Friday, August 4, 2017

Field Trip: Fire Station Tour

 Earlier this week we got to go on an awesome field trip with our friends from our Summer Reading Playgroup. We had all missed a public tour of the fire station earlier in the summer, and we were disappointed not to get to go. I decided to look into it, and found out that all that stood between us all and getting our kids into the fire station was a simple online form. We picked a day, got our form turned in, and we were ready to go!

My kids and I were the first ones to get there, so we goofed around while we waited for the rest of the group to get there.

 We got to tour the living quarters of the station (which that adults thought was interesting), but the real excitement was when we finally got to go out into the engine bay and see the trucks. Oh boy were the kids excited! One of the fire fighters "turned out" in his full gear so the kids could see it all. They got to check out each piece before it got put on, which was really fun.
 It was sure hot out in the engine bay, we were grateful to get to be the ones watching the whole "turn out" process, but not have to do it ourselves. That poor firefighter was sweating up a storm!
Doing a dance, or putting on suspenders...you decide. :)
 The kids were fascinated to watch as the firefighter put his gear on, but once he had the face mask on and the air regulator going they were not so sure about going anywhere near him. It's so good for them to have a chance to see that this is not someone to be scared of in case they are ever in a situation where they need to be rescued. Seeing how scared the kids were made me think this is something we ought to do every year so they get to see it often enough to remember.
 The kids all got fire hats and other trinkets to take home with them, which of course is always a plus!
 What an awesome way to spend a day! I highly recommend reaching out to your local fire station to see if you can do a tour like this!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Summer Reading Fun: Curious George

My kids love Curious George books! We've read quite a few, but my favorite are the original H.A. Rey books that started it all. I decided to base this week's reading play group around the original Curious George book.
Unfortunately, we got so busy having fun that somehow I managed to forget to take a single picture. I've made up for this where I could with pictures from my files, and I'll make sure there are links leading you to the sites I took my inspiration from so that you can see these ideas in action.

For our play dough I gave the kids some green play dough, along with some toy monkeys and some leaves and flowers leftover from our garden theme.
After we read our book, we did this cute hand print craft with the kids. It turned out really cute, I can't believe I don't have one around here somewhere to take a picture of!

For our gross motor play we blew up a whole package of balloons for the kids to play with. Just like George, the kids LOVE balloons! Balloon free play is one of the quickest, easiest, least messy ways I know to keep kids occupied.
For our sensory play we did a rice bin. I have 50 lbs of rice that I keep handy for just such occasions. We added the monkeys and plants from our play dough fun, as well as all the digging/scooping toys I could find.
My original plan for the sensory play was to recreate George's ocean voyage by filling a kiddie pool with water and adding toy boats, monkeys, sea shells, etc. It was way too hot to play outside that day though, so we improvised and used the rice instead. The kids didn't know any better and they had a marvelous time!

For our snack I kept things simple with bananas. Easy Peasy!

I always try to have several books on hand that fit in with our theme. Click on the image below to go to Amazon and learn more about each book. Here's this week's book list:







*Diedre Mower is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Summer Reading Fun: Up, Down, and Around

 When I originally planned all these summer reading activities it was with the idea of implementing them in our local library using the book Bear and Bunny Grow Tomatoes, which I knew they had in their collection.  After our move, when I discovered that this book is nowhere to be found in our new library system (which surprised me because it's a huge library network), we had to switch things up and went with more of a general garden theme instead of just focusing on the tomatoes. It was still a lot of fun and worked out perfectly.

For our play dough this week I made this scrumptious smelling chocolate play dough. It looked like dirt, and the kids loved making their own little gardens with rocks, flowers/leaves, and toy bugs.
Our art project this week as really fun. The kids colored on coffee filters with markers, then sprayed their art work with water and watched the magic happen. After things dried in the sun for a bit we added some cute little apple borders I found here and hung our art on the wall.
For our gross motor, I had planned to play this fun apple toss game. I picked up a couple packages of these balls from Amazon for us to use. We ended up cutting things a bit short this week and never got around to playing the game, but I think the kids would have had a good time with it.

Our sensory bin this week was pretty epic. The kids thought it was amazing! I put 50 lbs of rice in a kiddie pool, added in the toys from our play dough fun plus all the fruits/veggies from our play food, and all the digging/scooping toys I could find. The kids had a blast digging and playing their pretend garden.
 For our snack this week we could have gone with any possible number of healthy garden fruits and/or veggies. Instead though I decided to have some fun with the kids and made a dirt cake instead. I assembled it in a clean flower pot (purchased just for this and scrubbed well before using), and stuck a couple bunches of fake flowers in there. It looked real enough that the kids were a bit shocked when I dug in and ate a big spoonful of the "dirt" right from the pot. I wish I'd gotten a picture, but they gobbled it up too fast for that.

Last, but not least, here is a list of all the fun garden themed books we used to inspire our fun. Clicking the image will take you to Amazon, where you can learn more about any book you're interested in.






*Diedre Mower is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Spelling Practice with Game Tiles

 I've been looking for fun ways to help Erik learn his spelling words, and while this one isn't super exciting, it's something out of the ordinary and that's good enough for me.
I pulled out our Banagrams game, but you could use Scrabble, or Boggle, or any other game that has letter tiles. I chose to use these ones because they don't have any numbers on them (like the Scrabble ones do) that might be distracting.
I sorted out a pile of all the letters that Erik would need and put the rest away. Then I gave him the pile and let him get started. I was really curious to see how he'd arrange them all on the table, and he's just like his mom. He wanted them all in a nice neat column. :)
 This activity was really great because it made him really have to think about which letter came next while he searched through the pile for it.
After he'd gotten them all spelled out on the table we went through all the words spelling them each out loud. He had fun and we made progress towards mastering his list, so it was great.
*Diedre Mower is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Summer Reading Fun: Should I Share My Ice Cream?

When we discovered Mo Willems' "Elephant and Piggie" books, it was love at first sight. My kids love to listen to me read them (it helps that I do voices for each character) and Erik is even getting to the point where he can read them himself. I decided we'd use one of our favorite of these stories as our inspiration for our ice cream themed play group. 

 We started off with a fun play dough ice cream shop, complete with chocolate play dough. I had all our regular play dough toys out, plus ice cream cones, scoops, and sprinkles (beads). The kids had a blast with this one!

 Next we made our own ice cream cones with a few simple supplies. Did you know that you can buy already cut tissue paper squares at the dollar store? Like these, except I got mine at Dollar Tree for $1.
 For our sensory play, we let the kids go crazy with some "melted ice cream", aka shaving cream. It's cheap, it smells yummy, and it's pretty easy to clean up. That's three thumbs up from me!
 Our gross motor game was this fun sharing game. I was actually surprised at how much the kids enjoyed it. It was so easy to set up and was a lot of fun.
 For our snack we had ice cream of course! I chose ice cream sandwiches due to the low cost and ease of serving/clean-up. I did seriously consider making home made ice cream, which would have been Amazing, but a lot more work.

To round out our ice cream week, I had several fun ice cream books on hand for the kids to look at. They were all great, but the first two here were the definite favorites. Click any of the books below to go take a closer look at them on Amazon.










*Diedre Mower is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This post contains affiliate links.