Saturday, October 18, 2014

Tot School & PreK Learning Activities: Letter Q Through the Five Senses

31 Days of ABCs: Letter Q

Sensory learning and sensory play engage learners through hands-on experiences. Since last August, we've been exploring different letters and literacy concepts through sensory experiences at home with my two sons (currently ages 3 and 5). Last October, we participated in 31 Days of ABCs with All Done Monkey (and other bloggers) sharing our Letter F Learning Activities. We love the series so much that we're participating again this year with Letter Q. 

Sight and Touch - Quilts

Quilts are important to our family. We have heirlooms quilts as well as special quilts that my mother has made for me and for both of the boys, so when we began our Letter Q learning activities, I knew we would use quilts for both sight and touch with our sensory explorations. We spread all of our quilts out on the living room floor and looked at them and touched them -- exploring their colors, images, designs and more. 

Then, we also pulled out fabric scraps and filled in our uppercase and lower case Qs with our fabric -- quilting our letter Qs. We've also shared some other quilt fun before with Tomie DePaola's book The Quilt Story and a fun game we created called Quilt Twister, and a quilt-inspired art activity as part of the Kids Get Arty series of Red Ted Art as learned about Molly Upton, a painter who worked with cloth.

Taste and Smell - Quinoa
Letter Q Learning Tray #1.
Next, we explored taste and smell through quinoa (and used our sense of touch again too). We compared how the quinoa felt and smelled before we cooked it (but didn't taste it without cooking it) and then noted how it felt and smelled quite differently after it was cooked. Then, we tasted the cooked quinoa. 

Sound - Quack

For sound, we focused on quack and had fun doing awesome duck impersonations and reading a few new duck books. (Here's some of our other favorite duck books shared with our Letter D Learning Activities).

Letter Q Learning Tray #2. 
Bonus Learning Activity: Quack and Quick - Writing practice and word comparison. 

Wild Thing looked at our books and practiced writing various q words, especially "quick" and "quack." We noticed how the words were very similar with the exception of the vowel in the middle of the word. 

To further explore this, I wrote quick and quack on our sidewalk outside and placed cars near quick and ducks near quack. The boys traced the letters with the cars or ducks. Then, I took the cars and ducks and had them match them to either quick or quack.  

Thanks for joining me for 31 Days of ABCs. Please share your favorite letter learning activities! 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fun Learning Activities featuring Monsters and Colors with the Weekly Kid's Co-Op

Monster Activities for Preschool: Color Sorting and Early Literacy

Stir the Wonder and Enchanted Homeschooling Mom introduced us to Monsters Love Colors, and we're loving this fun picture book by Mike Austin (and my Picture Book of the Day selection). The book inspired me to highlight fun monster activities from The Weekly Kid's Co-Op and the Kid Blogger Network, which are great for little ones not ready for scary Halloween fun yet -- or for any time of year. These monsters are lovable and easy to embrace. Plus, these monster activities make learning fun! 

Monsters Love Colors Sensory Bin from Stir the Wonder and Enchanted Homeschooling Mom

Here's even more toddler and preschool color learning activities:

It would be easy to use any of these color activities in connection with our Picture Book of the Day. Not only is this book a fun book to read, but for both Caterpillar (3) and Wild Thing (4),  it connects with their current learning focuses at preschool and transitional kindergarten. Caterpillar is focusing on learning about colors (including color mixing) and Wild Thing is learning to read and write various color words. He is so proud of himself as he can read certain sentences and pages in the book completely by himself! 

I'm also sharing this at Booknificent Thursday!

Monday, October 6, 2014

{World Space Week} This Week's Meal Plan - Inspired by Space

Celebrating World Space Week with Kids 

Wild Thing (almost 5) loves space. He's known all of the planets for awhile now and often reminds me that Triton is a moon of Neptune, something I definitely did not know before he learned it through a space book or video (probably in both). So, this week, we'll be celebrating with lots of space activities (and I'll be sharing, later in the week, some of our favorite space books as well as some favorite Star Wars book for early readers since in addition to this week being World Space Week, Oct. 4-11, it's also Star Wars Reads Day on Oct. 11). So, here's some space inspiration for meals and snacks this week. 


Lunch inspired by Space Boy by Leo Landry, a book shared by J Daniel 4's Mom in her Read.Explore.Learn series. Not sure my rocket sandwich will looks as good as hers, but I'll try! 
When pinning, please click through to her original post and pin from there. Thank you!
Phases of the moon snack time! Living Montessori Now shared a popular Oreo cookie version of this in her awesome moon unit, but I prefer to use apples to show the phases of the moon. Alas, I have no photo as my hard drive crashed recently and that picture was among the many I lost! 

