Archive for Preschool Age 3

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.

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!

Books About Germs and Dental Health

We have been having a full week learning all about germs, specifically about hand washing and teeth brushing. I managed to find some fun picture books for this theme! They are as follows: (click on the images for more information about each book)

Germs by Ross Collins is a story about a poor little germ who does not want to infect anyone. He’s too nice to do something so mean! All his roommates at school tease him. He gets sent on a mission by the Germ Academy (where “minor infections are turned into real germs”)  to infect a girl with chicken pox. Curly listened seriously to this story, but my husband and I were giggling throughout the whole book. I was surprised how the author was able to construct a story around a nice little germ. It has a good ending!

Germs Make Me Sick! by Melvin Berger goes completely in a different direction than the above book; this is a nonfiction title with plenty of science in it. It describes the difference between germs and viruses, and how we can protect ourselves from them. It got a little long for Curly, but she retained a surprising amount of information from it.

Wash Your Hands! by Tony Ross is about a little princess who desperately wants some cake. Everyone who walks by tells her to wash her hands again and again, for various reasons (been playing outside, been petting the dog, just went on the potty) before she eat her cake. At the end she gets fed up with all the handwashing until someone finally explains to her that germs from these various activities can make her sick. She finally gets her cake at the end.

Taking Care of My Teeth by Terri DeGezelle is a picture book with real kids smiling, brushing and flossing their teeth. It includes children sitting nicely for the dentist and photos of dentists working on happy kids’ teeth. Hey, it’s all good exposure that may help for the dentist checkups to go smoother. That’s the hope, anyway.


Timothy Tiger’s Terrible Toothache by Jan Wahl is a good one to show that ignoring a toothache will not make it go away; that the good guy in this circumstance is definitely the dentist, who can fix your teeth and make that nasty toothache go away.

 

Here are a couple more books I found in lists but wasn’t able to locate myself:
The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan and Jan Berenstain
The Crocodile and the Dentist by Taro Gomi
Body Buddies Say…”Wash Your Hands!” by Leeann Wenkman
Going to the Dentist by Anne Civardi
My Dentist by Harlow Rockwell

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

 

 

 

All About Family Week

Last week we did activities related to the theme ‘Family’. Well, we tried to. It was just plain busy last week, and we didn’t get to do all the things I planned. However, it was mostly busy because we had family from out of town visiting, so it all fit into the ‘Family’ theme anyhow. 🙂 We also got a bunch of new puzzles and blocks from Amazon.com last week and new toys had all the little one’s attention. Here is what we managed to fit in!

Note: Once again, I’m not sure why my pictures are showing upside down on some screens and not on others; I hope to have this figured out soon.

For science we headed outside to collect rocks, in all different sizes. We then brought them inside, washed them, and arranged them in families. This is something Curly does with almost everything anyway; must be a girl thing! I remember arranging all my marbles into ‘families’ as a young girl.

We were going to paint them and add googly eyes and so forth, but we couldn’t find the glue gun, one thing led to another, and it just never happened. We still kept the rocks – we may do it another time.

We also went to the zoo!

Riding the train at the zoo.

Riding the train at the zoo.

For math we measured everyone with Jenga blocks and made a graph. I asked Curly who was smallest, medium, and tallest by looking at the graph. Last time we did something similar to this she was confused by the terms shortest and tallest; she seems to have picked up on the concept as she had no trouble this week.

We also sorted blocks by color. I mentioned how she has been riveted by our new blocks and puzzles; I have to admit that so have all the adults! I bought her a package of Wedgits and they have been a serious hit!

Sorting by color.

Sorting by color.

Here's what Daddy built - I meant it when I said the adults are having fun with these as well!

Here’s what Daddy built – I meant it when I said the adults are having fun with these as well!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Music and Movement we reviewed Thumbkin, the whole version. I’m sure most of you know it.

“Where is Thumbkin? Where is Thumbkin?

Here I am! Here I am!
How are you today sir?
Very well, I thank you!
Run away; Run away.

Where is Pointer? Where is Pointer?
Here I am! Here I am!
etc”

For literature and literacy, here is my book list from the library. I also had a few books at home that related well to the theme, including:

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

There were also a few I was unable to find at the library that may work well. I can’t say how good any of them are, as I didn’t see them.

The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
My Mom and Dad Make Me Laugh by Nick Sharratt
Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too? by Eric Carle

To go along with Blueberries for Sal, we bought some blueberries (Curly really wanted to pick some, but I think the closest blueberry patch is about 300 miles away – they just don’t naturally grow here on the prairie! 🙁 ) and had blueberries and cream. I was going to bake muffins, but it was just too hot for baking. The blueberries and cream were a perfect cool summer treat!

Curly is enamored with her new ABC puzzles – uppercase and lowercase. They are more challenging than her wooden puzzles as the letters are bendable, and you need to kind of push them in their place. I think that was actually her favorite part! I also had her trace the letters with her fingers.

The rest of this week was spent hanging with family and going to the Fair that’s in town. Hope you all had a great week!

Hot rodding at the fair!

Hot rodding at the fair!