About Me

I'm a teacher turned stay at home mama. I love finding things to make and do!


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Simple Art

On this day, I really needed to get some pots and pans cleaned and A really wanted to be by Mama.  I decided to find her a little project to do near me.
Our simple art project included the Crayola Color Explosion paper/markers and a sheet of colorful reinforcement labels.

It took just the right amount of time and turned out very colorful!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tot School: new experiences

We will probably be using these tot trays for the next two weeks as long as they keep A's attention.  There are several new activites we will be working on.
September's sensory bin:
Scooping letters from a corn bin and matching them to paper.  I have three sheets of paper with letters and the magnets are pre-sorted into plastic baggies.
 (first seen here.)

Cutting Practice
(Included in this post from Sew Liberated)

Family Names:
A will match foam letters to the letters on these sentence strips.  She also has a page of her own (a whole piece of computer paper with her name as well as a place to practice tracing the letters in her name for when she is ready for that
*check out this post to learn more about the circle letters*

Clothespin clipping

Transferring water from one bowl to another

Number Magnet Pages
I will stick these pages to the door and have A put the magnets on the dots.
(I found these number pages at Kindergarten Crayons )

Linking up here:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Tools from a Kindergarten Teacher's Classroom

Here is a list of items I've used in my classroom after having tried and testing different brands/styles.  I haven't tried ALL other brands, but most of the brands that you'll find in the Big Box stores.

(photo from Amazon.com)

CRAYOLA, hands down.  These give the best non-waxy color of the most recognized brands in the stores.  I do NOT like the Jumbo crayons (my school had all kindergarteners purchase those).  They dull quickly and it's hard even for an adult to color inside the lines with them!  The Large size are MUCH better.

(photo from Amazon.com)

CRAYOLA.  I have tried other brands, and unless you want to purchase real colored pencils that artists use, Crayola will be your best bet.  They stay sharpened longer and the pencil "lead" doesn't break and fall off in pieces on you.  I have also tried the Jumbo Colored Pencils from Lakeshore Learning and those have held up pretty good the few times we've used them.

It doesn't matter.  As long as they are washable, I've found that most brands in the stores that look like Crayola markers compare just fine with them.

(photo from Amazon.com)

TICONDEROGA.  I like the hard lead and they stay sharp longer than other brands.  For tots, I like the Ticonderoga "Laddie tri-write."  It's thicker than a regular pencil and has a slight triangular shape that little ones can grasp.

(photo from LakeshoreLearning.com)

I like using construction paper when we do any type of painting or drawing.  It has a bit of a texture, which will soak up any paint/markers better than just plain old computer paper.  We get ours from Lakeshore Learning because it is such a great deal!

I'm not picky.  I will say that for beginning painters, I would not recommend the Crayola Beginnings All-In-One paint.  It's made for little hands to grasp, but the brush is so tiny, it's hard for toddlers to get it on the paper the way they want it.  If you're going to use an all-in-one painbrush, I'd go for the Crayola  Triangular Paintbrushes.  These are messy, so you may just want to go for plain old paint and a paintbrush!

(photo from Amazon.com)

Yes, brand DOES matter.  I use Scotch.  It has the best amount of stick without leaving a residue.  Other brands just haven't had the best "stick" to them (which is fine, since in a normal setting you wouldn't want it to stick a whole lot).

(photo from Amazon.com)

I like the Elmer's glue sticks, but NOT the purple ones that dry clear.  Little ones tend to end up with chunks of the glue stick depending on the project and when there is more than just a thin layer of the glue, it will dry purple rather than clear.

(photo from Amazon.com)
Plain old Elmer's white school glue...not the gel.  Just the right thickness.

I think that's it.  Did I forget anything?

*These are my personal opinions on the best products I've found.  I am in no way affiliated with the brands or websites listed.  I just really enjoy their products!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Art playdate

 We hosted an art playdate for our friends and it was a hit!  I pulled out a bunch of our art materials, along with some art trays purchased here, handed out smocks from IKEA (LOVE these!) and let them go to work!

I'm looking forward to more art playdates in the future!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Water play

I found a set of inexpensive ketchup and mustard bottles and thought we could use them as water squirters.  It took a bit of practice, but A was able to figure out how to squirt the water out of them.  I think we'll try painting with them next.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ocean Sensory Bin

I put together the ocean sensory bin from Playing House and was really excited for A to enjoy it.

First we tried it without water.

Next, we added the water and tried using the fishing net.

Finally, A decided it was best used as a teeny tiny pool!

This turned out being more of a flop for us, mostly because A just wanted to swim in it and throw the rocks all over.  We'll try again next year and maybe she'll enjoy the "fishing" aspect of it then!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tot school organization

I finally organized my tot school bins!   I have five bins total.  Two of them are put away because one contains seasonal items and the other contains activities for when A is older.  Here is how I organized the three that are always within reach:

I organized all of the little manipulatives into baggies and placed them into a bin I labeled, "materials"

I used another bin to hold my containers.

The final bin was used for my ready-made activities.

Here is my lovely shelf that hold all of our tot school bins as well as our art/craft materials.  It's in the garage and I love having these things organized and at my fingertips!
The bins I use can be found here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Summer teas

Yesterday I canned sweat tea concentrate and Passion tea concentrate.  I've been wanting to do it for a while and decided on a whim to do it.  The Passion iced tea bags I got from Starbucksstore.com and brewed the concentrate according to the directions.  My sweet tea (which actually isn't very sweet...just sweet to my taste) was made this way:

-boil 4 1/2 cups water
-place 3 family size tea bags in water
-let sit for 10 min.
-add 1/3 cup sugar
-pour into jars

I then put them in a water bath for 15 minutes.  I'm so exicted to have this tea on hand!

*another thing I did was to make a simple syrup out of sugar and water so that others can sweeten the tea to their liking:
simple syrup:
-2 cups sugar in 1 cup water, boil until dissolved

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bubble Wrap!

Daddy gave A some bubble wrap to play with yesterday.  It was the kind with tiny bubbles and they were a challenge to pop!  A worked patiently and was so proud every time she got one.  This was a perfect exercise in patience and fine motor skills.  Thanks, Daddy!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer Tot School

(The first three activites were taken from the archives of The Shafer Family Blog)

Spooning beads from one bowl into another

Lacing beads onto pipe cleaner (develops fine motor skills and patience!)

Matching foam cubes to colored dots (cubes are from the dollar section at Target)
This activity was too easy for A, but I've found that if she's bored with an activity, all I have to do is turn it into a relay and she loves it!

Number Bingo (free printable from The Moffatt Girls)

Number Mail
I have numbers 0-10 and will change them up and possibly add more.  A will deliver the mail by placing the small numbers in the big number envelopes.
(small numbers printed from Little Piles Everywhere)

Linking up here: