Monday, October 27, 2014

L is for Leaf!

This family of autumn lovers was super excited for leaf week!

The resources we used this week were…

Songs:

Videos:

Monday:

We had a hard time finding leaf books this week—I guess everyone else I just as excited about the leaves changing! Thankfully Grammie is a teacher, and hooked us up with books from her school’s library. She got us: Fresh Fall Leaves by Betsy Franco, Chipmunk at Hollow Tree Lane by Victoria Sherrow, Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber, and Fall Leaves Fall! by Zoe Hall. We already owned Let it Fall by Maryann Cocca-Leffler, and I looked desperately for We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger, but couldn’t find it anywhere.

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Sadie’s been so into the leaves changing color, so we celebrated with orange and red for the leaf mosaic.

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Tuesday:

We started out our leaf week by collecting leaves in the yard. Sadie picked a few favorites, and we brought them in and spread them on the table. I cut out an “L” and then Sadie went to town gluing the leaves to the letter. She glued the leaf-covered letter to a piece of construction paper, and then we hung it up. It’s great for sight-recognition, but also makes nice piece of fall d├ęcor! I think this project would look just as pretty and interesting in the spring and summer, so no worries if you’re not doing the project in the fall. And, if it’s winter where you are, you can always buy fake leaves at the craft store!

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Wednesday:

I created a matching game that I introduced to Sadie on Wednesday. I made a little game board and matching cards with pictures of leaves. I clipped the game board onto a clipboard, shuffled up the cards, and then gave Sadie some quick instructions. She loves puzzles, so this game was a winner. She has played several times a day everyday since.

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I stuck the cards in a sandwich bag and clipped them onto the clipboard, and then just stored the game on her bookshelf where she can get to it when she wants it. I love the portability the clipboard gives!

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Thursday:

It feels like every year autumn comes and goes so quickly, so I have to cram as much pumpkin-anything into October as I can. So, this week we made leaf-shaped pumpkin cookies. Sadie always loves baking, and especially loves using the cookie cutters.  We made these for Dan’s coworkers, and I’m told they were a hit. We may have snuck a few for ourselves too.
A few words of baking wisdom:
1. Refrigerate your dough for a few hours or overnight before rolling and cutting.
2. Always dip your cutter in flour before cutting.
3. Bake on tin foil, so that you can transfer cookies onto a towel to start cooling immediately. This saves the bottoms from over-baking while resting on the hot baking sheet.
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Friday:

On Friday Sadie made some leaf prints. We stuck some leaves under a simple "Ll" printable, and Sadie rubbed over them with crayons. The rubbing created prints of all of the different types of leaves we chose. The prints turned out really cool!

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The leaf print activity doesn't take long at all, so if you're looking for another project, hand print leaves are an easy way to make some cute seasonal decor that's fun for the little ones too. Sadie and I actually made her hand print lead back in September, but it would be a perfect project to do this week.

It's super simple: paint your kid's hand in whatever color you want for your leaves (I did a little red, yellow, and brown), help him or her make a hand print on a piece of paper, then add veins and a stem with a Sharpie when the print is dry. I framed Sadie's and put it on our end table. I'll pack it away with my other autumn decor to use every year... I think I'll love it even more ten years from now!

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Weekend Fun:

Go on a leaf hunt this weekend! Read the book Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger, and then plan your very own leaf hunt in your yard, neighborhood, or a nearby park. You can even go for a hike! There is a checklist in the lesson plan, so you can easily check off different types of leaves as your little one finds them. There are even spots to include your own descriptions. Hunts are always fun for kids, but this is also a great activity for teaching and practicing descriptive language.

Sadie did her leaf hunt in leopard sweatpants, because she's sassy like that.

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Download the lesson plan HERE! and enjoy!

Note: make sure you set up your printer to print borderless before printing the lesson plan!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to use the comment section below or email me at janiewhitetaylor@gmail.com. I’d love to help you make the project work for your little one! 

Happy learning to you and your future nerds!

Monday, October 20, 2014

K is for Kite!

"Up through the atmosphere! Up where the air is clear! Oh, let's go fly a kite!"

I’ve been singing this Mary Poppins song all week, which can only mean one thing... it's kite week!

The resources we used this week were…

Songs:

Obviously, Mary Poppins' 'Let's Go Fly a Kite!'

Videos:

ABCMouse.com 'The Letter K Song'
Storybots 'K is Okay With Me'
Sesame Street: Goldmime 'K is for Kite'

Monday:

This week we found The Most Beautiful Kite in the World by Andrea Spalding, Kite Flying by Grace Lin, Stuck by Oliver Jeffers, and Catch the Wind!: All About Kites by Gail Gibbons at the library. If you couldn’t tell by now, we love Gail Gibbons!

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Sadie was in a hurry when we were making the alphabet book mosaic this week!

