Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hand Print Turkey Card

I saw the idea for this cute card on pinterest, and the best part is that the link takes you to a bunch more fun Thanksgiving learning activities so be sure to check it out!
This was pretty easy (or could've been if I'd been smart enough to only let one kid get all covered in paint at a time, and had NOT done it on a night when Hubby was out of town), and the only supplies you need are paper, finger paint, and a pen.
My plan was to have Erik make the card and then walk to the Post Office with it, where he would be given a handful of dimes and have to count the right number to buy the stamps. In the end I just stuck some stamps on them that I already had at home and dropped them in the outgoing mail box on my way to a doctor's appointment. Oh well, it's the thought that counts, right?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Turkey Clothes Pin Counting

When I found this idea on Pinterest I knew I wanted to make it a part of our Thanksgiving theme. It was super cute and wouldn't be too hard to make, even though I don't have a printer to use the printable included on the original website. I loved how cute this was and that it also includes fine motor practice (which we need a lot of around here) in a math activity.
I know, this isn't the greatest picture ever, but my camera is dying so this is what you get. 
I chose to make my turkeys go through the number 12, since Erik seems to have 1-10 down pretty well, but needs to work on everything higher than that. I figure we can add a few more numbers each time we do a new activity and slowly build up his knowledge base.
I cut my turkeys out of construction paper and used a glue stick to glue the little pieces (beak, wattle, breast) on. Once the glue was dry I numbered each turkey, then laminated them with contact paper.
They are stored in a large zip top baggie and Erik can pull them out to play with them any time he wants.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Family Home Evening lesson on Gratitude

Since we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we participate in a weekly event called Family Home Evening (FHE) or Family Night. This is a designated time once a week (traditionally on a Monday) when the whole family gathers together to enjoy time together and learn more about Christ. Since this particular FHE lesson fits in so well with our theme, I decided to go ahead and include it in here with the rest of the things we did for Thanksgiving.
Using the FHE Resource Guide as a base, we talked about what gratitude is and how important it is. We talked about how happy it makes us feel to say "thank you", as well as when people say it to us. We love using the Mormon Messages videos as part of our Family Nights whenever we can, so we watched this video about gratitude.
After watching the video, we made a commitment as a family to try harder to live in thanksgiving daily and to cultivate an "attitude of gratitude". To help us accomplish this goal, we made a Gratitude Tree. Using brown construction paper I made a tree trunk with a few branches and taped the to the wall, high enough that Sharli wouldn't pull them down.
 We took turns thinking of things we were grateful for and wrote them on leaves cut out of different colors of construction paper. I just googled leaf clip-art and traced a few I liked onto the paper before cutting.
It was really fun to listen to the things Erik came up with that he was thankful for, he really put a lot of thought into it. Some of my favorites that he came up with were: "My right hand and my left hand", "oatmeal", "hot air balloons", and "going to Explora".
Every night for the rest of the month, before we left the dinner table (or at least that was the plan, it didn't always happen), we would each write another thing we were thankful for and hang it on our tree. It was fun to watch the tree fill up and to try to always come up with new things. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Autumn/Thanksgiving Preschool Theme

Hey there!

So, I had a whole list of fun things to do for the week and a half before Thanksgiving, and grand plans to have all the posts go up the week of Thanksgiving, but then life took over. Between a trip to the ER and several follow up doctor's appointments, plus the hustle and bustle of the holiday, we only did a small portion of the planned activities and they aren't getting posted until a week and a half before Christmas. Oh well. Maybe if you're lucky you'll get to see our Christmas stuff by Valentines day.
Since I wasn't able to do many of the activities I had planned, I will show you what we DID do, and link to examples of some of the things I had planned but didn't get to do. So here it is, our Thanksgiving Autumn activities list. As before, as I put up the posts about the different activities I will link them back here. So, if there isn't a link for something that means it hasn't been posted yet but will be in the next few days, check back soon.

Language Arts:
      Five Little Turkeys Poem
      Turkey Clothes Pin Counting
      Classifying Leaves
            -I just planned on sorting a bunch of fall leaves by color, size, shape, or whatever else Erik was interested in.
Creative Arts:
      Hand print turkey cards for Grandparents
      Leaf Resist Art
Social Studies:
      Make a Gratitude Tree
      Mail turkey letters to family
            -This one isn't going to get it's own post, we were just going to talk about who to send our turkey cards to and then let Erik count out the money (with LOTS of help) at the Post Office to pay for the stamps. We ended up just slapping some stamps on them and dropping them in the box and didn't make a big deal over it. The grandparents still got the cards we made, but I took care of the mailing part.
Physical Development/Health:
      Go for a walk and collect fall leaves for some of the other activities we had planned

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Snow Paint

Our last activity for our Weather Theme was Snow Painting. Now, while there is snow in some part of the country right now, here in Southern New Mexico it's pretty scarce. So we were forced to come up with our own snow to play in, and this is what we found.

We got out some blue paper, whipped up a batch of snow paint, and had some fun painting our snow pictures. These are now on display in Erik's room. Once dry, the paint does have a tendency to crack if the papers get bent, but they do have a really neat texture.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Make it Rain!

So I have a confession. Or two. This activity actually happened on accident, it wasn't really something I had planned. Also, these pictures are from the first time we did this, almost a year ago now. Somehow I never got a post up about this, so you finally get to see it. 
One day it was really cold in our apartment and Erik was bored and driving me nuts. So I stuck him in a nice warm bubble bath and gave him some of my kitchen stuff to play with. It turned out that the colander plus the bubbles were the perfect way to teach about what happens when it rains. Every time Erik scooped up the bubbly water in his colander it made a rainstorm, which he was thrilled about! He had been interested in the rain we'd had recently and I'd tried to explain where it came from, but I just don't think he was getting it. 
 As he sat in the bath that day we talked about how the clouds in the sky fill up with water until they are so dark and heavy they can't hold it anymore. When he would submerge his colander the bubbles would float up on the water and look puffier. Also something about the lighting made the bubbles look grayish when there was water underneath them, so they even looked like dark(ish) rain clouds. Then, when his colander full of bubbles had all the water it could hold, he would lift it up and watch his "clouds" deflate and whiten as the "rain" poured out the bottom. It was SO perfect!
This was such a simple and fun way to learn about the science of rain!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Weather Reading

As I am planning all my different themes, I am trying really hard to find books to go with them. Literature is an excellent way to introduce new concepts, new vocabulary, and to explore things you otherwise couldn't. Erik is much more likely to understand what I'm telling him about if there's interesting pictures and an entertaining story line to follow.
The town we live in has a pretty impressive library (for a town of this size, anyways), mostly because they will bend over backwards to help you out. If they don't have the book you want (and let's face it, they're tiny so there's a good chance they don't) they will borrow it from another library for you. This means that as long as I plan far enough in advance I can get just about anything I want. Unfortunately for planning our Weather Theme, I didn't want to wait for books to come in, so I just crossed my fingers that they would have one or two books that would work and went for it. I ended up finding five books there that had something to do with weather (actually there were a few more, but they were too advanced for Erik) which was way better than I'd hoped and we've been enjoying reading them ever since. 
In addition to the books we've been reading, I also found a free app for our Ipad that allows children to explore the weather. Erik loves to play with it and it's one that we'll probably keep around for a while.