Christmas Crafts!

We had a fun craft day at Nana’s house today!  In case you are looking for a few festive ways to interact with your little ones and create keepsakes and memories, I thought I would share a few!

IMG_2040

 

This was probably my favorite from today!  I sent some recent photos to Costco and had them enlarged to 8 x 10.  After trimming each face I glued it onto posterboard.  The kids added gold hand print antlers, red noses, and their signatures!  They are precious!  Trying this with the 2 and 3 year old tomorrow!

IMG_2057

I found these empty bulb shaped ornaments at a craft store.  The kids filled them with glitter pom poms, curled ribbons, small pieces of scrapbook paper, sparkly pipe cleaners and foam cubes with letters on them.

IMG_2047

I bought these red chargers at Dollar Tree.  Regular acrylic paint worked great to make the reindeer handprint.  The kids added black feet with their pointer finger in paint, and the face and antlers with a Sharpie.  I think I might go over the Sharpie writing with glitter glue to make the black show up a little better.  Also maybe a thumbprint tail?  The kids used a small circle sponge in white paint to make the dots.

IMG_2050

Each child took 3 tongue depressors (wider than popsicle sticks) and glued them together at the corners.  The trunks are brown posterboard that I put through my crinkle machine.

IMG_2049

 

Then they painted the “trees” green.  After they dried the kids added buttons and foam stars on top.

IMG_7922

 

You might have seen these thumbprint reindeer.  We made individual ones for each child, but I wanted one with all 5 grandchildren on it.  I started with a clear ornament and coated the inside with white paint.  Details were done with a Sharpie.

IMG_3709-600x400

Equal parts cinnamon (from a dollar store!) and applesauce makes a wonderful dough.  After cutting out the shapes I used a straw to make a hole so these ornaments can hang on a tree.  They take a couple of days to air dry.  I borrowed this photo from Pinterest because I didn’t have one of my own.

deer

I used to make these as parent gifts on white muslin fabric when I was teaching Kindergarten.  I sewed a casing at the top and hung it from a small dowel.  So cute!

th copy

These handprint snowmen have gotten very popular.  You just paint the child’s whole hand white, then hand them an ornament and help them gently close their hand so each fingerprint can become a snowman.  After the paint is dry details can be added with Sharpies.

12193665_1718651371695962_4312487640274345368_n

 

Another photo that I borrowed from Pinterest, but I loved doing this craft with my Kindergartners too.  I used to print them on light blue paper, then laminate them.  Instead of drawing on the eyes we used to glue on jiggly eyes and a real pom pom on the hat.

It was a really fun day, making Christmas memories with my grandchildren.  Owen really loved the crinkle machine.  He left this crinkled sign on my door before he went home.

IMG_2061

Super Heroes!

The Commerce Township Library started off their summer reading program with a really fun Super Heroes Day!

IMG_9715

 

There were lots of fun activities and projects.

Masks

They provided precut masks that were cut out of different colors of thin foam sheets.  Small holes were punched on each side and elastic string was tied onto each hole to hold the mask on.  Lots of great materials were provided to decorate the masks – stickers, foam stickers, markers – but the FAVORITE was glitter glue!

Fist jpg

The kids loved putting on these “HULK” type gloves and crashing through cardboard blocks and large Legos.

They were also invited to draw any type of Super Hero they wanted to.  Anna drew Super Blue-y – based on her favorite stuffed dog.

IMG_9702

Capes

I loved these capes made from brown paper grocery bags.  These were also precut in a simple cape shape and ribbon ties were attached at the top.  Larger stickers were provided, along with markers and more glitter glue!

Laser

I’m always happy when they include movement activities in the fun.  They taped and tied red string in a crisscross design to make a pretend laser course for the kids to crawl through.  Another fun detail was the Super Hero duct tape they used to hold the string in place!

Thanks Commerce Library, for another great day!

Tying Shoes!

Years ago we used to practice tying shoes in Kindergarten..  That just doesn’t happen any more.  Between large class sizes, increased curriculum, and the prevalence of velcro fasteners it is no longer a priority.  I used to encourage children to tie, and to help tie each other’s shoes.  I had a ‘Shoe Tying Experts’ board displaying the names of those who could tie (and who could help someone else!)  We celebrated when someone mastered the skill.  But still there were many kindergartners who needed help.  Shoe tying is really a one on one skill to teach anyway.

Yesterday Owen’s teacher showed me a new, easy way to tie shoes!  I have always been a  ‘make a loop and wrap the other lace around it’ kind of girl, but I did know about the two bunny ear method.  This new technique is an even easier way to use those bunny ear loops!

The first step is to pull the laces OUT of the top hole on each side of the shoe.

