Archive for Art

Camping Theme, Part 2

Part 2 of our camping theme centered around hiking and fishing. I have to say this was one of our most enjoyable weeks of preschool!

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Here is our book list.  The book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is an old favorite of ours, so it was a perfect candidate for us to center activities around. First, we made binoculars to take along on our bear hunt. I used two used toilet paper rolls and had Curly decorate them.

I provided markers and a variety of stickers.

I provided markers and a variety of stickers.

Then we glued them together. It may have been easier to staple them together, but I couldn’t find the stapler. In any case, white school glue worked just fine. Then I used a hole punch to punch holes large enough for yarn to fit through, and we had a pair of binoculars.

Next we made a ‘bear hunt snack’. I showed Curly how to make trail mix. We used cashews, raisins, and chocolate chips. We were now ready for our bear hunt!

Curly is very excited about the trail mix in this picture. Her finished binoculars are around her neck.

Curly is very excited about the trail mix in this picture. Her finished binoculars are around her neck. Sorry about the poor picture quality…someday I will get a real camera instead of always using my phone.

We headed out into the yard and pretty much just ran around pretending to go through tall grass, wade through a river, get through mucky mud, etc, all while quoting the book. We finally made it to the ‘bear cave’ , which was simply her fort made of sticks we made a couple weeks ago. We then ran like mad back through our make-believe obstacle course of mud and rivers, to finally make it back to our house and jump under blankets on the couch. By this time she was giggling like mad, and I have to admit I quite enjoyed myself. Now Curly asks to go on a bear hunt almost every day.

We did a fish craft that I’ve seen suggested many times. You have your child paint bubble wrap and stamp paper to create the effect of fish scales. It worked pretty well!

I taped the bubble wrap around her hand to make it easier to work with.

I taped the bubble wrap around her hand to make it easier to work with.

She really enjoyed the stamping part! I had already traced a fish shape onto the paper to make it easy to cut out.

She really enjoyed the stamping part! I had already traced fish shapes onto the paper to make it easy to cut out.

I did most of the cutting out of the fish, although she did do a little herself. Then she glued the fish onto some blue construction paper.

Fish!

Fish!

For a fish snack I made blue jello (for the first time EVER; we never have jello) with gummy worms in it. Lo and behold, my child thinks jello is disgusting. I had to feed it all the husband, who gleefully devoured it. At least it didn’t go to waste!

We did another fish snack that was much more of a hit. All you do is have your child dip pretzel sticks in peanut butter, and then use the sticky pretzel stick to pick up fish crackers. Fishing with crackers! I really wanted to take her on a real fishing trip, but we didn’t have any time to even plan it. We settled on eating fish snacks and reading books about fishing instead.

I grew up in a place where we went fishing almost every day near our house, all summer long, so I have really nostalgic feelings about fishing. I hope she can experience some of the same childhood that I did!

For a math activity I used a bunch of plastic cups we had on hand and wrote numbers on them. Then I had her count out marbles into each cup. I will be saving the cups for many other math activities.

This time of year the prairie is just bright with wildflowers, so I took Curly out to cut some with me to put on the kitchen table. We found mostly daisies and wild sunflowers.

We had a great week!

Camping Theme, Part 1

We’ve been doing camping activities for a couple of weeks. We were supposed to go to Glacier National Park on a camping trip this year, but our plans didn’t work out. So, we’ve been having fun at home instead.

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We did a craft involving straw painting, where you blow paint across the paper using a straw. I provided yellow, orange, and red paint and showed Curly how to drop it onto the paper using the straw. Then I showed her how to use the straw. I had mixed the paint to be pretty runny so it wasn’t too hard for her to blow around. Next, I had her paint some popsicle sticks brown and set those aside to dry.

Then it was time to add stars - we used glitter glue in squeeze bottles. I had silver, blue, and gold.

Then it was time to add stars – we used glitter glue in squeeze bottles. I had silver, blue, and gold.

Once she was done adding the stars, I helped her glue the popsicle sticks underneath the ‘flames’ and ta-da! A campfire craft.

Curly was very proud of her campfire.

Curly was very proud of her starry-night campfire.

We did an unrelated art project too. Curly wanted to glue something, so we did an impromptu mosaic.

here she is putting glue down and placing random paper pieces she's cut up

Here she is putting glue down and placing random paper pieces she’s cut up.

The finished mosaic. She chose what color background she wanted to use and she chose all the paper scraps.

The finished mosaic. She chose what color background she wanted to use and she chose all the paper scraps.

 

We talked a lot about fire safety this week. We learned the Stop, Drop, and Roll, which we practiced. I would bring it up randomly throughout the week. Unsurprisingly, Curly found it super fun to suddenly drop to the floor and roll around. What kid wouldn’t?

You can’t have camping week without singing campfire songs. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star is the favorite around here.

