Monday, February 28, 2011

Mother Goose Mondays

Have you guys figured out my day to post is Monday?? I have this idea that I want to do a nursery rhyme every Monday, but I don't know if I will be able to stick to it... we shall see!

First, I think every home should have a good copy of Mother Goose rhymes. (It really shocked me as a teacher, how kids today don't know nursery rhymes.)  Here are a few of my favorites:
This copy has beautiful artwork. I just love M.E.!

This was the copy we grew up with. Very Traditional.

We got this copy as a Christmas present. 
Can't go wrong with Disney. It is cute.

One of our favorite times of day around our house is when it is time to put on our shoes. The boys love saying the word shoe, picking up shoes, wearing shoes. I think they know they will get out of the house if they have their shoes on!!

So This week's Mother Goose Monday is:

There was an Old Women who Lived in a Shoe
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe;
She had so many children she didn't know what to do.
She gave them some broth and two slices of bread;
She kissed them all fondly, then sent them to bed.

First Read through: 
Older Children: Go over vocabulary. What is broth? Kissing Fondly? etc.
Younger Children: Have them sit in your lap as you read this. Then read it again and: Touch their feet when you say shoe. Shrug your shoulders and make the 'I don't know' arms for this poor sad old lady. And kiss them fondly!

Activities to extend this nursery rhyme:
Shoe Matching:
Grab pairs of their shoes, mom's shoes, dad's shoes, baby shoes, boots. Put in a pile and have them sort the shoes and see if they can find matching pairs! The older the child, the more pairs you should have!
Cardboard Shoe:
Draw the shape of a boot onto cardboard and cut it out. 
Older Children:
Punch holes around the outside to practice 'sewing' with yarn, ribbon, or a shoe lace.
Look through magazines and glue pictures of children onto the shoe.
Younger children:
Finger paint on the shoe. 
Use the shoe as a puppet as you read.

Using Food:
Toast bread and use a shoe shaped cookie cutter, or cut out your own boot shape.
Have soup for lunch and call it broth!

Bridging the Connections:
I don't know if yall read as many books as we do, but there is always a way to make connections in the books you read daily. 
We are on a BIG No David, by David Shannon; kick around here.  So, as I am reading it for the 22nd time today. I am asking questions like, "Where are David's shoes?" or "remember that poor old woman who lived in her shoe?" But it can be any book. Spot all the shoes. Point to them. Even talk about how different jobs/weather need different kinds of shoes. (Fireman, basketball star, ballet, rain boots, snow shoes, etc.)

Seriously, who knew talking about shoes would consume my day. But the things you do for your children. I mean, when will I stop shouting airplane every time I see one?? 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Spice Rack Bookshelves: UPDATE

Unlike Suzie's boys, who love books, Carter hasn't really cared about them too much. He hasn't hated them, but I could have gone a day with out reading and he would not have cared.

Well, apparently, even little babies are seduced by the pressures of marketing! (Should that last sentence have an exclamation point?) Our new IKEA spice racks really show off that brightly-colored cover art! It really pulls him in! And the fact that they are low to the ground, right at his level makes them easy to grab, all on his own! He is OBSESSED. Success!!

The books are now his first stop in the morning! This can make it difficult to get him dressed though.

He even has three favorite books! Who is this kid?


He brings these to me constantly!

This book is brought to me lots too...but he can only make it through a few pages right now. I think he really likes the raccoons though!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

You Don't have an Easel? (Shamrock Painting, FAIL)

Did you know that when your little one paints (or draws, or writes, etc.) vertically vs. horizontally they are working different muscles? Yes, yes, I know you can't believe it. It is true. ;)

So switch it up! Hang that painting paper up! We don't have an easel, but that is okay. Carter is still little and needs it low to the ground. And sometimes it is more fun to paint in a place that you usually don't....or can't.

Try painting vertically:
  • In the kitchen, bathroom or walk in shower, where you most likely have easy-to-clean floors.
  • On a window, inside or outside, and let the sunshine brighten up the painting.
  • On different surfaces with different textures. Like a tree or a fence!
I actually wanted to do a little Shamrock Painting. FAIL!!! Who am I kidding? We are still too young for anything like that. But here is a look at our attempt:

All prepared...ready for Wake-Up.

