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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving For Preschool


I had three preschoolers with me this week, ages 2-4, and being that it was two days before Thanksgiving, I decided to gear all of our crafts around that holiday.  I also did a few other fun activities that seemed to work well for this age group.
A Lego turkey.  Because...Why not?
Thanksgiving can be a rather heady holiday to try to grasp if you want to go into the background a little as I did.  Here's what worked well:

1.  Summarize the story, using your tots if possible.  Basically, I broke it down pretty simply:
         "A group of people wanted to worship God but were not allowed to where they lived."  (Here, I took our two smallest and placed them on one side of the room.  Nearby, was a laundry basket which shall from here on be called The Mayflower.)   
      "They decided to rent a boat and try to sail to somewhere else, where they would be free to worship and pray to God the way they wanted." (Here, I began pushing the Mayflower, with the two small tots inside, across the room, rocking it occasionally to add to their joy.)  
     "They sailed across the ocean to a new place.  Their boat was crowded and they didn't have very much food and it took a looooong time to get there."  (We get to the couch, where older tot is waiting and watching this story unfold.) 
    "When they got there, they started to build homes.  There were some other people living in this new place.  The Pilgrims called these people Indians." (Older tot, who has been told that he is an Indian, comes to "welcome" smaller tots).
  "The Pilgrims were thankful to God for helping them make it through the hard, cold winter.  The Indians were a part of this-- the Indians brought the Pilgrims food to help them through the winter.  And some Indians taught them how to grow food for the next year.  They were so thankful, they decided to have a feast to thank God and invite the Indians to share it with them.  This is the very first Thanksgiving."

2.  Next, we did our Mayflower craft.  I first saw something like this here:  http://www.allfreekidscrafts.com/Thanksgiving-Crafts-for-Kids/Priceless-Personalized-Mayflower#25kxP1KfTjBJbTZv.32  I loved the personalized photo in the boat idea, but hadn't planned ahead (next year?) and so didn't have any photos on hand.  But, I figured, we'd modify and with a couple more Pinterest Mayflower craft ideas, floating around in my head, came up with this one:   You could also use popsicle sticks for the masts.  The kids drew themselves in their Mayflower, and in Mystery's case, she used an extra Cheerio for her head. 
3.  We made little edible turkeys, first seen here: http://www.ourbestbites.com/2010/11/oreo-turkeys-and-cookie-pilgrim-hats/   Always a treat and very cute, but way overkill on the sweet factor.  Next time, I'll do one of the turkeys I've seen on Pinterest that are made of apples and use cheese and raisins for the tails (again, next year.)


4.  And this is my favorite this year, the Thankful Tree.  Using pine-cones we had picked previously and baked so that all the little bugs were killed, we covered a small plastic throw away parmesan cheese tub and a few leaves from Dollar Tree.  Then, we talk together about things we are thankful for, and I help the kids make little tags that could be added. 
  "But where did you get that awesome little tree?" you ask.  That was the best part:  it came rolling up to me in a parking lot the day before.  It's a tumbleweed.  I must remember to look for a tumbleweed next year because they work very well for this, having withstood much harder things already while rolling their lives away.
5.  As a finishing touch, you might try looking up the Peanuts Thanksgiving cartoon on YouTube.  Older toddlers especially enjoy this, and there are many accurate facts about the first feast in the movie.


That's it!  Have fun crafting and Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Letter of the Week for T

Top of the mornin' to ya!  This full Letter T letter of the week packet is available on our store with all the crafts you will see in this post!


All of our Letter packets begin with a story.  Our story for T is that Glimmercat learns how to Tapdance.  Of the course the sound of tap dancing is an awful lot like T-t-t-t!  We even have a little song that goes along with it:



Then, as we always do, we introduce a new T word to focus on for each day of our five day letter program.  Let's begin with T is for Turtle.



For some reason, this little Turtle dot to dot is one of my favorites:

For our turtle craft, we use egg cells from cartons.  Everything else you need is included in the printable, although you could have a bit more extra fun by painting the carton cell.


They turned out AWESOME!



Another day with T, we focus a lot on Trains.  When I was in the process of creating this Train craft on the computer, my son spotted it across the room and cried, "I want to do THAT!"  Which is always an encouraging start.


This craft begins with cutting out all the pieces...(They're pretty self-explanatory)


We also found a photo of my son that worked just right for the engineer's window, so we glued it in, too.  Last, we added some cotton balls for smoke...


