Sunday, September 30, 2012

Preschool Workboxes - 10/1

I am short on time tonight and want to spend some time with my husband, so I am going to let these pictures speak for themselves this time.  If I have time this week to update this post, I will add descriptions.  These are the activities in Super Tot's workboxes for the week.  Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions about any of the activities.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Halloween - by Princess

By Princess

I lay in bed on Halloween night,
Shaking and shivering all in a fright.
Thinking of goblins, ghosts and ghouls,
Of swashbuckling pirates, who’d kill just for jewels.

Thinking of monsters and spooky black cats,
But then I remembered, God’s bigger than that!
He’s not even scared of rats or bats,
So then...I relaxed!

No longer scared of mummies or Frankenstein,
Now that I’m trusting God, I feel just fine.
I feel so wonderful when before God I kneel,
Oh yeah!  One more thing...all that stuff isn’t real!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Coat of Arms

Princess designed a Coat of Arms for our family!  She took great care to research the symbols and colors to find exactly what fit for our life.  I love her design and the meaning behind each thoughtfully considered aspect.  This is her sketch.  The final copy includes a green banner with our surname.
Eagle - Nobility, Strength, Bravery, Leadership
Wings Displayed - Protection 
Lion - Courage
Crosslet Fitchee - Unshakeable Faith
Green - Hope, Joy, Loyalty
Gold - Generosity

Monday, September 17, 2012

Preschool Workboxes 9/17-21

 What's Super Tot working on this week?

Number Recognition
I separated all of the 1-5 tiles from the game Sumoku.  There are twelve of each.  I drew dots onto post-it notes and placed them on the container.  Super Tot will place each number tile into the correct section. 

Sound Matching
This is an activity we've done before, but it is a favorite.  There are 8 eggs in each color, filled with various objects (rice, beans, beads, etc.).  Super Tot is to shake the eggs and match them up by sound.  As he makes a match, he will place the 2 eggs in a cup.  Once he has completed them all, we will check them.

Forming Letters with Dough
The folder contains a sheet for each letter of the alphabet.  Super Tot will use dough to form each letter.  I made the mats for him, but do not own the copyrights for the images, so I cannot share the printables.  There are many dough mats available online if you search for them.

Sticker Fun
Super Tot loves stickers.  This was a Half Price Books find, and it is wonderful for one to one correspondence, fine motor, etc.

Threading Pipe Cleaners
Super Tot is to thread each pipe cleaner through a hole in the matching cardstock, then twist the pipe cleaner to keep it in place.

Dice Counting Game
Super Tot is to roll the large foam die, count the dots, and place the die on the correct numeral card.  I know we will play this over and over!

Pompom Tong Transfer
Super Tot will use the tongs (chopsticks) to place each pompom into a circle that is the same color as the pompom.

Name Pasting
The small container has 5 sets of the letters in Super Tot's name.  He is to paste each letter into a box (one to one correspondence) to spell out his name 5 times.

Draw & Write Journal
Super Tot has a journal that we regularly use, but I thought this would be a fun one to add to our routine, as well.  It is pretty self explanatory, but he will draw a picture of a specific object.  I will write the name of the object on the top line and he will copy it on the bottom line.

Building Links
I can't for the life of me remember what these are called.  Nine years ago, these were in an item from a kid's meal somewhere.  Princess had some and loved them.  We had gotten rid of them many years ago, but I found these at Dollar Tree recently.  I am so glad, because Super Tot loves them as much as she did!!

Folding Washcloths
Another activity that needs little explanation.  Practice folding washcloths!

Calming Jar

Pinterest Challenge

I've gotten a few days off on my Pinterest Challenge, but I'm happy that I am at least being intentional about implementing a lot of the ideas I have pinned the past couple of years.

I've been wanting to try this one for awhile now and am glad I finally got it done.  Super Tot purchased a little snow globe on vacation this summer and loves to look at it, especially when he is feeling frustrated, angry, etc.  I've seen how much it relaxes him, so I thought making a Calming Jar into a Time Out Timer would be perfect.  

I loved the shape of this Pom bottle, so I used nail polish remover to get rid of the writing that was printed directly to the bottle.  This took A LOT of elbow grease!!  

The jar is filled with one small bottle of glitter glue, hot water, a small jar of glitter and some clear Tacky Glue.  I ended up pouring out some of the glitter and adding more water, more glue, more water, etc.  I basically played with the contents until it took about 5 minutes to settle.  Then I glued the lid on, and presented it to Super Tot, who loves it!

Here is the jar shaken up, starting to settle, and almost completely settled.  

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Preparing for Christmas - The Grateful Game

As the holiday season approaches, our family has a fun little game we like to play to help our children learn about and practice gratefulness.  I'll get to that in a minute.  

First, I want to share that I love Christmastime more than any other time of the year.  We take the month of December off of school and spend those 4 weeks loving on others and fully embracing and celebrating the wonder of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Then, there is the part of the season that I do not like.  The consumerism and materialism that sometimes seem inevitable.  I try to always have our Christmas shopping completed before Thanksgiving, allowing more time for worship and less time out in the "world" during those precious weeks of advent.  It's a lot easier to eliminate consumerism if you simply avoid it.  

