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Category: Alphabet

Learning Letters

I’ve mentioned before that Sweet Pea (4 yrs old) is learning his letters in preschool. We’ve been working on them here at home, too, but in the form of play. Here’s one way that’s fun for him!

Most days Sweet Pea likes to get out the sign language cards (which have a large letter on them and pictures of words beginning with the letter) and the mail box that I made for him. He likes to put the cards in the mailbox as well as scatter them throughout the house! (fine motor coordination, gross motor, too!)

I have made this into a game, because I was a little tired of the cards ultimately being strewn about the house as he ‘delivers’ the mail. Now when he’s done playing he says each letter and describes the pictures on the cards as he puts them into the mailbox. (Now, I know this isn’t terribly fun for me, but he seems to love it and the repetition that goes with it!)

A bonus from this activity is that we have learned a few signs that we use! Sweet Pea loves this because it’s “our secret talking tool”!

Winter Letters

Sweet Pea, my 4 year old, has been learning his letters in preschool. Many times he’ll come home and write them in the air with his finger for me when I call out a letter which I know he knows.

The other day we had just enough snow to cover the driveway, so while we were playing outside I decided to see if he truly recognizes his letters!

This could very easily be done with numbers and lower case letters, too, and for any age that needs some letter recognition practice. It is also a short enough activity to do with younger kids, as once the snow is gone it would be quite hard to replace to shovel again. (Unless it’s snowing!)

This would be great gross motor practice for the older kiddos to do it themselves, and you could also practice name recognition if your child’s name is short enough to fit on your driveway! You just need snow! (But now the snow can go away, I mean, it’s almost April – we did this on March 24th!)

Shaving cream play

Friday I posted about revisiting the geoboard with Sweet Pea after Cutie Pie had set it aside for some time. Another activity I decided to revisit recently was shaving cream play, although this time I re-introduced it to both boys after trying it here about a year and a half ago. (fine motor, sensory play)


Sweet Pea loved it! At first there was no color, I just let him feel it with his hands, but after I added color he really loved it! His tray of shaving cream was used as a road for his monster truck, a writing tablet which he used to make O’s and L’s as well as lots of swirls and curly-q’s and quickly became brown!

He wasn’t afraid of getting his hands ‘yucky’ at all! I actually think he had as much fun washing everything off after his playtime as he did during it!

Cutie Pie never really liked getting his hands ‘messy’ unless there was a purpose behind it. To just sit and play in a tray of shaving cream never went over well with him when I first introduced him to this. This time, however, he really got into it. I think having done some shaving cream writing practice in UPK last year helped!

He didn’t just drive his cars and trucks through it, make designs, swirl colors and make hills, we also tried a game of tic tac toe and made shaving cream cards. He was actually pretty good at tic tac toe!

Next time I will get out some kitchen utensils to run through and fill up with shaving cream as well as try painting with it on the easel, or maybe even just use it to create a cloud in a jar!

Be Safe: If you introduce shaving cream play to your kiddos please be safe and don’t let them put it in their mouths or eyes.

Learning your name

Sweet Pea is now 4 and I find myself repeating activities I did with Cutie Pie quite often now. In some ways it’s fun to revisit them, but in other ways I think Sweet Pea may learn differently than Cutie Pie so I’m trying some new things, too. I’m sharing today the process I used to help Sweet Pea learn his name and am wondering what methods you have used in the past or are using now to reinforce this with your own kiddos.

Free Stock Photo: Pencil Crayons 1. Image: 159065

Sweet Pea is starting to learn his letters in preschool using the Handwriting without Tears method and has so far learned L, F and E. At home he’s still not very interested in writing, but we have been working on recognizing his name.


This time around, I wrote out Sweet Pea’s real name on paint chips then cut them to fit together like a puzzle. At first he loved it, like holding the letters of his name was something mysterious. But now he doesn’t like to play with them now that he’s done it a few times.

However, after realizing he was learning letters at school I wrote his name on the chalkboard and set the paint chip letters below. He got excited and wanted to match them with his paint chip letters (I was hoping he’d try to write it himself.) We did that several times and now he’s bored with that, too.

Then, a few days later, I tried writing the letters of his name with just my finger on the chalkboard, leaving a clean line through some remaining dust. He picked up the chalk and traced his name! Progress!

He’s at the point now where he definitely recognizes his name and the letters in his name when they are not spelling his name (if that makes any sense!) although he still doesn’t like to write. It took a while to get here, but like I said, he learns differently than his brother.

Like I mentioned above, I’m very interested in learning how you’ve worked with your kiddos to learn their names and letters. Any other fun learning methods I can try with Sweet Pea?

Crushed cereal craft

If you read my post yesterday you know that I had sweet colorful cereal in my home a little while back. We didn’t just lace with the cereal, we played with glue, too!


First Sweet Pea placed some cereal into a plastic baggie, which I sealed for him. Then he smashed it with his hand until it was all small crumbs. Pretty, isn’t it?

I outlined Sweet Pea’s name in pencil, then Sweet Pea traced it with a bead of glue. (letter recognition, fine motor coordination, name recognition)

Sweet Pea then sprinkled the colored crumbs over the glue and pressed lightly. (slightly more gross motor, fine motor, more letter recognition)

I couldn’t have imagined how much Sweet Pea liked this activity before we started! The result was kind of cute, too, and he was very proud to tape it up on the wall! (No, his real name is not Sweet Pea…he had so much fun that I had to make one too!)

Chalk Shape Game

Cutie Pie made up this outdoor chalk game last May, when I originally posted about it, so I cannot take credit for it at all!

First, make sure you have several different colors of chalk.

Next, draw a few shapes with each color of chalk.

Finally, call out a color and shape and watch the kiddos run to find the correct place to stand!

We made this a little more difficult once or twice by adding a letter or number inside the shape!

We made this more simple by drawing one shape in different colors, calling out the color to run to and by drawing different shapes in the same color, calling out the shape to run to. These were perfect revisions to this game to get Sweet Pea interested. But we also made all one shape and put in different numbers (like in the pic above) or different letters!

Simple, but so fun, and especially neat because Cutie Pie came up with it on his own!

Making letters

We were playing with the Boomwhackers a few days ago when Sweet Pea stopped making music with them, then suddenly ran into the other room. I followed and saw him laying them out ‘making letters’! I was so impressed and stood watching for a few minutes before running to grab my camera!
As he created each letter he told me what he was making!
All this time I was thinking he just wasn’t ‘getting’ letters!
He had me fooled, don’t you think?

With this last one he said “This is a T for Tricia and that is you!” Lovin’ it!

 

Dive to the Bottom Experiment

 Another experiment my boys loved from Awesome Ocean Science was Dive to the Bottom. I swear, this is such a great book. The instructions are simple and everything is explained in terms my boys understand! I love it! (And no, I’m not being paid to say that!) It’s also all about water, which seemed to be our theme for letter W week! Through this experiment my boys used coordination, followed directions and hypothesized (used scientific thinking!)

Materials:
2 drinking glasses
fresh water
salt
food coloring
eyedropper

Experiment instructions:
  • Fill the drinking glass half way with water. 
  • In another glass mix 1 tbsp salt, 1/4C water and several drops of food coloring.
  • Use the eye dropper to add a few drops of the salt water mixture to the fresh water, a few drops at a time.
Cutie Pie thought the fresh water would simply turn green. Sweet Pea thought we were making a yummy drink!
What was really happening? The salt water mixture is denser than the fresh water, so it drops to the bottom! Now, go explore what density means!
 (We did not receive compensation for sharing this experiment or book or the link provided. I am sharing this book simply because my boys are enjoying the experiments in it and I think you may, too! Please check out this book for more experiments! I really think you’ll like it!)

Letter W

Stock Image - Water drop
© Photographer: Kirsty Pargeter | Agency: Dreamstime.com

Whale. Watch. Wonder. Wet. Well. Water. We. Wish.

Social/Emotional: 
library trip searching for W’s in book titles and getting books on water and the ocean
Math:
measured and poured water for experiments (also fine/gross motor)
Science:
multiple educational videos/DVDs on the ocean and ocean mammals
ocean experiments using water
Literacy:
reading about oceans, water, ocean mammals
recognizing the letter W
Art:
open-ended watercolor painting
Physical:
we went on several nature walks

Throughout W week we talked a lot about words beginning with W, having a W in them and ending in W (that was hard!) Of course, we ended up talking mostly about water, wet, whales and all the wonder of the oceans and ocean mammals! We also had so much fun with the ocean experiments found in Awesome Ocean Science! by Cindy A. Littlefield, Williamson Publishing. (As I shared yesterday, Grandpa sent the boys some books and newspaper clippings about the ocean while he was in California recently which fit right in with the letter W – water, well, whale.)

