ABC and 123: April 2010

Friday, April 30, 2010

Celebrating Arbor Day

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Here in the United States we are observing Arbor Day today. Arbor Day was established to encourage tree planting and care. Founded by J. Sterling Morton in 1872, it's celebrated on the last Friday in April.

To download a guidebook full of suggestions for celebrating, check out the official Arbor Day website.
Did you know? Be amazed at all you could learn about trees with this list of Tree Trivia facts.
Watch this video from Kid'sCrafts.com for a tutorial on making a simple Arbor Day card.
Read and enjoy some Arbor Day poems and rhymes.

In celebration of all things trees, and the impact they have on our Earth, it is also a good day to try some of those Earth Day activities that you didn't have time for on the 22nd!

Teaching Tiny Tots has submitted a great post about creating a soda bottle terrarium with your tots.
As part of the Sunflower Club activities at NurtureStore they've conducted an experiment to see what seeds need to grow. An appropriate extension activity for Arbor Day.
Play Activities put together a family activity for celebrating the Earth. They made plantable seeded paper and have shared the step by step instructions with all of us!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Learning to Measure: Measurement Activities & Crafts

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At Shorties Funny Farm the kids, ages 2-12 , learned a lot about measuing and color mixing by making this cake.

The Adventures of Bear submitted several helpful posts that highlight tips for teaching measurement to a young child:

You may appreciate her helpful suggestions for setting up a volume measurement activity in this post as well as ideas for experimenting with a balance scale using pattern blocks and more.

Measuring Penny is a great book for introducing children to the concepts of measurement. In this post Julie put together a center activity to accompany the book.

Dalle Un Colinho has put together an information post about learning to measure weight and height. The post is in Spanish, but you can use the translator.
Pocketful of Posies put together a measuring activity called I is for Inchworms using the book Inch by Inch.
Little Illuminations shared a measurement activity called "Can of Worms" which looks like a lot of fun for little learners.
The kids at Quirky Momma had a blast with their latest measuring activity using yummy, gummy worms!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Show & Tell #5

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Please check out our FAQ in the sidebar.

It's that time again! We can't wait to see what you've all got to share this time! But first, here are three activities shared last week:

We think the bubble wrap used to create these underwater scenes give this project from Love and Lollipops a lot of fun texture.
We love all the science activities going on at Mozi Esmé! We can't believe she found so many letter M topics: Motion, Matter, Mitosis, and Me.
Bobbi at Casa Camacho turned their empty cans into Oscar the Grouch, perfect for all the Sesame Street fans!

We hope you'll join us this week, so that you'll have a chance to be one of the three randomly selected participants featured next week!

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Please remember these rules:

  • Post an "Ah Ha Moment," favorite lesson, experiment, learning game, field trip, whatever you're currently working on, or your child's fridge worthy artwork, handmade gifts or anything holiday related.
  • Direct link to your post, not your home page.
  • Include a link back to us or our link button in your post.

If you come back and your link is missing, double check to make sure you've followed the directions!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Play to Learn: Fine Motor Fun Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of our Fine Motor Fun series here at Play to Learn! We’re continuing on with our fine muscle building games to help your little guys gain better control of their fine muscles which will aid greatly when they begin more complex skills such as handwriting!

 
Glass Beads:

