Monday, August 31, 2015

Pinocchio. Books That Were Turned into Movies.

Pinocchio: Our Awesome Introduction to the World of Theatre

We played with Pinocchio, read books, watched a movie... and made and decorated a marionette. Kids just loved their string puppets and started performing immediately. Simple puppets are the best way to introduce the little ones to the world of theatre. For the bigger kids, it is a great hands-on way to look into the history of theatre!

"Books that were turned into movies" is the theme for August at Poppins Book Nook. You can find our previous Poppins Book Nook activities here: Composers. Swan Lake Painting and Hand Print Art.

Books That Were Turned into Movies

Pinocchio, the marionette carved from wood, is a star of so many books and movies, famouse in almost every country of the world. We selected three wonderful resources to introduce Pinocchio to kids.

"Pinocchio" by Carlo Collodi. Translated from the Italian by Geoffrey Brock. Illustrated by Fulvio Testa. This chapter book is the original story with a fun illustration for each chapter, life lessons and clever quotes, picturesque and romantic pages about Italian puppeteers.

"This sudden change in our house is all thanks to you," said Geppetto.
"Thanks to me?"
"Yes, because when children who were once naughty become nice, their whole families change and become happier." (page 180)

The book we have read to our little ones is the abbreviated version: "Pinocchio" retold by Roberto Piumini, illustrated by Lucia Salemi (Storybook Classics series). With the short, one-page chapters and colorful illustrations on every spread, this book was just right for our kids to get familiar with the story.
"Geppetto", the comedic and musical retelling, started with the scene at the toy store. Kids and their parents had great time visiting and choosing their favorite toys to buy. Geppetto (Drew Carey) is dreaming of becoming a father, then getting a little boy of his own, and going through trial and error of everyday parenting situations.

Pinocchio Easy Craft and Play

This fun craft was an awesome idea from my dear friend, wonderful and creative mother of two wonderful boys, Megan Cook. A string puppet is made from an egg carton. Kids loved their "Pinocchios" from the first sight!

Pictured below, when decorating this marionette, we worked on matching and mixing colors, dots and stripes. My Firefly loves performing with her puppet!

We made strings to hands only for the easy handling by preschoolers. This picture of a bright puppet dancing in the sun is just so cheerful!


"Books That Were Turned Into Movies" - the Theme for August 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
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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Letter V Is for Volcano.Rocks and Model Magic Volcano Craft.

Easy Volcano Preschool Craft

Our 3 year olds made volcanos using real rocks - all by themselves! Volcanos and dinosaurs are so exciting for them; and everybody loved this volcano craft! It is easy to set up, requires minimal mess, and there is a sturdy-heavy volcano at the end.

This craft is wonderful for fine motor skills. Of course, setting up a volcano using an eye dropper is a classic favorite.

This post is a part of our "Creative ABCs" series found here: Creative ABCs.


Letter V Is for Volcano

We started with a question:
What is a mountain made of?
The answers were grass, dirt, ice... Well, are there any rocks?

To set up a volcano we used:
  • a bottle of vinegar with a few drops of red food coloring mixed in,
  • a squirt of hand soap,
  • soda.

Rocks and Model Magic Volcano Craft

We used an empty baby food jar as a base, rocks, and Crayola Model Magic. Amazon affiliate link: Crayola Model Magic 4-Ounce, Terra Cotta.

The volcano was set on a tray. To protect the tray from dough, we used a piece of printer paper. Kids started by making "snakes" to create a circle around the jar. The first layer of rocks were set on the dough (pictured below).

Kids continued by layering rocks and dough "snakes" until the jar was covered. Then they added more rocks to their mountains using dough as needed. When the mountain was done, we ripped the paper off around the mountain.

That was an awesome activity for exploring rocks and fine motor skills! My Firefly made two volcanos and would continue on if she could.

Prehistoric Times: Volcanos and Dinosaurs Sensory Play

The jar is filled with sand with just enough empty space left for 2-3 teaspoons of soda.

Squirts of soap, vinegar, and dinosaurs were added as needed. As always, that sensory play is exciting!

The mountain survived many volcano eruptions and dinosaur invasions: the construction is sturdy and can be reused as wanted.

Our letter V is for Volcano brought us some fun explorations. What were your family's favorite activities this week?

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

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Rocks on the Mirror Preschool Activities

This quick set up for invitation to explore rocks was fun! A mirror's hard surface not only provided interesting reflections of the rocks and wood, but also heightened attention to details as kids were slower and more careful when moving heavier rocks around on the mirror. The fact that the magnifying glass was brought by a dinosaur was met with excitement and motivated the creative play.

Kids explored the rocks. We focused on finding spots and stripes. Rocks were placed in direct sunlight to explore the surface. We tried to use words like dull, matte, glossy, sparkly.

We review the previous activities found here: Invitation to Explore Land, Air, and Water.

  • color: we tried to name colors, then used a magnifying glass and a cell phone camera's zoom feature to discover that each rock has several different colors,
  • texture: rough or smooth, cool to touch,
  • size: we had small and big rocks,
  • weight: heavy.