Deep water currents, upwelling and hot spots are some of the water/ocean topics we’ve explored through experiments so far and there are plenty more! I’ll only be sharing a few with you this week in hopes that maybe you’ll spur some interest in this wet topic in your kiddos!

In addition to identifying words with the letter W in them, we also talked a lot about how the letters M and W are similar and different. Finally we started holding our first three fingers up whenever we said W in the alphabet, saying the water is held in W like in cups. I don’t know if this little idea will stick with them or not, but for not they are beginning to acknowledge the difference between the two!

Organizing Mission Week 10 – New Look!

OK. I did it. I researched. I scanned. I examined. I experimented. I learned a little html. I tried. I failed. Then I finally found a simple, boy-ish look that would work for my little blog here. At least, I think it works! So far there’s been no funny business going on with my sidebar or fonts! That’s how I’ve spent a lot of my kids’ rest time the past couple of weeks. I feel much more organized in this area, although in the process of organizing this some things that were organized are on their way to being not organized! Guess I’ll work on that this week!

Anyway, sit back, look around. Everything is pretty much the same, but in different spots. The biggest changes, I think, are the search tool and buttons to share posts in the upper right of the sidebar, the labels along the top so you can find alphabet ideas and science experiments (hopefully) more quickly and a few categories along the side as well.

You’ll still find my continuing slew of alphabet learning ideas as well as preschool level science experiments and experiences with organization and ramblings mixed in for good measure.

Let me know if something doesn’t work! I have some great ideas that I’ve been waiting to share with you so check back soon (and keep checking back!) And/or you can follow via e-mail, facebook or twitter, too!

Color Game (repost)

This is a repost of a simple color game! Since this was posted last year we’ve played this game in stores with black and white floors, too!

Our church basement has a color pattern on the floor. One Sunday I was delayed after church and they were getting antsy. I found them playing a game that Hubby had created.

He’d call out a color and the boys would have to jump to it touching as few other colors as possible. They had a blast and wanted to play again the following Sunday. I love simple games that keep our boys occupied!

GFC is going away

With the pending departure of GFC I’ve tried to get Mom is the Only Girl on Facebook and Twitter going well to give you an alternative to staying in touch so you don’t miss any of the science experiments or alphabet learning ideas and activities I share. I’m working on Google+, too. I’m a little technically challenged still, so bear with me! Any tips are welcome!

Please like me on facebook! And/or follow me on twitter, @OnlyGirlBlogger.

Thanks!

Letter F

Fingers. Friends. Fun.

I have been pretty behind in updating Sweet Pea’s letter of the week posts. He hasn’t been easy to figure out as far as what clicks to make him want to learn about his letters. Here is what we did in the fall for letter F, though!

Thank you Homeschool Share
for this print out!

Frog. Frown. Family. Friends. Find. Finger. These are just some of the words we talked a lot about for the week of F! I knew Cutie Pie’s pre-K class was talking about Family and Friends each for a week so I wanted to include Sweet Pea in on the fun!

Fire Fighter

Field Trips– We belong to a local MOMs club that had a tour of the fire station, just in time for our letter F week! Sweet Pea loved climbing on the firetrucks and checking out how big the tires are, but was a little apprehensive when the fireman put on his fire fighting uniform. I like the way they did it, though, one item at a time starting with street clothes. I want to hang the picture of the fireman in his mask, especially, somewhere my kiddos can see it so they won’t be as scared if they see a fireman come into their room to rescue them.

We also went to a park to have some Fun with some Friends! This was a highlight because they were friends we hadn’t been able to play with for a while even though they live very close to us. They are always pretty silly together!

Art/Language – We also did a lot of fingerpainting that week! To make it a little more interesting than just fingerpainting over a letter F outline, I put down some painter’s tape in the shape of an F and let Sweet Pea fingerpaint over it. He really liked it and traced the F many times before he finished his masterpiece. He had a lot of fun combining colors while he painted. (fine motor, sense of touch, science) When it was dry and I peeled the tape away he said the F was “forgotten”, which I thought was pretty neat that he used a word starting with F and I hadn’t thought of it!

I’m linking this up to
The Attached Mama's Alphabet Craft Collection

Foam Alphabet Play

Everyone has seen them, those big foam interlocking squares with letters you can poke out sort of like puzzle pieces…well, we have those, too! Sometimes they are brought out on rainy days when we’ve played with everything else in the house. Other times they are brought out because my kiddos request them. This day was a day they wanted to play with them and they did so in many ways!

First, they made a matt with them and poked all the letters out and put them back in again (letter recognition, motor skills, coordination). I’ve never seen Sweet Pea (the 2 year old) have such fun doing this before! Last time we did this was about 4 months ago, so it might just have been a readiness issue.

Then while they were still crawling around on the matt of letters they brought out their cars and ran them along as if the letters were roads, then as if the jagged edge for each square was a road and they minded the intersections! (small/fine motor skills)

And sometimes they make a path with them and just run along it. Other times I call out a letter and they run to it, sometimes picking the letter up or tracing it with their fingers. This usually gets lots of giggles!


A favorite activity for them to engage me in is making a tunnel with the squares. They like to crawl through and poke out letters here and there, sometimes trying to stand up in a letter if their bodies fit. It’s sometimes a challenge to meet their ‘tunnel-building’ specifications! (coordination, gross motor, spatial awareness)

Then there’s always the ball-rolling game with Sweet Pea. Nothing entertains this 2 year old more than rolling a ball with him, and adding a tunnel to the mix is just the ticket! He is so entertained by this!

And of course, whenever we pick them up for the night we always place them back down in a matt and run around seeing who can put the most letters back in their place (coordination, cooperation, letter recognition, one-to-one matching)! This is becoming a really fun game for both boys!

Mama’s week in review Letter C

Caterpillar. Cat. Clouds. Colors. Count. Coins. Cookie. Cake. Carrot. Crayons. Construction. Circles. Clifford. Cutting. Clothespins.

Cutie Pie seems to be slowing down in this learning the alphabet (again) area, so although we talked a lot about C words we did very little ‘hands-on’ with the letter C. He also seems to be petering out in the Bible Story area, not asking for one each morning and not listening the mornings he does want one. I’m not pushing the issue because he seems to be showing interest in other areas. I thought, though, that I would share this one last Monday Mama’s week in review post about his letter learning. Also, I did take a bunch of pictures, but for some reason can’t work with them today.

(Photo from Creative Therapy Associates, Inc website)

Bible Story – Abraham and Sarah and the birth of Isaac. In relation to this story we talked about feelings. We talked about how Abraham and Sarah experienced so many different emotions throughout the whole story and we used our “Feelings Mood Magnet” (from Creative Therapy Associates, Inc.) that we acquired for free somewhere along the way. This is a magnet that has simple line drawing faces on it reflecting a mood or feeling and comes with a red square magnet that you can move to frame a certain feeling. Cutie Pie really liked being able to associate feelings with pictures, although he always frames ‘hopeful’ when you ask him how he’s feeling!

We also tied the letter C in to the story of Noah and the Ark a little further, talking about the different Creatures on the ark a little more. This was more for getting Sweet Pea into talking about Bible stories and worked like a charm!

Art – Sweet Pea has always liked scribbling and using a writing tool more than Cutie Pie, but this week they both were making great Circles! Cutie Pie even started drawing stick figures this week! (fine motor, coordination, self awareness, spatial awareness, pre-writing)

Science/Play – We had fun with fizzy sidewalk chalk this week and ended up mixing our colors! I saw similar recipes several places, like here and here, and I honestly don’t remember the recipe we ended up using, but it worked! And the boys tried their hand at making colors by mixing the paint, of course, it never ended up the color they anticipated, but it was fun!

We also spent some time talking about Construction equipment (are you surprised?) and watched a Couple episodes of Mighty Machines!

What we didn’t do, but I had planned: cotton ball straw races, Hungry Hungry Caterpillar sequencing, making our own game (to use dice and count spaces), checking out some Creepy Crawlies at the zoo or online

Cutie Pie expressed a strong desire to learn his numbers, which I am understanding as learning what they look like, so we will be working on that among other things this summer. Come fall I will have Sweet Pea in the mornings by himself, so Mama’s week in review may return then! I’ll keep blogging, though!

Tot School 

Mama’s week in review – Letter B

Boy. Bubbles. Berries. Bananas. Big Blue Boat. Bee. Balance Beam. Beads. Balloons. Bounce. Bunny. Bingo. Belly. Book. Bath. Brick. Building. Bang. Bark. Barn. Balls. Bike. Birds. Bat and Ball. Bugs. Birthday. Big Boy Bike. Blue Box Thomas.

