Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sight Words My and Me. Play Dough: Describing My Mom and Me.

My and Me: a Sight Word of the Week with Play Dough Preschool Activities

Kids have learned many or all of letters and their sounds. Sight words is the easiest next step for emergent readers, as well as an excellent meaningful way to review the letters. My Firefly just loves to pick up a new sight word if it is something she can play with! That is very rewarding to watch her enjoying reading the new words in sentences afterwards!

Sight Words My and Me. Invitation to Create with Play Dough.

I don't know if I am restating the obvious, but I have encountered this: the majority of sight words DO NOT require "sounding out". Kids can learn them by spelling the letters of a word out load repeating the letter names again and again through the activity as needed.

Invitation to create with play dough

For this activity we used:

Sight Word My. Describing My Mom.

  • The sight word "my" was introduced with the cookie cutters. My Firefly rolled up some play dough, made letters M and Y, and reviewed the spelling of MY while assembling the word.
  • We sounded out and made the word MOM, placed it on the tray.
  • The big circle for the face was made and placed on the tray.

Now it was time to make a face. We talked about how faces look different and what makes them different. My Firefly chose the colors for eyes and hair. I helped her make a nose (a pinch) and place a mouth (a short red snake).

The garlic press was the most fun! MY MOM received so much hair, and her hair kept coming until My Firefly ran out of her play dough. That's a great activity for eye-hand coordination!

We made sure to read words again at the end of the activity, and again - the next day.

Sight Word ME. All about Me.

  • The sight word "me" was introduced with the cookie cutters. My Firefly rolled up some play dough, made letters M and E, and reviewed the spelling of ME while assembling the word.
  • A circle for the face and a heart for the body were made and placed on the tray.
  • My Firefly made arms and legs, placed them on a tray with assistance.
  • We used a hand mirror to try to describe the face and choose the colors for eyes and hair.
  • We also talked about the first and last name, and that the last name is a family name.
  • We read the words again at the end of this activity.

  • Our goal for this school year is to have a sight word of the week in an engaging and playful way. Hopefully, I'll cover some of our activities in the next posts.

    It is exciting to look back at things we discussed last August and reevaluate. Our goals for the previous school year can be found here: Preschool Games for Sentence Structure.

    You are very welcome to follow us here:

    Monday, July 27, 2015

    Our Top Ten Pirate Books for Preschoolers

    There has to be some magic in those pirate books. They are always so engaging and an excellent base for learning manners and some history! Today we are sharing our top six pirate books, and several more our 3-4 year olds liked to listen to this year.

    The links bellow are Amazon affiliate links.

    Maisy's Pirate Treasure Hunt by Lucy Cousins. My daughter loves lift-the-flap books; and this one is her very favorite. It really encourages to learn how to use maps (in the simplified way) to find 3 keys and a treasure chest. We had to travel through this book and hunt for treasures many times - it never gets old!

    That's Not My Pirate (Usborne Touchy Feely) by Fiona Watt. Kids would literally drop everything exciting they were doing to come and touch, and retell this book. I like how books from this series teach little ones to use adjectives.

    Peppa Pig and the Treasure Hunt by Candlewick Press. It's time for a treasure hunt on the backyard!

    There Was an Old Pirate Who Swallowed a Fish by Jennifer Ward. The silly books from this series are our kids' favorites with the pirate's book being one of the best. It introduces the new vocabulary using the most funny illustrations!

    How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long. This story book is so fun to read together! We found out all the pros and cons of being a pirate as stated by a little boy Jeremy Jacob.

    Port Side Pirates (A Barefoot Singalong) by Oscar Seaworthy. There are short reviews of historical pirates, pirates around the world, the music for the song, and a nice chart naming the parts of a ship - a real treasure! The fun rhymes and music are accompanied by wonderful illustrations!

    Pirate Pete by Kim Kennedy. The pirate and his parrot are after the Queen's treasure map.

