Monday, April 9, 2012

Birthday Week- Sensory Bin

This week is birthday week at our house, with two members of our household celebrating birthdays. Birthday week includes a birthday play date with some of E's friends, our core family celbrations and gift giving, and family coming in from out of town. All of that adds up to me needing a good sensory bin to distract E while I am baking cakes, cooking, cleaning, and decorating the house. This bin is filled with white beans, pink rice, lots of balloons, marbles, and some of those noise makers as fillers. Utensils include tongs, cupcake wrappers, a new front loader truck, a magnifying glass, and a couple of different sizes of cardboard tubes. Other items include birthday candles, and the blue birthday garland. With the balloons and noisemakers, I will have to really reiterate the sensory bin rule that we don't put anything in our mouths. I can't wait for her to dig in...she simply loves these things!

Filler Activity- April Fools' Day

For April Fools' Day, I found this adorable book at a discount store called Garden Ridge. If you have a store by you, it is worth a look through their books. Books there are typically less than $5, usually closer to $3. I would much rather spend a few dollars on a book than close to the same amount on a card!

Anyway, this book called Lettuce In by Tina Gallo. Each page is a knock-knock joke with a door flap. Knock-knock jokes are great exposure to the concept of puns and multiple meanings. Some of the jokes are too difficult for E to fully understand, but she definitely finds humor in the ones that are based on sounds (such as "Boo who?). We have read this book at least 10 times since the first reading. She now understands the sequence of a knock-knock joke, and has memorized most of the book!

Springtime- Four Season Picture

We hosted a preschool play date where we also discussed the four seasons. I was the leader, and to go along with the book and cling activity, I wanted to do an art project with the kids to work on their fine motor skills and to have the kids give a reason they like a certain season. These are the examples I made so the kids could see what theirs could look like. I had the moms trace and cut out the arm and hand of each child, then the children used glue sticks to put it onto a blank backdrop. Each child then chose the season he or she wanted to make his or her tree. Beforehand, I cut strips of paper-- green for summer leaves and red and orange for fall leaves were for cutting, and the white for winter and pink and green for spring buds were for punching.

After the kids punched and cut, they put glue onto the fingers to attach the leaves, snowflakes, or buds.

Finally, the kids dictated to their moms what their favorite season is and why. I think if E and I did this activity on our own, it would have been fun to do each of the seasons instead of just one, plus it would have given her the opportunity to have practiced the fine motor skills of both cutting and punching.

Springtime- Feed the Birds

Being outside and enjoying nature is something we love, especially in the spring. We haven't had a bird feeder hanging up in a while, so I finally picked up one to put on a shepherd's hook near our patio in an area where we can see the birds from the inside of the house. E stopped riding her bike (hence the helmet) and had to go in and get her sunglasses because it was a sunny morning before we could get to business on filling the feeder, working those motor skills.

E helped me to put in the birdseed (we used black sunflower seeds). Believe it or not, that mess was because of me, not because of her. She did a great job of unclogging the funnel to keep the seeds going in. While we were filling the feeder, we were talking about what birds eat and why it is important for them to have good nutrition in the spring because the mommy birds have to get strong to have baby birds.

Here is Ms. Fashion plate with her newly hung feeder. She has since spent a lot of time watching for birds on the feeder. We both enjoy talking about the colors of the birds that land on the feeder and watching the birds come in and out. This is a fun and easy activity to enjoy nature!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Springtime (??)- Letter Recognition and Sounds

We have been staying so busy with visitors, MOMS Club activities, soccer, and illness, somehow we have lost Springtime and landed ourselves right into summer! We upgraded our very tiny blow up baby pool into this bigger 8-foot blowup pool to beat the heat and enjoy even more time outdoors. After two days of just fun in the pool, today we added a set of foam letters to work on letter recognition. At first, E was just grabbing any letter, identifying it, and bringing it to me to put into the collection bucket. She was doing pretty well, especially considering that some of the letters were upside down, facing the wrong direction, etc. I would ask her to manipulate them into the right position before removing them from the pool.

The second round we mixed things up a little. This round I would ask E to go find the letters, one by one, in the order of the alphabet. When she brought them to me, we would talk about things that start with that letter, focusing on the sound of the first letter. Sometimes E couldn't locate the letters (mostly because with all the letters, toys, and even her big ole mama in the pool, it was difficult to find each little letter). So, this started a couple of other skill games. The first one she learned the basic of in a game of hide and seek with her grandparents during their visit. That was the hot or cold game. As she would "swim" around the pool, I would tell her if she was hot and close to the letter or cold and far from the letter. Another way I would narrow it down for her was to tell her what color the letter is. I think there are six total colors, so that was a great way for her to have less to focus on.

Now, I guess I need to decide on our next unit since the springtime seems to have come and gone here in OK!