Can you tell we went over the letter B again? We actually had a Ball doing this the week before Memorial Day and it ended with a Big Birthday Bash for Hubby on Memorial Day. It was a fun, warm, outside kind of week, which led to a lack of photos – we were having so much fun!

Bible Story – We found ourselves talking about Noah and the Ark a lot this week, a carry-over from letter A week! A was for Ark and Animals. B was for Build, Boat, Bears, Baboons, Birds. We talked about what it must have sounded like, smelled like, felt like on the ark as well as how the animals got along on the ark (predators, etc).

Art – Cutie Pie wanted to make something out of a box a while ago. We painted it blue, with plans to make it into a Thomas the Tank Engine, but never finished it until this week! Here’s our Blue Box Thomas! (fine motor, coordination)

Play – Since this is our second time going through the alphabet I’m trying to keep things at Cutie Pie’s pace and keep it light and fun, and since the weather was gorgeous this meant a lot of B outside fun was had! Balls, Bubbles, Bikes (Cutie Pie is loving riding around the block on his 2-wheeler with trainers still and this has actually encouraged Sweet Pea to start peddling his own bike, even though only his toes touch the peddles!) Bat and Ball. We heard Bees, Birds, Bugs and Bangs (from construction on a neighbor’s roof.) We also checked some bugs out up close and personal with our magnifying glasses! (science, math, coordination, gross motor, fine motor, letter/sound recognition) We did do a science experiment, which will be posted later this week.

Music – We listened (and danced and marched…) to some Band music as well as Big Band music this week. In particular, we listened to Entry of the Gladiators, some Bach (from Hilary Hahn plays Bach), as well as Nickel Creek and Allison Krauss, both Bluegrass Bands. Of course, we always have Big Band favorites mixed in to our iPod playlists and the Boys are always Banging on the percussion instruments we have! (music appreciation, gross motor, coordination)

Snacks – chocolate covered Bananas, Banana cookies, Berry and Banana smoothies, and Birthday cake, too!

Saturday night we had a lot of fun celebrating Hubby’s Birthday! Both kiddos helped make the Birthday cake and frosting from scratch, and it turned out delicious! (science, math, coordination) The Boys really enjoyed the Birthday cake and ice cream, but I think Cutie Pie got more of a kick out of getting Hubby’s garden ready for planting (he didn’t want any presents this year, so we did fun work for him instead!) (science – worms, gross motor, coordination)

B week was a lot of fun, and so was C week this past week…but that’s for next Monday’s post!

Things I’d still like to try – Build a Boat to float in the tub

The Attached Mama's Alphabet Craft CollectionTot School

Lowercase alphabet

Cutie Pie wants to keep going with learning his letters, so as we go this time I’m trying to concentrate a little more on the lowercase letters. I happened to be blog hopping a week or so ago and came across a link to Chalk in My Pocket’s post the Easiest Letter Activity Ever. It is exactly what Cutie Pie needed to connect upper case to lower case letters and it truly is easy!

Simply outline the LeapFrog refrigerator magnets on a large sheet of paper and write in the lowercase alphabet!

It hadn’t occurred to me before, but the LeapFrog refrigerator magnets are all capitals, so Cutie Pie doesn’t have the opportunity to play with lowercase letters. Now he can! This isn’t something I make him work on, it’s just something that hangs on our refrigerator and I find him there every once in a while!

Bassgiraffe's Thoughts Thursday Blog Hop

Mama’s week in review – letter A

Here we go Again! Cutie Pie wanted to keep going with the alphabet and add numbers in the mix. We started over with Hubbard’s Cupboard’s 3’s curriculum. This time I’m trying to get Cutie Pie to be more ‘hands-on’, trying his hand at writing and drawing more, which he didn’t like to do the first time through. It’s been a challenge, however, he’s really been into counting this week, so that makes up for it! We’re also going a little more quickly than in their outline this time.

Bible Story – The Creation Story, where else to start?! Cutie Pie remembered much more of this than I thought he would! He seemed very excited to read the story each morning and was very good at counting the days as we read. Again, we didn’t do everything in the Hubbard’s Cupboard weekly outline, but did make use of some of the crafts as a basis for discussion starting. He also approached the topic of God creating Dinosaurs several times. I’m going to have to read up on this one!

Math – Cutie Pie was very into counting this week. He counted items on the table, the number of toy trains on the track, cars in their pockets on the door, the number of windows on the first floor, and the list goes on. Sometimes, when he wouldn’t eat, he’d more willingly eat if we counted bites on our fingers.

Cutie Pie was also interested in learning to write his numbers, so we used the number rhymes from Hubbard’s Cupboard and tried writing one and two. Cutie Pie needed a lot of encouragement, as he kept saying he ‘isn’t good at writing’. (fine motor, self-esteem) Both of these together got Sweet Pea counting quite often, too!

Science – To reinforce the letter A, I printed out large ants with a capital and lower case A on each half, then cut them in half and Cutie Pie and Sweet Pea took turns matching them. This led to an investigation! We checked out the ants in our driveway, in books and on video and learned about their body parts and some facts about them. I never knew they were so strong!

We were going to ‘decorate’ our letter A’s, however, Cutie Pie said A is for Alphabet and was wanting to put the alphabet letters all over his letter A, but he didn’t want to write them all and so we didn’t get very far…
I’m going to try to link up to these… The Attached Mama's Alphabet Craft CollectionTot School

Mama’s week in review – letter Y

Yo Yo. Yogurt. Yawn. Yelp. Yellow. Yip. Yell. You. Yarn. Yikes!

Bible Story – This week’s story, as per Hubbard’s Cupboard, was the story of Jesus’ resurrection. We didn’t read the story all in one shot, but over several days. Cutie Pie was anxious to hear more of the story each time. The last day he was very excited, “because Jesus is alive!” How cool is that?! We tied this story in to the letter Y, because Jesus died for You!

Language Arts – We listed every word starting with Y that we could think of this week and it seemed more kept creeping up as we talked about everyday things. I love that when they sneak up on You and especially when it’s the kiddos that realize they thought of one! Also, Cutie Pie can  now almost sing The Yellow Submarine song!

Yarn painting prep – Yellow Yarn,
paint, outlined letter Ys

Art – Cutie Pie wanted to paint his letter Y yellow. Simply put. However, he never actually sat down to paint or color it even though I gave him several opportunities. Sweet Pea, however, wanted to do Yarn art when I suggested it, so he was very excited and really got in to it, although Cutie Pie could have cared less! I got this idea from The Toddler’s Busy Book by Kuffner, although I didn’t tie the yarn to popsicle sticks as suggested. Instead we just used our fingers to poke 6-inches of Yellow Yarn around in tempura paint, then plop it onto our paper and pull it along to make designs. We also tried laying it on the paper, folding the paper however we wanted and then opening it to see the pretty result. (fine motor, coordination) Sweet Pea loved this – mixing the colors of paint in the pan and seeing the result on his paper! (science) This sort of doubled as our science experiment this week. I was down with a cold and Cutie Pie seemed to want to be on his own for a lot of time, so Sweet Pea and I talked a lot about how the paint colors changed when mixed together during this Yarn art project.

Play – The kiddos played a lot this week, mostly on their own, which was good for me to rest a little to get over this cold. Outside we did more chalk play on the driveway (fine motor, gross motor) as our backyard is still a swamp, however the boys did get a good soaking back there playing in the “sandbox pond” while I hung up laundry (with my rain boots on and the water sopping up over the top of my feet!) We also visited a local park and had fun at the opening of Wickham Farms (in conjunction with the YMCA, hence the above pic of Sweet Pea with a Y on his cheek!)  where Cutie Pie did a whole lot of physical play, which isn’t his style! I’ll have a separate post about that because it was a lot of fun for both adults and kiddos! (gross motor, coordination) And we paid another visit to The Strong Museum of Play where we noticed plenty of new things, and which is also worthy of it’s own post!

What we didn’t get to: Yo Yo play, Yo Yo painting, balloon Yo Yos

This week I’ll be linking up to:
The Attached Mama's Alphabet Craft CollectionTot School

Chalk play Letter Game

We spent quite a bit of time outside last week and a lot of that time was spent with chalk dust on our hands! We did your typical sidewalk chalk drawing and coloring, but also made up a few games of our own.

Letter game – I simply wrote letters on the driveway, scattered around and not in order. Of course doing this instead of playing in the gravel pit with Cutie Pie drew his attention to what I was doing. I started calling out letters and Cutie Pie immediately ran to them and stamped them with Sweet Pea dutifully following. The boys got giggling so hard! It was a lot of fun! (and sneaky learning!)

Next Tuesday I’ll share some more chalk games we did!

Check out Childhood 101 We Play Tuesday for more ideas!

