Monday, May 9, 2016

Nursery Rhymes

Nursery Rhymes are one of my all time favorite things to teach preschoolers about. There are just so many fun activities and art projects to do. Also, kids love nursery rhymes because they are short and easy to learn repeat.  I have assigned myself this theme every year that I can.

For our starter activity we looked for Miss Muffet's spiders. I found this super cute idea at Preschool Education:Nursery Rhyme Activities. Basically, have two large, one filled with oatmeal. Then you hide a few small spiders in the dry oatmeal. I used Halloween ring spiders that I had on hand. Have the children spoon through the oatmeal and find the spiders. As they find them they transfer them to the empty bowl. I've done this for multiple years and all of the preschool kids have loved it. We let them each take turns. This is a great activity for hand to eye coordination.

We made Hickory Dickory Dock clocks. I have done this before. You can see here: Nursery Rhymes

I have the shapes precut, and then give the kids a bowl full of foam sticker numbers. I put the clock on the table for reference, Their clocks are not usually symmetrical, and often have some upside down numbers, but that's okay. They are just learning concepts of telling time, just recognizing  numbers is a great start for 3s.

For movement time we played Jack Be Nimble
We made simple "candles" with empty toilet paper tubes, a precut flame, and a rectangle in the color of their choice. Wrap the colored rectangle around the tube and tape or glue. Then glue or tape the flame inside the tube, Then  we would say the rhyme, but insert the child's name, 
"Mr. A. be nimble
Mr. A. be quick
Mr. A jumped over the candlestick.
The kids love jumping over in different ways, and showing off their skills. This is a great coordination activity. My boys played with their candles for days after. 

For snack of course we made muffins. I usually prefer not to use box mixes of anything, but box mixes are much quicker, and I wanted to utilize my time so we had time for all the activities planned. I had all ingredients ready to pour in, and let each child add one thing. While mixing we sang,
"Oh do you know the Muffin Man
the muffin man
the muffin man
Oh do you know the Muffin Man who lives on Drury Lane?"
While the muffins cooked we did another activity and had fresh muffins when they came out.  
(I absolutely love my silicone muffin liners. The muffins almost always come out cleanly and they are reusable as well.)

For music time we made Little Boy Blue horns. These required some help, but are super simple. Give each child an empty toilet paper tube to decorate however they would like, crayons, markers, stickers, etc. Then have a square of wax paper slightly larger than the toilet paper tube end. Secure the wax paper with a rubber band. Use the horns like a kazoo, and of course make sure to call the cows and sheep back home.

We did some Humpty Dumpty art and then a fun Humpty Dumpty activity. We talked about why Humpty Dumpty could not be put back together. Some of the kids guessed that they could put him back together. So I had each child sit on a stool with an egg. As we sang Humpty Dumpty the child waited for the cue of "fall" and dropped their egg into the pan. Then I had them look at the shell and see if they could put it back together. Some tried, but then realized that it was not possible. But how they loved this. Don't all kids love making messes, and getting to do so with mom/teacher permission is even better. There was very little mess on the sheet, it almost all made it into the pan.

We also made some Humpty Dumpty art. We just used plain white paper plates and construction paper strips for arms and legs. They attempted to accordian fold the limbs, but that is tricky for 3-4 year olds. We attached the legs with brads, so that they had some movement. I let them draw on a face. They were super proud of their work.

I had many more activities planned for this lesson, but the other girls in our class were sick and ended up not coming. Miss A. (my cousin's daughter) was being babysat at my house that week, so we added her in.  But I prepared less and kept it light and easy. But please check out my other lesson on Nursery Rhymes for more ideas and better photos. :)

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Transportation: Land

My boys absolutely LOVE trains. So of course I assigned myself Land Transportation. I gave the other moms air and water transportation. I would have loved to do those too, but one must share. :)

We started with a scissor practice skill worksheet. I made it on my outdated print shop program. I just had different vehicles one side, and a destination on the other. They had to cut on the lines connecting them, zig zags, wavy, etc.

 My cute Mr. W. decided to connect them all in one line back and forth. He ended up with one very long piece of paper.

