Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tot School: Fall Crafts

I was not feeling well this week, so we did almost no Tot School. J did help his sister do some crafts I had pre-organized, and we did have one new sorting activity which M worked on all week, and that was about it.

(For all of these craft projects, M's is on the left and J's is on the right.)

First the kids made paper plate pumpkins. They glued on squares of construction paper and added pipe cleaner vines.

Next, they made paper bag owls.

Then they made scarecrow puppets using craft sticks, fabric, buttons, and construction paper.

Finally, they made painted paper plate jack-o-lanterns. I drew the face on for M, but she painted the plate.

For the sorting activity, I found a set of plastic acorns at the Dollar store that were three shades of yellow/orange. M used tongs and her 3-part tray to sort the acorns by color. She loves sorting, and using shades of the same color made it more challenging for her.

That was our week in Tot School. Don't forget to go by Carissa's blog at 1+1+1=1 and see what other's did in their Tot School this week.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Muffin Tin Monday - Kebabs

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

This week's theme at Muffin Tin Monday is Kebabs. I decided to do a pumpkin patch with our kebabs, to tie in with the pumpkins we are working on this week.

I used my harvest muffin tin (leaf and pumpkin shapes) and some pumpkin picks I found at the store. Clockwise from back left corner the kids had turkey slices, cheddar and colby jack cheese cubes, tortellini in pesto cream sauce, carrots, blueberries and kidney beans. Simple but still fun!

Visit Michelle at Her Cup Overfloweth for more Muffin Tin Monday ideas from this week.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tot School: Fall Week

(M threw my camera this week, and made an already troubled lens much worse. Sorry for some very unfocused photos!)

We started our Tot School out this week with some new tools made by Daddy! First, he made a geoboard for M using a block of wood and some screws measured out 1" apart. M had a great time helping Daddy measure and put in the screws!

Next, he made M a mini clothesline. I had seen this activity on Itty Bitty Love (which is a great blog from a Montessori preschool teacher) and I wanted to try it with M. We used mini clothespins and foam stickers instead of felt pieces. This is a great way to work on the pincer grasp and fun, too! We counted and tried to make patterns while we attached the leaves and pumpkins.

Thanks to Nicole at Tired Need Sleep, we were able to make a pinecone bird feeder. She suggested using corn syrup in place of peanut butter and it worked very well.

We tried to paint leaf prints this week in several different methods, but M just was not into doing this project.

I tried to get the kids to play Bingo using fall pictures on their cards. J enjoyed it, but M just didn't get the point of the game. She would point out the matching pictures on her card, but wouldn't cover them with the pumpkin markers. We'll try this game again when she is older.

We read the book Nuts to You by Lois Ehlert for stART and made tissue paper and painted cotton ball squirrels.

We tie-dyed leaves using food coloring and coffee filters cut into leaf shapes. The full directions for this are over at Preschool Daze.

M also painted using her squirrel and owl cookie cutters. We had not done this in a long time, but I saw it on several blogs this week and remembered how much she enjoyed it. M loves anything involving paint!

Finally, we made a leaf crown using M's silk leaves and she was a fall princess for most of one day.

That was our fall-themed week at Tot School. Don't forget to go by Carissa's blog at 1+1+1=1 and see what other's did in their Tot School this week.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

stART: Nuts to You

This week I decided we’d participate in the stART project over at A Mommy’s Adventure. stART stands for story+art and requires reading a favorite book and doing an art project to go along with it. Since M loves books and art I thought this would be a fun project for her. I am not sure we’ll end up doing it every week, but we will be trying it out.

Today, we read “Nuts to You” by Lois Ehlert. M picked this out from the library the other day, as she is slightly obsessed with squirrels lately. We have a bunch that live in the oak trees in our yard, and she often watches them through the kitchen windows.

This book is about a city squirrel who loves to dig for acorns and nuts. He goes around the city visiting flower beds and bird feeders to find food. He even does some cute tricks to beg for food.

The first project we did has to do with the artwork in the book. It is all done in washes of colors in grays, brown, bronze and green. To tie in, I gave M a cutout of a squirrel holding a nut and had her collage over the top with green, brown and black tissue paper.

