Friday, June 27, 2008

Useful Websites

Just thought I would share a few "new to me" websites and blogs I found helpful this week! I have been spending my "spare time" planning for Fall!

The Sunny Patch Blog! I am especially interested in these activity bags! Great for a long trip in a car!
Sadlier Oxford Check out the great online learning activities!
A list of fine motor activities!
Ziggity Zoom A new website introduced to me by http://preschoolmama.com/ Lots of activities and printables and apparently more great stuff to come!

Not new to me but worth a mention!!!!!!
Michael Olaf's Child of the World Catalog This is my GO TO for Montessori inspiration! If you have not checked this out DO IT RIGHT NOW!

Shannon

Monday, June 23, 2008

Cooking Mama & Me Monday


Well...I have to admit I had REALLY low expectations for our first cooking experience! My plan was to make a version of rice cereal treats. I never have that rice cereal on hand so I do not think I have ever made it the normal way! Around here we call them Shannon's Sweet treats! And I really just use any old cereal on hand that I want to get rid of, often because of expiration date or I just did not care for it. Today, we used Special K Fruit & Yogurt. (yummy, but about to expire!)


So anyway...It went really well! We made the sweet treats and I did okay giving him opportunities to participate (I am a TOTAL control freak!), and he did great following directions. I even got him to write down the recipe when we were done.
I "KNEW" there was no way he would actually do this without a struggle, but friends he did awesome! He even took into account how many tablespoons/cups we used as he drew the pictures! If you look closely you can see 3 rectangular shapes as the 3 T of butter, 4 roundish shapes as the cups of marshmallows, and a giant brown thing as the 6 C of cereal. (I barely measured this and apparently he noticed me just pouring...OOPS!)
What a success! Hopefully, we will continue to have fun with this!
Shannon

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thrifty Thursday

We went to the Thrift store on Monday this week. I had avoided the store last week because they were having their bag of books for $2 sale! You know, thinking that if I buy anymore books we may need to add on to the house! So anyway, apparently they had decided to extend the sale!

Soooooo...I bought about 1/2 a bag of books. Apparently, I only have half the self control I need! I also picked up 2 cushions that will be perfect for making these situpons this weekend. I spent $4 total!

As far as donations go...I brought about 5 boxes of clothing, etc... after our yard sale the weekend before last. I am already working on another box to bring in a couple of weeks.

We have finally decided to give up on having yard sales. I love to shop them but sitting there all day and not selling much is not worth it to me. As Andrew pointed out, if you just get a receipt at the thrift store you will be able to take more off your taxes then you have EVER made at a yard sale!

Shannon

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Planning our Cookbook

If you are interested in cooking with your kids, here are a few websites with kid friendly recipes!

http://pbskids.org/arthur/parentsteachers/activities/acts/kids_kitchen.html
http://www.childrensrecipes.com/
http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/kids/
http://www.justkidsrecipes.com/inxbak.html Make sure you check the other categories as well!
Kid's cookbook to check out!
http://www.thatsmyhome.com/recipes-for-kids/index.htm
http://kidsinthekitchen.ajli.org/
Cool recipe and inspiration for my cookbook plan!
http://www.molliekatzen.com/kids.php Check out these ideas! I would LOVE one of her books!
http://www.recipelink.com/rcpkids.html
http://www.sandiegozoo.org/kids/recipes.html
http://www.tinytummies.com/index.html
http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/cafe/
http://loneoak.mccracken.k12.ky.us/LES/Teachers/dcook/august_recipes.htm
http://www.kidsacookin.com/
http://www.kids-cooking-activities.com/index.html Look around this one.
http://www.bry-backmanor.org/picturerecipes.html picture recipes
http://www.prekinders.com/kidrecipes.htm

And...this might be the solution if you really do not have time to look for good recipes! These are all picture recipes that are ready to print!
http://www.makinglearningfun.com/themepages/RecipePictorialSnacks.htm

I just love the Internet!
Shannon

Another New Schedule Change!

Remember this schedule? Well...it is out of date and just generally not working anymore. For one, Josh is not going to his playgroup this summer. We also, as you know, are doing nature study this summer and are confining most of our Montessori work to Practical Life works that happen naturally around the house!

So...changes inspired by the last post...here is our NEW schedule!

Monday - Cooking Mama & Me day! A day in which we cook something and add a page to our soon to be new COOKBOOK! Just like this!

Tuesday - Nature Study

Wednesday - PLAY DAY!!! Fun stuff only! Parks, play dates, play areas, backyard fun, etc...

Thursday - Nature Study

Friday - Arts/Crafts!

I am feeling much better and so ready to get started! Thanks for all your inspiration!
Shannon

Wednesday's Wonderful Ideas!

