It’s Time for a Picnic!

It’s finally getting warm and sunny here – just in time for Memorial Day! To me, Memorial Day always indicates the start of summer. What better to do on those warm, breezy summer days than to go on a picnic. The first thing I think of when I think of a picnic, is the classic red and white checkered blanket. Another thing I think of are those pesky ants that want all the sweet picnic food. I combined both of these things to create an art / patterning project for the kids.

Since I work with 2 – 3 year olds, I made the patterning part of the project pretty simple for them. I created a sheet with squares, then marked every other square with an “X.”

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We repeated “red, white, red, white, red, white…” as I pointed to each square, and told them to notice how the “red” always fell on squares with an “X.” After going through this, they did an awesome job finding each “X” and gluing a red square there. Once they had all their squares glued on, they were able to point to each square and say the colors and pattern on their own 🙂

While our red squares dried, we looked through magazines and found foods that we would take on a picnic – hot dogs, sandwiches, chips, crackers, juice, and some fruits and veggies. We had fun talking about what foods we liked and didn’t like as we looked through the magazines.  Each child found 3 items and glued them to their picnic blanket.

The next day, the kiddos used their fingerprints to make some ants on their blankets and food. By this time of year, all of our kiddos know how to count to three, and with assistance, were able to place three fingerprints right next to each other to create the ants. The completed project was a classic picnic scene, complete with the red an white checkered blanket, yummy food and ants.

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Fly Me to the Moon

“Fly me to the moon
Let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On a-Jupiter and Mars”

-Frank Sinatra

I’ve had this song in my head since I started my outer space theme last week. I even used it to title my bulletin board 🙂 There are SO many fun projects that can be done with an outer space theme. I will share some of the projects we did last week.

The first project was creating a moon. I got this idea from one of the 3-year old preschool teachers that I was an aide for. I made a concoction of shaving cream, glue, gray and silver liquid watercolor, white paint and a little glitter. This made a nice puffy “paint.”

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The kiddos painted with the puffy paint mixture on small circles I had cut out from construction paper. After they painted, they used the bottle cap seen in the picture to make “craters” on their moon.

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The next day, I mixed some liquid water color with a small amount of regular blue and green paint and water. The kiddos used the green and blue to paint on a coffee filter to make the Earth. Then we had a little fun with spray bottles. I made a VERY thin mixture of white paint, gold watercolor and water. Again, this mixture was very thin – thin enough to be able to spray out of a spray nozzle. The kiddos used they fine motor skills and hand muscles to squirt the mixture onto black paper. Once everything was dry, they glued their Earth and moon onto their black starry background.

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Our other art project was to make an astronaut helmet (out of paper). The kids colored their helmet, I cut them out then attached paper straps to each side.

It was pretty rainy in our neck of the woods last week, so we had some extra inside time. During free choice, the kids were able to paint a rocket ship at the easel. We also happened to have an astronaut dress-up shirt in our dramatic play area. I took the children one by one and had them put on their astronaut helmet they had colored and the astronaut dress up shirt. I asked each of them “If you were an astronaut where would you go or what would you do?” Their answers were recorded on a chalkboard that they held for a picture. The kids loved dressing up and those paper helmets were in pretty rough shape by the end of the day 🙂

Here is a picture of our bulletin board outside our classroom. I have blurred out any faces and names to protect the children’s identities. The only thing I would change is finding a different way to attach the Earth to the black paper. The coffee filters were very thin and you can see all of the glue lines. I think this was one of the most fun themes I have done!

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Happy Mother’s Day!

First of all, I want to say Happy Mother’s Day to my amazing Mom! I wouldn’t be where I am today without her. Thank you for your unconditional love, even through some tough situations! I know all those gray hairs are from my brother and I, but you rock them well 😉 Love you always!

Happy Mother’s Day to my Mother-in-Law as well! She raised a great man that I am proud to call my husband. We have two amazing moms to look up to and learn from when we have kiddos of our own.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the other Mommies out there that are reading this! I wouldn’t have my job without women like you. Although there are many different parenting styles and teaching styles, you are all special and amazing! I have learned many things from all the moms that have gone through my classroom and I wouldn’t change that for anything.

All week long, we asked the kiddos why their mom was special. By the end of the week, they came up with some great answers:

  • “She takes me places.”
  • “She swims with me.”
  • “We go to Miller’s (a grocery store).”
  • “She cooks for me.”
  • “She picks me up.”

This year, our kiddos made some special gifts just for their moms. My awesome co-lead, Leslie has done this project every year for the moms. Back in April, we planted some marigolds in little paper cups. This last week, the kiddos used some paint markers to decorate a clay pot. They helped fill their pot with soil and we replanted the flowers.

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Leslie attached this cute little poem to a popsicle stick and stuck it in the pots as well.

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Each mom also got a copy of this cute poem- If You Give a Mom a Muffin:

  • If you give a mom a muffin,
    she’ll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
    She’ll pour herself some.
    Her three year-old will come and spill the coffee.
    Mom will wipe it up.
    Wiping the floor, she will find dirty socks.
    She’ll remember she has to do laundry.
    When she puts the laundry into the washer,
    she’ll trip over shoes and bump into the freezer.
    Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan supper.
    She will get out a pound of hamburger.
    She’ll look for her cookbook
    (How to Make 101 Things With a Pound of Hamburger.)
    The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail.
    She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow.
    She will look for her checkbook.
    The checkbook is in her purse,
    which is being dumped out by her two year-old.
    Then she’ll smell something funny.
    She’ll change the two year-old.
    While she is changing the two year-old, the phone will ring.
    Her five year-old will answer and hang up.
    She’ll remember she was supposed to phone a friend
    to come over for coffee.
    Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup.
    She will pour herself some more.
    And chances are,
    if she has a cup a coffee,
    her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

Keeping Life Creative made a cute printable of the poem that you can find here: http://keepinglifecreative.com/keeping-life-creative/if-you-give-a-mom-a-muffin

At the end of the week, we had a Mother’s Day “Tea Party.” We made cookies and lemonade and invited the moms to join us for afternoon snack. After they ate, the kiddos gave their mom the presents they made.

We hope the Moms enjoyed the presents as much as the kiddos enjoyed making them. What is your favorite Mother’s Day present you received or made for your mom?

 

 

 

 

Tissue Paper Butterflies

20160429_150534Tonight I have a super easy project for you! You can do this project at home with your own kids, or in your classroom. You only need a few supplies that you probably already have on hand:

  • Tissue paper
  • Contact paper
  • Scissors
  • Construction paper (I used black)

I do this project a few times throughout the year using different shapes for different themes – raindrop shapes for weather, butterflies for spring, or acorns for fall. I just change the colors of tissue paper used to fit the project. This project is great because it really focuses on having the kiddos use their fine motor skills. I try to have them pick up one piece of tissue paper at a time, and encourage them to lay it flat on the contact paper. It is also a great sensory experience as the contact paper is sticky to the touch.

Now onto the project:

  • Cut various colored tissue paper into smallish squares.
  • Cut out a simple butterfly outline shape using construction paper.
  • Cut out squares of contact paper slightly larger than butterfly shape.
  • Peel backing off of contact paper and place the butterfly outline on the paper.
  • Have your child place tissue paper pieces onto the contact paper inside the shape.
  • Once they are finished, cover the tissue paper with another piece of contact paper.
  • Cut out around butterfly outline.

These look great hung on windows or doors where the sun can shine through the beautiful tissue paper colors.

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