Thursday, September 30, 2010

Preschool - Letter D

Letter D activities. We started the week by making our D is for Dog craft. Though I did find some really cute Dog themed activities we did a lot of other alphabet play and review.

Here the girls are playing with alphabet peek-a-blocks. They hadn't played with these "baby" blocks in such a long time that they had forgotten how much fun they are. I would ask the girls to pick a block, tell me the letter, what it stood for and what sound it made. I was happy to just assess how well they know these things.

I printed out this dog game and made it into a file folder game. I would tell Emma the color and she would match it. I encouraged Lydia to match it on her own as we are currently working on color sight words.

Emma matching upper and lowercase alphabet letters. This really was her first "solo" experience with clothespins and I think I should have started earlier. She did ok and enjoyed it so I am sure we will see it again soon.

We had a lot of fun with the dog theme and read lots of books. We read most of the Clifford books we have and worked on this emergent reader book together. We also read some Henry and Mudge books by one of my favorite authors, Cynthia Rylant.

Lydia began working on a special new skill, tying her shoe laces. I printed out a cute dog card and put the lace through the collar for her to start working on it. She was so excited to sit and work on it with Daddy (I delegated him teaching this skill long ago, I think that goes for teaching them how to drive too!) I can't believe how much fun working with the girls one on one is and how much they enjoy it and are learning. Have a fun week.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Preschool - Letter C

I will let the picture speak for itself. Our letter of the week was C and our theme was cupcakes and candy. I know it is not a health conscious theme but it was really fun. We made the above craft by tracing a large letter C and then gluing mini cupcake liners to it. I like to rubber stamp on occasion so I used a cupcake stamp set I have and let the girls stamp and color some cupcakes.

I found these cute candy money cards and used them to set up a candy shop. The girls took turns being the buyers and sellers. We worked on a lot of manners (please, excuse me, thank you, your welcome) and also the numbers/prices that are listed on the candy they wanted to buy. I have not spent much time on money up to this point so it was really an introduction that was really fun.
I used the same stamp set to make this cupcake matching file folder game and cupcake memory cards. They had fun with both.

I didn't have a ton of choices here and didn't make it to the library. So here is a small list.

If you give a mouse a cookie
Twizzler shape book
Reese pieces counting book
Mr. Putter and Tabby Bake a cake (great book and series if you are not familiar with them. The author is Cynthia Rylant)

We did a few other various activities, worksheets, tracing, and of course we played candyland and made cupcakes to eat. Very fun week.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Preschool - Letter B

Still working out the kinks of a new routine but this week went better than last. I had a great time working one-on-one with Emma. It is amazing just how bright she is as she has learned right alongside her older sister for a couple years now. She is loving her school time and absolutely adores being my only focus.

What we did

Letter B is for bugs.

Letter B craft.

Books included:

There was an old woman who swallowed a fly
There's a ladybug in my book
Five little lady bugs
The Grouchy Ladybug

Library books:
The very quiet Cricket
The Very Busy Spider
Diary of a Fly
Where's the fly?
The Bugliest Bug


After reading the ladybug books we used some ladybugs I had made. (round circle with small black circles for the top.) We did several math and number activities with these.

I also did several of the activities from this website for The Very Busy Spider and The Very Quiet Cricket. I also did a musical activity for the Very Quiet Cricket where I got out all of the instruments we have and allowed the girls to play an instrument to represent the sound each of the bugs made. The girls loved this activity.

That wraps up week 2 and once again no pictures. I am already having so much fun with letter C and have already snapped a few pictures to post next week of some of our letter C fun. Thanks.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Family Night - necessity

Some family nights are planned well in advance as there are certain stories and values I know I want to instill in my children. There are however some family nights that I plan out of complete necessity. This week we had one of those.

My children are sometimes one of the greatest mirrors I have into my own spiritual life and journey. I see own attitudes, behaviors and reactions reflected in what they do and say. That being said, one of the spiritual lessons that comes up regularly in our house is the impact our words have. Words are a BIG deal in our lives and as one of my friends says, "My mouth doesn't get me in trouble it keeps me there!" Oh how my words have such power in my life and the lives of those around me.

This week we focused on our attitude and our words being respectful. The virtue of the month at church is respect and we are continuing that here at home for the greatest application. Family night was pretty simple this week. We talked about our words and how often our words can hurt people and show either respect or disrespect. The girls have already memorized three verses on words/attitudes. They are as follows,

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. - Prov. 12:18

Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. - Prov. 16:24

Do everything without grumbling and complaining. - Phil. 2:14

Throughout the summer we focused on some Proverbs and had done this activity with toothpaste talking about the fact that once words are out they can't be put back in. (Squeeze out toothpaste and try to have them put it back in.)

