Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Making Memorial Day Fun...!

   Yes-I know I am late with the Memorial Day fun, but I have to share because we had such a wonderful and relaxing weekend, with some Memorial Day learning fun tied in!

   I gave my little munchkin a brief intro to the meaning of Memorial Day, (seeing as her daddy is a veteran and served in the Marines for 4 years) by reading one of my classroom books about Patriotic Holidays.

   We then did a quick and simple Memorial Day wreath, an idea I found, via Pinterest, from favecrafts.com
We used cardboard to cut out a wreath shape and I snagged some red, white and blue stars and hearts foam stickers at Party City last weekend. Because I am who I am, I even tried to teach her a simple ABC pattern with the colors! 

   Then I saw this fun and yummy idea from bedifferentactnormal.com and I had to make it for breakfast! 
Flag Waffles! YUM! YUM! 
We will definitely be eating these again for the 4th of July…or probably much, much sooner! =)

   And for dessert last night, we decorated star shaped cookies (already baked b/c there was NO way I was turning the oven on in 88 degree weather!)

   Now back to work with my preschool munchkins! I am getting ready to undertake the tedious, but necessary, task of end of the year testing. (YES, testing in preschool-- it is outrageous!) 
   In the next two weeks, I hope to share some ideas that we are doing in the classroom to cover Letter & Number review... 
If you have any fun review activities, please share!! Thanxs!!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

No Time for REAL cupcakes !

     Wow, I have been M.I.A. all week long huh?
   It has been yet another hectic week. But why am I surprised? It IS the end of the school year! 
Well aside from it being the end of the school year, I have some good reasons as to why there has been NO TIME for REAL cupcakes!  =(

On Wednesday, my little muchkin had her 1st little ballet/tap recital  and well, stage fright got the best of her… 
   Then some friends from Chicago came in to visit and we had lots of catching up to do
   Then my Head Start organization sponsored a Masquerade Ball for the children and their families on Friday night. There was a lot of crazy preschool fun going on last night! =)
   Anyhow, our out-of-town friends left this afternoon, so life is a bit back to normal. Or as normal as it can get this time of year.
   Throughout the busy week, we struggled with some pretty warm weather, which put my plans to bake cupcakes with my little munchkin, aside. I resent the fact that this house that we are renting has NO air!!  We are definitely going to be spending some money on a decent size air conditioner if the temps, here in WNY, continue to climb!
    Anyhow, so instead of baking cupcakes and having to turn on the oven, I did the next best thing. It was actually something I was going to do anyway... I made a Cupcake Sensory Bin!
    All it took was some cupcake liners, a box of cake mix, some sprinkles, a few measuring spoons and a cupcake pan. And there we had it- a yummy looking and smelling sensory bin! 
   My little munchkin had lots of fun dumping and filling the cupcake liners and pans. It was a complete mess to clean up. She had flour and cake mix all over herself- it was like she actually had been in the kitchen baking cupcakes!!

   Then I came across some Crayola Model Magic Dream Bakery kit on clearance at Target. It was just yet another cupcake thing for my little munchkin to do instead of making REAL cupcakes!

   And I couldn’t forget to have her try out the new Alphabet Matching game I created just for our Cupcake theme.
Click here for your FREE copy!

    I think I am all cupcaked out! I know she isn’t though. She is obsessed with cupcakes and has been since she was able to eat them! 
    MAYBE the weather will cool off a little and I will be willing to turn on that oven and do some baking with her. If not I will have to settle for some already baked cupcakes that she can decorate herself. NOT the same, but hey it will still be fun!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Time for some "All About Hoo" fun....

So I missed last week's "All About Hoo" fun by Mommy & Me Creations, b/c it was just a very wild week!

But I am back this week!! =)

Mommy and Me Creations

1)What are your plans for the summer!
     I plan to hang out with my kids and just relax! MAYBE I will make some fun freebies and such for next year!
     We are also planning a family vacation to NYC in August! And my mom might be tagging along! =)
2) What are your favorite summer activities?
     I like to read (which reminds me, I need to start making a summer reading list), go bike riding with the kids, hang out at the pool and just RELAX! Let's see how long it takes to get  my little one off her schedule so I can start sleeping in late! =)
3) Do you enjoy going outdoors? Or are you an indoor person?
     I do enjoy a little bit of both. Mostly I like to be outdoors BUT there are days where I just don't feel like doing a thing except lay around and be a bum!
4) Which of the following is your favorite and why: Fishing, Hiking, Camping?
    I like to go camping. It brings back awesome childhood memories! My hubby wants to do a small camping trip with the kids this summer...we shall see! Maybe I should add it to my summer bucket list!

A little less than FOUR weeks to go...UGH, sounds like alot... =( 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Cc is for Cupcakes !

Well the work week has begun again- after an awesome weekend with my little munchkin!
   She was fascinated with caterpillars a few weekends ago and then we spent last weekend just hanging out for Mother’s Day.  
This past weekend we were back to our learning fun!
 We picked up where we left off, with the letter Cc. We reviewed the letter and she practiced tracing the letter Cc (in her princess dress up clothes), using an Alphabet Flip Chart that I don’t utilize in my classroom.
   I wanted to move away from caterpillars---simply because I was getting a little tired of them, so I decided to focus on my little munchkin’s sweet spot= CUPCAKES!
 I knew we were going to be in for some FUN learning!  =)

   I really enjoy the books by Laura Numeroff and so we began our Cupcake Fun by reading the book, “If You Give A Cat A Cupcake”. I found some extension activities for the book that were appropriate for her to do at Totally Tots blog and I also used printables from Spell Out Loud.

She “fed” the cat different colored cupcakes. I gave her a random number and color and I encouraged her to count each cupcake aloud as she placed them in the can.                                                            (BTW, as you can probably see, the cat was made from a recycled can= I must warn that if you do this activity, please make sure to be careful with the inside of the can. My poor little munchkin got a pretty nasty cut as she tried to play with it after our Counting activity.)
  A lightbulb went off in my head as I saw how well she was sorting the cupcake pieces by color and I quickly made a magnetic graph.  I grabbed a cookie sheet, some green strips of paper and some magnetic strips. I threw some strips on a few cupcakes, made a simple graph and asked her to put the cupcakes where they belonged on the graph. 

  And then when she finished it (without any help from me), I asked her to count each column and did some teaching on the concept of More or Less.  
( I did good thinking on my toes at 8:00 in the morning- on a Saturday, huh??) 
   Then I changed the pace a little bit, cuz it was 9 in the morning and I had been up since 6:45…. I pulled out her baking stuff, her cupcake play set by Melissa & Doug, and some cupcake shaped eggs leftover from Easter. She had a blast, making, decorating and even counting cupcakes.
    And when she was done with her baking & decorating, we had a little Cupcake & Coffee party… she must have served me at least 7 cups of coffee within 20 minutes…she must have seen how tired momma was!

  On Sunday, I kept with the Letter Cc and Cupcake theme (cuz we both love it so much) and so I put out just a few activities for her to work on her fine motor skills.
 I borrowed an idea I found here at The mOffat Girls Blog to allow my little munchkin to practice her cutting skills. I placed some cupcake stickers on a strip of paper and drew black lines where I asked her to cut. The scissors I used are some I purchased awhile back and I am wondering if she is ready to move up to bigger scissors. Seeing as we haven’t been doing too much with scissors lately, she did a really good job!
    She practiced writing the Letter Cc from Spell Out Loud and well, as you can see, we need to do a little more practice on coloring! =)
    I found some cupcake stickers left over from Valentine’s Day and created  a simple graph. Working with the stickers allowed her to practice those fine motor skills by trying to peel the stickers off the sheet. She did pretty darn good on the whole graphing part. I gave her a huge Smiley Face on her paper when she was done-which she loves!

  And what’s a Cupcake theme without a fun, yummy art project?
I made some Puffy Paint, using some combination of shaving cream and glue… I can’t tell you the exact combo because she was so eager to do the activity, I had to do it all so quick! But if you ever make it, a few swirls of glue should do the trick. I also let her choose which color she wanted her cupcake to be… and BAD idea on my part to use food coloring!! 
What was I thinking? I sure don’t have a clue…especially since I had paint sitting in her art supply crate!
    Anyhow, she swirled the shaving cream and glue together and then I added the food coloring. She painted a cupcake top shape, while I cut out a cupcake liner shape from a cupcake sheet from my scrapbooking stash.

 After putting the two pieces together, she added the main ingredient- SPRINKLES!
     She wanted to make a small blue one right after her pink one, so we did it all over again.

Now, don’t those look delicious enough to take a bite out of?!
    We ran out of fun learning time because we had to get out of the house and enjoy the weather… BUT I have a few more Cupcake activities in mind that I know she will love!
(The ideas involve doing some baking, creating a new sensory bin and some Alphabet Puzzles created by me… Can we say Freebie ??)
    And here is my little Cupcake Princess. in her Cupcake nightgown!

   Thanks for taking a peek into my little munchkin’s world of Learning Fun!

