Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Egg Timer FLashcards

Egg Timer Flashcards

We are working on telling time to the hour, so to reenforce our learning AND get excited for the Spring I made these "Egg Timer" flashcards. They are super easy to make and a big help for the little ones when it comes to telling time to the hour. 

To begin with, I made some copies of of clocks. I just happened to find one on one of the kids' worksheets. I found some old giant pastel index cards. I used the backs of them since the backs don't have lines. I needed markers, scissors and a glue stick. Once I had everything together I cut out a large egg shape out of each of the 12 index cards. Then I cut each one in half in unique zig zag patterns. 

Next I outlined each egg shape's top and bottom with marker. Not necessary, I just do it to look a bit more eye-catching to the kiddies. 

On the top half of the egg I glued the clock and then assigned it a time. We have a teaching clock here at home that uses a red minute hand and a blue hour hand, so I used the same colors for this project to in order to be consistent. On the bottom half of the egg I just wrote the time that corresponded to what I drew on the top. 

Once I had a complete set, we were ready to practice. You can work with just 3 at a time, half the set or the whole thing. We stretched all the clocks out across the top of our workspace and picked one time at a time. Each child took a turn matching it to the correct clock. 

We have been getting excited about the Springtime and these pastel egg timer flashcards lend to that excitement, plus support learning to tell time.  Hope they work for you!  :)  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Signs of Spring

Searching for Signs of Spring 

On every Spring "sneak preview day" that we have had in between these last very chilly winter days, the kiddies and I have been out on neighborhood walks and hikes searching high and low for signs of Spring. As a way to summarize all their new learning and discoveries we put all the signs of Spring they could think of on a chart to review. 

The kiddies got a kick out of using markers on the big chart paper. 

We used everything we have learned so far in our phonics lessons to help us write the words that went with the pictures. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Easter Egg Painting with Baby

Easter Egg Painting with Baby

Its the time of year to start making Spring crafts. You might have some cute bunnies and fluffy chicks in the works. We have been busy making daffodils out of egg cartons, butterflies out of toilet paper rolls and finger-painted inchworms. But all of those crafts are really appropriate for Big SIster and Brother, not so much for Little SIster who hasn't turned one year old just yet. This is a simple craft that she can do and really enjoy. Plus, it might make a cute little gift to some lucky grandparents!  :)

To begin with, I made a few card stock cutouts of eggs. I ran a bath for the baby prior to beginning. I run it slightly warmer than normal when we do something like this so that by the time the craft is over it is juuuuuust right.  :) I sat the baby in her high chair in her diaper and gave her the first cutout. Then I just add one color at a time to her cutout and leave the design up to her.  When she has had enough I simply pop her into the tub and wipe up the paints. 


Happy Spring everyone!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Herrontown Woods

Herrontown Woods

Two days ago I was outside shoveling. I was happy about it, too. Although most people I know are crying out for Spring to begin, I actually love the winter and am always a little sad to see it end. I was secretly wishing for just one more snow and I got it. But today the temperature was in the high 50's. Waking up to see a bright and beautiful sky and to sense the warm air outside got me excited to go out to play. I love the winter but there is something about Spring that fills me with joy and hopefulness. I was very happy to have had that one last snow but feeling like Spring was truly beginning today made feel excited and full of energy.... and there was no way we were sitting inside all day. 

The husband and I drove our mob of little ones over to a park we have hiked before in Princeton, NJ called Herrontown Woods. Little Sister went into the carrier and I hoisted her up onto my back. Big Sister and Brother were quick to run over to the trailhead. It was obvious to the Husband and I pretty quickly that the olders needed to switch from sneakers to rain boots. The trail was very muddy from all of the melting snow. The kids loved it though. Splashing and sloshing through the mud was very fun to them.

Brother was charged with holding the map and leading the way. It is a job he treasures and does it with a lot of pride. He points our every trail blaze he sees. We followed the red trail and the little man was able to do a great job of keeping us on point. The trails at Herronton Woods are all really well marked. They are well enough marked that I would call this a good beginner trail to venture out on. 

The kids love having fallen trees and other obstacles to climb over along the trail. Between that and the couple of times we need to cross a running stream, the hike really holds their attention and is a lot of fun. 

Here Brother and the Husband are calculating the next move to make it across the stream. Big Sister is watching and waiting for her turn. 

Apparently Brother is quite at home in the woods. Here he is stopping (and relaxing) so he can check his map. 

