Friday, February 27, 2015

Dr. Seuss CVC Word Hunt

One of my preschoolers favorite Dr. Seuss books is One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.  Since we are working on CVC words right now I thought we would take some of the CVC words from this story and go on a hunt!

Here's what we did:

I cut out some fish shapes onto, red, blue, green and white paper.  Then I wrote CVC words used in the story and hid the fish around the house.  For this activity I chose 12 words and hid 12 fish.  Since we are up to letter W as our letter of the week I thought we would try including something with W so we used my daughters mini wagon to hold the fish. As each fish was found my preschooler sounded out the word, put in into the wagon and off she went to hunt for the next word.

Once our hunt was complete we read the story and my daughter was able to more easily recognize the CVC words in the book that she just found on our hunt.

Smiles like this means we're having fun while learning!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

DIY Letter Card Game

We are continuing to try and find fun ways to identify vowels and consonants.  Recently, we played a vowels vs consonant game which was a quick set up and helpful in teaching the difference between these letters.

My 4 year old has a recent interest in card games so I thought making a DIY letter card game would be enticing.  This game is super easy to put together and although we used cardstock any paper would do.  

I chose to use this cardstock that we already had on hand because of the thickness and durability. Other than paper the only other thing needed is a marker!  Then it's time to play.....

Since this was the first time playing this game I included only about 10 consonants and of course all the vowels.  To give our game a bit more of a challenge I wrote the uppercase AND lowercase letters for the vowels in the game.  

The object is similar to the card game, Slap Jack.  In Slap Jack you simply 'slap the jack' as soon as you see it.  In this case, we determined at the start of the hand if we would be slapping vowels or consonants and then slapped only those cards as we put them down.  

In this hand we were slapping consonants and here's the little Miss counting her winnings!

My daughter had a blast playing this game as you can tell here........

Something so simple turned out to be alot of fun and we have taken these cards out quite a bit over the past few weeks!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Math Frame Learning

For Christmas we received one of those memory/match games as a gift and as I was popping the cards out of the frame I thought what could I use these for?

I decided to use them for some math equations.  It adds another dimension instead of just printing out a sheet of paper and handing over a pencil.  Since Valentines day was near the date I made these I decided to use these hearts from Creekside Learning instead of simply using a pencil or marker.  

Here's what else I used to re-purpose these memory card frames:

Various colors of construction paper
Glue stick

Here's how they looked after gluing on the construction paper:

Since my son is working on multiplication and division those are the equations I used for his frames.

He figured out the answer, sorted through the numbers on the hearts and placed the correct heart in the last box.

For my preschooler I used easy addition and subtraction frames:

The same concept was used with my daughter but because of her age I used stickers to make it more fun and math friendly.  

What's great about these frames is that they are sturdy enough to be re-used.  After my kids finished these math activities I easily peeled off the construction paper (don't use to much of the glue stick and the paper comes off pretty easy!) and have stored the frames away in our learning closet to be used again. 

I believe that using these frames did offer a different dimension and that my kids were more engaged than if I just used a plain old sheet of paper and a pencil.

Next time you receive one of those match games think twice before tossing those frames!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Secret Life of Squirrels Book and Activities

Because of this book and our own visiting squirrels I felt doing a Unit on Squirrels would be fitting!

I came across this book at Barnes and Noble before Christmas, The Secret Life of Squirrels.  Since we have a few resident squirrels who visit us at least once per day I knew my kids would really enjoy it!

The Author and Photographer of the book, Nancy Rose, captures candid photographs of squirrels in her backyard.  All of this happens on her backyard deck  where she sets up homemade miniature scenes catching visiting squirrels in adorable human like poses as they search for hidden peanuts!

My daughter giggles while I read this book and as we look at the pictures of the squirrels doing things like washing clothes, enjoying ice cream, wagon rides and so much more!

I've been taking some pictures of our own squirrels.  I've tried finding markings on them to see if it's the same squirrel but they have been different.  Each squirrel comes to our back door and really tries to get our attention as you can see in these pics.  And if I don't see them right away they 'knock' until they get my attention.....check out these photos:

Anyone home?

Peek-a-boo we see you!

Holding on to our backdoor handle

This day we gave him a special treat a big fat walnut!  Hence, the name Mr. Walnut

The more brave squirrels eat right at our back door.  However, this little guys runs to our tree to feast

Since we've snapped so many pics we thought we would pair this book with a craft by making a stick picture frame, just like they do in the book. We simply gathered some sticks from our backyard, printed a picture and now have Mr. Walnut hanging on our key holder in the kitchen. 