She loved this so much and wanted to do another squirrel so we also glued cotton balls to a squirrel's tail to make it fluffy and then painted the squirrel and his tail brown.

Don't forget to stop by A Mommy's Adventure to see what fun projects everyone else did for stART this week!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Open Ended Art: Fall Colors

This week's theme for Open Ended Art was fall colors of red, orange, yellow and brown. This week's project actually came about accidentally from another crafting project.

Originally, I wanted M to make painted leaf prints where you sponge-paint leaves and then lay them on white paper to see the leaf print.

However, after one try I realized this project takes WAY too much patience and attention to detail for a two year-old. Then, I thought we'd do the reverse and do some negative space painting. So, I taped some leaves down on the paper and I had M paint all around them.

She was less than enthused about this, and finally I realized she just wanted to be left alone to paint. So, I gave her a stack of white paper and several types of brushes. She happily spent an hour creating painting after painting, asking for paint refills three times, and eventually ending with the painted hand-prints she loves to make (and the accompanying mess).

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Simply Made Sunday: Mac and Cheese

For this week's Simply Made Sunday I had J help me make our Sunday night dinner of Macaroni and Cheese from scratch. I am trying to encourage him to help in the kitchen more, and this was an easy recipe for him to make.

You need:
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground red pepper (optional)
10 oz black extra sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1/2 (16 oz) package elbow macaroni, cooked

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Microwave milk at HIGH for 1 1/2 minutes. Melt butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute.

Gradually whisk in warm milk, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until thickened.

Whisk in salt, black pepper, 1 cup shredded cheese, and, if desired, red pepper until smooth; stir in pasta. Spoon pasta mixture into a lightly greased 2-qt. baking dish; top with remaining cheese.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly. (This recipe came from this month's Southern Living magazine.)

It turned out well, and J was proud to have done it almost all by himself!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Tot School: Leaves & Acorns

Fall has arrived (even if it's still warm here) and we wanted to celebrate with some leaf and acorn activities this week.

M made a fall wreath using a paper plate and some construction paper leaves. You can see my original post on how we did this here.

One of M's trays this week included some leaf and tree shaped stamps.

She also had a tray with fall-themed window clings which she put in the windows near her sensory table and playdough table.

Originally, I added pinecones and acorns to the leaves already in the sensory table for M to play with this week. I had purchased a variety of pumpkins (real ones) to use as a tabletop decoration in our dining room. M carefully took them down and added them one by one to her table, and so we ended up with pumpkins in the sensory table this week, also.

In honor of fall, we make pumpkin pie playdough. This smells yummy, but is NOT edible. I gave M a leaf, squirrel, acorn and owl cookie cutters and she had the best time playing with this all week. The recipe is here.

We painted pinecones. I know most people make pinecone bird feeders, but since M has a peanut allergy, and I can't find a recipe to make them that doesn't include peanut butter, we just went with painting them. We'll add some glitter and some ribbon and use them as hanging decorations.

For Open-Ended Art this week M made tissue paper leaf mosaics.

I cut leaves out of craft foam. We labeled them with the numbers 1 to 12 and the letters to spell "leaves". We stuck them to the wall, and then took turns making a leaf "fall" and calling out what letter or number was on the leaf. This was a fun way to work on numeral recognition and some of the letters M knows.

We made leaf prints using an orange crayon. I had to guide M's hand on this one, as she doesn't press hard enough. However, she loved it so much we ended up making six pages of prints!

Then, we glued leaves we had collected from our yard onto paper for a leaf collage.

We also stuck some leaf-shaped stickers onto paper, read some of our fall and Halloween books, and hosted a sleepover to celebrate J's birthday.

That was our fall-themed week in Tot School. Be sure to visit Carisa's blog at 1+1+1=1 to see what everyone else did this week.

Next week we will continue with some leaf activities, and do some projects with squirrels, acorns and scarecrows, so it's a mixed-up fall theme week. (I had to fit all those fun projects in somewhere!)