Friday, March 21, 2014

Easy (no cost) CVC Wheel

(4 Years)

I love this idea!  I found it on Pinterest, it's from Jaimi at the Stay-at-Home-Mom Survival Guide.   All that you need to do is grab a few of your (or your husband's) old DVDs that he never watches (let's face it, yore going to "borrow" his DVDs, he never wants to put them in the DVR anyway) and two permanent markers (one light, we used silver and one dark, we used black).  That's it.  Now, choose which CVC (consonant vowel consonant) words you want to work on.  We choose _it, _ag and _ad.  If you are just starting CVC words, _at is a great one to start with.

The entire process took five minutes, that's including raiding my unsuspecting husband's DVD collection.

When it was time for school, I invited Wild One over.  At first he thought we were going to watch a movie.  Ooops, I didn't think of that.  Then he said, "uh oh, someone wrote on the DVD."  Double oops.

I showed him how the wheel works and he thought it was magic.   "MOMMY, I'M READING ALL BY MYSELF!"  Yes, you are.  I love the confidence boost!

Look at that, he's smiling while practicing his CVC words.  I love this idea!  Thanks again Jaimi!

I love that they love learning how to read.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Giant Sight Word Stomp Board

(4 Years)

Little Miss likes learning activities that are quiet, Wild One always lights up when I make our learning into a physical game (specifically jumping, running, swatting).  It seems a lifetime ago when we were learning our letter sounds.  I remember Little Miss liked pointing to magnetic letters, whereas Wild One was learning letter sounds by playing swat the letter.

Two years later, we are learning our sight words and Little Miss now likes (sometimes, when she's in the mood) to jump and dance and twirl.  I created a gigantic sight word board in the driveway (with each word written twice, so that the three of us could play simutaneously).  Little Miss said that she was going to be the teacher and tell us (Wild One and me) which word to jump on.   I have a feeling that as she grows-up , I'm going to be hearing a lot of Little Miss trying to take the lead and tell us all what to do!

The inspiration for this giant sight word stomp board was from the below hopscotch board.  You see, early last week, we played a game of hopscotch using -at words.  Little Miss was not at all interested.  She wanted to draw with chalk, Grandma and Grandpa bought them a huge box of vibrant sidewalk chalk.  She was all ready to draw, however she asked me not to take any pictures until she finished - and of course it rained. Meanwhile, Wild One kept asking, "are you done yet?  Can I play?".  I didn't think I'd ever finish the hopscotch board, he kept trying to jump on the board as I was creating it.

Oh, those red stains on the collar of Wild One's shirt is strawberry juice.  He ate almost 1/2 of a pound of strawberries!  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Relaxing Sensory Play

(4 Years)

We love playing with homemade play dough.  It is so much softer than the stuff in the yellow cans AND it stays soft for months longer.  If you have never made play dough, it's really quick - it only takes about fifteen minutes (see here for a quick tutorial).

Yesterday we started playing with our play dough, and then I remembered that for Christmas we bought two canisters of SAND from Brookstone (blah blah, I have not been compensated for this review, all opinions are my own, blah blah).  So, if you have never played with this stuff it's - - - mesmorizing.   You can mold it and then watch as it slowly breaks apart.  Here is a link to their video demonstrating how easy it is to mold and create, and then watching as the object slowly disintegrates back into grains of sand.
Little Miss is using the alphabet cookie cutters to sing the Alphabet Song, 
where as Wild One is pretending he is Sebastian and conducting an orchestra.

Little Miss really loves playing with this.  Each time we break this stuff out, she will sit at the table for an hour (more if I'd let her, I usually pull this out while I'm making dinner).  She likes making molds, pretending she's a sand teacher and I'm her student, creating designs in the sand, and adding objects to the sand to decorate it.


When Grandpa tried it, even he became mesmorized by it.  Little Miss was showing Grandpa what to do, since she is the sand teacher.  They are so cute!  He was only torn away from it, because Wild One was asking to play The Three Little Pigs with the puppets.

This stuff is all about imagination, relaxation and just letting go.  Yes, they are working on fine motor skills, pencil grips, hand-eye coordination, sensory development, but for now this is just for fun.  No hidden math lesson (although, I could easily hide a few shells and invite the kids to find and then count them).  Just fun.

Now, they claim that this is no mess and that it doesn't stick to you.  It's sand, ok SAND, and kids are messy so this can be messy (I always have to vacuum when we are finished).  It does stick to us, we can swish it off of us (like we can do with dry sand) to remove it, but it does stick.  Still with that said, it's a lot of fun.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

No Mess (Hopefully) Hidden Sight Words

(4 Years)

I am so excited to share this!  I found this AWESOME Squish and Seek Sight Words game on Playdough to Plato (thank you again Norin for posting your own spin on the squishy bag from Mama Smiles- the kids loved it!).  This immediately reminded me of Disney World's Winnie the Pooh ride's area that you swipe away the dripping honey to reveal the hidden Pooh characters.
We have been working on learning these seven sight words: the, has, his, her, with, and, said (see here for a look back at what we've done).  When I saw this, I knew we would be making one!  I decided to make the Squish and Seek game using the seven words that have learned plus three more (are, of and they).  We used large 12 x 18" sheets of construction paper - although you could always just tape two smaller sheets together.

Since it's St. Paddy's Week, I decided to have the kids mix yellow and blue.  I knew they would love seeing the colors blend together.

Now, here are the things that I wish I knew before working on this with the kids:
1.  Use a gallon freezer ziptop bag that does not have a logo or designs on it.  The designs will get in the way of the game- a word may get hidden under the logo or design.  The freezer bags are thicker, which will help guard against punctures.
2.  Definitely use packing tape to secure the opening of the ziptop bag closed.  Better safe, than cleaning up paint which could possibly go everywhere!
3.  Choose a light color construction paper, we chose purple for one of the stations and it was a little hard to read through the paint.
4.  Choose a light colored paint.  The green was too dark.
5.  I wish I measured the paint for you, but I just squirted yellow paint on one side and blue paint on the other.  It was too much paint though.  If you add too much, it makes it harder for the kids to move the paint away to find the hidden word- which was our case.
6.  Make sure you tape down the bag to the construction paper and then tape the construction paper down to the table.  Or else the bag and paper will be sliding all over.

Here's a short list of modifications that this one bag can be used for - just switch out the paper underneath and it's ready to go!  Talk about fast and convenient.
1.  Shapes or animals for little ones (I would have to paste the animals on the paper, as I have no artistic ability).
2.  Beginning letter sounds (write the word under the mat (ran) and then the letter on the answer key).
3.  CVC words.
4.  Number recognition (write the word under the mat and then the number on the answer key).
5.  Math facts (write two addends under the mat (2+3) and then the answer on the answer key).

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Then and Now (Part 2)

(4 Years Old)

Deep breath and a sigh.  I can't believe they are already four, four, FOUR, years old.
(2010 - One Month)

(2011- 13 Months)

(2012 - 25 Months) 

(2013 - 37 Months)

(2014 - 49 Months)