Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ocean Scholastic Unit

Hello!   My Little One loves anything to do with ocean creatures.  At some point I bought a unit from Scholastic on oceans.  LO decided to pull it out recently and completed some of the pages.  He enjoyed the coloring pages and decided to do two of the activities.  He made a jellyfish and a lobster.  The jellyfish was made out of a paper plate folded in half and construction paper.  He made the lobster out of a paper bag, which made it a puppet.

Does your child love ocean creatures?


Home Depot Kids Workshop

Hello!  One great way to get Daddy involved with homeschooling is to go to fun activities like the FREE Kids Workshops at Home Depot.  The kids get to make a project including hammering, glueing, painting, and stickers.   They get to keep the cute aprons (which are totally free!) and earn pins for each of the projects that they complete. 
Do you go to workshops with your children?

Pool Number Activity

Hello!  I definitely pulled this idea from another homeschool blog, but I don't remember exactly which one.  If it was you, please write a comment below taking credit :)  It was probably but I am not sure.
This number activity was really easy and cheap to construct.  It's just 2 pool noodles, which cost $1 at the dollar store.  :)   I used duct tape to make a circle with one of the noodles.  I then cut up the other noodle into small circles.  I wrote numbers on them because my Little One has been struggling with number recognition.  We simply play pool games with them by throwing the numbers into the larger ring.  I have him shout out the number as he either throws or collects the green noodle circles.  It's fun and an easy way to practice numbers.
This activity concept could modified for lots of other concepts.  It could be used for higher math concepts like addition and subtraction.  It also could be modified to use letters instead of numbers.  It could be a letter recognition game or a word making game. 
What ideas do you have for this type of activity?


Rocket Making!

Hello!   This summer we set off some real rockets in my parents backyard.  Little One thought that it was super cool :)  He came home wanting to make his own rockets.  I was pretty sure that he did not care if they were "real" or not, so I got some toilet paper rolls, construction paper, and paint out.  LO had a BLAST constructing his rockets.  :) 

What fun things have you done with your child that turned into a craft activity?

Circle Time - July

Hello!   In our homeschool, we try to start our day with our version of Circle Time.   We basically have a Circle Time wall which is in the foyer of our house.  It's literally next to our front door.  We do our Circle Time when we exist the house.  Sometimes I remember at other times, but I placed it near the front door on purpose.  I figured if I was walking by it every day to leave the house that I would remember to actually go over it :)  

Included in our Circle Time are the following:
- Picture of the current season
- Picture of the current month
- Our day of the week chart including "yesterday", "today", and "tomorrow"
- a magnetic calendar
- a "welcome" sign with a changable wooden item
- a liturgical calendar wheel (not pictured)

The current season and current month pictures came from the Horizons Preschool curriculum.  We tried this curriculum for a while but it didn't work for us.  It was a lot of work and just not our style.   I did like some of the supplemental materials, like these sets of pictures, so I kept them.   The rest of the curriculum I donated.

I made the day of the week chart.  I got the idea from visiting Lakeshore Learning and checking out their Circle Time wall hangings that were for sale.  I quickly figured out that I did not want to buy one of the already made charts.  They were expensive and I already had a lot of the components.   One component that I saw on the pre-made wall hangings that I liked was the concept of a Day of the Week that included the terms "yesterday", "today", and "tomorrow."  Little One uses these concepts frequently but not necessarily correctly.  So I thought that this part of Circle Time would be helpful for him.  I made my Day of the Week component with construction paper (white and red) and one sleeve protector.  I cut the sleeve protector into thirds.  It was as simple as that :)

The magnetic calendar was a donation from my aunt.  Her now-grown children used it when they were little.  I like that it is a dry erase board plus magnetic.  The magnets have lots of activity options along with the numbers and months.

The wooden welcome sign with the wooden items came from my grandmother.   She was going through her things and decided she did not need it.  I thought it would make a nice addition to my Circle Time wall.  It was actually hanging on the wall before I put together the other components of my Circle Time wall.

I also made a liturgical calendar wheel from  My son likes to play with it and he had placed it in another location when I took this picture. 

Do you do Circle Time with your children?  If so, what do you include in your Circle Time?

Children's Worship Bulletin

Hello!  One of the great things about homeschooling is that any magazine or worksheet can be "school".   Every Sunday our Church provides a "Children's Worship Bulletin".  It comes in two age ranges and my son falls into the "age 3 to 6" range.  We complete the bulletin either when my son gets squiggly during Mass or when we get home.   It reinforces the Bible teachings of the week and practices key school skills.

Does your Church have available worksheets like this for the children?

Care of a Sensory Bin

Hello!  A Sensory Bin is always a good thing to have around.   I have blogged about my Sensory Bins before.   Instead of changing up my Sensory Bin, I have gravitated towards keeping the same Sensory Bin all the time.   Our Sensory Bin has multiple colors of water beads and transparent colored stones which I bought at the dollar store.   It also had lots of measuring cups, funnels, plastic forks, plastic cups, etc.   LO has also added some fun sponges and such to his bin.  He pulls out his bin randomly to play with it.

This post is actually not about the contents of my bin but about the care of my bin.  I noticed after a while that the bin was definitely getting a little foul smelling and moldy.   I solved this simply by airing it out and poking holes in the top of my plastic lid.  The problem is mostly solved.  Occassionally I also basically rinse the entire interior of the container and the plastic items with regular tap water.

Anyone else have ideas on how to care for a Sensory Bin?