Mama’s week in review – letter X

I had high hopes this would be a good week since Hubby was home to help with letter X. However, the letter X is challenging plus both boys had colds (yet again) so it didn’t go as smoothly as I’d have liked.

X-ray. Xylophone. eXtinct. eXit. Excavation. Experiment.

We didn’t cover a whole lot of words, and actually only really spent time on eXperiment, eXtinct and excavation. 

Bible Story – According to Hubbard’s Cupboard this past week we were to have covered Judas betraying Jesus. My boys listened to the first group of verses, and asked each morning for the Bible story when I would read on, but as we started reading each day they lost interest quickly. Hubby and I did our best to tell them the Easter Story including Judas’ betrayal, but it didn’t seem like much sank in. However, in a future post I will share an interesting question Cutie Pie posed to me Easter night. (listening skills, attention span, comprehension)

Language Arts – Hubby and I both tried using many words that included the letter of the week, like we do most weeks, but somewhere along the way we both lost interest. However, we did pay a visit to the train store and pointed out the sign for a train crossing is an X. We also mentioned that a room you aren’t supposed to enter sometimes has an X marked on the door, but when you need to leave you look for the eXit sign. We tried hard, but had a lot going on this week and let it get away from us. (vocabulary)

Science – A few months ago a friend passed along a recipe for making dinosaur eggs to eXcavate. I don’t remember where she found it and haven’t been able to find it since. The scribbles I wrote down were as follows:

1/2 c sand
1 1/4 c flour
1 1/4 c dirt
water

Mix dry ingredients and add water until you can form an egg without it falling apart. Form an egg shape around a plastic dinosaur and let dry for several days. Excavate carefully!

This didn’t work for us. I’m sure it was because I had two little guys helping me add the water. Ours was very muddy, even after adding more dirt, so we just pushed our dinosaurs down into a glop! After about 5 days the boys eXcavated them and still had a lot of fun discovering the color of the dinosaurs in their eggs! (processes, cause and effect, sense of touch)

Another science activity we did was about one way dinosaurs became eXtinct and was spurred on by a different friend’s e-mail about a science kit she bought at the grocery. We combined cornstarch and water in a bowl and played with our dinosaurs in it. It was something we played with before, but not in this way. As the dinosaurs were left sitting on the mixture, as dinosaurs might have sat on mud by a pond while having a drink, their feet sank and formed a suction when we tried to pick them up!

Cutie Pie loved doing this experiment getting very excited that it was a little hard to pull the dinosaurs out and related it quickly to when he was out in the mud and his boot was pulled off his foot as he tried to take a step. Then he realized it would have been hard for dinosaurs to walk in this sort of gook and that they would have been stuck! He labeled this an eXperiment all by himself!

We were also very busy this week running errands, fiXing things with both real and toy tools, visiting family, and celebrating Good Friday and Easter! The letter X might be a letter we review again down the road.

Wanted to try: Scavenger hunt using X marks the spot. Pirate hats with the traditional X symbol on them. Make bones out of crumpled up paper and white glue/water mixture and play with them – look like X-rays. 

I’m going to try to link up to these places today…
The Attached Mama's Alphabet Craft CollectionTot School

Mama’s week in review – letter W

We. Wet (lots of rain this week). Well. Water. Wash. Wish. Want. Wail. Wonder. Wipe. Wild. Wind (very windy, lost some siding on our house). Wiggle. Wagon. Went. Walk (some beautiful warm days). Words. Weather. Window (opened!). Workout.

Bible Story – Jesus heals the paralytic. Cutie Pie was intrigued by this Bible story and thought it was so neat that the paralytic’s friends would carry him and drop him through a roof to meet Jesus. I don’t think he understood the whole healing part, but it gave me the opportunity to talk to him about wheelchair-bound people as We’ve seen several people lately who are bound to Wheelchairs. We did talk about the faith the friends had and what it must have been like for the man to get up and Walk after not having Walked before.

Play Science- The boys Were really into their Hot Wheels cars this Week and one day I found them pulling out their Boomwhackers to use with them. They started out just leaning the Boomwhackers up against a basket next to one another and sending their cars down the ‘tunnels’ and seeing whose car won. Since the Boomwhackers Were different lengths the cars never came out at the same time. Cutie asked why and we talked about how the lengths were different and how that affected the incline. He remembered us doing a bunch of things With inclines before and Was excited about this answer! By the end the kiddos had lined up the ‘tunnels’ With one inclined and one setting on the floor but with their ends meeting and they were experimenting to see which car would go the farthest out of the tunnel! (fine motor, grasp and release, imagination, science)

Science Experiment – We actually did three Wet experiments, two involving balloons.

Experiment #1 – We did a Wet experiment with a balloon, vinegar and baking soda. We took a dry 20-oz plastic bottle and placed about 1/2 cup of vinegar into it. In the balloon we placed about 1 tablespoon of baking soda. We then placed the balloon carefully onto the bottle, so as not to spill the baking soda into it yet. With Cutie Pie holding the bottle, Sweet Pea then raised the balloon and gently shook it to make the baking soda fall into the bottle and We Watched the balloon inflate. The kiddos loved this so We did it several times! What happens? The vinegar and baking soda combine and give off carbon dioxide, which takes up more space than air and fills up the balloon! Please be careful if you do this experiment as the balloon could pop! (observe, contrast, compare) I found this experiment on Amazing Preschool Activities although we didn’t let the rocket fly like in the experiment.

Experiment #2 – We cleaned the bottle and placed another balloon on it. We then placed the balloon into a bowl of hot Water and the balloon inflated (although slightly). Then We placed the bottle into a bowl full of ice cubes and the balloon deflated. We talked about hot air taking up more space than cold air. Of course, my kiddos love playing with ice cubes and Water, so this led immediately to our next experiment…(observe, contrast, compare) I’ve seen this and experiment #3 on several blogs and science websites lately, although I neglected to write any of them down. When I find them I will update this with links.

Experiment #3 – Which is heavier? Water or Ice? Simply dump the ice into the water from the above experiment. Does the ice float? We expanded on this simple experiment and talked about what happened to both the ice and the water. Did the water get colder? Did the ice get warmer? Did the hot water make the ice hot? Of course, we had to do this experiment several times, too!

Throughout the rest of the week we did lots of wet things like washing our toys with water, water coloring, spraying colored water onto paper (that’s how we made our letter of the week! I just used food washable paint watered down and put it into spray bottles and let them go at it.)

The beginning of the week was beautiful so we opened our Windows and played outside with bubbles and after it rained We splashed in Water puddles. We Went swimming in the Warm Water at the Y. At the end of the Week we had a lot of Wet rain and lots of Wind. A good week for W!

Mama’s week in review – letter V

Vine. Vehicles. Violin. Vase. Vegetables. Velcro. Vent. Violet. Vanilla. Veterinarian. Vacuum. Voice. Vibration. Vulture. Vertical. Volleyball. Vision.

Bible Story – This week we talked about the Parable of the Prodigal Son. To be honest, I didn’t get into the details of the story as far as explaining the parallels to our spiritual lives. Cutie Pie got separated from us for a short time at an area play place and ever since then he’s been very attached – I’m mean, major separation anxiety…at times crying when I’m upstairs for just a minute and he’s downstairs. It seemed just touching on the idea of the son being lost and then found was a good enough lesson for him that we didn’t go much farther than that. We ended up talking a lot about safety when we go places and who it’s safe to talk to and we reviewed what my name is, what I look like, and things to remember when someone is helping find his mom. (emotional development, safety awareness, trust)

Language – We had the capital and lower case V’s up on the wall again this past week. Cutie Pie seemed to have a hard time remembering it was a V, not a U. It makes me wonder if he’ll have a hard time remembering W, or if he’ll think it’s supposed to be with two curved bottoms instead of points! We talked a lot about the beginning sounds of words, concentrating mostly on V, but also playing lots of guessing games. Cutie Pie was also on a rhyming ‘rant’ this past week rhyming almost every word I said some days! (Which, by the way was both extremely annoying and extremely cute at times!)

