Monday, September 29, 2014

US Geography Preschool Activities: the Wild West

US States Educational Games for Kids

We are starting on discovering the states in a fun, meaningful, and hands-on way.

Of course, we started with our native state and use Melissa & Doug Sound Puzzle as a main aid. For the Wild West theme, we jumped at the opportunity to introduce some more US Geography. Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona were found by My Firefly this month. She enjoyed several awesome cowboy books mentioned here:

Our favorite book of the month is "Charlie the Ranch Dog" by Ree Drummond.

US States Activities: the Wild West.

It's time for a Poppins Book Nook - a book club that goes live on the last Monday of each months.
You can find our previous Poppins Book Nook books and activities here:

The theme for this month is "The Wild West". This is a very exciting topic - it calls for all things cowboys, the places they go, and the things they love to do. Visit the hosts of Poppins Book Nook to find out what the kids were up to, their wild adventures and discoveries.

Charlie the Ranch Dog: Oklahoma

Charlie, a very smart basset hound, described a day of his life on a working cattle ranch near Pawhuska, Oklahoma. The story is very cute and engaging: we had to read the book many times and talked about how the life of the ranch differs from what we are used to at home. My Firefly loves the pictures of Charlie's family and friends. Of course, one of the main characters is a black cow named Daisy.

We had to play cows: I made a couple of cows' masks for pretend play. According to the book, cows - those beasts - love sneaking into Mama's beloved vegetable garden to get extra treats. We visited a farm to look at cows again and see what they eat.  My Firefly loved jumping in the straw and throwing it up into the air.

Arizona: Cactus

Our second field trip for this theme was to the store to discover all the cacti of different sizes and shapes. How would you feel if you tried to touch a cactus for the first time in your life? Would the kids remember that feeling later?

Working with the US map.

When we introduced the puzzle to kids for the first time, it was a mess! They started getting all the small pieces out without listening to any sounds or explanations. After all, it is a board filled with all the weirdly shaped green and yellow pieces: so what?

The next time I gave a map to My Firefly, I only offered her one state. We talked about the map, and placed the state in its spot - it worked much better. She was interested to find out more.

Later, I gave her a state for a cow, and a state for a cactus. We also talked about colors on the map when we discovered that a cactus doesn't need much water to survive.

New Mexico: Roadrunner

...and coyote. We watched some of those - new 3D:

The roadrunner below is made from a pinecone and feathers. The instructions can be found here:

The goal for this craft was to learn some new facts:
  • Roadrunners have long legs and can run fast.
  • They have small wings and don't fly well.
  • Roadrunners have strong beaks. They are predators. They hunt on frogs, lizards, snakes, birds and eggs.
  • They are omnivorous: they also can eat fruit and seeds.
  • They don't need much water and can survive in a desert.
  • Roadrunners have long tails which they use to steer when they run.

Texas: Armadillo

My Firefly practiced fine motor skills while enjoying her favorite: beading. I offered her to make a nine-banded armadillo from paper baking cups.

The activity required little preparation. I hope these instructions will not make it more complicated then it is for you! To make the armadillo's head, I formed a cone from a paper cup. In the picture below, I made two folds and fixed them with the glue.

I used a top from a baby food pouch. I threaded the pipe cleaner through the drinking straw. Then I threaded the straw through the holes in a top.

The second paper cup: I made 2 holes in it with the pen, then inserted the straw through the holes.

I glued the 2 cups together leaving the pouch top hidden inside. Then I made 4 cuts and formed the ears as pictured below.

Armadillo is "a little armored one" as translated from Spanish. It is a "rabbit-mouse" according to Native Americans. This craft was a great visual to discover the 9 bands of the body and a long tale, but still see the resemblance with a rabbit and a mouse.

In the picture below, cups with holes and legs made from chenille stems wrapped around a finger. We counted the 9 bends and work together to create a pattern: yellow, pink, blue - legs - yellow, pink, blue - legs - yellow, pink blue - tail.

