Monday, July 26, 2010

Photo problems… help!

This morning I had a strange error on my blog, but it hasn’t shown up since.  I can see all of my pictures just fine (even when I’m not signed in to blogger), but have been told by a couple of readers that they are seeing some of the photos on the blog have been deleted.  Anyone know what’s going on???  And how to fix it??? :)

Thanks for any help you can give!

We had family from New York visiting last week and most of our time was spent just having fun with cousins.  The Art Box did not see much action, but I did capture a couple of creative moments… these were times when a very over-tired 3 year old who doesn’t take naps anymore needed something quiet to do.  While sitting in one spot. ;)
First, a little sand art, which is always a huge hit with M.  Michael’s has these cute little containers and M used a funnel to fill them up with colored sand: july2010 063
july2010 085
Also, some drawing on the side of the fridge with window markers.  This was a novel idea for him and kept him happy and creative for a good half hour at least:
july2010 064(His “snowman” drawing)

If you have a kid's art post, link it up below! Be sure to link back here somewhere in your post.

Have a beautiful day! :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

ABC Collage and Trace Book

I’ve written about M’s little ABC binder before.  He still uses it on a regular basis and enjoys it.

There are two parts to this little book (a 3-ring binder, actually).  First, each letter has a tracing page.   Both upper and lower case letters are on one page, and they each take up about half the page.  It’s so much easier for children to learn to write using large spaces… once they get the movement down, they’ll be able to start making their letters smaller and smaller.image These are placed in page protectors and then clipped into the binder.  M uses a dry-erase marker to trace them, then erases them with a small piece of felt.

Secondly, each letter has a collage page that goes beside it, showing things that begin with that letter.  I print out a page of clip art and a page that is blank except for the letters in the middle:
image M calls these his “cutting pages” and LOVES them.  He cuts out the pictures and glues them onto the blank letter page.  This isn’t about precise cutting, and he leaves a pretty good border of white around each picture.  The clip art is spaced widely apart to allow for plenty of room.

The finished collage page is then placed in a page protector and added to the binder, next to the tracing page.  He can “read” his abc book by himself and practice tracing the letters any time he wants!

It’s been such a great project for him that I decided to make it available as a printable.   The file download includes the tracing pages for each letter, a page of clip art, and a page to glue the pictures onto after they are cut out.  Each letter has 5 pieces of clip art except for X and Z.  C and G both have two sets of clip art – one for the hard C or G sounds, and one for the soft C or G sounds.

Go here for the download, or click on one of the images above. 
Have a beautiful day! :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Art Box – July 19, 2010

I bought a little tote to go along with M’s Art Box last week.  This way we can keep all his usual stuff in one spot and he can add more fun things to the actual box.  In the tote are paintbrushes, glue, pens (which I’ll switch out for colored pencils, pastels, or markers occasionally), scissors, his tiny paint palette, and a small container of collage items like macaroni, pom-poms, etc. july2010 077
I let him pick 3 items from each drawer (there are two craft drawers that are his “art box drawers”.  He chose a bundle of old fabric, cotton balls, a wooden snake with paints, coffee filters, electrical tape, and some stickers.  I picked a variety of papers for him to use.july2010 078
*Note how messy the box is now that I let M pick the items for it?  There’s no time to pretty it all up before snapping a quick photo. You’ll have to just take my word for what’s in there! :)
First he made… well, what are these?july2010 061He was so very proud of them, and told me he had thought up something that no one else had ever made before.  I think he just might be right about that. ;)
He had a great time painting his little wooden snake from Michael’s:july2010 070
 july2010 080
And then he grabbed a piece of dark green velvet (it looks black in the photo), and glued cotton balls all over it.  He told me he had made a “collage of very soft things”:july2010 075
So, yes – his art was interesting this past week, but he enjoyed himself, was excited about it, and probably even learned something – I call that a success.  And I don’t mind that it keeps him busy while I blog either. ;)

If you have a kid's art post, link it up below! Be sure to link back here somewhere in your post.

Have a beautiful day! :)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Books of the Week – July 17, 2010

If it were up to M this week, you’d be hearing about Thomas the Train and nothing else.  If you have a Thomas and Friends lover, check out the book in the carousel above (Thomas’ Big Storybook); it is definitely the favorite around here these days. 

However, I’m going to spare you Thomas.  :)  Or maybe I’m just sparing myself!

