Saturday, March 31, 2012

Handprint Easter Lilies

Easter lilies make a great gift for a family member or a teacher. These handprint lilies will last for more than one spring season and they are great crafts for preschoolers. We made bouquets of these handprint flowers to give to the nursery workers that watch the boys every week while I attend Bible study. Each teacher got a bouquet of flowers with a tag that said, "Thanks a bunch".
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To make these flowers, trace your child's hand and cut out. Use a pencil to curl the "fingers" outward.
Meanwhile, curl a pipe cleaner around a pencil.
Roll the hand into a cone shape and hold. Slip the curled pipe cleaner into the center of the flower. Slip a straw into the base of the flower. Staple all three together.

Making these flowers, reminded me of one of my favorite Easter books, The Parable of the Lily by Liz Curtis Higgs.


A little girl, Maggie, receives a gift in the mail... a crate of dirt. The girl is less than thrilled with the gift. She is told to put it away in a dark corner. She mostly forgets about it. Her father, the farmer, does not forget, he had given the gift to the girl. Eventually even the bulb is deemed useless and gets thrown outside.
On Easter morning, Maggie wakes up early. She goes out to the garden to look for some pretty easter flowers. She finds an Easter lily surprise! There is a white, fragrant flower. She can't believe the gift is alive! She realizes that beauty came out of a box of dirt.
Her father forgives her for throwing out his gift. He tells her that is what Easter is all about-- forgiveness.
This is a sweet story that is perfect for spring and Easter. The illustrations are adorable. Each page also has a scripture verse which subtly draws the connections between the players in the book and God the Father, God the son, and the world in the Biblical Easter story.
This book can be enjoyed by young preschoolers but the message of the story would probably be better understood by early elementary school aged children.
At our house, we are getting ready to celebrate the  week of Easter starting with Palm Sunday today. I hope that you have a beautiful Easter season celebrating the good news that God's not dead, he's surely alive! (Just like the lily in the story). We are crafting up a storm and most of the ideas are pinned to my Spring Pinterest board!

If you are looking for other Easter activities, check out:
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Also, there is a virtual book club for the book, The Easter Egg by Jan Brett.  There are tons of  ideas linked up, come check it out.
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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Virtual Book Club: The Easter Egg by Jan Brett


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Having a book club for your child and a friend can be a fun way to experience a book. Joining up with a group of friends online for a virtual book club can be an exciting way to experience a book. But participating in a book club at home, and sharing your ideas in a blog hop for that book online? Now that's just "egg-cellent!"
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We recently participated in Toddler Approved's virtual book club for Jan Brett's The Easter Egg. We had a friend over to share the book and enjoy a book related snack.
 In Jan Brett's The Easter Egg, Hoppi tries to create the best egg to impress the Easter bunny. He is quickly disappointed as he discovers that all the other bunnies have already created unique eggs.. How will he ever compete with their creativity?
If you've spent any time on Pinterest, you may be able to relate to Hoppi, the disappointed bunny.
In the end, he finds it's not his creativity that is required, but it is his time. He is able to help a mother robin incubate her egg by sitting on her egg for many weeks, rain or shine. The Easter bunny is impressed at Hoppi's selflessness and chooses Hoppi to help him deliver the Easter eggs on Easter morning.

We created a bird's nest rice krispie treat by following this recipe.
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Then we added these marshmallow bunnies to sit on the nest just like Hoppi the bunny sat on the robin's nest.
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I told the little boy who came over to play to tell his mom that I made him eat a bird's nest for lunch!
If you'd like to join our book club, all you have to do is try out the book, create an activity, and link up your blog post below. Head over to Toddler Approved to see a super cute flannel board game perfect for preschoolers. If you don't have a blog, but you do enjoy this book, leave a comment sharing what you did to enjoy the book.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Easter Game for Kids: Chick and Egg Color Match


Happy Easter by Kurt Wiese was orginally published in 1952, but it is not an Easter book that I grew up reading. It's a shame because it is a wonderfully sweet book that I would consider a staple for any Easter basket.
In the story, two little rabbits go out to collect  eggs to paint and hide in people's gardens. It is almost Easter and they are short on time. The two little bunnies can only find one hen who has to be strongly convinced to give up her eggs that she has been sitting on for three weeks! The bunnies take them home and paint the eggs with colors left from the last rainbow. As they paint, they receive a wonderful suprise!
The illustrations are simple but have that "vintage quality" that is making a comeback in many hot picture books today.
The text layout is a bit strange as some sentences oddly break from one page to the next. It is something to be aware of when reading aloud or perhaps to point out to a young reader when doing a book introduction.

Spoiler alert: To understand the craft for this book, you have to know the ending to the story. The wonderful suprise is that the eggs begin to hatch. Each chick that comes out of the egg is the same color as the egg was painted! There are no Easter eggs that year only beautiful chickens.
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After reading the book, we made a fun color match. I found pom poms in the color of our Easter eggs. We glued a large and a small pom pom together to make a chick. You could make these fancier or even just use a single pom pom to represent a chick.
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The boys matched the chick to the correct egg and closed the egg. This was a fun activity because my two year old could participate but my three (almost 4) year old really enjoyed it too.

What is your favorite book to stuff in an Easter Basket? I shared a few of ours last year. The Easter bunny is looking for some new suggestions for this year!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

14 Ways to Explore the Letters in Your Child's Name

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Learning the letters in your name is an important skill. Generally, some of the first letters a child will learn are the letters in his own name.
One of the first letter learning activities I did with my son came from Making Learning Fun. I printed all of the Highway ABC Cards in the letters of his name. He drove his trucks around saying the letter and the path of movement for the letter... big line down, little line, etc.
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Pretty soon he was interested in the letters in his name. I decided it was time to explore getting those letters in the correct order and making his name from left to right. We made this playdough name puzzle.
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Every child learns in a different way. An activity that works well with one of your kids may crash and burn with another kid. My second son is a completely different character with a completely different way of learning than my oldest. I wanted to compile a resource list of practical and powerful ways for your child to work on learning the letters of her name. I asked a group of bloggers who are experienced experts in areas of early childhood, literacy and play to share some of their best posts on learning letters.  Together, we have 14 ways to explore the letters in your child's name! You can watch a video that gives a brief overview of each activity. Check out the posts for directions and additional information. If you are considering pinning the activities, please go visit the blog so the picture stays with its original source.





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Nurture store shares a whole post of tips for learning to write your name. My favorite tip? Write your child's name everywhere. When your child creates a work of art, always write his name on it...  until he can start writing his own name! All of the tips in this post are easy things you can squeeze into any day.
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Hands on as we Grow taught her son the letters in his name by using this string scavenger hunt. I love that she found my Follow the Line Scavenger hunt and used it for her son's name! True collaboration.

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Time for Play- This name game using rocks is great for teaching kids left to right directionality.

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I love that this name game by Teach Preschool is a shared activity between two children! You can find the directions for this game that helps children work together to build their names letter by letter at Teach Preschool.

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Happy Hooligans shares this easy name puzzle. She even found a way to make the letters textured.

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If your child isn't impressed with paper/pencil activities, try  wooden letters plus playdough name practice from The Imagination Tree.
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Switch out the Playdough and try  salt tray writing from Creative with Kids.

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Only have paper and pencil? You can still make a great tactile name project. Use a little glue and cut your paper into pieces to make a name mosaicRainbows Within Reach  has some great examples worth taking a look.

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Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas has a similar name mosaic. She kicked it up a notch by using lots of fun supplies in their name mosaics.

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Kindergarten & Preschool for Parents & Teachers shares a lists of tactile ways to practice writing the letters in a child's name. Put down the pencil and pick up the M&M's, Shaving Cream, Playdough, or rainbow crayons. This kindergarten teacher also shares a super important tip that all kids need to know before arriving in Kindergarten!

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Mommy with Selective Memory shows you how to make these tactile name cards (not made with glitter). Not only are these fun to make, they would be great for allowing your child to practice retracing the letters of his name.

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I don't know if girls like to dig. I only have sons- and nephews! This digging up the letters of your name from Teach Preschool would be a great way to entice my boys to particpate! I'm guessing most girls would love it too!

Do you have a great idea for teaching your child the letters of his or her name? Please share it!



Saturday, March 17, 2012

4 New Books for Every Baby's Library


Last weekend, I attended a baby shower for my darling sister in law, Kari. She is set to have my 5th nephew, Henry, in about a month. One of my favorite things to give new moms is a basket of books to beef up the new baby's library. I knew my sister in law was the kind of girl who would totally appreciate books for the baby.
Along with diapers, wipes, swaddle blankets, and some good lullaby music, books are an important part of every nursery.