Money Muncher

Hello!  I pulled this fun money activity from  Little One was asking about money and we have been trying to instill in him the concepts of money.  He has a small change purse that I gave him with some coins inside and some dollar bills.  He gets to spend it how he wants.  He has learned that he needs to budget his money.   So I thought that this quick activity would be fun for him.  All we used was a tennis ball, a sharpie, and some scissors.   The only hard part was cutting the mouth.  It takes a lot of work to cut through a tennis ball!  The finished product is called a "money muncher".  We played a game of putting coins inside the ball.  LO had fun making the ball "munch" his money.  We discussed the coins as we put them in.  When it got full we took the coins back out and did it again. :)

The Rotation of the Earth

Hello!   At one of our visits to the public library Little One decided he wanted to check out books about space.  In the space section was a book called "Sunshine Makes the Seasons".  It looked worthwhile to check out, so we took it home for a look.  Turns out to be a pretty cool book!  I highly recommend checking it out.  It is a cute story that has some great discussion on the changing of the seasons.  Plus it has the directions for how to do these lessons at home.   As you can see in some of the pictures below, it shows how to use a round object and a pencil to show the axis of the Earth, the tilting of the Earth, and how the Earth rotates around the Sun.   We used a tennis ball, sharpie, and pencil to do the activities in the book.  We went into a dark bathroom and used a flashlight to shine light on our "Earth" to show the "Seasons".  The flashlight represents the "Sun".   It was a lot of fun and I think that LO learned a lot about the seasons from this book and its activities.

Homeschooling with Daddy :)

Hello!  Usually I do the "homeschooling" lessons so it is a lot of fun for Little One when daddy decides to do some school lessons.  :)  We are using the Seton Press Handwriting series.  My son is a PreK4 so I started with the Kindergarten book.  I like the series because it has a small daily worksheet to do each day.  The lesson on Monday introduces a weekly concept which is reviewed each day and then completed on Friday.  Each page starts with a "this day is ___" and then has a quick activity to do like identifying things in the room that start with the letter that we will be working on.   It's a very gradual process that reinforces the same concept until the student has mastered the concept.  It is a Catholic curriculum and has religious references and prayers.  It takes us about 5 minutes a day to complete.

Daddy also had the opportunity to take LO to the public library for a Lego contest.  LO built a structure and then presented it to the judges.  He won a certificate award :)  We were very proud of him.


Foam Sticker Artwork - fine motor artwork :)

Hello!  One way to develop a preschooler's fine motor skills is to have them use stickers to make artwork.  In this activity, Little One had to take the paper off the back of the foam stickers and place them on a large piece of white construction paper.  We used a religious theme but any type foam sticker would have the same results.   Once he stuck all his stickers onto the paper, we used paint dabbers to paint all the foam stickers.  This now makes the artwork a stencil.  We then placed another piece of white construction paper on top of the original picture and used a wooden roller to put pressure on the picture.   The last photo is our finished product :)  One picture is the stencil and the other is the print!  Very cool :)

Felt board - The Woman Who Swallowed a Fly

A great thing to do for storytime are felt board stories.  One of the stories that my Little One likes to do is "The Woman Who Swallowed a Fly".   He will do this one over and over again.  He likes putting all the pieces inside the woman.   We read the book while he plays with the felt pieces.  I also have the key words on cardstock to put on the felt board to re-enforce the words as we go through the story.

Sea Urchin Lesson :)

Hello!  So my Little One is obsessed with anything that has to do with the ocean.   We love the Magic School Bus books, DVDs, and kits.  LO asked me if he could make a sea urchin.  Well, I have never made a sea urchin before but I thought this sounded like a doable quick project.  I ended up just using Playdoh and toothpicks.  We rolled the Playdoh into balls and inserted lots of toothpicks for the sea urchin spikes :)  Soooo easy, yet so fun :)  We read the Magic School Bus book called "On the Ocean Floor" and pulled out LO's ocean encyclopedia and read about sea urchins, specifically about the dangers of them.  We learned a lot. :) 

This summer we traveled up to Maine and went to the Mount Desert Oceanarium.  While at the oceanarium we had the opportunity to touch a real, live sea urchin!  LO was so excited!  :)  During the presentation on the sea urchin, he told the staff volunteer about how HE had made a sea urchin.  She looked a little perplexed until I explained that we made one out of Playdoh and toothpicks.  :)  He then proceeded to tell HER all about sea urchins.  Everyone in our group was very impressed with his knowledge on sea urchins :)  It was definitely a great homeschooling moment!

Beading - Great fine motor skill :)

Hello!  One great way to work on fine motor skills with preschoolers is to have them do bead work.  My little one loves to make bracelets and necklaces.  We use pony beads and string.  He also had to use his scissor skills to cut the string.  I helped him with the knotting of the string.  I tyed one pony bead to the end so that all the beads would not fall off. It was a fun activity that really made him concentrate.  Look at the focus on his face :)

What do you do for fine motor skill development with your preschooler?

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Starfall at the public library

We go to the public library on a weekly basis.  We meet with our mommy group - which is part of The Mommies Network.   We do not usually use the computers but I needed to get on to print some things.  While I was working, little one decided to get on a computer next to me.  This was the first time he had ever used a public library computer.  I helped him sign on by using his library card.  He then requested that we navigate to  I was very impressed that he used the mouse and navigated around the website like a pro :)  He "read" some e-books and played some of the free educational games.  Starfall is a great FREE website for learning :)