This year, we will be making many of our gifts, and I expect that we will complete a lot of them during those weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I know the time spent making those gifts will be special time to focus on the absolute joy of giving and loving others, praying purposefully for each recipient as we make their gifts.

We also spend much of December serving others and showing them Christ's love through random acts of kindness and several other special Christmastime traditions that I will blog about in the months to come.   

Now, back to the game!

A few years ago, I saw an article in Family Fun Magazine and was immediately intrigued.  After experiencing her otherwise well behaved children having an unexpected bout of ungratefulness at Christmas, this mom created what they called The Present Game.

We call it The Grateful Game and enjoy playing it in the months leading up to Christmas (and the kids birthdays that are both within weeks of Dec. 25).  This game has actually prevented our children from ever really having any gratitude issues, and for that I am grateful - thus the reason for the name change!

Let's be honest.  We don't always love every gift we receive.  Sometimes we receive something we already have.  Other times, it might be something we simply don't care for.  However, it is so important to be sincerely gracious, no matter what the gift.  The Grateful Game helps teach that lesson and practice it's application.

To play the game, we each have a paper bag for each family member.  We then "shop" our home for gifts for each other. Nothing is for keeps, as it is just a game.  Once the "shopping" is complete, we take turns opening the gifts.  When a gift is opened, the recipient is to not only thank the giver, but to express a sincere compliment about the gift.  Sometimes this is easier than others, and it certainly takes practice with little ones.  

Today, I gave Super Tot the cap from a bottle of Pellegrino.  Initially, he said, "a Pellegrino cap?" and tossed it aside.  We gently reminded him about the rules of the game and why it is so important to be gracious.  He tried again and noted the pretty star on the top of the cap.  Later, I gave him trash - literally.  It was the top that I ripped off a package of sunflower seeds.  He wasn't sure what to say when he opened it, so he just sat there.  We tried again, and this time he said, "oh yay, I've always wanted trash." He actually said this quite excitedly, not sarcastically as it reads. However, realizing that we clearly needed to work on the sincerity part, I told him that I chose it for him because it was yellow, his favorite color.  I said I didn't have money to buy any gifts this year, but I knew he loved yellow and thought he might be able to use the gift for a craft or something.  That dialog helped him to recognize that I had chosen the gift out of love and thoughtfulness, even though it wasn't really something he would have chosen for himself.  His face lit up when I explained.  My prayer is that he will learn to automatically think of the love that goes into each gift, and not just about his wishes.  The sincerity part will come with practice and as that automatic understanding settles in his heart, just as it has in Princess's.

We teach our children that each gift they receive is a symbol of the love the gift giver has for them.  Just as the wise men gave gifts to honor baby Jesus, we show our love and honor by choosing special gifts for our loved ones.  As a receiver, it is important for us to remember that, no matter what the gift is.  That really helps the focus be on the LOVE, and not the actual gift.  

Don't get me wrong, my children love gifts.  Don't we all?  We just attempt to keep their focus on gratitude and not on entitlement or greed.  My husband and I try hard to keep the focus of Christmas on Christ himself, not on the gifts.

The Grateful Game also gives our children an incredible lesson on giving.  It helps when they get to choose a special gift for someone else.  That is the other side of the game.  It truly teaches them the joy that comes from giving.  Even though it is just a game, they still experience the raw emotion and joy of choosing a special gift and giving it to their loved one.  It is just as important to be a gracious giver as it is to be a gracious receiver.  

This game has become a treasured tradition in our home, and I am so grateful for the life lessons being learned through play.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Glow Stick Bowling

Pinterest Challenge Day 9

My pictures are terrible, but this was such a fun activity!  

I purchased glow sticks 2/$1 at my local dollar store, placed them into empty water bottles (along with a few glass beads for weight), turned out the lights and had a ball!!  We did the activity inside, but it would be fun outside, too.   

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Number Recognition Activity

I am working on number recognition right now with Super Tot and decided to focus on 3 numerals at a time.  I put together this activity very quickly and it was a huge success.  

I started by cutting 3 inch squares out of cardstock (3 each of 6 colors).  I then placed one, two or three stickers on each square. Next, I got three paper lunch sacks and wrote 1, 2 or 3 on each of them.  I set the bags out on the table and handed Super Tot the stack of cards.  He counted the number of stickers on each card and placed it in the correct bag.  
I used the bags so he would have to identify the numeral each time, rather than looking at the cards he had already done.

He really enjoyed this activity, so we will not only continue to use it all week, but I will extend it for use with the larger numbers in the weeks to come.

Alphabet Match

Pinterest Challenge Day 8

We were out of town for Labor Day, so I had to skip a couple days, but I'm back with today's Pinterest Challenge post.  I saw this idea on Pinterest close to a year ago. I tucked it away and finally decided to do it with Super Tot.  He didn't want to do the whole alphabet today, but he enjoyed it, so it is back in his workbox for tomorrow.  It was easy, free and fun!

I just wrote the letters of the alphabet onto an empty paper towel roll.  I gave it to him, along with a sheet of alphabet stickers I had on hand, and let him get to work matching the letters.  We've done similar activities on a sheet of paper before, but I loved that this gave him a slightly new perspective and allowed for a different sensory & motor experience.