IMG_9269

Next take the end of the shoelace and push it into the top hole from the outside.  Just stick it in a little way.  Repeat on the other side so both laces are looped back into the inside of the shoe.

IMG_9271

Now pick up the loop that was made on each side and cross them over, one on top of the other.  Leaving the ends of the laces inside the shoe.

IMG_9279

Tuck the top loop under the bottom loop.  Hold the loops and pull them tight.

IMG_9278

Now pick up the two new loops and cross one over the other again.  Once again tuck the top loop under the bottom loop

IMG_9275

Pull the loops to tighten again.  This is much easier than when you tie in the conventional way because there is a bigger space to tuck the loop under after you tighten the loops the first time.

IMG_9276

Straighten the loops – you need to turn them sideways a bit, and pull the ends out of the top holes.

IMG_9282

Now your shoe is tied with a double “knot” that won’t come undone easily!   So unless you have a problem leaving your top eyelets empty – this might be a great way to teach the kids in your life how to tie!

Jack and the Beanstalk


One of my favorite things to do for Earth Week and Spring was to plant seeds and watch them grow.  Large lima beans work great for this, and before planting I always soaked beans in a small amount of water for a few hours, and allowed the children to investigate and explore them.  When the beans are softened it is easy to remove the seed coat, and to open them up and see the roots and shoots inside.  Here is a great recording sheet I found on Pinterest for the children to label the parts of a bean.

LabelPartsofaSeed

And of course studying beans leads so nicely into the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk!   I found another great idea on Pinterest that combines Jack and the Beanstalk and planting beans!

greenbeankindergarten

Here is a page of castles – the children could color them, add cotton balls or fiberfill clouds, then tape them onto pencils or straws and push them into the cup where they planted bean seeds.

castle project jpg

Fairy tales are a wonderful way to encourage children to retell stories.  It’s always fun to read lots of different versions, and then compare and contrast them, but I love just telling fairy tales first.   It is always great to have pictures to use on a magnet or flannel board.

jack-beanstalk-flannel-board (1)

jack-beanstalk-flannel-board2

jack-beanstalk-flannel-board 3

Thanks to pre-kpages and Scrappin Doodles for these images!

Here is a link to a simplified version of Jack and the Beanstalk that I liked to tell.

Story copy

I also love to have the children act out stories, here are some pictures of the characters you could use for headbands or necklaces.

Characters 1

Characters 2

Here are some pictures that could be used for sequencing or retelling the story too.

sequence  You might put these pictures onto writing paper, and ask the children to write a sentence about what is happening in each picture.

story pics

My grandson in Kindergarten this year has been learning about persuasive writing.  I thought it would be fun for the children to discuss and write about whether Jack was right or wrong to take the hen and magic harp from the giant.

Jack

Here are some giant footprints.  They could be copied onto construction paper or cardstock and tied onto the children’s feet to retell the story, or they could just be cut out and used to measure things or distances in the classroom.

Giant feet

footsteps

I hope you have a great time celebrating Spring and loving the earth!

Shh! We Have A Plan!

00efd8f713cb68154e5757b3395820bb

A friend blessed me with a wonderful new picture book by an author who was unfamiliar to me.  Shh!  We Have A Plan by Chris Haughton is an adorable simple story with remarkable illustrations.  Right away I started to think about how I would have used this book in Kindergarten.

The basic story is how 4 friends were walking in the woods, trying to catch a bird, and each character had a different plan.  This is a wonderful picture book for young children to “read” to themselves because the pictures easily portray the story.  There are only a few words on each page, many of them common sight words, and there are repetitive phrases throughout the story.

Because of the simple text and repetitive phrases I thought this would be a fun story for the children to act out.  Here are some simple pictures of the characters that could be stapled on headbands, mounted on a dowel, or worn on a string around the children’s necks.

characters

characters2

The 3 largest friends say “LOOK!  A bird!”  The smallest guy says “hello birdie”

Then the larger 3 people say “shh  SHH!  We have a plan.

ready one, ready two, ready three… GO!

These phrases are repeated through the book.  There are also simple motions:  tiptoe slowly, climbing slowly, paddling slowly; that the children could act out.

 

This book would be great for teaching simple inferences – what time of day do you think it is?  What do you think he plans to do?  The plans concocted by the characters are shown by the illustrations, not by the text.  They can tell why the characters are holding nets.  In general the text does not tell what is going on, the reader relies on pictures.

This book also encourages children to draw on their prior knowledge – they can identify the bird cage, ladder and log that are used, but not named, to try to capture the bird.  They will recognize that the character holding up an open palm is gesturing the others to stop.

Another way to retell this story would be a simple cut and paste activity that focuses on beginning, middle and end – or problem, events and resolution.

Sequencing sheet

Sequencing pics

There are 2 sets of pictures on this page, each child only needs one of each item.