  • To make the activities going on, we had a visit from a dinosaur with a magnifying glass. Mommy also brought in her "baby dinosaurs" too.

    For this set up we used:
    Rocks (found in the neighborhood over the last several weeks),
    wooden blocks,
    dinosaur counters.

    Amazon affiliate link:

    My Firefly loved some dramatic play with Mommy and babies dinosaurs creating a small world for the family. She counted rocks using blocks, stacked shapes on the mirror using rocks.

    The quick "Guess What It Is" game: we explored a top side and a bottom side of objects using reflections in the mirror.

    Our Dinosaur Preschool Activities:

    Our Top Ten Dinosaur Books for Preschoolers
    Dinosaurs Large Scale Art Project
    Dinosaurs: Sight Words Can and Look
    Rocks on the Mirror
    Easy Volcano Preschool Craft

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    Saturday, August 15, 2015

    Our Top Ten Dinosaur Books for Preschoolers

    Dinosaurs stomp, they roar; and so does preschoolers' imagination and creativity. Dinosaur books are an excellent base for learning about animals and some history. Today we are sharing our top six dinosaur books, and several more our 3-4 year olds liked to listen to this year.

    Dinosaur preschool activities:
    Dinosaurs Large Scale Art Project
    Dinosaurs: Sight Words Can and Look

    The links bellow are Amazon affiliate links.

    Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs: As Retold by Mo Willems by Mo Willems. The little girl had almost got eaten by the three dinosaurs. This is a funny Goldilocks story with the happy end of course.

    Dinosaurs! by Gail Gibbons. Easy engaging texts with excellent illustrations are a big help for learning something new about dinosaurs.

    Have You Seen My Dinosaur? (Beginner Books(R)) by Jon Surgal. Who said that dinosaurs lived before people and that there are no dinosaurs left on Earth? There is one, a big huge green one, playing around. Nobody could spot him, just yet!

    That's Not My Dinosaur (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.
    The Berenstain Bears' Dinosaur Dig by Jan Berenstain and Mike Berenstain. Here is just one more dinosaur book from the beautiful Berenstain Bears' series.

    How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends? by Jane Yolen. Can we learn some manners from dinosaurs? They can be wonderful friends if they want to!

    Oh, Say Can You Say Di-no-saur? (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library) by Bonnie Worth. Cat in the Hat's Learning Library offers kids a book on pronouncing those long dinosaur names (using fun rhymes of course).

    Curious George's Dinosaur Discovery by H. A. Rey. My Firefly loves listening to Curious George's stories: there is always something exciting happening there!

    Thomas and the Dinosaur (Thomas & Friends) (Little Golden Book). This is a little story about a huge dinosaur model for the new Dinosaur Park. The breaking news is that those huge models are not real dinosaurs.

    Distinctive Dinosaurs Pop-Up Book by Steve Van Buskirk. There are only five dinosaurs and landscapes in this little books, as well as a short info for each of them. This little pop-up book is not heavy for the little hands - pretty cute.

    The Good Dinosaur Little Golden Book (Disney/Pixar The Good Dinosaur) by Bill Scollon. This is a fun retelling of the new Disney's The Good Dinosaur.

    Our "Top Ten Books for Preschoolers" can be found here:

    What are your favorite dinosaur books?

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    Friday, August 14, 2015

    Dinosaurs Large Scale Art Project for Preschoolers

    Engineering a Dinosaur using Foam Blocks

    We played paleontologists: found a couple of toy dinosaurs and tried to recreate their skeletons using foam blocks. Then we reversed the activity by painting dinosaurs according to their skeletons. My Firefly loves the final product hanging in her "study" room.

    This is the second art project with creating and stamping the foam blocks for her. She also made a Colorful Creepy Castle a month ago. This time she really knew what she was doing and extended her painting using a brush: Engineering a Colorful Creepy Castle Using Foam Blocks.

    Large Scale Dinosaurs Art Project Set-up

    As pictured below: for this project we used a large poster board, toy dinosaurs, foam blocks, tempera paint (brown, green, and yellow), paper plates for the paint.

    Because the poster board is too large for her, we set it up on the floor. That way she had space to move around, and an easy access to blocks on one side and paints in the paper plates on the other.

    Paleontologists Pretend Play: Creating the Dinosaurs' Skeletons

    We observed the toy dinosaurs, compared their colors, sizes, and body parts. My Firefly started building T-Rex first. I encouraged her to use additional blocks to make longer legs and body.

    We designed the "strong jaws" together, and T-Rex started snapping at us immediately causing lots of laughs and a motivation to build a second one: the smaller plant-eater.

    Dinosaurs Art Project

    After the dinosaurs were built, My Firefly removed a block at a time, dipped it into the paint, and placed it back into its space. For the second dinosaur, I added brown paint into the plate with the green paint so she had an option to use a mix of colors as she wished.

