Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Fun!

As a teacher, I always loved taking those last few days before the holidays to have some holiday fun! This year my kiddos are at a fun age to start some of my favorite holiday activities!

On Monday we focused on the candy cane and the symbolism behind it. Though the lights, Christmas carols,  and the magic of Santa are all fun, I don't want to my family to lose sight of why we are really celebrating Christmas. I love the symbolism behind the candy cane. 

I found this cute explanation behind the meaning of a candy cane at
We chose to fill in our candy cane using pieces of tissue paper.  

My little buddy is really getting into the projects! 

Ava's candy cane!

Dominic's candy cane! 

We didn't start a new letter this week, but reviewed what we have been learning and looked ahead at what is to come. 

Ava made candy cane ornaments. It was a great activity for working on patterning and strengthening fine motor skills. 
On Tuesday we pulled out one of my favorite stories, Jan Brett's The Gingerbread Baby. We had some fun with decorating gingerbread babies, playing a gingerbread number game, and making salt dough ornaments

Ava's gingerbread baby.

Dominic's gingerbread baby. 

I have seen versions of this game all over Pinterest and thought that we would give it a try! Ava. Enjoyed it so much that we decided to play it at our Polar Express party too. I printed out the outline of a gingerbread man. I wrote the 3 sets of the numbers 1-6 in the gingerbread. Ava and her friend took turns rolling a dice, identifying the number on the dice, finding the number on their paper, and stamping it out using dot markers. We kept playing until all the numbers were found! It was great practice rolling the dice and learning how to read the dice. This will help when we play other games involving dice. 

The salt dough ornaments were fun and easy! We made ours using 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, and 3/4 cup water. After mixing until it formed into a ball, I rolled it out and the kids tried out all the Christmas cookie cutters. I baked them at 200 degrees for about 45 minutes. I still don't feel like they dried as well as they should, but we'll see! The kids also had fun painting them once they had cooled. 
On Wednesday we hosted a Polar Express Party! If you were to come to my house between 9:30 and noon you would have found a hopping house of 8 kids between the ages of 4 and 9 months! The kids were so good and it was fun to see them so excited! 

Our versatile baby coral became the Polar Express train. Once all the guests arrived (dressed in jammies of course!) We boarded the train to read the one of my very favorite Christmas books, The Polar Express.

We spread out all the kid's sleeping bags in the train and made sure our Christmas books were there too! But, there was no time for reading once the party started! This is Dominic patiently waiting for our guests to arrive. 

We played the dice number game using a train print out. (All the kids had their own personalized mugs for the party.)

The sensory activity for the day was snow! Not real snow, unfortunately. I did this last winter and it was a hit. I can't remember where I came across it, but what you do is remove the inside of (clean) diapers and add water. The diaper material absorbs the water leaving it feeling somewhat like snow! I added ice cubes to make it feel cold like snow. The kid played in the "snow" with the Fisher Price Little People. 

I had some Christmas and train related choices for the kids to play with after the game, train craft, and sensory activity. This one was a Christmas tree math activity. Each tree had a number on the trunk and needed to be decorated with that many ornaments (which were small craft gems).  It didn't really work out as I had planned. Ava decorated the two smallest numbers she could find and decided she was done. Dominic came through to "try" the activity and decided to dump the entire container of these small gems on the floor. Oh well, we'll put this activity away for another day! Some of our friends had fun playing at the train table and making the train ABC puzzle.

The party ended with some Polar Express pizza! My friend precooked pizza dough, and using a cookie cutter cut train shapes out of the dough. It's hard to tell from the picture, but you get the idea!

We are fully excited for the holidays and to celebrate Jesus' birthday with our family! Wishing all a very blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year! ~Amanda~

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lions and Lights

Lions and lights were the talk of preschool this week. It was an exciting letter to talk about because we know lots of family and friends whose name starts with the letter L! We had two days of home preschool this week since Ava attended the Home School Monday program at the museum. 

Here is a look at what we accomplished. 

On Tuesday we talked about Lions. We read Face to Face with Lions by: Beverly and Dereck Joubert and Nobody Laughs at a Lion by: Paul Bright. During our circle time we also discussed some basic facts about lions (Where they live, what they eat, how they live in prides) and even got to hear a lion roar and see a lion in action at National Geographic Kids. On Wednesday we talked all about lights. The kids are LOVING all the Christmas lights this year, so they had fun sharing all the places we see lights. We also sang This Little Light of Mine.

During art time, we made lion faces. I got the idea from the blog Teach Preschool  , except I chose to have the kids use paper strips to make the mane instead of colored pasta. Here is Ava's final product! 

Dominic LOVES to use the glue now! He needs close supervision or the above happens. This would be when the doorbell rang. Supervision went from me sitting next to him to 2 minutes of free reign with the glue bottle! 

Ava practicing her letter Ls

I think it is safe to say Ava has mastered identifying numbers 0-7, but 8, 9, and 10 continue to confuse her a little. So, this week we focused only on 8 and 9. I think she is getting the hang of it! 

We had some fun with the counting bears. first she sorted them by color, and then we worked on creating AB an d ABC patterns. She is getting really good at patterning! 

She wanted to count them before we picked them up. She was so excited that we counted to 50! 

We used sequencing cards to put an event in order from start to finish. The first event we did was building a snowman and the second was making chocolate milk. 

Dominic joined in on this activity too! 

On Wednesday we decorated letter Ls with Christmas lights. This idea came from
Little Family Fun

Ava worked on the next page of her ongoing alphabet book. 

I made Ava two pattern strips to practice patterning using Christmas light bulb cutouts. We did some together, and then I let her create her own. She glued her own down to the paper. This idea also came from Little Family Fun

Our Wed. practice with 8 and 9

Next week we will be having some Christmas themed fun! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Holidays are Coming

With the holidays fast approaching, I am feeling the final count down crunch like many! Last week I totally skipped out on blogging, but it wasn't an accident. In all the hustle and bustle of house projects, taking care of kids, planning preschool, and keeping up with the day to day tasks (how three little bodies can produce so much laundry, I will never know!), I was looking for one place to cut back. Blogging it was!  We still went on with our preschool plans. (We studied the letter K!) I just chose to leave the camera behind and focus on our lessons. It was a good change of pace! December just gets so crazy, and I will be the first to admit that I get overwhelmed by the ever growing to do list that needs to be checked off before December 25th!

Here are a couple of blogs that I have enjoyed reading over the last couple of weeks. These blogs talk about simplifying and keeping to the true meaning of Christmas. Sounds good to me!

Catholic Icing

Not Just Cute

Unfortunately, my kiddos aren't lucky to have the camera put away for two weeks in a row. I have it back out and I am trying to capture our letter L week happenings! But, I am sure I will have to look for some other way to simplify the week. Wonder how long we could go without doing laundry? : )