Hi all, I guess I have a bit of writer's block, teacher's block, etc... We have actually gone shopping 2 WHOLE days this week. That is really not like me! Honestly, the weather here has been really yucky. It is either rainy, about to be rainy, or too wet to play outside/do nature study! SUMMER WHERE ARE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway...trying to shake off the gloom...here is a list of wonderful ideas shared by some of you that I am looking forward to trying!

Frozen grape pops! Hot summer days here we come!
Peanut butter granola balls! YUMMY
A Volcano! Josh will love making this volcano!
The Chore Bucket Worth a try...we have been majorly slacking on keeping up with his chores!
Balloon Balls This is exactly what I need for the fall, may help him to focus so I can try circle time again!
Peanut butter milkshakes and especially the Kid's cookbook idea! Is there a bit of a theme with all this food??? I think a cookbook is a must...hmm...I think I just got an idea???
Chewy granola bars See Above!!!
Recycled Paper shapes Great for our end of summer study of composting etc...

Hope you find some inspiration!
Shannon

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Dangers of Crafts!

So, yesterday Josh had his 4 year old appt. with his Pediatrician. He is a pretty healthy kid so we were not in the least concerned about anything, as a matter of fact, he had not even been to the Dr since his 3yo appt.

Anyway, the appt. was going along quite normally. You know...he was weighed and measured, blood pressure taken, heart and breathing listened too, etc... Then she got out the little flashlight scope thing to look in his ears. She checks out the left, looks good. She checks out the right and makes a little huh sound. She explains that she sees a foreign object in there and thinks it is a rock. OY!

So, we question Josh a bit and try to figure out what it actually might be, he immediately tells us that he put ???? in his ear awhile ago when making an owl! He could not tell us what it was and I have NO memory of him ever making an owl??!!

Obviously...no matter what it was, it needed to come out! So the DR tried to use a long handled tiny scoop to grab it out. No Luck! Josh just screamed and cried in pain. (It was so awful!) Then she thought maybe they might be able to wash it out and had the nurse come in and squirt water in his ear. Which of course made him scream and cry some more! (and he is NOT a kid who cries easy!) At about this time, I had ENOUGH! So, I asked if I could see it for myself. I immediately thought it looked like one of those tiny craft pompoms. I suggested maybe they could just grab it with tweezers and since, at this point they were out of options. They decided to give it a try!

Thankfully, it worked immediately, she reached right in and grabbed it right out! Well, it turned out to not be a pompom but was actually a little piece of black fun foam. So strange...we do not even have that color so I can not for the life of me figure out when or where he put it in!

What a trauma! The appt. lasted for about and 1hr and 20 minutes. He was also supposed to get shots but we decided to just do it in a year since these were just the ones you need to get before Kindergarten. And...honestly, he was just too horrified. He even told the Dr that he did not care to come back again and that he did not really like it there! At least, he mostly used good manners! No one can really blame him for being honest!

Hopefully, he learned his lesson! So...have your kids ever put anything in their ears or noses?

Shannon

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Summer Plannin' Had me a Blaaa-aast!




Thought I would share our plans for summer, since they are FINALLY ready! (Warning- this one will be looo-oooong!)





I decide, for the sake of organization, to create a Nature Journal. It has a two-fold purpose. The first is to encourage Joshua to start writing and recording (drawing etc...). The second is just a place to keep all the activities I have planned. I want to have things ready but not schedule things to certain days so as to be more flexible, NOT my strong suit!

First, I went here and printed off pages that I liked to use for his writing and recording. I chose some that are lined a bit with space for drawing and some with just open space for pictures and taping found items etc...
Next, I looked at all the activities I wanted to do and split them up into subjects. (Intro, Birds, Trees/Plants/Flowers, Backyard Animals, Insects, Sun/Clouds, Creek, Frogs, Beach Life, Dirt/Compost)

Here are the activities to go along with the subjects. (Feel free to ask for more infrmation if something you are interested in is unclear!)

Introduction



  • Create Journal- I slid every printed out page and activities written on cards into a page protector. I plan to pull the pages out as we use them and slide them back in for keeping.
  • Spring Nature Walk- http://www.heartsandtrees.blogspot.com/ Look in the sidebar under My Free Downloads! Check out this blog! You may want to just order her ideas!
  • Plant Seeds- We have several different planting projects including a Chia Pet, Paper towel sprouting seeds, and a few other ideas and kits I have been collecting. I figure if we plant a ton...something will grow!
  • Under a rock- literally move a rock and discover what is underneath, write and/or draw what you find.
  • Paint Clubhouse- We are just going to paint a giant box left over from Josh's birthday, something he can drag out and play in for a week or two!
  • Trash pick up hike to the park! Grab a bag and join in!
Birds