Big Sis is at home on the trail as well. This trail had a lot of big rocks and she was so happy to climb them all. Here she is striking a pose before jumping back down. 

There is only one cache in this park and we made sure to hunt it down. We haven't been geocaching in a few weeks and the kiddies were excited to make the find. 

With stops to climb over rocks and fallen trees, get out a snack and heading off the trail to hunt down a cache, we took about 2 casual hours to complete the 2 mile hike. It was awesome to be out and to be convinced that Spring was definitely on the horizon. This is our idea of quality family time. Getting in a good hike is always where I would like to be and there is nobody else I would rather do that with than this happy little mob. xoxoxo

Happy Spring everyone! Wishing you lots of opportunities to do some of your favorite outdoor things with some of your favorite people!  :) 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms

Another beautiful and early sign of Spring is the budding of the Cherry Blossoms. I showed my little ones images of cherry blossoms and then helped them get started on making their own cherry blossoms. 

While the kiddies were napping, I painted a handful of trees without blossoms. 

 Once everyone was up and at 'em, I popped some popcorn and squeezed a bunch of glue onto a paper plate for everyone to use. 

Making the blossoms was easy. We dunked a piece of popcorn in the glue and placed it on the tree. Once the artists felt like they had enough blossoms on their trees, we let them sit overnight to dry thoroughly. 

The next morning we used pink paint and dabbed each piece of popcorn with our paint brushes. Dabbing works much better than brushing it on because the popcorn is rather fragile. 

After that, we just needed to let our projects dry again and they were complete. :) 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Daffodil Craft

Daffodil Craft

Spring has sprung!

It is time to start gearing up for springtime! One of the earliest signs of Spring is the appearance of daffodils. We used egg cartons, construction paper and paint to make our own daffodils and get into a Spring-y feeling! 

To introduce this activity, I had the little ones check out a bunch of pictures of daffodils on my iPad. From there we talked about the colors we saw and how things begin to grow in the Springtime. Then it was time to make our own daffodils. 

I cut each individual egg section apart from an unused egg carton. The children simply painted the inside and outside of each soon-to-be-daffodil. 

Everyone got to do 4 or 5 egg carton sections so that there were enough to give away to loved ones. 

I love this activity because Little Sister can get in on the fun, too. She used fingerpaints on her flower. 

My little artistic genius hard at work. 

Busy hands make happy kids! Once all the yellow flowers were painted, we set them on newspaper to dry. We waited until the next day to move on to painting the stems and leaves, but you don't need to. 

Stems and leaves were a few simple strokes of green paint. I modeled one and then sent the kids to task. 

Looking at this picture makes me want to yell, "Where is his smock!?" Luckily, there were no accidents.  :)

Little SIster got in on this fun, too. I painted the stem of her daffodil and we used finger paints to make the leaves. After that, she used up the remaining paint to make her own unique picture. (BTW, despite the look on her face in this picture, Little Sister is always happy to finger paint. haha!) After our stems and leaves were dry, we glued a flower to each one. 

 Happy Spring, everyone!!!! 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Playing Store


I have been using a homeschool math curriculum for both of my olders for over a year. I have been very happy using the Saxon homeschool curriculum for Kindergarten and 1st grade math. Below is one of the lessons in the Kindergarten curriculum that I recently did with Brother. I wanted to share it because it is such a great idea for helping children with learning ordinal position, writing money amounts and counting with pennies. As an extra bonus, its pretty fun and both of my olders like to continue playing store long after the lesson is over. 

 We picked 10 items from around the house and used post its to label a price on each one. Brother picked a price between 1 and 10 cents. I gave him a little guidance to be sure he picked each value just once. 

Writing some of the digits is still a challenge for Brother but he is working very hard. I think the organic coconut oil ended up being very reasonably priced. 

Once all the items were labeled, I challenged Brother to put them in order from lowest value to highest. He wasn't sure where to begin so I asked him where we started when we count, 1! After that it fell into place pretty easily but if it doesn't, I would start at the beginning to help him catch on by counting 1 cent, 2 cents, 3 cents.... 

The next day Brother set up all his items in a "store" and I gave hime 10 pennies. He and I took turns be the customer and the shop keeper. 

When buying an item, he counted out the correct amount of pennies. Then we would figure out if he had enough money to make any other purchases. 

 I loved this lesson when I did it with my oldest and I was happy to see this lesson come up again with my son. It is an easy lesson to extend by using higher values for the prices, introducing other coins and many other ways.  Brother had so much fun with this lesson and had a great deal of success, too.  Win, win!