This is our shamrock-potato.

With Carter not in his high-chair, things got

I had no free hands for picture taking. Sorry.

Yes, there are a few shamrocks. All by me! Ha ha!

Needless to say, we got pretty messy. Then, he was after the camera. I had to get it out of sight!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sand and Water Table- the 411

Sensory table, Water table, Sand table, store bought or homemade.... you can call it whatever you want, but the benefits are all the same.

One of the greatest benefits of a sensory table is that it stimulates the sense of touch.

Some children may need to be encouraged to touch things they may not want to, while others just jump right in. Sensory tables are a great way to let children play independently and make up their own rules.  Try to avoid asking questions to your child while they are engaged at the sensory table. Just let them discover on their own and see what they make up. 

Think about all the benefits:
Fine motor skills, social skills, creativity in play, discovery in beginning science skills, cause and effect, the list could go on forever.

Sarah posted pictures of her sensory table that had cereal and ice in it. I was at ELP last week, and their sensory table had red and pink shredded paper in it, and the children were pretending they were at a party throwing it in the air. And not one teacher said stop, you are making a mess.
I think the messier the sensory table the better!

 However, I did have to jump in and tell him not to throw sand. (You can imagine how unhappy that made him.)

Our sand and water table comes with a lid, and an umbrella. (It was on sale at our Sam's Club last week for $39.99.) But if you don't want to buy one, you could always just use your tupperware, or an under the bed box!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

DIY: Fine-Motor Games

This week, Carter has been hard at work!

A few recent events, such as Carter's Birthday Party/Parent Party, Chinese New Year and making a playroom for Carter, have left us with some wonderful trash, errr, I mean treasures!

Disclaimer: I'm not a Hoarder. However, when I have my Teaching Goggles on, random items may briefly be turned into a game or toy for my child before making way to the trash can. (A running joke of my husband's is that I need to write a Poor-Man's Guide to Children's Toys.)

1. I took some styrofoam from our IKEA dresser packaging (see above pic) and added some grass and blue sky colored with marker. Outlet covers made some clouds and birthday candle holders made the flowers!

Carter can pull them out and put them in a cup to work his pincer grasp!

I tried to encourage him to push them back in...but it wasn't happening.

Use this to teach sorting. Encourage your child to decide if the objects go on the grass or in the sky! (A bit advanced for this age though.)

2. Chocolate-box sorter and plastic "mini-adult drink" cups.

The goal here is to try to place the cup in the sorter. You'd be surprised how difficult this can be with those little chubby hands!! :)

He does really well sometimes and other times he can get really frustrated.

3. Christmas clothespins and a Baby Wipe Box

This is really self-explanatory, but the cool thing about this is that it used to be SO hard for him. He wanted to be able to do this so bad but he just couldn't get the clothespins in there. He would get so frustrated. However, two nights ago he got them in, all of them!!

(sorry for sideways)

Now, he is obsessed with this game. Today he played it 4 times in a row!! It still takes him a while but he is getting much faster!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Learning Colors

I have had two friends in the past few weeks tell me some great ideas on how they got their children to learn their colors.

One great idea: Colored Paper plates! Pick a color for the day, or the week. (Eat on them too!)
Next, go on a color scavenger hunt in magazines! Cut or rip out the pictures and glue them on to the paper plate of the same color. When the plate is full, play a game of ispy and then hang up some where in your house that your child will see it. 
Don't forget foods that go along with your color of the day or week!


Get your camera handy and get ready for a day of dress up!
1. Pick a color!
2. Dress your child in that color!
3. Find toys, books, stuffed animals, blankets, etc. (Are you following me yet??)
4. Make your child sit with all these items and take a picture!
5. Print this picture
6. Put them in one of those cheap flip photo books, or make your own bag book!
My kids were asleep already! Sorry!
After you do all this, just think about all the things you could work on with this one picture!! Ask questions like: Can you find the ___, Now go bring me the ____, What sound does that make?, What color are you wearing?, the possibilities are endless! (Don't forget to play ispy!!)

I plan on taking a picture of each child alone, and add some of their favorite things in the pictures to change it up!

