Wednesday, March 31, 2010

50 Best Blogs for Early Childhood

Well.  This may sound a bit like I’m tooting my own horn, but I’m just very excited about it and wanted to share it with all of you. :)

Online Degrees is a website “dedicated to helping students find the best accredited online college to pursue their associate's, bachelor's, or graduate degree.”  (Taken from their home page here.)

On top of this basic mission of Online Degrees, they have articles on education and a recently started blog where various aspects of education are discussed.

Their most recent article is titled “50 Best Blogs for Early Childhood” and Tired, Need Sleep is listed along with 49 other wonderful blogs!  I’m anxious to go check them out, and I hope you will too! :)

Thank you all for reading this silly little blog of mine… I’m continually surprised at how many real friends I’ve made through blogging. 

Have a beautiful day! :)

Book Review – To Be Like Jesus by Ann Shields

This book is a series of 31 meditations on the Gospel of Luke.  It is thoughtfully written and very thought-provoking.  As I began, I wasn’t sure I liked the author’s tone… I often felt as if I were being spoken down to, scolded almost… as if she were assuming that I am not serious about my faith, or at least not as serious as she is.  I take more kindly to those authors who have a “we are all in this together, let’s learn together about how best to love God and be holy” kind of attitude.  However, I kept reading and eventually was able to lay aside my initial impression because of the deeply moving content of the meditations.  And well, if I am honest, sometimes I am in need of a little scolding. ;)
The author writes short reflections on 31 passages in Luke; each scriptural passage is printed out in full at the beginning of each chapter, which is very handy, and I loved that I was getting in a little actual Bible reading as I made my way through the book.
The main point of each chapter, and of the book as a whole, is to come to a deeper understanding of God’s love for each one of us personally.  And how the understanding of that great love makes us more loving towards others, and more like Jesus.  She makes a strong and important point about how we need to take time away from the many distractions of life and focus on our spiritual well-being and our relationship with God.  This really hit home for me, and I gained so much wisdom and insight from this little book… it was the perfect thing for me to read during Lent, and in preparation for Easter. 
This review was written as part of the Catholic book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on To Be Like Jesus.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Letter Dd Lapbook

While M was sick last week I gave myself a break from housework (well, except laundry, dishes, and cooking) and spent some time completing a few projects. This lapbook was one of them and I’m excited to share it with M this week. The entire lapbook is laminated so M can use dry-erase markers for some of the activities.

First, Things that Begin with D:blog pictures 041blog pictures 044

Color the Daffodils (laminated right onto the folder):blog pictures 037

Which Dinosaur is Different?:blog pictures 038blog pictures 039

Writing Skills Practice:blog pictures 034Trace the D and d on the outside of the pocket, and follow the lines on the little card inside to help the baby ducks find the mother duck.

Sorting upper and lower case letters:blog pictures 028blog pictures 032

Dinosaur Patterns (I chose to laminate this right onto the back of the folder, but I did include a pocket for this in the printables – your choice.):blog pictures 029
We’ve been doing a lot of other dinosaur activities too… I hope to post about them soon!
You can download all the pages for this lapbook here. Use them as activity packs or in workboxes… however you want!

Have a beautiful day! :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Art Box – March 29, 2010

As many of you know, we rushed home from our trip to visit my parents and ran right into a bout of pneumonia (which thankfully is getting better), and of course I did not give the Art Box a single thought all week.
However, the week we were in Missouri M did ask to paint. His exact words were, “When can I paint? I haven’t painted in So Long.”
So I knew he had art on his mind and wasn’t surprised when he got out the art box from a couple of weeks ago the very evening we came home (before he was too sick). Here’s what he did in that one sitting…
Marble painting:art box 100
Tempera painting (darn it, there was a story that went with this one that I can’t remember!):blog pictures 084
Some marker drawing and stamping - this was a song he wrote:art box 100 (1)
Do-a-Dot painting, “for springtime”:art box 100 (2)
By the way, to do the very cool marble painting, tape a piece of paper (sturdy construction paper or cardstock if you have it) to a pan with a small piece of double stick tape. M used a baby spoon to put globs of paint on the paper, then placed a marble on each glob (yep, technical term). Then he slowly tilted the pan around and watched the marbles make their tracks. Occasionally he stopped to look at it and decide what else it “needed”:
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He’s done this before with a golf ball, which, incidentally, made very cool tracks, so when I put marbles and a pan in his art box he knew what the idea was. It’s pretty mess-free, but the first time takes a little guidance so the pan doesn’t get tipped completely over. For a toddler, you could use a shoebox and secure the lid on with a couple of rubber bands, let your child shake it up a bit, then look to see the masterpiece inside!
I can’t wait to see the artwork your kids have made! Link up below. :)
Have a beautiful day! :)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tot School – March 28, 2010