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Tuesday:

On Tuesday we did a little kite art to hang on the fridge. Sadie’s pretty excited about Halloween approaching, so she chose Halloween stickers. You guys can obviously decorate your kite with whatever your little one is interested in! I cut a kite shape out of orange paper, and then she colored and decorated it. Then, she glued the kite to a piece of black construction paper. I cut some leftover paper straws to fit the kite, and Sadie glued them on to look like the kite’s supports. To finish, we added a ribbon, and a big, glittery K. We stuck it on the fridge where Sadie admired it all week.

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Wednesday:

Sadie made a sun catcher back when we were on letter “B,” and really enjoyed it, so I decided to have her make another this week. We used our beloved laminating paper and some ribbon, tissue paper, and sequins. It turned out super cute!

I made and printed a kite shape to use as a guide for the sun catcher (it's included in the lesson plan!). I stuck the kite shape under a piece of (sticky-side-up) laminating paper, then created a ribbon outline for Sadie to decorate within. She went to down with the sequins, and then we added some skewers for the kite supports. I pressed another piece of laminating paper on top of Sadie’s creation, and trimmed. We added a ribbon, and hung it on our storm door. It looks so pretty in the sunlight!

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Thursday:

Since Sadie is a PB&J connoisseur (read: it's basically all she'll eat), I made her a kite-shaped sandwich this week. I used pretzel sticks for the kite supports, cheese for the string, and grapes for decoration. This would’ve been much easier (and, let's be honest, looked better) if Sadie wasn’t so insanely picky. Some twisted spaghetti noodles would be super cute as a kite string!

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Friday:

On Friday we practiced counting with a little kite printable. To work on her counting, Sadie glued paper bows to kite strings. I like these sorts of activities, because they really require lots of interaction. These activities create opportunities for conversation and teaching. One printable like this can encourage learning opportunities and discussion about letter/number recognition, colors, and counting. It's also excellent practice for fine motor skills like placing and gluing. All of the instructions and discussion starters are included in the lesson plan!

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Weekend Fun:

Flying kites is fun for everyone! There are few things more nostalgic than a picnic lunch and kite flying with family. Enjoy a fun family day this weekend!

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Download the lesson plan HERE and enjoy!

Note: make sure you set up your printer to print borderless before printing the lesson plan!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to use the comment section below or email me at janiewhitetaylor@gmail.com. I’d love to help you make the project work for your little one! 

Happy learning to you and your future nerds!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

J is for Jellyfish!

We learned all about the letter “J” and jellyfish this week!

The resources we used this week were…

Song:

Videos:

ABCMouse.com 'The Letter J Song'
Storybots 'Jump for J'
Exotic Jellyfish

Monday:

We got Peanut Butter and Jellyfish by Jarrett Krosoczka, Jellyfish by Lloyd Douglas, and Oceans Alive: Jellyfish by Ann Herriges from the library this week. Sadie really loved the pictures in the jellyfish books. She’s totally into pink and purple lately, so she loved flipping through and looking at the pretty colors. 

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We worked on the jellyfish mosaic together, and talked about this week’s letter.

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Tuesday:

On Tuesday, Sadie made a jellyfish out of a clear plastic cup. While I sat everything up, Sadie looked through one of her jellyfish books while we talked about them. She loved the purple ones.

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Sadie painted glue all over a plastic cup, then stuck small squares of tissue paper all over it. Once the cup was covered in tissue paper, she painted more glue on top of the tissue paper to "seal" it. Once it was dry (after nap time), we taped ribbons and strips of tissue paper onto the inside of the cup to look like the jellyfish’s tentacles. I put the tape on the ribbon/tissue paper, and Sadie stuck them to the inside of the cup. After we taped all of the tentacles, Sadie glued on some googly eyes. 

To hang the jellyfish, I taped a piece of ribbon to the top of the cup/jellyfish. I tied the ribbon to one of the pulls of the living room ceiling fan, but you could tape it to the ceiling or a door frame. I left it hanging all week, and Sadie loved seeing—and standing on the ottoman to twirl—it!

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Wednesday:

Sadie created another jellyfish on Wednesday. We used laminating paper, sequins, and glitter to make the top of the jellyfish, and pipe cleaners as tentacles.

While we’re talking about it: laminating paper is one of my favorite craft supplies. It’s super cheap, and there are so many fun things you can do with it. You can also laminate craft projects or artwork that you want to save. Not to mention, one roll lasts forever!

To make the top of the jellyfish I cut a small semi-circle out of the laminating paper. I mixed glitter and sequins in a plastic bag, then I removed the backing from the laminating paper and let Sadie go to town. She always loves a project with sparkles—she is very generous with the glitter!

When she was done (or when there was a sufficient layer of glitter on everything within a 10-foot radius), we laid out a few pipe cleaners on a piece of paper. I helped Sadie push the decorated laminating paper on to the paper over the tops of the pipe cleaners. We bent the pipe cleaners to look like moving tentacles, and then I trimmed them to fit on the page. It turned out so cute, and it's still hanging on the fridge.

For our activity, I just used construction paper, and wrote the letter J on the top, but I made a printable to make things even easier for you guys. It’s included in the lesson plan. 

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Thursday:

Thursday morning we had a “jelly”fish breakfast. Sadie loves jelly toast, so I just cut her toast into bell shapes for the jellyfish tops, and used her fruit and sausage to create the tentacles. As usual, she didn’t eat the sausage (you can imagine me rolling my eyes now). 