The tail is made with the wooden beads we had (you can use beads any size). The drinking straw gives support for the armadillo's body, while the chenille stem is flexible for the long tail.


Cowboy fun is never ending! For our next homeschool preschool, we plan to eat baked beans on sandwiches in a tent, pretend sleep while listening to coyote's "talking" outside, and play "cowboys on horses rounding the cows".

I hope you enjoy following a group of these wonderful bloggers - hosts of Poppins Book  Nook!

The wonderful bloggers that participate in the Poppins Book Nook are:  Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God’s Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy’s Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ My Bright Firefly ~A Mommy’s Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~Golden Grasses ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Raventhreads ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~Where Imagination Grows ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A “Peace” of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am  ~ Simple Living Mama

The Wild West Bundle Giveaway!

Every month the Poppins Book Nook group will be offering readers
a chance to win a brand new storybook
that ties in with our theme for the month.

Follow Poppins Book Nook on Pinterest
Clip art by: Melon Headz

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

P is for Pinecone Parrot. Invitiation to Play: Compare and Contrast.

Science and Math for Kids Hands-on

Bird's body parts, building a parrot, review of colors, practice on same and different - does it sound boring? We tried to make it fun and creative with fine motor skills practice and sensory nature exploration.

Pinecone Parrot

My Firefly collected fir cones on our evening walk around the neighborhood. I washed and dried them and invited her to paint them in the bright "parrot" colors. She totally loved them. We could stop right here: the pretty fir cones make a great decoration by themselves.

The parrot pictured below is from our book of the week: "Parrots" by Fran Howard. This book is a part of "First Facts" set. The other titles about birds that "rule the sky" are: eagles, falcons, hawks, owls, and vultures. The book is very engaging. It includes wonderful photographs, a few simple sentences on each page, a "parrot fact", and some easy definition of new vocabulary words.

We've learned: body parts, perch, tropical and rain forest, omnivore, burrow, down, predator.

The supplies we used: fir cone, chenille stems, feathers, black Play-doh for the beak, white school glue.

I wrapped a cone with a pipe cleaner, tightened it, and formed the toes with the ends. The parrot is not steady, but can be perched easily onto the edge of a toy. We used mega blocks and doll's furniture for the support.

The stem end of a cone is the head. Feathers can be inserted between the cone's scales. My Firefly chose her colors of the feathers and got busy inserting the feathers to form wings and a tail - a great fine motor skills practice! To make the feathers stay in longer, I glued them in with the regular white glue after she was done.

Invitation to play: play dough mat and feathers.

They are growing so fast. The next thing you know they are learning to compare and contrast... hmmm. Some phrases we started learning to use:

This parrot is the same (different) as this parrot.
Find a parrot that has something missing.
What's missing?
Each parrot is missing something. What is the missing part?
This tail is the same color as this tail. But this tail is different.
Match the parrots. Which parrot does not have a match?

I laminated the picture to make a play dough mat. It doesn't have to be "fancy" though. You can draw parrots black and white free hand on a box. The colorful feathers would make the parrots beautiful.

My Firefly loved "building" the parrots to her liking. The difficulty level can be changed easily. Offer just a few feathers to make "the same" tails or wings for an easy level. Add several feathers per each wing and ask to find the same or to change the feathers to make the same to increase the challenge.

We extended comparing the birds activity with another great book: "Puffin Peter" by Petr Horacek. Two puffins, the best friends, looked the same: black and white with colorful beaks. After a huge storm at sea, they lost each other. Peter, with the help of a blue whale, visits places all over the world to find his twin.

Who is funny and noisy, black and white with the colorful beak? Parrots? Penguins? Toucans? Puffins!

Preschool Math can be so much fun!

You can find our previous Creative ABCs here:

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Friday, September 19, 2014

15 Fun Halloween Sensory Bins

Early Childhood Fall Activities: Halloween Sensory Bins

Discover the nature and practice fine motor skills with spooky (or not so spooky - cute!) Halloween sensory bins. They promote creativity and engage in pretend play, encourage independent and cooperative play while Mommy is busy in the kitchen.