Science – The weather was strange this past week – very cold a few days, gloomy/rainy a few days, relatively nice a few days – so we had a lot of time outside exploring. We got out the boys’ magnifying glasses and checked out the worms we found, watched them wriggle around in our hands, in the gravel pit and on the driveway before letting them crawl back into the earth for protection. Cutie Pie also spent a little bit at Bubble-ology! I’ll post about that later this week – very fun! (gross motor, fine motor, science)

Experiment – I was looking for a velocity experiment for the boys beyond the basic of dropping two objects and seeing which lands first and discovering why. I found a Comet Cratering experiment on Try Science and modified it a bit for my little guys. This is what we did:

materials: flour, tin pan several inches deep, several objects that are OK getting flour-covered, something to cover your floor (ex. shower curtain, large table cloth), paper and pencil for chart (if desired)

  • First, I poured flour into a tin, until it was about 2 inches deep.
  • Then I placed the tin onto a blanket in our kitchen as this experiment creates a little mess (this would have been great to do outside, but I chose to do this on a less-than-perfect day)
  • Next, one by one we took the chosen objects (several balls of similar size but different weight, a square magnet, a larger heavier ball) and dropped them twice into the flour, first from the kiddos shoulder height while kneeling, then from shoulder height standing up.
  • After each object was dropped we examined what the crater looked like – how deep it was, how wide it was – and talked about how much flour was moved when it dropped.
  • We followed that by dropping two different objects from the same height, trying to get them to land in different spots and we compared the craters to each other.
  • The boys also noticed the textures from our objects left imprinted in the craters, which was something I hadn’t thought of!

(The experiment on Try Science was much more complicated for preschoolers, although sounded pretty cool, still! If your kiddos are a little older you should check it out!)

We ended our week taking a trip to the zoo to see the Vultures! We didn’t end up decorating our letter Vs, however, we did talk about pasting dump truck cut-outs onto them, because, as Cutie Pie puts it, “they’re Vehicles!” We also didn’t get to the vibrations experiment or the volume experiment, but that’s OK, it will give us something to do on one of these rainy days!

Mama’s week in review – letter U

Up. Upon. Under. Unique. Unicorn. Underwear. Until.

Words that start with the letter U were just not found around here this week!  We concentrated a lot on the words Up and Under (as well as using the word Underwear whenever we could!) We even taped our letter of the week Under the table (and on the wall, too!) The boys got a kick out of that and kept checking to make sure it was there! On Hubbard’s Cupboard they suggest covering the letter with Umbrella stickers while Under the table, but there was no desire to play with stickers this week.

Bible Story The Parable of the Lost Sheep was our story for the week. As always, we started Monday morning at the breakfast table reading the story from the Bible and just talking about it. Cutie Pie suggested maybe the Shepherd looked ‘high and low’ for the sheep (evidently we use that phrase a lot more than we realize!) I changed that to Up and down, so we could work the letter U in there once more. I told the boys the little I know about caring for sheep, which is that the shepherd knows each of his sheep are Unique in their features and that we are the same way! Cutie Pie especially seemed to like the fact that we are all different, or Unique, and had fun sharing how he thought he and Sweet Pea are Unique. (language/opposites, self concept)

Throughout the week Cutie Pie asked to hear the Bible story again, like usual, and so we talked about it from different angles, like what that lost sheep might have been feeling while it was lost, what the shepherd might have thought happened to the sheep, what the other sheep might have been feeling – were they worried about the lost sheep, or worried that the shepherd left them alone while he went searching for the lost sheep? (emotional development, imagination) We ended the week playing “Seek the sheep”, sort of like hide and seek, but I hid a toy sheep and the boys had to look Up and down to find it.

Language/Reading – I seldom seem to include a list of books we read for each letter. I suppose I should. This week we, of course, had several books about trains, but one the boys kept requesting, which talked about looking Up, down and all around for someone who is lost, is Where are You, Little Zack? by Judith Ross Enderle and Stephanie Gordon Tessler.

Art/Science – I tried to think of something Unique to do with the boys that began with U. I couldn’t think of anything but making puffy paint (because it goes Up from the paper) and making fingerprints (because by looking at them you can see how we’re all Unique). These activities were definitely a success!

I don’t think either of the boys quite grasp the idea of using a magnifying glass to look at tiny differences between fingerprints, but they did seem to love making them (sticking their finger on an ink pad and dabbing it all around a piece of paper) and using the magnifying glass! Cutie Pie considered this a very fun experiment!

Puffy Paint – I saw this several places this week as I was blog hopping as part of 5 Minutes for Mom’s Ultimate Blog Party. The blog I actually printed the recipe from was Making Memories with Your Kids, which is a blog I just found! Cutie Pie and Sweet Pea were both fascinated by the paint puffing up in the microwave and each made several paintings (very quickly!) to watch the puffing process take place. Cutie Pie and I talked about what made the paint puff up like that. Another successful experiment!

Anyway, this is how we did it:

Puffy Paint Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon self-rising flour (if you don’t have any, you can make it by adding 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon of salt to all-purpose flour)
1 Tablespoon salt
4 teaspoons water
food coloring

Combine above ingredients in small containers, making whatever color paints you desire.
After using brushes, Q tips or whatever other medium you’d like to paint your pictures, heat the pictures in the microwave anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds and watch the paint puff up! (fine motor, science, art, language development, coordination, sense of touch)

Play – We also made a lot of tunnels, a carryover from last week’s letter T. We used their foam letters for these and they had fun telling me whenever a train or car went Under a letter! This was great for Cutie Pie as it served as a refresher for his alphabet! (letter recognition, fine motor, coordination, gross motor)

Other ideas we didn’t do – I had the great idea of making wool nests this week as when we talked about looking Up and down we also discussed what other animals and things a shepherd might have seen. Cutie Pie was right on it with seeing birds. In the beginning of the week he seemed really into making these, but as the week went on he didn’t seem very interested, so I’m saving that idea and will probably make wool eggs instead, closer to Easter. (fine motor, art)

Another idea I had was introducing the boys to a Ukulele. Come on, you know, the musical instrument that looks like a little guitar?  (music appreciation) Sweet Pea was once again very taken with Cutie Pie’s guitar and tried to overtake Hubby’s violin, viola and bass this week, so I thought adding something else to the mix might be a mistake!

Once again looking at what we did this past week seems like a lot. Sometimes I think I’m making learning time too rigid or structured, but then I also think about the flow of our days and weeks and am reminded that most often it is Cutie Pie asking for the Bible Stories and leading the discussions and me offering a creative activity sometime throughout the week. Everything else sort of comes up as it does in play, probably because the letter and story are already on our minds. I am really itching to get the boys outside and possibly to the zoo or one of the other places we have memberships to, simply because we’ve been stuck inside with colds/runny noses for way too long!

Snow play on March 24th?!

Isn’t it crazy to get a bunch of snow at the end of March? We did all day yesterday, which led to a fun day outdoors in the sun and snow today! Cutie Pie and I were very excited that Sweet Pea actually asked to go outside! I think that’s only the second time this winter he’s wanted to be out in the snow and followed through!

We tried snow soccer. The soccer ball would roll in the light snow on the driveway, but would sink in the deeper areas. Cutie Pie determined the ball was heavier than the snow.

I shuffled my feet to make snow letters on the lawn, much to Cutie Pie’s delight! I didn’t expect this to be such a hit with him! Sweet Pea loved following me as I ‘wrote’. Cutie Pie did great recognizing the letters, by the way! It was a great review for him!

The boys always love shoveling – evidently Sweet Pea loves to do it in the snow just as much as in the sand!

Poor Sweet pea kept slipping. The ground was just right so when tire tracks were made in the driveway they turned to ice, which Sweet Pea unfortunately was fascinated with. Poor kiddo must have fallen 7 or 8 times!

The boys played ‘Snow Train’, where they pulled their sleds in a line and Sweet Pea ended up following in Cutie Pie’s ‘train track’.

This day ended up being a good outdoor activity day and great review for the alphabet we’ve learned so far! (especially the letter S!)

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Week in review letter H – Repost with Pics!

We were having problems with our computer, so I wasn’t able to post pics for our letter H week and since everyone has been sick with colds and things have been on hold a bit I decided to repost this one and add in the pics! I don’t really consider this cheating for We Play because we actually did the Joshua and the wall again last week when we were building with bricks!
We started out just reading the Bible story, then we also read Humpty Dumpty, as suggested in the Hubbard’s Cupboard 3’s curriculum. Cutie Pie remembered we had seen Veggie Tales Josh and the Big Wall, so it was pretty easy for him to understand the Bible story, so we talked mostly about the nursery rhyme and words that start with H: Hats, Hot cocoa, Heart, Hand, Heat, Hot, Hamburger, Hadrosaur, High, Horses, Help…and we did several experiments!
Blowing his horn walking around 7 times!
He had so much fun knocking it down!
Building Humpty’s wall
Throughout the week we built walls out of cardboard bricks and wood blocks and marched around them before blowing homemade Horns and knocking them down, and we let Hard boiled eggs fall from a (cardboard) brick wall that we built and talked about why they broke, followed by rolling a few down an incline. Cutie Pie’s hypothesis was that the egg would break, however, the experiment revealed the eggs stayed intact when they rolled! (science, gross motor) This lead to a discussion about what would have happened to Humpty Dumpty if he had a slide next to him to help him get down from the wall. 
Knocking Humpty off his wall
Poor Humpty!
We made our Handprints and looked at them closely with a magnifying glass (science), baked Heart cookies and talked about how Heat changes things (more science, senses, math) as well as enjoying our daily Hot cocoa dates! I also found this neat little pattern for paper Helicopters, which we made, followed by watching a few kid-friendly videos of helicopters, since the boys were really interested in how the paper helicopter ‘flew’. (science, fine motor)
We ended the week with two hot/cold science experiments, which I found in the book 365 More Simple Science Experiments with everyday materials, published by Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers. The first, called The Warm and Cold of It, uses Hot and cold water in 2 separate cups and two balloons filled with cold water, only big enough to hold water but still fit into the cups. “The balloon filled with cold water sinks to the bottom of the warm water, but floats to the top of the cold water!” It shows that cold water is heavier than warm water.
The second hot/cold water experiment was called Color Me Warm, in which you have 2 glasses, one each of hot and cold water. You add the same amount of food coloring to both glasses. The food coloring in the hot water swirls and colors the water fairly quickly as opposed to that in the cold water. The hot water is in motion. As the water cools at the surface, it sinks to the bottom of the cup allowing more hot water to rise, which causes the food coloring to swirl! With each experiment the boys ‘tested’ the water to see which cup held which temperature and Cutie Pie came up with a hypothesis before we tested his theory (science, sense of touch). He loved this!
Cutie Pie was pretty entertained by the inclined plane, so we found ourselves experimenting with that off and on all week assisted by some experiments. Cutie Pie told me the other day that he likes doing experiments with me and wishes he could do them every day. Since his interest is so strong I think I’m going to try hard to do this with him!
We didn’t concentrate much on the actual letter H, trying to write it or color it or anything since Cutie Pie announced to me several days ago now that he doesn’t want to learn his letters anymore. I figured I’d take it easy in that regard and follow his lead rather than push it and have him rebel, however, he has been picking up his Leap Frog Scribble and Write more often and asking for help with it less often, and he’s expressed several times that he wants to read! I think it’s just a matter of time.
Now go Play!

Week in review letter H – Repost with Pics!

We were having problems with our computer, so I wasn’t able to post pics for our letter H week and since everyone has been sick with colds and things have been on hold a bit I decided to repost this one and add in the pics! I don’t really consider this cheating for We Play because we actually did the Joshua and the wall again last week when we were building with bricks!
We started out just reading the Bible story, then we also read Humpty Dumpty, as suggested in the Hubbard’s Cupboard 3’s curriculum. Cutie Pie remembered we had seen Veggie Tales Josh and the Big Wall, so it was pretty easy for him to understand the Bible story, so we talked mostly about the nursery rhyme and words that start with H: Hats, Hot cocoa, Heart, Hand, Heat, Hot, Hamburger, Hadrosaur, High, Horses, Help…and we did several experiments!
Blowing his horn walking around 7 times!
He had so much fun knocking it down!
Building Humpty’s wall
Throughout the week we built walls out of cardboard bricks and wood blocks and marched around them before blowing homemade Horns and knocking them down, and we let Hard boiled eggs fall from a (cardboard) brick wall that we built and talked about why they broke, followed by rolling a few down an incline. Cutie Pie’s hypothesis was that the egg would break, however, the experiment revealed the eggs stayed intact when they rolled! (science, gross motor) This lead to a discussion about what would have happened to Humpty Dumpty if he had a slide next to him to help him get down from the wall. 
Knocking Humpty off his wall
Poor Humpty!
We made our Handprints and looked at them closely with a magnifying glass (science), baked Heart cookies and talked about how Heat changes things (more science, senses, math) as well as enjoying our daily Hot cocoa dates! I also found this neat little pattern for paper Helicopters, which we made, followed by watching a few kid-friendly videos of helicopters, since the boys were really interested in how the paper helicopter ‘flew’. (science, fine motor)
We ended the week with two hot/cold science experiments, which I found in the book 365 More Simple Science Experiments with everyday materials, published by Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers. The first, called The Warm and Cold of It, uses Hot and cold water in 2 separate cups and two balloons filled with cold water, only big enough to hold water but still fit into the cups. “The balloon filled with cold water sinks to the bottom of the warm water, but floats to the top of the cold water!” It shows that cold water is heavier than warm water.
The second hot/cold water experiment was called Color Me Warm, in which you have 2 glasses, one each of hot and cold water. You add the same amount of food coloring to both glasses. The food coloring in the hot water swirls and colors the water fairly quickly as opposed to that in the cold water. The hot water is in motion. As the water cools at the surface, it sinks to the bottom of the cup allowing more hot water to rise, which causes the food coloring to swirl! With each experiment the boys ‘tested’ the water to see which cup held which temperature and Cutie Pie came up with a hypothesis before we tested his theory (science, sense of touch). He loved this!
Cutie Pie was pretty entertained by the inclined plane, so we found ourselves experimenting with that off and on all week assisted by some experiments. Cutie Pie told me the other day that he likes doing experiments with me and wishes he could do them every day. Since his interest is so strong I think I’m going to try hard to do this with him!
We didn’t concentrate much on the actual letter H, trying to write it or color it or anything since Cutie Pie announced to me several days ago now that he doesn’t want to learn his letters anymore. I figured I’d take it easy in that regard and follow his lead rather than push it and have him rebel, however, he has been picking up his Leap Frog Scribble and Write more often and asking for help with it less often, and he’s expressed several times that he wants to read! I think it’s just a matter of time.
Now go Play!

Mama’s Last Week in Review – Letter R

RailRoad track
Reading with Relatives

Rhinoceros. Race. Railroad. Ring. Rope. Round. Rip. Rat. Rich. Rainbow. Reading. Relatives. Rain (it rained a lot this week!) Raisins (our chosen snack for the week!) Right (Cutie Pie graduated to a booster with a seat belt and kept having to make his Right arm be in the correct spot) Rub. Run. Rocket. Robot. Red. Roll. Rest. Rock. These are only some of the words starting with letter R that we had fun with this week! For some reason the letter R week was more fun and more packed-full than other weeks, or at least, we tend to do more things that start with letter R naturally around here!

Cutie Pie resting in bed
sick with a cold
Coin Rubbings

Bible Story – This week we talked about the Widow’s Gift. We talked about what it meant to give, what it meant to be Rich and poor. Cutie Pie was interested in the fact that the widow gave ‘coins’, rather than ‘money’. I chose to visit the Goodwill store this week to look for puddle jumping boots for Cutie Pie and didn’t find any. What we did find was a good discussion about why we give to places like that and why we don’t always buy things when we go to the store for something specific. (Of course, we did end up buying a really cool playdough set for $2 and a neat set of foamy-magnet things for $1.)  When we got home we taped the coins that we had received in change to the table and made coin Rubbings. (fine motor/art)

Matching Robots

Art/Language arts/Kitchen – Cutie Pie chose not to do this activity, but Sweet Pea loved it – he glued Red Rice and Ripped Red paper onto his letter R! Great fine motor work for him! He’s definitely more tactile and crafty than Cutie Pie! He was also really into the Rolled cookies we made with cookie cutters, although he had a hard time getting any of his animals to retain their shape! Cutie Pie was into this only until he had made one of each of his favorite animals. (fine motor/science/math – measuring, baking)

We also made cardboard Matching Robots with Red parts (from Serving Pink Lemonade). (fine motor)

Gross Motor – Sweet Pea had his second gymnastics class this week. He got to fly on the harness! He loved it to say the least! He also did a lot of Rolling – both himself and balls! Plus, he got to swing on the Rings! This class is definitely right up his alley! Of course, Cutie Pie has been Rolling around at home, too, since Sweet Pea comes home and tries to do front Rolls in the living room! And they both get to Running around our loop like crazy at night! Meanwhile Cutie Pie asked to have his bike out on one of the warmer days to Ride it in our driveway! He did great!

Science – I did manage to do a science experiment with Cutie Pie one day while Sweet Pea was napping. As with all experiments, you never know if they will turn out as you expect. This was no different! We tried to make Rock candy. I found this neat science experiment site called Science Bob, and on it they had directions for this edible experiment, watching sugar crystals grow. One key step in this experiment is to add the sugar very slowly to the boiling water and stir until completely dissolved. Cutie Pie was not very patient, so our rock crystals grew overnight into a solid mass of diluted sugar with water on top in our jar. Cutie Pie was disappointed it didn’t work, but we re-read the directions for the experiment and he decided we should follow them more closely when we try it again!

Reunion

 I had a little R experience myself – a Reunion with family I have not seen in many years! Truly exciting and something I will write about at a later date!