     Pirate Pete's Talk Like a Pirate by Kim Kennedy. Pete needs to choose his crew. At the job interview, the main requirement is to talk like a pirate!

    Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC by June Sobel. The crew is on the mission: they have to capture all the letters, or else...

    Pirate Pat (Usborne Very First Reading) by Mairi Mackinnon. This book is first in a series of Usborne Very First Reading books: parents and kids take turns to read a story followed by some fun little games at the end of each book. We love them!

    What are your favorite pirate books?

    You are very welcome to follow us here:

    Sunday, July 26, 2015

    Composers. Swan Lake Painting and Hand Print Art.

    Hand Print Swans Preschool Art with Poppins Book Nook

    We listened and danced to the beautiful music of Tchaikovsky, created Swan Lake art, and learned a wonderful Princess Swan story. Composers is the theme for July at Poppins Book Nook. You can find our previous Poppins Book Nook activities here: Over in the Forest: Leaves Collage and Forest Small World.


    Writers, Artists, Composers

    With our preschoolers, we worked on one basic concept:

    Writers write books.
    Artists create art.
    Composers create music.

    This is not an easy one for little kids. My Firefly had heard words "writer" and "artist" before. Now she had an opportunity to discover that there was a real person behind the beautiful music she loved to dance to.

    We considered the examples from Swan Lakes activities:
    • Tchaikovsky is a composer of Swan Lake.
    • James Mayhew is a writer of the Ella Bella book as we can find out from the cover of the book.
    • We will be artists creating the Swan Lake painting!

    Swan Lake Painting and Hand Print Art

    • Outline the lake leaving white margins for grass and flowers around the lake.
    • Kids colored the water first. The painting was finished when the lake was completely dry.
    • Start by applying several long strokes across the lake with the green paint.
    • Color the lake. Kids were offered the blue paint to color all the water: green mixed into blue with some interesting effects.
    • We talked about the sun reflections on the water surface: the observations we made on a sunny day before the activity helped here.
    • Choose the colors. Kids were offered small jars of paint with a cotton swab inside each jar. This helped to contain the mess and allowed them to use all the bright colors without worrying about finding/ washing the brush.
    • Paint using cotton swabs. Kids learned to make short strokes and dots. If there was a stroke they didn't like, we used the brush to brush over the stroke to mix it in.
    • Evaluate if the painting is done! It is important to stop before the lake turns solid brown.

    Kids loved painting their lakes! The lake above was painted over three times: the thicker watercolor paper survived the layers of tempera paint.

    Kids made hand prints of both hands using white tempera paint. The swans' heads are finger prints. We used black and red markers for eyes and beaks. The grass and flowers around the lake are done with Do-A-Dot markers.

    Amazon affiliate link: Do A Dot Art Marker Brilliant 6-pack

    We enjoyed painting the white swans so much! The exploration of the colors of animals is always engaging for little ones. Some fun ideas for observing the colors of animals can be found here: Animal Covers from Pinay Homeschooler.

    Ella Bella Ballerina and Swan Lake

    "Ella Bella Ballerina and Swan Lake" by James Mayhew is our book of the month. It's a story of Princess Swan and her new little friend. Ella Bella is carried into the story by the beautiful music and the dancing princess. She witnesses the fight: white against black, good against evil.

    My Firefly loved this new princess story. And listening to the music and looking at the beautiful watercolor paintings in this book made her "dance as a Princess Swan" for several days after.

    Amazon affiliate link: Ella Bella Ballerina and Swan lake (Ella Bella Ballerina Series)

    Composers - the Theme for July at PBN

    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.

