Bones!

Halloween is a great time to talk about how skeletons are not just a scary decoration, but really part of our body.

One of my favorite things to do around Halloween was to teach my Kindergartners the BONES Song by Dr. Jean Feldman.  You sing it to the tune of Macarena.  If you would like to hear it, I found several examples on YouTube by typing in Dr. Jean Bones Song.

 

Here are the words:

My Kindergartners would touch each part of their body as they sang the words.  The best part was when parents told me their kids would sing this when they visited their Pediatrician!

Here are a few fun skeleton books:

We also made these big skeletons and posed them in funny ways around our classroom.  Sometimes we cut the sides of of the paper plate faces to look more like skulls, but I kind of like the round, happy look!

I liked this project so much I still use it to decorate for my grandchildren!!

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

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Birthday Time!

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Our twins and their big brother all have birthdays within a week,  The celebrations lasted about a month!  So much fun!  They included a Mermaid/Pirate pool party, an all out bash at a local indoor playground/arcade/crazy place, and finally a family party at home.  They had a lot of discussion trying to choose a theme for the at home party and decided to make it all about their favorite stuffed animals – Pink Bunny, Blue Dog, and Reglar Sheepy (the favorite among a slew of sheep, spelling of Regular is intentional!  Others are Flat Sheepy, Nana Sheepy, Lavender Sheepy… can’t remember them all!)

We started out by following animal footprints as our guests entered the house, and completed an obstacle course.

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I planned a game, a craft and a step by step drawing activity for each animal.  Here are the drawings:

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draw-a-dog

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The first game we played was Pet Shop Escape.  I used clipart to make necklaces, either a sheep, dog or bunny.  Each child chose one and sat on a colored foam square that were placed in a circle.  If any of you remember a very old game called Fruit Basket Tip Over – this game was a variation of that.  We called out 2 animals, for example “bunny and sheep.”  All the children wearing either of those necklaces got up and changed places.  Sometimes we called only one animal at a time.  When we said “Pet Shop Escape” all the kids got up and scrambled for a different colored square.

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The next game was Bunny and Carrot.  I cut out a felt carrot and glued a picture of a bunny (on cardstock) onto a popsicle stick.  The kids sat in a circle.  I chose Lily – my bunny lover – to go first.  She took the bunny and went around a corner where she couldn’t see.  I gave the carrot to one child and we all hid our hands in our laps so she wouldn’t see who was holding the carrot.  We called her back by this chant:

“Bunny, Bunny!  Come and see!  Who has the carrot?  Is it me?”

She came back and guessed one person.  We told her if she was hot (close to the person) or cold (far away.)  She had 3 guesses.  Then the person who had been hiding the carrot became the bunny and the previous bunny chose who would hide the carrot.  We did it again and again until everyone had a turn.

bunnny-carrot

The final game was “Who Let the Dogs Out?”

This was a take off on musical chairs.  I didn’t want anyone to get eliminated so everyone sat in a circle and passed a bag (decorated with a dog) around as we played the song Who Let the Dogs Out on an ipod.  When the music stopped the child holding the bag opened it and took out a candy kiss.  I planned to put small toys in the bag but realized it would take them a long time to reach in and choose – the same candy for everyone made it fast and simple.

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Here are the pictures I used for the Bunny/Carrot game and the dog on the bag.

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For the Sheep project the kids used a straw to blow bubbles into a small container of water, dish soap and a small amount of paint.  I put the container into a disposable pie pan to catch the overflow.

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Next they gently pressed a paper containing a large cloud shaped sheep body onto the bubbles.  They repeated blowing and pressing until the body was filled with bubble prints.

 

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Then they cut out the body and a pre-printed head, and cut 4 legs for their sheep; and glued it all together.  They added fiberfill for a tail and cottony top of the head.

sheep

 

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Here are the sheep heads we used.  At school I would have the kids cut and create their own heads but our group included several preschoolers so I printed them.

sheep-face

We used a melting tray for the Bunny project.  I got this warming tray as a wedding gift in 1972.  Never used it until I found out what a great tool it is for melting crayons when I started teaching Kindergarten.  Easily found at garage sales now!

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I guess it has seen better days but still works fine.  These trays are electric and meant to keep food warm at a buffet.  I always caution children not to touch the surface and use it with supervision, it gets quite warm but would not cause a serious burn – and they love it!

hot-tray

I peel crayons ahead of time (this goes fast if you slit the paper with an Exacto knife.)   I usually turn up a corner of the paper for the kids to hold onto so the paper doesn’t move while they are coloring.  They need to begin coloring a little slowly until the crayon starts to melt.  It makes a neat effect, looks like wet paint, but it hardens immediately when you remove it from the warming tray.  I printed off a selection of bunny pictures for them to color.  At school I sometimes covered the tray with foil and let the kids draw on the foil, then laid a paper onto the foil to make a print.

