Archive for Fine Motor Activities

Theme About Germs and Dental Health

I’m a little behind on my blogging. Doh! Here is what we did for our last theme unit on germs and dental health.

Here is our book list.

I also found a couple of good videos. Sesame Street’s Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me is perfect for preschool age. I also found a Magic School Bus episode on Netflix that explained how germs make us sick – I believe it was Inside Ralphie. Crazy how those videos have been around so long – I remember that episode from when I was a kid!

For music and movement we sang this song to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat:

Brush, brush, brush your teeth
Brush the germs away!
Happy healthy teeth you’ll have,
By brushing every day!

 
We did a really cool science experiment this week. We placed eggs in different liquids in jars overnight to see how the liquids would each affect the egg shell. First I explained to Curly that egg shells are similar to our teeth, so the same thing would happen to our teeth that happened to the egg shell. We did five different liquids – water (as the control), orange juice, white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and coca cola.

In the above picture there are only four, but I added the apple cider vinegar jar later as an afterthought. You will notice the eggs are brown – I didn’t have any white eggs in the house and I figured the experiment would work just as well with the brown ones.

We labeled each jar, and wrote down what time it was when the eggs were placed in their jars. I attempted to hypothesize with Curly – What do you think will happen to the eggs? She was very excited and just repeated that she didn’t know. So, we just said we will have to see in the morning. I was a bit excited to try this experiment just to see the vinegar-soaked eggs. I have seen pictures on Pinterest and it looked pretty cool!

The end result. Since the eggs are brown the effect wasn't as drastic as with white eggs, but the vinegar eggs were squishy (the white vinegar worked a tiny bit better that way)...and bouncy. We bounced them on a cookie sheet. The egg soaked in orange juice looked like some of the egg had been eaten away but it wasn't too bad. The egg soaked in coke was dark brown.

The end result. Since the eggs are brown the effect wasn’t as drastic as with white eggs, but the vinegar eggs were squishy (the white vinegar worked a tiny bit better that way)…and bouncy. We bounced them on a cookie sheet. The egg soaked in orange juice looked like some of the egg had been eaten away but it wasn’t too bad. The egg soaked in coke was dark brown. Of course, the one soaked in water was completely normal.

The next course of action was to see if we could repair any of the eggs with toothpaste. The only one that we were able to make a difference on was the coca cola egg- we brushed off quite a bit of the brown but it was still stained.

Overall, we had a lot of fun doing this experiment!

For art we did some toothbrush painting. I cut out a tooth shape out of yellow construction paper and had her ‘scrub’ the tooth with white paint. After it dried the yellow paper still showed through a bit but she was satisfied. Then she drew a ‘face’ on it and I helped her glue popsicle sticks to it for handles. It became a yellowish tooth puppet. Oh joy!

For math we did a few different things, like counting our teeth and sorting poms poms.

For a fun fine motor activity she strung beads and buttons on a pipe cleaner to make a ‘snake’. This is one we have done before. She enjoyed it much more this time. It kept her busy for a long time.

Notice the all-important princess dress up clothes. Hey, as long as she recognizes that that means I'm the queen.

Notice the all-important princess dress up clothes. Hey, as long as she recognizes that that means I’m the queen.

 

We have a fun little game from Smartgames called Day And Night that she pulled out. Smartgames produces toys and games for toddlers/preschoolers that are supposed to promote problem solving and logical thinking. I really like how they use wood and not plastic in their toys. I’m not sure what the actual difference it makes, but it’s just nicer for whatever reason.

The game works like this: It comes with a little booklet of several pictures of blocks arranged in different ways on wooden pegs, which you try to copy. You help your child at first until they understand the concept. As they figure out one picture without help, they progress to the next. Eventually the pictures are just dark shapes, and you try to figure out the correct placement of the pieces just by the shapes. I appreciated how it really did require Curly to think about what she was doing. A simple and very effective little game!

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!

Cutting and Gluing Practice

One of our favorite activities lately is cutting practice. I usually give her a piece of paper that she’s scribbled on, and then draw lines on it for her cut. She loves it, and I really love it for one particular reason – it keeps her busy. For a looong time. She brings me random shapes she cut out, shouting things like ‘Mom! I made a porcupine!’ or “Look!! a teapot!” She then cuts it all up into teeny tiny pieces. By the time she’s done, she has a huge pile of confetti. We then collect it all into baggies and keep it for the next project.

Her playroom is always a mess...

Her playroom is always a mess…

You can guess what we do with all those teeny tiny scraps of paper. We glue them onto another piece of paper, a paper plate, or something similar. She usually has an idea of what she wants to make. Lately rockets have been the favorite. If the pieces are extra small, I have her sprinkle them onto the glue already on the paper, rather than glue each individual piece. At the end, you have a mosaic!

Then, we wash glue off fingers and vacuum any remaining confetti off the floor. Ta Da!