These ideas come to you from my sweet friends Tara and Allison!! Thanks ladies!
Color Word Songs: I have the CD of these songs by Frog Street Press.  Frog Street Press sells a book at the teacher supply store, and you can print these songs onto colored card stock! Learning is 100 times more fun when you can sing while you learn too!
If you want to 'borrow' my CD and live near me, please feel free to ask me for it!

And lastly, Happy Valentine's Day! Need a last minute craft?? Check out this beautiful artwork done completely by Luke!
All you need is paint, a toilet paper or paper towel roll, and some paper! Fold the toilet paper roll to look like a heart, and then let your child stamp away! Once again, not my idea, but hey... no need to reinvent the wheel around here! Want more specific directions: Daily Candy

Have a great day, and do something special for that little loved one! (We are doing heart shaped pancakes and heart shaped canadian bacon! I know, I know... I'm sickening.) I just love sharing the love on Valentine's Day! 

Friday, February 11, 2011

More Bookshelf Ideas

Suz's post about her Gutter Bookshelves got me so excited! I thought, "I can do that!! I HAVE to do that." Then I recalled I live in China and we don't have houses with gutters and I wouldn't have a clue how to find a place that sells home improvement goods.

I was about to give up, then decided to browse "bookshelves" on Have you heard of it? It's new to me. Basically a search engine of pictures that you can "pin" onto a virtual bulletin board. A great way to collect many ideas for decorating, baking, crafting (etc.) all together. Like the magazine collages from way-back-when!

Here are some that I liked:

Cool. Couldn't happen.

Amazing. Dream on.

Practical. Do-able. However, I really liked the idea of the cover being displayed and this hides them.

Getting closer. I see this coming down on top of Carter.

Pre-made plate rack? Now you're talking!!

IKEA spice racks for less than $3.00. SOLD! I bought 6 to be hung this weekend!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Finger Paint with....Finger Paints!

For Carter's little birthday shin-dig, he contributed to the food table by adding some colorful decor.

Wearing mommy's shirt as a smock, let the painting begin!

A little smear here...

A little taste there...

Throw the Modern Art into IKEA frames and there you have it!

What a fun year (and a month) this has been! We love you Carter!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Valentine Crafts

Well, today's crafts are mostly for you!
I was iced inside and my crafty side was dying to come out since my husband was home and could play with the twins.

I am also cheap, frugal, thrifty, whatever word you want to call it.... I was Internet shopping for Valentine shirts to wear to a party, and they were so expensive. (Well expensive when you have to buy 2). So I decided to make my own.  I made 3 shirts for $10.00, all supplies included.
You need:
Heat-n-Bond (iron on adhesive) I found it at Wal-mart for $2.47
Shirts (mine were $2.00 on clearance at Wal-mart)
Fabric ( I bought 1/3 of a yard for $1.67)
Thread if you want a top stitch--- totally optional

It is so easy.
Extremely easy.
Just find a picture of your design that you want on your shirt. Or draw your own like I did. You could use hearts for a little girl! But I made ties for my little men!
Step by step EASY directions can be found here: Jones Design Company
My model, not very happy about sitting still.
I decided it needed a top stitch. But, honestly, my top stitch looks like my child did it. I mean, lets be really honest, I had to google how to thread my sewing machine before I got started.  And then I googled how to sew a zig zag stitch. It said practice on scrap cloth. I am too impatient for that, I jumped right in. I mean, it's a shirt they will wear for one day. And besides, their friends can't talk and tell them that their mommy messed up their shirts.

So there you have it! I made 3 shirts (one for the host of our Valentine Party) in less than 30 mins. Top Stitch included in that time line.

And for when you want to get messy with your little one:
Next one I make, I will put the palms together and let the fingers fan out to make the heart part. But for wiggly boys, this turned out pretty cute! (Thanks Parker for letting us come over and paint!)

I doubt my husband or father in law read this blog. But I actually made this into a flat card for them for Valentine's Day. I am mailing it to their office so they have something special to open. Hudson is obsessed with his Grandpa. Like 4am wakes up asking for 'Papa'. I think this will make Papa and Daddy really happy when they open it!
Sorry Rita and mom if you guys are reading this. 
No sneak peek at what you will be getting!

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