We found the most inspiring and festive ideas for fall fun. How not to love all things sensory play?
Check out beautiful Fall Sensory Bins and activities found here:

Love. Play. Learn. set up a super fun Halloween sensory bin.

Happy Hooligans have lots of tips for Halloween sensory bins creating and playing.

Five Little Pumpkins can be found in the black beans over at I Heart Crafty Things. You can also check out their Pumpkin Guts sensory play.

There's Just One Mommy made a spooky sensory bin for her daughter's birthday party.

Adventure in a Box created a little spider made from yarn and pipe cleaners. Fluffy and cute creature he is!

Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes feature a Halloween Bin in White: the contrast of black and white colors is very engaging for the little ones.

Stir the Wonder used Jack-O-Lantern as a bin for all thing Halloween fun for toddlers.

Lots of fun fine motor and sensory play with gelatin eye balls was spotted over at Fun at Home with Kids.

Pretty purple water beads are beautiful in a sensory bin from Sugar Aunts.

3 Dinosaurs had fun playing with foam sticker and table scatters in their sensory bin!

Glittering Muffins were busy making pumpkin pies and counting hidden leaves in their sensory bin.

Royal Baloo used the monster puppets as bags in their fun Halloween sensory bin.

Housing a Forest had a blast playing with their goop filled bin.

Bright red water beads mixed with white eye balls and things can be found over at Little Bins For Little Hands

I thoroughly enjoyed reading all these posts and looking through the pictures. This is truly a treasure and joy of fall. I hope, you will find this collection entertaining and inspiring.

These might look appealing for kids and adults at your party!

Happy Fall Fun with your kids!

Join in the fun:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

30 + Creative Fall Sensory Bins

Explore the world and enjoy the nature with fall sensory bins

Fall is a beautiful season. And so do sensory bins that are full of colors, scents, textures, tastes.

They are kids' favorite! Sensory bins are not only fun, but very beneficial for brain development and exploration of the world. The rich media of the bins can be used for learning activities and creativity - the possibilities are endless! (As you can tell by this paragraph, we are in love with sensory bins at this house).

We found the most inspiring and spooky ideas for Halloween fun.
Check out cute Halloween Sensory Bins and activities found here:

Rubber Boots and Elf's Shoes put together a beautiful Sunflower sensory bin.

Adventure in a Box has the cutest small world bin with the houses for the little critters in the woods.

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf sensory bin with lots of natural materials is shared by a squirrel and birds and can be found at Stir the Wonder. They also set up a fun Apple Pie sensory bin.

A huge Working Farm that has all the creative details to make farm animals cozy was found at Teach Me Mommy. Their sensory Fruit and Vegetable Farm activities are very engaging!

I Heart Crafty Things put together a beautiful Apple Orchid sensory bin. I love that kids can actually do apple picking in the orchid! Acorns Everywhere! - a fun book and a sensory bin.

Very cute leaf people in a birdseed sensory bin can be found at Creekside Learning.

Have fun sorting and practicing fine motor skills while learning to CARE. Spring or fall, learning to recycle and preserve the nature is always so important. I'd love to feature this Community Helpers Recycling Sensory Bin from Where Imagination Grows!

Color mixtures and the textures are at heart of Apple sensory activities set up by Life Over C's.

Fun At Home With Kids enjoyed playing with their Farm World sensory bin.

You can find cinnamon sticks and pine cones in the Fall sensory bin put together by Mom vs The Boys.

Sow Sprout Play set up a Fall bin with lots of creative play possibilities.

Crayon Box Chronicles made a fun Farm Small World sensory bin. The barn and the fence are made with popsicle sticks!

Teaching Mama featured a nice Apple Sensory Bin. Her invitation to play with the free printables are very engaging!