 Stay tuned….. =)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

More Insect Fun- plus a FREEBIE!

     There was all this buzz in the classroom about insects and I knew the munchkins knew what insects were, but after reading several books and discussing different types of insects, I decided to try and trick them!
   I made an Insect web and drew insects and some non-insects. (My drawing skills are at the preschool level, so don't laugh!)
   We went through things that we knew about insects ( 6 legs being the most important characteristic) and determined which  animals could be classified as Insects.
   Last  week was also Mental Health Awareness Week, and we  read a perfect book about a certain red insect who had an attitude problem: The Grouchy Ladybug.  We talked about what it meant to be grouchy and then each munchkin shared what things make them grouchy!
  I then took my camera and asked them to make their best Grouchy face and they made a ladybug and I pasted a picture of their grouchy face onto the ladybug. (An idea I saw all over Pinterest and just HAD to do!)

   We also worked on our uppercase and lowercase alphabet recognition with my newly  created Ladybug Mats (get your free copy here). I had intended to use a cookie sheet and magnetic squares for individual use, but when I noticed that there were more than 3 munchkins who wanted to play, I decided to make it into a group game. Each munchkin had to search for the cards they needed. It turned out better that way because I was able to see them working together and got a better sense of who was knowledgeable in matching uppercase and lowercase letters and who still needs extra practice!

Now, here is a FREEBIE for you!

   In addition to having them try and spell the names of different insects, I put some spelling mats in our Writing Center.

Click here to grab your copy!

   It is obvious that my munchkins are obsessed with insects right now and my head is still FULL of ideas that I would like to try BUT I do need to move it along... There is LOTS to do to start getting ready for the end of the school year! 
   I think I am going to give it another few days-Especially since I just replaced the sand with dirt and digging tools in our sand table that has been full of insects! (plastic ones of course!)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Gettin' Buggy With It !!

    We are gettin' “Buggy With It" in my classroom!  =)  
    Our big talk a few weeks ago was caterpillars so much that I was getting quick sick of hearing about them!  So I was glad when all five caterpillars spun their chrysalises and started the waiting game in the middle of that week.
    While my kids wait for the  chrysalises to emerge as butterflies,  I decided to continue on with a study about other insects It is still underway this week!

Last week before our 5 caterpillars went into hiding, we read the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar 100 (or so it seemed) times and I knew the kids had the story memorized by the end of the week, so I had them make their own mini VHC book to make and take home. 
 Many of them used the book I provided to reference back to, in order to complete their mini book, which I thought was awesome b/c I didnt even have to prompt them to do so. I like that they referred back to the book to find what they needed to correctly make their own mini book! 
Those munchkins really amaze and surprise me sometimes!
Our Science Center got some new bug tools, too! And, boy have they enjoyed exploring the different magnifying glasses, insect boxes, pictures and insects that I put in the Science Center. I put markers and paper in the center as well, to encourage them to draw insects or write the names of the insects.

   After reading the book, Icky Bug Colors by Jerry Pallota, we worked on some math skills and had  some munchkins practice sorting insects by color. 
I found the Jar Sorting Mats here at Prekinders.
   And we also worked on our patterning skills by making AB, ABB, AAB (and I even got some AAA BBB) patterns with the colorful insects! I had each munchkin choose what type of pattern they wanted to make, to assess their confidence in creating patterns (based on the level of difficulty of the pattern they chose to make.)
    If I felt they could do a more difficult pattern, I challenged them to do so and of course, if they needed extra practice in a certain pattern, I provided a pre-made pattern and asked them to continue it.

 My favorite part of last week was when I showed them many different insects via flashcards, books and magazines and I had them pick an insect and draw it.
   Since many of them have a fairly good grasp on quite a few sounds, I had them do my FAVORITE literacy activity: Invented Spelling 

I absolutely LOVE to see them sound out letters and spell things! 
I think they did an awesome job, dont you?  =)

   After trying to keep them all a bit distracted from caterpillars and their life cycle,  with other things (like other insects and Mother's Day projects), the waiting game was over!
   By the end of last week, we had 3 butterflies in our little Butterfly Home! It never is the two weeks that they are supposed to stay in the chrysalises. For us, it was more like a week and a day! But whatever, it doesn't matter to us! 
My munchkins were over the moon about our new insect friends!

    This week, we are continuing to study insects a little more and we have lots of Insect Fun to explore, before we move on (if the munchkins allow me to)!
    Also, this week, I am working on a new FREEBIE for everyone!
So, stop by tomorrow to get your Insect Spelling Freebie!