Monday, October 31, 2011

Easy Halloween Activities That'll Spook You!

Happy Halloween!

Footprint Ghosts and Candy Corn

Due to this blog being interrupted by a World Series Win, I'm just getting my Halloween Tot activities posted. Hopefully they are easy enough that you can enjoy them today... or let the spooky fun live on all week.
To me, there's nothing spookier than a spider. I found a bag of 100 plastic spiders at Target this year, and the spooky fun began!
 Tyson (21 months)  enjoyed playing with this spider slime bag.

 Plastic spiders + green handsanitizer. (It's doesn't look green in the photo)

I copied the idea from Hands On: As We Grow's slimy eyes bag. She used google eyes and orange hair gel. I happened to have a thing of hand santizier lying around. I think you could use any gel, soap, sanitizer, whatever you have lying around.

Logan ( age 3) played Spider on the Shape-- to the tune of "If You're Happy and you Know it"
"There's a spider on the square (on the square)
There's a spider on the square (on the square)
There's a spider on the square and he's moving here and there,
There's a spider on the square (on the square)."
I got this song from Hubbard's Cupboard.
Then we moved our spider to another shape and repeated. If you don't have a plastic spider, try using a pom pom on a cut out spider.

After we practiced our shapes, we made shape spider webs. I had premade the shapes out of popsicle sticks so the glue would dry. If your kids are more patient than mine, you could let them glue it and wait for the glue to dry. Then we picked a shape we wanted to use, wound string around it, and glued on a plastic spider.  We hung these in our window. Creepily enough, a real spider (that looked just like the plastic ones) spun a web right outside the window. Greg (my husband) said the real spider was trying to hook up. ;)

We also tweezed spiders into icecube trays and Tyson practiced pouring and dumping spiders into cups.
I found the idea for tweezing spiders at Living Montessori Now. (along with a bunch of easy Halloween activities).

The best thing that we did, though, was to reinact Little Miss Muffet.

We made a "Tuffet" out of an ottoman and pillows. We also used our awesome spider mask. Here's a video...

I love that Tyson (aka. Little Miss Muffet) screams in fright!

Do you have a spooky Halloween activity to share? Leave a comment or leave a link in the comments, I'd love to come see what you're doing!

Here's Where I'm sharing:
Montessori Monday
Classified: Mom

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It's Playtime at hands on : as we grow

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Rally Squirrel Necklace #GoCards

It's been a sporadic blogging week at best. The week before Halloween is generally filled with last minute costume planning and making. But since I'm a St. Louisian, something even more exciting has been occupying our minds. Our St. Louis Cardinals are playing in the 7th game of the world series. After pulling out a 11th inning win last night, they face off against the Texas Rangers tonight.
St. Louis is a pretty exciting place right now. Everyone is hyped up! Even the workers at the KidsClub at our gym (where we drop the boys while we go work out) have gotten into the spirit. They helped Logan make this cute Rally Squirrel Necklace.

In case you missed the Rally Squirrel story, you can read about it on Wikipedia. You can even follow the Rally Squirrel on Twitter! @BuschSquirrel
I found this great squirrel and acorn unit at Living Montessori now. She even has a Squirrel board on Pinterest. I know a lot of our local schools are off today for professional development. If you have a houseful of hyped up kids, maybe you could fill the afternoon with some of those fun activities.

It's Playtime at hands on : as we grow

play academy

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Review: Slugs & Bugs Under Where?