The Jenny Evolution created a farm play land using various materials and dried peas as a base.

Happy Hooligans enjoyed all the beautiful fall colors: apples, pumpkins, nuts, pinecones, guards, sunflowers, and even amber gems! Check out their Fall Sensory Bin.

Quadruplets and their friends can be caught in action playing with their Fall Sensory Bins here: A Beautiful Ruckus.

Apples and Pumpkins Small World Play is featured over here: Little Bins for Little Hands. Their small world consists two sensory bins in a water table and includes a fun book and math activities.

Pinecones, oats, and cinnamon sticks were used for the wonderful Scented Sensory Bin. You can feel the smell just by looking at the pictures at My Nearest and Dearest.

You can scoop some apples, beans, and acorns, as well as read a fun fall book with No Time for Flashcards.

And finally, a beautiful, engaging, and Aw, smelling so good! Apple Cinnamon Sensory Tray from Learn. Play. Imagine. The kids used it for letter practice, counting, and imaginative play.

There's Just One Mommy roasted pumpkin seeds saved from the Jack-O-Lanterns to make a miracle Thanksgiving little world with colored rice, teepee, people and animals.

Life with Moore Babies were on a hands-on adventure to discover what farm animals eat for their Community Helpers: Farmer theme bins.

In The Playroom set up their Big Machines on the Farm small world sensory play.

You can see wood and nature in action over at Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes. Their Fall Sensory Bin is very engaging.

Wildflower Ramblings created a fun Pumpkin Play Dough bin with gourds and orange toys. Their Corn Meal sensory bin features The Little Lamb book.

The Chaos And The Clutter built their farm on popcorn seeds and dry noodles - very realistic and fun looking small world! They also enjoyed playing with their fun Fall sensory bin.

Fun with corn can be found over at Makeovers Motherhood.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading all these posts and looking through the pictures. This is truly a treasure and joy of fall. I hope, you will find this collection entertaining and inspiring.

Happy Fall Fun with your kids!

Join in the fun:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Wild West. September Poppins Book Nook Introduction.

The Wild West is the theme of the month for the Poppins Book Nook, an awesome virtual book club that goes live the last Monday of each month. Please, check us back on September 29 to see how we explore the Wild West hands-on with the littlest ones.

This theme is wild and exciting. We went through piles of cowboy books to find the easy read for preschoolers.

Yippee! Yay! can be heard in our house quite often these days. We had hard time choosing the best of the best. Here are some of our finds:
  • "I want to be a Cowboy" is a simple book of photographs that explain the details of cowboys and cowgirls' life.
  • "Cowboy Small" by Lois Lenski. Small and Cactus are best friends. Yes, you guessed right: Cactus is the horse's name.
  • "Cowboy Ned & Andy" by David Ezra Stein. Andy takes such a good care of his friend.
  • "Giddy up, Li'l Buckaroos!" by Mark Iacolina. It's a board book to introduce the new vocabulary with fun pictures.
  • "Dusty Locks and The Three Bears" by Susan Lowell. The author retells the famous stories with the Wild West flare.

I hope you enjoy following a group of these wonderful bloggers - hosts of the Poppins Book  Nook!

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God's Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy's Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~ Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ My Bright Firefly ~ A Mommy's Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~ Golden Grasses ~ Our Simple Kinda Life ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Simplicity Breeds Happiness ~ Raventhreads ~ Learning Fundamentals ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~ Where Imagination Grows ~ Lextin Academy ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ Mom's Heart ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ Suncoast Momma ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A "Peace" of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am ~ eLeMeNo-P Kids ~ Simple Living Mama
Have you missed the last post for "What Will I Be When I Grow Up?" theme? Check out all the fun of pretend play here: 
As usual, every theme comes with the Free Poppins Book Nook Lapbook. Download your additions for September here:
The lapbook pages include:
  • An interactive bookmark for the Wild West theme.
  • This month's Passport pages.
  • Several lapbook elements centered around the Wild West.
  • Reading response writing prompt.
Please, share your favorite activities, recipes, and books about the Wild West. I'd love to read them all!
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Monday, September 15, 2014

F is for Fox in Socks

Fun with Rhymes for Fox in Socks Preschool Activities

A pool noodle, some tooth picks, and lots of fun with rhymes were at play inspired by "Fox in Sox". This activity is great for outside play at the pool: the laminated pictures held well for us in water.

