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Archive for the ‘Preschool’ Category

Felt Food- Rainbow of Fruits and Vegetables 15 Piece Set

Have you ever been shopping for play food for your kids and been really disappointed to find plastic versions of fast food?  If you are anything like me, these hand-sewn felt foods are just what you’ve been looking for! 

Felt Food Baby Carrot 7 Piece Snack Set

Money Saving Mom is hosting a giveaway at the ETSY Shop The Felted PearBeyond cute.  Do not miss out on this one!  Even if you don’t win the giveaway, purchasing these fabulous creations for any little person on your Christmas list is sure to thrill the recipient. 

Felt Food Sliceable and Whole Kiwi Fruit

And, you can feel good that you are encouraging healthy food choices as well :).

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We have loved our books again this week!  I am also pleased because I have probably had over sixty items checked out from the library over the last three weeks, and so far only one late fee :).  Here is a sampling of our week in books:

If You Lived In Colonial Times by Ann McGovern – This series  of books by Ann McGovern always grabs my kids’ attention.  She poses several questions, such as, “What were the schools like?”, “Were there doctors in colonial days?”, and “How did people get the news?”  She poses fifty-two questions in this book alone, and the answers are fascinating.  A great way to learn more about the everyday life and questions kids want the answers to about different time periods.

Skunks Do More Than Stink by D. M. Souza – Boy, there has been a lot of talk about skunks around here this week inspired by this book.  Wow – so much I never knew!  This book even manages to help you develop a little soft spot for these smelly guys (and gals). 

The Beetle Alphabet Book  by Jerry Pallotta – Pretty much exactly what you would expect from the title – a book about 26 different types of beetles!  Did you know that there are over a million different species of beetles?! God’s creation is amazing.  There are interesting facts about each beetle, beetles in general, and how to distinguish beetles from other insects.

Play and Learn French and Play and Learn Spanish by Ana Lomba and Marcela Summerville – We are just not ready to plunk down hundreds of dollars on Rosetta Stone at this point.  However, I do want our kids exposed to the sounds and vocabulary of both French and Spanish.  French is Jason’s parents’ native language, which is why we are choosing this language.  Each book comes with an accompanying audio CD with a native speaker reading or singing each lesson.  The situations are simple and familiar, and the occasional catchy tunes are very entertaining.  It is enough to expose them, for now, and also very inexpensive.  Bonus.

What books are you enjoying with your kids this week?

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The fabulous ladies over at 2 Teaching Mommies have so many fantastic ideas for celebrating learning and Fall with preschoolers!  Definitely worth stopping by.  My favorite idea is the sensory bin.  Although, I would do a Fall themed bin with leaves, acorns, Fall colored poofy balls, etc.  And, maybe, just maybe, they could hunt for the one piece of Fall candy . . .  Sounds like an activity that would not lose its appeal quickly.

Thank you, Ladies, for taking the time to create these adorable pumpkin printables for us!

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True, right?  My kids are constantly trying to find ways to get me to let them use knives.  My kitchen tip for the day?  Start them while they are young!  I allow my seven-year-old (my oldest) to use a “real” knife with supervision, and the younger ones gather around like she is a knife goddess.  I do have kid-friendly knives, but I only ever think to let them cut Playdoh and pancakes.  Pretty boring if you ask my kids.

So, today I had a stroke of mommy genius.  Why not serve an entire lunch of things they can cut?!  Bread, lunch meat, cheese, avocado, peaches, bananas, cooked broccoli, green beans . . .  I don’t mean to say that these things need cutting – I just mean a whole plate full of stuff they can cut until their little hands grow tired.  Or they get full.  Or it’s time for dinner.

What a great way to practice knife skills and get permission (even encouragement) to play with their food!  Also, the perfect opportunity to be considered Super Mom for the day.

My fellow homeschoolers – this is your kithcne chore training and fine motor skills practice for the day with your little ones.  If you have older children, sneak in a little math!  Depending on their math maturity, see if they can cut in half, thirds or fourths.  Tell them to take a piece of food and have them cut it in enough pieces so that everyone at the table can have two, or three, or five pieces.

Just make sure you set the table with plenty of napkins.

For more great kitchen tips join me at Tammy’s Recipes.

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Cover of "Roxaboxen"

Cover of Roxaboxen

The mornings this past week were cool enough to prompt us to relight our fireplace.  We love our fireplace.  That little guy can heat our entire house, and keep things quite toasty through some ugly Chicago winters.

It is definitely a cool weather ritual around here for the first person downstairs in the morning to flip on the fireplace.  And, it is another ritual for the kids and I to push the couch in front of the fireplace (gotta love hardwood floors and felt), snuggle up and read.  I am so blessed.

Here is what we are snuggling up with this week:

Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran, Illustrated by Barbara Cooney – Another sweet book illustrated by Barbara Cooney.  This one is the story of a city made of rocks on a hill and inhabited by an imaginative group of neighborhood children. Some treasures of childhood are buried in your heart and carried carefully into adulthood – Roxaboxen is one.

Verdi by Janell Cannon – Verdi is an adventurous little yellow python who has no interest in growing up and turning green.  Despite his wishes, and without him noticing, he matures into a lovely green grown-up who still appreciates the energy and excitement of youth.