    When all the painted blocks were in place, My Firefly used a brush for the "final touches". Then the blocks were removed and washed, and the dinosaurs enjoyed roaring in the sunshine.

    I think the large scale art provides opportunities for wonderful adventures and explorations for little kids. Our dinos are currently handing in My Firefly's "study" room as we are continuing our dinosaur week.

    Our Dinosaur Preschool Activities:

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    Monday, August 10, 2015

    Dinosaurs: Sight Words Can and Look

    Dinosaur Activities for Preschoolers

    We observed dinosaurs and found some exciting characteristics of each, played with dinosaurs and reviewed herbivore - carnivore, built some dinosaurs and played with sight words "look" and "can". Our previous sight words activities can be found here: Sight Words The, See, At, My, and Me.

    Sight Word Can. Invitation to Build Sentences and Herbivore - Carnivore Review.

    To set up a tray we used:
    bottle caps with letters "c", "n", and "a", three of each,
    three dinosaur cards "eat meat", "eat fish", and "eat plants".

    Kids were to build words "can" and to build a sentence while "travelling" through each card:

    T-Rex can eat meat.
    Iguanodon can eat plants.
    Spinosaurus can eat fish.


    Building Dinosaurs from Shapes

    It takes 1-2 minutes to build a dinosaur. At the group activity, we had roaring and laughing going on around the table: great fun!

    This activity was not only fun, but a great preparation for  drawing animals and a review of body parts. Here is a question kids loved, "Is your dinosaur ready to roar?" - "Roar!"

    Visit Build a Dinosaur! from Little Family Fun for the full description of this activity.

    Sight Word Look. Finding Same and Different

    Kids wrote words "look" successfully without any previous experience in writing these letters. It's impressive what they can do when they are excited about a project!

    This free printable collection of dinosaur cards and other great dinosaur activities can be found here: Dinosaur Unit from Every Star Is Different.

    Two letters "o" were added to each card, drawn over 2 special features of a given dinosaur:
    • Stegosaurus - sharp plates on the back
    • Triceratops - 3 horns and a beak
    • T Rex - 2 tiny arms
    • Ankylosaurus - thick armor and a club tail
    • Velociraptor - toe claws
    • Pteranodon - wings and a beak
    • Spinosaurus - a long crocodile snout and a sail on the back
    • Pteranodon - wings and a beak
    • Diplodocus - a long neck and a small head
    • Dilophosaurus - 2 crests on the head
    • Brachiosaurus - the front leg is longer than the back leg
    • Iguanodon - thumb spikes on hands

    The "writing prompt":
    Look! What is special about T-Rex?
    Two letters "oo" are pointing to something special. What is it?
    Look! There are two tiny arms!
    Can we make a word "look"? Write letters "l" and "k" before and after, trace "oo".

    Dinosaur Art Project

    My Firefly painted her "scary" dinosaurs on a large poster board using foam blocks and yellow, green, and brown tempera paint.

    Dinosaurs theme is exciting for this little girl now; and she is much more comfortable with her writing. Well, it does take some "playing together" time.

    Our Dinosaur Preschool Activities:
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    Monday, August 3, 2015

    Sight Words The, See, At, My, and Me

    Playful Words: Our Sight Word of the Week Activities for Preschoolers

    Our preschoolers have learned letters and their sounds - yay! Now we are going for a sight word of the week. That's a nice, easy, and playful opportunity for them to review letters in a meaningful way, and get introduced to reading and spelling. Letter of the week activities can be found here: Creative ABCs.

    Sight Word See

    We had read a pirate book: Our Top Ten Pirate Books for Preschoolers. After talking about storms at sea, unbelievable happened! Kids got the next book to read, but there were no words or pictures in those books! All they could find were the blank pages - oh, no!

    The hurricane went through and blew all the words and pictures out of the book!

    How could we fix the books so that we could SEE something interesting on the pages? We named the book "SEE" and reviewed the letters in the word "see". Than we used letter and animal stamps to fill the pages again. Kids loved this little activity.

    Sight Word The

    We built a castle with Mega Bloks. First, we reviewed the letter names in the word "the". Then each kid got 3 single blocks with letters and one long block for the base.

    The next step was to increase the difficulty level. A child gets 2 sets of blocks to build 2 castles: one red and one blue. The colors of the letters do not match the colors of the blocks.

    The final step: build a super castle from 4 sets of blocks. This activity was great for introduction to spelling and as a sorting and matching activity.

    Sight Word At

    Kids were to use toys and their bodies to form "AT" on the carpet. "AT" was outlined using pink painter's tape.

    Sight Words My and Me

    Kids loved the invitation to describe "My Mom" and "Me" using play dough. The garlic press to make hair was a hit! See these activities here: Sight Words My and Me. Play Dough: Describing My Mom and Me.

    Sight Words The, See, At, My, and Me were so much fun! What's your favorite sight words activity?

    Sight Words Can, Look: Dinosaurs: Sight Words Can and Look.
    Our introduction to a sentence can be found here: Preschool Games for Sentence Structure.

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