Monday, December 27, 2010

Secular Christmas Week in a Glance - M is 33 months, R is 13 months

We had a really great week as far as school goes.  My husband is a teacher and is home for winter break, so I was really able to get a lot done with M while he was watching R.  We also had a week off from my moms group so we had plenty of extra time on our hands!

Preschool Skills
M worked on these Alphabet Trees - she had to stamp each of the letters using dot markers based on the color key.

M matched these candycanes based on patterns and colors.

M graphed reindeer using this unit.  The spinner I made wasn't working very well, so we had a sort of complicated set up.  I had M roll a dice, then move the spinner that number of spaces.  Whatever color the spinner landed on was marked on the reindeer graph.

M sorted ornaments onto this Christmas tree sorting mat based on color and pattern.

M worked on this Christmas tree color by number (and the candy cane size sort from the same site, I just didn't get a picture).

Both kids made handprint Christmas trees.

M used some paint with water books with her cousins on Christmas (our way of keeping them busy so us adults could play Monopoly!)

I also had M and her cousins make Christmas trees using triangles of green construction paper and foam stickers.  Then we cut slits in a toilet paper roll and put the paper in to use as a tree trunk.  I don't have a picture of her working on it, but here is my adorable nephew showing his off!

M started using her first scrapbook.

We set up our Christmas Tree and the kids put their own ornaments on. (Every year they choose their own - M's was a Cinderella one and R had a little yarn lion).

M helped me make eggs one morning by helping me whisk.

Early in the week we were invited to a friends house for a playdate and she had the kids make chocolate spoons.  She basically melted chocolate chips and we dipped plastic spoons in them.  After placing them on wax paper, the kids sprinkled w/ crushed peppermint, nuts, sprinkles, and marshmallows.  It was such a fantastic idea that later in the week we decided to copy her and M made chocolate coffee spoons as gifts for family.

M practiced using her new tricycle from Santa.  She did ok, but I have a feeling she'll need alot more practice in order to have the coordination down to ride it!
What a busy week!  One of the great things about being Catholic is that we still have plenty of Christmas left!  The next two weeks we will be working on Religious Christmas activities, so if you are still celebrating Christmas like us, or are just saving ideas for next year, stay tuned!

We'll be linking up to Preschool Corner as well as Tot School.  Visit their websites to find some more great learning activities!

First Scrapbook

M has really started taking an interest in the mail lately, and is always looking for something that she could steal and keep for herself.  My husband thought it would be a great idea for M to have a "scrapbook" of her own - a little place where she could keep things that she likes or thinks are pretty, or just have some sort of special meaning to her.  And so I bought a little picture album, and that's exactly what we're doing!

First Scrapbook
Materials: Photo album with pages that peel/stick.  Items to put inside.

How to:  Any time your child finds an item they would like to keep, have them peel the pages back and place it inside their scrapbook.  Ours started off with some pretty postcards that were included in a mailing from our zoo, and a 2011 calender that was in a Disney DVD package.  I can putting items from magazines, ticket stubs, pictures, artwork, anything that your child would like to keep!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Baby & Toddler Christmas Tree Craft

This was such an easy and quick craft to make!  In fact we made it in the 10 minutes immediately before dinner to get my kid's minds off of screaming and whining for food.  And let me tell you, it might seem like a really bad idea to cover a child's entire hand with paint, but the awesomeness in this craft is that you control that hand!  Paint it up, stamp it down on the paper and immediately clean it off with your stash of baby wipes, and you're done!
Theme: Art/Music

Materials: Green paint, brush or sponge, paper, foam stickers to decorate, brown marker

How to:  Wash and dry your children's hands.  Brush or sponge green paint on one hand and stamp it on the page.  Stamp two more in the next row, and three in the next.  Wash your child's hands immediately and let the paint  dry on the paper.  Turn it around, color in a tree stump, and let your child go crazy decorating it with stickers!

Source: Chronicles of an Infant Bibliophile

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gingerbread Week in a Glance - M is 33 Months Old, R is 12 Months Old

We had a lot of fun with the gingerbread theme this week.  I had so much more in mind to do than what actually got done, but I suppose that's normal for this time of year!

We had a great time with some art projects for our Gingerbread Family Night.

We worked on several preschool skills type projects, including:

Run from the Fox Tracing Activities, Alphabet Matching, Create-A-Pattern, Size Sequencing, and Beginning Sound Cards from the Gingerbread Baby Lapbook at Homeschool Creations and the Gingerbread Counting Printable from Along the Way.

