Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Easter Play

Today's class was full of Easter fun!

Our books are Minerva Louise and the Colorful Eggs! by Janet Morgan Stoeke and Where Are Baby's Easter Eggs? by Karen Katz. Both have colorful illustrations, and fun stories which are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers.

Our craft was a simple Easter egg. I had some egg shaped recycle material from a recent trip to Arts and Scraps in Detroit. They are sticky on one side, perfect for decorating. Today we used play sand for decorating.

Supplies - Egg shape with adhesive on one side; contact paper is a good choice. Multiple colors of play sand.

The kids loved the sand since it had a sparkle to it. They had fun dumping a lot of sand on the eggs; you will want to do this craft on a tray.

Last night I got busy in my kitchen and made three batches of kool aid play dough; one blue, one red and one light pink. I had to let go of my hang up with mixing colors, because today my friends wanted to mix! I supplied several cookie cutters in an Easter theme. We had bunnies, eggs, flowers, and chicks.

There are a lot of great bunny songs floating around the internet. I made sure I had lots of interactive songs this week to keep my "roamers" engaged. We did the Bunny Pokey (Hokey Pokey), we hopped like bunnies and wiggled our noses and toes to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle.

Here are some other Easter activities from Blogs I enjoy.

An Easter Egg printable game over at The Golden Gleam.

Egg crack painting from Make, Do & Friend

Not to mention the Virtual Book Club and Blog Hop with Toddler Approved.

There are many more great ideas out there for Easter. Check out the Kid Blogger Network board on Pinterest.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Has Sprung!

I am so excited it is officially spring. Here in the midwest we have had crazy warm weather and we are loving it. The flowers are blooming, the grass is green and the temperature is May/June like. All of this got my heart all a flutter for our spring art activities. Look at the calendar, it is officially spring!

Our book is Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert. I know I posted that is what we did last week; we did not. It is a great book full of gorgeous art work and colors. It is simple enough for toddlers, and fun for preschoolers.

Our craft is plastic bottle flowers. You have to find the perfect plastic bottle; one with deep groves in the bottom. I found some Faygo pop ones that worked perfectly. You dip the end of the pop bottle into the paint and stamp it on a piece of construction paper. I supplied several paint choices to go along with the rainbow in the book.

Note the deep grooves.

I buried plastic bugs in the "grass" for my friends to find. 

I also pulled out the green play sand for our sensory table and the fake green grass full of bugs to find. 

I am sharing some other terrific art ideas I have found with some of my blogger friends. These bloggers rock and I am happy to share their work!

My friends over at Hands On As We Grow added some stems to theirs.

No bottles? Check out these made with corks at Pink and Green Mama.

A ton of great spring ideas at Mama Smiles.

Inner Child Fun has 5 Spring Crafts that make you Smile.

Teach Preschool (a favorite of mine for inspiration for my preschoolers) has Endless Fun with Flowers.

Planting seeds over at Mommy and Me Book Club.

Red Ted's Art Blog has a flower collage.

I love this Easter Bonnet with flowers at Sun Hats and Wellie Boots.

Toddler Approved has their 5 Simple Spring crafts.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

St Patrick's Day and Rainbows

Most of my friends are too small to understand St. Patrick's day, therefore I make it more about rainbows and the pot of gold at the end. As a result I tend to mix both together, as you will see from today's book and art activity.

The book we read is a sweet little book called Rain Brings Frogs. It is about a little boy who tends to see the bright side of everything and rain is fun because it brings frogs. The end of this story has a rainbow and this is why I chose it (besides the great message behind it). I also had Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert. No explanation necessary. She is one of my favorite authors.

Our art activity was art tissue (bleeding tissue) umbrellas. I gave my friends a bunch of rainbow colored tissue paper that was already cut into squares. They simply have to paint it on with water and let dry. I had cut an umbrella out of a paper plate.

Applying the tissue with water and a paint brush.

The end result after letting the paper dry and fall off.

To incorporate St. Patrick's Day, I had my friends look for green coins the  Leprechauns had left in our sensory bins.  I had my purple play sand out and pasta that I had dyed with food coloring the day before. 

My friends loved the different textures of the sand and the pasta. They like the pasta because it was noisy. After they found all the coins I had them hide them again for the Leprechauns.

I finished the class off with a fingerplay/song; Five Little Leprechauns. I printed it off and made it into a felt board story.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

This week we are doing another fun book; Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Williems. It is a fun book, that involves audience participation. I will say that it is probably better for 4-7 year olds, but the pictures and your story telling will help younger ones enjoy it. I also had the Wheels On The Bus by Raffi to follow up with.

Craft: Shape Bus. I found a template for a bus and cut it out by hand. I really need to find someone with a die cutter, it was time consuming cutting out enough for 20 kids.  I also cut out squares for windows, circles for tires, and a rectangle for the door. My older friends will glue these on and will get a chance to cut out their own shapes to practice those cutting skills. My younger friends will paint the bus with finger paints.

Sometimes it is the simple activities that elicit the best response. My friends spent a good 10 minutes making their bus. Some even did both sides. Some colored them with markers as well. There is no wrong bus. I did not tell them where to put the wheels, windows or doors. I want them to practice cutting, gluing, and shape recognition.

To finish off our theme was sang The Wheels On The Bus along with Raffi. I also got out our plastic buses and the carpet with a road on it for the kids to play with. It was 45 minutes of pure, simple fun.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dinosaur Play Dough

This afternoon I decided to direct my  two year old son to some toys, in particular dinosaurs and play dough. These are two of his favorite things (insert Julie Andrews singing).

We have a hand me down play dough set that is a volcano. I thought that would be perfect since my youngest is learning from my oldest that the dinosaurs may have died due to climate changes; volcano eruptions, and more.

I got out several small and large dinosaurs for him to play with. He decided that the dinosaur needed eggs to guard. Oddly enough the volcano set had a spot to make eggs. Perfect.

He also started placing the play dough on one of the small dinosaurs to make it be a baby in an egg. He also made dinosaur tracks in the play dough. I did not direct him in his play, he did this all on his own.

I was excited that this last minute decision turned into such fun play. I would like to say after we did this activity we read a book on dinosaurs, but alas we played with trains instead. I'll follow up today's play with one of the many dinosaur books we have; my oldest wants to be a fossil hunter when he grows up. That or a rock star, or a board game designer, or a daddy. I'll take any of them.

By the way, the youngest wants to play the "butair" (guitar) when he grows up.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Fine Motor Activity

Today my in-laws came over with gifts for our boys; banks. These are not any old banks, but hand made by grandpa in the shape of a pig and an elephant. My boys were super excited to say the least. The best part was grandpa and grandma came with a tin full of pennies! $12 to be exact. That is a lot of pennies.

My brain instantly went, wow what a great fine motor skill activity. The simple act of placing the pennies into the slot is great for hand eye coordination and fine motor skills.

As you can see from the picture, the banks are rather large and have a plexiglass side. Really any old piggy bank will do.

No piggy bank, no problem. Take an old 32 ounce yogurt container and cut a hole in the top. Have the children place coins or saved up bottle caps into the slot. *Please supervise your child as small items are a choking hazard.

This kept my boys busy for about 20 minutes. They had so much fun trying to put all the pennies in and looking at them through the plexiglass.

Do your children have piggy banks?