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Saturday, October 31, 2015

f is for fire (year 2, week 8)

Day 1
We're still sick (going on 3 weeks), so today was another day of sleeping and resting.

Day 2
We talked about the time that Daddy's clothes caught on fire and practiced stop-drop-and-roll.

Day 3
Bible study day- no school

Day 4
We watched some fire safety videos on Youtube.
Fire Safety Video for Kids- a song one that was engaging for the kids but not very deep
Fire Safety Education Video- a big corny but covered a lot of topics in a simple manner
Elmo: Fire at Hooper's Store- a Sesame Street classic
A Day in the Life of a Firefighter- a documentary style video without too much realism.  A bit boring for the youngest ones but interesting for the 4 year old on up.  Shows details about their truck, gear, and training.

firefighter 3-part cards
fireman preschool pack
"what if" discussion cards
fire safety book
fire safety rules
fire truck pack
fire truck roll and cover

fire science
pretend firefighting
fire ball toss
fire safety practice
fire fighting pretend game

- Fire Truck
- Fire House
- Fire Trucks

*Next time, I need to do fire week after National Fire Prevention Month so I can get better books*

Summer Theme- Wildfires

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Skirts for Kids (with tutorials)

I've been getting a lot of questions lately about how I make skirts for my kids.  Instead of answering everyone individually, I've decided to make a blog post.

I made this skirt for VBS at our church this past summer.  The skirt is made from quilting fabrics, the planet on the outside and a swirled blue for the inside.

This isn't the best picture to show off this repurposed dress.  I bought a skirt from Goodwill that was too large for Dragonfly and a long-sleeve t-shirt from Walmart.  I opened the elastic casing on the skirt and tightened the elastic.  Then, I sewed the casing back together and sewed the skirt onto the t-shirt.  With this outfit, she declared that she was "all ready for fall."

Dragonfly is currently fascinated with squirrels.  When I saw this fabric, I knew it would be perfect.  This is her official fall skirt.

Here's another look at the squirrel skirt.  I really like the fabric I found for the lining.  I started with a yard of each fabric.  Begin by laying the fabrics on the table, right sides together.  Carefully fold them in half (hot dog way) and then in half again (hamburger way).  The end result should be a square.  Because of math, you can make a circle out of a square.


Cut your fabric according to the diagram.  Carefully, unfold your fabric and pin around the edges.  Sew the outer edge first, then turn it right side out.  Next, sew a top stitch to flatten the hem.  I prefer fold-over-elastic for the waistband.  Sandwich the elastic over the edge of the fabric and sew with a long zigzag.  And, it's done.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

DIY- mini ornaments

One of my sisters is in college, so I thought it would be fun to put together a miniature Christmas tree set for her fall birthday.  I bought the tree and mini lights off the internet and made the rest.

DIY Mini Ornaments from In Our Pond

Snowman- I started with 6 small wood disks and painted them.  I drew the face and buttons on them and modge podged all the disks.  Then, I started gluing the disks in a line, sandwiching a penny between the disks for weight.  A piece of ribbon as a scarf completes the snowman.

Gingerbread House- the pattern is from Imagine Our Life

Pumpkin- The birthday girl loves all things pumpkin and usually has pumpkin pie and pumpkin ice cream for her birthday.  My ornament is a mini version of the pattern found on the American Felt and Craft blog.

Globe- My husband helped me break this globe off of a Safari Toob lid.  I added a button on each end to create a hanger.

Coffee- I introduced the birthday girl to lattes when she was in kindergarten so this ornament is especially meaningful to us.  I was inspired by the tutorial on Doll Diaries but I chose to use felt as my "drink" instead of paint, securing the ornament hanger in the middle of the roll.  Then, I used hot glue to build up a mound for the "whipped cream" to sit on.  Next, I added layer after layer of puff paint, which took several days because each layer needed to dry completely before I added the next one.

DIY Mini Ornaments from In Our Pond

Coffee/Cocoa- made from the pattern at Imagine Our Life

Mitten- also from Imagine Our Life

Java- this is a large button I found

Gingerbread Man- pattern found at Imagine Our Life

Pumpkin Pi- The birthday girl is an education major so I wanted to include at least one school-themed ornament.  The hardest part was re-sizing the pi sign.  I started with a bottle cap and hot glued layers of felt in it.  The pi symbol is modge podged onto the felt with another layer of glue over the top to hold it down.  I'm sure there was a better way to attach the pi sign, but the modge podge worked fine and dried clear.

Book- (not pictured)  A cute charm I found at Hobby Lobby with pages that open.

This project has excited me to do more felt work (look for posts in the future) and has made me want to do more miniature ornaments.  Here are some future ideas for the birthday girl:
           - petri dish (education major)
           - goat (favorite animal)
           - cupcake (birthday)
           - camping jug (camping)
           - apple (for the teacher)
           - Mexican flag (Spanish major)
           - artist canvas (painter)
           - cookie pan (baker)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

r is for rain (year 2, week 7)

Day 1
Today was another sleepy day with sick kids and lots of naps.  I made a chicken soup for dinner that was the most colorful soup I'd ever made.  It had yellow carrots, green broccoli, orange carrots, green peas, purple carrots, and yellow corn.  We talked about all the colors as we ate.

Day 2
One of our focuses this week was the water cycle.  We read books and talked about it.  We also did the "rain in a jar" experiment.  The one on the left is the first one we made.  It has boiled water on the bottom, shaving cream on top of the water, liquid food coloring on the shaving cream, a seal of plastic wrap, then a bag of ice (frozen apples) on top.  I think the first jar looked more realistic but the shaving cream got in the way of the rain process.  It worked but it was way too slow for preschoolers.

The jar on the right is our second attempt at the rain cycle.  This time, I kept it simple.  Boiling water topped by plastic wrap, which I had smeared with paint.  Just like the other one, I topped the jar with ice to speed up the condensation process.  This jar worked much faster, and it was easier for the kids to see the rain falling in the jar, bringing droplets and chunks of paint with it.  In the future, it would be fun to put yellow water in the bottom and blue or red paint on the top, just to reinforce the color mixing again.

Day 3
Bible study day- no school.

Day 4
We took a 2 hour road trip to Hobby Lobby today to stock up on craft supplies for Christmas.

Day 5
We mixed paint in bags today.  Each of the kids got a different color combination and had lots of fun squishing it around.  Tadpole made green, Skimmer made orange, and Dragonfly made purple.

Dragonfly colored a picture of the water cycle for her science notebook.  Before we glued it in her book, she insisted on cutting it out.  It's been neat to see her "preschool" skills grow as we've progressed throughout the year.  Sometimes when she's playing, I'll catch her chanting, "Dots, dots, not a lot."

Dragonfly enjoyed her paint bag so much that I made her another squish bag after her nap.  She loved feeling it, but she also practiced writing a few letters.  The "squish bag" is made from cheap (dollar store) hair gel and pink food coloring.

- color mixing chart
- water cycle puzzle
- rainbow spelling words
- rain writing words
- rainbow puzzle
- color wheel activity

- rain in a jar
- rainbow xylophone
- rain guage
- making rainbows
- rain sensory bin
- color mixing video
- print weather forecast for the week
- make a rainbow with light refraction
- paint mixing


The Napping House
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
A Little Raindrop
Singing in the Rain
Down Comes the Rain
The Color Factory
Water is Water
Mouse Paint
How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow

Pin It!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

h is for hibernate (year 2, week 6)

We've had a bear visiting our apple tree/yard for the last few nights, so the kids have been very interested in bears.  This week, I changed my lesson plans to include a theme about bears, hibernating, and foraging.

picture from wikia commons

Day 1
The weather has turned cold and cloudy, so it was a great day for some hibernation.  The kids built themselves a bear cave by putting their blankets over the kids' table.  It worked pretty well, and they learned a few things about how to build a fort that holds together.  All the books and talk about hibernating (as well as the dark skies) must have put them in the mood for a long winter's nap.  Tadpole slept four hours and Skimmer and Dragonfly napped for three hours.  I got to do a lot of crafting.

Day 2
I taught the kids a song today called "Five Little Trout" It has the same tune as "Five Little Monkeys Swinging in a Tree."  The words are "Five little trout, swimming in a stream.  Telling Mr Bear, 'You can't catch me.'  Along came Mr Bear as quiet as can be... And snatched that trout right out of the stream."  I made it up but the kids liked it.

We played a "chasing" game called "Mommy and her cubs."  I'd stomp around the room saying, "I'm a mommy bear looking for my cub."  When I caught one of my kids, I'd hug them tight.  I taught them that a mommy bear won't let anything come between her and her baby.  I reminded them that I wouldn't let anything come between us either.  I hope they learned that their mother's love is strong and that they should stay away from a bear mommy with her cubs.

Before naps, the kids had goldfish crackers for a snack while I read bear books to them.  I really enjoyed "Winter Lullaby," which goes through different animals and talks about whether they find a place to sleep (hibernate) or move to someplace warm (migrate).

Day 3
We had Bible study in the morning and a playdate in the afternoon.  It was a really big day!

Day 4
I ordered some Schliech bears from Amazon, so the kids have been playing with those all day.  They've been in the dirt, in the bathtub, and in the leaves.

Day 5
Today was another big hibernating day.  They're still carrying around the bear toys and playing with them.  The only "bear" preschool thing we did today was eat a "bear snack" of goldfish crackers and dried berries.

Bear Wants More
Bear Says Thanks
Northwest Animal Babies
Winter Lullaby
The Bear in the Book
Can You Growl like a Bear
Bears: Polar Bears, Black Bears, and Grizzly Bears
Bear Snores On

- bear printables
- hibernation printables
- Bear Snores On printables
- bear outline for paper poking/painting
- life-size bear footprints

- fishing like a bear
- bear prints
- why do bears hibernate? video
- bear sensory bin
- gummy bear science

Saturday, October 10, 2015

i is for insect (year 2, week 5)

So, I was really looking forward to this week's theme, but my children have been completely uninterested.  We didn't do a lot of schooling.

Day 1
I hurt my back last week and was in a lot of pain.  The kids watched a lot of movies.  I think they may have watched Toy Story 2, twice.  I did try to do a bit of life cycle work with the kids, but I was in too much pain.

Day 2
I went to the doctor while the kids stayed with a babysitter.  Afterwards, they had naps and I did crafts in front of a movie.  They also played outside a lot in the sunshine.

Day 3
Socialization day for the kids.  Home again for naps and a bit of rambunctious play for the rest of the day.

Day 4
We spent some time in our yard today looking at the types of mosses that grow on our trees.

an example of the type of moss we found in our woods (source)

Day 5
We finally got to some insect-themed work today!

Dragonfly colored a ladybug and the parts of the life cycle.  After she finished, we put it in her science notebook.

Skimmer's science notebook activity was a simple coloring page.

All three kids took turns with this ladybug life cycle sensory bin.  The figurines are Insect Lore and the substrate is sunflower seeds.

The kids also took turns with this "bug" sensory bin.  The bugs came from the craft store many years ago (but are not Safari brand).

Skimmer concentrated hard on this work- poking the sunflower seeds into the hole.  Even though he was able to do the activity, he got frustrated easily with the difficulty of it.

Dragonfly played with this sensory bin for a long time (almost an hour).  She used the bugs for pretend play, which is very rare for her.  She's usually very logical about her play and will interrupt herself to state the reality of the situation.  This time, I sat next to her and read a novel to myself for most of her play time.  Every once in a while, I would interrupt her and comment, "I like hearing your story" or "It's ok to pretend."  It seems like that was the support she needed to break into pretend play.

- Ants, Ants, Ants: an insect chant
- Ants
- The Ant and the Grasshopper
- Bugs A to Z

- themed wall decorations
- counting bugs (roll and fill)
- sorting bugs
- insect toob matching cards
- ladybug life cycle spinner
- ladybug life cycle cards
- ladybug count and clip
- insect writing worksheets

More Ideas:
- parts of a ladybug
- bug fossils
- ladybug life cycle figurines
- ant life cycle figurines

Saturday, October 3, 2015

s is for seeds (year 2, week 4)

Day 1
Today we explored pumpkins.  We talked about their characteristics (orange, hard, smooth), then opened them to see what was inside.  The kids enjoyed their sensory time, digging the seeds out of the pulp and washing them.  After nap time, we baked the seeds for a snack.  We kept a few seeds raw and planted them in a mason jar to watch them grow.  We also baked the meat of the pumpkin, which we plan to use for muffins this week.  We're still having beautiful fall weather so the kids have also spent a lot of time outside.

Day 2

Our neighbor gave us two sunflower heads to extract the seeds from.  The kids really enjoyed the process.  We're hoping to plant a few next spring.

Day 3
We had our weekly socialization time in the morning and then Dragonfly and I worked on her science notebook.  She practiced following directions by coloring the parts of the pumpkin life cycle the correct colors.  The file for the pumpkin life cycle can be found here.

Day 4
Daddy was home today for a wisdom teeth extraction.  The kids played outside a lot and I line dried clothes.

Day 5
We watched this neat Youtube video of a sunflower growing through its life cycle.  Daddy was home, and it was like a holiday for the kids.  We also saw the first shoots of our pumpkin seeds today.

Printables: seeds coloring page
                  pumpkin life cycle
                  seed matching activity
                  seed house
                  parts of a seed
                  garden preschool pack
                  seed to plant matching

Ideas: sunflower sensory bin
          counting pumpkin seeds
          changing pumpkin experiment
          jack-o-lantern felt game
          bean spelling
          bean sorting (also graphing)
          seed sensory bin
          "planting" seeds activity
          sunflower seed harvesting
          seeded play dough
          how pumpkins grow video

Books: "Pumpkin Day"
            "How Seeds Grow"
            "How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin"
            "Pumpkin Town"
            "Sunflower House"
            "Five Little Pumpkins"