M had a great time playing with some Christmas themed apps on the iPad, especially this one where she could decorate her own Christmas tree.

R had some more fun using the tops from the squeezable baby food pouches.  This time he enjoyed putting them into all the little holes in a large egg flat.

Both kids had a great time playing in the snow from a very unusual-for-New-Mexico winter storm.

That's all for this week!  Next week we'll be working on Secular Christmas Activities.

We'll be linking up to Preschool Corner as well as Tot School.  Visit their websites to find some more great learning activities!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gingerbread Family Night

We ate Gingerbread Waffles, eggs, bacon & sausage, and fruit & yogurt salad.

This was a HUGE hit with the whole family.  Really, what could be simpler than breakfast for dinner?

We made a graham cracker Gingerbread house (adobe of course because we're in the southwest)!  I set out an egg carton with various fillings in each section.  We used marshmallows (became luminarias & snowmen), sprinkles of various sizes & colors, chocolate chips (walkway & roof tiles), pomegranate seeds (doorknobs & windows), shredded coconut(snow) and walnuts (wood pile). 

R worked his fine motor skills by trying to eat the dropped sprinkles.

Not the prettiest, but M sure had a good time!

I traced a gingerbread man using a cookie cutter onto a paper plate and then cut it out.  We used this as a stencil to paint gingerbread men on plain white paper.  I think I'll cut them out and use them as tags or cards to family members.

 I tried to draw a little Gingerbread Man storyboard that I could add the cut gingerbread man to, but M hijacked it and turned my river into a Christmas tree.  She has just recently started actually drawing representative pictures instead of just scribbles, so it's pretty neat to see what she comes up with.

We read The Gingerbread CowboyThe Gingerbread Cowboy and The Gingerbread Boy: Level 2 (Easy-to-Read, Puffin)The Gingerbread Boy.  We also watched a few "books" on YouTube.

The Gingerbread Man

Gingerbread BabyThe Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett:
There was this cute little Sesame Street clip:

And a music video:

Another great family night!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Week in a Glance - M is 33 Months Old, R is 12 Months Old (2)

We had a sort of off week.  I had tons of plans for our hibernation theme, but nothing really happened.  When the week gets away from us like this, I try to remind myself that the kids are still so young, it won't kill them to miss a week.  Here's what we DID do this week (and by this week I mean last week; boy this post is late!):

We did our Hibernation Family night & St. Nicholas Day activities.

I learned that M has been playing this game with her daddy where they see how many animals they can stack on top of each other.  Great motor skills practice!

We went to our city's Christmas parade on Saturday and the kids had a great time watching all the lit up floats going by.  M's favorite part was all the candy being thrown at her!

After R started walking a couple of weeks ago, he scared himself a bit and flat out refused to walk.  This week he started up again!  Isn't he adorable?!
That's all for now!  This week our theme will be Gingerbread Men!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Finds

This lego table is amazing.  One of the biggest obstacles I've had to getting one of these is that there is no room to put something that I'd have to put away every time adult company was over.  She has a companion train table as well that is so cool!

This cell phone hack for keeping kids from throwing tantrums in the toy store is genius!

These Christmas Montessori ideas are fantastic!  Gotta love when you can keep your child occupied, teach them valuable life skills, and get them to do your chores all at the same time!

Happy Friday!  Did you see anything worth sharing around the blogosphere this week?

Monday, December 6, 2010

St. Nicholas Day

Today is the feast day of St. Nicholas so we took the opportunity to learn about the real St. Nick and his relationship to Santa.  It was fun to be able to celebrate a "little Christmas" in the middle of Advent.
When she woke up she discovered that her shoes were outside and had been filled with candy by St. Nicholas!  This is a fun St. Nicholas Day tradition that I've heard a lot about and hope to continue next year.
Yay!  Candy!
We watched Veggie Tales: Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful GivingVeggie Tales: Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving, which I was excited to find on instant Netflix through our Wii.

We read And Now We Call Him Santa Claus by Kay Tutt, which was a great story that explained very simply that St. Nicholas was the first Santa Claus
We cut out, colored, and assembled this fun St. Nicholas playset which M had fun playing with. 

After her nap we plan on reading  Dream SnowDream Snow by Eric Carle.  We are also going to attempt to pick a couple of toys to give away in the spirit of St. Nicholas.  Wish us luck!