I found this bag of gems at Michael’s. We use them for everything from color sorting, to counters for our Letter of the Week games! Balancing them on the Popsicle sticks takes great control!
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Small Spaces!
This idea came from Carisa at 1+1+1 and I have to say it’s been a winner in our house for everyone. It’s great for fine motor coordination and one-to-one correspondence as well! This was an old plastic jar I had, and I used a nail to punch holes in the top.
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Blokus Game:
This game is easy enough that everyone can play, even our preschooler. Each player gets a different color, the goal is to get as many of your pieces on the board as possible. The trick is they can only be touching by their corners.
Variation: My preschooler likes to play alone, she sorts all the colors on the board and her goal is to get all the pieces on. Its great for logic / puzzle solving skills, color sorting, and all the while working those tiny hand muscles by picking up small pieces and fit them into their little spots on the board!
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Everyone loves these! They’re great for logic, patterns, shapes and puzzle making. It also takes some dexterity to place each shape on the board without disturbing the others.
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I also made pattern cards for use with these blocks, click the image to download a copy, there are 8 patterns plus a spot to make your own fun pattern!
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Sorting with Spoons:
This game practices counting while at the same time working on fine motor coordination. The goal is to use the small measuring spoons to carefully scoop up and pour out the correct number of beans into each bowl based on the number inside. Variation: You could also use tweezers with the beans, pom-poms, or beads.
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Poking Holes:
I found this fun idea on Activity Mom. We either use a toothpick, or we have these cute Oversized Push Pins (note: they are sharp), to poke holes through the paper in the shape of the letter. Print on regular paper for easier poking, and do this one on carpet! There is a printable for each letter on my blog.
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I found these large sized buttons at Oriental Trading. We use them for all sorts of things, lacing, shape sorting, color sorting, patterning and as counting manipulatives!
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This was a super easy felt project, click the title for more info and instructions! You could easily switch this up so it’s not a Thanksgiving theme. Simply sew buttons onto a felt shape and provide a selection of extra felt pieces with slits cut in them to button. Click here to download the turkey template!
Variation: Sew different height green stems onto a sheet of felt with buttons on top of each one, then cut extra pieces in flower shapes with a slit in the center. You can also add buttons, snaps, zippers, and hooks to a piece of felt covered cardboard to make a great fine motor skills learning center!
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This activity was excellent, they are ‘sticker by number’ work boards that work several skills at once! You have to look at the color key, look at the number on the board, then pick off the correct colored tiny square foam stickers and place them on the cards provided. The end results are beautiful mosaics!
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A less expensive variation of these can be found for $1 at Michael’s in the craft section. They are VERY sticky and my 4 yr old got a little frustrated with this, but my 7 year old loved it.
The Orb Factory has a bunch to choose from, though they’re a bit more expensive. The more pricey ones are done using color-by-number association. They take some good muscle control to pick off each little foam tile and place it on the correct number on the board. These $1 Michael’s ones don’t have numbers, they are just free to decorate as they like. We’ve done both, and my kids love them.


These are fun little beads that ‘snap’ together! This is a “Parents” toy I found at Target and I’m always happy with their products. We use these to make necklaces, bracelets, patterns, sort by color/shape/size etc. They’re great for fine-motor muscle control, plus they’re super fun!

Those are just some of many ideas for fine motor skill fun.
If you have more ideas to share, or would like to be included in future “Play To Learn” posts, please email me at homeschoolerconfessions {at} gmail {dot} com, we’d love to hear from you!
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Friday, April 23, 2010

CLOSED: CSN Stores Giveaway! Little Tikes Sand & Water Fun Factory Table

This giveaway is now closed, thank you for so many enthusiastic entries! Congratulations to lucky number 147, Vanessa of Silly Eagle Books!

We have a fabulous giveaway for you today, perfect for the upcoming warm weather! It's sponsored by CSN stores, a collection of over 200 online stores. With so much selection, from pots and pans to baby cribs, they should be your first stop for online shopping!

With spring arriving in much of the US and the weather getting nicer a lot of us are starting to think about getting our lawns in order, planting, and how we'll keep the kids busy outdoors. We were thrilled to have an opportunity to give one of our readers this fabulous Little Tikes Sand & Water Fun Factory Table!

Product Description:

The excitement never ends with this innovative, multi-station fun factory! Gears and gadgets, funnels and cogs make for hours of sand and water play. The drop down lids protect the sand and toys from the elements and it's raised design helps kids stay clean and reach the fun easily. Kids will love the Sand and Water Fun Factory!

Features:

  • Multicolored
  • Includes water scoop, rake / shovel, car ramp, boat and front end loader
  • Gears and gadgets, funnels and cogs make for hours of sand and water play
  • Drop down lids protect sand and toys from the elements and animals
  • Raised design helps kids stay clean
  • Fabric sun shade canopy offers protection from sun
  • 2008 iParenting Media Awards
  • 2008 Parent's Choice Awards
  • Ages 2 to 6

To be entered to win a Little Tikes Sand & Water Fun Factory Table, leave your comment on this post.

While there is no purchase necessary, or special requirements, to enter this giveaway we would love if you would also consider the following options. This helps us as we continue to spread the word about great educational sites and resources, as well as connect with amazing teachers and parents like you!