Preschool rhyming activities are quite a challenge for beginners. My Firefly doesn't "hear" or distinguish the rhymes yet.

Ar, her best friend, got the rhyming from the start, loved it, started playing with rhymes, reciting Dr. Seuss, and creating his own poem. There was the cutest performance at the end of our play: Ar took a working microphone and declared: "Fox, Knox, Ghox, mocks... Fox in box, and Ghox on mocks"... with the adorable and naughty laugh. Let me note here that Ar (32 months old) is usually very quiet. Him talking and laughing - performing loudly and drawing everybody's attention to himself is huge. Thanks, Dr. Seuss, once again!

Preschool Rhyming Activities

Playing with sounds and rhymes is the most important pre-reading and pre-writing activity. In big words, it is called "phonological awareness". It has to do with the sounds that we can say or hear, NOT a written language. It is important because kids need to hear and manipulate sounds in order to succeed in both reading and writing later.

That's why I offered an intro to rhyming for My Firefly for our second week of homeschool preschool fun: "Bricks and blocks sound the same - they rhyme. Bricks, blocks, and here is Knox. Hi! My name is Knox, and I rhyme with bricks and blocks..." This was so much fun with rhymes for the next several days.

Fox in Socks

Words that rhyme: bricks, blocks, fox, socks, Knox, box, chicks, clocks.

Preparation for play: I laminated the cut outs. To make puppets, I taped on food picks I had with a clear packing tape. Regular tooth picks could work just fine. The stands for puppets are made from a used pool noodle. The pool noodle can be cut with a knife easily.

Play time! Kids practiced their fine motor skills by sticking puppets into the foam in different combinations. We reenacted the rhymes and created our own ones. Lots of laughs!

What are your favorite rhymes?

This post is the second in our Letter of the Week series. Preschool can be so much fun! You can find our collection of the Letter of the Week books and activities here: Creative ABCs.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

T is for Ten on Top. Preschool Math.

Measurement with 10 Apples up on Top

Our letter of the week and this Dr. Seuss's book was an inspiration for our intro to measuring and for practicing counting. We measured everything we could find not in inches - in apples. Kids and parents alike had some good laugh while measuring height and stacking apples up on our heads. Well, kids enjoyed eating some and then some more - making good apple eaters out of them is the best part. You can find our collection of the Letter of the Week books and activities here: Creative ABCs.

Apple Ruler

1. Cut 2 sheets of construction paper in half lengthwise.
2. Overlap the short end of paper with the short end of the other piece and glue them together. For this ruler, I connected 3 strips together and discarded the last one.
3. Start at one end of the strip and fold your paper accordion style. Each panel is the size of an apple.
4. Leave the last part unfolded for your child's picture.

Apple Stamp and Pattern Activity for Preschoolers

Kids stamped apples and counted 10 on top.
To make a stamp cut apple in half. Put tempera paint on the paper plate. Put half an apple into the paint - the stamp is ready.

To make a pattern. We used Do-a-Dot markers to mark each panel with the color. The pattern is ABAB - green, red, green. Kids learned the pattern by watching an adult marking panels and by naming colors while marking.

Amazon affiliate link: Do-A-Dot Rainbow Markers 4 Pack

Stamping apples onto the paper and creating a pattern was fun!