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Friday:

On Friday we had some free create time. Instead of planning out an activity I just got out a bunch of different colored papers, crayons, markers, stickers, etc., and spread it on the floor in front of us. I incorporated the week’s letter as we colored and created, but it was loose and free flowing. I wrote “J’s” and drew jellyfish, and I made up a few silly jellyfish stories. She tried coloring in my jellyfish, and practiced saying the letter “J” and its sound. She also just colored lots and lots of purple, her new favorite thing in the world.

Weekend Fun:

We had other weekend plans, so we didn’t get to see any real life jellyfish this week. We have seen them at the aquarium a few times before, and they are amazing. They're always one of Sadie's favorite exhibits. I recommend taking your family this week!

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Download the lesson plan HERE and enjoy!

Note: make sure you set up your printer to print borderless before printing the lesson plan!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to use the comment section below or email me at janiewhitetaylor@gmail.com. I’d love to help you make the project work for your little one! 

Happy learning to you and your future nerds!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I is for Ice Cream!

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream… week!

The resources we used this week were…

Songs:
The Chocolate Ice Cream Song (I love this classic American folk song, and this sweet old man's version is too adorable for words!)

Videos:

Monday:

We got Wemberly’s Ice-cream Star by Kevin Henkes, Ice-cream Cones for Sale! by Elaine Greenstein, and Ice Cream: the Full Scoop by Gail Gibbons from the library this week.

We practiced saying the letter name and sound, and then worked on the ice cream mosaic for her alphabet book.

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Tuesday:

I came up with a little ice cream cone printable so that Sadie could practice her counting this week. We looked at the number on the cone, said it out loud, and then counted out the number of pompom “sprinkles.” Sadie glued the sprinkles onto the ice cream. I hung the ice cream cones up at Sadie’s level so that she could practice counting all week. 

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Wednesday:

On Wednesday we made puffy paint, and Sadie painted an ice cream cone. To make the puffy paint, I just mixed equal parts white school glue and shaving cream. Sadie wanted pink ice cream, so I mixed in a drop of pink paint. I made a cone out of brown paper, glued it to a sheet of cardstock, and then Sadie painted the ice cream on top of it. Her ice cream cone turned out a little... melty.

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Make sure to use a thick piece of paper like cardstock for this activity, as the puffy paint makes the paper soggy. The puffy paint should be thick and able to keep its shape while painting. The paint takes 12-24 hours to dry and harden completely.

Thursday:

We had ice cream for lunch on Thursday! I’m all about Sadie getting her food groups in, and I want her to grow healthy and strong. But, every once in a while you have to kick the food pyramid to the curb and have a little fun. Sadie chose chocolate, and we savored every bite.

Friday:

Sadie has been super interested in learning her colors lately, so I created a little memory game for her to practice a little more this week. The traditional memory rules have you flipping the cards face down, and turning them over one at a time to find matches. We played one round this way, but quickly found out that these rules are a little above Sadie’s age/ability level. She required a lot of guidance and help. For the next round, we kept the cards facing up, and Sadie made matches without having to flip or remember where anything was. She enjoyed it much more that way! She has been asking to play over and over. As she gets older we’ll start flipping the cards and playing by the rules. This was great color recognition practice.

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Note: I used laminating paper to laminate the printable before cutting out the cards. This step isn't necessary, but I have a destructive little monster, and wanted the game to last a long time. 

Weekend Fun:
This weekend we want on a family ice cream date. We went to a place downtown called Doumar’s, which is a really neat historical landmark. Abe Doumar—the founder of Doumar’s—is believed to be the inventor of the waffle cone.  If you’re into history, here’s the story directly from their website:

At the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Abe Doumar was struck by great inspiration. A traveling salesman, Abe spent his days selling paperweights to fairgoers. One evening, he noticed that an ice cream stand had to close when they ran out of paper dishes, the primary way of selling ice cream to go. Nearby, another salesman was cooking up waffles on single-iron waffle maker and selling his creations, garnished with a dollop of whip cream.  On a whim, Abe bought a waffle, rolled it into a cone and topped it with ice cream. The result: the delicious and unforgettable combination of the warm sweetness of a fresh waffle and smooth ice cream. Abe diplomatically proposed that the ice cream vendor and waffle salesman collaborate so that the ice cream stand could continue operating. For the rest of the fair, Abe sold ice cream in the world’s first waffle cones.

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Doumar's in 1939

One of Sadie’s books this week actually included Abe Doumar, which we thought was really cool!

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Doumar’s is still an old-fashioned drive-in, so we hung out in the car and Sadie had her very first (incredibly delicious) ice cream cone. She loved it, of course.

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iPhone photos... forgot my camera. Oops!

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Download the lesson plan HERE and enjoy!

Note: make sure you set up your printer to print borderless before printing the lesson plan!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to use the comment section below or email me at janiewhitetaylor@gmail.com. I’d love to help you make the project work for your little one! 

Happy learning to you and your future nerds!