For other links to R activities, check out The Attached Mama and her resources from various blogs!
The Attached Mama’s Ultimate Alphabet Craft Collection

Mama’s Last Week in Review – Letter Q

This week was a little hard for us because it was the first week after Hubby’s winter break. These weeks are always a little difficult as the boys miss him so much, so I try to keep them busy and out of the house – it makes things go a little better.

Anywho, we had the letter Q this week – quilt, quiet, quite, queen – and Jesus Feeding the Multitudes for our BIBLE STORY, as guided by Hubbard’s Cupboard. The story talks about Jesus telling his apostles to retreat to a Quiet place, and we talked a lot about that. Cutie Pie hasn’t liked to be in his room for Quiet time, so this was a perfect time to work on that. He’s been doing much better the past couple of weeks, but still tries to fight me when I tell him it’s time for quiet time in his room. He just doesn’t like to be alone.

We also talked a lot about Quiet and loud voices. Jesus probably used a Quieter voice to talk with his apostles than he did when talking to the multitude. We tried to use that illustration when talking to the boys about using Quiet voices inside.

Language Arts – we talked a lot about words beginning with Q, like the words listed above, but we also talked a lot about opposites again this week. Quiet, loud. Quick, slow. We talked quietly and loudly, walked Quickly, slowly. The boys had fun with these Q words as they could act them out!

Art – I once again printed out the big letter and we spent some time rubbing Quarters and painting with Q-tips. The boys loved painting with something other than their fingers or a brush so much more than I thought they would! Cutie Pie even started tracing all by himself!

I also spent a little time with Cutie Pie at the sewing machine (fine motor). I used to dabble in Quilting, so we made a paper Quilt. I think if I do this again I will get out some scrap material, but I know Cutie Pie goes a little crazy with the ‘gas’ so I didn’t go through the trouble this time. He had a blast, though, determining the size and shape of the Quilt pieces and then matching them up and finally sewing them together! (also science, math, processes)

Science/Math – We talked just a little about measuring liquids, specifically how much a Quart is. I had planned to do a measuring/pouring activity during their bath time, but they had other plans! Cutie Pie also picked out a few experiments to do this week, but when we got ready to do them he became interested in other things. I was a little bummed, because they looked pretty fun, but another time!

Play worthy of mention (gross motor) – We spent some time outdoors again finally! We had a little warm spell (followed quickly by another snow spell) and Sweet Pea finally decided he wanted to go outdoors! It seems like we’ve spent so much time indoors rather than ‘dealing’ with his crying from the cold…and this was a welcome relief! Cutie Pie was with his Nana for the morning, so he didn’t get in on the action, but was excited to hear that Sweet Pea might do this again! We did get to Quivering from the cold snow, but Sweet Pea stayed outside for almost an hour! We had a little snowball fight (pic below) wandered around the yard picking things up and looking at everything! Doesn’t it look like he’s finally having a ton of fun in the snow?!

I’ll be posting my alphabet ideas on The Attached Mama. She has a great list of alphabet crafty ideas that others bloggers have shared that is totally worthy of checking out! If you’re doing anything with the alphabet with your kiddos you’ve gotta go here!
The Attached Mama's Alphabet Craft Collection

Mama’s Last Week in Review – Letter P

Pizza, Pancakes, homemade Pretzels, Prehistoric animals, Pulled Pork, Pasta, Pepper, Please, Papa, Plants, Pom-Pom, Play (lots of it!) – This pretty much sums up the week around here! Not enough? Then include the Bible story about the wise and foolish builders and we’ve got you covered!


It was an extra fun week since Hubby was home on winter break and spent lots of time playing and going places with us! In addition to traveling to see my dad the first weekend of break, we managed to go to RMSC and see the Prehistoric animals (dinosaurs) and play in all the areas of the museum. This, of course, included playing in the sand and water box trying to make houses to withstand the onslaught of water when built on sand (construction of a house like the foolish builders). We also tried to build houses on pillows to see if they would stand up to just a little nudge. Hubby and the boys spent time building some towers and talked about how something needs a firm foundation to stand tall (wise builders). Of course, we did touch on the spiritual life application of this story a bit, too. (Bible Story, math, science)

Language Arts – In addition to Sweet Pea getting really into pasting Purple and Pink Pom-Poms on our large letter P, Cutie Pie has started to sound out simple words and through a lot of fun making up silly words with his Daddy, he’s starting to rhyme words when given a letter to start the rhyming word with. (Think “what rhymes with duck that starts with a P?”) I know this sounds simple to us, but it isn’t always that easy for kiddos!

Math/Science – Cutie Pie really got into the “What is” game with me, at least that’s what we’re calling it! It’s pretty simple. Take two objects and compare them, asking your child for the answer. For example, “what is bigger Daddy’s foot or Mommy’s car?” I tried this with things that are still abstract to him, like comparing a whale to a sky scraper. He absolutely loved this game!

 

We also made homemade pretzels. The boys didn’t get into it as much as we thought, but they were delicious!

Play – As I mentioned earlier we visited my dad for an overnight. My kiddos love their grampa! They had a lot of fun playing with him. They also got to see my mom, whom they always have a fun time with! At her house they seemed to like Pushing around her stools, but she also has some Megablocks and they built some tall towers there! And P week wouldn’t be complete without getting to Play with Papa!

Now, to think of fun things to do with the letter Q…..

week in review – letter O

IN the box
Opposite – OUT of the box

On, Off, Opposites, Ouch, Open, Octopus – We’ve been talking a lot about these words that start with “O” this week! Cutie Pie has even figured out how to read “On” and “Off”!

Bible – We also read about being salt of the earth and light to the world in the Bible, which lead to talking about what this means for how we live and relate to each other. I think this was a little hard for my boys to understand, but it created some interesting conversation!

Science Experiment – Cutie Pie was asking for some experiments this week. I’m so glad I have some books here to refer to quickly when he requests them! (I talk about one of these books here.)

We ended up doing a few experiments related to salt and light since that was the gist of our Bible story this week, the first being a salt evaporation experiment. In this experiment you take warm water and dissolve 2 tsp of salt in it, cover it with plastic wrap and let it set for a few hours. Before you cover it have the kiddos taste the solution and make a hypothesis (an idea you can test) about what the condensation will taste like later. After a few hours when you carefully uncover it, have the kiddos taste the condensation that formed on the plastic wrap. How did it taste? It actually won’t taste salty, because the salt weighs more than the water, so it won’t evaporate with the water!

The second experiment we conducted was about being light to the world. We talked about how a light on a hill can truly be seen and not be hidden and related that to a lighthouse being high on a hill for ships to see, since Cutie Pie is familiar with lighthouses. I made this experiment up on the fly, and was very careful. I lit a candle and we took it into a dark room. Cutie Pie was excited to see how it lit up the room well enough that he could see, which was very good since he is scared of the dark. Then, I blew it out. He wasn’t scared, because he had just seen what was in the room. We talked a little more about it in relation to the verse, but I didn’t push it because I just thought it was neat he wasn’t scared when the room was dark!

Arts – Sweet Pea was very into coloring this week and even wanted to color and glue Cheerios to his big letter ‘O’! He did this on Valentine’s day, before helping to frost our Valentine’s heart-shaped brownie for Daddy!

We also borrowed a few videos from the library this week. Cutie Pie requested these videos and one was very appropriate for this week! The videos were Sesame Street Elmo’s World Opposites and Sesame Street All-Star Alphabet. Both boys love them and I know they are learning from the way they talk afterwards!

Mama’s Last Week in Review – Letter J

Last week seems like a blur to me, so I’m thankful I had the foresight to scribble notes about what we did! We concentrated on the letter J and David bringing the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. The boys learned a new song, “I’ve got the Joy down in my heart” and Sweet Pea took to it pretty quickly. We also visited a couple more preschools, one visit inspiring an experiment at home!

Language Arts – Cutie Pie and Sweet Pea requested to read in the Jungle of Nool this week. (from Horton Hears a Who) We sit in a comfy spot, put a blanket over our heads and read together all snuggled up. We didn’t just read, we also talked about Jungle animals and the sounds they make. This led to Cutie Pie making up quite a few stories about tigers and lions (science, too!)

Experiment #1 – This first experiment went along with our lesson of Joyfulness in relation to David being Joyful when he brought the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. The Bible says David had lots of music played while the ark was brought up. The boys and I talked about how that must have sounded. We got our instruments out (music) and had a parade. Then we did our sound vibration experiment. The boys loved this! Here’s how:

  • First get out some plastic butter containers, plastic grocery bags, rubber bands, rice, a pot lid and a wooden spoon.
  • Take butter containers and placed the grocery bags over them, and put the rubber band around them so they were very flat and tight like a drum.
  • Place a few pieces of rice on the drum.
  • Then yelled really loudly and watched the rice. Does it move? It didn’t move for us.
  • Next hit the pot lid with the wooden spoon a few feet from the drum. Does the rice moved just a little?
  • Take turns hitting the pot lid with the wooden spoon, this time as close to the drum as you can. We watched the rice jump and shimmy around!
  • Sing a few notes next to the drum. What happens? We found that certain notes made the rice move, too!