Here are the bunny picture choices:

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Our dog project was a puppet on a popsicle stick.

dog-puppet

I found the idea on Pinterest – they used a paper plate, but I know it can be tricky to glue stuff onto the ruffled edge of a paper plate so I cut out circles from cardstock instead.  I made a sample dog and they were free to create any kind and color of dog they liked.

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Of course every Birthday party needs cake so I made Dog and Sheep cupcakes and Bunny shaped brownies.  They were a hit!

cupcakes

bunnies

We went outside for a little parachute play – including bouncing and tossing stuffed dogs, bunnies and sheep!  Another fun day playing with my grandchildren!!

parachute

Nana Camp – Bear Week!


brown bear pics

Brown Bear, Brown Bear was a fun way to start our bear week.  I found these wonderful pictures on pinterest – check out the site to download them if you’d like!  I put magnets on the back and had Nora and Max put them up on the board as we read the story.  We reread it all week!

Brown Bear Strip copy

I reduced the pictures and printed them off in a strip.  The kids cut them apart and helped put a small magnet on the back of each of their pictures.

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Another fun idea from Pinterest – on the site they glued a strip of velcro along the length of a paint stir stick, I only had sew-on velcro so I used magnets instead.

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I think I will be able to reuse this stick to retell other stories too!  They loved having their own small version.

Memory bear

I copied these images onto cardstock and we played Memory.  I colored mine but if you want the children to concentrate more on the shapes than just colors you could use them in black and white.  Or it might be fun to ask the children to remember what color each animal was in the story.

Goldilocks and the 3 Bears!

3 Bears song magnets1

3 Bears song magnets2

I read a couple of versions of the 3 Bears story, and used these pictures to retell it on the magnet board.  I taught the children a simple song that told the highlights of the story too.

Song – 3 Bears – tune of 3 Blind Mice

3 Brown Bears

3 Brown Bears

See all the beds

See all the chairs

The mama cooked in a big round pot

The papa’s porridge was much too hot

The baby bear always cried a lot,

3 Brown Bears

After singing it all week I made a book for the children using this song and the pictures from the magnet board.

Bear song book1

Bear song book2

Bear song book3

Bear song book4

Because they had been singing it with the pictures they could turn the pages and “read” it too.  Nora was even pointing to some of the words.

Goldilocks copy

I made a Goldilocks pointer for each of them by gluing her onto a popsicle stick.

Bears Bed copy

We had fun playing 5 Bears in the Bed too.

smaller bears

I enlarged these a little for my magnet board, and copied these for the children to color.  Nora cut her own.

Bears in bed

You probably know this song (chant)

5 bears in the bed and the little one said

I’m crowded, roll over

So they all rolled over and one fell out

4 bears in the bed …

1 bear in the bed and the little one said

I’m lonely!

We sang it with hand motions and took the bears off the bed as we sang it every day too.

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Of course we had to do it with Teddy Grahams too!

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We used our new table for pudding paint.  The kids helped me mix up some instant chocolate pudding.  I put a few spoonfuls on the tray and let them play – and then lick their fingers!

pudding bear

When they had had enough fun we made a print of the pudding by laying this bear shape onto the pudding and gently pressing it down.

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I wanted to cut out the bear shape but decided I liked the words at the top too!

It was a Bear-y fun week!  (sorry)

Mother’s Day Project

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Aren’t these adorable magnets?  Last year I made some refrigerator magnets using cute scrapbook paper and glass “gems” I bought at Michael’s Craft Store.

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These gems come in two sizes, but I only used the smaller ones.  I think these larger ones would work well too!  For my project I used a scrapbook circle punch and glued that picture on the flat side of the glass gem.  My creative daughter in law, Sheri, made this project much more adorable by using pictures that my grandchildren drew instead of the scrapbook paper!

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First she traced some circles and asked the children to draw a simple picture inside.

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Then she laid the pictures on her printer/scanner and reduced them to the size of the glass gems.

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She used Modge Podge to glue each picture onto the flat side of a glass gem.  These need to dry well before moving onto the next step.

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We both tried to hot glue the magnets onto the back of the pictures but found that this strong glue works much better.  An adult really needs to do this step, children should not use this glue.

You might want to set these on waxed paper or parchment paper to dry, just in case there is a drip of glue that might stick to other paper.  Also you have to space them apart to dry because these magnets tend to stick together!

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Sheri found the cute flowers at a craft store too, they came in different colors and sizes.  When she glued a flower behind each magnet they were even cuter!  They look so cute on my refrigerator!

Hope you all find ways to celebrate the mothers in your life, and have a wonderful Mother’s Day yourself!

 

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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Super Heroes!

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

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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!

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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.

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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!

The Pigeon Party!

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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!

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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

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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!

 

 

 

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