    Enchanted Homeschooling Mom - 3 Dinosaurs - ABC Creative Learning - As We Walk Along the Road - Brain Power Boy - Chestnut Grove Academy - Embracing Destiny - Every Bed of Roses - Farm Fresh Adventures - Growing in God's Grace - Kathys Cluttered Mind - My Bright Firefly - Peakle Pie - Preschool Powol Packets - Pray Species - SAHM I am - Stir The Wonder - Sunny Day Family - Sweet Silly Sara - Teach Beside Me - To the Moon and Back - Tots and Me - Tree Valley Academy - Witty Hoots

    You are very welcome to follow us here:

    Tuesday, July 14, 2015

    Bubbles Art Project Using Oil Pastels and Paint

    Bubbles Art Appreciation Activity and Playing with Bubbles

    Bright oil pastels on black construction paper are so lovely! We enjoyed our art appreciation activity and bubbles art project after making and observing bubbles. Our previous bubbles activities can be found here: Honey Bubble Math. Bubble Making Experiments for Preschoolers .

    Bubbles by Sir John Everett Millais

    The most famous painting by Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896) is "A Child's World", later know as "Bubbles." Sir John enjoyed child pictures. "Bubbles" is a painting of his 5 year old grandson using oil on canvas. This representation of the artist's awareness on the present moment is wonderful!

    The goal of our art appreciation discussion was to discover that the picture can tell a beautiful story. All we have to do is pay attention to details.

    Some questions we discussed:
    • What can we see in this picture?
    • This boy's name is William. What do you think he is doing?
    • William made his bubble more then a hundred years ago. Can you notice any details in this picture that tell us a story of the old times? His cloths? The way he makes his bubbles? Anything else? Why do you think the artist used dark brown colors around the boy?
    • Do you think William likes his bubble? What do you think he could say at that moment?

    Oil on canvas, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, England

    Bubbles Art Project

    For this project we used:
    black construction paper, white tempera paint, plastic cups/ bottles of different sizes, oil pastels.
    Kids dipped cups turned upside down into white paint on the plate. They used plastic cups of different sizes to stamp circles of various diameters onto the paper.

    This activity was set when kids came in after having fun with bubbles outside. They enjoyed their painting very much! The important point for us was to offer them a fresh new paper when the space on the previous one was filled with bubbles.

    Coloring Bubbles with Oil Pastels

    After the paint was dry, we set to color the bubbles with oil pastels.

    According to our observations while making bubbles: we could see through bubbles because they were translucent. Transparent lets all the light through, opaque lets no light through, translucent is everything in between. We could see the rainbow of colors, mainly around the bubbles with some coloring as a light reflection on the side.

    We started coloring the bigger bubbles first, one bubble at a time. My Firefly was asked to pull 4-6 different bright colors from the box. This colors were used one by one to color the inner side of a circle. For the smallest bubbles and the spots inside the bubbles we chose only 2 colors.

    More Art Appreciation and Playing activities for preschoolers from My Bright Firefly:

    Over in the Forest: Leaves Collage and Forest Small World

    Rocks and Model Magic Volcano

    Sunset on the Fields Art Project Inspired by Vincent van Gogh


    You are very welcome to follow us here:

    Saturday, July 11, 2015

    Letter H is for Honey Bubbles. Bubble Making Experiments for Preschoolers

    Honey Bubble Math: An Easy 3-Ingridient Recipe a 3 Year Old Can Follow

    Letter H is for honey bubbles. Kids had so much fun learning with our letter of the week! All they had to do is count to 4, sample some honey, mix - and blow. After they tested their own bubble solutions outside, they came back to enjoy some bubble art. This post is a part of our "Creative ABCs" series found here: Creative ABCs.


    Bubble Trouble

    "Bubble Trouble" by Tom Percival is our favorite book about friends... and bubble making machines. Two best friends are getting into the bubble making contest. It was friendly at first, but then got completely out of hand! They created a huge bang. Then they realized that friends were to play and work together, and so they did. But will this last? 

    Invitation to Make Honey Bubbles for Preschoolers

    For this activity we used:
    • a toy cup for measuring and a big cup for mixing the solution,
    • a tray for containing spilled water during the water transfer activity,
    • chenille stems (pipe cleaners) for making bubble wands,
    • a table spoon for measuring (and sampling) honey and stirring.