This week in conjunction with our bug week (Letter B preschool focus) we talked about the grumble bees. We read and watched Hermie and friends Grumble Bees and we started to use a chart to keep track of our "honey" words. Right now I just catch them in the act of kind words and give them a sticker to put on the chart but may change it because they are still having too many unkind words for my liking.

That's it, simple and timely. My own life is always in need of a refresher course in how I can use my words for good or harm.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pre-school - Letter A

Well, I started preschool with Emma last week and found out we are still trying to figure out a new routine without having Lydia around. I planned several activities we didn't even get to so I will try to put them in another time.

I am currently working on a letter of the week curriculum straight through the alphabet. Here were the activities and crafts I did or had planned.

A is for apples.

Girls cut strips of paper and glued on a blank apple template. Good scissor skills activity.

Learning fun:

1. Sequencing from biggest to smallest and smallest to biggest. Print out of different size apples.
2. Patters with several different color apples. I made patterns for them to copy and to finish. Also, had them make patterns. (got the apples from the Dollar Tree teachers section)
3. Wrote the alphabet on apples and hid some "worms" under them. They identified the letters and if the apple had a worm in it they got a chocolate chip as a sweet reward.
4. Wrote the letters of their names on the apples and had them spell their names.
5. I made a file folder game with worms and apples to review counting and numbers but never really used it.

Apples, apples - talks about different kinds of apples and the parts of an apple and a few different recipes (we didn't try).
Ten apples up on top - we played don't let the apple drop with a big red balloon. The girls really liked both catching it and trying to hit it to keep it up. This was a big hit. We also counted apples on top of their heads.
Little Mouse and the Big Red Apple - I got this book from the library. It was a cute story about a mouse who didn't want to share his apple but in the end realized (even if forced to) that sharing is a much better way.
The Giving Tree - a favorite of mine that I remember from my preschool days.

No pictures this week and probably not next week either but maybe someday.

If you want to use or borrow any of the supplies I have just let me know.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Family Night - Zaccheus

Background on Family Nights

A couple years ago my mother gave me a book from Focus on the Family that was about how to regularly include a family night into your schedule. I really liked the concept so we adopted it and started having family night on most weeks. Many people have asked what makes family night different than other nights and the answer is that there is a spiritual focus and purpose. Both my husband and I are heavily involved at our church and would have it no other way. We pray with the girls regularly, talk about God and Christ daily and generally discipline (we call it correction) from a Biblical point of view but we wanted to have a focused time as a family where we could learn about God's Word together and learn from each other. As an educator and an advocate for children's ministry in churches I wanted family nights to be memorable, fun and easily applicable to our lives. Sometimes we focus on one theme (virtue) per month, sometimes it is a holiday theme, sometimes it is just a hodgepodge of various aspects of the Christian life I think we need to know but whatever it is we have fun and try to talk about it throughout the week/month. Often I come up with some sort of system or chart to document how we are practically working on applying what we are learning but not always.

I want to use this blog to just give you a peek into our family nights and give you some tools to use if you feel inspired to add them to your family dynamics. Please feel free to leave a comment if you have a question. I have taken the ideas I use from many other resources and not just my own brain but I am compiling them for however you see fit to use them. I will mostly be showing links and pictures and descriptions about our family nights and will add pictures when I have them but don't always have them. Hope you enjoy!

With the first day of school being last week I wanted to focus family night last week on just how much God knows us no matter where we are or what we are doing.

Main focus: God knows you and loves you!

Dancing/music: This is a personal addition that our family enjoys. We always dance and act silly together. It loosens us up and allows us to laugh and have fun together before our "lesson" begins. You in no way have to do this.

Opening activity: Game- Biggest and Smallest
Play a game that includes finding the biggest and the smallest of a certain object. Example: find the biggest book in the room, now the smallest. Biggest blanket, smallest blanket. Etc.

Story time: After the game we transitioned to the story of Zacchaeus. We read the story from their Bible. After we were done we acted it out and sang the very old, very dated Zacchaeus was a wee little man. (I never said family nights didn't include some cheese!)

Craft: I printed out this coloring page and the girls retold the story as they colored the page. Lydia worked on this word search, as she recently discovered word searches and liked them.

Closing: Reminded the girls that just like Jesus knew Zacchaeus, He knows us and loves us.

Prayer: There are a few different ways that we include prayer in our family nights. I will share more of them another time but for this night we used the prayer ball. The girls love using it and I think that is the best.

Reinforcement: We used this print out for reading before bed and the girls liked looking for Zacchaeus even though it was a bit too young for Lydia. Through out the week we have been talking about how God loves us and knows where we are, what we are doing, etc. and of course have sung the Zacchaeus song a couple time for good measure. All in all I enjoyed the lesson and the main point immensely.
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