imageM is 42 months old.

Wellllll…… M had pneumonia this week.  So, we did not do much of anything except read books and watch tv.  My poor, poor baby.  We went to the doctor on Monday and he immediately started getting better after starting the antibiotics, but he’s still not back to normal.  (We’d appreciate prayers, if you are willing!)

The following is a smattering of this and that from past weeks that haven’t yet made it into a post, in no particular order as I’m not up to organizing anything right now…

We visited my parents who live on our family farm in Missouri.  It is more of a hobby farm now than anything (in its glory days it was a magnificent dairy farm, with horses and sheep to boot).  M loved feeding the chickens, and hearing the rooster crow!ts mo

While we were there we made a trip to Bass Pro (a major outdoor sports / hunting mall.  They had a lot of wonderful displays, including these sweet turtles: ts mo (2) ts mo (3)

And this grizzly bear, whom he agreed to stand next to if Auntie M would hold him:ts mo (4)


I found a small foam ABC puzzle mat - the squares come apart and the letters all come out – for $1.00 at Walmart.  Here M is lining them up like a  train.  After he finished placing the letters in he “drove” it (pulled it) all around the house.

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I took all the soft stuff out of our previous sensory bin and left the hard glass pebbles and marbles in.  I found a gumball machine at Dollar Tree and added it in.  Here’s M figuring out how it works (it was perfect for the marbles!): sensory (2)   (And, um, WHY does my baby look so long in this picture?)

This past week we did do one school-ish activity (later in the week, when he started improving and actually got dressed)… our egg game, which you can read about here. We played it and a couple of other games quite a bit, and although I hate for M to be so sick, I have to say I enjoyed the slower pace of our days this week.  Anyway, here we are playing the game:ts 300 (4)

And after we finished, we quickly graphed our chicks and other animals to see who had more before we actually counted them:ts 300 (5) 

Beginning next week (or the next school post I get around to writing), I’ll be linking these posts up to the Preschool Corner instead of Tot School.  I’ve been in denial that my baby is growing up, but have decided that our posts are probably more preschool-oriented now, although I do intend to keep school activities play-based and fun… no formal curriculum of any kind yet.  I hope all of you who read our Tot School posts will continue following M’s progress and our weekly activities!

Have a beautiful week, everyone! :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Books of the Week – March 27, 2010

Click the button above to read about more great books for kids!
The Golden Egg Book, by Margaret Wise Brown:imageThis is a fun book for Easter that reminded me of stories I enjoyed as a child.  The illustrations are beautiful and  simple and in our house this has been a favorite all around.  A little bunny finds an egg and wants to know what’s in it… so he kicks it, rolls it down a hill, and does what he can to find out.  It’s so sweet and I don’t want to spoil the book for you, so I’ll just say he gets a taste of his own treatment and ends up with a friend.  And no one is ever lonely again. :)  Well, that may be going overboard a bit, but it truly is a sweet book that I think almost any child would enjoy.

What’s Up, What’s Down?, by Lola M. Schaefer:image This is an interesting and unique book that absolutely fascinates M.  You turn the book on it’s side and for the first half you follow arrows pointing up and find out what’s above a mole digging in the ground, etc.  all the way to the moon.  Then you turn the book around and follow arrows downward, finding everything that is below the moon all the way to the depths of the oceans.  It is pretty neat and I think adults and children alike will enjoy reading it!
Check out Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns for more book recommendations!
Have a beautiful day! :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Easter Basket Counting Game

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This is a pretty simple game…. place the baskets in numerical order from 0 – 10 (obviously you can do 0-9 or 1-10 if you prefer), then place the correct number of eggs in each basket.  Here’s what the playing pieces look like:imageOR place the egg with the correct number of flowers painted on it in each basket.  OR turn it all into a file folder game and do both.

I decided to create a file folder game.
I laid the baskets out on the inside of my folder and taped them down with small pieces of double stick tape along the top and bottom edges.

Then I laminated the entire folder with contact paper.  (Note:  I tried adding a pocket for the game pieces, but it just wasn’t working for so many pieces.  I ended up putting them in a zipper baggie which I stapled to the back of the folder.)

Next, I took a very sharp pair of scissors (you could use an exacto knife) and made a slit in each basket.  I had to be careful to go only through the top layer of contact paper and the basket, and not through the file folder itself.  This turned the baskets into little pockets for the pictures 010
M counts out the correct number of eggs and then places them in the appropriate basket/pocket:blog pictures 020 Then, if he wants, he places the flowered eggs in the correct baskets:blog pictures 023
Despite the lengthy instructions for putting this together, it actually only took about 1/2 hour.  Let me know if you use it… we are really loving it!

The printables can be downloaded here.

Have a beautiful day! :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Art Box – March 22, 2010


Whew!  We are home again and slowly getting back to normal.  Our trip to visit my parents began on the 12th and we were back home on the 20th.  My apologies for not responding to emails and comments and those of you who linked up last week… we were cursed with a painfully slow internet connection all week.  I did only what was absolutely necessary online.  Hopefully I will get around to going through a very full inbox sometime this week.  We also brought home some sort of cruddy cold virus, so be patient with me! :)
M colored a lot of pictures for Nama (my mom) and made some collages too, but I just wasn’t up to getting pictures.   I did snap a shot of this cute vase he made: blog pictures 076
And this necklace for Auntie M:blog pictures 081
Link up your Art Box posts below!
Have a beautiful day! :)


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Easter Egg Games

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Last Easter (pre-blog) M was 2 1/2 and crazy about opening and closing plastic Easter eggs.  He could not stop playing with them.  He was also obsessed with trucks at the time and the idea of flat tires.  Every day he hoped out loud that we would get a flat tire.  Nothing would have made him happier. :)

Well, these loves/obsessions/fantasies of his all came together in my mind one day and I put together a little game for him, which we have been playing all year long.  Seriously.  Our plastic eggs were never put away, and my husband and I now groan whenever M mentions the “flat tire game”.  It is actually pretty fun…  at first.  52 weeks later, it can get a little old. ;)

It has been such a hit that I’ve thought about posting about it before now, but decided to wait until it’s kind of normal to have plastic eggs out and about.  And I’ve changed it up a bit too, with new clip art, which makes it into a brand new game in the mind of a now 3 1/2 old.  (I wish I could share the trucks and flat tires clip art, but I have no idea where I found it!)

This is what the game pieces look like:image

And here’s a color cube (with playing instructions) to go with them:image (If  your plastic eggs are not these particular colors, there’s a black and white version that you can color in.)

Put the game pieces in the eggs; there are 20 chicks and 5 other animals.  The other 5 animals (cow, elephant, giraffe, zebra, and lion) each get their own egg.  You can give each chick its own egg too, or put several in one egg and just a couple in another, etc.   It depends on how long you want the game to last and how many eggs you have on hand.  Place the filled eggs in a basket and mix them around.

To play, each person takes a turn rolling the color cube then selecting an egg of that color.  Open the egg and see what you have.  If it’s a chick, yay!  You get another turn.  Put the chick in front of you and discard the opened egg.  If it’s an animal whose life doesn’t really begin in an egg, your turn is over and it’s the next person’s turn.

Count the chicks at the end and see who has the most!

We’ve played some variations of this, which are just as much fun.  Those variations are explained in the .pdf file.

It's a good game for counting, learning to take turns, and learning that some animals hatch from eggs and others  are born from mamas.

Click here for the printables.

Have a beautiful and fun day! :)


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