like boy or girl scouts, would like to do the same simply contact your local authorities and ask if they would be interested in your gently used stuffed animals.  Or you can contact the organizations I've listed below and share with them.  I will be leading a girl scout troop this upcoming year and this will definitely be one of our projects.

It's so great when a simple book like The Teddy Bear can send such a strong message that it encourages acts of kindness and love.

Organizations accepting stuffed animals:

Stuffed Animals for Emergencies

Project Smile

More books that share the message of compassion:

Click here to be brought directly to the page with these books




























Sunday, June 28, 2015

Driveway Rhyme and Match Game


Rhyming words has been a big presence in our house lately.  The nicer, warmer weather took our most recent rhyming activity outdoors to the driveway.

Using some sidewalk chalk a bin and some items from around the house we had an outdoor rhyme and match game ready to go!

I simply wrote some words with chalk on the driveway and then asked my 5 year old to read the word and then find the item in the bin that rhymed with that word!


Fat......Hat

Mad......Pad

Pup.....Cup

A simple, fun outdoor game!

Check out our other word activities:








Sunday, June 21, 2015

Ice-Pop Match Game


Ice-pops are fun to eat in the summertime but can also be fun to play with!  With summer here I thought it would be fun to make our own ice-pops but the non-edible version!!

We are working on rhyming so I made up a match game using some simple rhyming words.  Here's what we used to make our game:

Construction paper (colors of your choice)
Popsicle sticks
Laminator
Dry erase marker
Scissors 
Hot glue gun

I started off by laminating the colors of construction paper we wanted to use


Cut them into ice-pop shapes 


Add popsicle sticks by hot gluing them to the ice-pops.  I used colored popsicle sticks because we have BOXES of them but you could use just the plain wood color too.


Once this part was done I used a dry erase marker so that I could wipe the words off and use different words for future play.  

Here's how they looked once all done:


The game is played just like any other match game by flipping the ice-pops over and then trying to find 2 words that rhyme.  If the player finds two matching words they play again.  


Nope, not a match....try again!

Sounding out the words and.....yay, a match!

Another match, way to go!

Big brother played too although way too easy for him!

Here's a pic to show how easy it is to wipe off the words to play with new words, numbers or shapes!

You can even put your player to work but wiping the words off!


This ice pop game can be played many different ways.  We are also working on sight words so before making this sentence I wrote some sight words onto the ice pops, said the word and asked my daughter to find them.  Once she did I put the words together to form a sentence, like this one:

These ice pops are even perfect for making patterns!

And for younger children you could simply play a match game by finding 2 of the same color ice-pops. A fun way to work on color recognition!
















Sunday, June 14, 2015

Squish Bag CVC Words


We have tried lots of ways to learn CVC (consonant vowel consonant) words.  I believe the more fun the activity is the more the child learns and this activity truly engages your child and their sense of touch.

A squish bag takes 5 minutes  or less to put together and makes zero mess!  This is a good choice of sensory play if your child doesn't like to get messy.

Here's what you'll need to make a bag of your own:

Large ziploc bag
Hair gel (any dollar store brand)
Food coloring
Water
Painters/masking tape
Paper
Pen

Here's how to set it up:

  • Write the CVC words or any words, numbers or even shapes that your child might be learning onto a piece of paper.  
  • Fill the ziploc bag with hair gel, add water and a few drops of food coloring.  
  • Squish the bag to mix the gel, water and food coloring together.  I really didn't measure how much gel and water. Start small with a few good squirts of gel and a little bit of water. This should give you a good idea of how much more you may or may not need.  
  • Use the tape and tape the bag over the sheet of paper with the words on it.
Once this is done your child is ready to squish away!  My daughter loved moving the gel around to find the different 'hidden' words.  Once she found a word I had her write it on another sheet of paper and sound it out.  

This was a fun sensory activity where my daughter was also able to work on CVC words, writing  skills and sounding out words.  

A simple to setup activity which made learning CVC words lots more fun!  

Here are a couple of other squish bags we had fun with:

"Under the Sea" bag filled with sea creatures and gems

Letters bag (used no food coloring)

Making words!



Monday, June 8, 2015

Dandelion the Book and Paper Plate Craft


I find lots of treasures at yard sales and our most recent was the book, Dandelion by Don Freeman.  I grabbed it for .25 cents AND because who can resist a Don Freeman book!  Since getting this book my daughter has asked me to read it to her before bed every night.

Dandelion is story about a lion who is attending a party but chooses to dress 'dandy' instead of being himself.  This classic story shares an important message to children which is always be who you are.

My 5 year old daughter has enjoyed this book so much that we decided to do a craft to go along with it.  Here's what we made and the materials you'll need to make one yourself!



Materials used:

Paper plate
Tan tempera paint
Orange pipe cleaners
Hot glue gun
Googly eyes
Black foam
Black marker
Ribbon

We started off painting our plate.


Since Dandelion gets a 'wave' in the story we used pipe cleaners as the curls for Dandelion's mane.  Simply take your pipe cleaners and wind them around a marker or pen.  Once all the pipe cleaners were curled, use a hot glue gun to add them on around the plate.  This part is for adults only!


Once the paint is dry on your plate add on:
googly eyes
triangle for the nose
draw on some whiskers

and voila..........Dandelion the Lion!  We added a piece of ribbon to the top of the paper plate and hung him up in our kitchen!


If you haven't read this book it is a must find, truly a classic and loved by all!






Sunday, May 31, 2015

Organize Stuffed Animals


My daughter LOVES her stuffed animals!  But we have a standing rule, if a new stuffed animal comes in, one goes out.

Admittedly, we have way too many stuffed animals and I am always looking for new ways to organize them.  For awhile we were using this stuffed animal chair, kind of like a bean bag chair but stuffed with furry friends instead! Sadly, the chair ripped and so we were in the need of something else.  We still use a large Thirty One tote and a cute little frog both of which are still holding up, thankfully!

Since I don't want to use up any more floor space our latest stuffed animal organizer goes vertical.... an over the door shoe organizer! Just browse Pinterest and tons and tons of ideas will come up on how to organize with them. We also use one on the back of our coat closet which is in our kitchen and holds all kinds of things!

For the stuffed animals I bought a clear shoe organizer and it's definitely the way to go because your child can easily see which animals are in each pocket.  My son has one too but the pockets are not clear and not as easy to see.


I hope this simple idea helps with organizing your child's stuffed animal friends!


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Recycled Bookmark


I've always thought those strips that come off the ziploc boxes would make perfect bookmarks.


We got a chance to try it out since it was recently Grandma's birthday.  This would also make a cute gift idea for Mother's Day, Grandparent's Day or for the book reader in your life!

Here's what we used:
Ziploc strip (the part you tear off to get to the bags)
Construction paper
Stickers
Ribbon
Hole punch
Glue

Step 1: Wrap the construction paper around the bookmark.  Add some glue on the ends to seal closed.

Step 2: Decorate; we used stickers but you could use crayons or markers.

Step 3: At the top use a hole punch

Step 4: String the ribbon through the hole and tie a bow.

I think our bookmark turned out really cute and Grandma loved it!

I even had my daughter work on some letter sound and recognition by finding each letter in the word Grandma.  I sounded out each letter and my daughter had to find the letter and place onto the bookmark.