Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Flowers for Mother's Day

Flowers for Mom Preschool Activities with The Weekly Kids Co-Op

Lots of flowers are here this week! The giant flower collage, Montessori flower activities, painting using fun supplies and bright colors, a sensory bin and a fun flower treat - all adorable Mother's Day gift ideas and activities to keep little ones busy. The previous collection of ideas and activities can be found here: Tips for Making Coloring Activities Fun.

Sadly, we'll have to announce that The Weekly Kids Co-Op is closing. Next Thursday will be the last article in this series.

Pictured above  (top to bottom):

Spring Flower Pot Rice Krispies Treats from B-Inspired Mama. The lollipops flowers look adorable in the cheerful pot treats.

Mother’s Day Chore Pop-Up Cards from Christianity Cove. The cute pop-up flowers provide the gift of "chores" - so lovely!

Spring Sensory Bin from Danya Banya will brighten the day and keep them playing for days.

Frogs and Spring Flowers Painting and Stamping from My Bright Firefly. Easy DIY pipe cleaner stamps and some paint - even 2 year olds can do this adorable Mother's Day present all by themselves!

Montessori Flower Identification and Arranging from Living Montessori Now. Some beautiful learning activity ideas and flower identification resources can be found here.

Giant Flower Collage from Crafty Kids at Home. The whole family can participate in this project making an epic gift for Mom!

Watercolor Butterfly & Flower Painting from 3 Dinosaurs. Using cookie cutters and fun supplies makes this painting creative and lovely!

The Weekly Kids' Co-Op

Impressive! There were 50 articles shared last week! Thank you so much to everybody who participated by reading, interacting, and sharing!

Please, come back next Thursday, scroll through all the fun news, and maybe leave a comment about your best find!

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Parts of a Book with Lulu the Bookmark Preschool Activities

Letter O is for the Order of a Story

The front of the book with a title, the author, the illustrator, the title page, text and illustrations, the sequence of events, the back cover of the book. Author is a person who writes the story, and the illustrator is a person who draws all the pictures. There is some discoveries to make! For our letter of the week, we travelled through the lovely book with Lulu the Bookmark and played hide-and-seek with her. This post is a part of our "Creative ABCs" series found here: Creative ABCs.

Lulu the Big Little Chick

"Lulu the Big Little Chick" by Paulette Bogan is one of our favorite Farm Animals book. Find our Top 10 list here: Farm Animals Preschool Activities and Books.

Lulu is very helpful with following the order of a story! At the beginning, she is at home with her Momma. She goes "far, far away", meets different farm animals, and gets into funny little adventures with each of them. At the end, she is back with her Momma.

DIY Lulu the Chicken Bookmark

My Firefly loved her travels through the book with her new chicken bookmark! Pictured above, can you find Lulu?

Some other questions we discussed:
  • Where is Lulu now?
  • Who did Lulu meet on this page? How do you know?
  • Where will Lulu go next?
  • Is Lulu at the beginning, middle, or the end of the book?

Folding the bookmark 

  • To make a square out of the standard 9 by 12, fold the paper diagonally edge to edge and draw a line along the side of the triangle.
  • Cut along the line and unfold your square - it is ready for this project.
  • Fold the square in half.
  • Fold the rectangle in half to make a smaller square.
  • Find the four loose corners of the square and position them towards you. Fold the square in half diagonally so that the loose corners are on top of the triangle.
  • Hold the top 3 corners together and push them inside the triangle. Unfold the 4th side back.

To decorate Lulu, we used scraps of red, white (eyes), and yellow (a beak) construction paper, glue, markers for detailing, gold glitter glue (My Firefly's favorite).

Lulu is sturdy and fun. I hope we'll enjoy returning to her for reviewing the parts of a book and the order of a story many times again. There is so much to learn!

Visit our "Creative ABCs" series for more letter of the week fun and learning: Creative ABCs.
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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Farm Animals Dramatic Play with Ten Red Apples

Farmer and His Animals Love Apples!

Farm is a theme for March at Poppins Book Nook. Kids had fun with "Ten Red Apples" by Pat Hatchings. The impromptu theatrical production was a success; and the pictures and the video were awesome with the quickly decorated wall using the stuff on hand. Also, find our easy Apples cupcakes kids enjoyed. You can find our previous Poppins Book Nook activities here: Easy Preschool Science: Testing the Wind.

Ten Red Apples

"Ten Red Apples" by Pat Hatchings was our book of the month. The apple tree was beautiful with shiny red apples all over it (Great illustrations for this book!). The farmer wanted to eat one, but farm animals bit him to the tree. Will the farmer get a perfect apple to taste?

