Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Festive Christmas Playdoughs

We LOVE playdough! It's such a great way to create, build hand muscles, and just have fun! This year we tried out two festive playdough recipes (really just adding special ingredients to our usual recipe) that made playing with play dough even more fun! We used them with our little play group, as well as giving them as gifts to some of Erik's friends at church. 
The first dough we made was Ginger Bread dough, and let me tell you this smells AMAZING! 

The other fun festive playdough we made was Candy Cane Playdough. It smelled nice (though I didn't have enough peppermint oil to really make it smell great), and was fun for the kiddos in our play group to play with. I gave them beads and pipe cleaners so they could decorate their creations and it kept them busy for nearly an hour. I didn't take any pictures, so you'll just have to go look at the ones on the original blog post and see what theirs looked like.
Play dough is a great sensory medium, especially when scented like these recipes. It does amazing things for fine motor strength, and lets a child explore and be creative.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas Name Tree

 Here's the first of our Christmas activities for this year. I've been wanting to help Erik learn to recognize his name in print, and thought this would be a really fun way to make that happen.
I cut out the shapes for the tree out of foam sheets and wrote one letter on each piece...
...then we hung up a small piece of contact paper (sticky side out) on our window. Erik could build his name tree over and over as many times as he liked.
I loved that this worked on his fine motor skills while also helping him learn to spell his name!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Themed Preschool Activities

Hey there everyone!
Here's the outline for our Christmas themed activities. Hope there's something here you and your little ones will enjoy!

Language Arts:
      *Read LOTS of Christmas books
      *Christmas Tree Name Activity

Creative Arts:
      *Festive Playdoughs
      *Pine Branch Painting

      *Jingle Bell Magnet Exploration and Discovery Bottle

Physical Development:
      *Candy Cane Can Stilts
      *Ginger Bread Man Tracing Activity

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 them 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.

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