Deuteronomy 16:15

Deuteronomy 16:15
For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Alphabet Eggs

Now that Nathan is older, there is no way that he wants to miss out on the fun when Naomi and I do "school". I put school in quotes because really, with as much fun as we have, it seems almost wrong to call it school! :-) I DO call it school though, especially the fun stuff, because I want the kids to have a very positive attitude towards school, and who doesn't love doing hands on things and having fun? Anyways, I digress!

Since Nathan wants to do school with us, I make a big effort to always have something ready for him to do as well. One of my very favorite sites, No Time For Flashcards, is starting a new series called "Alphabet for Starters". I am THRILLED because I know the type of activities they come up with will be tons of fun, and perfect for where Nathan is at. Here is the first post in the series, and as soon as I saw it, I knew we had to do it! Here is what we did.

First I got some of our larger Easter eggs, and filled 8 of them with the magnetic letters from our Leapfrog fridge set. Then I put them in this cute bucket, and put it on a cookie sheet so they would stick to the tray. Since letters are pretty new to Nathan I added the device the letters go into so he could hear the names of the letters from it and from me.

I added in one sweet boy, and he got right to work opening up the eggs. Opening up the eggs is a great workout for their little fingers too!

As soon as he opened up an egg, he put the letter in the box to  hear what it was. He could get them in but as you can see by his frown, it took a little concentration!

He liked hearing what letter it was, but then he quickly wanted to move to hearing the ABC song again, as you can see by him pushing that button.

Nathan enjoyed this so much that we're going to do it again, only I'm going to put some of our different shapes in it. I want to end this by saying in no way did I drill Nathan on his letters, or do I think that is appropriate for a 22 month old! This was a fun activity that gave he and I something special to do together, and was a great way to expose him to some letters. We talked about the letters as he opened the eggs, and moved them around on the tray, but that was it. Fun and exposure it what I think it's all about at this stage!


Friday, March 30, 2012

Resurrection Eggs - Day 1

On Tuesday we opened our first Resurrection Egg! If you are not familiar with Resurrection Eggs, here is a quick run down. Basically, they are a dozen plastic eggs, each filled with some type of item that is a reminder of the Easter story. The first egg has a donkey to remind us of Palm Sunday, and Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. The second egg has some coins, to remind us of Judas taking the 30 coins to betray Jesus, and on it goes! I just ordered them here from Amazon. If you want to make your own Resurrection Eggs, you can go here to get some free printables. They are not expensive, and to me, well worth the cost to have the real items the kids can feel in each egg. In addition to the eggs, comes a little devotional with what scripture to read with each egg, and discussion ideas. We are already on egg/day #4, but I thought I would share what we did on the first day so you could get an idea of the types of things we are doing each day leading up to Easter!

Here Naomi was getting ready to open the first egg. She was VERY excited!

You can't really see it, but in the first egg was a little donkey. We happened to have a book about the donkey Jesus borrowed, so we read that too. We also learned a song about Palm Sunday! I didn't get a video to post here, but I will try to put one up on Facebook.

Here the kids are cutting out the palm branches to make a path for Jesus to Jerusalem. We aren't doing crafts to go with the eggs every day, but this one we couldn't pass up! Naomi did the cutting, and Nathan did a lot of the gluing, with help from sister too! I was pleased how nicely they worked together on this.

They were very proud of their finished work!

A close up of the finished product. I got the idea for this from Christian Preschool Printables. I have a love/hate relationship with this site. I LOVE it because they have tons of great ideas and free printables. I hate it because it's hard to find anything, and I think that the graphics they use are creepy. I would give you the exact link for this craft but (shock!) I can't find it on their site again!

Here the kids are playing a counting game using the dice. They would roll the dice, and then stamp that many palm leaves on the path to Jerusalem. Nathan just stamped wherever he wanted, but they both still liked it! I got this printable, and tons of great discussion ideas from 2 Teaching Mommies. Be sure to check out their ideas for resurrection eggs!

The kids LOVE opening these eggs each day, and this has provided us with lots of great discussion opportunities. The activities we've been doing to go along with have been so much fun too. I love how this has really kept us focused on the true meaning of Easter.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

4 Easy Easter Crafts

I didn't get any shots of us actually doing the crafts, but here is the finished products! These were four, easy Easter crafts we did, that the kids really enjoyed. Just click on the link below the picture to find detailed instructions on how to make them!