This book can be used easily for the dramatic play with friends. But first, we decided to decorate the wall with the stuff on hand:

The apple tree:
  • green poster board, edges trimmed, fixed to the wall with the packing tape,
  • brown wrapping paper for the tree trunk and brunches,
  • we had foam apples, hung with the tape or glued-in magnets (the apples should be removable for this play); any cardstock apple cut outs would do.

The garden:


Farmer and Farm Animals Dramatic Play

The pictures and the video were awesome with our quickly decorated wall. Pictured below: the baby in the apple orchid photo shoot, LOL.

We had a group of kids age 1-5. The older child had to be a farmer.
Kids took turns playing a character from the book.

Announcer: How many apples are hanging on the tree?
(Everybody is counting).
Everybody, singing: Ten red apples hanging on the tree.
                                 Yippee, fiddle-dee-fee!
Announcer: Horse came and ate one.
(A child with the toy horse in his hand comes up to the tree, takes one apple, and pretends to eat it. Makes a horse sound and returns to his sit.)
Farmer (cries): Horse! Save some for me!

Repeat the same with each animal.

The closer to the end, the more fun kids were having. They were jumping excitingly, running to the apple tree, and enjoying "eating" their apples. When only one apple was left on the tree, everybody paused, the announcer went silent; and our awesome farmer suddenly realized what he had to do. It was so funny to watch him jumping up and running to finally get his apple!

Apple Cupcakes Decorating

White icing was spread over baked cakes with the knife. Then the cupcakes were dipped into the red and green colored sugar. For the "warms": clean a spot off the sugar and sprinkle 3 "warms" into the spot. There are mint leaves and a pretzel stick on top.

Down on the Farm

It's time for the 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: Poppins Book Nook.
Our Top 10 Farm Animals Books can be found here: Farm Animals Preschool Activities and Books.

The theme for this month is "Down on the Farm". Visit the hosts of Poppins Book Nook to find out what the kids were up to, their adventures and discoveries.

Down on the Farm Bundle Giveaway!

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

This month one lucky entrant will win
the Down on the Farm bundle.
The winner will enjoy two fun farm themed learning items:
the Farming storybook by Gail Gibbons
and Safari Ltd Farm Babies TOOB.


Entrants must be 18 years or older and reside in a country that receives U.S. Postal mail. This giveaway is brought to you by the company Enchanted Homeschooling Mom who is owner and founder of the Poppins Book Nook. By entering this giveaway you are also acknowledging that you have read and agree to all of the PromoSimple terms & conditions as well as Enchanted Homeschooling Mom's disclosures found here {}.

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

10 Creative Farm Animals Preschool Activities and Books

Our Top 10 Farm Animal Books

Farm animals preschool theme might be the most exciting for the little ones! Exploring what the animals are, what they do, and how they can help their human friends can uncover the wealth of new fun knowledge. In this article, you can find our top 10 farm animals stories and activities: cats and dogs, cows and pigs, chickens and ducks, hard work and friendship - what can be more engaging? Well, maybe only dinosaurs can beat that.

The pictures are links to the Amazon bookstore for your convenience (affiliate).

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle

Beep! Beep! Beep! Meet Blue and his farm animal friends. The friends are the best when some help is needed!

Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown

Farm animals (big and little) make funny noises while going through the day. The sweet rhymes and illustrations guide the reader through the different parts of the farm. The sun is finally setting down... What do farm animals do at the end of the day?

Millie Waits for the Mail by Alexander Steffensmeier

Millie, the milk cow, is very mischievous! She loves to scare the mail carrier visiting the farm every day. Will the farmer ever get his mail?

Lulu the Big Little Chick by Paulette Bogan

Lulu doesn't want to be little. She decides to go far, far away to prove that she is big. She meets different farm animals along the way (the muddy piglet is my daughter's favorite). Lulu learns that the best way to travel is with her Momma.

Check out these fun activities based on this book here: Discover Parts of a Book with Lulu the Bookmark.

The Little Red Hen by Diane Muldrow

The first intro to the work ethic and the team work. The Little Red Hen finds a grain of wheat. Will farm animals help her? There is a lot of hard working ahead!

Kids' favorite hands-on introduction to plants and seeds: Letter S is for Seeds. Introduction to Plants and Gardening.

How Big Is a Pig? by Clare Beaton

Opposites and sizes are introduced in a fun way. Spoiler: mom pig is the biggest!

Little Quack's New Friend by Lauren Thompson

An adorable duckling book! The message: it's OK to be yellow or green. What matters is being a good friend.

