Archive for July 2013

Books About Friends and Feelings

We’ve been spending the last week and a half on the theme ‘Friends and Feelings’. Here is our book list!


Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods That Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis is a good one to cover all the feelings one can feel. It’s a good starting point for a week about feelings!
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst is a classic about the day we all sometimes experience. Some days are just plain bad and all we can do is go to bed and make sure the next day is better.
If You’re Happy and You Know It! by Jane Cabrera is one that is making it onto our favorites list. This book has most of the popular sing along song in it and a few extra special lyrics thrown in. I don’t think I know a kid who wouldn’t join in on the fun in this one!

Walter Was Worried by Laura Vaccaro Seeger has very interesting illustrations. Each page has someone expressing a different feeling, and the expression on their face literally spells out the feeling. Take a close look at the book above – the mouth is a D, there’s a W by his eye, his eyes are an O and an E, his nose is an I, and his eyebrows are R’s. Kinda fun!

Okay, I thought I had a cautious child but her fears pale in comparison to neurotic Scaredy Squirrel’s! Perhaps that is the point of this book – to help children see that even they, no matter how many insecurities they may have, can be brave like Scaredy Squirrel. This book by Melanie Watt is a fun read.
The always terrified and super prepared Scaredy Squirrel wants to make a friend, but friends are scary!! He comes up with a safe plan to make friends with the least scary friend he can find (a goldfish) but ends up making friends with someone he didn’t expect. A good story that shows it’s good not to prejudge someone – they may end up becoming your best friend.

The Mine-O-Saur by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen is one we’ve read many times. Mine-O-Saur is constantly taking the other dino’s toys and snacks. No one will be his friend. He does make up with them by the end. This is a good one to illustrate how friends are supposed to share with each other.


My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann is a story about two friends, Mouse and Rabbit. Mouse is showing Rabbit his new toy, and accident prone Rabbit creates such a mess that Mouse has to save him from some very angry animals! A cute story. This one is a Caldecott winner.

Do You Want to Be My Friend? by Eric Carle is a mostly wordless book about a mouse looking for a friend. Eric Carle’s books have really grown on me. This one is captivating just like all his other books.

Dog and Bear: Two Friends, Three Stories by Laura Vaccaro Seeger has three short stories about the two friends. This book is a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Winner.

I have stated before how much I love Mo Willem’s stories about the two friends Elephant and Piggie. Really, pretty much all of their books would be appropriate for a ‘Friends’ week, but I picked out these two. The first, Can I Play Too? is a good one to illustrate how even if someone looks different, to give them a chance. The second, I Love My New Toy! explores the feelings one has when a favorite toy gets broken. Friends are still better than any favorite toy!


There were a few more books that were on my list but that were either already out at the library or were unavailable. They are:
The Pigeon Has Feelings, Too! by Mo Willems
Words Are Not for Hurting by Elizabeth Verdick
Feelings by Aliki
The New Friend by Holly Hobbie
Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni

Happy reading!

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 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!

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!


Books About Family

This past week we did activities related to the theme ‘Families’. Here is our book list! I will relate the activities we did in a separate post.


Global Babies is a book put out by the Global Fund for Children. It is exactly what it looks like – it has pictures of babies from all over the world. It is a good start to introducing your child to different people and different cultures. The babies are all in native dress of their homeland, which is neat.

A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kasza was a sweet surprise for me. Poor Choco doesn’t have a mother, and he wanders looking for someone who looks like him to be his mother. Someone who doesn’t look like him at all says she will be his mother, proving it’s the love that counts, not the way a person looks. I thought this would be a good book for a child who was perhaps adopted and looks different than his new family.

Just Me and My Mom by Mercer Mayer is a sweet book about a day out with Mom. It’s apparent that the day isn’t going nearly as well as Mom would like, but Little Critter is having a blast!

I Love My Daddy by Sebastien Braun is pretty self explanatory. Daddy is very special, and we love it when Daddy spends time with us.

My Grandpa is Amazing by Nick Butterworth celebrates the Grandpas in our lives. Grandpas are pretty special – they can do all sorts of cool things and make everything fun!
From the same series as the above book, My Grandma is Wonderful celebrates Grandma. Really, there’s nothing in the world like visiting Grandma.
Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola is a very famous book. When Tommy goes to visit his Nana, he visits both upstairs and downstairs. Downstairs is where his grandmother lives, and upstairs is where his great-grandmother lives. He and his great-grandmother are very close and love spending time together. And one day, his great-grandmother dies. I got this at the library not aware that there is death in this book, but it presents it tastefully and this book may be a good choice to read to a child when a grandparent passes away.

Clifford’s Family by Norman Bridwell is all about when Clifford heads on a trip to visit his family. All his brothers and sisters are happy in homes of their own, and have different doggie jobs. He then visits his parents, etc. We are still family even though family may live far away!

The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant is along the same lines as the Clifford book, in the fact that it presents family being very dear to us even though they may live far away.

The classic story retold a little different, by Caralyn and Mark Buehner. We liked this version. I thought the changes made to the dialogue made it refreshing and interesting. Everything Goldilocks says is a rhyme, and she jump ropes everywhere. We had to have this story on Family week!

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

More Good Picture Books

We have been continuing through book lists and have found more that we particularly enjoyed. This week is definitely a Mo Willems week for us – most of the books this week are from him!

First though, we have this:

Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag is a true classic, having been copyrighted in 1928. The illustrations are black and white but still retain their charm. The story is about an old man and his wife who are very lonely and decide to get a cat. The old man sets out to get one and finds MILLIONS of them and cannot choose just one!

Time to Sleep Sheep the Sheep by Mo Willems is in his Cat the Cat series. I find myself unable to see the appeal in the language of these books (the illustrations are funny however), but my girl devours these! She wants them read over and over again. The title is pretty self explanatory – it’s time for bed. Cat the cat goes through her friends telling them to go to bed – horse the horse, crab the crab, giraffe the giraffe, pig the pig, etc.

Now for our favorite of the week…drumroll…the Elephant and Piggie books! By Mo Willems, of course. I am going to remember these books to use them as first readers. They have sweet and silly stories and the illustrations got us giggling. The stories on friendship in them are good examples of how a good friend should act. And they are so much fun to read. That part is very important!





The above are the ones that were available at our library at the time. As we come across more of them we will be sure to post our thoughts on them! They really are special.