At the time we were reading this book we working on the letter S so I incorporated some Squirrel activities by printing some free squirrel printables like mazes, squirrel facts and even made up our own graph.  Through our squirrel facts we learned that squirrels are herbivores and require fruits and veggies in their diet.  The graph I made up is very simple.  I thought we would see which foods the squirrel likes best.  So we included peanuts, apples and grapes. 

After our graph was complete we tried giving our squirrel a strawberry.  In this pic you can see him going for it and I can tell you he devoured the strawberry!

We have really been enjoying nature over the past few weeks and getting to know our wildlife.  We've also been feeding the birds with our very own Bird Seed Mittens.  Even though it's cold outside and snow everywhere we are still trying to be involved with what goes on outside!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Our Bird Seed Mitten Tree

We just read the book, The Mitten Tree and I closed the book saying, "I love this book!"  My daughter liked how the old lady in the book was so kind to make mittens for the children.  I knew I wanted to pair this book with an activity and wondered how we could help someone or something like the old lady in the book.

We have ALOT of snow here and ALOT of birds so I thought maybe we could make 'mittens' for the birds.....Bird Seed Mittens!  Just like Sarah in the book this would be our way to show kindness but in our case to the birds especially since all the snow makes it hard for them to find food.

This is not our first time making DIY bird feeders.  Last winter we made these recycled cardboard tube bird feeders.  The only difference this time is sticking with the theme of The Mitten Tree book by cutting out some cardboard into the shape of mittens.

What we used:
Hole punch
Yarn or string
Peanut Butter
Bird Seed

First, I cut out some cardboard into the shape of mittens (I am terrible free hand so please be forgiving here, lol)  Using a hole punch make a hole at the top.

Next, start spreading on the peanut butter

.....and sprinkling on the seed

Finally, it's time to find the perfect tree branch to hang them on.

Here are some shots I took from inside the house of the birds enjoying our Bird Seed Mittens!

 This activity is super easy and the children will love the rewards of seeing firsthand how they can help our fine feathered friends!

It took less than a week and as you can see the birds thoroughly enjoyed their Bird Seed Mitten Tree! It's almost all completely gone!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Q-tip Painted Sheep

A few weeks ago our letter of the week was Q and for the first time we painted with q-tips and my daughter loved it.   Crafty Morning did a Fingerprint Sheep which gave me the idea for our sheep.  At times my daughter can be finicky when it comes to touching paint so I switched up this craft a bit by using a q-tip to paint our sheep instead of her fingers.

You can use this craft as a Valentine card/craft by using the saying "Wool Ewe Be Mine" or you could make it to celebrate Spring/Easter.  This is also the year of the Sheep for Chinese New Year so you could use this craft to celebrate that too!

 Since my preschooler does better when she can see what the craft is suppose to look like I made the first card, which is the one you see above.

Here are the materials we used:
Pink construction paper
Black construction paper
Googly eyes
White Paint
String or ribbon
Glue stick
Black marker or pen
Red heart gems (optional)

As soon as my daughter saw my sheep she wanted to try making one of her own.  With a pencil I drew a very fine circle on the construction paper so that she had an idea of where to dot the q-tip.  After she dotted around the inside of the circle she was ready to add the sheep's face, ears, legs, googly eyes and bow.

My daughter's Sheep card

It's really such a simple but cute craft to do.  After I thought our sheep were finished my daughter had something else to add.  Since Valentine's Day is around the corner I had some heart gems that she was using to make another card and she added a tiny heart nose to her sheep and to mine along with a larger heart gem at the top of the card.  On my card I wrote the saying, "Wool Ewe Be Mine" so my daughter decided to write  scribble a Valentine saying of her own.

Here are the 2 finished cards!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Vowels vs Consonants

We have been working on CVC words and to help my daughter be better able to distinguish a vowel from a consonant I came up with this simple idea.  We are in the season of love with Valentines Day just a couple of weeks away so we used Cupid cupcake liners and heart gems but any kind of marker or cupcake liners will do.

Here's what we used:
Muffin tin
Cupcake liners 
Heart gems   

Since we have worked with vowels and consonants already this activity was meant to reinforce what she has learned up to this point.  I asked her to put the pink hearts in the vowel cups and the red hearts in the consonant cups.  As she did this I also asked her to tell me the sounds of both the vowels and the consonants.  

This activity can be switched up and geared towards whatever your child might be working on right now.  It could be number recognition, uppercase and lowercase letters even color sorting.  Another variation is if you don't have cupcake liners just tape some pieces of paper to the bottoms of the muffin tin.  Most importantly is to make the learning fun!