Friday, March 18, 2016

sink or float?

For our week of The Three Billy Goats Gruff, one of the things we talked about was whether or not the Troll sunk or floated when he was butted off the bridge. There was a lot of discussion, with some of the children deciding that their troll would be a nice troll and would not get butted off the bridge, with other trolls sinking to the bottom and living in the river.

With all this talk of sinking and floating on our minds, the children brought in objects from home to see if they would sink or float. We did this at group time first, with each child predicting what their object would do, then we moved it all to the science table for more exploration.

All week long, the children brought in objects to test. There was a lot of activity at the science table. Many of our classroom items took a turn in the sink or float bowl. There may have been water everywhere but it was worth worth it!

This was back in at the beginning of February and just this week, one of the classroom kiddos found a leaf on the playground. They said to me "I am going to see if this floats!" and they promptly placed it on a puddle to discover that it did indeed float! For the rest of the hour outside, various rocks, leaves, and bark pieces made their way to that puddle and it was awesome!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

a wee little classroom happy

*weather inspire suncatchers
*blotto trolls
*easel painting
*pool noodle sculptures
*ice cream cones
*fun with weather pillows

**just a little splash of color in our classroom to brighten your day (and mine)!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

make a button board

More like a button pillowcase...I used two cloth napkins from our local craft store, but you could just as easily use a solid color pillowcase....hand stitch a variety of buttons to the cloth, insert cardboard, cut out felt shapes (don't forget the buttonholes,) and you're good to go! This is great for fine mptpr work and button practice!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

three bears smoosh painting

Every year when we read The Three Bears, we pull out the honey bears for some painting fun. This year, I added a slight twist to the usual suspects...
The children selected a square of construction paper in either red, white, blue, or yellow. They would then place their paper into the cookie sheet and get ready to engage those squeeze muscles. It isn't easy to squeeze paint out of a honey bear!
The children added paint to their heart's content then placed a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the happy mess. Once the plastic was placed, it was time to smoosh away.
Their favorite part was the magic of not getting their hands covered in paint (and this is a class that LOVES to cover their hands in paint!)
Minds may have been blown!

I wish I had thought to take photos of the final art...I may have but I cannot find them...we also taped up some of the pieces of plastic into our windows...all sorts of colorful pretty!


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

misadventures in gluten-free play dough making

I tried, I really did, but as far as dough goes, I failed (well, sort of, at least in this instance.) I picked up some coconut flour and thought if I added cocoa powder to it and cooked it up like regular play dough it would work....I thought wrong.
I added the flour, then the cocoa, some cornstarch, and less water than usual and it looked like it might ball up but it didn't. It got too fluid and goopy so I added cornmeal and nothing happened. At this point I had about 6 cups of crumbly stuff that I was told smelled divine but what could I do to salvage it? Ooh! I know...turn it into a microwave mug, that bombed too.
Rather than admit defeat, I popped the whole crumbly mess into a container and marveled at the texture which was silly smooth and cool even if it wasn't doughy. The next day at school, I dumped the whole crumbly mess on top of the table, added a few cookie cutters, and empty heart shaped candy boxes and called it a day.
It appears the kiddos loved it...
Go figure.

Coming up, the successful gluten-free playdough recipe I rocked. Stay tuned!

trip-trap, trip-trap

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

we made snow globes

Because, you know.....sunny California.

This week we read the book Snow by Uri Shulevitz, we talked about weather, temperature, snow, ice, seasons, winter, and more. There were pompom snowballs to explore, glittery orbs to discover, a mirror box to explore symmetry, and books with photos of snowflakes. We made faux snow aka clean mud, tape resist snowflakes, wintery colored paintings, and these happy snowglobes.

The children brought in jars, poured the water, added the glitter (and discovered that too much sparkle made it difficult to see their happy snow globe selves), and selected their decorations. I took the photos the week before, and manned the glue gun the day of. They really loved looking at them and sharing them with their friends and family. Idea came from Our Best Bites blog. Ya gotta love folks who share, thank you!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

spicy activites in the house!

Last week in the classroom we read Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett. Along with the usual suspects,we set out additional fine motor, math, and craft activities with a little extra spice added, like our story basket complete with a gingerbread baby, gingerbread house, and animal masks printed from Jan Brett's website. I found the gingerbread baby and house at Michael's on clearance a few years ago. They have similar items this year.
These adorable gingerbread men cookies came from Homeschool Creations. I printed them out, laminated them, then backed them with felt. I placed five ofthem on our cookie sheet, along with a spatula and set them on top of a shelf with no explanation. The children took the cookie sheet to the floor and practiced scooping them up with the spatula. All day long I was offered cookies, and at clean up I found them in the play kitchen. The cookie sheet is from an Ikea set and I only had to re-glue one felt back (so far). 
These kooky silicone dealios came from a Japanese Dollar store. I'm not even sure what they are for as they are not sturdy enough for cookie dough or rice. Either way, I pulled out coordinating pompoms and set this up to see what the kiddos would do. They very carefully filled in each gingerbread baby with matching pompoms AND they cleaned it up when they we finished. This photo is from last year, this year, I put the pompoms in a small lidded basket and the element of reveal was really fun to watch. I loved this activity! 
Oh how I love these! I got this happy set from etsy seller how we learn at home, the bowl came with a separate set from another seller. 
So simple and so cool! The mancala board was a thriftstore find and the bells came from the dollar store four years ago. The ladle came from a set of kitchen utensils I found at Tuesday Morning. Setting out the ladle and spatula (above) allowed for an introduction to new tools and vocabulary.
Another fun one from Homeschool Creations. These we for scissors practuce but I laminated them and added Dry Erase markers for line tracing. Again, I had this set up at a table with no explanation and the kiddos sat down on their own and traced the lines! Then they wiped off their lines, turned the sheets over to the blank side and drew pictures. 
I made these felt pieces two years and they are still going strong. On the tray are assorted shapes cut from felt and pieces of yarn and rik-rak. 
This is a retro candy themed matching game from eeboo. The children sort out matches, line up the squares, carry around the pieces, and pass them out as if they were real candy. I love this! 
Last, we have this wooden bead stringing activity that I found last week at Home Goods! Serendipitous! The children love this and again, the pieces end up being used in so many different ways.