Thursday, February 28, 2013

Kid's Co-Op: Ready for Read Across America

I love March because it is so focused on books -- and really wish I had my Nebraska post for you, which is my contribution to Booking Across the USA, an awesome project from  Growing Book by Book. Through the project, more than 50 bloggers are sharing a book about a select U.S. state. I should be sharing about C is for Cornhusker  for Nebraska, but the bookmobile truck for my tiny town has been out of commission for several weeks now and my book is sitting there on a broken truck. I kept thinking, this week the truck will be here, but no luck yet. I am so sorry!

In the meantime, in honor of Read Across America Day on March 1st, I am sharing 6 ways to have fun with books and encourage reading with activities inspired by Kid's Co-Op posts last week. 

1. Make a book, an idea from Learning and Growing the Piwi Way, who shared this great way to excite young readers and to get in some cutting practice and drawing.

2. Go Beyond the Book with crafts and props for storytelling activities and story-related fun. Off the Shelf shared a creative Oh No, George! Paper Tube Craft and Living Montessori Now and Making Boys Men have interactive ways to explore The Cat in the Hat.

3. Select books based on your child's interests. If you follow my popular Ten for Tuesday: Things That Go! Series, you know that my boys are interested in trains, trucks, cars, etc., so we often select books about construction sites and all things that go. Whether it be dinosaurs, animals or space, there are lots of books out there to get your child excited about reading. Fireflies and Mudpies and Toddling in the Fast Lane both shared dino-posts last week (Fireflies and Mudpies mentioned our favorite dinosaur books, All Abroad the Dinotrain, which combines dinosaurs and trains, which makes it particularly fun for my boys), and Fantastic Fun and Learning shared Panda books, while we focused on Outer Space with books and related activities

4. Use Books to Learn Life Lessons. Books can be great parenting tools. Choosing picks that help children understand important life lessons or work through transitions can make our job as parents a bit easier. For us, the books Everyone Poops, The Duckling Gets a Cookie and I'm a Big Brother Now have each been useful in their own ways with potty training, sharing and adding a new member to our family. Buggy and Buddy shared a wonderful post featuring four different books that help children grow up -- as each book focuses on a character in the book outgrowing something special. 

5. Connect Books to Holidays. What Do We Do All Day is a fabulous blog, and they featured an awesome list of books about Celtic Mythology and Irish Legends that is perfect for St. Patrick's Day. Plus, JDaniel4's Mom featured some fun green science experiments that I just had to share as well.  

6. Get Cooking! Cookbooks definitely count. They encourage reading and fun in the kitchen often includes opportunities for math learning as well. KC Edventures shared 5 great cookbooks for kids and discussed math in the kitchen. Plus, Green Eggs and Ham encouraged us to have some fun in the kitchen -- and Reading Confetti also got inspired by the book to have some kitchen fun.

Plus, Booking Across the USA is another way to enjoy books this month too!

For even more ideas and inspiration throughout the month of March, you will not want to miss the Spring Into Reading: Read Across America Google+ Hangout Series organized by Inspiration Laboratories and The Educators' Spin On It.  

The kick-off hangout is March 1st at 4:00 pm EST. I plan on joining in on as many as I can and will be moderating/hosting at least one! It should be lots of fun.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

{Ten for Tuesday} Things That Go! Dr. Seuss Edition (Week #9)

If you are visiting from Growing Book by Book for my post as part of Booking Across the USA, in which more than 50 bloggers are sharing a book about their state and a corresponding activity, please accept my apology. My state is Nebraska (I actually live in California, but have some Nebraska connections, and there were two bloggers already doing California, so I offered to do Nebraska). However, the book C is for Cornhusker has been on hold for me at my bookmobile for a few weeks, but the truck has had problems, so I have not been able to get the book. I am hoping  to get it soon, so I can share my cornhusker post. In the meantime, while you are here, please enjoy this Dr. Seuss post (consider it part of Massachusetts!) If you came to check out this latest Ten for Tuesday: Things That Go post, glad you are here and hope you also go check out Booking Across the USA!

