Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sesame Place

We are excitedly planning our trip to Langhorne, PA this upcoming weekend for Opening Day of Sesame Place. My family was given the opportunity through Mom Bloggers Club to attend Tweet Up at Sesame Place this Saturday, May 1st. I had wanted to bring my older girls here when they were younger, but we never did. Now we are going with 4 little ones, ages 9, 7, 3, and almost 2 years old. The older girls were not thrilled about going to a "baby" park, but after lchecking out their website, they are very excited now. We are planning on leaving Rochester (NY) and driving to Langhorne, PA on Friday. We are hoping to visit some sites in nearby Philadelphia and then turn in somewhat early so we are well rested for Saturday's fun. I am hoping for warm enough weather that we will also get to check out some of the water fun at the park, but if it is not warm enough, I am sure we will have plenty of fun on the "dry" rides and with the parade and shows. After our day of fun, we will return to our hotel to get ready for the next day. On Sunday, we plan to drive up to New York City and visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Then we will head home. I will be sure to post a review(s) here for all the places we go that are appropriate for the preschool age group.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Art and Creativity

- Use egg cartons to create a caterpillar. Cut the bottom of the egg carton in half. If the carton is paper, paint it green and let dry. Glue on google eyes and pipe cleaner antennae. Use pipe cleaners for feet.

- Turn the kids into a garden, or single potted plants. Take a picture of each child and cut out just the face. Draw, or have the child draw, a flower shape with the center being big enough for the cut out photo. You can then either cut out the center of the flower and glue the photo in from the back (this looks best) or you can glue the picture in the center of the flower. Tape or glue a green popsicle stick (bought that way, painted or even colored with marker) to the bottom, back of the flower. You can also add a piece of paper the same shape as the flower on top of the popsicle stick to "sandwich" it in. Add on some paper leaves. Meanwhile, get a small terra cotta planter, large enough to hold the number of "flowers" you are planting. You can paint it if you choose. Add a block of florist's foam into the bottom of the planter. Poke the bottom of the popsicle stick into the foam and then cover the foam with sphygum moss or even green Easter grass.

- Sing the chorus to Mary Poppin's "Let's Go Fly a Kite"
Let's go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let's go fly a kite!

- It's Spring by Linda Glaser

-Spring is Here! A Fisher-Price Little People Lift the Flap Book

- Focus on springtime sounds such as peep, buzz, wind, and raindrops

- Use a divided plate (3 sections), to teach beginning addition. Put 2 green buttons in one section and 1 red button (or whatever manipulatives you have on hand). Ask how many you buttons you have and then move the two green buttons into the third section, counting as you do, and then repeat with the red button, continuing to count. "So 2 green buttons plus 1 red button equals 3 buttons."

- Use egg cartons to practice sorting plant seeds
- Plant grass seeds in small pots or cups for the kids to observe the growth process

Outdoor Fun
Spring outdoor fun can get messy so be prepared
- This is a great time to visit local playgrounds
- Play in the rain and/or the puddles

- This is a great time to learn about seeds so why not snack on some. You can get sunflower and pumpkin seeds in most stores year round.
- You can make flowers out of cut up veggies, using celery for the stem, broccoli for leaves, a carrot for the center and grape tomatoes for petals.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Color White and a new format

After posting the lesson on snow last week, I decided to work on the color white this week. Also, I am trying a new format for my preschool units and would love to hear your feedback about it.

Art and Creativity

- Stretch apart some cotton balls and use white glue to stick them on paper to make clouds.
- Make a collage of all things white. Do it on black paper to show the contrast.
- For the older age spectrum, you can show how adding white to colored paint makes the color lighter.

- Sing Little White Duck: (there are more verses to this song that would be good for other color units, too)
There’s a little white duck (quack)
Sitting in the water.
A little white duck (quack)
Doing what he oughter.
He took a bite of a lily pad,
Flapped his wings and he said,
"I’m glad I’m a little white duck
Sitting in the water."
Quack, Quack, Quack.

- Read Winter in White: A Mini Pop-up Treat by Robert Sabuda
- Read White (Colors) by Patricia Stockland

- During the first day of the white lesson, have the kids list all the white things they can think of.

- Have the kids count cotton balls or marshmallows

- Show pictures of polar bears and discuss where they live.
- Show pictures of sheep and let children touch freshly shorn wool (may need to wait until spring to get fresh wool)

Outdoor Fun
- As I said last week, this is a great time to play in the snow.
- If the weather is nicer and the ground is dry, you can also watch the clouds.

- milk
- cauliflower
- mashed potatoes
- marshmallows
- vanilla yogurt
- unbuttered popcorn

- cold= snow
- soft= cotton or white feathers
- sweet= sugar
- salty= salt

Monday, December 28, 2009

Snow Activities

Here are some fun ideas for teaching about snow.

- Encourage scissor skills by having the children cut out paper snowflakes. You can also use this to discuss symmetry with older students.

- If you live in a climate with snow, you can build large motor skills and encourage creativity, by building a snow man. You can also use this activity to work on shapes (circles for the body and eyes, a rectangle hat, triangle nose, etc) If you do not have snow, or prefer not to build a "real" snowman, you can cut the shapes out for them to assemble on a piece of construction paper. If you use blue or black paper, you can make snowflakes in the back ground with a white crayon.

- This is a great time to talk about proper snow clothing and to practice putting it on. You could have the children "race" each other to put on a coat, boots, scarf, mittens/gloves, hat and/or ear muffs.

- For snack, stack marshmallows to form snowmen. Use pretzel sticks to hold them together and for the arms. Use raisins, cut in half, for eyes, nose and mouth.

- Reinforce counting skills by counting the number of sides on a snowflake.

- Discuss how each snowflake is different. This relates well to how people are all different, yet similar.

- This is also a great intro to the color white. Make a list or collage of items that are white.

- For those in snowy climates, add some food coloring to water in various spray bottles. You can turn this into a lesson about the different colors or discuss how colors can mix to create new colors. Take the water bottles outside and let the children "paint" pictures in the snow.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Year's Activities

Here are some ideas for New Year's. We have a New Year's Party on New Year's Eve, complete with a countdown at noon.

- In Spain, they celebrate the New Year by eating 12 grapes, one each time the clock chimes. In Puerto Rico, they also eat 12 grapes, but they start eating theirs 12 seconds before midnight with the belief that any one who finishes theirs before midnight will have good luck the rest of the year. With pre-schoolers, you could give them 12 grape pieces and explain that in some parts of the world people eat 12 grapes on New Years. You can have them count them to reinforce counting and you are introducing them to the idea of customs and traditions.

- You could also serve Hoppin' John, a food commonly eaten in the south on New Year's Day. It is believed to bring a prosperous new year with lots of luck.

- Discuss what a resolution is. Have each child tell you one thing they would like to learn in the next year. Some suggestions might be: how to spell their first name, how to tie their shoes, finish learning how to use the big potty, etc.

- There is a collection of New Year's themed short stories for children on Apples for the Teacher. You could one a day in the week leading up to and/or after New Years.

- Improve scissor skills by allowing the kids to make confetti out of colorful paper.

- To celebrate the 12 o'clock hour, tape bubble wrap on the floor and let the little ones jump on it. Alternately, you could give them any type of noisemakers.

- Let the children decorate a piece of construction paper. Roll it into a cone to fit the child's head as a pointed hat. Use crepe paper to make streamers come out of the top of the hat.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas crafts

Here are some directions for fun Christmas crafts to make. Adults will need to help, but allow the preschooler to do any of the steps they are able to. I am sorry that I do not have pictures of these, but will add some later.

Tissue Paper Wreath

1) Take a paper plate and cut out the center.
2) Using a glue stick, put glue on a small section of the plate.
3) Crumple up small squares of green tissue paper and stick them to the plate. Alternatively, you can wrap the square onto the eraser of a pencil and then stick them on (it creates a cup like look to the square). Do this on the entire plate. You can add a few red squares of tissue paper as well to look like berries.
4) Tie a piece of yarn through the circle to hang.

Potpourri Christmas Ornaments

1) Trace a Christmas cookie cutter onto pieces of felt.
2) Take two matching pieces and cut the center out of one of them.
3) Use fabric glue to glue a piece of lace on the backside of the hole you just cut out.
4) Use fabric glue to glue around the sides and bottom of the ornament and stick the two pieces together.
5) Through the open top, place about 2 Tablespoons (adjust according to the size of your ornaments) of potpourri into the center of the ornament.
6) Glue the ends of a piece of thin ribbon inside the two pieces of felt, at the top, creating a loop on the outside of the ornament.
7) Glue the top closed and let dry.

Beaded Candy Cane Ornaments
1) Take a piece of red or white pipe cleaner and thread 1 triangular bead onto it.
2) Bend the very end of the pipe cleaner up to keep the bead from coming off.
3) Continue threading on more beads. This is a great way to teach patterns and can be adjusted according to the childs age. You can just alternate red and white beads, use 3 white beads and then 1 bead, or add a third color to the pattern.
4) Bend the top of the pipe cleaner over the last bead to keep it from coming off easily.
5) Bend the top of the beaded pipe cleaner to create a hook (the candy cane shape). These can be hung just like normal candy canes or you can tie a thin ribbon around the pipe cleaner, between two beads, to create a loop to hang it.

You can find a couple of more ideas on my Homeschool Unit Studies blog as well.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Things are settling down on my side and I plan to have this blog up and running very soon. In the meantime, I wanted to share some information with you about a website I have found, eBeanstalk. Here is what they have to say:

Ebeanstalk is dedicated to a baby's development. And we select the best baby toys matched to a baby's development. To see great information on how a baby grows up, check out the info on our baby toys page.

Picking toys for a baby is not as simple as it sounds. Here are some quick baby facts:

  • Toys for a newborn baby: A newborn baby is briefly looking at objects and attempting to imitate facial expressions. They can follow objects with their eyes and usually quiet down, when they are picked up.

  • Toys for a three month old: They will enjoy ‘frolic play', reaching for objects and will repeat enjoyable activities. Believe it or not, they will respond to ‘no' (about half the time) and will start babbling.

  • Toys for a six month old: They'll search for hidden objects (object permanence). They'll reach for themselves in the mirror, play peekaboo, crumple paper, roll from their stomach to their back and even respond to their name.

  • Toys for a nine month old: They are pushing toy cars, playing pat-a-cake and looking for hidden sounds. The baby toys they are playing with are also getting more fun.

They are also offering a 15% discount on any first purchase at ebeanstalk. Just enter code TGS345 at the shopping cart.