This turned out super cute, and my boy was immensely proud of it:


I am going to introduce you here to a fabulous book that you have to get, if you don't have it already!  It is called "Tea Rex" by Molly Idle, and it is perfect in so many ways, but especially perfect for the letter T.


The illustrations are incredible and I cannot imagine a better introduction to Tea Parties for either boys or girls.  I wanted to introduce my kids to the idea of Tea Parties, Tea, and sharing with others, and this book has a little of all of that, while being incredibly humorous and fun.  I liked it so much, that I did our Reading Literacy activity for the letter T based on this book.  We made it a Cause and Effect matching activity that looks like this:


And the follow-up craft that we designed is one of my favorites because it gives kids the opportunity to share with someone else.  And I love those kinds of things.  Here's the black and white print-out that we colored how we wished.  It's all ready to be cut out:


After cutting it out and folding it together, we took a little tea bag (I think it was Sleepy Time, one of our favorites) and tucked it inside the paper tea pot...


We tied it together with a bit of curly ribbon, and look how cute!


My daughter got to give it to a friend the evening we finished it.  Such fun!





For a lot more T activities, both printables, reading literacy activities, flash cards and a Letter T Matching Game, head over to our teacher store here.


For the other alphabet letter of the week packets, we offer the following blog links with crafts included:


Letter of the Week for A

Letter of the Week for B

Letter of the Week for C

Letter of the Week for D

Letter of the Week for E  

Letter of the Week for F

Letter of the Week for G

Letter of the Week for H

Letter of the Week for I

Letter of the Week for J

Letter of the Week for K

Letter of the Week for L

Letter of the Week for M

Letter of the Week for N

Letter of the Week for O

Letter of the Week for P

Letter of the Week for Q

Letter of the Week for R

Letter of the Week for S


Letter of the Week for T

Letter of the Week for U

Letter of the Week for V

Letter of the Week for W

Letter of the Week for X


Friday, November 14, 2014

Letter of the Week for S




It is time for Sensational letter S!  The letter S has so many super-duper ideas connected to it.  This letter packet was a lot of fun for us to create.  Everything seen in this blog is available here in our store.


To introduce our letter, Glimemrcat meets a snake and he demonstrates for her the sound of the letter S:  sssssssssssss!


It is so helpful to have a little story to go along with each letter's sound.  And this story was a wonderful introduction to the other words that begin with letter S.  Here's some of the S words we introduce through flash cards and this fun S Memory game.



Now, as we take a whole day to focus on one of these words, let me share about the Snake day.


  This little snake craft is available to printed in color (example above) or as a black and white print-out that children can color themselves (example below).

The snake slips right onto the child's finger, and is a very fun way to practice the S sound.  With that little snakey tongue sticking out there, you almost have to say, "Sssss!" 

On another day, we focus on S is for Spiders.



This fun spider craft can be done with just about any glue (Tacky Glue is what we used) on parchment paper.   We begin with this little craft page.  On it is the spider, and the web template.


 You lay the wax paper over the web template and trace over it with your glue.  Elmers and hot glue both would work for this craft.


Once it is completely dry, the Glue web is very pliable and can be taped up to a window or a wall corner. 

If spiderWEBS aren't your thing, we can suggest creating crazy spiders out of egg cartons and pipe cleaners:


Now one of our next S days focuses on Snowmen.  For our Reading Literacy activity, we chose the picture book "Snowmen at Night".




The colors and angles of the illustrations in this picture book are so brilliant, and the story concept usually fascinates the small fry (what are those snowmen doing during the night that makes them look so different by the next day, anyway?).  Here's our activity that goes with it:



My daughter had no troubles "Un-Mixing The Snowmen" in this activity...




She got them all unmixed!  Yay!

Our little Seahorses turned out great, too:


Cute little guy, isn't he?  The cupcake holders that we used for his fin and backfin were the little aluminum kind.  They were a nice touch because of how shiny and easy to manipulate they are.  Very fun.


For a lot more S activities, both printables, reading literacy activities, flash cards and a Letter S Matching Game, head over to our teacher store.