My favorite of the week was Raggedy Ann and Rags, adapted from the stories by Johnny Gruelle:


M picked this up at the library without my noticing, and I was excited to see it in the pile when we checked out.  I loved Raggedy Ann and Andy when I was a child, and had forgotten about these great, detailed stories.  This book probably took us a good 20 minutes to read, but M hung on every word.  The story tells of how Rags (the dog) was found and then has his first adventure – where he helps the other toys save Raggedy Ann and another doll from floating away to sea. It’s really such a great and engaging story, and captured M’s imagination with the idea of toys having a secret life of their own, and I can’t wait to find more of these!

We also liked Elliot’s Shipwreck, by Andrea Beck:

We like all the Elliot Moose stories, and this was no exception.  It’s a great story of friendship, adventure, imagination, and problem solving!  A great add on activity for this book would be making little boats from various materials and seeing which ones work and which ones get shipwrecked!

For more reviews of children’s books, check out Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns and Feed Me Books Friday. Have a beautiful day! :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Summertime Sidewalk Painting

july2010 056 Last summer we had a lot of fun making sidewalk paint and using it on our patio.  I had completely forgotten about this great activity, but apparently it stuck with M, who asked me about it a few days ago. 

Here’s the oh-so-simple recipe:
1 part cornstarch to 1 part cold water
5 to 6 drops of food coloring for each color you want to make.
We used 2/3 Cups of both cornstarch and water.  And we ended up with two good-sized containers worth of paint (a bit bigger than an applesauce or jello snack container).  It went fast, so we definitely could’ve used more!july2010 054
Just mix the water slowly into the cornstarch.  If you are using a whole box of cornstarch, you’ll need to use a whisk or maybe an electric mixer.  Pour it into your individual containers, then add your food coloring and gently mix it in.   Food coloring will stain clothing so be careful!!  It did wash completely off of our driveway with the first rain, so no worries there, although you could always use a dab of washable paint for color in place of the food coloring.

We used regular old paintbrushes and some foam brushes to paint with.  It’s fun to watch the watery paint dry quickly in the sun – it becomes so vibrant as it dries!  Pretty, pretty, pretty. :)

M drew a pirate ship.  Obviously. ;)  And some other things I can’t remember.  I drew our family and the earth and sun.  It’s really hard to resist getting down and having fun with this sidewalk paint – we had a wonderful time doing this together!july2010 055 july2010 057july2010 056
Have a beautiful day! :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Build-a-Letter LOWERCASE Templates. Finally.

Well, I have them finished.  Not exactly by the end of April, as I foolishly told someone earlier this year, but finished nonetheless. :)

I have not gotten around to actually cutting the shapes from foam yet and presenting this to M.  I think I’ll do a few letters with him at a time, along with the uppercase ones (which you can find here), since apparently he has regressed a bit with recognition of both “mama” and “baby” letters.  Or maybe he’s just pulling my leg.  With him I never know!

I plan to use foam for the shapes and print the letter pages on colored paper to make it a bit more appealing than old black and white.

Let me know if you use these!  You can download them by clicking on the image above or going here.

Have a beautiful day! :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Art Box – July 12, 2010

Finally, another Art Box post. :)  Things have been a little unsettled around here lately, and we are just getting back into our routine.  I love having a routine.  I love it very, very much. :)
We’ve been doing some outdoor painting lately.  There’s nothing like making a mess in the grass, then washing up in the pool.  It’s the ideal kind of art.  M just loves his makeshift outdoor easel and has been asking for one since summer began (I made one for him last summer too, you can read about how to make one here).  He painted up a storm, and using the clips to hold the paper on was a stroke of genius – he was able to remove and replace paper by himself!june 2010 067
Here are two of the three painting he made outside:
june 2010 080  june 2010 079 The third painting, is at someone else’s house… the last we saw it was blowing away.  Oops. 
M has done much, much more art than this, but I haven’t been very good about taking pictures the past 3 weeks.  You can imagine lots of glue, glitter-glue, and googley eyes, and you’ll pretty much know what it’s looked like. ;)

If you have a kid's art post, link it up below! Be sure to link back here somewhere in your post.

Have a beautiful day! :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Books of the Week

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve written about the books we’ve been reading.  We’ve found a lot of really good ones lately, and I have to say I am really enjoying having these posts as a reminder of all the good story-reading snuggle times we’ve had.  :)
image Pondlarker, by Fred Gwynne is a gem.  M just happened to see it and picked it up.  I wasn’t sure about it at first glance, but I’m so glad he chose it!  The story is about a frog who wants to be kissed and turned into a prince, but when he finally gets his chance… he decides it’s pretty nice being a frog!  We are going to look for more books by this author – I was very impressed with the way this story was told and the subtle message about being happy with who you are.
image The Quiet Way Home, by Bonny Becker is a book we read when M was smaller and he loved it then.  He doesn’t remember it from then, but he still loves it!  The story is about a girl and her father who are walking home the quiet way.  Instead of walking past the growling dog, the roar of a lawn mower, the garbage trucks, and other noisy things, they walk home by where the kittens play, where a garden grows, where lilies stand - “Hush.  Can you hear it? Hummm, thrumm, dart-and-flee.  Honeybee.”   It’s a very calming book, which I personally love. :)  M loves the various noises and distinguishing between the loud and soft. 
For more reviews of children’s books, check out Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns and Feed Me Books Friday. Have a beautiful day! :)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Preschool Corner / Weekly Wrap-Up – July 9, 2010

This is the last preschool post for a while…  M is not excited about much that’s been out for him lately and I need to take a break and rethink some things.  And, well, it is summer. :)  So this wrap-up is for a few things we’ve done that he’s actually enjoyed over the past several weeks.

Math Skills:
I made some quick number cards and we used them with these little number rods I found at a thrift store:may  2010 074We did them in a very Montessori-ish way, going slowly and making sure to count each section of each rod, then naming the number of both the rod and the card.  M seemed to respond well to having “rules” for doing this.

Then we made a triangle with them:may  2010 077Unfortunately I didn’t get a full set of the number rods.  I plan on making some Montessori bead bars so we can continue this kind of activity with 10’s and 100’s. 

M worked on his fine motor skills, lining up flat glass marbles on craft sticks numbered 1 to 6 (then he lost interest):june2010 (1)

Literacy Skills:
At Michael’s they have small painted wooden pieces for 25 cents each.  I picked up a handful and we’ve been using them to make up stories (this fabulous idea came from Jill at The Shafer Family):june2010 (28) We use them in a variety of ways – sometimes one person begins with a piece and then the next person adds a piece and a bit of the story and so on.  Sometimes M just wants me to make up a story with all the pieces (or Daddy, who is a master storyteller!).  Sometimes we close our eyes and pick one piece out of a container and have to make up a story as we go along.  We’ll also be using these for phonics sorting.

I put our pipe cleaner letters out with a pan of flour for M one morning.  He spent a good 20 minutes running his fingers over the pipe cleaners and then drawing the letters in the flour.  The flour is so soft and cool – I think he really enjoyed this!june2010 (19) june2010 (20)

Fine Motor Skills:
M sorted seashells in a tray with tongs (idea from No Time for Flashcards):may  2010 056

He practiced some folding skills with his new Kumon First Book of Folding:june2010 (26)june2010 (27)

Then we worked on more folding and taping skills to make these cute little puppets from a recent issue of High Five:june2010 (24)
And M used a small spoon to put marbles into this tray:   may  2010 024He LOVED this, which was a bit of a surprise to me (not sure why).  The tray is from some old board game of my husband’s.  I love how the clear blue marbles shine when the light hits them just right.

This sensory bin was another morning activity (planned to give me a few minutes of peace in the mornings).  M had a blast with it.  I put some water in a tub, and added a few drops of dish soap.  I added in a whisk, a baster, a strainer, and some small scoops:may  2010 001
It didn’t take long for the whisk to whip up some bubbles:may  2010 002
Finally, I gave him a straw and he had a lot of fun blowing into the water to make very big bubbles:   may  2010 003

One day I found M in his room with my set of small screwdrivers, taking apart flashlights and anything else he could think of. :)  He is definitely a budding scientist or engineer.taking apart flashlights

Creative Play:
For your amusement, here’s some self-portraits taken by M with my camera (I didn’t know about these until I uploaded the pics):may  2010 034may  2010 035may  2010 036may  2010 037   
I’m linking this up to Preschool Corner and Weekly Wrap-Up; be sure to check them out for some great school posts!

Have a beautiful day! :)


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