Friday, September 30, 2011

stretchy bands

Here's another idea I saw on pinterest. The original idea is from Skip to My Lou.   We've been calling them shape stretchies.  They are super stretchy and you can use your body to make all kinds of different shapes.

They are made from that swimsuit spandexish material.  It's over $14 a yard so instead of making a class set, I'm going with 4.  Each band is 4 inches wide and started with two 45 inch long strips sewn together.  I tweaked them to shorten as needed. 

Lou and Bee enjoyed playing with them at home.  Bee had me turn on the music and she did some dancing with hers too. I've used them once at preschool and the kids did seem to enjoy them.  They were like a lot of the newer things that I try there, a few of the kids were super into them and a few were pretty indifferent. 

A few o f the preschool kids figured out that you could also make letters with them. They even figured out that you could twist two together to make additional shapes and letters. That's what happens when we have a few late mamas at pick up time.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mixed Up Chameleon color day

One day at preschool recently was 'colors.'  My 4 and 5 years old are pretty good at colors, but did need a little review.  I love The Mixed Up Chameleon.  Its a fun story about a chameleon who is bored with who he is and wants to be like the other animals he sees.   When we read it, I added more color words. 

I made a felt set to use for retelling after we read the story. 

In the end, the chameleon is a little like all the animals he sees.   When you stack all the felt pieces up,  it's just like in the book. I had the kids help me remember all the animals. 

Then, after much explanation of how we were going to be using these pieces, I passed out these story sticks.  Each is a paint stick covered in the soft side of velcro.  All the story pieces are laminated and have the stractchy side of the velcro attached.  We retold the story again and added the pieces.  They fit on just right. 

I saw the idea for the story sticks on pinterest. The original idea is from Making Learning Fun.  They used them for Brown Bear, Brown Bear.   I plan to use them for other stories too, and could do shapes, numbers, letters to spell words.  The wheels are turning on this one.   After all the velcro I used on these, I'd better use them all year!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

the fort

Lou had an idea. He got the wagon.  He hauled it to the backyard wood pile.  He loaded it with sticks.  He hauled it up the hill to get to the front yard and built a fort. 

It's a bit of a lean-to.

He's spent a good amount of time in it over the past week.

Daddy wants to mow, but will have to use this as an excuse.

I've never seen the boy work so hard at something.

He left a spot for the door.

I asked him if there was enough room and he showed me how he could even lay down. 

The neighbors must think we're crazy.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Meet Your Bride

Mr. Happy food plate, I'd like you to meet Mrs. Happy food plate. 

Bee finally has her Mrs. Plate.  I did some trading with a friend.   Suitcase for a plate.

Even if you don't have a suitcase to trade for a plate, you can totally make your own.  Here's Melissa's tutorial.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Apples... lots of apples

This was not this past weekend because it's cold and we've had nothing but rain. nothing. but. rain.

But, we did recently take the kiddos out to pick apples.

39 pounds of apples!

We ended up at a new place and loved it.  I see this family at the farmers market most weeks and have purchased blueberries, peaches and apples from their stand but we finally drove out to the orchard. 

Bee picked the perfect apple, complete with stem and leaf.  Who would she give such an apple to?  Her teacher of course.  She kept track of that apple amongst 39 pounds of apples. 

 What does 39 pounds get you?  A weekend in the kitchen.  A full bowl of fresh apples, 1 delicious apple kuchen, 8 1/2 qt apple sauce,  4 pt canned apples,  2 qt apple juice, 3 pt apple butter,  and some apple jelly that has yet to be made.    There would have been at least another quart of apple sauce and apple juice, but my food mill broke mid use.  That silly food mill.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

another snack bag

My sister in law asked me about making some snack bags.  It's been a few months, she's probably moved on at this point.  I did find some fun new fabric at the store that is something new.  It's not an oil cloth, it's not a PLU laminate, it's not that reusable market tote fabric.  I'm not sure what it is, maybe a nylonish something. It's easily wipe-able and sort of water resistant.  It didn't come in many prints, but there was this cute school fabric. 

I just used french seams and added some velcro to make Bee a little snack bag.  She gets to eat a snack during 'daily 5' at school.  They don't eat lunch until 12, so I'm glad that they do.

I've made up a few other kinds of snack bags;  these vinyl laminate ones

  these plain fabric ones

and these vinyl ones.  

 I think this is my favorite so far. I think there were only 3 prints but I think I'll be going back to check on them again.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

pool noodle caterpillars

I totally borrowed this idea from I can Teach My Child.  When I saw it, I knew it was not only something I wanted to make for my kids, but something I wanted to make for my preschool room and it was one of the ideas I wanted to share at our 'back to school teacher idea sharing meeting'.

Pool noodles are cut into 1 1/2 -2 inch segments and programmed with numbers (or letters, or whatever you want to) using a nice sharpie.  I used cheap clothesline from the dollar store for the stringing.  I will have the kiddos add the numbers 1-10 in order.  You could easily make it counting by 5s, 10s, etc.

 Each string is knotted into the head and the trailing string behind just needs to be left long enough for the pieces that will go on it.  I wrapped some packing tape around the end so it wouldn't fray.

I made one for Bee with addition and subtraction and equal signs in a different color so she can work on number sentences.  I am a little concerned about the pieces rolling everywhere when we get them out at school.  I'm going to have to really think through the management of the materials.  That can make or break an activity with 18 tiny people.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

new favorite words activity

This is my new favorite activity for working with words. It is right where Lou needs to be working too, but Bee could do some work with it too.  I'm sharing it with all my preschool parents too, I just love it.  You can write the word in the top or place a vocabulary card there.  Mine is laminated so we've been using those new dry erase crayons.  Love those too.

 After reading the word together, letter tiles or cards are used to spell the word.  Then the child writes the word on the lines.  I've been using it with Lou and he likes being so successful with writing a word.  Today he wrote 'robot' and then walked around the house writing it again and again on other paper scraps. 

This Read, Build, Write mat is available here at Home school Creations. She has some other great vocabulary and words activities that are worth checking out.

Monday, September 19, 2011

the go anywhere bag that went one place

I couldn't wait to make up Noodlehead's Go Anywhere Bag.  She teased us about it for awhile, but has the pattern available now.  I went right to my stash and looked for fall colors.  I chose this vintage brown corduroy from the boxes that my Great Aunt sent and a thrifted sheet from some random yard sale. Lets call it vintage too. 

I struggled with my sewing machine during a good part of the bag.  It wasn't a good part really.  It was one of those projects that should take an hour and takes 3.  I thought I was going to have to send my machine in again, but I feel like I just did that in the spring.  In fact, I did.  (after struggling this day and the next several, I determined the massive problem could be tracked down to a new sewing needle.  An evil sewing needle.  Put the old needle back in and the problems were solved.  Many hours wasted on a fancy needle splurge.)

While I was sewing, I noticed the brown corduroy was especially fragile.  I repaired one tear with a faux flap and button.  I assumed the problem was solved.   I proudly carried it to school the next day. 

Every time I looked down at it, it was ripping and tearing and falling apart.

After all those hours and the swearing the first time around, I pulled out all the stitches holding the brown in place. 

The next night, I remade the top portion and resewed the bag with something sturdier and newer from my stash.  I still fought the sewing machine.  I cried a bit and tried to bargain with God.  I'm sure my sewing machine is right up there on His list.   I did finish it and it's going everywhere with me.

I packed away the sunny 241 bag until next summer. I do really like that this bag is a little bigger.  I've been throwing my book and a kid water bottle and a couple of snacks when we go out.  It's been a fun new size.