We had to have some pretend play. My plan was to have a fire in the backyard, but it’s been so warm here that no one wanted to. Can’t say I blame them! So we just built a fort and made a pile of sticks that was the ‘fire’.

For science we did the next experiment in our science set. We soaked pennies in different liquids to see which liquid would clean pennies better. Lemon juice won out. We talked about how lemon juice has acid in it, and how acids will eat away at things, like grime on pennies.

Curly always enjoys using the tweezers and beakers.

Curly always enjoys using the tweezers and beakers.

 

We also spent some time vising family in Minnesota , and we went out to pick blueberries, something that Curly has been begging to do ever since we read Blueberries for Sal. She acted a lot like Sal – she plopped down in a patch and ate all she could. The ones that ended up in her pail didn’t stay there long!

Many people told us there probably wouldn't be many berries left, but in half and hour we picked quite a bit! The ground was covered with blueberry plants. It was a beautiful day for it too!

Many people told us there probably wouldn’t be many berries left, but in half an hour we picked quite a bit! The ground was covered with blueberry plants. It was a beautiful day for it too!

 

For fine motor skills we continued with the Kumon workbooks.

For literacy skills we continued working on the letters in her name, mostly tracing.

For math we continued on in her logic workbook, Beginning Thinking Skills. She is surprising me with how well she did on some things that I thought would be too hard!

I will post our book list as soon I can; for the 2 weeks we’ve been doing this camping theme we’ve had a lot of books! Also, stay tuned for Camping theme part 2. Part 2 will include fishing and hiking activities.

Friends and Feelings Theme

We’ve spent around 2 weeks on our latest theme, ‘Friends and Feelings’. We had a lot of fun!

First, here is our book list. There are a ton of books out there on these two subjects. We had no problem getting quite the stack!

For language and literacy activities, I tried something that I’ve seen everywhere – the salt tray. I demonstrated an S in the salt first and then Curly gave it a whirl. She was much more interested in simply creating patterns, which is all good to me.  I then saved the salt in a baggie to use for next time. I feel weird using food in activities at times!

She's a little obsessed with making handprints.

She’s a little obsessed with making hand prints.

 

We also spent time with her ABC puzzles. This week I also picked up a few Kumon workbooks for the pre-writing activities in them. I can’t believe how well they went over – I actually have to put them up where she can’t reach them or she would do the whole book in one sitting! Her favorites are My Book of Easy Mazes and My First Book Of Tracing.

Look at that milk mustache/beard. Oops :)

Look at that milk mustache/beard. Oops :)

I also had her trace over letters I wrote on a whiteboard.

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For science we did a color mixing experiment. We used our new science set (another thing I have to keep hidden). We have done color mixing before with paint, but using a big eyedropper to mix different colors of water was still very exciting for her. The set comes with all these pieces:

The goggles are way too big for her but it certainly makes for some good mad scientist pictures! 🙂

For music and movement we sang and danced to If You’re Happy and You Know It (over and over and over). Curly also mastered I’m a Little Teapot this week. That is one we had to throw in – tea party is one of her very favorite pretend games.

 

For math we focused on sequencing and patterns, using pattern blocks and her logic workbook. It was immediately apparent she didn’t get the concept at all – we will give it some time and revisit it another week.

For art we did a few things. She drew pictures of her friends on a whiteboard, and then I labeled them. I was happy with the people she chose to think of as her friends – it included people from a huge range of ages. Here is one of her drawings:

 

I also had her try free painting what the feeling of happiness would look like. Here is the result:

And we finger-painted, too.

It started out as finger-painting, but eventually her aversion to sticky fingers kicked in and she used a spoon instead.

It started out as finger-painting, but eventually her aversion to sticky fingers kicked in and she used a spoon instead.

 

She made some new friends this week too while we visited some family – I foresee so much driving in my future for sleepovers. I’m really beginning to sympathize with my parents!

Your comments make my day! What are your favorite activities for this theme?

Tea I’m Drinking Today: Bai Mu Dan White Tea from Verdant Tea

 

 

 

I’m Unique Week!

Note: For those using mobile devices, I’m not sure why some of the pictures are showing upside down. I’m working on fixing it. Thanks for your patience!

This week was our first week of planned preschool. We have done lots of preschool activities before this, but this week was the first time I actually planned ahead and picked out activities. And the theme for this week is…”I’m Unique”! I planned on doing the theme “All About Me”, which will include family, friends, and feelings activities, besides the “I’m Unique” concept. There was no way I was fitting that all into one week! So stay tuned!

For math, we measured everyone’s height with yarn, then taped it onto the wall and compared the differences in how long the yarn was. Curly was of course the shortest, Mom was in the middle, and Daddy was the tallest.  She found it hilarious to measure me with yarn! Here she is laying down for her turn:

This turned into a play with the cat moment, though. The cat was attacking the wall trying to get the yarn off!

