Archive for the ‘
Preschool and Toddler Activities ’ Category
Friday, May 10th, 2013
It has been a while since we’ve done any lapbooks. I saw this free robin lapbook over at Dynamic 2 Moms and asked the girls if they would be interested in doing one on robins. ED and DD both said, “Yes!” So, I printed everything out and the girls set to work.
If you’ve never heard of a lapbook, it is a cute way to display small folded mini-books, flaps, pop-up books, and/or folded display material. The lapbook can include photos, drawings, or anything else that helps them learn about the topic at hand. Kids can add their own information, include questions to quiz themselves on or other interactive activities. They glue their finished pieces into a file folder (see the second photo below).
What I love about lapbooks is that the kids are drawn back to them again-and-again, showing them off to family and friends… even pulling them out to admire their work and repeat the activities.
Here’s a picture of ED as she was putting in the finishing touches… she glued in some extra photos of robins.
Here is a picture of the front so you’ll see how the file folder was folded (the front and back of the folder were folded to meet in the middle). I have to say that ED was horrified when I started to cut her drawing in half, but quickly saw why I was doing that! Whew… catastrophe averted!
By the way, ED signs everything “McKenna…” Her obsession with her American Girl Doll continues as strong as ever!!
In this particular lapbook, the girls learned what robins eat, what predators eat robins, where robins live in different seasons, the parts of the bird and the life cycle of the robin. If you look closely you can see how some of the parts unfold… that’s what makes the lapbooks so appealing and interactive!
ED has brought out the lapbook a number of times (to show Daddy and to look over her work). I love that! Here she is reading the words (egg, juvenile, adult) and matching them to the pictures:
In the picture below, ED is telling me what the colors mean in the map. Lapbooks are a great way to reinforce material and make it exciting!
Here’s another lapbook on bears I did with DD when she was 3 or 4:
As you can see, it was pretty interactive. Below she is feeding the bear (the mouth is open so she could slip the berries, fish or whatever into its mouth)
In this lapbook, I taped in another page in the middle so I could add a few more activities like the color matching activity below (she obviously colored the bears in!):
One last example is this bat lapbook that LD made when he was in preschool:
He was so intrigued by bats! I can’t remember exactly where I got the parts for this lapbook. It might have been from Hands of a Child. I used them quite a bit for a couple of years. They have a free lapbook you can download on Metals.
Here’s a glimpse at the inside of a butterfly lapbooks DD did. You can see more of our lapbook projects here:
Where to Find Free Lapbooks:
I absolutely adore all the free lapbooks shared by Dynamic 2 Moms (Thank you so much Kelley and Tina!). That’s one of the first places I head if we are itching to do a lapbook. I especially love all their free history lapbooks.
Another incredible resource for free lapbooks is Homeschool Share. I bet there’s two or three hundred different lapbooks to choose from there!
You’ll find some free science lapbooks based on the Magic School Bus series over at Yee Shall Know.
Just ask your child what he or she is interested in learning about and give it a try!
One more thing before I go, these days we still use a lot of these flaps, foldables and little envelope sleeves, but we often include them in our science or history notebooks, but the lapbooks themselves seem to have a satisfaction-factor that just can’t be beat. It’s a finished product that the kids can show off and review over and over. That’s why we did so many when the kids were 3-7 or so.
Categories: Lapbooks, Must Read, Nature, Preschool (Age 4), Preschool and Toddler Activities, Science, Useful Resources (websites books etc) | Tags: bat lapbook, bear lapbook, free lapbooks, free robin lapbook, lapbooking with preschoolers, what is lapbooking?
Saturday, May 4th, 2013
We love books! When we lived overseas, the local library was quite lacking and we wound up with quite a collection of board books by the time all three kids were born! ED still looks at these books pretty regularly and we’ll keep them around as she becomes a more confident reader (she’s still just reading simple 3 and 4 letter words). We actually have gotten rid of lots of board books already, but these books are keepers!
I’ll share a bit about them with you below:
I Went Walking is in the same style as Brown Bear, Brown Bear. I read this over and over when the kids were tots.
The Napping House and Guess How Much I Love You were especially beloved when the kids were around 3 or so. ED still really loves Guess How Much I Love You — and she chooses this once every few weeks. She’ll often say I love you all the way to the trees and back… alluding to the lovely message in this book!