The fun ending of this book lends itself to the idea of a circle story, or coming up with new plans!

Catch squirrel

 

My favorite  part of this book is that the smallest friend had the best idea – he kept repeating it, did not get involved in the other characters plans, and in the end his plan worked very well.  I think this could lead to some great discussions about how everyone has important ideas, and listening to each person, and valuing their contribution is important.  We might discuss that although that character appeared younger and smaller than his friends, he still had the best plan.

On his website Chris Haughton provides some coloring pages and activities as well.

worksheet-plan

Oiseau-2.indd

I especially like this page full of bird parts.  Children can choose different pieces to put together and design their own beautiful bird – or they could just draw or cut and paste their own creation!

 

worksheetA3

 

My grandchildren loved hearing the story – we had to read it 3 times right away!  I hope you love it too!  Can’t wait to read the other books  by Chris Haughton.

 

The Pigeon Party!

IMG_8590

Our family spent another fun evening at Commerce Township Community Library celebrating the Pigeon, and other favorite Mo Willems characters.  If somehow you haven’t met and fallen in love with these books, take some time to look at them.  All of my grandchildren love them, from 15 month old Max to 6 year old Owen; and I know they will keep enjoying them for a long time.

books

Here are a few that were on display at the Pigeon Party.  Our favorites are probably Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and Knuffle Bunny, but we haven’t read them all either!

They began the special evening by reading a Mo Willems book and giving the children a chance to try out some special dances:  Piggie Jiggle, Twist and Snout, Air Piggie, Shakin’ Bacon, Happy Hooves, Elephant Slide, The Shy Guy, The Funky Trunky, Jumbo Gumbo, and Rob-Gerald 3000.

After dancing the families were free to explore all the great centers that were set up around the room.

Paper bag puppets

The kids loved making paper bag puppets, they could choose either the Elephant or Piggie.

pig puppet

 

elephant puppet

 

Duckling They had fun pretending to be the duckling or the pigeon trying to “eat” a cookie.  The head with an eye was glued onto a spring clothespin and the children counted how many pom poms they could pick up.  Some of the pom poms were decorated to look like chocolate chips – or nuts?

Knufflebunny pics

The illustrations in the book Knufflebunny, and Knufflebunny too are photographs with the characters drawn into the scenes.  For this activity the children chose a large photograph and colored and glued on any characters they liked.  There were lots of background photos to choose from, as well as a whole bunch of characters.

characters

Bird on head

The children enjoyed trying to walk carrying a paper nest filled with plastic eggs on their heads.  I am not sure which book this is from!  I need to check it out!

Scan 371

This Mad Lib activity was great for the school aged children who attended.  Even the little ones could make suggestions to fill in the blanks.

Elephant and Piggy

I loved seeing what all my grandchildren drew and wrote in their cartoons.

Let's Draw the Pigeon

piggie-drawing2

elephant  drawing

 

 

The children had fun making play dough clothes to cover up the Naked Mole Rat!

Mole rat

There are lots of wonderful ideas for extensions of more Mo Willems books on Pinterest, and also on Mo Willems’ website.  Thanks again Commerce Library!

 

 

 

The Cat in the Hat!

Monday was my regular day to volunteer in my grandson’s Kindergarten class, and they were celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday!   I learned a new Cat in the Hat song, to the tune of the Addams Family – including the finger snaps!

Song

After singing this song several times the class made a book to go with it.  I adapted it a little, leaving spaces for the children to write the c and h for cat and hat.  You could also put up this chart for the children to read with a pointer!  I am sharing the book with 2 on each page so you could just xerox it on the collate mode, then cut it in half to make 2 books in one.

Cat in the hat book1

Cat in the hat book2

Cat in the hat book3

Cat in the hat book4

Cat in the hat book5

Cat in the hat book6

Cat in the hat book7

Cat in the hat book8

Cat in the hat book9

Cat in the hat book10

Cat in the hat book11

The final page of the book gives children a chance to write words from the AT family.  In Owen’s class they highlighted word wall words – using highlighters is always a hit!

Then the children did another fun project.

IMG_8558

It was my job, as a volunteer, to paint the children’s hands.

First I painted their right hand – white palm and blue fingers.  I pressed their hand near the top of a 9 x 12 piece of paper.  Then I painted their left hand all red – except I left their ring finger without paint, to give Thing 1 and Thing 2 both legs and arms.  I turned the paper upside down and made the red handprint, just touching the white palm.

IMG_8561 copy

After it dried we painted an oval in the center of Thing’s body.

IMG_8562

During the afternoon the children added the face and a numeral 1 or 2 on the circle.  Lots of fun!

Happy Dr. Seuss Day!

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,258 other followers