Entry in this giveaway will be open until Thursday, May 6th at 10 PM EST to US and Canadian residents only. Thank you to CSN stores for sponsoring this giveaway!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

Letters, Numbers, and Books Oh My has put together a collection of posts in a feature they call Countdown to Earth Day. You will want to check out the recipes, book reviews, activities, and more!

Polwig.com put together some fun jewelry projects using recycled soda cans. What a unique want to reuse and upcycle! This activity is best suited to older children or children under close adult supervision.



Adventures of Bear used the book Seeds, Seeds, Seeds to kick off a series of activities about seeds and planting. Planting something of your own is a great way to celebrate Earth today.

Under the Table and Dreaming put together some amazing Earth Day snacks. I love the Rice Krispie treat earth pops.
Sewing and Crafting with Sarah has posted two craft projects using recycled materials. The picture here shows a desk organizer.

24/7 Moms has a fun post with 14 Earth Day projects. We especially like these recycled paper weave baskets.

Toddler Learning Activities has put together a list of Earth Day activities for tots and older kids.

A Busy Mommy and The Canadian Mom Blog Social Group have put together an Earth Day Challenge. If you follow the button on her blog you will find a list of links to each of the posts included in the challenge.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Alphabet Crafts & A Giveaway

Update: Unfortunately, the winner that was originally chosen for this great book did not leave an email address for us to contact and never responded here to claim the prize. So, lucky for comment #26 chosen by Random.org (5/17/10) the prize is now awarded to them.

Stephanie said...
What a neat idea! I'd love to have this book as my kids get older.



Allie, of No Time for Flash Cards, has teamed up with MemeTales to put together a wonderful alphabet resource for parents of preschoolers. The book Alphabet Crafts features a unique idea for visually representing each letter of the alphabet with creative materials.

Allie has put her knowledge as a professional educator and as a mom into the creation of this new book. Throughout the pages she offers useful suggestions and explains bits and pieces of her personal teaching philosophy. In addition to the project ideas, this book includes a helpful list of 15 great books for teaching the letters of the alphabet.

As a parent I (Katie from A List Maker's Life) loved the step-by-step instructions. There are pictures included for many of the steps. Since my craft age children are 4 and 5 they could actually follow these instruction independently with ease. I also appreciate the detailed material lists included for each of the activities. This was always an important piece of my lesson planning as a classroom teacher.

My personal favorite alphabet craft in the book is the adorable Watermelon W. However, the kids and I tried our hand at the E is for Envelope project because I wanted them to take it a step further by writing letters to put in the envelopes. Allie suggests writing letters (E & e on small scrap pieces) which is what my 4 year old practiced with, but since the 5 year old already knows his letters I wanted him to practice letter writing (Dear Gram...).


GIVEAWAY

Alphabet Crafts is available for purchase for only $8, which is a fantastic value. However, Allie has also offered a giveaway copy of this new book to one reader of ABC & 123.



To be entered to win please leave your comment on this post.

While there is no purchase necessary, or special requirements, to enter this giveaway we would love if you would also consider the following options. This helps us as we continue to spread the word about great educational sites and resources, as well as connect with amazing teachers and parents like you!
~Check out Allie's blog
~Follow and/or Subscribe to ABC & 123
~Join us on the ABC & 123 Community on Blog Frog



Entry in this giveaway will be open until Friday, April 30th at 10 PM EST.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Show and Tell

Welcome to Show and Tell #4
Check out these three great activities that were part of last week's round up:

Wisdom's Path put together a planter in an egg carton and even reused the shells. A fun way to incorporate soe science in spring.

Just in time for all those cast off plastic Strawberry cartons, Silly Eagle Books shared a suggestion for creating gift boxes out of recycled containers.

Miller Moments put together an experiment for making rain and also suggested a book to enhance the project in this post.

We look forward to seeing what you've been busy with this week!

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Please remember these rules:
~Post an "Ah Ha Moment," favorite lesson, experiment, learning game, field trip, whatever you're currently working on, or your child's fridge worthy artwork, handmade gifts or anything holiday related.
~Direct link to your post, not your home page.
~Include a link back to us or our link button in your post.

If you come back and your link is missing, double check to make sure you've followed the directions!