Mr Brown Can Moo! Can You? and Put Me in the Zoo were never the #1 favorites of my kids, though we read them pretty regularly.
This row of books, were ones I read to the kids SO SO SO often when they were babies! The rhythm and rhymes of Sheep in a Jeep and Jamberry are really appealing. Baby Chick’s Day was the favorite of all three kids when they were 9-18 months old or so. All three of my kids learned to sign “bird” because of this book! It has a lovely little story and the tummy makes a little squeak. The kids also loved the textured books at that age like Touch and Feel Wild Animals, but they were so well used and loved, they got worn out and passed along. Big Red Barn is by the same author as Goodnight Moon.
Polar Bear, Polar Bear is the same basic storyline as Brown Bear, Brown Bear. For some reason, Brown Bear didn’t make it into this set of photos (it must be hidden elsewhere in ED’s room!). We still have these around because ED will “read” them aloud to herself! Crazy Colours (obviously I bought that in Australia (where all 3 of my kids were born), right?!!) was another favorite of the kids when they were tiny tots (9-18 months) because they lifted the flap as we read. I remember reading I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly to LD every single day, 3-times a day when my son was about two!! Sometimes I thought that book would never end because I was so tired (I was pregnant with DD at the time). The Owl and the Pussycat has lovely pictures (by Jan Brett). And Go Dog, Go! was another must have. Our first copy was loved and gnawed on (by LD) and we got a replacement copy somewhere along the way. My son loved, loved that book!!
All of these books were winners. We did baby-signing with our kids and I signed a lot of the words in Goodnight Moon! Good Night, Gorilla has no words, but I had to “read” it to the kids very, very regularly. My kids loved the books I Don’t Want to Go to Bed and I Don’t Want to Take a Bath. And–who doesn’t know (and love?!) Wheels on the Bus?! I used to read that one with the kids on my knee and would bounce them “up and down, up and down, up and down…. the wheels on the bus go up and down all around the town!”
Eric Carle’s books have been well loved here at the Homeschool Den… and we’ve even done a number of crafts based on his books:
A Chameleon Craft based on Mixed Up Chameleon.
That post shares a slideshow at Eric Carle’s website that I watched with the kids (click on the picture to read more)
Seahorse Craft based on Mister Seahorse.
And a very simple tissue paper craft when ED was about 18 months and DD was about 3 based on Eric Carle’s books:
When friends and family are expecting, these are wonderful books to give as gifts!
What board books would you recommend to other families?
Related Posts You Might Enjoy:
Friday, May 3rd, 2013
Amazing, Fun Science To Wow the Little Ones!
One of the wonderful things I love about homeschooling is all the hands-on activities you can do with kids. In the preschool years, I scoured the Internet and various science experiment books to find things that would intrigue and excite the kids… and that they could have a hand in doing. Most of the things we did were done using household ingredients.
As you can see from the previous posts in this series, we did do some more traditional preschool activities like learning letter sounds and learning about numbers, but my main goal in the 2-4 year old age range was to keep the kids intrigued and engaged.
So how did I fit science in when I had a newborn, 2 and 4 year old? Well, I generally planned things out on a Sunday night. Mondays were usually our science experiment days. I usually covered over the tray so the kids couldn’t see what we’d be doing to add spice and excitement to the activity! These activities really only lasted 10-20 minutes (plus clean up), but seeing the kids so engaged made that extra effort worth it.
Here are a few examples some things we did when my kids were 2 and 4 years old…
One day we talked about liquids. We learned that some liquids are more dense (heavy) than others. We put oil and colored water into a bottle. Then we added honey and watched what happened.
If you’ve glanced through various Montessori blogs, you’ll see that pouring is wonderful skill to build dexterity, hand strength, fine motor skills… what better practice than to enjoy some science along with it!
Then we wanted to see what would happen when you add milk to oil and water. If you pour slowly and carefully, the milk will form droplets within the oil. You might pour the milk onto a spoon and gently let one drop go at a time or use an eyedropper to squeeze out a drop at a time. The kids loved the way that looked!
Exploding Volcano: Another very fun activity to do with kids is to make a volcano.
We made a paper mache volcano with a plastic soda bottle as the base.
- 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup water.
- Stir in 2 cups boiling water.
