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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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

Let's Draw the Pigeon

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

Happy Dr. Seuss Day!

Hawaiian Luau

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My grandchildren enjoyed another wonderful program at the Commerce Township Community Library.  This time the theme was a Hawaiian Luau!  I never would have thought to include Hula Hoops!  They enjoyed some Hawaiian music and tried out some Hula moves.  They had a chance to try out a few traditional instruments too!

 

Palm trees

The Palm tree bowling was a big hit.  The pins were large soda bottles filled with crumpled blue tissue paper, with laminated palm trees taped on the front.  They used small inflated beach balls to try to knock them down.

 

Lei

They made leis by stringing pre-cut foam flowers alternating with small pieces of pre-cut colored straws.  Great practice making a pattern!

 

Fish

These cute fish were preassembled, but many children could cut the triangle and glue it onto the back independently.  The library program has limited time and lots of fun activities so some projects are often pre-cut.  The children used markers, stickers, bingo markers and glue on jewels to decorate their fish.  They could also cut out shiny scales – just like Rainbow Fish!

 

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There were large beach towels on the floor to play Beach Blanket Bingo, but my kids chose to stand at the table.  I loved the colored shells they used as markers – I am guessing you could color them by shaking them in a baggie with a bit of food color and alcohol.  They were set out in small buckets – so cute and fun!  The high school helper pulled a picture out of her container.  I liked how this game showed some things that are special about Hawaii – birds, flowers, hula, surfing, etc.  The prize for the game was a candy bar – everybody played until they won!bingo

I found some free clipart online in case anyone wanted to make their own bingo boards.

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The kids loved using a plastic stylus to scratch designs in these black shapes.  As they drew with them, pretty colors showed up.  There was string if the children wanted to hang these up.

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Of course they loved the special snack of Hawaiian Punch (what else?) and pretzels mixed with colored Goldfish crackers.

 

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They set out a few books based on Hawaii – Owen was anxious to check one out!

It was a great evening.  Just for fun I looked up a few Hawaiian terms that would be fun to use with children.

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Mahalo  Commerce Library!  It was such a fun evening!

 

 

Pete the Cat

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We got to meet Pete the Cat!

Commerce Township Community Library hosted another fun evening event, this time our activities were all about Pete!  We started out listening to Pete the Cat:  I Love My White Shoes, by James Dean and Eric Litwin.  If there is anyone out there who is not familiar with this set of books, please  check them out.  I still like the first two best, and our activities featured the White Shoes and Four Groovy Buttons.  After the story we were free to visit the stations that were set up around the community room.  I really appreciate all the work, and thought that goes into setting up and organizing these special evenings.  They carefully think through the details and that makes everything go so smoothly.

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Our first stop was this center where we acted out the story by stepping into “a large pile of strawberries!”  and continued around the circle until our shoes were white again, even though they were wet – and it was all good!  It was fun to hear the children using the language from the book – even 19 month old Nora chants off “Goodness no!”

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Next we did the color ring toss.  the rings were painted paper plates, with a hole cut in the center.  We tossed them over painted paper towel tubes that were held upright on another plate.   I called the paper plates “buttons.”  They did a lot of rolling away!

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Next the children made Pete the Cat hats.  All the crafts and games were fun and appropriate for the age range of the children who attended.  As soon as our kids put on their hats they ran over to Pete who was walking around the room, to show him what they had made.

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Next we made Pete the Cat stick puppets.

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I had not seen glue bottles like this before.  They have a small brush attached to the lid, and they worked pretty well, but the glue bottles have to be more than half full.  In my classroom I was always looking for the best way to glue!

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There was a good selection of Pete the Cat books to read, along with a few other fun cat books.

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This was a fun button race game.  We played it on a magnet board, there were two rows of colored buttons – one along each side of the board.  Each player took a Pete marker and began at the bottom.  Then we took turns rolling the special die.  We would land on a colored button or a message that told us we had to go back, or take an extra turn.  The player reaching the top button first won!  This could easily be a table game too.

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I found the picture of Pete the Cat online and put 6 on a page.  I thought they would be great to put on popsicle sticks as pointers too!

Pete pointers 

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This was all organized so nicely!

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And the kids loved it!

It was such a fun time.  There are lots and lots of Pete the Cat activities on Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers.

Harper Collins offers some wonderful bonuses too!  At  http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com/feature/petethecat/‎   you can download 5 of the songs that go with the books, and one video – for FREE!  I have White Shoes and Groovy Buttons on my phone and my grandchildren love to listen to them in the car.  Basically the song downloads are read alouds of the entire books.images-5

When I was searching online I found these Pete the Cat images that would be fun to use in lots of ways.  Children could color their shoes different colors, or make a board game similar to the floor game we played.  These cats could be glued onto folded paper to make stand up game markers.  Here is another activity I came across.  You might even make a graph showing which shoe color is the most popular with your children.

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Another idea I came across was to ask the children to write about where their button might roll, if it popped off.

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Thank you Commerce Library, and thanks Pete!

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More Fun with The Very Hungry Caterpillar

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Our community library hosted another great family event this week, this time all the activities were based on Eric Carle’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Last year I shared some of the ways I used this wonderful picture book with my Kindergarten classes, check out the link under the Insects section if you are interested.  After this terrific evening I have more great ideas to share.   The kids loved getting to meet the giant caterpillar, and they even got a chance to dance with him!  And I got a shameless opportunity to share a picture of my youngest granddaughter!

One of the children’s librarians began the evening by retelling the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar using a flannelboard, felt food pieces and a wonderful sock type Caterpillar puppet.  The felt pieces all had large slits cut in them so they fit over the sock caterpillar on the librarian’s arm.  Very cute!

After that parents and children were free to explore all the projects and activities that had been prepared and set up around the large community room.  It was very well organized and clear instructions were posted on each table giving directions for the craft or game.  Oh – and one of my favorite ideas – they set out adhesive name tags for the children to wear, and they were all punched with several holes, I heard several parents and children laughing and enjoying how the caterpillar must have nibbled on them!

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The first activity my grandchildren decided to do was making Hungry Caterpillar bookmarks.  They used red and green Bingo markers to make their caterpillar on a strip of card stock, then they used a hole punch to make nibble holes, and a hole to tie a ribbon at the end.  I loved having kids use hole punches in Kindergarten, I think it is a great way to help develop hand strength which is so important for fine motor control.  They had a new kind of hole punch for the children to use – they were easy to squeeze and most of the children were able to punch independently.  I am sure I need one of these!

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Here is 2 year old Lily’s bookmark!

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The librarians had made large cardboard cutouts of some of the foods that the caterpillar ate.  They were cut out of corrugated cardboard and painted.  The parents held them up and the children had so much fun crawling through the holes.

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My favorite project of the evening was making butterfly wings!  The project had been prepared ahead of time by cutting open brown grocery bags, they were shaped so they were larger at the outsides and a bit narrower in the center.

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On the back of the grocery bag, the inside of the wings, they attached 2 handles, one on each end.

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The set out glue sticks and small squares of tissue paper, along with crayons to decorate the wings.  They decorated the sides of the bag that did not have the handles.  Glue sticks are by far the most convenient, but a lot of the tissue paper squares fell off because the children didn’t press them into the glue.  I used to use watered down glue and paint brushes, the tissue paper adhered more easily, but sometimes they had to be left to dry awhile and that would not work for the library program.

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But the most fun part was using the wings when they were done!  The children held onto the handles and the wings went across their back.  When they moved their arms the wings flapped in and out!  It was so cute!

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Another fun idea was making pompom caterpillars, glued onto a spring clip clothespin.  The jiggly eyes had already been glued onto the red pompoms.

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The children had fun “feeding” the hungry caterpillar a variety of colors and sizes of pompoms.  This encouraged even my little ones to recall the food from the story – they called the purple pompoms “plums,” the red ones were “apples,” etc.

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The children used dry erase markers for the final activity.  I loved the idea of gluing large pompoms on the ends of the markers as erasers.

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They provided a laminated paper with the numerals 1 – 5.  The children needed to remember the foods at the beginning of the story, and draw them.  Then they put on a cute caterpillar glove (another great idea – the caterpillar was made of felt and glued onto the pointer finger of the glove), and pointed to each food as they retold the story.  At the bottom of the page there was a butterfly that was covered with dry erase marker and they had to rub off the marker to reveal the butterfly.

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So I see the fruit on this paper were not drawn in the right order – of course that wasn’t done by my grandchildren!  Mostly because I prompted them!  It might have helped to have a copy of the book close by in case children needed to check out which food came next, but it really didn’t matter anyway – the whole idea was to think about the story and to have fun!

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It was such a fun time!  Thanks and hugs to the Commerce Township Community Library, and all the dedicated, talented librarians who provide wonderful programs like this for our kids!

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Seeds and Flowers!

Our local libraries have been presenting some great FREE programs for children!  Last night my son and I took the kids to a Spring themed pajama night.  I always wish more parents knew that these great opportunities are available.  These programs include movement songs, stories, crafts, snacks and sometimes even parachute play!   What a great way to introduce children to some of the types of activities they will engage in when they go to preschool or kindergarten.

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This cute flower project made me think about some of the wonderful books I loved sharing with my kindergartners.

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flower seed books3 flower seed books2 flower seed books1 During the spring we always studied seeds and the parts of plants.  That usually included planting some quick growing seeds so the children could watch this exciting process and take home a small flower.

Dr. Jean has a fun song to the tune of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.  It introduces or reinforces the parts of a flower.

Of course the children touch their head, body, stick out their arms for leaves, and their feet for the roots!

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You can find this song on Dr. Jean’s CD – Kiss Your Brain

We made this project using the children’s hands to trace the roots and flowers, then again with their fingers close together for the leaves.

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The children wrote a short phrase about the job of each part of the plant.

Here are the details of the cute project the children made at the library.  I loved this because the children could pull the pipe cleaners down for the roots, and push them up to simulate how the flowers grow!  They always love to make a project they can play with!

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They started out with a 3 oz. paper cup that already was wrapped with paper, and 5 small holes were punched in the bottom.  You could easily make this with fewer flowers, 3 would still be great!

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They provided stickers to decorate the outside of the “flower pot” and the little flowers with holes inside were precut – probably a die cut.  Older children might cut their own flowers too!

The children poked one end of the pipe cleaner through a hole in the cup and put a flower on the other end.  Adults helped the little ones bend the ends of the pipe cleaners to keep them in place.

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Next they stuffed small strips of brown tissue paper into the cup around the pipe cleaners to make it look like dirt.

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With the pipe cleaners pushed all the way up the little flower pot will sit on the table.  The kids loved pulling the flowers down into the pot and pushing them up to “grow!”

Here are the directions that were posted on each table.

directions  I love simple, inexpensive projects that the kids can play with!   You might want to check out your local library and share the information about great programs like this with the families in your class!  Thanks to the Milford Public Library for a fun evening!

Happy Easter!  Happy Spring!

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