Category Archives: Fun and Learning

Rainy Preschool Theme

We have had a lot of cloudy rainy days recently. What better way to celebrate the weather than with a rainy preschool lesson theme?!

Introduce the theme by putting together the rain/number puzzle from the Rain preschool packet by 2 Teaching Mommies.

Read I love the Rain by Margaret Park Bridges.i_love_the_rain1

Make it rain! Follow the directions from Preschool Alphabet to conduct this science experiment. All you need is a pot of boiling water and a tin pie pan filled with ice cubes. The kids thought it was pretty cool when the droplets started forming, and I was able to throw in the words evaporation and condensation in our conversation.DSC08449_thumb

While we were waiting for the water to boil, we did some worksheets from the the Rain preschool packet by 2 Teaching Mommies. We especially liked the lightning letter match: matching uppercase letter clouds to lowercase letter lightning bolts.

Read Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld. This was a really cute story about a little cloud who dreams of doing great big things.9780805087765

Talk about the water cycle using this image from Deceptively Educational.WaterCycle_PrintablesCollage

Sing a few rain songs: Rain is Falling All Around or The Wise Man and the Foolish Man (from the Children’s Songbook).

Create an umbrella/rainy day picture from No Time for Flashcards. (Our craft didn’t actually turn out this cute. At this point the children were more interested in playing with ice cubes in a bowl, but oh well).

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We didn’t have time for Disappearing Clouds by Teach Preschool, but will hopefully get to it later this week (draw clouds with chalk on black paper, then make the clouds “disappear” by painting over them with water).

You can find more great ideas at this Preschool Rain/Clouds/Water Cycle Pinterest board.

Further Reading

Rain Makes Applesauce by Julianne Scheer

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Raindrop, Plop! by Wendy Cheyette Lewisonraindrop

Blue Sky by Audrey Wood

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Little Cloud by Eric Carle443_MD

Split! Splat! by Amy Gibsongibson splat

Clouds by Anne Rockwellclouds-anne-rockwell

The noisy eggs game

We have been having lots of fun with plastic eggs this month–the fun didn’t end for us on Easter!

Today we played the noisy eggs game, inspired by Preschool Alphabet. First we sorted through our eggs and we each found six of one color (or at least a similar shade).IMG_0409

Then we searched around the house for items to hide inside that would make a variety of noises. We used a battery, cereal, glass gems, pennies, a chocolate egg, and another small candy (use your imagination here–there are lots of things around the house you could include). We made sure that we each had the same items in our eggs.

Then we took turns shaking the eggs and finding the matching noise. The kids thought this was great fun!

To finish it off, we read Bunny’s Noisy Book by Margaret Wise Brown.

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Preschool Theme: Rainbows and Color

As I mentioned yesterday, this week we are having fun with rainbows and colors. Visit this post for a list of books to go along with a Rainbow and Color theme. Here are some of the activities we have done.

Make a cloud rainbow using pom poms and strips of paper (more details here from Live Learn Love)

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Rainbow Letter R (more details here from No Time for Flashcards).

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Sort pony beads into rainbow colors then string on pipe cleaners. Stick the chenille stems in an egg carton to make a rainbow.

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Zach had a great time stringing the beads. We used a flower foam base I had on hand as a stand. 

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Lily made her rainbow, then turned it into a garden complete with flowers, a sun, and clouds.

Play a matching game with paint chip samples. Make a color book using paint chip samples and ribbon (more details here from Nothing But Country).

 Rainbow number assessment (free printable here)

Roll and color a rainbow (printable from Criss Cross Applesauce here)

Sort fuzzy pom poms by color (use clothespins for grasping as an added challenge).

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 Read My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss. Draw faces with different emotions (more details here ). Make a suncatcher with tissue paper (template available here).

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Science experiment: colored water mixing (more details here from Make and Takes).

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 Build a rainbow out of felt (more details here).

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Additional Ideas

Play a matching game with the felt shapes.

 Play musical chairs-in color (using colored felt squares).

Make a Rainbow Fish (using colored tissue paper)

String colored froot loops and make a rainbow

Make marshmallow rainbows

Creative colors: make a rainbow using colored craft supplies (feathers, buttons, beads, etc)

End of the Rainbow game with Skittles

Pretty Rainbow Prints (fold in half and paint one side)

Make a rainbow bracelet using foam or beads

Popsicle Rainbow

Assorted Rainbow activities available here

Books about Rainbows and Color

This week we are having fun with rainbows and color. Here are the picture books we are reading:

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Lemons Are Not Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Duckie’s Rainbow by Frances Barry

Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd

A Rainbow of My Own by Don Freeman

IMG_0056My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss

White Rabbit’s Color Book by Alan Baker

Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Thanks to No Time for Flashcards for her great color book suggestions!

Bubble Painted Shamrocks and other fun for St. Patrick’s Day

Today the kids and I made bubbles and called it art. It was great fun!