Dear Garbage Man by Gene Zion, Illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham – Originally written in 1957, an environmentalist book this is not.  However, it is an amusing tale about the first day on the job for a garbage man.  He makes trash into treasure, only to find it was really just trash all along!

A Lion to Guard Us by Clyde Robert Bulla – Clyde Robert Bulla is quickly becoming one of my six-year-old son’s favorite authors.  We have enjoyed two other titles by him, and this one has us hooked already.  It is a short chapter book we are reading aloud together.  The story is about a young girl in the year 1609.  Her mother dies, and she determines to take her younger brother and sister across the ocean to where her father has built a home for them in America.

I recommend you hop on your library’s website now  – let the requesting begin!

Happy reading!

(In case you are curious, I am not affiliated with Amazon, and I do not receive any compensation for any purchases you might make through the above links.)

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The fabulous, creative ladies over at 2 Teaching Mommies have created several adorable printable packs just for Fall.  This one even has a section specifically for toddlers!

Click here to go to their website and print to your heart’s content.

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All the Places to Love

My kids love it when a book makes me cry.  Happy crying or sad crying – it makes no difference to them.  They are entertained.  “Look, Mom’s crying!” is definitely an announcement that turns heads while I am reading aloud.  And, I have to say that I love it when a book makes me cry.

All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated with paintings by Mike Wimmer is sweet, poignant, lovely and well – a crier.  At least for me.  My children seem to have hearts of steel.  Request this one from your library, curl up in a snuggly place with every child in your house who will let you, and have a good, cozy cry.

You won’t regret it.

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dogs collage

The mommies over at Homeschool Creations and 1+1+1=1 have put together 2 really adorable printable packs for us again!!  They have created one about dogs and one about cats.  So, depending on your child’s current love, you can print one or both.  These are a great activity for keeping little preschool hands busy (check out my post here for many more such ideas) while you work with the older crew.  Thanks, Ladies!

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Lost and Found (book)

Image via Wikipedia

I learned very early on in my teaching career to seek good authors, not just good books.  Some of my favorites have been around for decades, and others have just recently been a delight to discover.  I will share two of our favorites here today.

First, the more seasoned author we are loving again and again (and again and again and again . . . any one else have preschoolers?) is William Steig.  His stories and illustrations are clever, inventive, and downright entertaining.  We recommend both his picture books and his chapter books.  We own many of both, and are often the books we reach for first.  Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and Yellow and Pink are both extremely amusing.  Dominic, The Real Thief, and Abel’s Island are favorite chapter books of my 7-year-old.  My mom read them to her several times each before she could read, and now she reads them on her own.

The newer author we are enjoying is Oliver Jeffers.  His illustrations are whimsical, childlike and a wonderful asset to his stories.  The stories themselves are profound, yet simple and sweet.  Lost and Found, Up and Down and The Heart and the Bottle are just a start.

Happy reading!

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A stack of manila paper.

Image via Wikipedia

Here is my list I promised you on Saturday.  Most of these activities can be done with items you already have around your house or can find for free online.

15 Activities for Your Homeschool Preschoolers

  1. Paper, scissors and tape – Nothing else needed, I promise you.  You could go wild one day and throw in a glue stick.
  2. Salt dough – They can create things and let them harden, and then paint them with water colors.
  3. Puzzles and lacing cards – You can easily make some homemade lacing cards with a piece of cardboard (an old cereal box works well), a marker, a single hole punch, and yarn or a shoelace.
  4. Blocks
  5. Books – Give them a big ol’ stack of great picture books to page through, and when the hour is up let them each choose some for you to read aloud.
  6. Paper, crayons and stickers – Stickers, glorious stickers.
  7. Beans and containers – This one is a classic, but for good reason.  Just grab a container, dump in some dry beans, and give them multiple containers (bowls, cups, baking pans) and utensils to play with.
  8. Water and containers – Same exact idea as the beans.  This time, make sure you put them on a hard surface and lay down a few towels underneath them.  Expect a wet mess.  Or, if you only have one preschooler, let them play in the sink.
  9. String or pipe cleaners and beads – Give them beads large enough not to frustrate them, and something to string them on.
  10. Tracing, coloring pages, or worksheets and crayons – You could easily make these or search for them online.  Find some with letters or numbers on them if you are feeling particularly academic that day.  I have found some fantastic resources here and here.
  11. Cars or a train set – Any vehicles will do.  For some kids this will be enough on its own.  Other kids might need a start by giving them a mat that has a little town on it, or give them strips of cardboard (again, cereal boxes work great) or the inside of a large box to make a road with.
  12. Paints – Yes, this is a messy one.  But just think of that hour in the mean time.  You could do watercolors, tempera, or finger paints.
  13. Playdough – ‘Nough said.  Actually, you may want to save this one for a time when you need 3 hours to work :)!
  14. Toys – Well, that’s a little obvious, right?  But, these would be toys chosen by mom that are educational in nature.
  15. Computer time or learning DVD – This is always a last resort for me, and certainly not something we use on a weekly basis.  My kids tend to get “media head”, and after exposure it seems to be all they think and talk about for way too long.  But, I do want them to have very limited interaction with the computer, and I cannot sing the praises loudly enough for the LeapFrog alphabet series.  All of my children have learned their basic phonics sounds and rules through these with absolutely no effort!

So, there you have it.  I do love a plan.  Happy preschooling!

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