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!!

Our Halloween Reading List

There is still plenty of time to get in some fun Halloween themed reading with your little ones. Here are the books on our shelf this year:

Peek-a-Boooo! by Marie Cimarusti: A cute lift the flap book. My two and a half year old loves this book

AlphaOops! H is for Halloween by Alethea Kontis. This is a fabulous alphabet book, and our favorite find of the year.

Ghosts in the House! by Kazuna Kohara: I love this story about a problem solving little witch

Mouse’s First Halloween by Lauren Thompson

Dem Bones by Bob Barner

Halloween Day by Anne Rockwell

Plumply Dumply Pumpkin by Mary Serfozo

Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler:  we read this book whenever someone in our home has the hiccups!

10 Trick-or-Treaters by Janet Schulman

Moonlight the Halloween Cat by Cynthia Rylant

Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White

Pumpkin Eye by Denise Fleming

Check out last year’s reading and activity list here.

Preschool Lesson Plan: M is for Monsters

There is no shortage of ideas when it comes to the theme of monsters (hello Pinterest!).  We decided to take advantage of this fact and so for preschool today our theme was M is for monsters.

We read a monster book (see the list below for ideas) and then we did a little monster math (disguised as googly eye fun). Inspired by No Time for Flashcards I cut out some simple monster bodies and gave each child a bowl of googly eyes. They took turns pulling numbers out of a bowl and counting out the corresponding number of eyes for their monster. After a few rounds of play the girls wanted to stick the eyes to the body with glue and add some other features (arms, mouth, etc) which was fine by me.
Our next activity was a reading of Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley. This book is a favorite at our house, and my non-reading four year old “read” it aloud to us today. Then we used these cutouts which I had previously colored to illustrate the story as we read it again.  For a follow-up activity we did the roll and color a monster game using the printables here.

After lunch we read a few more monster stories and wrapped things up by making monsters out of playdough. My favorite homemade playdough recipe can be found here (note-today I added almost another cup of flour to the recipe to make it nice and soft), and for added fun today we included googly eyes and pipe cleaners to create the monster body parts.

Further Ideas: we didn’t get to it today, but I love this cute monster matching game from No Time for Flashcards.

The Monster Book Reading List

Our favorite monster books to read include:
Go Away Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Bedtime for Monsters by Ed Vere
My Monster Mama Loves Me So by Laura Leuck
The Monster Who Ate My Peas, by Danny Schnitzlein

For more monster themed reading lists be sure to check out No Time for Flashcards and Serving Pink Lemonade.

Fall and Halloween activities I plan to do

Halloween and fall activities have been popping up all over online for a few weeks now. To help me keep track of the projects I actually want to attempt this year, I am sharing my potential to-do list with you here. Be sure to follow me on Pinterest for more great ideas (since I mostly just pin things there and rarely get around to blogging anymore!) Of course, we are also reading lot’s of books–but I’ll save that post for another day.

Happy October!

Acorn pumpkins from Family Fun

Haunted House math activity (or letters?) from No Time for Flashcards

Autumn leaf garland from Activity Corner

Leaf cut out artwork from Rockabye Butterfly

 Tissue leaf tree from Rockabye Butterfly

Pretzel stick trees from Tippytoe Crafts

Fall fingerpaint tree from Rockabye Butterfly

Paperplate ghosts from Clean and Scentsible

Egg carton bats and leaf ghosts from Happy Clippings

Pumpkin Bowling from Be Different Act Normal

Thumbprint spiders from Meet the Dubiens

Play Monster memory from No Time for Flashcards

Coffee filter trees from The Iowa Farmers Wife 

Celebrating Friendship (and books to go along with the theme)

We have wrapped up another year of the Sweet Bee’s preschool co-op.  When it was my last turn to host, we celebrated the friendship and fun of these four cute girls!We had a mini photo session, and then the girls each decorated an inexpensive frame so they would have a place to keep a photo memory of this preschool year.

Here is our Friendship Theme Book List

City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems

My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems (and any other Elephant and Piggie book)

Friends by Helme Heine

You Will Be My Friend by Peter Brown

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Stead

My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohman

Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel (and any other Frog and Toad book)

How do Dinosaurs play with their Friends? by Jane Yolen

Preschool Lesson Plan: Life Cycle of a Butterfly

The Sweet Bee is a budding entomologist. She loves to catch bugs (usually roly polies) and keep them in containers (the poor bugs don’t last very long). She has been begging to talk about butterflies at school, so that’s we did today.

Play Time/Free Time Downstairs

Circle Time
Welcome Song—Here We Are Together
Pledge of Allegiance
Calendar—Talk about the day, the month, and the date.
Weather –look out the window and discuss the weather

Metamorphosis and Life Cycle

Introduce metamorphosis:  changing from one thing to another

Read: Are you a butterfly?

Follow the lesson plan from Not Just Cute to teach the butterfly life cycle: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly, egg, caterpillar, etc. I used flashcards found here.

Make bead caterpillars (from Make and Takes)

Make clothespin butterflies (inspired by Teach Mama and Make and Takes)Free Play Time

Snack Time: Froot Loop Butterflies (inspired by Teach Mama)

Nature Explorations

We took a walk to discover butterflies in nature. Along the way we found a ladybug.

We were thrilled to find an orange butterfly. It didn’t stay around too long, with 4 eager preschoolers chasing after it. I was only able to snag one quick picture.After our little nature walk we returned home and each child colored their own butterfly life cycle book.

The Butterfly Reading List

Ten Little Caterpillars by Bill Martin

Are you a Butterfly? by Judy Allen

Monarch Butterflies by Helen Frost

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

More Butterfly Explorations

Looking for more explorations? I haven’t tried it, but this Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden looks pretty awesome!

Bow Tie Pasta= Butterflies. Try making a sensory tub, or paint them and make a pretty picture.

Plastic Egg Creative Creatures

“Can we do an Easter craft?” asked the Ant Bug.

“Uhhh…sure. Let’s see…” And I hopped onto, hoping for some quick inspiration.

I was thrilled when I found Marie’s Plastic Easter Egg Bunny Craft post. We had plenty of plastic eggs lying around (literally, they were all over the living room floor after the weekend egg hunts!), and so here are the creatures my children came up with. The activity took zero preparation, and kept my children entertained for about 25 minutes. That’s my kind of activity!I love how the first egg they decorated resembled a more typical Easter bunny, but each creature got more creative with multiple googly eyes and colorful pom pom noses and wacky antlers/antennae.

What are you doing with your leftover plastic eggs?

Here are a few books on our Easter reading list (so I can remember them next year!)

Minerva Louise and the Colorful Eggs by Janet Morgan Stoeke

We discovered this chicken at Christmas time (think Amelia Bedelia, but a chicken) and we have been delighted with her adventures.

Happy Easter, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff

We will always be fans of the “If you give a …” series, and this cute little board book was perfect for my toddler.