IMG_0020We were inspired by this Lucky Clover Bubble Painting post. The instructions are simple. Draw a clover on a piece of construction paper, place in a pan with raised edges. Put a squirt of dish soap in a small cup, then fill 1/3 of the way with water. Add a few drops of food coloring, stir. Then arm your children with straw and let them blow away until the bubbles overflow the cup. The kids loved this and happily blew bubbles and played for over 30 minutes.

*Note of caution: Be sure that your child knows to blow and not suck on the straw! My five year old had no issues with this, and my three year old started out okay. But by the end in his excitement he forgot and ended up with a mouthful of soap a few times. The soap isn’t toxic of course, but it didn’t taste too good!

We are having some fun with other St. Patrick’s themed activities this week. Check out the links below if you are looking for some inspiration for the 17th of March.

St. Patrick’s Day lunchbox notes

Handprint leprechauns

St. Patrick’s Day Printable Playset

Leprechaun and Rainbow Magnet page

Pot of Gold Letter Assessment

Color and cut-out leprechaun

I like to keep things simple for the holidays, but my kids will have this little cereal gift waiting for them on St. Patrick’s Day. Holidays are a sweet time to remind them how much I love them. Don’t forget something for the husband too!

001Printable available from Blue Skies Ahead.

Days with Dr. Seuss: Bartholomew, Yertle, and The Lorax

March is the month of Dr. Seuss, and we have been having a lot of fun reading his books and doing related activities. Some of his books are great fun, like “Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?“, but I have to admit that some of his books get a little long in the telling (we gave up halfway through “If I Ran the Circus“). Here are a few highlights of our preschool Dr. Seuss theme.

Note: These activities were done with my two youngest children, ages five and almost three.

Read Bartholomew and the Oobleck and make gloop.

IMG_9948This was an understandably messy activity, but the kids loved it. After a little while they added a few of their small plastic animals and had fun hiding and finding them. The recipe for the gloop can be found here.

Read Yertle the Turtle and make turtles that stack

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IMG_9961Inspiration for the turtles came from Happy Birthday Author.

Here is a close-up of Zach’s turtles before we cut them out. Look closely and you can see the little turtle faces he drew (circle-ish with two dots for eyes) and the legs and tails. He has just started drawing people this week and I love it! The purple squiggles in the middle he said are slides.

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Read The Lorax and make Truffala Trees

IMG_0011Inspiration for the Truffula trees came from I Can Teach My Child.

I gave the instructions on the trees to my husband on a Saturday afternoon, and he got busy with the kids and made quite a few trees. Once the trees were made they stuck them in some homemade playdough for more imaginative play.

The next day Lily wanted to do another craft, but we were getting ready for church and I told her no. She grabbed the Lorax book and started making her own book. She did four or five pages and it was so fun to see her drawings.

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According to Lily, the Lorax is saying “Hey, who chopped down the tree I came out of?”

Snowy activities for January fun

As I mentioned in this post, my preschool theme for my children in the month of January is always SNOW. Today I am sharing some of the snow-themed activities we have done (or still will do) this month.

*Side note about the activities: In December I discovered something interesting. That month I made a list of the December craft activities and games that we wanted to do. I created a very simple advent countdown (think super simple here–I stuck six clothespins on the wall and then wrote the activities on red and green paper). The children took turns choosing an activity to do each day, and when we ran out I just added more activities to the clothespins.

This system worked so well for us! My 5-year old can often be heard “What are we going to do?” If I tell her “We are going to … (insert random craft activity)” she is often resistant to the idea. But when she gets to pick the activity from the wall (even when she can’t read and is just randomly selecting a piece of paper), then she is always happy to participate.IMG_9896

So I decided to continue the clothespin system into January, just changing the color of the paper. We don’t do an activity every day (probably 3-4 a week). But so far it is working well for us. I plan a list of activities in advance (most only take 20 minutes (or longer if the kids are really interested), all can be done with minimal prep and supplies I have on hand, and the kids have the freedom of selecting which activity we do. It’s a win-win situation for us!

S0…here are the snowy activities on our list for January.

Read The Snowy Day. Conduct an ice melting science experiment: sugar, salt, mitten, control (more details here from Joyfully Weary).

Make snowflakes using coffee filter papers.

Play a snowflake match game (snowflakes available in this packet here from Confessions of a Homeschooler).

Read Thomas’ Snowsuit. Have a winter dress relay race. Then do a snowball relay race (transfer cotton balls on a spoon to a bowl across the room).

Read Snowmen All Year. Make a shape snowman (more details here from Preschool Alphabet).IMG_9895Make snowflakes with marshmallows and toothpicks

Decorate popsicle stick snowflakes–use glitter.IMG_9892

Read Snowman at Night. Make a toilet paper night snowman (more details here from No Time for Flashcards).IMG_9894

Play with shaving cream in a dish. Pretend it is snow.

