Chasing Cheerios

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

String Art

Our 2nd Art Jar activity was making string art! O was VERY excited when she chose this activity from the jar, but she wasn't very enthusiastic once we got started on it.

To do this activity, you need string (or yarn), paint, and paper. We dipped the yarn into the paint, placed it on a sheet of cardstock, folded the paper over the string, and pulled the string out. Then we "danced" the yarn on the paper which was much more fun and had a cooler effect than pulling the yarn. However, O decided that she liked painting with her fingers best of all!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Marshmallow Bunny Art

O was thrilled to do another marshmallow art activity today!

To complete this activity, I drew a bunny on a piece of cardstock. I gave O a bowl of mini marshmallows, and she bit each marshmallow in half before sticking the other half on the bunny. She's looking forward to eating the marshmallows off of her artwork after showing it to her daddy. Silly girl!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Shape Windows

O and I had fun reviewing her shapes using these shape windows (via Confessions of a Homeschooler).

I printed the shapes on cardstock and used an x-acto knife to cut out the middle of the shapes before laminating them. After laminating the shapes, I cut them out of the cardstock (I like to do most of my cutting after laminating in order to have a cleaner edge). Now they look like windows, which is a fun effect :) O had fun running around the room and looking at different objects through her shape windows, and she's looking forward to using the shape windows to teach "baby sister" her shapes!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sticker Resist Painting

Our 1st Art Jar activity was sticker resist painting. This activity has been on my to do list for a very long time. It was fun, but I was a little disappointed (but not surprised) with the results.

To do this activity, O decorated a piece of white cardstock with stickers. She then painted the cardstock. After the paint was dry, we peeled the stickers off the paper. Unfortunately, the stickers tore the paper, so the effect was not what I had hoped. Luckily, I thought this might happen, and I warned O that her painting might tear. I was so glad that I forewarned her because I'm sure she would have been very upset if I had not. O had a lot of fun painting, and we are looking forward to our next Art Jar activity!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Art Jar

We've needed something to jumpstart our art activities around here lately, and I decided that an Art Jar would be just the thing to do it! The idea for an Art Jar came to me when I was making my Pregnancy Journal Jar (a year ago!).

To make the Art Jar, I cut strips of card stock and put an idea for a simple art activity (using supplies that I have on hand) on each strip. I'm hoping that we'll do an activity from the Art Jar at least a couple of times a week. The ideas for the activities have come from library books, activities we've done in the past, and eventually I'll go through the starred items in my google reader and add more strips.

O is VERY excited about the Art Jar. We've completed one activity so far, and we are looking forward to our 2nd Art Jar Activity on Friday.

Since several people have asked what's in The Art Jar, I'd thought I'd share a list of a few of the activities. I don't actually have the jar with me now, so these are just from memory...

painting with marbles
painting with feathers
pop paper prints
leaf prints
string painting
make a sculpture with packing peanuts
make a sculpture with straws and tape
contact paper collage
medicine dropper art

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Egg Word Match-Up

Since O is really enjoying sounding out words lately, I'm trying to provide her with lots of opportunities to do so. This Easter cvc word match-up game from My Montessori Journey was perfect (via Walk Beside Me)!

We've had wonderful weather lately, so we've been having circle time, work time, and picnics on our screened porch. See E's sweet little hand? She was trying to help her big sister with her work :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Easter Egg Word Family Activity

Cara at The Peterson Party posted about this fun Easter egg word family game a couple of weeks ago, and I knew we had to try it! It was simple to put together and fun to play. To make the activity, simply write the word family endings on one half of the egg and initial consonants on the other side. O had trouble turning the eggs (I did, too), but she really enjoyed sounding out the words. We've spent a lot of time in the car over the last week, and this was a fun new activity to do while riding. Thanks, Cara, for this fun activity!

New Blog

I've started a new blog, and I wanted to share the idea with you (but not the blog!). I've always kept handwritten journals for my girls, and my goal has been to write in them weekly. That never seems to happen, and I'm lucky if I write in them once a month. I realized that keeping journals for the girls would be much easier to do on a more frequent basis if I started a blog of letters to the girls. So, that's what I did!

