Monday, May 7, 2012

Bugs- Ladybug Day

We declared today Ladybug day at our house.  I brought E's ladybug wings and doll to the living room, and took out all of our fun ladybug books from our bug theme book basket. I also added our nonfiction Ladybugs book by Martha E.H. Rustad.  We read the factual book about ladybugs, as well as The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle before doing our first activity...hatching our ladybugs from the ice eggs.
I took some of the wooden embellishment ladybugs I had sitting around, filled up ice cube trays half way, then let them freeze before adding water to fill them up the entire way to freeze again.  I wanted at least some of the ladybugs to be well encased into the "eggs."
I popped the ladybug ice out into a big bowl and equipped E with a watering can of warm water to help her hatch the ladybugs to get all 10 out.
To get the ladybugs out, we melted, threw, stepped on, picked at and simply waited for the ladybugs to free them from the ice.
This activity also involved a whole lot of counting.  E had a hard time remembering just how many ladybugs she had freed.  Here you can see her using her fingers to count...a great skill she is finally getting the hang of doing, even when mommy isn't helping.
After about an hour outside playing with subsequent bowls of ice cubes and refills of watering cans, we finally came inside to read Ten Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth Summary, which is one of E's favorite books of all time. We started with a pile of 10 ladybugs...
...and as we worked our way through the story, E moved the "lost" ladybugs into another pile at the top of the book.
Finally, E match up each of her ladybugs with the ladybugs on the final pages of the book.  We plan to have another "theme" bug day soon!

Bugs- Worksheet Notebook

Ever since I have been getting onto Pinterest, I have been interested in using a set of worksheets with E from  1+1+1=1.  Here you can find the link to a list of their preschool packs, including the Pretty Bugs packet that I printed out, cut and laminated parts of, and placed in page protectors.
I know some people are very anti worksheets, but the truth is, once kids are in a formalized school setting, they are expected to show skills on paper.  I think the pages serve a great purpose as filler activities to supplement the activities we are doing.  
This particular activity involves graphing.  E rolls the die (or spins a spinner) and charts which bug the die lands on.  It was great for her object correspondence, as well as getting used to writing in a particular box or area of the graph.  
We have played or E has completed about half of the worksheets from the packet, and has had a blast doing them.  It is great seeing her work through some of the sheets on her own, and the games allow us to work on various skills together, too.  My labels for this post will reference the packet as a whole.  A big thanks to the creators of the worksheets!

Bugs- Books and Journal

We started this activity by reading Ugh! A Bug! by Ned Crowley and Bug Parts by Charlotte Guillain.  Both  nonfiction books have a lot of close up photos of real bugs and describe the bug and insect parts.   
Before reading the books, I had created a journal entry fill-in-the-blank page to fill in with numbers. I had planned on using a sticker page to have E pick out the correct number to fill in the blanks, but then we found these number stamps which she chose to use instead.  She actually remembered a lot of the facts from the books to fill in on her own.
Here is the final entry.  Unfortunately I did not leave enough room for the stamp numbers, but it still worked out okay!  We definitely need to continue with the journaling....such a great activity.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bugs- Collecting

 I love giving E little gifts by putting them on her table after nap time.  This bug collection set, another dollar store find, has been a big hit.  It came with the collection container with a built-in magnifying glass, tongs, and  a small net.  We first created a bug habitat by finding a couple of plants, including one with flowers to put down into the collection container.  We then went to an area where we have some bricks that can be flipped over, revealing lots of interesting bugs.
 We collected a millipede, roly-poly bugs, a June bug, and a couple of bugs I don't know the name of.  Collecting the bugs was dependent a lot on me...the tongs can be tricky to use and not squish the bugs.  I read to try using a paint brush to pick up the bugs, so we will do that next time.
This is E studying the bugs from the bottom.  The clear container allows a great look at the bugs from all angles, allowing us to talk about all the bug parts, and make connections between what we read and what we see!

Bugs- Sensory Bin

 To get excited about studying bugs, I created a new sensory bin representing a word we have been spending a lot of time talking about-- habitat.  The fillers in this bin include two one foot squares of fake grass (I found it on clearance at Hobby Lobby with the Easter items), pebbles, and green poly fill.
 I included two plastic posts which I filled with a coffee bean/split pea/colored spaghetti mix left over from another sensory bin.  I then cut apart a silk flower bush and a silk leaf bush and "planted" them into the pots. Utensils include tongs, magnifying glasses, and a cardboard tube.  Finally, I added a couple of bags of bugs from the dollar store, along with some self-stick ladybugs and spider confetti.  
 As soon as we opened the bin, E wanted her bug viewing container to collect the bugs from the bin. Her favorite was finding the little lady bugs, which I had placed "crawling" in different spots throughout the bin.
 Here she is counting some of the bugs before placing them into her viewing container.
And here she is making the ladybugs crawl on her feet!  Looks like she needed a pedicure!

I just can't emphasize how great these bins are.  They are fun to put together, a great way to learn, and very entertaining!

Birthday Week- Toy Story Playdate

E was blessed with almost a month of birthday celebrations with visitors, cakes, Skype and Facetime calls, packages, and cards.  To celebrate E's birthday on the actual day, we decided to have a birthday play date with a Toy Story theme. The night before her actual birthday after she went to bed, I decorated most of the house and set out her presents from Mom and Dad for when she woke up.  On her birthday, we finished the decorations with balloons that E helped me pick out and order.

 I used a lot of the Toy Story items that E already had to decorate.  The 3s I cut out on the Cricut to use as confetti and on the hats.  Every year for her birthday I put out a book with the birthday theme for the guests to sign as a keepsake for E.  Unfortunately, guests forgot to sign in, so instead I will print all the guests in the book.  On the coffee table (towards the top of the picture) are the foam rocket cut outs, along with foam star stickers for the kids to decorate.  On the back, I hot glued straws, then used a smaller tubing to put inside.  The idea is they were supposed to be able to blow the tube and shoot the rocket into the air.  They didn't work the best, but I think the kids still had fun making them.
One of E's requests for her party was that her friends wear hats and sing happy birthday to her.  I found a template online to cut the hats out of scrapbook paper.  I used coordinating borders, number 3s, and then had E help me put on the stickers before adding the elastic.  The kids wore them around throughout the party!
 This is the banner I made using the Cricut and various scrapbook papers, along with some Toy Story cutouts from an old sticker book.  
 I loved using papers that coordinated with E's three favorite characters (cow print, red, and yellow for Jessie; brown, denim, and yellow and red checked for Woody; and purple and green for Buzz).
 My favorite part of the decor was the individual Mr. Potato Head cakes for each child.  I baked sheet cakes, used an Easter egg cookie cutter to get the shapes, then iced each one in brown.  
 Each child got a bag of candy to decorate their own Mr. Potato Head.  Candy included: orange wedge gumdrops (ears), regular gumdrops (nose), Wilton candy eyes, black licorice pieces (eyebrows/mustache), string red licorice (mouth/hair), and gummy Lifesavers (eyes/glasses/mouth).  The kids did a great job!
I also pre-scooped ice cream into cupcake wrappers and put sprinkles on top for easy distribution during the party.  Here is one of the kids enjoying his or her finished creation!  

Before leaving the party, each friend got a Toy Story favor bag filled with plastic army men, Toy Story stickers, and "To Infinity and Beyond" playdough, which I made, colored black, added glitter, cut into stars using cookie cutters, and placed into a Ziplock baggie.  It was a fun, low-key afternoon.