Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Alphabet Eggs!

I am really excited to share this project with you!  It is simple to create and can be used for the alphabet or numbers.  I created a SlideShare to show you all the pictures and ways that I created my eggs.  Basically, the idea is to put a letter on the top half of a plastic egg (like letter A) and a letter on the bottom half of the egg (for this example, letter C) and have the child tell you what comes in between those two letters: B.  When he or she opens the egg, there is a little chick with the letter B!  What other concepts can be practiced in this manner?

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Oopsey Daisy

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Make a Seuss-tastic Fish Tank!

With Read Across America right around the corner, I wanted to find a fishy-fun craft to do with our daughter to quench her thirst for all things pet store at this moment in her life.  So, I saw an paper plate fish tank craft and thought how else could this be done?  When shopping in the dollar store I came across disposable tin pans with clear lids and had a light bulb moment :)  AHA!  This would be a perfect "fish tank" for Pickle!  So, this is my Seuss-tastic fish tank, but you will want to involve your little pickles by having them create their own fish.  You can give them fish outlines or fish that you precut and let them craft to their heart's content with whatever medium you prefer: paints, watercolors, crayons, markers, stickers, jewels, etc... Whatever you do make sure you do not forgot the most important THING (nope, not Thing 1 or Thing 2), but rather Thing 3: Read One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish ;)  

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bear Snores On Tot Pack!

I am really psyched about my new tot pack for the book Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson!  First of all, who doesn't love this book!?!  It is one of the best children's books and our daughter loves it when I blubber on and on pretending to be bear when he wakes up :)  This is my favorite tot pack right now, but I'll let you in on a secret: Good Night Gorilla is coming soon and that will surely be my favorite too!  If you want to check out the Bear Snores On Tot Pack just click the picture above :)  THANKS!

Friday, February 17, 2012

More Fine Motor Fun!

Hi everyone!  I want to share with you two neat fine motor ideas that I created for our daughter.  I recently did a linky party in which you ended the phrase "You know you are a teacher when..."  Well, here is mine:
That is me!  So thanks to all the great sales and clearance sections at Michaels and Target I was able to create some more simple fine motor fun!  I found these adorable felt cups.  I put foam numbers on them and now Pickle can place the appropriate number of marshmallows on her hot chocolate!  
Since Easter is coming up I have jelly beans on my mind ~ LOL!  I saw these cute egg platters at the party store and made a dice game to reinforce numbers and colors.  I used puffy paint on the bottom of the egg platter to make dots.  Next, place the jelly beans in the center tray.  
I have photo cube blocks that I purchased from Amazon that can be customized for anything! The website Education Cubes is a members-only site that has I printed the number cards from there.   Then I printed colored jelly beans from Confessions of a Homeschooler's J is for Jellybean unit on cardstock and put those in the cubes too.
Now when Pickle rolls the dice she will get a color and a number.  She will have to find that number jelly beans in that specific color and transfer them to the egg tray matching the number shown.  You can use easy-grip tweezers or let your little one use their fingers :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Five Beginner Games for Twos and Threes

If you are like most parents you want your child's play to be fun and stimulating for him/her and YOU too ;)  Our daughter is an only child and presently her favorite playmates are Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa, her aunt and the dog.  For the time being, WE are her primary playmates, so it helps to have some options when it comes to play.  I really enjoy games and when introduced properly they can be great fun as well as a learning experience for your child.  Our Pickle is almost three years old, so it is still hard for her to attend to a game for a great length of time.  I have looked for games that are stimulating, entertaining, interesting, educational and not very competitive.  Here are a few that I like.  I will share my own personal pros and cons, but ultimately you have to decide what is best for your child and family.

#1.) Ravensburger Teddy Mix & Match
This is the BEST first game for a child in the two year old range.  First of all, it is adorable!  Second, it is very sturdy chipboard.  The pictures are high quality and  engaging to little ones. This is Pickle's "go to" game.  You can adapt the difficulty just by adjusting how you play it.  Right now, we lay them all out face-up and pick one bear at a time and ask her to find the match.  As she gets older we can begin to use it as a memory matching game.  

#2.)  Bear Hugs by iPlay
This happens to be on sale at Amazon right now for $8.98, so if you decide you want to try it I would get it while the price is right!  This is another adorable game and ideal as a first beginner's game.  In this matching game you are matching a Mama Bear to her cub.  The level of difficulty is only slightly more challenging than the Ravensburger bear matching game because a few of the bears have similar features.  When the player makes a match he or she hugs the plush teddy bear and keeps it until the other player makes a match.  Once again, you can simply lay the cards face-up in the beginning, but as your child develops you can make it more of a card game where they pick a card and find the match and eventually move to a complete memory matching game.

#3.) Lakeshore Shape Sorting Center

This is not really a game but an activity.  This one is very worthy of mention since, as a teacher I see tremendous opportunity for language development as well as one-to-one correspondence which is basis for good number sense.  There are eight shape mats.  On one side the mat is blank other than having the name of the shape.  On the other side it has items for the child to find and match using the pieces.  The objects are everyday items like a present, pie, pizza, button, etc. so this is a fabulous language building activity if you ask your child questions about each of the objects.  You can also gradually have your child start to classify the items based on other characteristics and attributes as they get older: color only, function, foods, etc.

#4.) Old McDonald Pop n' Match Game
I like this one the best out of the pop n' match collection.  It is a simple game: pop the popper and it will show you are farm animal.  You take a chipboard animal and place it on your board on top of the match.  So, if you pop a pig you pick a pig piece and put it on the pig on your board.  The one thing I dislike about this game is that it has a -1 side on the cube.  If you pop a -1 you have to give back a piece.  This is very difficult for a young child to do.  There are a few other games in this line: Hickory Dickory Dock (we do not have that one) and Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes as well, but that one is too hard for Pickle right now.

#5.) Oh Rats!  by Discovery Toys

I don't think Discovery Toys is around anymore.  That is a shame because when I taught preschool they had some of the best games.  One that I still have is Oh Rats!  It is a color puzzle matching game!  

I help Pickle a bit by setting the puzzle pieces for her puzzle next to her.  When she spins I tell her to look for a piece that is that color and then we figure out where it goes.  As she gets older she can start looking for the specific pieces from the larger pile.

So that is my top five list for beginner games for 2-3 year olds!  I am always looking for great games, so please let me know if you have one you think it great :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A New Tot Pack and a FREEBIE too!

I am really excited about my newest tot pack: The Three Little Pigs!  First, our daughter fell in love with Goldilocks.  Now, she is starting to memorize the Three Little Pigs.  I think the Little Golden Books version is the best one for toddlers and preschoolers.  Amazon has it for $3.99 and it is a buy 4-for-3 book!

So, without further delay here is the newest tot pack!  Just CLICK THE PICTURE TO CHECK IT OUT:

Since I am so excited I also made a FREEBIE to share with all of you!  This is an emergent reader book that I created based on the book Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard.  This is an adorable picture book about one grumpy bird determined to stay grumpy.  However, he can't stay grumpy for long once he is surrounded by his friends :)

Look around my shop while you are there and check out my other freebies :)  I also have a ton of elementary grade level freebies at my TeachersPayTeachers Store HERE.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Picture Books on YouTube

There are certain books that are loved and cherished more than others in our home.  Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathman has been one of our daughter's favorites since she was a baby.  A new favorite is Rosie's Walk by Pat Hutchins.  I was over-the-moon when I found both of these on YouTube!  Goodnight Gorilla is extremely well done and our daughter now wants to watch it every night before bed.  Another favorite (of mine as well!) is Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen.  The animated version is awesome!  I created a playlist on YouTube of some of the great ones I have found to date: The Mitten, Owl Babies, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Are You My Mother, and more!  Check out the list HERE and please let me know if you know of any other great videos of classic picture books :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fun Acorn Fine Motor Activity!

This is a simple fine motor activity to make that is versatile and FUN!  My daughter and I collected a ton of acorns at her Nonna’s house in the fall.  I have seen some very crafty people make felted acorns that are beautiful, but mine are simply made with pom-poms.  I put several squirrel clip art images on a page and printed them on card stock.  You can laminate them if you want them to last J  Then I glued matching pom-poms in the squirrels hands.   Last, I glued the squirrels to toilet paper tubes.  Finally, you stand them in a cupcake pan and VOILA!  You have an adorable fine motor “game” for your little one to practice matching colors while honing his or her fine motor skills! 

This is versatile in that you can use cupcake liners rather than a  pan or you can even use an egg carton if you want to just stick the little squirrels in there…there is just less room so the child will only be able to transfer one or two acorns into each hole.

FYI: My squirrel graphics are from Spring Hill Graphics :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rosie's Walk by Pat Hutchins

Our daughter LOVES this book!  What's not to love about this adorable hen strutting around confidently without a care in the world as, unbeknownst to her, she is being followed by a fox!  My daughter, like most children her age, also loves music and retelling a story a million times :)  So I decided to put Rosie's Walk to the tune of "She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain" and it was a hit.  I hope you can utilize it with your child or children in your classroom.  You can grab it for free on my Teacher's Notebook Shop.  Just click the picture below :)


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Groundhog Action Song

Just in time for the big day!  Here is a little action song you can do with your tots and preschoolers for Groundhog Day!  Enjoy :)