Every couple of days, I'll write a letter to each girl or one to both of them. I tell them what's going on in our lives (boring details that I wouldn't include on a public blog) or my feelings about them or things they have done. This blog is completely private, and it's freeing to write and know that no one is reading it (yet! I'll print copies for the girls one day). I've always kept a journal, and this blog feels very much like journaling to me since it is private. I'm still going to write in their handwritten journals, but now the pressure is off and I can write in them when I have time and don't have to feel obligated to keep them up weekly. I'm really hoping that I'll be able to get Elliott to write letters to the girls, too. I'm not holding my breath, but maybe he'll at least write to them on their birthdays (and I think that once he does it once he'll be hooked).

So, now I have 3 blogs to keep up with...I wonder if I can do it :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

More Freezer Paper Stenciling

I love E's elephant shirt! I love to make matching shirts for my girls, and this time I made pink elephant shirts and blue horse shirts. I'm addicted to freezer paper stenciling :) I realized that I'd forgotten to set the stencil with an iron when I made the butterfly shirts, so I'm hoping that these shirts will last up a little longer.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Easter Egg Word Hunt

O has had a wonderful time finding Easter eggs with cvc words hidden inside! Thanks to Walk Beside Me for this fun idea!

As soon as O finds an egg, she opens it and sounds out the word. After she sounds out the word, she "says it fast." I sometimes have to remind her to "say it fast." O has had a reading explosion this week. It is amazing to watch, and she is having so much fun and is so proud of herself!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Petals & Leaves Necklace

O and I were thrilled that all of Guh-guh and Grandpa's camelias were in bloom when we were at their house this week. I thought it would be fun to make a simple necklace using the petals and leaves.

O pulled the petals off the flowers while I threaded a blunt needle with yarn. I tied a knot on the needle so that the yarn wouldn't slip off of the needle, and then I showed O how to thread the petals and leaves onto the yarn. She was a little frustrated after her first few attempts because she was pulling on the petals too hard and the yarn was tearing through the sides of the petals. After I showed her how to be very gentle and slowly slide the petals down the yarn, she was successful. She enjoyed making a "patterin" of leaves and petals, and I was proud that she persisted in this task (she wanted to quit at first when the petals kept tearing).

After she finished her necklace, she asked me to make a ring of petals on yarn to put on her hair bun. It looked so pretty...I wish I'd taken a picture :(

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Printable M & M Activities

Here are a couple more fun activities from Confessions of a Homeschooler that we've been enjoying lately. I downloaded and printed the pages, laminated them, cut them out, and bound them together on a book ring. O counts the m & m's on each page and matches the correct number to the page.

O has enjoyed practicing writing her numbers. I love that she can just wipe-off the page and do it over again!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Alphabet Movement Cards

O and I have had fun using these using these Alphabet Movement Cards lately. I printed and laminated the sheets, cut out the cards, hole punched the cards, and bound them together with a book ring. I'm enjoying using laminated cards attached to book rings with O lately. They are so simple, easy to use, and don't take up much space.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Handmade Rainbow Gnomes

Clare from Little Red Whimsy sent us a set of rainbow gnomes to play with and review. I was very excited to receive this set since I love for my girls to have well made, original, handmade toys that inspire creativity. This set includes 6 gnomes that are made from wooden pegs. They are dressed in tunics made from wool felt and hats made from 100% wool felted sweaters. They come with 6 matching mushrooms in a drawstring pouch.

I especially love the gnomes with the braided hair. They are so sweet and are the perfect addition to our fairy play. O and I have had so much fun with these little gnomes, and I know that both girls and I will be playing with them for years. If you are looking for a special handmade gift to put in your child's Easter basket, I think these dolls would be perfect!

Also, Clare at Little Red Whimsy takes custom orders. Make sure to browse her "sold" section as she will take custom orders for items that she does not have in stock.

I think this Gnome Sweet Gnome Mushroom Cottage Stacker is just AMAZING!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Gingerbread Bunny Cottage

O and I had a GREAT time decorating our gingerbread bunny cottage this weekend! Usually, she is only interested in making a huge mess with the icing, but this time she REALLY wanted to make the cottage look like the picture on the box. She helped me spread the icing on the roof, but then she decided that she wanted me to do most of the icing while she got to work placing the candy on the house. She also had fun making grass using craft foam and a bunny car using red cardstock.

I bought the bunny cottage kit after Easter last year (for about 2 dollars), so there was no question of eating the candy which made the experience even nicer! I'd decided that I wasn't going to buy any more of these kits since I really don't have room to store them for a year (and I'm not going to pay full price!), but I don't think I'll be able to resist after we had such a wonderful time decorating this house!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Winter Nature Bingo

This fun winter nature bingo card came in the winter issue of O's Just for Fun magazine. I made a color copy of the card onto cardstock (I wish they'd included a removable card or had a downloadable card from the website), laminated the sheet, and cut out the card. We put the card on a clipboard and have taken it outside with us when playing in the yard. We use a wipe-off marker to check things off as we find them. O enjoyed this game the first time we played, but she lost interest quickly. I'm planning to take it with us next time we go for a walk in the woods, and I think we'll all really enjoy it!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Winter Birds Science Shelf

A very kind and generous reader sent us the book, Science is Simple, a couple of months ago. One of my favorite things about the book is the idea of having science tables. I set up a science shelf (it replaced our playdough shelf since O prefers to play with playdough at the table rather than the shelf) in our kitchen.

Our first subject was winter birds. We've enjoyed making art using bird rubbing plates. I set up a sensory box using birdseed, and O LOVES it! We watch birds with binoculars and listened to birdsongs on our Backyard Birdsongs book. We made a bird feeder using a pinecone, peanut butter, and birdseed. We put it on the railing of our deck and predicted whether the birds or squirrels would get to it first. Then we sat down to wait. We waited and waited and waited. Evidently our birds and squirrels are well fed because they didn't eat the birdseed for almost a week!

We've enjoyed taking daily nature walks in the woods, and we spotted a woodpecker a few days ago...that was very exciting! We're loving the wonderful weather we've been having lately, and I'm so glad that my girl loves playing in the woods as much as I did as a child :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Do NOT Buy This Skwish Ball for Your Baby!!!

E was just playing and mouthing this Skwish ball when one of the beads came off in her mouth. This toy is marketed for babies ages 0 to 12 months, but obviously it is very dangerous and should not be given to children who still put toys in their mouths.

I'm still shaking at what could have happened. Luckily, she didn't choke on the bead, but just let it drop right out of her mouth. We've had this ball since O was a baby and both girls loved it. I'm sad to see it go, but I'm very thankful that E is ok.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

What's That Sound?

On Friday afternoon O and I gathered items from our den and kitchen that made sounds. We then took turns wearing a blindfold while the other person chose an item and made a sound. Then the person wearing the blindfold had to guess which item it was. This was a fun and simple game that I'm sure we'll play again soon!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Paint Chips Word Family Game

The idea for this great word family game came from The Snail's Trail.

I wasn't sure if O was ready for this game, but she recently started covering up parts of words while we were reading and asking what the words were. She LOVES doing this, so I thought this word family game would be fun for her. I was happy to see that I was right! O LOVES this game. She has read more than a hundred words, and thoroughly enjoys herself. She's been obsessed with rhyming words for close to a year, so that makes this game even more perfect for her. Check out The Snail's Trail for directions and a list of word families.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Handmade Toss & Catch Toy

Here's another forgotten post that I just found saved in was written last summer. I think this is the last of the old posts. I guess I'll have to find time to start writing new posts again :)

I made this throw and catch toy for O months and months ago, and she is just starting to like it :) To make the toy, I cut a milk jug in half and put duct tape around the cut edge for safety. I attached rubber bands to the ball and to a hole I punched in the jug. Then I showed her how to toss the ball in the air and try to catch it in the jug. My 5 year old niece LOVES this toy, and now O does, too! (I think she was too young when I first made it...she was 2).

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bug Race Game

Here's another printable game for you!

To play the Bug Race game, you roll the dice, count the dots, and mark through the correct number. Keep marking off the numbers rollled until a bug reaches the other side of the page and wins the race!

Thanks to Confessions of a Homeschooler for linking to this great game and to Blessings for creating it!

Domino Parking Lot Game

O and I had a lot of fun playing the domino parking lot game last week! Thanks to Amy from Let's Explore for the link :)

To play the game, you simply count the dots on your domino and then drive the domino to the correct number. We had lots of fun making beeps, bumps, and screeches as we drove, and baby E looked at us as if we were crazy :)