We had some cute snacks. One day we made these cute buses. I covered the graham cracker in frosting for them, and let the kids add oreo wheels, golden graham cereal windows, skittles or M&M lights, and a teddy graham driver or passenger. Some of the kids wanted to make a car instead. They all turned out darling. 
Idea found here

The second day I made snack trains. I stapled paper cups together. On the front train I glued a photo of a steam engine that I found online. Then I let each child choose what they wanted to fill their "tenders" with. Some of the choices were teddy grahams, goldfish crackers, grapes, raisins, marshmallows, oyster crackers, crispy chow mein noodles, etc.

I found this adorable idea at Preschool Express. Jean Warren has lots of fabulous ideas there. 

We played a fun car graphing game also. I made a worksheet with a table on it. I put various car colors on each row, and we watched out the windows for the colors of cars they saw. Then we colored in a square each time we saw a car drive by. I live on a busier street, so even in the middle of the day we were able to see a handful of cars drive by. My boys liked this a lot, and worked on it through out the next few days. 

For story time we read   The Little Engine That Could, among others. I love the old classic by Watty Piper. Some of them have newer illustrations, but much of the same words, but I really love the old one, as do my kids.

After for an art project we made shape trains. I had the shapes precut, rectangles, triangles, squares, and a circle. I also precut a cloud/thinking shape. I had a demo already made to show the kids how to make their shapes into a train. They then added wheels, we did this by dipping an empty thread spool into paint. We talked all about how the Little Engine was brave and thought that he could do hard things. We talked about hard things that they have already learned to do. And then, we talked about things that are hard for them now, but that they thought they could do, and that is what we wrote on our cloud/thought shapes.
I found the idea of the shape train at Preschool Education, and added the think bubble myself.

"I think I can go downstairs by myself"

"I think I can pick apples"

"I think I can clean up by myself"

"I think I can change my clothes by myself"

I loved this little art project. The trains turned out very cute, and I loved seeing their little brains at work, and what they thought they could do and overcome. 

Of course we also had to play a classic train game. We lined up the little chairs that I have and I gave them tickets in every color of the rainbow. (or rather in the construction paper that I have). I found the idea at The Activity Idea Place. To ride the train, I would say, "All aboard the red train" and they would have to find and show their red ticket. We repeated with all the colors they had. They loved this, and we decided to skip a few other planned activities and continue playing this. 

and we absolutely had to play Red Light, Green Light!

Some of the fun songs we sang were:

Down By The Station
Down by the station
Early in the morning,
See the little pufferbillies
All in a row.
See the station master
Pull a little handle.
Chug, chug, Toot, toot.
Off we go!
Little Red Caboose
Little red caboose, Little red caboose,
Little red caboose behind the train, train,
Smokestack on his back, Going down the track,
Little red caboose behind the train, train.

                                                          This is a Choo Choo Train                                                             This is a choo choo train (Child becomes a train by squatting)
Puffing down the track (Child does actions that the rhyme states)
Now its going forward, (Child goes forward)
Now its going back. (Child goes back, etc.)
Now the bell is ringing (child pulls make believe bell rope)
What a lot of noise it makes (cover ears and make train noises)
Everywhere it goes. (Children move around the room at random.)

Saturday, March 5, 2016

April Fools 2015

I could have sworn that we made more things than this. I even have memories of making these Mushroom Cookies (scroll down a ways, it is a fun Alice in Wonderland birthday party.). But I cannot find photos of them anywhere. :/ But they did turn out to look very much like the photo she has, but they were a crumbly mess and difficult to make. 

The older two were old enough last year to rehash the kitty litter cake to trick the twins. I think that they enjoyed it just a little too much! 

Here they are taking out the litter box (we actually have a cat now, so this was feasible)

Just as they were about to go "dump" it outside, Miss B. took out a tootsie roll poop and ate it. The boys looked on in horror. Miss B could hardly contain herself. She thought their expressions were so funny, and that she was just too funny. It was great entertainment to watch!

Then she kindly offered the boys a tootsie roll log
The incredulous look of, "uh mom, what is going on here?"

and once they realized it was a joke, eating away at their yummy cake. 
I used the recipe found at Allrecipes

The older two also helped me make some candy broccoli. 

I have a photo pinned on pinterest, but it is a dead link. The basic, very easy instructions are to use fruity tootsie rolls, and shape into a broccoli stalk. Use a little to make into a ball/head type shape. Then I got them slightly wet and dipped into green cake sprinkles and/or non-pareils. My photo is a little blurry and doesn't do them justice, they actually looked pretty realistic. 

And be sure to check out my many other years of April Foolery

April Fools 2014

I think this was our April Fools Breakfast. Apparently I did not make a Fools Dinner, because there are no photos to prove it, and I don't have a memory of anything specific either. :)

I started with jello orange slices. These were actually pretty easy to make. Fun to serve and fun to eat. I found the idea and great instructions at Meet the Dubiens

I also served magical pre-sliced bananas. As the kids peeled them, they found them already sliced inside. I know I got my instructions from the Family Fun Magazine, but they no longer have anything on their website. The kids were surprised and wondering how I did it. I didn't take step-by-step photos, but I did find some at this cute blog
Word of advice, do these right before serving, as they start to brown around the needle entry and exit points. 

And then I made the teeny-tiny cinnamon rolls. These are actually about the size of a mini muffin. I wanted something I knew that Miss B. would eat. The funny thing is that these were the thing she was most hesitant to try. She was sure they were not what they looked like. They were pretty tasty, and much easier than homemade cinnamon rolls for a mom in a morning rush. 

I found the easy recipe using refrigerated crescent roll dough at Iowa Girl Eats

And a few reactions. :)

And be sure to check out my many other years of April Foolery

April Fools 2013

Since the twins are a little older, I rehashed some old tricks. Mr. T. and Miss B. knew them, but they were fun to play again. 

Here I added just a few drops of food coloring underneath Mr. W.'s cereal, so when the milk is added, it turns a color. 

I made a great "dinner".
We had fried chicken, baked beans, and cake with pink frosting.

I found the recipe for the baked beans and fried chicken at a great little blog, Kitchen Fun with My Three Sons.

I started with large pretzel rods, a little frosting on one end and dipped in melted white chocolate. Then shape a rice crispy treat around it in a drum stick shape. then after cooling cover in a candy coating and roll in slightly crushed corn or bran flakes.

I attempted to make the corn on the cobs to go with it. I should have used her method, because I what I tried failed miserably. I attempted to use candy corns stuffed into a twinkie (I saw it somewhere on pinterest). They do not stay in, and yeah, I gave up and ate a twinkie instead. Maybe I will try her method instead. 

The baked beans were yummy. I think the coloring on her's turned out a little bit better than mine, but they did look like the real thing. 

Our cake was meatloaf covered in dyed mashed potatoes, (you used to be able to view it online at Family Fun magazine, but since Disney bought them out, none of it is there anymore. :( ) but it may you could easily make this Spaghetti Torte Recipe if it fits your families taste better. 

And here are some kid reactions to our dinner:

For the pranks that the kids did, they made a mock cake and the world's tiniest popsicles.

We followed instructions for the Exploding Cake here. I thought that their's looked too uncake like, so we decided to tape the balloon onto an empty cool whip container instead. I set the older two to work on this downstairs while I worked in the kitchen on our surprise dinner. Because of this, the cake did not really explode as planned. In trying to secure the cake onto the bowl, they used a whole lotta duct tape. So much so that the hubs was unable to cut through it with the knife. It deflated instead of popping. But the hubs did not know what to expect inside anyhow, so he thought the joke was just that it was impossible to cut. A lot of laughs ensued, even if it did not go as planned. It was also very very tricky to frost a balloon, just FYI. lol

The world's tiniest popsicles were found at You have to scroll quite a ways to find them, and its just a photo. But it is basically a flat toothpick, broken or cut smaller, inserted into Mike & Ike's Candy.

And be sure to check out my many other years of April Foolery