This Ten for Tuesday: Dr. Seuss-edition of Things That Go was completely inspired by this wonderfully cool Tot Car Game from the Quirky Mommas over at the Kids Activities Blog inspired by Oh the Places You'll Go. So, here we go - Dr. Seuss inspired things that go.

1. Of course, we start with READ sharing some top Dr. Seuss books that have things that go!

2. Get Moving! (and Learn)  - Anyone with active little ones knows that children are the ultimate things that go and these Hop on Pop Games from Coffee Cup and Crayons definitely get them going, and teach them sight words at the same time. Reading Confetti also used the Foot Book as inspiration to get her kiddos moving.

3. Create a Vehicle! Kitchen Counter Chronicles shared how Marvin K. Will You Please Go Now inspired her daughter to create her own mode of transportation for Marvin to go and engaged her daughter in so many ways -- encouraging writing, reading, drawing and, of course, lots of imagination. While Wild Thing and Caterpillar are too little to do much drawing (lots of scribbling, though!), I think I might try pipe cleaners perhaps with playdough for them to create their own vehicle for Marvin. 

4. Upcycle Sleighs - At Christmas, we were inspired by How the Grinch Stole Christmas and created a sleigh from a milk jug. True to the quirky dog reindeer in the book, we made dino-deers to pull the sleigh. You could also make a sleigh for And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street and challenge your child to have the sleigh transform into other vehicles as well. 

5. Measure it - I thought that this activity was particularly brilliant, especially for teaching little ones who love things that go about measurement and size. School Time Snippets shared several Dr. Seuss activities and one of them involved measuring the length of your foot (traced on paper and cut out) with cars -- what a fun way to use your favorite toys that go.

6. Relay Rally - Wild Thing right now is really into road rallies. I am planning to set up a Green Eggs Road Rally Relay with green eggs being balanced on spoons, as soon as the plastic eggs pop up at the dollar store. I know it will be a big hit -- photos, hopefully, coming soon! 

7. Get Crafty! Make a Wump - I love this egg carton upcycle from Kitchen Counter Chronicles. Her wump rocks!

8. Imagine It - We have just started reading And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street. Now as we walk to tot school or just for fun, we engage our imaginations that much more -- we look around and see what we see, then we add on and make it so much more! We might even make some imagination binoculars (from toilet paper rolls, of course) to use on our walks. You will be the first to see photos if we do! 

Wild Thing took this photo of a parade float and monster truck.
 9. Go Dog Go! Part of the Dr. Seuss I Can Read Beginner Books series, though technically written by P.D. Eastman, I think this book fits perfect well in a Seuss-inspired Things That Go and it is the ultimate thing that goes book. Royal Baloo shows how this book inspires pretend play, dog and car painting (painting with the dogs and cars), stop light crafts and much more.  

10. Get Going! Pick a book, any book (does not have to be Seuss), read it and see what things in it go and then see what that inspires. It may be races in the front road, painting with cars, arrows and special routes, maps or so much more, but get out there and play. 

Sharing at: The Children's Bookshelf, Tuesday Tots, Read.Explore.Learn, The Sunday Showcase, Mom's Library, It's Playtime, Artsy Play Wednesday.        

You might also like: 
4+ Green Eggs + Ham Activities
Fire Trucks, Police Cars + More
Seuss Books!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Simple Ideas for Baby Play at Home #7 (Final Edition!)

Sadly, this will be my last Baby Play post. I have been doing a monthly Baby Play post for 7 months now, and the posts have been really popular and lots of fun. However, now that Caterpillar is 18 months old and completely asserting his identity all the time (he even said his first full-blown sentence the other day: I got it, to his older brother who was trying to help him do something), I have to admit that he is no longer a baby, but a toddler. Wow! How did this happen? 

However, I did want to wrap it all up with one last post of simple baby play ideas you can do at home with things you probably already have. (Many of these activities are photos that were taken long ago when he was much younger and still really was a baby!) 

For some reason, Caterpillar loves to put toilet paper rolls on his arms!