Experiment #2 – The preschool we visited for circle time was all set up for a citrus tasting experiment which the children were going to participate in when we left. Cutie Pie really wanted to be part of it, but the preschool said it was just for their students. What’s a mom to do when her boy wants to do an experiment so badly? We headed to the store (well, we were on our way there anyway) and picked up an orange, tangerine, lemon, grapefruit, and lime. Unfortunately that’s all we could find on this particular day – I had expected to find more, but we made due.

  • First we felt each citrus fruit and talked about whether it was smooth, bumpy, hard, soft. (sense of touch)
  • Next, we smelled the peel of each fruit. (sense of smell)
  • Then we cut each fruit in half and talked about what we saw, similarities and differences. Cutie Pie observed that each fruit’s insides looked like a star and was juicy. (sense of vision, touch) And we smelled the flesh of the fruit. (sense of smell)
  • Then came the real fun! We took the peel off of half of the fruit and each of us tasted it! We talked about the texture, whether it was sweet or sour, whether we liked it or not and how messy they were to eat. (sense of taste, touch)
  • We took the other half of the fruit still in it’s peel and each boy mashed it on a hand-held juicer. They boys kept requesting more sugar or water until it tasted good to them. (sense of taste, fine motor, and we didn’t make it too sweet!) There is nothing like homemade Juice during J week!

And how could I forget that we made and enjoyed Jello Jigglers! It was very cold out last week, even colder today (5 degrees) so I was very thankful for the open gym our community center offers. However, here at home we did a lot of Jumping! It was a fun week, now that I sit and remember it!

Mama’s Last Week in Review – Letter I

Sorry I didn’t post this on Monday as I had intended. It was a rough week and busy weekend and left my mind numb!

Last week we concentrated on the letter I and the David and Goliath Bible story. This was a fun letter, because it is the first letter in our last name. However, with all the other things going on during the week we didn’t do as much as I’d hoped.

Science – We talked a lot about above and below, tall and short, in and out, near and far, in relation to David and Goliath and used these words a lot in our play this week. Above and below were related to often, as both armies were camped out on hills with a valley between. For in and out we talked about how David was a shepherd and probably shepherds often carried things like rocks and sticks in their bags to ward off animal attackers. (spatial relationships) 


We tried an invisible ink experiment, using q-tips and drawing with them after dipping them in lemon juice (fine motor), then holding them up to a heat source. The lemon juice is supposed to turn brown as it is heated, but for some reason this didn’t work for us. Cutie Pie didn’t seem very interested in this experiment, though, probably because it took time for the lemon juice to dry, so his attention waned.


We also borrowed a ‘science kit’ about insects for K through 2nd graders from our library. Cutie Pie had a great time reading about them with us, examining the wasp and beetle that came encased in glass, and watching a Reading Rainbow video about various insects. I hadn’t really looked through the bags of kits our library has until now and have already made plans to use some of the others I saw! It took a lot of prep work out of my little insect plans and Cutie Pie loved the books that were included in the kit! (science and language arts)

Art – I had wanted to make inch-worms with the boys using foam strips 1″ or so wide, folding it accordion style, poking a hole through all surfaces near one fold and threading a pipe cleaner through it, knotting one end and folding the other end into a V for antennae. (I gleaned this idea from Ramblings of a Crazy Woman.) However, the boys were not into crafts last week at all! (this would have been coordination, fine motor, colors)

Play – The boys loved playing with inclines so much last week that they kept playing with them this week! Cutie Pie spent a little of his birthday money on a monster truck hill track and has been having fun with his new dedicated ‘monster truck incline’!

As you can tell, we’re still doing a lot of experiments. Check out yesterday’s post and offer a comment and you may get your own science experiment e-book as a resource to use with your little one!

Wash those hands!

How many times a day do you wash your hands? How many times a day do your kids? I don’t know about you but my kids love to wash their hands, er, well, play in the sink, that is. I guess every child is like that and every mom is probably after their kids to wash their hands well, especially this time of year with all the colds and other sickness traveling around.

This past week we went to one of our favorite places and suddenly Sweet Pea wanted to wash his hands when we visited the restroom rather than just run out the door like usual. I don’t know if it’s a ‘turned 2 and we’re calling him a big boy’ thing or what, but I’m not minding this sudden infatuation with cleanliness. I snapped this pic of him trying to figure out how the soap dispenser works. Bathrooms are not usually a place where I have my camera ready, but since this was a family bathroom and Hubby was taking care of Cutie Pie I managed to get it out in time. I also wasn’t in as much of a hurry as I usually am in a public restroom because I have seen these bathrooms cleaned so frequently that sometimes I wonder if I’m supposed to tip the bathroom attendant!

Sweet Pea spent some time figuring out how the faucets worked, too, and then we sang our ABCs while he scrubbed and then again while he rinsed, with my assistance. I was pretty impressed that this worked! I know you’re supposed to sing it twice while you scrub, or something like that, but with a play wonderland on the other side of the door and a 4 year old dying to walk out and explore it, not to mention the attention span of a 2 year old even though he was ‘playing’ in water with his hands, I was happy! Now on to maintaining this interest in washing hands in public restrooms…..

Mama’s Last Week in Review – Letter H

This past week we concentrated on the letter H as well as Joshua and the Battle of Jericho. It was a pretty fun week to say the least! We are still having computer issues with our main computer (which houses our photos) but I will try to add photos of this when it’s working again, because I think I got some cute pics this week!
We started out just reading the Bible story, then we also read Humpty Dumpty, as suggested in the Hubbard’s Cupboard 3’s curriculum. Cutie Pie remembered we had seen Veggie Tales Josh and the Big Wall, so it was pretty easy for him to understand the Bible story, so we talked mostly about the nursery rhyme and words that start with H: Hats, Hot cocoa, Heart, Hand, Heat, Hot, Hamburger, Hadrosaur, High, Horses, Help…and we did several experiments!
Throughout the week we built walls out of cardboard bricks and wood blocks and marched around them before blowing homemade Horns and knocking them down, and we let Hard boiled eggs fall from a (cardboard) brick wall that we built and talked about why they broke, followed by rolling a few down an incline. Cutie Pie’s hypothesis was that the egg would break, however, the experiment revealed the eggs stayed intact when they rolled! (science, gross motor) This lead to a discussion about what would have happened to Humpty Dumpty if he had a slide next to him to help him get down from the wall. We made our Handprints and looked at them closely with a magnifying glass (science), baked Heart cookies and talked about how Heat changes things (more science, senses, math) as well as enjoying our daily Hot cocoa dates! I also found this neat little pattern for paper Helicopters, which we made, followed by watching a few kid-friendly videos of helicopters, since the boys were really interested in how the paper helicopter ‘flew’. (science, fine motor)
We ended the week with two hot/cold science experiments, which I found in the book 365 More Simple Science Experiments with everyday materials, published by Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers. The first, called The Warm and Cold of It, uses Hot and cold water in 2 separate cups and two balloons filled with cold water, only big enough to hold water but still fit into the cups. “The balloon filled with cold water sinks to the bottom of the warm water, but floats to the top of the cold water!” It shows that cold water is heavier than warm water.
The second hot/cold water experiment was called Color Me Warm, in which you have 2 glasses, one each of hot and cold water. You add the same amount of food coloring to both glasses. The food coloring in the hot water swirls and colors the water fairly quickly as opposed to that in the cold water. The hot water is in motion. As the water cools at the surface, it sinks to the bottom of the cup allowing more hot water to rise, which causes the food coloring to swirl! With each experiment the boys ‘tested’ the water to see which cup held which temperature and Cutie Pie came up with a hypothesis before we tested his theory (science, sense of touch). He loved this!
Cutie Pie was pretty entertained by the inclined plane, so we found ourselves experimenting with that off and on all week assisted by some experiments in this neat science e-book I am planning on reviewing on this blog next week! Cutie Pie told me the other day that he likes doing experiments with me and wishes he could do them every day. Since his interest is so strong I think I’m going to try hard to do this with him!
We didn’t concentrate much on the actual letter H, trying to write it or color it or anything since Cutie Pie announced to me several days ago now that he doesn’t want to learn his letters anymore. I figured I’d take it easy in that regard and follow his lead rather than push it and have him rebel, however, he has been picking up his Leap Frog Scribble and Write more often and asking for help with it less often, and he’s expressed several times that he wants to read! I think it’s just a matter of time.