Hey Diddle, Diddle  (illustrated by Hannah Wood) is a nursery rhyme collection book. My boys have the Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Nursery Rhyme collection from Tiger Tales. Hey Diddle, Diddle is the newest addition to that series and features a different set of nursery rhymes. In this title, you'll find classic rhymes like The Three Little Kittens, The Muffin Man, and Jack Sprat. The padded board book has adorable illustrations for each rhyme.
One Sunny Day is another adorable padded board book written by Tammi Salzano and also illustrated by Hannah Wood. This is a cute way to introduce shapes to your child. With bold and simple illustrations on each page, it's perfect for the child who is learning to point.  The text is very simple, only including a phrase per page to label the object and its shape.
Two new books that are part of "The Into- Everything Baby Stages" series are Uh-Oh! Oh-no! and Do Touch! Don't Touch! Both are written by Ann Hodgman and illustrated by Lucy Barnard.
Uh-oh! Oh-no! is my favorite of the two. In this story, a baby drops a sippy cup of milk, which splashes the cat, who jumps into the basket and crashes a chair. I love the cause and effect of the story. I love the repetition of the text. Parents will be able to relate to the events and children will love the silly illustrations.
Do Touch! Don't Touch! also has cute illustrations and a relevant story. The text didn't flow quite as well when I read it. "Don't touch the plug. Too sparky! Don't touch the vase. Too tippy!" I can just hear myself muttering "Too tippy? What?" every time I read this book aloud. Other than a text that is sometimes disjointed, it's a cute book. I love the positive message in the story and that the book perfectly models redirection. It would be a great text to use if you were teaching a parenting class!

My basket of books for Henry comes with a wish. I hope that he has many happy hours of reading and cuddling on his mommy's and daddy's laps! As my oldest is now (almost) 4 and (almost) too big to be carried around, I realize that it's true... they really are growing up fast!

Even though you didn't get to be at the shower with us or have a delicious slice of cake (I love shower food!) Will you celebrate the coming arrival of my newest nephew by sharing one of your favorite books for newborns?

Here's Where I am sharing:
Classified: Mom

Disclaimer: I received these books from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Tips and Tricks

We've been having so much fun playing with St. Patrick's Day rainbows and shamrocks! Holidays are just fun when you have a 2 and 3 year old. Today I have two quicky tips and tricks for your St. Patrick's Day season. These aren't mind blowing or overly literate activities, but they are fun!

Tip 1: Repurpose your Valentine's Day stickers into Shamrocks
Do you have any leftover heart stickers from Valentine's Day? Why not make them into shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day?
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I took this sheet of leftover Valentine hearts and made colorful clover cards. We used these cards for sorting and patterning.


Tip 2: Make Shamrock Prints with Peppers
You know the old rhyme, "Peter Piper printed a peck of shamrock peppers..." No. No. That's not right... Anyway, apparently these are not anything new. After I first saw them on Pinterest-- linked to this article on St. Patrick's Day crafts--- I have seen them EVERYWHERE. But let me be honest, they were new to me!
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 I just cut off the bottom of a pepper and they stamped in green paint. It's a pretty un-messy way to paint... until Tyson decided to eat the pepper!
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Tyson is 2 and Logan is 3-- but if you meet him, he will quickly tell you, "I'm almost 4". This was an activity they both enjoyed.
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Tip 3: Share a St. Patrick's Day book with your child
Readers, I need your help on this tip. I did not have any luck when searching for great books about St. Patrick's Day for the boys. I found a few books that had a few informative facts, but I didn't find any books that I was excited to share! There have to be some great St. Pat's Day books. Some of you have been in the preschool business longer than me, would you be willing to share your favorite St. Patrick's Day books? Even if we can't locate a copy until next year, I'll be ready to go by then! If you have a review post of the book, share the link. I'd love to be able to pin the book to my spring pinterest board.

Speaking of Pinterest, are we connected on Pinterest? You can find me at http://pinterest.com/bookblogmomma.  Where can I find you?

 I am actually a (part) Irish girl, so we will probably hit a parade and do something fun for St. Patty's I hope you have a fun day with your families as well!

 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Shamrock Snack

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I found these cute shamrocks snacks on Pinterest. Simply melt a rollo on a mini pretzel and add green M and Ms These were pinned from Once Upon a Dream. Her version was made from melted Hershey's kisses and had piped icing for a stem. They were super cute, so go check them out. That was just too much work for us! We also ran out of green m and ms and we made some lucky yellow shamrocks.

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A great book to enjoy while you share your snack is Hooray for St. Patrick's Day by Joan Holub. This book is probably best geared for 2-5 year olds. It would be great for kids who don't have a lot of background knowledge of St. Patrick's Day. The rhyming text explains some fun St. Patrick's Day and Spring activities like parades and picnics. The children in the story also make St. Patrick's Day crafts and do a play about St. Pat's. This story opens up to a lot of extensions. It is a lift the flap book which is great for young kids. The illustrations are cute and feature children of various ethnic backgrounds.

Do you have a favorite St. Patrick's Day snack?

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