Sunday, October 19, 2014

October Sensory Box

Joey enjoys turning his sensory box into a make shift kitchen. This month their are beans, a toy pumpkin, gords and counting blocks. He poured and stirred the beans making sure all other items were out of the box. He used the pumpkin to make pumpkin pie and we pretended to eat it. He also spent time counting the blocks and the beans.
Remember the purpose of a sensory box is to explore texture, pouring, scooping. From there it is up to their imagination! Let them explore and pretend!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Five Little Pumpkins

Today Joey and I read Five Little Pumpkins and acted out the story with some props: felt pumpkins and a toy fence. 
This is a great way to build reading comprehension. By acting out the story with props you must first listen to the story and look at the pictures carefully. Then you must remember what was read. These are all skills needed for comprehension. Building the foundation for comprehension during reading aloud time with your child will help tremendously once they begin reading on their own. 
Acting out stories is a fun way to make stories come alive for children. You will find the stories you read and take a step further become your childrens' favorite books. Allow them to change the story after acting it out a few times. This away they are creating their own stories by making connections and using their imagination. Find a story to bring alive today! 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Apple Picking

We headed to the country to an apple orchard for a morning of picking. My boys love "farming" so we hit up every season to find local farms. 
I feel like they learn so much by getting out and doing, just breathing the country air and seeing wild turkeys on the road. I sometimes wonder if we should move to the country for our boys but this mama is a city girl! 
We pick and we sample. We learn the best apples to pick and the best way to pick the apples. We work hard and sweat but no one notices because it is fun to work when you are learning! 
Check out to find farms in your area. We pick: strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, apples and pumpkins.

Apple Counting

My little joey is a great counter but we are working on identifying the digit that represents the number. We started by drawing a tree on a large sheet of paper. I knew to include him in this process. If I had drawn a cute tree and had apples all set up he would not want to participate but including him in the process ensured his willingness and excitement. 
We drew the tree and some apples, his name and some numbers . At the bottom I drew "baskets" with numbers in them. Then I pulled out the apples I had ready with numbers on them. I told Joey we were going to pick the apples from the tree and put them in the basket on the matching digit. At first he said, "no, you do it." To which I complied. I did it from number 1 to 3 when he stopped me to finish for me. He is very much an observer. He needed to see what I wanted not just hear directions. He happily matched the numbers from the Apple to the basket time and again. Then he told me what to do and praised my good work. 
He is a very different learner than my oldest, Jacob, and I have really enjoyed getting to know him as a learner! The blog pictures are not as "pretty" as they were with Jacob but the learning is just a rich, if not more so!

Apple Sensory Box

The two little guys enjoyed playing with dry rice, foam apples, red cotton balls, acorns, silk flowers, walnuts, etc. They used spoons and bowls from our play kitchen taking the sensory box a step further in play- making Apple pie and Apple sauce. 
I have had comments asking about how I control the mess of sensory box. My answer is I don't. Yes, my kids make a huge mess but hey they are kids when don't they make a huge mess? I am sitting and playing with them so I do not let them purposefully just dump but you cannot expect them to Keep every grain of rice in the box. I put the box away when we are finished and reserve the sensory box for Structured Play time. 

Pouring and dumping, feeling different textures their hands that is what Sensory Play is all about. You do not have to be too creative in setting it up, leave that to the kids. They will quickly figure out how to play with the box. 

Fall is here! September is Apple Month

This month we read Ten Apples Up on Top and practiced tricks with a foam Apple on our head. This is a fun and silly story but helps to illustrate what is real and what is pretend. This is something important to start presenting to children at an early age: could that really happen? Discerning reality is a critical thinking skill that is never too early to instill. 
We had a lot of fun being silly with the apple and trying to out trick each other. If you can find the book it is a a fun early reader. It is hard to find as it is out of print. This is one of Dr. Seuss' first books before he started using the pseudonym, Dr. Seuss. It follows his format of easy reader/rhyming words. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bunny Foo Foo

Spring is here but you would not have known it today. We had snow flurries all day! I needed to bring a little spring into our air because the snow made me grouchy! I was singing Little Bunny Foo Foo to our baby when I remembered a cute marshmallow bunny I had seen on No Time For Flashcards. I thought it would be a fun activity for us to do to lift our moods.

I made a model then called the boys to create their own. I did draw an outline for them but they used the glue themselves. 

Our little Joey beats to his own drum. He outlined the bunny with marshmallows but did not do so with any kind of order. I love to watch them work because they are so very different. Joey does not always want to join us but he is starting to come around a little. 

 And there is Jake working right around the line in order. He worked slowly because he was very busy tasting the goods. Joey ate them too. Joey loves them and says the word marshmallows so funny! We just kept asking him to say it over and over. I think we will all say, "marsh-mewows" from this day forward!

Such a fun and cute project but also a great way to practice motor skills!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wild Kratts

My 4 year old LOVES Wild Kratts on PBS Kids. I wanted to make his obsession with this cartoon to become educational. He was playing Wild Kratts after watching the show on a daily basis so I decided to make him a costume with some accessories. I was able to find some printables on PBS's website. I printed them and laminated them. The Creature Power Suit is made out of felt. It is a vest that can go on over anything that he is wearing. He can change his creature power and there is a pocket in the suit where he can keep the other "powers."
I wanted to take it a step further by making his play educational. I printed out a paper with 4 boxes; Animal, diet, animal type, and habitat. After he plays we do a debriefing in the HQ- Headquarters. We discuss the animal and some of the traits. Since he is not writing yet, I printed out cards that fit into the boxes. This helps him by being able to choose from a group of options. 
He was a "Whale" in his Creature Power Suit so he placed the card on the board. Then he picked the cards that matched the traits of a whale. He is able to define the traits as well as identify them. He really is interested in animals and I attribute a lot of his interest on the show Wild Kratts. I feel that the best way to help our children learn is to take what interest they have.  Because of, dare I say, a TV show my 4 year old can now articulate whether an animal is herbivore, carnivore or omnivore. He can describe the habitat and tell what class of animal it is. 

Little Brother got involved in all the fun too! I took their interest in a TV show and created Structured Play. This is what Structured Play is all about and your child should not be the wiser. All they know is they are having fun!

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