We were in the Walmart checkout lane when Logan started singing. LOUDLY. I looked around, a little embarrassed. I know, I know, it's generally cute when a three year old sings. What was embarrassing was the content of the song. "There's a hole in my sock, a hole in my sock, what am I would do" * As people glanced at this little boy forced to wear holey socks, he sang louder and louder.
Back on aisle four, the concert had begun with gusto. Logan was singing a different tune back there. Singing about something more holy than holey socks, he belted out, "God made you special and he loves you, he loves you. God made you special and he loves you, he loves you very much." Hurried shoppers had paused to smile. I wondered if they were smiling not only at the cute singing three year old but also at the truth of that song.
 Logan learned these songs, in only a few days, from an album I preordered called Slugs and Bugs Under Where? This children's album,written and sung by Randall Goodgame and Andrew Peterson, is our second Slugs and Bugs album. Last December, Jessica wrote a review of the first two Slugs and Bugs as a guest post of Ready. Set. Read! We loved that album and snatched  this one up as soon as it came out. The second album doesn't disappoint. It is filled with equally great music and great laughs.Some of our favorites are "I'm adopted" (since we've experienced physical adoption in my sister's family... and I pray that my kids experience the joy of spiritual adoption), "The Wagon Song" (There's roaring, my baby loves to roar), and Pajama Drama( "I've got to find my momma. Someone call Obama. There are no pajamas here in my top drawer.")
 The songs are reminiscent of Veggie Tales silly songs. (And in fact, Randall Goodgame has written songs for Veggie Tales- no wonder the similiarities). My kids are at the young age of still being a little freaked out by singing produce and often ask me to turn off VeggieTales. They can handle the silliness of singing dads on Slugs and Bugs, though. Probably because they have a silly singing daddy.
Standing in the checkout lane at Walmart, it hit me. These songs well reflect who we want to be as a family. While we love to laugh together and enjoy life, we want our faith in Christ to be infused into the fabric of our family. A part of Slugs and bugs mission statement from their website says,
Slugs & Bugs is for kids and parents.  Our children need to learn that life with Jesus is a life of joy and celebration, and we parents need to remember that very same thing.  Slugs & Bugs aims to provide a context for parents and kids to learn and remember together the joy of life in Christ, while also having a super-great time with silly songs about grizzly bears that don't wear underwear.
And so I let Logan continue on with his tirade on holey socks. Most customers seemed fine with it, except for the scowl on one woman's face that seemed to be saying, "Darn it!"
Slugs and Bugs is in stores now! You can purchase a copy at any Family Christian Store.You can also pick it up at their online store.

You can hear several of their songs on their YouTube Channel. Tractor Tractor is a favorite from the first album.

Disclosure: We purchased this Slugs and Bugs album and I wrote this review out of my sheer love of spreading good music. This is not a sponsored post.
*The actual lyrics of "There's a hole in my sock"
"There's a hole in my sock, a hole in my sock. What am I to do?"
 (Those written above were a three year old's interpretation)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Weekend Review: Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku

Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku. Seriously, the title pretty much sums up the entire story. This book tells the tale of a cat who is adopted from a shelter, taken to a new home, and given a name, Won Ton. The entire book is written in haikus like this:
Won Ton? How can I
be soup? Someday, I'll tell you
my real name. Maybe. 
This is the first picture book I've read that was written in haiku. Well, actually it's written in senryu. According to the author's notes, the haiku form requires writing about nature. Senryu follows the same syllabication of haiku but focuses on human nature (or in this case the nature of a snarky cat). Besides being incredibly funny, one of the great things about the book was the voice that was given to the cat. Through the choice of words and the structure of the language, you can hear this cat's personality.  The story is also moving. It touches on the relationship between the boy and his cat.The illustrations are great and add to the character of the overall story.
I think this would be a great classroom read aloud, however, it's one book that you won't want to read cold. Because of the haiku form, some of the sentences are a little choppy. I stumbled a little the first time through. So read it to yourself first... I promise, it will entertain you as much as it entertains the kids!
I'm linking this up to:

Kid konnection

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Go Cards!

We're dressed in Cardinal's red today... rooting for the hometown team!

Our favorite Baseball book

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Farmyard Beat Review and Farm Field Trip

Farmyard Beat by Lindsay Craig, Illustrated by Marc Brown is rhyming recollection of bedtime in a barnyard. The animal are having trouble sleeping. They would rather be dancing to "that beat". With a repetative, almost singable rhythm and rhyme,  Craig introduces each animal with the animal's corresponding sound. The illustrations are big and bold, which make this a great choice for even the littlest learners. My boys beg for this book at bedtime. We have so much fun chanting this book. Your kids will be sure to join in and love it too.
Fall just brings out the farmyard feel in me. We had the chance to visit Eckert's Family Fun Farm this week. It is a u-pick farm. Right now, pumpkins and apples are in season. We picked about 5 lbs of apples and then we were off to do all of the "fun" stuff at the farm. We played on a playground, drove tractors (ok, they were John Deere tricycles, fed the animals, did a corn maze, and played in the hay).

When we came home, Logan and I set up a playscene for he and Tyson to reinact the apple orchard trip.

Childhood 101 has a great article on elements for setting up play scenes. I could probably add a lot more to our play scene by incorporating some of those ideas. The important thing, though, was that the boys were invited into the play and they jumped right in. They "picked" apples. They sometimes picked the whole tree. They put apples in the wagon and dumped it. The little people ate the apples. It was a fun evening of farming, farmyard not included!

I'm sharing this here:

It's Playtime at hands on : as we grow

play academy

Shibley Smiles

Monday, October 17, 2011

Free Holiday Learning Ebook From #weteach

I contributed to the we teach holiday learning eBook

The We Teach Holiday Learning ebook is out and is available as a free download. There are over 30 ideas for holiday learning-- featuring holidays through the entire year. I submitted a Valentine's Day activity. There are crafts, cooking, learning activities, play activities and more for nearly every holiday. It's a great resource and it's free for we teach members. You can also find all of the ideas from the ebook on this Pinterest board.
. We teach is a forum for parents and teachers to share ideas. I'm also super excited today because I'm going to start co-leading the we teach: we're bloggers group. I've been participating in this group for about a year. I have learned so much from the members of this group and from Rachel Miller of Quirky Momma, who previously led the group. I still have so much I want to learn about blogging and so much I want to do with my blog. I'm excited to learn from the members of the group.
I'm also excited because I get to collaborate with another blogger, Carolyn, to co-lead the group. I just discovered Carolyn's blogs. She has massive amounts of teaching experience and she share all sorts of free resources.
If you aren't a we teach member, you might want to consider joining. We teach has over 3,000 members. The membership consists of people who are teaching professionally in the classroom, homeschool moms, stay at home moms (like me), and more. If you are a parent or a teacher, you will probably find some way to connect at we teach. There are groups for we teach music, we teach first grade, we teach two year olds, we teach reading and writing. There really is something for everyone.
If you're a blogger, consider joining the we teach: we're bloggers forum. It is a very supportive community, every week Michelle of Beginning Reading Help leads up a discussion called Weekly Blogger Share. Bloggers in the forum do an amazing job at reading each other's blogs and encouraging each other.
We teach is also on facebook. You can follow we teach updates with the hashtag #weteach on twitter as well or check out the weteach group list on twitter. We've also recently branched out to pinterest. You can find many of the lovely members pinned on this one board!
I hope to see all of you over at we teach!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weekend Review: Where's Walrus?

Where's Walrus? by Stephen Savage is a wordless picture book that portrays the plight of a walrus escaped from the zoo. Walrus escapes his small pool at in the city zoo. He leaves the zoo and travels around the city. A variety of hats help Walrus blend in with his surroundings as he tries out life as a fashion model, bricklayer, firefighter and more. But when the hats come off, Walrus is "discovered"-- not only by the zookeeper, but he is also discovered to be a very special Walrus.
I'm not sure if I'm the only one who has ever felt akward when reading wordless books to kids. My son always calls me out... "Mommy, I know you're not reading. Read the words... like a book." Some of you may be more gifted than me in this area, but honestly, the wordless genre has had always been a challenge for me.
Where's Walrus? may have made that challenge history. On each page, I am able to begin by asking my son a question, "Where's Walrus?" From there the conversation flows as my son finds Walrus, and we talk about where Walrus is hiding, what he is doing, and if the zookeeper will get Walrus.
Although the title sounds strikingly familar to another seek and find book, Where's Waldo, this is not a busy seek and find book. Walrus is generally hiding in an obvious spot on a sparsely illustrated page. The fun in this book isn't all about locating Walrus, it's seeing what he will try to do next. (Although for my 3 year old, there were a few times that I had to give him hints as to where Walrus was hiding... an older kid would probably be able to find Walrus very, very easily.)One more fun fact about the book, the artwork was drawn and created in Adobe Illustrator. I'm very impressed that someone could use a computer to illustrate a wordless picture book... and do it well.
This book is fun and funny. It's different than a lot of books that are available for this age range. It will entertain kids and parents alike. Where's Walrus? is definitely a best pick of 2011 in our book.
Here's Where I'm linking up:

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Weekend Review: Bailey by Harry Bliss

In Bailey by Harry Bliss, a dog named Bailey attends school at Champlain Elementary. Every day, he rushes to the bus and spends the day entertaining his fellow human students. He partakes in the normal school day functions. His best subjects are math and lunch. He gives reports, attends art class, and howls along in music. Along the way, however, he throws in some dog-like behavior. His attention is easily diverted by squirrels. He rides with his head out the bus window. He even eats his own homework! Bailey is a hilarious tale that will grab the attention of preschoolers through early elementary students. In fact, there is a lot of humor that adults will like too.
Bailey could be a great way to introduce the text structure of graphic novels. Each page is written with a simple one or two lines of text. The humor, however, is often in  the "side" conversations.
 This book could also be a fun way to compare and contrast appropriate school behavior for dogs as well as appropriate school behavior for humans.I sense a writing extension!
Bailey is also just a fun book to read aloud with your favorite funny kid! Here are my two favorite funny kids!

They like to hear the story over and over and over and over and over... well, you get the picture!

Check out the
Book Trailer

I'm linking this up to:

Ps. I won this book in a giveaway on The Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile. I wasn't required to post a review. I loved the book and wanted to share it with you!