Wednesday, December 17, 2014

fun with dyed chanukah pasta

When I found this happy bag of Chanukah pasta at World Market I scooped it up with a whoop and imagined how pretty it would be dyed in all sorts of happy colors. So I took it home and did just that using this method.
The bag itself isn't too large so each color is only maybe two cups or so of noodles. The teal and purple were accomplished using liquid watercolor while the dark blue and the white needed a little help from some acrylic paint mixed with water. The white and blue got a bit more wet than usual in the shaking process so needed a day to dry with a manual flip in between to get both sides.
Once the noodles are all dry there are oodles of ways for your kiddos to play! Use the pasta as a stand in for gelt during dreidel play. Add it to play dough or color sort onto a sorting mat made from printed/solid paper taped or stitched together. Felt will work for a more permanent mat but happy scrapbook paper will do in a pinch!
Stack the pieces! Have a contest to see who can stack the most in a set time. Up the ante by using only your pinching fingers. Grab a pipecleaner or some yarn and string the noodles up for a pretty necklace or bracelet.
Work on math and patterning by creating various patterns with your kiddos. Set up an art table with glue, paint, and glitter and get to it! There are all sorts of ways you can play! Happy Chanukah!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

gingerbread men round 2

This year the children whipped up their own puffy paint to paint their gingerbread men and/or houses with. After reading more than a dozen recipes for diy puffy paint I came to the conclusion that the ratios did not need to be exact and that all you needed was salt, flour, baking soda, and a little water (plus liquid water color).
We mixed up our paint at circle time. Each kiddo was given a small container and spoon on one of our white plates (I LOVE these plates). Then I talked about the paint we were going to make and how it was a recipe. We've been working on recipes almost every week. The children took turns scooping out their desired amounts of the ingredients and got to mixing.
There were a lot of comments when the children found their paint to be too thick or too thin. After a little experimenting they each came up with their perfect pot of paint.
I poured the paint into small squeeze bottle that made it difficult for the children to get all squeeze happy. They really had to work those squeezing muscles!  Even though they each mixed up their own color we talked about sharing the paint with the rest of the class and how we could accomplish that through kind words and questions.
While I love the idea of using real candy to decorate their cardboard people and houses (like we did last year) I wanted for them to make something that could possibly be kept without attracting critters. To remedy this I spent one television program using various paper punches and a paper pad of holiday paper from Michael's to punch out circles, stars, and hearts of various sizes.
The children delighted in their creations and use oodles of thinking skills when they realized their paint would not puff up when we cooked it  (pop into microwave and cook for 20 seconds or so)if it was covered in paper. I loved seeing and listening to their collaborations and discoveries. Some layered circles and told me it was like "Disky" back from when we did our Kandinsky study, while others talked about shapes, size variations, and practiced their one to one correspondence with one paper shape to each blob of paint that they then counted out.
I mean, lookie how happy these creations are (blurry photos and all)! I used a template the mister made for me last year. I need to transfer to the computer so you all can have a copy if ya like.
Also, the clean up was so pretty I had to take a picture of it as well. We kept the paint out and available for the day. Oh my goodness! I just realized the sticky bottles of paint are in a zip bag somewhere in the casa...where did I put them?  I better find them before they get super ickified! Yikes! Enjoy!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

setting up the festive classroom

our storybasket for the gingerbread baby
Our literature for the two weeks before the winter break is teaming with all sorts of festive goodness. This past week we read The Gingerbread Baby and next week we will be reading Rabbit's Gift. Here's a peak into our classroom for our week of gingerbread...
sorting gingerbread men
investigating area w gingerbread men and pom poms
gingerbread felt fun
candy memory/matching game
decorating our play gingerbread house
exploring our toaster set to accompany our nursery rhyme
dot marker holiday trees
fine motor dreidel fun
fine motor tree decorating

Sunday, November 23, 2014

hipstagram classroom shots this past week...

fine motor turkey time
more turkey time
color sorting acorns
making classic preschool art
investigating the new crates

Monday, November 17, 2014

press here: 6 ideas for play

Here are some of the fun things we had set up in our classroom for our week of Press Here.

*color sorting pom poms into polka dot containers
*pom pom, buttons, and circle picks in playdough. 
*making pom pom slime in the classroom
*Press Here inspired dot collage
*pom pom magnet play
*painting with primary colors on the easel

Sunday, November 16, 2014

art inspired by press here

We spent a week exploring circles and primary colors for our week of Press Here by Hervé Tullet. As a part of our weekly journal art we made spotty collages on small sheets of paper that were six inches square. We began doing our art directly into our journals but I have found that the pages are too large for the children to focus on so we shrunk down the work surface for them to fill.