- Put newspaper strips in the mixture and glop it onto the plastic bottle. I think their projects were more charming being slopped on haphazardly! Once they were dry (it took several days in dry conditions), we painted ours brown.
Then comes the fun part!! Get your lava ready!
- 1/2 cup baking soda into the volcano.
- In a pitcher mix 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup dishwashing liquid, red food coloring.
- Pour the vinegar mixture into the can and watch the lava flow!
Make Your Own Fossils – The kids made their own fossils several times over the years. The picture below includes some are impressions from LD’s Thunderbird rockets which he was really into at the time (age 4 or so). DD made dinosaur tracks and impressions of a beetle, dragonfly and fly.
The recipe for making fossils is pretty easy:
- 2-3 Tablespoons used coffee grounds
- 2/3 cup salt (a little less)
- 2/3 cup flour
- enough cold coffee to make the mixture dough-like
- Make your impressions and then bake in a low heated oven for a while (an hour on one side, an hour on the other).
You can print out a copy of these recipes and descriptions by clicking on the link below:
Related Post: You might also be interested in a the 9-page science experiment pack I put together a year or so ago. This includes egg-related experiments, our “fireworks in milk” science activity, yeast blowing up a balloon and others. This link takes you to that post:
You can also browse through the huge selection of science experiments we’ve done. You’ll find that in the right sidebar. Click on the Categories button and select Science Experiments
Have fun with your budding scientist!
Other posts in this series:
If you found these helpful, I’d love to hear from you here or over at my Homeschool Den Facebook Page. I keep a running list of my posts over there, so it’s a quick and easy way to browse through old posts you may have missed.
Categories: Homeschool Den, Must Read, Preschool (Age 4), Preschool and Toddler Activities, Preschool for ED - Fall 2011 (age 3 1/2), Science, Science Experiments | Tags: easy science experiments for kids, free science experiment pack, free science experiments, science experiments for kindergarten, science for preschoolers, Science for tots
Friday, April 26th, 2013
The last few weeks I’ve been trying to put together some posts for those who are interested in doing some preschool activities at home with their kids. Today, I thought I’d highlight a few things I did with my kids for math in the 2 1/2-3 1/2 age range.
Here are some activities I did with ED when she was 2 1/2. She was just learning to count up to 4 objects at the time. You could do this with any theme — flowers, ladybugs, trucks or whatever your tot is interested in:
One-to-one correspondence, counting out objects:
For this activity I made lots of black strips with numbers and crayon-drawn snowflakes. ED really enjoyed using the snowflake stamp to punch out the snowflakes from the strip. I told her she could also glue snowflakes onto the strip, but she wasn’t interested.
For the last activity I glued very small homemade snowflakes onto Popsicle sticks. I covered a cereal box with aluminium foil and contact paper and stuck on numbers (again from our mailbox set). Then I used a knife to put slits next to the number. ED LOVED this activity! She did it over and over. After a while I held up 4 (and 2 and 3, etc) snowflake sticks and asked her how many there were. She was correct each time!
Simple counting with any object on hand:
Number recognition with Fly Swatter Math!
I called out a number, she swatted the number as fast as she could!
Clothes Pin Counting Cards like these Dinosaur Egg Counting Cards from Making Learning Fun. The child puts a clothes pin on the correct answer.
Numbers and stickers:
Counting (you could do this with number recognition):
This counting Pete the Cat button counting activity was so cute, it’s also worth a mention!
ED loved this button activity and did it independently several times while I worked with the others. It was made by Heidi and she offers it free over at Heidisongs Resources:
You’ll find lots of other very cute Pete the Cat resources at this post about our Pete the Cat unit and More Pete the Cat Resources.
I’ve used lots of the math grids made by Karen over at PreKinders.com. We took turns rolling a die and covering a square with that number of tokens.
Here’s a link to the squirrel grid game you see below or here’s another link to a cute puppy grid game. She has a good selection of themes and printable to choose from. Be sure to check out her website.
Here are some counting kitty pages I made for ED a year or so ago:
ED has been asking for her own independent work while the older kids are working on their studies. This is an activity she has no problem completing on her own… if not a bit on the easy side. She practices writing the number as well as filling in the bar graph.
I drew the kitty myself using a computer drawing pad Hubby got me for my birthday.
