Friday, September 30, 2011

Fall Inside!

Ah, Fall is here. This is my most favoritest, bestest time of year. The trees are beginning to change into jewel colors of yellow, red, burnt orange...time for nature walks and collecting.

Bring some Fall inside!

Today, we patrolled our backyard and snipped a basket full of fall foliage from trees and bushes. I simply added water to a vase and plopped them in. Now we have a little bit of Fall inside to enjoy.

A great book to read to your kiddo...Why Do Leaves Change Color? A fun and beautifully illustrated book (with some detailed scientific info too).  

Also, a quick and easy project we did with friends this morning ...laminated place mats using Fall leaves. You could also use contact paper if you don't have a laminator.

Since this is my favorite time of year, there will certainly be a few more Fall inspired posts to come.

I hope everyone is enjoying this Season!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Buried in Berries...Jamberry!

has been a favorite book of ours for a while.
If you haven't read it to your kiddo yet, make sure you do!

Here's a fun  and very simple activity we did to go with this board book.  

 We used strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.
Last of the fresh berries for the season. A farewell bash.

Rinsed 'em.

Sorted 'em.

Next, we read the book and used our berries as interactive parts to the story.

One berry, two berry, pick me a blueberry.
She picked a blueberry and fed it to the bear.

                                               Three berry, four berry,hayberry

It was hard not to sample the berries as we read along. 

Trainberry, trackberry, clickety-clackberry!
I'm okay with getting a lil' berry stain on our book.
It's ours and we'll remember how the stain got there. :)

Next, raspberries!

Buried in berries!

She enjoyed all the berries 'as is' in natural form as we read...EXCEPT for the raspberry, too sour for her liking (same here...*pucker face*).

Next, we conducted a taste test with different dips.

Cream cheese, vanilla yogurt, honey and chocolate whipped cream.

Turns out that ALL the berries were best in chocolate whipped cream.

There's a resource book called  'Story Stretchers' that we like very much. While I didn't get this activity from that book, it is a great resource for adding relevant activities to your favorite books/stories.  They have a version for infants, toddlers, pre-k and up.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Where the Wild Things Grow

I was out rummaging with some girlfriends last weekend, hitting up area shops - looking for treasures. I found this little coloring book for 50 cents - A Field Guide to Wildflowers (in the fields, wetlands, sand, woods). A treasure.

We have an open field near our house, it's always knee high with weeds and wildflowers.  I thought this book would pair well with a fun Montessori style study on wildflowers, arranging and parts of the flower.

We found and identified Bull Thistle.
It's prickly, be careful.
We found lots of Goldenrod.

We found a variety of other wildflowers as well and it was fun to match them up with the pictures in the book. The majority of what we found and studied were late summer bloomers, which worked out perfectly.

Next, thought it would be fun to arrange them.
Who knew weedy wildflowers could look so pretty?
Some wildflowers can irritate the skin easily, so we were careful when handling the wildflowers and we washed our hands after.

I added some FREE printables to our study, great way to learn the parts of a flower.

This flower book is also from A fun flip book about shapes and colors. I laminated them, punched them, added an eyelet and ribbon to keep 'em together. I suggest you take a cruise around the free printables they have, there are many preschool packs that are just adorable!

While we're on the subject of flowers...did you know that a toothbrush holder works great for flower arranging? Especially for little hands! This is an activity we did months ago, but though it relevant to add to this post. Here, we used two Dollar Store toothbrush holders (no plug or openings at bottom). Works perfectly!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Flying Rabbits & a Fox Kissing Porcupine!

I ran across Children Inspire Design the other day and completely fell in love with their FREE pritnables. They have a lot of great ones (checklists, charts, inspirational prints, crafts), but my favorite is 'Woodland Friends'.

So, we printed them out and made a couple lil' projects with them. First, we did a cut-n-paste project. Click here for the free Woodland Friends printables. Click here for the free forest background we used.

When finished, we popped them in a hinged frame to display in our entryway. This hangs at my tots height, so she can enjoy her work as well.
We purchased the hinged frame at Target for $12.
It's super easy to rotate artwork and it looks professionally mounted!


I then decided these printables were just too cute (and...uhm, free) to do just one project with them. So, we made a puppet theatre and puppets ($0).  

I laminated the characters and hot glued them to craft sticks.

I used this empty box (which once held my $24 Walmart laminator, which works wonderfully). You could use any box really, diaper boxes, shipping boxes...

Using craft paper, glue and the free printables from Children Inspire Design, we assembled our theatre. We also used this free coloring sheet pritnable (tree in front with owl) from super coloring.

This is especially fun since it's a puppet theatre that my girl can manipulate and watch at the same time.

There was a flying rabbit and a fox kissing porcupine, a long with other woodland antics.
It was a great show!

p.s. We also did the free Sea Life cut-n-paste too!
This would be cute as a puppet theatre too, with ocean themed elements.