Preschool Math: Introduction to Measurement

We measured as long as the kids were interested. The mermaid is 6 apples long, but the bear is 5. My Firefly is 12 apples high, and her friend is 13. At this age, it was only an intro to measurement. We'll continue working on comparing height and length of objects. For now, it is not an easy skill, but can be so much fun!
The apple ruler was hung on the refrigerator after that. My Firefly enjoyed counting apples with her fairy wand. The top apples were high for her to reach which turned into nice stretching activity.

Apple Craft

My Firefly asked for another ruler to paint, but didn't want to use apple stamps again. So we painted apples with red and yellow paint and different size brushes. She learned again that red and yellow make orange - when they don't use a skill for a while, they forget it so fast!
 Aren't these apples yummy? Happy apple eating, everyone!
What is your favorite recipe using apples?

Tot School Printables for Letter T

The free activity pages we print out from continue to be My Firefly's favorites! This week we completed T is for Train. For the pages pictured below we used Mini Pip-squeaks markers, Do A Dot markers, and stamps.

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This post is the first in our Letter of the Week serious. You can find the next one here:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

9-11. A Day of Heroes.

 A Day of Heroes

Can you think of any true heroes living next door? I found a few who never were awarded medals or featured in media. They are TRUE HEROES and I want to write about them here on this day of 9-11.

I want to send my huge thanks to all the military wives out there! Your everyday activities and bearing are the main base and support for all our safety and security. Thank you all so much!

I'd love to mention Rachel, a mother of 3 and a Marine Corps wife. She uses a dash of pixie dust to make it through her day and writes at Adventures in Wunderland when she has a free minute. She created a graphic you can see below. "The only thing I will be posting tomorrow is the words "Never Forget" across all a military wife and especially as terrorist threats are being raise and the state of the Middle East right now," she said.
Also, please, read this story that stroke me today.
Most of us remember the date 9/11/2001, and exactly where we were and what we were doing when we heard of the tragedy in New York City, Washington D.C. and a field in Pennsylvania. We must long remember the Heroes in those places. Like the Heroes from the Alamo, Pearl Harbor, and the beaches of Normandy, the Heroes from that day have their page in history carved in granite.
I would now like to share a story about the heroes that were around me on that day in September 2001. I was working on the 38th floor of the Rhodes Tower in downtown Columbus, Ohio. After we heard what had happened, we were all scared, especially not knowing if we may be the next prime target. However, it was a work day and we all had jobs. The Bureau Chief said everyone could go home, but he needed at least two people from each section to keep the systems working correctly. As a section supervisor, I decided to stay myself and asked for one other volunteer. As I had already knew, Tom said that he would stay, but what then surprised me was that Rob, who had been so scared before this announcement, said, “If you are staying, then so am I. Let Tom go, because he is married.”

We all stayed for about two more hours, until the Governor shut down all State offices. The last elevator leaving the 38th floor going to the bottom contained the Bureau Chief, Tom who decided to stay anyway, Rob, and myself. Since that day, I have looked on Rob in a different way, because he became a hero to me that day, putting others safety in front of his fear.

After we left the building and went home, like all American’s, as well as most of the rest of the people in the world, our shock at what had happened turned into grief. Then as we learned more of what really happened, that grief turned extreme pride in our heroes, as well as in our Country. So on this day, and every day, let us come together as a Country, remember those heroes, and let us always work hard to make them proud of us who are left behind.
Do you have a story to share today? I'd love to read it!

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fall Kids Activities: Our Bucket List

Fall Kids Activities: Our Bucket List

Holiday season is coming, everyone! We are all excited in this house for all things fall festivals and trips to farms, Halloween and Thanksgiving, My Firefly's birthday, playing in leaves. I thought of sharing our bucket list of new things we need to try!

Playing with food

Make Halloween cupcakes
Make apple sauce
Play with pumpkins
Some decorating ideas here: Spooky Fruit from In the Playroom.

Play outdoors

Apple picking
Pumpkin patch
Hay ride
Fall festivals
Play in leaf piles
Nature Hunts
Make nature blocks. Ideas found here: Adventure in a Box.