Click here to download the Counting Kitties Activity Sheets (there’s a total of 9 pages):
Here is an activity I made for ED when she was ready to tackle the teen numbers.
When ED is counting, she often skips some of the numbers after 13. I am using a homemade version of the Montessori seguin board (download the packet I made here). It’s a board with lots of 10s in a row. The child then places a digit over the zero to make 11, 12, 13, etc.
1) First ED counted the number of animals on the cards I made.
2) Then she pulled out the same number of beads-one golden bead bar (10) + single beads. I made a big deal about the group of 10 beads being called her special ‘golden beads.’ She promptly fell in love with them!
3) Next she chose the proper digit and placed it in the ones column to make it “one ten and one” (for 11), “one ten and two” (for 12) and so forth.
If you’re interested in the printout packet I made of the seguin materials you can download them here.
You can also buy a proper wooden seguin board (such as this (from Alison’s Montessori) or this teens and tens board from Kid Advance), but I never used them enough with my older two to warrant the price.
I got a great question about how to learn more about Montessori method of introducing the teens and tens to your 3-6 year old.
There is a series of videos at ehow that shows a teacher using the seguin board and Montessori beads. Teen Board-Montessori video In the sidebar you’ll find related articles and links.
Another fabulous resource is the online Montessori album (teacher’s manual for ages 3-6) at moteaco.com. There you’ll find a whole series of lessons on how to introduce the teens and tens to your preschooler.
Other Posts in This Series:
Friday, April 19th, 2013
ED really enjoys writing… Here’s a picture of ED writing in her journal from last January. The kids and I made a special trip to Staples for them to pick out their own journals. I offered to write whatever they wanted for them, so they could record things about their day. While I wrote heaps for DD and LD, much to my surprise, ED insisted on writing in her journal herself (I told her which letters to write)!! As you can see… there were some things about handwriting ED still had to learn!
The first thing you’ll notice is that she was (and still is) obsessed with McKenna, an American Girl Doll! Every single sentence in her journal starts with McKenna! You’ll also notice that she had a strange pencil grip and that ED only used capital letters.
There is a wonderful resource here at Parents for helping teach your preschooler and kindergartner handwriting. Lauren Stern, a pediatric occupational therapist and handwriting specialist put together an entire series of handwriting videos. They are so helpful!! If you want to learn more about teaching your child to write, you will find the entire series here: Parents Handwriting Videos.
For example, Laurent explains how to teach kids to hold their pencils correctly: Teaching the Proper Grip
The video shows that there are two types of pencil grasps. ED’s was a little funky and she’s been working on holding it in a tripod grasp.
This semester it was time for ED to tackle those lower case letters. Lauren explains that lower case letters are more challenging than upper case letters because of the size variation and frequent change in direction. She recommends waiting until your child is in kindergarten before attempting to introduce them. ED turned 5 this semester. Lauren follows the same program that we’ve been using, Handwriting Without Tears, which uses just two lines for writing.
I purchased “Letters and Numbers for Me” by Handwriting Without Tears (it is $8.95) and started ED on that a few months ago.
Here are ED’s first shaky attempts to make that “magic c” back in January:
Lauren explains how to do some of these lowercase letters in her series. Here’s a sample video…
Handwriting Video: Learning Lower Case Letters
ED worked her way through the book tackling the letters that were in the middle (c, a, e, s) and moving on to those that are above the line (l, t, d, h, k, etc) and those that fall below the line (g, p, etc.)
Handwriting: Lower Case Letters a through e
I really like Handwriting Without Tears and ED will move on to the next in the series, though lately I’ve just had her working on specific letters using some homemade handwriting pages. She keeps keeps her Handwriting Without Tears book open in front of her. I’ll hear her saying to herself… up like a helicopter, bump and down!
Download a blank handwriting page.
Once again, you’ll find the entire series of Parents Handwriting Videos here. These seventeen videos include the pencil grip, lower and upper case letter, and other helpful hints.
Oh– and just so you know, I’m not affiliated with Handwriting Without Tears. I heard about the program when LD was a preschooler and liked it so much that the kids have all used this program and the cursive handwriting program they offer as well. And if you’re interested, here’s a post I did about the two HWT cursive handwriting books we’ve used here at the Homeschool Den.
Other related posts you might be interested in: