Friday, January 29, 2010

stART: Corduroy

For stARt this week, we read the book Corduroy by Don Freeman.M loved this book, and we've read it repeatedly this week.

For a simple story extender, we made Corduroy. I cut a bear shape out of paper, drew on a face, and M colored him brown. She then glued on his green overalls and glued buttons onto his overalls. For most of the story, Corduroy is missing a button, but M wanted to be sure he had 2 buttons on his overalls like at the end. I wanted M to use a green crayon and rub his overalls over a piece of corrugated cardboard to give it a corduroy texture, but she wasn't interested in that step.

For more stART projects, go to A Mommy's Adventure.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pinewood Derby

J is very involved in Cub Scouts. One of the annual events is the Pinewood Derby. The boys all get the same kits which contain a block of balsam wood, wheels and nails (for axles). They have to create their own cars (size/weight restrictions apply) and then they race them. This year J spent quite a bit of time on his own and with his Dad designing, carving, painting and building his car. We discussed quite a bit about aerodynamics, air friction, weight distribution and velocity when he was designing his car.

The race was today, and J won not only for his age division, but the overall championship as well. He had the fastest car in 7 of the 8 heats he ran today. He was ecstatic, and it was a nice lesson on how the time and attention he paid to doing the car right made a difference in the results.

Way to go J!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tot School: Arctic Animals

Tot School

This week's Tot School focused on arctic animals; particularly penguins and polar bears. M loves penguins, they are her favorite animal every time we go to the zoo, so this was a fun unit for her.

M did a color-by-number penguin I found at Making Learning Fun. She refused to fully color the penguin, but colored each number instead.

We also did a polar bear math worksheet and a penguin one, where M used a bingo marker to dab the circles as I called out the number. (She insisted I color the penguin for her.)

We also did a tangram polar bear. We don't own actual tangrams, so I cut them out of colored paper (foam would have held up better). She loved these, so we'll do more tangrams in the future.

Since M loves her bingo markers so much, we also did a bingo marker letter P and penguin. She was so very careful to make sure the marker went into the circles exactly.

For art we made two different penguins. Both are cut from construction paper and glued together. Of course, we had to have googly eyes. M loves to do her handprints, so we made handprint wings (idea from Just For Fun) on one of them.

For gross motor activities this week we waddled like penguins and lumbered about on all fours like polar bears.

I made M a sensory bin using her water table and ice cubes. She spent over three hours (as long as it took the ice to melt) playing with these. She had plastic animals, scoops and spoons to play with. J played with her and they had so much fun pretending their animals were in the arctic. I did give her gloves, but she preferred to play barehanded most of the time.

The Shafer Family did a great mini unit on penguins several weeks ago, and they have many fun ideas we didn't get time to do! Be sure to check it out if you are looking for penguin ideas.

That was our arctic animal week in Tot School. Visit Carisa's blog at 1+1+1=1 to see what others did this week. Next week we are focusing on fish.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tot School: Hats & Gloves

Tot School

Over the last two months very little Tot School has been done around here. Some of it has been due to the holidays, but mostly it's because I have had horrible morning sickness and I just haven't had the energy to plan out the activities we normally do. However, I know how much M loves doing her trays and her craft projects and I am making an effort to get back to the planned weeks that she seems to really thrive on. So, this week our theme was hats & gloves - two things M really loves right now.

I am trying to add go-along books that fit our themes whenever I can. This week we read Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina; The Mitten by Jan Brett; Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton; and The Three Little Kittens by Paul Galdone.

We learned about the words pairs by talking about pairs of gloves and shoes, and then moving on to pairs of hands and feet. M loves this, and all week has been pointing out pairs anytime we see two of anything.

I gave M a letter M mitten worksheet from Kidssoup. She had to color in the mittens with an M, and leave the others blank. I don't normally do worksheets with M, but she loved this one. After I showed her how on the first two mittens, she finished it in just a few minutes on her own, and was so proud of her work. I may add an occasional worksheet in here or there for her from now on.

For math, I cut out 10 mittens from colored foam and wrote the numerals 1-10 on them. First we worked on patterning the mittens by color and ordering them by number. Then I gave M some jingle bells and we worked on putting the correct number of bells on each mitten. She loved this and kept asking to "do gloves" all week.

For art this week we made a hat collage using pictures cut from magazines and printed clip art.

We also made fuzzy mittens to go along with our reading of The Mitten.

We also did some free art by painting with forks, feathers and bath puffs. M loves painting, so I always try to work some in each week. (You can see she still insists on painting her face each time. This time she told me she had a "mustache.")

For dramatic play M dressed up in various hats and gloves all week. Her favorites are her opera gloves in pink and purple.

We also played a hat bean bag toss game, which I didn't get a picture of since I was busy supervising. We laid the hats across a straight board between two chairs, and M tossed bean bags at them and tried to knock them off. This was a fun, if loud, game!

That was our hats and gloves week in Tot School. Next week we are working on penguins, polar bears and igloos. To see what others have done in Tot School this week, be sure to check out Carisa's blog at 1+1+1=1.

Friday, January 8, 2010

stART: The Mitten

For our stART project (hosted over at A Mommy's Adventure) this week we read The Mitten by Jan Brett. She is one of my kids' favorite authors, and M loved this book. This is an adorable story about how a lost mitten becomes a warm, cozy home for variety of woodland animals.
Following the story, M made her own fuzzy mittens. The first mitten, she was content just to glue on the cotton balls I had pulled apart for her. The second, however, she insisted on pulling the cotton balls apart herself, and it's a much chunkier mitten! She decorated them with snowflake foam stickers, and I drew the lines on the pink "cuffs" before she glued them on.

Ths and other fun mitten ideas can be found at Kidssoup.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Homemade Rock Band

It rained the other day, and so J and M had to spend the day entertaining themselves inside. We are very blessed that J is an excellent big brother, and despite the 8-year age difference, he is always willing to play with his sister. This day, they decided to form a rock band.

They made instruments: J used his guitar, but M's drums were created by turning her water table sideways and using markers as drum sticks. They named their band "Rock on Home" and spent the day making up their own songs.

After dinner, they treated us to a concert complete with stage, curtain, programs, costumes, signs and 8 songs. They had so much fun doing it, and we really enjoyed their creativity.