Charlie the Ranch Dog by Ree Drummond

Being a farm dog is not an easy job! You have to take care of the farm animals and your humans.

We wrote about this book here: US States Activities: the Wild West.

How to Be a Cat by Nikki McClure

This is My Firefly's favorite cat book.

The fun cat activities can be found here: Dramatic Play - Cats.

Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins

All farm animals love eating apples. Will any be left for the farmer and his wife? Animals take turns coming to the beautiful apple tree and eating an apple. This book is excellent for pretend play with repetitive story line and fun animal sounds!

Check out our Apples party and dramatic play activity here: Farmer and His Animals Love Apples!

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tips for Making Coloring Activities Fun

Benefits and Challenges of Coloring Activities for Kids

It's NOT unusual to hear someone say, "My child doesn't like to color." Exploration of objects and the world around us, introduction to colors and shapes, fine and gross motor development, eye-hand coordination, pencil control, increasing concentration - the benefits of coloring activities are important. But what can we do to help kids to enjoy coloring? Here are a few ways of making coloring fun again brought to you by The Weekly Kids Co-Op. The previous collection of ideas and activities can be found here:  5 Fun Geography Activities for Preschoolers.

Pictured above:

Rain Cloud Finger Paint Art for Kids from Simple Fun for Kids. This rainy day artwork is great. Finger painting or using Q-tips for dot-painting is a stress free creative fun for coloring inside the lines!

Cereal Box No-Glue Kangaroo from My Bright Firefly. Kids might enjoy coloring the fun shapes made from cardboard (a cereal box). The defined edges of this cute kangaroo will help them to keep inside the lines when coloring and decorating.

Ways to Use the Spring Dot Marker Printables from 3 Dinosaurs. These free Spring dot marker printables can turn into beautiful artful activities! There are so many creative tools to turn coloring pages into spring art: dot markers, glass gems, Q-tips, yarn, cut-outs...

Plastic Plate Flowers from The Keeper of the Cheerios. Coloring plastic or paper plates is an awesome way to keep those crayons inside the lines: beautiful yard decorations are on display here!

12 Creative Ways to Learn with Coloring Pages from Totschooling. Many fun ways to engage kids in creative coloring activities are here!

It is important to support and appreciate our children's first attempts at coloring. Staying within the lines is not an easy task! I'd love to feature this creative art display - an easy and inexpensive DIY project: Faux Chalkboard Art Display from Simply Wright.

The Weekly Kids' Co-Op

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

5 Fun Geography Activities for Preschoolers

These early learning activities are wonderful for introducing the young explorers to the planet Earth. Earth art, playing with maps in the sandbox, creating and exploring water and landforms, Montessori inspired continent activities - these early learning geography activities are brought to you by The Weekly Kids Co-Op. You can also find sensory play ideas for the Earth Day here: Sensory Play for the Earth Day - Toddlers and Preschoolers.

Pictured above:
No Mess Painting in a Bag Earth Craft from Still Playing School. Kids can explore the colors of the planet and practice fine motor skills while painting their Earth in the bag!

Sandbox Geography from Books and Giggles. Create a map of the perfect imaginary island... and get busy creating and playing in the sand box!

Landforms with Kinetic Sand and Glass Gems from My Bright Firefly. Create the lands of your dreams. They are easy and pretty with the kinetic sand and sparkly gems.

Coffee Filter Stained Glass Earth from The Mad House.

4 Simple Montessori Activities for Teaching the Continents from Gift of Curiosity. Take a look at these fun  activities: the continent song, the pin punching tray, some puzzles and games.

The Weekly Kids' Co-Op

Impressive! There were 79 articles shared last week! Thank you so much to everybody who participated by reading, interacting, and sharing!

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Follow Laura Flaute's board The Weekly Kids Co-Op on Pinterest.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Water and Landforms for Kids: Create, Explore, and Save.

Letter W Is for Water and Wind. Water Theme Preschool Activities.

We found a beautiful water book and talked about all things water and wind while practicing our /w/ sound. Why do we need to save water? Where can we find water? We used kinetic sand and glass gems to create and explore different landforms. This exploration is part of our Creative ABCs series: Creative ABCs. Our wind activities can be found here: Easy Preschool Science: Testing the Wind.

All the Water in the World

"All the Water in the World" by George Ella Lyon opens up the world full of water. The book is not an average beginner science book though. It gently guides kids through with the fun and engaging rhymes - so beautiful! Every page is a tasteful flow of water, words, rhymes, and thoughts.