And of course, we counted EVERYTHING! I thought it was great that she was so into counting (and I still do, obviously), however it gets old when every activity the family is engaged in must be paused for her to count the bugs! the rocks! people’s toes! etc. I just tell myself maybe she will grow up to like math more than Mommy does; that would be something I definitely want for her.

 

Here is a list of the books I picked up at the library for the theme this week.

The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss
The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle
I Like Me! By Nancy Carlson
All by Myself by Mercer Mayer
Frederick by Leo Lionni

During and after reading the above books I always tried to initiate conversation about how people are different, have different personalities, and how that is a wonderful thing! She really didn’t seem to need convincing on this point; I got the impression her feelings on the matter were something like, “Duh, Mom. Let’s move on!” Move on we did.

For literacy activities, I’ve been focusing on her being able to recognize the letters in her name. So I brought out our ABC stamp set and had her stamp with the letters of her name. This is a good fine motor skill activity too!

She is also fond of tracing letters with her fingers, so we did that whenever we encountered one big enough to do so.

Speaking of fine motor skill activities, she also requested we play with her Fantacolor Junior Pegboard Set. We’ve had this set for awhile. I was afraid she would grow tired of it in a week or two, but she still asks to play with it after several months of owning it. It’s a pegboard set that comes with pictures. You place the pictures underneath the pegboard, and match the colored pegs to the picture. It’s great for learning colors and for practicing those all so important fine motor skills! On the flip side of the cards, it’s the same picture but with no color, so they can use their creativity and make it look how they want. It’s a great educational toy!

 

For science we played around a lot with her new magnifying glass and binoculars. She inspected flowers and bugs and had a grand old time.

We also did fingerprints and inspected them with the magnifying glass. We talked about how everyone has different fingerprints and how fingerprints help our fingers grip to pick things up.

 

For a “I’m Unique” snack we made faces on crackers and talked about how everyone has a different face. I provided a cheese spread, shredded cheese, olives, chocolate chips and raisins to make the faces. Curly participated enthusiastically in this one.

 

For an art project we did self portraits. First I had her look in a mirror and tell me what color her hair and eyes are, and picked out colors accordingly. I pre-drew an oval shape on the art paper first so she had a starting point. After that, it was all her, as you can see from the pictures below.  I participated in this one and did my own self portrait, but there’s no way I’m posting a picture of that- I’m no artist, and I’m especially bad with paint!!

 

I made sure to provide all sorts of brushes, and had the mirror in front of her so she had a quick point of reference. She didn't use it however. She immediately painted herself with pink hair, a green nose, pink eyes, and brown lips.

I made sure to provide all sorts of brushes, and had the mirror in front of her so she had a quick point of reference. She didn’t use it however. She immediately painted herself with pink hair, a green nose, pink eyes, and brown lips.

The finished product. Obviously, my child is much more drawn to abstract art than realism!

The finished product. Obviously, my child is much more drawn to abstract art than realism!

 

Overall, we had a fun week! My goal was one or two activities a day, which proved to be a reasonable goal. I had so many more activities we could have done, especially to go along with the books I had picked out! But I am happy that neither Curly or I felt overwhelmed and had fun! We also did things that I didn’t include in this post, specifically because it was things we do all the time and didn’t really relate to the theme. Coloring, tracing, singing, imagining etc. Hope you all had a great week as well!

Tea I’m Drinking today: Milk Oolong from Teavivre.com

Robin Eggs, ABC Cards, and (More) Painting

While out in the garden this past week I found part of a robin egg.  We talked about how the baby bird grew inside of it, and once it was big enough, hatched out. She was concerned where the baby bird was at this moment, and I had to reassure her that it was in one of the trees above us, growing big. Robin eggs are so pretty!

She's wearing a jacket because of the mosquitoes...it's nice outside but the mosquitoes this year are atrocious!

She’s wearing a jacket because of the mosquitoes…it’s nice outside but the mosquitoes this year are atrocious!

 

This week we did lots of activities, all initiated by Curly. (Makes my job easier, that’s for sure!) She wanted to play with an unopened packet of ABC Flashcards that came with the LeapFrog Letter Factory video we have. She went through and named them all, said their sounds, and then flipped them over and did it again. I was very impressed that when she ended she picked them all up, stacked them neatly and put them back on the shelf. I hadn’t brought them out because flashcards aren’t in my agenda of things to introduce her to at this time, but she LOVES them!

One side shows the letter from the Leapfrog Letter Factory video, and the flip side offers an activity.

One side shows the letter from the Leapfrog Letter Factory video, and the flip side offers an activity.

 

She also practiced tracing letters on this dry erase workbook. She was really into it – if I have a workbook loving child, it will make me so happy; I love workbooks too! I haven’t pushed workbooks at all. This is her first one.

And, of course, we painted. Would our week be complete without it?? I don’t think so! Here she is fingerpainting.

And here she is brush painting. I picked up a big bag of assorted brushes and let her pick which ones she wanted to use.

 

We had a good week!