S is for Snowman preschool packet (download the packet here from Confessions of a Homeschooler).IMG_9897

Activities still to do

Play and learn with Arctic Animals games (download the game here from File Folder Fun)

Melting candy cane experiments (more details here from Teach Mama-technically not a snowy activity, but a great activity to do with the leftover Christmas candy canes!)

Make a snowman out of felt shapes.

Make crystallized snowflakes using borax (more details here from Silver and Chalk).

Make a snowman from a top-down perspective (more details here).

Snowflake painting using painters tape (more details here from Little Page Turners)

Snowy books to read in January

The theme of my preschool activities with my children during the month of January is always SNOW! There are a number of great snow picture books available, and here are a few of my favorites (note–I get all of these from my local library each January).

Snowmen at Night by Caralyn and Mark Buehner

479_original_1The Snowmen books are great fun. This month we have been reading Snowmen at Night, Snowmen all Year, and Snowmen at Work. The text of the books is good, but the fun thing is that each page contains hidden pictures (a cat, two ducks, a santa face, a t-rex, etc). The hidden pictures keep the children engaged in the book for a longer period of time.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

thesnowyday_custom-8ebc3ef66545745e1f433998f34758745d33c933-s6-c10-1This will always be a favorite with me!

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

bentleyA great book for learning more about and enjoying the beauty of snowflakes. We also enjoyed looking at the pictures in the non-fiction book, The Snowflake: Winter’s Secret Beauty.

Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London

Froggy’s misadventures are always hilarious to children.

Stella Queen of the Snow by Marie-Louise Gay

A funny story about a wise older sister who has all the answers to her younger brother’s questions about snow.

Thomas’ Snowsuit by Robert Munsch

This book makes me glad that we don’t live in a cold climate where we have to wear snowsuits!

New titles discovered and enjoyed this year include:

Millions of Snowflakes  by Mary McKenna Siddels

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

Snowbaby Could Not Sleep by Kara LaReau

Thanksgiving Books for November

I’m taking my Thanksgiving books back to the library today. But before I do, I wanted to make note of the titles, since this year we added a few good reads to our November/Thanksgiving list.

Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’ by Eileen Spinelli

The Thankful Book by Todd Parr

‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey

Mouse’s First Fall by Lauren Thompson

Autumn Walk by Ann Burg

Thanksgiving on Plymouth Plantation by Diane Stanley

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert

Pilgrim Cat by Carol Peacock

You can check out last year’s favorites here.

Now it’s time to get out our Christmas reading list!

 

In Sum: 327 (or in other words, a post about Halloween candy and counting)

Our children ended up with a massive pile of candy after our Halloween activities this year. Really.*

One quiet afternoon I decided to have a little fun with our candy (and sneak in some learning at the same time). I dumped out our bowls of candy on the living room floor and asked the kids to sort and organize it. I got them started by saying “Here is a tootsie pop. Do we have any other tootsie pops? Let’s put them in a pile together.” They caught on quickly and jumped right in. Even the two-year old was happily picking up candy and saying “same…same!”

Once the sorting was done, we took a look at our piles and I asked them to estimate, or take a guess at which pile had the most candy. Then we started counting. Each child took turns picking a pile to count and we recorded the totals. We worked our way through the chocolate pile, the Tootsie Pops, the Nerds, the Laffy Taffy, etc. We were all correct in our estimation that we had the most chocolate–77 pieces! Hooray.

After all that counting and sorting, it was definitely time to eat a piece!

Then I suggested that we go the next step and figure out how many pieces of candy we had all together. I pulled out the dry erase boards for my almost-8-year-old and she started adding everything up.

Meanwhile my five year old and I pulled out the calculator and started adding up our totals–she punched in all of the numbers.

The grand total at the end came to 327 pieces of candy! Yikes, that is a lot of candy. And that is even after almost two weeks of eating a few pieces of candy a day, and sharing a bunch with our family who visited for a few days. I wonder how much we had to start with ??!!!

We made a few real-world applications and realized that if the 5 of us in our family each ate one piece of candy a day, it will last us for 65 days. But it is more likely that we will eat two pieces, in which case it will last for 32 days, or about a month.

I know I am a bit of nerd, but it was really fun to find some real life counting and math practice that worked for all three of my children! Thanks for the inspiration, Teach Mama! Check out her post for more ideas and great ways to play with candy.

*The long story: We attended our ward Trunk or Treat party the weekend prior, and then the children headed out with Dad on Halloween to knock the neighborhood. This is our first year in a neighborhood with houses and families and children (as opposed to just townhomes and mainly college students) so we weren’t exactly sure how much candy to plan for. Well…turns out that our street is not a popular place to trick or treat. At nearly every door they knocked they were handed an extra large handful of candy because the home owners were thrilled to finally have some children to give candy too. And while I eagerly waited at home with my own candy bowl primed and ready to go, I only had 4 children knock at my door. All of that combines to make one large supply of candy!!