Planetary Pizza for Dinner -- We've got some leftover pepperoni pizza (representing the red planet, Mars) and I'll be making a Veggie Venus Pizza too. 


Alien Bento Box for lunch inspired by this awesome Alien Invader Bento from My Small Potatoes. I especially love her boiled egg alien, which could also be a fun breakfast idea this week. 
As always, please click through to pin from original source.
We love to eat breakfast for dinner, so Huevos Estralledos (or Starry Eggs) should be a hit for World Space Week (you can also tie them into Hispanic Heritage Month as well). Who knows, we might add some galactic french toast too (top it with powdered sugar to represent star dust, rather than using syrup).


Toy Story Alien Snack - Creative Kid Snacks made an awesome Toy Story Alien Snack using, primarily, green grapes. When I make ours, it might become Yoda instead for my Star Wars loving boys.

You know what to do, to pin, please click through
Creative Kid Snacks also has an awesome Solar System made using fruits. You have to check it out. Plus, this pin explains planet size through fruit.  

For dinner, we're having Jupiter Stew -- an orange stew with a red storm brewing! I'm making Twice Cooked Sweet Potato Soup garnished with diced red pepper to be the storm. It's a recipe from a good old fashioned cookbook, so I'll share it on my Facebook page this week since there's no link. 


Red Planet Stuffed Peppers for Dinner. Mars is Wild Thing's favorite planet, so I'm hoping these peppers are a hit. I'll probably adjust this recipe a bit to fit his taste, which basically means I'll be simplifying it a bit.


On the weekend, we love to have a family movie night. I'm thinking we might give E.T. a try since Halloween is coming soon and we've got a lot of interest in space right now. We've done an E.T. Family Movie Night before, but in all honesty, back then, the boys really didn't watch the movie, but wondered off to play as we watched it. We'll be enjoying some Intergalactic Popcorn with our movie (that means popcorn that I'll let them add cheese or sprinkles to) as well as some breadsticks and pretzels with dipping sauces inspired by E.T.'s glowing finger, and, of course, some Reese's Pieces. 

How will YOU celebrate World Space Week? Share your favorite space activities, crafts, books and more, and if you blog, share a link as I want to add more fabulous ideas to my All About Space Pinboard. And, here's hoping your week is out of this world! 

Sharing at: After School Activities Linky and In and Out of the Kitchen Linky.

You might also like:
Things That Go - In Space!
Travel the World (and beyond)
with Books
Book Inspired Meal Plan

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Poetry Activities for Kids: Inspiration from The Weekly Kid's Co-Op

P is for Poetry: Celebrating National Poetry Day with Kids

My boys love poems, even though they don't know it. We play lots of rhyming games and love singing songs, many of which are also poems. Many children's books we enjoy are actually poems or have poetic elements: rhyming stanzas and recurring phrases that feel like poems within the story. In honor of National Poetry Day, October 2nd, I'm sharing some activities from The Weekly Kid's Co-Op that explore and celebrate poetry as well as some of my other favorite poetry activities for kids from the blogosphere. 

We're Going On A Bear Hunt is both a book and poem and children love it. Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails shared Paper Bag Bear Puppets to go along with the poem/book and Buggy and Buddy shared a fun Bear Hunt Map Activity

Another popular children's book we love that is quite poetic is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. Joyfully Weary shared several fun activities for this book, and we had lots of fun sharing some Chicka Chicka Boom Boom activities over at Capri+3.

My other poetic favorite from The Weekly Kid's Co-Op was from Homeschool With Love who shared three poems her daughter recently wrote.

Two of my favorite poetry books for kids are A Stick is An Excellent Thing: Poems Celebrating Outdoor Play (perfect for Fall or Spring) by Marilyn Singer, which I shared as part of my Weekly Library Challenge last year, and City I Love, a book of poems by Lee Bennet Hopkins, which I shared for Multicultural Children's Book Day this past January.

Reading poems and singing songs are great ways to introduce children to poetry and to inspire them to try writing their own poems. You could get the ball rolling with this creative Spine Poetry Activity for Kids from What Do We Do All Day or try out a Sensory Poem like Planet Smarty Pants -- I love both of these activities. For more tips on Teaching Poetry at Home, also check out this post from Pragmatic Mom

Have you done poetry activities with your kids? Do you have a favorite book of poems for children? Please share. I'd love to add them to our collection. Sharing this at In and Out of the Kitchen Linky.