Paper plate chicks! I think these turned out cute, and were perfect for even Nathan to make. I got the idea from here!

I love Easter Eggs, so these were perfect because we could leave them up for several weeks without worrying about them spoiling! I got the idea from this post at No Time For Flash Cards (my new favorite site!), and modified it to accommodate the supplies I had. Naomi decided on her own to do a pattern with her pompoms, and Nathan had fun just sticking them on (as long as he didn't get any glue on his fingers!).

We had made Valentine's Day wreaths back in February that were similar to this. They turned out so cute that I just had to do Easter wreaths with the kids. I got this idea in February from No Time For Flashcards, and then just changed it to work for Easter!

I saw these little egg holder lambs on Pinterest and just had to make them with the kids. I think they turned out soooooooooo cute! I made the face for Nathan's lamb ahead of time, but other than that, he did the rest! Naomi enjoyed it too, and was very pleased the lambs could stand up on their own. See the tutorial at Crafts by Amanda if you want to make these yourself.

If you are looking for more inspiration for Easter Crafts or activities, there are tons of cute ideas I've pinned on my Easter Board on Pinterest. Happy days leading up to Easter!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Money and Store

As much as I'd like to be one of those bloggers that is totally on top of it, and shares all the wonderful things they do, I've realized that one or two posts a month is what is more realistic for me. Therefore, I want to share one of our highlights from the month of March!

I wanted to introduce Naomi to the concept of using money, and coin recognition. I could think of no better way to do it then to set up our own store! Sitting down and doing a worksheet on money = not so fun. However, setting up a store where you can buy and sell things = SUPER fun! If there is a fun way to learn a concept, I'm all for it!

What do you need for a store? Well, start with....

a daily specials board,

a produce section,

a wide variety of items from your pantry, divided by category and labeled of course,

those little sticky dots so you can put a price on everything, (I did everything in either 1, 5, 10, or 25 cent increments since we were working on coin recognition)

and a cash register with scanner!

Add in a couple of shopping carts, two cute kids, and you are ready to open up your own store, learn about money, and have some fun to boot!

Naomi was super excited and wanted to be the cashier first. In addition to learning about money, it was an excellent opportunity to learn and practice some shopping vocabulary.

Nathan was more than happy to be the first customer!

He went right to the soup section and started shopping.

I had filled their purses with change ahead of time. Nathan would pick an item out of his cart, Naomi would scan it, and look to see how much it cost (by looking at the sticker). Then Nathan would give her a handful of coins, and she had to find the right one. I had introduced Naomi to the coins that morning, and within 5 minutes of playing store, she could recognize and name all the coins. Not bad if you ask me! We didn't work on adding coins together as I didn't want to overwhelm her.

After taking a turn as cashier, Naomi was ready to shop!

She was excited that the fruit was on sale, buy one get one free!

Nathan took a turn being the cashier. Naomi had to look at the price on her item, then find and give Nathan the correct coin.

I was the bagger and put all her groceries into an eco-friendly bag!

As I was bagging Naomi's groceries Nathan wandered away. After a minute he came running over shouting, "Tower, TOWER"! He had made a tower out of the soup cans and was EXTREMELY proud of himself!

He couldn't reach to add any more cans to his tower on the shelf, so we moved it to the ground, and added some vegetables!

All in all our store was a huge success! We left it set up for over two weeks and played with it almost daily. Naomi learned to identify her coins, and most importantly, we all had a lot of fun playing together! I got the idea from this post on No Time for Flashcards, which is my new favorite blog! Take a minute to check it out!


Monday, March 5, 2012

Valentine's Theme

Well I am posting this much later than I had planned, but here are some of the fun things we did for our Valentine's theme this year! I have officially had my little blog for a year now, and I so enjoy going back over my old posts, and remembering the fun stuff that we've done together. This blog has been a neat way to share what we're up to with my family and friends who are far away, but mostly it's become an online scrapbook for me. I loved seeing the types of things I did with the kids last year at this time. They have grown, and learned so much in just a year! Things that would have been impossible for both of them last year, they do with such ease now. Anyway, enough reminiscing, and on with the post!

One weekend in early February, we were having yucky weather, and Daddy wanted something fun he could do with the kids that didn't involve him getting jumped on. Thanks to Pinterest, I had a fun craft ready for them in under 5 minutes!

Daddy and the kids made Valentine's Day wreaths. They had fun, it wasn't TOO messy for Daddy, and they turned out super cute!

Although not related to Valentine's Day, Naomi has been in a writing craze and wanting to write everything! Here she is showing off where she had written her name.

This is a Valentines addition tray that I put together for her. I had gotten several packages of foam hearts at the Dollar Tree, and we used them for tons of things! These purple hearts were joined together. I cut them apart, wrote the addition fact on one heart, and the answer on the other. Then I put them in these cute little jars, along with some candy hearts for her to use as counting manipulates.

Naomi would pull an addition problem out of the first jar, use the candy hearts to help her count, and then find the answer on the matching heart in the next jar. You can see to her left where she made the matching pairs of problem/solution. We are working on our addition facts to ten, and she is doing fantastic! She was even able to do some of the easier facts in her head, which tells me she's really mastered the concept. I made another set of hearts of subtraction and we did the same thing with them.

Here the kids had their buckets, and were ready to go on a Valentine's Day Heart Hunt (think same idea as an Easter egg hunt)!

I hid red hearts for Nathan, and pink hearts for Naomi. They were only allowed to put their own colored hearts in their bucket. This worked perfectly as there was no fights about who got more, etc.

I made Naomi's hearts a little harder to find than Nathan's.

After they found all their hearts I had an activity for both of them to do. Nathan stuffed his hearts in this wipes container. We practiced counting. It's harder for him than you would think to shove things into those containers. It's a good strengthening activity for those little fingers!

I had numbered Naomi's hearts 10 to 30 ahead of time. Once she found them she had to match the hearts to the numbers on the chart I made her, and put the numbers in order. It was a good way to help solidify those numbers for her.

Nathan playing with our sorting and counting bears. I love these! We talked about the colors and tried putting the bears in their matching color container.

The heart penguin Naomi made for her Daddy's Valentine.

The heart pig Nathan made for Daddy. 

Nathan scooping up the giant buttons while I was working with Naomi.

Naomi has been doing really well with writing her numbers!

Nathan needed a turn to write his numbers too! ;)

Here Nathan was stringing our giant buttons to make a necklace. I always have a few little activities planned for him, so he has something fun to do while I'm working with Naomi. Once I get Naomi started on something (she prefers to work independently now) I just bounce back to Nathan. Sometimes I feel like a ping-pong ball, but it works!

Here Naomi was working in her Kindergarten math book. She sets the pace as to how many pages (if any) that she does. Some day we do none, one day she did 18!

Nathan likes to sit at our little art desk and do his "work" when Naomi is doing hers. He colors, plays with stickers, does stamps, cuts paper, glues things, etc. It always makes a mess but he has fun!

We made Valentine Love Bugs! They turned out super cute and the kids played with them a ton!

We made these special Valentine birthday cards for Grandpa Canon. First they dot painted the paper, then I cut out the hearts for them, and they glued them down on colored paper.

Then they both wrote in their cards. I'm so proud of Naomi's writing!

We couldn't visit Jim's parents without taking Valentines for Grandma Canon too. We used the kids hands as a background on the paper plates, and then they decorated them. I thought they turned out so pretty!

Naomi needed to work on counting by 10s so we came up with this! I didn't get any pictures of the process, but this is what we ended up with. We counted out, and glued down, 10 lima beans on to each craft stick. We talked about how it would take a long time to count 100 lima beans. Then I introduced skip counting, and talked about how it was a faster way to count to 100. Naomi was thrilled! We glued down 100 lima beans, and then used the hearts to help us practice counting by 10. It was fun, and a good way for Naomi to really understand the concept of skip counting.

Check out my Valentine's Day Board on Pinterest for links, and step by step instructions of everything we did. Also, I have to give credit to another blog I found, Mom to 2 Posh Lil' Divas. Lots of the ideas above I got from their site! Links to the exact posts are on my Pinterest board. We had fun with our little activities, and I think the kids learned lots. It's hard to believe how much they have learned since just last year. My babies are getting so big!