Kiddos used glue sticks to layer and stick their circles of choice to their paper. Some of our circles were punched at the art table by the kiddos themselves while others were prepunched by me from various scrapbook papers and some painted newspaper.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

diy halloween fine motor bank

If you have the materials on hand you can whip this easy peasy bank up in about two minutes! For reals! All you need is an empty can (I found mine at Target's Dollar Spot) and a balloon (also from Target) a pair of scissors.
The inspiration for this little bit of happy came from a bag of Halloween chocolates that I spotted at Target (yup, Dollar Spot). I thought they were poker chips or plastic coins and thought how fun would it be to make a bank then I spotted the can and it was the only one and I snatched it up. When I got home I noticed that the chips were actually chocolates. Good thing I picked up two bags! You can also use an empty soup or bean can that has been painted or covered in paper.
For this project you will need a regular sized balloon (whatever that is) not a water balloon. Use a pair of scissors to snip off the open end and stretch over the top of the can. Use a sharp pair of scissor to snip a small incision that you then open a bit more with your scissors. I began with dull scissors which mucked it up a smidge but it still works!
If you do not have chocolates you can use erasers, coins, or maybe the pieces from your homemade matching game? Have fun, enjoy, and remember to always supervise your kiddo when there are small pieces and balloon bits involved. Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2014

diy halloween matching game

This super easy matching game was made from 16 blank wooden discs, acrylic paint, glue. and round puffy stickers. Super simple!
I had the discs on hand thanks to being a craft supply hoarder but you can find them at your local craft store and/or Amazon. They can be a bit on the pricier side (at least for me) so I usually wait until the wood pieces are on sale or I have a coupon. The stickers were purchased from Target and cost once cent shy of three bucks. Add some paint to your discs (both sides) and allow to dry on a sheet of parchment or wax paper. I will often reuse my wax paper until I cannot. Or, use scrapbook paper punched and glued to one side. For your stickers, make sure you use a disc blank that is large enough and that you have doubles of at least eight stickers so that you can make a matching game. Use a dab or two of glue to adhere puffy stickers on as they do not have tremendous stick to them. Paper stickers can be pretty tacky and should stick easily without the aid of glue.
Once all happy and dry, your kiddos can use the pieces as a matching game, a memory game, play money, sand/or mall motor tweezing and transferring/ If you have an available piggy bank your kiddo can practice putting the coins into the bank! Have fun!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

halloween {fine motor} treats and more

This coming week we are reading Elmer by David McKee and while I have plenty of Elmer and elephant activities about the room, I wanted to share some super easy Halloween themed activities that are also set up in my classroom that you can do at home.
finger puppets and halloween books
I have no idea where these adorable finger puppets came from. I found them in our finger puppet box and set them aside for Halloween. The books on display are Two Little Witches, Go Away Big Green Monster, and The Big Pumpkin.
halloween pasta and pipe cleaner threading
I found these crazy cute Halloween shaped pasta pieces at World Market. Not sure exactly how this is going to work but how could I not buy them?
one elephant went out to play...
This is one of our Elmer activities but I thought that the cute tiny spider web played in well with a Halloween theme. I found the web last year at either the dollar store or Michael's. I've seen them around this year as well. The wee elephants are beads that came from a jungle animal pack. I found them at Michael's. We will be learning the song One Elephant Went Out to Play (I sing it a little differently) and this little activity is for the kiddos to act it out. I have a larger set as well using a placemat and these counters from Amazon.
felt pumpkins and creepy crawly sorting
We did this last year and the kiddos loved it. I hope this year's batch adores it as well!  I think I found the pumpkins at Target last year but don't quote me on that. The critters were also a Target find and were once rings. I used scissors to snip off the bands.
halloween picks and a foam pumpkin
Here is my Halloween take on golf tees and pumpkins or foam (though we are going to have the golf tees, hammer, and pumpkin set up as well). One smallish glittered pumpkin from Target's Dollar Spot (three dollars) and two packs of cupcake picks from The Dollar Tree (the cupcake liners are at the art table with glue sticks, paper, and Halloween themed stamps.) We'll see how long the foam pumpkin lasts. I'm hoping it will survive the week.
halloween treasures and tweezers in salt
This happy assortment of critters and fun is a hodge podge of Halloween items from last year. I think I found everything at Michael's. The little jack-o-lanterns are erasers, the spiders, bats, and clear gems were from one of those Ashland home decor packs that I managed to score at 60% off. There are also googly eyes added for fun. I have some silicone pumpkin shaped ice cube trays set up next to this tray which was a wood box from a Melissa and Doug toy. I found the box at our Goodwill Outlet and picked it up for fifty cents (score!)
magnifying glasses at the nature table
Not really fine motor but we have our nature table piled high with mini pumpkins, gourds, and leaves. The children bring things in daily to add to our table. This coming week we will have a pumpkin cut open for them to explore....hence the magnifying glasses.

There you have it. An assortment of activities that can be easily adapted for home. 

Not into Halloween? 

*Set up a book basket full of items, finger puppets, and/or props from your kiddo's favorite book for them to explore. 

*Grab a box of penne pasta and some pipe cleaners for threading. 

*Pick up some themed beads that go along with a favorite song (spider rings for Itsy Bitsy Spider would be really easy to find right now). 

*Use colored beads or buttons for sorting instead of creepy crawlies. 

*Make your own picks for poking and use a real pumpkin. 

*Pick up a pack of flat backed marbles from your dollar or craft store and toss them into a tub of rice or cut up colorful straws and add them to a tub of beans and use chopsticks that are connected together with a rubber band instead of tweezers.