Montessori Inspired Hands-on Exploration: Landforms with Kinetic Sand and Glass Gems

Instead of using pre made models of landforms, we created our own and tested them to feel the difference. I think these activities are nice as the first presentation as well as review and expand activities.

We started with the desert (pictured above). My Firefly spent extra time exploring the concept of the land with no water, all yellow-brown pages, and a tray with sand spread in a single layer with nothing else added.

Pictured above:
Picture 1. We made a small hole in the sand and filled it with gems. This became an all familiar pond.

Picture 2. We moved the sand to the edges of the tray and created a much larger body of water. Discussed the sea and the ocean, salt water.

Picture 3. An island. I asked her to guide a fish around the island to see if the fish can make it all around the island. Hence the new definition: an island is when the fish can make a circle around it with no problem.

Picture 4. We connected our island to the main land. Can fish make a full circle now? Ooops, it is not an island any more! But the toy person can walk through now - with the water on both sides.

Kinetic sand turned out perfect for creating different landforms. Of course, her journey ended with the exploding mountains and puddles of "water". I love how easy this sand is to clean up!

We continued working on the scissor skills and cutting out circles. This is the second session for My Firefly and she made them all by herself! Our previous cutting circles practice can be found here: Adorable 3-D Foam Chicks - Scissors Skills Practice.

This time the circles supposed to be Earth with all the water and some land. We observed the globe again to notice different shades of blue and large areas of blue for the oceans on Earth. Kids were offered a basket of crayons with several shades of blue.

My Firefly could not stop cutting out her circles. One of them became Earth, but the rest had to be smiley faces. So we had to end our session with lots of smiles :)

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Kangaroo DIY Pencil Holder. The Correct Pencil Grip.

Letter K Is for Kangaroo.

With all the supplies available, my daughter asked for the regular pencils. To celebrate her tiny cute milestone, we made a kangaroo pencil holder for our letter of the week. What is the best age for the proper pencil grasp, for starting using pencils and beginning writing? They are ready when they are ready! This post is a part of our "Creative ABCs" series found here: Creative ABCs.

One  Adventurous Day in the Kangaroo Family Life

"I Love It When You Smile" by Sam McBratney is our favorite book for the letter K week. Both the text and illustrations are the cutest! We had to read this book many times: it gives a nice opportunity to discuss the baby kangaroo's and his mother's feelings. There is an unexpected turn to the events at the end!

My Firefly loved playing "seek and find" with another kangaroo book: "Where Are You, Blue Kangaroo?" by Emma Chichester Clark.

Our Thoughts on the Pencil Grip and Early Writing

Preschoolers go through several stages when mastering their pencil grip. It is important to provide them with the proper supplies.
  • Fisted grip: jumbo sized round crayons or markers.
  • Four-finger to three-finger grip: we used triangular shaped jumbo sized crayons and a paint brush. Crayola round jumbo crayons marked for preschoolers are actually the worst for the littlest fingers you could imagine!
  • Three-finger grip to pincer grip: skinny mini Pip-Squeaks worked the best for us.
I wish I knew it at a time. We had to go through trial and error to find the comfortable supplies for her - and she had to have them!

It is recommended not to teach the correct pencil grip until a child develops enough fine and gross motor skills to be able to control the pencil without discomfort.

But how would you know that your child is ready to learn a new skill? I saw this picture today again:

A 4 year old boy is holding that massive Crayola marker in his fist and trying to color a small detail on the picture of his choice. It is very difficult to do even for an adult!!! It requires an excellent hand-eye coordination to fill between the lines with the fist. And he does an awesome job! But is he actually learning how to color this way? Is he working on his fine motor skills with this coloring activity?

I would say: show them today how to hold a pencil with 2 fingers, then gently help your kid to position his fingers around the pencil and begin making a line. If they have enough muscle control - they will love that! And celebrate this milestone with them by making this DIY Kangaroo.

Of course, engaging kids in different types of fine and gross motor activities is the best.

Cereal Box No Glue Kangaroo

Prepare your box: 3 sides of the box are used. Cut off top and bottom flaps, and one narrow side. Preserve a strip for the kangaroo's tail.

Draw a kangaroo: we started with the circle for the head and two curved lines for the body. Add legs and notice the special lines for cutting and/or folding (pictured above).

Cut it out. Cut through the body in 3 parallel lines. Fold your kangaroo creating a packet.

Attach the tail with the stapler as pictured below. Curve the tail a little. The kangaroo can bounce now!

Decorate and enjoy your new Kangaroo pal!

Visit our "Creative ABCs" series for more letter of the week fun and learning: Creative ABCs.

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