  • Make birdfeeders- like this and this.
  • Bird graph- We are just going to keep track of all the birds we see for one day by color, type, what they are doing, etc...
  • Bird observation and journaling.
  • Set up a bird bath, I hope!
  • Make a bird from here http://kidscraftweekly.com/bird_issue.html! Highly recommend joining this site!
  • Journal writing
Trees/Plants/Flowers


Backyard animals

  • ID Local animals using our local animal field guide!
  • Set out a pan with flour anf food on it to check out footprints and figure out who are nocturnal etc... Footprint guide found at www.bear-tracker.com
  • Squirrel lapbook (Will share links in a week or so, ya know, after I find them!)
  • Journal writing


Insects


Sun/Clouds

  • Take a Cloud Walk downloaded from http://www.nostudentleftindoors.com/Home.html
  • Make a cloud book showing different cloud types with cotton balls.
  • Make cloud pictures like this!
  • Make solar prints using black construction paper with leaves on top and set in the sun.
  • Create a simple sundial with a paper plate.
  • Make suncatchers like this super easy idea!
  • Journal writing


Creek Life

  • We have a creek in our backyard so we will be studying the water and creatures we find!
  • Creek clean up! You would not believe all the stuff we find!
  • Journal writing


Frogs


Beach Life

  • Shell/rock sort
  • ID shells with cards from http://www.montessorimaterials.org/science.htm
  • Sand vs soil study
  • Shell Wreath- glue shells on a cardboard cutout wreath shape. Maybe a frame instead if we do not have enough shells for a wreath!
  • Journal writing


Dirt/Compost

Rainy Day ideas

So that is it for now! If you get a chance, let me know if these types of write up are helpful! I do not mind doing it but it does take a ton of time. So if it is not of use to anyone, I could probably find something better to do with my time (read- do the MOUNTAIN of dishes in my sink!)







Monday, June 09, 2008

FREEEEEEEEE!!!!!!

Sparklebox is now free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
http://www.sparklebox.co.uk/index.html

You must check this out! I use it all the time!

Shannon

The Constructive Triangles



I finally finished making the Constructive Triangles and am thrilled with the results! It was very easy to do and really looks great!



All I did was buy the appropriate color fun foam. (I substituted the gray for purple) I printed off
the constructive triangle patterns and blue triangles (black and white versions only) from
http://www.jmjpublishing.com/sensorial.htm.


Then I roughly cut them out and taped them to the foam. I took my time and carefully cut out the foam. I finished by using a sharpie to add the blackline to the edge for matching.




I chose to store ours in zipper bags for now, I also cut out a small control of error to toss in the bag. (more for me than Josh!) I plan to present these this week using these lesson plans.

So...what have you made lately?



Shannon

Friday, June 06, 2008

Washing Dishes with a Preschooler!

Warning! Do not attempt on a day when your patience is waining!

This is an excellent Practical Life activity to do with a preschooler but it does take a bit of prep and a boat load of patience! Before you even mention the activity make sure there are no irreplaceable glass bowls anywhere near the area in which you and the child will be working! (I learned this the hard way...it was in the dish drainer and a heavy plate tipped over right on top of it!)

Preparations:

Fill up one side of the sink with hot soapy water.
Fill up the other side with lukewarm, clean, clear water.
Pull up a tall stool and wrap yourself and the child in your favorite aprons.

Activity:

In our house, I wash the dishes slowly since Josh needs a bit of reminding as to where to place the dishes in the drainer. Anyway, after I wash a dish, I place it in the clear water and he pulls it out and dumps the water (preferably into the sink!!!) and places the dish in the drainer.

Hints and Tips:

I often place a clean towel on the counter spread out next to Josh for him to place bigger or awkward dishes. It is just easier for him and I do not have to do too much juggling in the middle that way!

Start off with a small amount of dishes the first few times! Maybe just lunch dishes to get both of you used to sharing this job.

Have fun with this! Do not do it too often if it is stressful for you, the experience will mean more if it is kept positive!

Shannon

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Bug Vacuum


This is the best idea ever! Josh got a bug vacuum for his birthday and it is really cool. It sucks the bugs right up and holds them safe in a little container that has a magnifying glass attached to it. You can then take a look, study it a bit and then SAFELY let the bug go outside. We had a GIANT moth in the entry way this morning, so I grabbed the vac and seriously, I was amazed at how easily it sucked that moth right in. I gave Josh a peak and let it go outside! No problems and I did not have to kill it!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Check This Out!

If you have not had a chance yet...you must make time for this great website http://www.lookybook.com/index.php ! You can actually read through and look at EVERY page of over 300 children's books. It is really an amazing site. Such a great way to decide what books to buy from your own home. You can then just click right from the books "page" to buy it from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Josh in November 2005!
Shannon