For the other alphabet letter of the week packets, we offer the following blog links with crafts included:


Letter of the Week for A

Letter of the Week for B

Letter of the Week for C

Letter of the Week for D

Letter of the Week for E  

Letter of the Week for F

Letter of the Week for G

Letter of the Week for H

Letter of the Week for I

Letter of the Week for J

Letter of the Week for K

Letter of the Week for L

Letter of the Week for M

Letter of the Week for N

Letter of the Week for O

Letter of the Week for P

Letter of the Week for Q

Letter of the Week for R

Letter of the Week for S


Letter of the Week for T

Letter of the Week for U

Letter of the Week for V

Letter of the Week for W

Letter of the Week for X


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Not a "Mommy Blogger"


    I don't mind being called a "Blogger".  And I am definitely a "Mommy".  But I've heard this term "Mommy Blogger" used too often, usually with condescension and semi loathing, (which is a shameful notation on our culture and society) and I don't identify with it.  After all, I'm not your Mommy. 

Me, being Sci-Fi Fantasy weird and charming.
     Don't get me wrong:  I love being a Mommy.  I love the three tinies who call me by that name.  When it comes out of their mouths, it is the most precious thing in the world.  But I'd like the outside world to remember that I am many things, and being a mother is just one of those.  When I began blogging, there were many good articles out there explaining what it took to be a "successful blogger".  Generally this meant finding a niche and staying there.  I thought about it.  After all, there were so many fun niches I could try to fit myself in:  Thrifter Extraordinaire, the attemptive Spiritual Guru, the passionate Injustice Monger, the sometimes weird, yet always charming Sci-fi Fantasy Writer, the ever popular and forever-damned-by-the-title Mommy Blogger...aaah, choices, choices.   But a lot of other  people are already doing these niches well.  In fact, I follow some of them myself.  I didn't think I had anything new or better to offer in those categories.  And:  A niche is limiting.  I guess that's the plain and simple truth I landed on.  I didn't want to be limited. 

  So, with a sigh over the potential success (mild sarcasm intended) I was turning my back on by ignoring such wise marketing wisdom, I decided to just blog as myself.  No pseudonyms.  No pretense on expertise.  No wild pretensions of success.   A little bit of all the categories listed in the above paragraph.  And a whole lot of imperfections thrown in.  I'm a realist:  that is, I believe in being real.  In life and in social media.  If you happen to be one of my friends on Facebook, you will never see me write (as an awesome Mommy Blogger whom I follow did recently):  "I usually wake up humming a hymn..."  Hahahaha....that one still gives me a chuckle and a shake of my head.  I love that Mommy Blogger, I really do, and I appreciate everything she shares with me via her blog, but boy-oh-boy, I do not relate with waking up singing a hymn.   

The Mommy Blogger.
In my world, waking up, means being groggily kicked awake by my 8 month old, as she searches for more space after needing to come to bed with us in the middle of the night.  Knowing the chance for more sleep has escaped me, I pull my still-tired body out of bed and trudge to the bathroom, stepping over two kids' socks and a pair of underwear that didn't quite make it into the laundry basket the night before.  I almost make it to the toilet, but my 4 year old beats me to it, deciding to use our bathroom rather than the one upstairs because he has decided to crash our bed and ask me when I'm going to make him breakfast.  There are no hymns in the mix here.  If I'm lucky to have a song in my head when I wake in the morning it will likely be the lyrics to Major Tom. 

Would I trade my morning for hers?  Not a chance.  The imperfections in mine make it beautiful.  

The "Mommy Blogger" of the Bible would be typified in Proverbs 31.  Here's this woman, smack dab in the midst of a seriously man dominated world, and she is out there doing all kinds of things.  This lady was a savvy business woman, a home-maker and a fantastic cook.  If anyone could be seen as intimidating, it would be this lady, and there are a ton of apologetic Bible studies out there to prove that she is, indeed, seen as intimidating.  She's making money on the side.  She's got her own clothing industry, she's buying land, she's got her kids and husband decked out in the finest while she's compassionately giving to the needy.  Here's one thing I'll guarantee:  If she were living in our day, she would not be putting up with the title of "Mommy Blogger". Nor would she fit in one little niche.  This gal was all over the map.  I love her freedom to do and try all these things.  I find it inspiring.  Am I intimidated by her supposed perfections?  Nope.  Just like I'm not intimidated with the Mommy Blogger who can wake up in the morning singing a hymn.  I find her inspiring.  (Not that I want to sing a hymn, necessarily, but the fact that she can wake up singing is impressive.)

Let's do that!  Let's have the freedom to try all kinds of things- don't let them put you in a niche.  Be free to be you.  And I'll be free to be me.