Paper shreds! The shreds are from a couple of sensory bins. He was probably 9 months old.

This should say #7, but with an 18 month old and 3 year old, I passed on taking the time to fix it! :) Forgive me!! He was probably 3 months old. I threaded the ribbon through the colander for him.
Check out the rest of the baby play posts in the series: 
Also, I have to share two great Baby Play Pinboards that I love so that you can find lots of other baby play ideas, since we will no longer be sharing any here! Activities for Babies is a great board created by Tinkerlab that more than 20 great bloggers pin to, and Baby and Toddler Play Ideas is a board created by Rainy Day Mum that has over 60 bloggers contributing to it. Enjoy! As for us, I think I will be focusing on a monthly Tot/Pre-K sibling play series of posts that will offer ideas of fun ways for young siblings to play (and learn) together.

Sharing at: Montessori Monday, Eco Kids Tuesday.      

You might also like:
Kids Co-Op: Baby Play! 
Baby Sensory Play with Ice
Things That Go! Trucks

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

{2 for 1} Weekly Kid's Co-Op + Project 101: Weekly Library Challenge

This week, I am combining two of my weekly posts into one. It worked out well since what we have been reading this week is all related to Dr. Seuss (again!) and there were some fun Dr. Seuss activities shared at the Kid's Co-Op last week. If you love Dr. Seuss, too, you can find even more wonderful Dr. Seuss activities here, the Virtual Book Club for Kids Blog Hop. 

Ten Apples On Top Counting + Number Activity from Frog and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails 

Green Eggs and Ham Bath also from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails. Plus, we also did 5 really fun Green Eggs and Ham activities and shared them on Monday

A wonderful post full of resources and fun facts about Dr. Seuss from KC Edventures, and Growing Book by Book highlights I Can Read With My Eyes Shut and all the ways the book encourages a love of reading.

Finally, The Educators' Spin On It shared 10 Ways to Explore Dr. Seuss Books.  

Now, on to what we are reading this week with Project 101: The Weekly Library Challenge where each week I share two books: 1 the boys are reading and 1 that I am reading. This week both books relate to Dr. Seuss. For the boys, it is one we have mentioned before, but not featured in Project 101: If I Ran the Circus by Dr. Seuss in which a little boy reimagines an empty lot as a magical circus that he runs. The boys love the fantastical elements and all of the animals and grand events that take place at this special circus, and I think it resonates with their own grand imaginative abilities to turn anything (a pile of dirt, some rocks, sticks, etc.) into a magical scene just as the boy in the book does.   

As for me, with Dr. Seuss Day coming up in early March and the Virtual Book Club for Kids featuring Dr. Seuss, I got into the spirit and continued my biography/autobiography book kick with Theodore SEUSS Giesel by Donald E. Pease, a biography of the author so many came to know and love as Dr. Seuss. While it was slow going to capture my interest at first, I am now more than halfway through and truly enjoying it as it provides insight, from the perspective of this author, into what made Dr. Seuss the amazing author of children's books that he was and it has taught me much about the other work that Giesel did as an artist and writer. 

What I appreciate the most is what he shares of Giesel's own words, in 1949, when he comes to realize the importance of children's books and of starting with children if one hopes to create a better world:    
In these days of tension and confusion, writers are beginning to realize that Books for Children have a greater potential for good , or evil, than any other form of literature on earth. They realize that the new generations must grow up to be more intelligent than ours.
Peace also tells of the all important realization Giesel had in 1949 that children's books must make reading fun and meaningful and that Giesel, or rather Dr. Seuss, felt is was important to respect what he saw as the innate sense of justice that children have and of valuing and respecting the intelligence and autonomy of children -- that children know when they are being tricked or kidded, but that children also enjoy pretending. For him, children possess a sense of fairness and justice alongside a need to belong and participate - to be part of something, and the biography goes on to share the ways that Dr. Seuss books grow out of these concepts and seek to nourish these traits -- and is serving as reminder to me to make sure I am also nourishing these wonderful traits in my children: their sense of justice and fairness, their intelligence and autonomy, their desire to imagine and pretend, their need to belong and feel loved. In short, as I read these parts of the book, I become inspired -- as a parent and as a producer. Thank You, Dr. Seuss. I am also sharing this post at Read.Explore.Learn and the Kid Lit Blog Hop!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