    • 4 cups water,
    • 1 cup dish soap: Dawn Original,
    • 1-2 tablespoons honey.


    Letter H is for Honey Bubbles

    Here is our step-by-step for this activity
    1. A minute to explore the content of the tray and to explain the activity.
    2. Water transfer and counting: pour water from the bottle to the toy cup, empty the cup into the big cup (bowl), count 4 cups total. Depending on a child's experience, there was a lot of spilling. It helped to do the transfer in the tray. The tray was emptied into the sink as needed. If there was a mistake in measuring water, we emptied the cups and started again.
    3. Measuring and adding 1 cup of soap. 
    4. Honey: assist with filling the tablespoon with honey, offer to sample honey if they want it, add more honey to the spoon as needed, and offer to drink some water if they want to.
    5. Stirring: the drops of honey in soap looked fascinating to kids. Observe the honey dissolving in soap. Stir until no honey is visible.

    Note - honey bubbles!

    Honey bubbles can attract bees. Honey can be a cause for allergies for little kids.

    Toy cups can be different sizes. The bigger plastic toy cup we used called for 2 tablespoons of honey. At another time we used a smaller metal toy cup. In that case, only 1 tablespoon of honey was added to the solution.

    Bubble Making Experiments Are So Much Sensory Fun!

    Bubbles are little kids' favorites for many wonderful reasons! Watching the motions of floating through the air or popping are all exciting. Kids absolutely loved this simple introduction to chemistry. Also, the pretty and changing colors, the joy of playing together, and the miracle solution that transfers into something different again and again. My Firefly used the full amount of her solution every time she played.

    The DIY wands are made quickly and the best for this solution. We tested different shapes. It turned out that the biggest oval or diamond shaped wands were the only ones that worked for us.

    Kids discovered that bubbles can be formed by the slow wide motion of the hand holding a wand, by holding the wand against the wind, or by blowing.

    We observed and discussed the colors of the honey bubbles to prepare for the Bubble Art Project.

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

    You are very welcome to follow us here:

    Friday, July 3, 2015

    Native Americans and Turkeys: Invitation to Play with Play Dough and Feathers. Same and Different Color.

    Same and Different Color Preschool Activities

    Native Americans and Turkeys all dressed up in colors and feathers during our play dough play activity. The concept of same and different is helpful for little ones in so many ways. We had some fun pages before, but playing and building same and different objects using small parts takes the understanding and manipulating this concept to the new level. My Firefly loved these little activities!

    Invitation to Play with Same and Different Colors

    Items on the tray for the invitation to play:
    • Laminated Native Americans and turkeys cards (2 of each) are a part of the wonderful activity pack found here: Thanksgiving Pack, Part 1 from 3 Dinosaurs
    • Several colors of play dough
    • Feathers

    Native Americans and Turkeys

    We compared the cards and found out that they are the same.

    Practicing the pincer grip with play dough can be fun! My Firefly pinched out small pieces of dough and stuck them to give colorful feathers to the Indians.

    We paid attention to keep the feathers the same colors on both pictures.

    Spot the Difference - Game
    • Place feathers making sure that the pictures are the same.
    • One player closes his/ her eyes. Another player changes one of the feathers to a different color.
    • The first player opens eyes and tries to find the difference.
    • Make the cards look the same again.
    • Change roles.

    We played for quite a while! The game seems simple with only 4 feathers to compare. In reality, it requires some skills in patterns, and finding same and different.

    Play Dough and Feathers Fun

    After mastering comparing 4 feathers on Native Americans, we switched to 5 feathers on turkeys. This considerably increased the difficulty level. Placing 5 colors on a second turkey following the pattern of the first one was done with my assistance.

    But "Spot the Difference" game (see above) became more exciting yet!

    We had fun working on finding same and different colors on Native Americans and turkeys - off to the same and different shapes and sizes next. Preschool Math can be exciting!

    You can find out previous preschool Math activities here: Introduction to Graphing for Preschoolers.

    You are very welcome to follow us here: