Unit 10: Valentines Recap

February is one of my favorite times of year! We LOVE celebrating love day! It was a no brainer that we'd include the holiday in our learning! We read some real great valentine books and had a blast incorporating all our learning goals with valentine fun! 

February is one of my favorite times of year! We LOVE celebrating love day! It was a no brainer that we'd include the holiday in our learning! We read some real great valentine books and had a blast incorporating all our learning goals with valentine fun! 

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Here are a few of the titles we read. You can be sure to find a book by Gail Gibbons in almost every unit we've studied. She's one of our favorite non-fiction picture book authors! Are you a Gail Gibbons fan too? The Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond was another favorite but I think our most favorite was Valentine Express by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace (not pictured.) It's a precious story of an adorable duo creating and delivering the most thoughtful valentines. 

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At this point in the preschool school year we're working on identifying number words. Macie Jane isn't sounding them out to read them but rather memorizing what they look like and "reading" them that way. We used our number cards in the unit along this activity to reinforce this skill. 

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Our following directions activity really had me laughing. Oh my, what an adventure it is juggling both girls with two very different personalities and trying to complete this activity. Sadie, who is 3, had an entirely different outcome than Macie Jane (just turned 5.) It was a perfect example of those exposure type activities I talk about. Macie Jane followed every direction and Sadie.... well... Sadie had an adventure of her own. I will say she did try to follow some of the directions before scribbling over the front and back of the page. :) 

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Any activity involving a toss able cube is a win in our books. Both girls loved this activity although it was geared a bit more for Macie Jane's age range. Sadie used it to practice number recognition and Macie Jane used it to practice transferring, counting, and left to right progression. This is another one of those great activities that seems small but packs so many skills in! 

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Ok, now, y'all know there is NO question here. When preschool includes candy we are SOLD! This activity was perfect for both girls. Sorting and counting for Sadie and those skills along with comparing amounts for Macie Jane. We all had a great time and good sugar rush after this activity!

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One of our more messy activities was the Valentine invitation to play. I provided the girls with materials and invited them to make and create however their hearts desired. We went through several rolls of washing tape, lots of stamps (some on paper some on skin), and made many memorable valentines. Invitations to play typically capture the girls attention for a good amount of time and are great opportunities for them to develop creativity and imagination. There was no end product in mind just independent, open-ended play with age appropriate materials. 

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STEM activities are beginning to rival the girls love for crafts. The fizzy hearts activity had them mesmerized. I didn't shy away from talking technical with them. We talked about acids and bases and identified which vinegar and baking soda were. We made guesses about what would happen when the two combined and didn't waste anytime exploring the experiment. The classic fizzy explosion experiment never gets old. We had a great time and they thought it was just the most awesome experiment! (Can you see the heart in MJ's pan?)

Want to grab the valentine unit to use with our littles? Click the link below or join us for our newest unit available on my resource page! We'd love to play and learn with you! 

Great Gifts for Christmas - Two Year Olds

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Last week I started a series of post on gifts for our little loves. It's the most wonderful time of year again and to help make this holiday season just a little easier for you I've collected ideas on great gifts for babies up through preschool age. So many of the gifts I shared last week would suit well for a younger two year old as well. In this post I'm sharing just 6 ideas for toys that help develop creativity, spark imagination, and are just plain fun for the terrific two year old in your life! 

 

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First up is the Fisher Price Medical Kit. Pretend and Role play begins around 2 years old. This adorable set is perfect to take real life experience and pair it with fun. Everyone visits the doctor for their well check ups. Sometimes those visits come with a negative stigma. Why not help encourage the heart of your little with a medical bag of fun? Our Sadie had a number of doctor/specialist visits early in her life and continues to today. One way we helped alleviate her fears was to play check up at home. From checking her sister's temperature to listening to little brother's heartbeat the doctor kit was a big hit. (We even brought it with us on a check up once to help ease her nervousness!) In addition it, "helps little ones develop healthy habits and sharing skills while giving imagination a big boost." Whether your little loves the doctors office or not this 7 piece set is sure to be a whole lot of fun! Cost: a little over $12

Fisher Price Medical Kit

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This one needs little explanation. What two year old doesn't love a little messy fun!? Paint that you can do with your hands- why not? This kit comes with three tubes of washable color (red, yellow, and blue) and 10 sheets of large sized paper specifically designed to work with finger paint. Read: paint doesn't seep through! :) Washability is always a big factor when I choose paint for the children to play with here as I imagine it is for you. I'm happy to report we have never had a problem washing out any of Crayola's washable paints. It's easily removed from fingers, nail beds, clothes, workspaces, etc. Cost: $9

In addition to this set, I highly recommend IKEA's roll of white paper if you happen to live near one you can hop over to. 

Crayola My First Finger Paints

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Mega Bloks are probably one of the very best ways to support developing creativity and make for perfect open ended play. Dream up, build, or take apart any creation you can think of! Little developing fingers and hands get great practice with hand-eye coordination using Mega Bloks. This is another toy to grow with your child. He/she will enjoy it for years to come as their maturity and creativity grows. For less than $15 you get 80 large sized, easily to build with blocks. The packaging is durable for reusability too! Hello after Christmas organization! Mega bloks are all interchangeable within the brand so should you decide to get more they will all work together! Cost: $14.92

Classic Mega Bloks

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Board books are really perfect for any age but I especially love them for two year olds because they can survive the crib. :) Around 2 we start leaving a board book or two in bed with our children to look through and enjoy should they wake early or as they are preparing to nap. Board books stand up to the test of little fingers tearing, toss, or banging on them. They also play a role in developing that love for reading and learning we all desire for in our children.  [I have, however, lost a few to the washing machine R.I.P. so you definitely want to grab them out of the crib sheet before tossing it into the machine and save yourself the disappointment.] Cost: $7-$15

Little Blue Truck Board Book

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This one I have to say has been a HUGE hit in our house! Even for Rutledge (1) and Macie Jane (4) but especially  Sadie (2). There are plenty of times where she pretends the pot is for coffee and she enjoys her morning "coffee" (AKA an empty cup) with me. The cake comes in 4 pieces for practicing stacking. The teapot has three different levels of play and sings 7 different songs. But most importantly for Mom and Dad- it has an off switch and volume control. One of the kids' favorite feature is it's real pouring sounds when they tilt the teapot! A great gift for the tea party animal in your life. Cost: $20

Fisher Price Laugh and Learn

Smart Stages Tea Set

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I saved my very most favorite for last! You really can't go wrong with anything from Melissa & Doug, but this one takes the cake in our family this year! It's 6 pieces of pretend play- from sweeping to dusting or moping your little is sure to have fun while "helping" around the house. Again, role/pretend play begins at this stage of development and how many times do we hear our little loves ask, "I help?" Wouldn't it be great to say "Yes!" I also love how this toy is made of durable wood and comes with it's own storage rack for easy access and clean up. :) The price really isn't too bad either considering the type of sturdy construction this toy is made with. Cost: $25

Melissa & Doug Let's Play House

There you have it! My favorite toys for two year olds! What does your two year old love? Anything I missed? Sharing is caring- let me know your thoughts! :) 

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Freedom for the Preschooler's Mama

Freedom for the Preschooler's Mama

These first years at home together are for enjoying- whether you stay home or work or work from home- enjoy this season. If doing educational activities or crafts is enjoyable then do it! I've got lots of ideas I'd love to share with you ;) ...but if it's not then let yourself off the hook. You are teaching more than you realize. When you read a book to your child, talk with your child, color with sidewalk chalk together you are making little investments. All those activities and zillions more come together to create a schema from which your little will put together ideas throughout her/his educational career. 

The big idea I want to get across is FREEDOM. I'll plan out the year, give you directions, suggestions, and materials and you enjoy investing in your little. Don't stress about curriculums and assessments- have fun and let me lead the way for you! 

Read More

Ten Red Apples: Apple Counting Book

This morning we reread our story Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchinson. Reading research shows that reading and rereading texts helps improve a child's development as a reader. During this week we will read and reread our theme story each day. 

Today we made an apple shaped counting book to correspond with our story. I made a printable for this activity for you to use if you want to too! Supplies you will need are: apple shapes cut out and stapled with 10 blank pages inside, red paint, clothes pin, and pom pom. You'll pinch the pom pom between the clothes pin to make an apple dot stamp. 

We started with one apple dot on the first page and each page we stamped one more apple dot counting up to ten on the last page. (I helped a little more as we got closer to 10. It's hard for those little hands to stamp that many dots on small pages)

As the stamping progresses it does get a little more difficult to differentiate the apples from one another so adding a few little details does help. After her book was made and dried we went through it counting the apples. Each page I would have her touch each stamped apple dot as she counted. She loved the book and was so proud of her creation!

The skills we practiced today were: concepts of print, literacy, numeracy, one-to-one correspondence. 

Ten Red Apples: Homemade Applesauce

One of my most favorite places to teach my littles is in our kitchen. This morning after we read our story Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchinson we counted out 10 red apples on the kitchen counter and placed each one through our apple peeler/corer/slicer.

We followed Pioneer Woman's super simple homemade applesauce recipe. All you'll need is a bunch of apples, apple juice, a lemon, brown sugar, and cinnamon. 

Before I turned the burner on I put the pot on the stove and MJ climbed up on a chair beside me. She counted the handfuls of apples as she dumped them in. Then she felt so big pouring the apple juice into the pot as well. 

 

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I turned the burner on medium heat and 20 minutes later not only did our home smell deliciously wonderful but the apples were ready to be blended up. The applesauce turned out perfect and was baby bug approved!

The skills we practiced today were: concepts of print, literacy, numeracy, measuring, life skills, kitchen safety

Hello September

And just like that August 2016 is in the books. What sweet month! Looking ahead September promises to be just as much if not even more exciting! Don't you just love the beginning of a new month? The fresh start to anything is always exciting. I love making new goals, new plans, and starting afresh with ideas that maybe waned in the previous month. 

I put together a simple little calendar to keep track of our family activities, appointments, etc. I thought maybe you might enjoy it too. I put the free printable on my resource page or you can click on the picture get the download. Enjoy!