{Ten for Tuesday} Things That Go! In Space!! (Week 8)

I am really enjoying our Ten for Tuesday: Things That Go Series! This week we focus on outer space with rocket ships, space shuttles and much more! Enjoy! (Posting a tad on the late side this week because of a holiday weekend off the computer to focus on quality family time, but if the post ends up going live for many of you on Wednesday, well that is okay too because on February 20th in 1962 John Glenn piloted NASA's first successful orbit of an astronaut around the Earth -- he became the first American to orbit the Earth ultimately orbiting around the Earth three times).

1. Read - Two other great books that also offer learning opportunities and imaginative inspiration are: On the Launch Pad: A Counting Book by Michael Dahl and Not A Box by Antoinette Portis.

2. Learn - Solar System activities for budding rocketship/space/astronaut enthusiasts. Living Montessori Now has a great Montessor-Inspired Solar System Unit, which also includes one of my favorite Blog Hops from last year: Space Week Blog Hop.  

3. Art & Crafts - Make Some Rockets! Rockets provide lots of fun art and craft opportunities as evidenced by all of these creative rocket ships from: Mummy Mummy Mum, Nurture Store (love her junk model space rocket), and  Create With Your Hands and Playful Learners both have great recycled bottle rockets that I love too. Plus, Mama Smiles has a great paper space shuttle as does Art Mama Says, who cleverly incorporates family photos.

4. Have Some Sensory Fun! - We love sensory bins, and this one from One Perfect Day is a wonderful idea for any space-themed fun you might have going on. 

5. Blast Off - Imaginative Play! Also from One Perfect Day, this jet pack costume is superbly awesome and I just had to share it! Another great space imaginative play idea comes from Mama Smiles with this simple parachute making activity - also a great way to teach children that astronauts use parachutes when coming back to Earth from space with capsule parachute landings.  

6. Space Spelling + Sight Word Activities Here Comes the Girls featured this Space Spelling Activity that also has a sensory component and Lessons From A Teacher uses rocket ships for name spelling fun.   

7. Explore the Moon - Of course, when making rocket ships and space shuttles, the Moon is often a favorite destination, so I had to share this great post from What Do We Do All Day that features 5 great moon activities.

8. Rocket and Space-Inspired Snacks - In my Ten for Tuesday Things That Go Series, I always include a snack time component, and this week Iove all of the amazing snacks that Artsy Craftsy Mom shared in her post that is full of party ideas for a fabulous outer space-themed party.

9. Cardboard Space Stations/Rocket Ships and Space Shuttles - I also love to include cardboard creations in the series too, and this week Mama Smiles had me covered with two great space ship/space shuttle cardboard creations: Space Fun with Packing Peanuts and a Lighted Space Shuttle. Plus, I love this giant cardboard rocket ship from Filth Wizardry.

10. Just Play! As always, I wrap every Ten for Tuesday: Things That Go! post with this great advice -- just play. Play matters, it really does. You never know where a child's imagination will take you -- Wild Thing loves turning markers into rocket ships, and I love it too! #playmatters  

Sharing at: Mom's Library, The Sunday Showcase, Tuesday Tots, Its Playtime! Kid Lit Blog Hop, Read.Explore.Learn, Kids Craft, Eco Kids Tuesday, and at The Children's Bookshelf.   
Here are a few other posts from my Ten for Tuesday: Things That Go! Series:  


Monday, February 18, 2013

{Virtual Book Club for Kids} Move, Eat, Draw, Learn with Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

This year, we have been doing a new project, Project 101: Weekly Library Challenge in which I share 2 books each week that we are reading with 101 books shared by the end of the year. I typically share on Monday, but this week I will be sharing on Friday, as today I am excited to be posting our Virtual Book Club for Kids post for the month -- and what a wonderful and beloved author we are featuring this month: Dr. Seuss, whose book Green Eggs and Ham was the feature of Project 101 last week and is a book we have had so much fun moving, eating, drawing and learning with, as we do with each book we explore through the Virtual Book Club for Kids. Enjoy!

1. Move! I love crafts and activities that incorporate recycled materials, so when we wanted to create a Green Eggs and Ham-inspired movement activity, I pulled out the green and white buttons we used at Christmas for our button Christmas trees and some empty spice containers, and we created shakers. This activity was absolutely perfect for Caterpillar - 18 months -- though it did require me to be right there on hand to keep him from putting the buttons in his mouth. The boys both definitely got moving with their shakers, and my next plan is to have them shake them while we listen to some songs from Seussical the Musical! 

2. Eat! We did a couple of food-related activities, including, of course, making actual green eggs and ham, which Wild Thing kept begging to do -- he took it very literally, so I let him get busy in the kitchen with the green food coloring. Despite my misgivings about it, he ate every bite -- though not without reciting at least half the book with me and refusing to eat them at first. It was too cute.

 We also had some cookie decorating fun with sugar cookies and three green topics: green sprinkles, green cream cheese frosting and pistachios. 

 3. Draw! We always do an art activity as well with each Virtual Book Club for Kids book, and this week was no different. I also put out the buttons as a possibility for Wild Thing with this art activity, but he was much more interested in coloring and tracing. I originally intended for the only color to be green, but he insisted on blue because at the end of the book they eat the green eggs and ham in the water. I love when even an art activity becomes a story telling activity, which it completely did.  


4. Learn! Finally, Wild Thing is in an early reading phase and very interested in sounding simple words out and pointing out starting letter sounds, so I try to encourage and reinforce this with the books we read through simple sight word activities and/or activities that reinforce basic phonetic concepts. Of course, Dr. Seuss books are perfect for this becaues of all of the words that rhyme, so I wrote out rhyming words on coffee filters so that he could connect that the words sound the same except for the beginning letters. On some, I also drew pictures, on others I did not. Words that rhymed were on the same coffee filter, but different sides of it, so he flipped it over to find the rhyme. He turned it into a matching game as well, which was another great idea for word learning and play. 

The flip side of the Rain card, says Train and of Boat says Goat.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing the many ways we decided to Move, Eat, Draw and Learn with Green Eggs and Ham. You can also see how we Move, Eat, Draw and Learn with Boy, Bird, and Dog by David McPhail, which I highly recommend for other early readers and everything we did Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, a fun book for anytime, but also could be really fun for Easter.  

Sharing at: Eco-Kids Tuesday, Tuesday Tots, Artsy Play Wednesday, It's Playtime! Mom's Library, The Children's Bookshelf, The Sunday Showcase.          

Please join in and share your Dr. Seuss activities as part of the Virtual Book Club for Kids Blog Hop!  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Kid's Co-Op: 5 Simple Ways to Make Math Fun!

I recently came across an article about how important math in early childhood learning is and that obstacles to learning math and math anxiety can begin at a very young age, so I thought I would focus on the great math activities linked-up through the Weekly Kid's Co-Op last week. 

For more great ideas, make sure you are following the Math is Fun! Pinboard created by No Time for Flash Cards.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Montessori-Inspired Sensory Play

I bought this tray at the Dollar Store as well as the snowflakes.
The other items are snowmen marshmallows, mini marshmallows, pinecones and jingle bells. 
This is the creative way my preschooler played with the winter sensory bin I made for his baby brother.
Where the snowflakes are now.
Sharing at: Montessori Monday, Artsy Play Wednesday, It's Playtime, Thursday Blog Hop, Wordless Wednesday at Create with Joy, Wordless Wednesday at Parent Club, Wordless Wednesday at Moms Bookshelf, Wordless Wednesday at Tots and Me.  

You might also like:
Sensory Bin for Babies
Montessori Snowflakes (1st use of these snowflakes)