Halloween Fun

Trick or Treats
Find special library story times
Halloween decorations shopping
Make a Jack-o-lantern from a paper plate
Make a ghost from a lollipop and Kleenex
Movie night: Gasper. Ideas found here: Artsy Momma.

Teach thankfulness and gratitude!

What are all the things My Firefly is thankful for? I am very curious because she just started talking in sentences and I can't wait to find out more on this topic ;) I am still getting used to receiving a full answer when I ask a question - I guess, somebody with a late talker can understand me...

Happy Fall to Our Families!

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Preschool Games for Sentence Structure

Our Preschool Reading Curriculum Choice

Our choice is Reading the Alphabet PreK Curriculum. We loved that it is comprehensive, but flexible, gently and slowly introducing the little ones to reading.

Here is a question we considered and discussed: our kids know most letters and sounds, they are showing quite an interest in starting reading, one of the kids is reading 3 letter words already. But... they are turning 3 years old this fall. By law, they are considered 2 years old this school year. What could we do for a reading curriculum for our homeschool preschool?

There are 7 major areas included in this curriculum. It is based on a letter of the week and includes a 5 days plan of activities that covers all 7 areas throughout the week. This makes the first week is kind of the most difficult! The kids had to be exposed to many new things at once!

Preschoolers Love Playing with Language

Our Homeschool Preschool class meets once a week. Parents continue playing (studying) with kids at home between the classes.

At our first class kids had an introduction to "everything':
Letter T. Sound /t/.
Book awareness: T is for Title of the book.
Sentence. "Reading a book" - practice in matching voice to print.
Sentence is built with words. Making a sentence with picture words.
Words can be divided in syllables. Clap the syllables of kids' names.
Phonological awareness: identify the first sound of a word.
Sight word: A. Kids loved a word maze and a poking page!
Intro to pocket chart activities.

It sounds like a lot to learn in one sitting, especially for almost 3 year olds at their first class. But at this age, the speed of learning is truly amazing. They were able to absorb all the new information while playing, and laughing, and running around - amazing!

Also, we were not sure how much new knowledge we'd introduce to the kids in one sitting. The kids were very interested and got all the new words and pieces of information naturally. Following the lead of a child is the best!

We are supplementing this reading curriculum
with other fun things:

You can find our Creative ABCs here:

We will add the most fun book related to the letter of the week we could possibly find! It is very important to keep it fun at this age. Attention guaranteed on only one condition: fun learning through play - our main goal.

FOR OUR LETTER OF THE WEEK, we will be posting our favorite book and a hands-on activity related to the book. Follow our journey! T is for "Ten Apples up on Top!" by Dr. Seuss and our apple games and laughs is the first post in the new series.

Building Sentences with Picture Words.

Pictured above: Before the first class, kids received a letter in the mail with 4 sentences they were able to read by themselves. Everybody loved their letters! Preschoolers love playing with language.

Kids wanted to "read" their 4 sentences again and again while pointing a finger to the written words. When they got together, they enjoyed "reading" the sentences again so much. They "read", and laughed, and proudly looked at each other... Priceless!

I took the first paper and named it, "This is a sentence". Then, I cut the sentence into 3 pictures in front of them and declared, "The sentence is built of words. These are words." After that, we proceeded to building the sentences back together using terms "sentence" and "word".

Pictured below: Every child received a set of pictures to build the new sentences. First, they worked down on the carpet. Then we used a pocket chart. My Firefly didn't like the pocket chart though.

We made pictures of favorite toys and items at hand: Bear loves honey; Abby loves her wand; Bunny loves carrots; Doggy loves a hotdog.

There is a new book for children to read included in each week of Reading the Alphabet Curriculum. Starting from the very first day, they are to read a book: I really had had my doubts that this was going to happen. To my huge surprise, My Firefly did it. She greatly enjoyed reading her first book ever - and could not stop reading!
Her reading a book 
was very unexpected and so incredibly cute!
Happy reading to all our kids!

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