Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Chocolate/Valentine's Day

Book Ideas:
Curious George Goes to a Chocolate Factory by Margret Rey
"George's curiosity causes a problem at the chocolate factory, but his quick thinking and speedy action on the assembly line help save the candies."

Lilly’s Chocolate Heart by Kevin Henkes
"Decked in fuzzy green slippers and pink housecoat, a crown-wearing Lilly has one Valentine's Day chocolate heart and wants to keep it safe. Unfortunately, several locales aren't quite right: under the bed is dusty, inside the dresser is messy, and behind the radiator is warm. Where will she put it? Not to worry, for with a look of satisfied resolution, Lilly decides the best place is right in her tummy."

Chocolatina , I love you by Kraft
"Tina eats so much chocolate that she wakes up one morning and finds that she has turned to chocolate. "
(This is a cute book, but I should warn you that one of the pages in the story might scare a more sensitive child--Her mean teacher tries to take a bite of her when she has turned to chocolate. You could either skip that page or make something else up. My daughter didn't have a problem with it, but I just wanted to give you a warning.)

Oh, Ducky! By David Slonim
"When a rubber duck gets stuck in the chocolate-making machine, Mr. Peters dons his diving suit to investigate the pipes and swims through chocolate sharks, ships and sea chests to save the day."

The chocolate Cat by Sue Stainton
"In a drab village nestled between the mountains and the sea, an old chocolate maker lives alone with his cat, making uninspired chocolates to display in his dusty shop. One day he does something different and makes chocolate mice with crunchy pink-sugar tails--but he won't eat them. Cat soon discovers there's something truly special about these little mice, and everyone who tastes them is inspired to create something new and different, something the little village has never seen."

Chocolate by Jacqueline Dineen
Informational book that defines what chocolate is, where it comes from, how it is made, and more.
(There is too much information in this book for preschoolers, but it has some great pictures of the cocoa tree, cocoa pod, and cocoa beans, as well as the process of how the beans are made into chocolate. Any juvenile non-fiction book about chocolate should have some photos of the plant and process).

Activity Ideas:
As you read the books and do the activities make sure to talk about how chocolate relates to Valentine's Day. Discuss how chocolates, flowers, cards etc... are often given as gifts to people we love. Make sure to ask them why they think chocolate would be a good gift. Discuss what makes something a good gift.

Idea #1: Chocolate Chip Counting

Read one of the books and then have your child practice their math skills in this chocolate chip counting activity.
You will need a brown grocery bag, a small cup for tracing, a pen, some scissors, a piece of construction paper and a black marker.

First you need to trace a bunch of circles on the brown grocery bag and cut them out. Glue them on a piece of construction paper, leaving a little room to the right of each cookie.

Then, using a black marker, draw on the desired amount of chocolate chips (the younger the child, the lower the amounts should be). Then draw a line to the right of each cookie, as seen in the photo, so that your child can record the number.

The great thing about this activity is that it can be adapted to whatever you think your child needs practice on. My five year old doesn't always remember how to write her double digit numbers, so I made sure to draw on chocolate chips in the "teens" so that she could practice counting above ten and writing down those numbers. For my 2 year old, I only used numbers 1 to 6 and let her practice one-to-one correspondence, as she counted each chocolate chip and we wrote them together.

If your child needs practice identifying numbers then you could do the activity this way, as seen in the photo. Have your child identify the numbers next to the blank cookie and then draw on, or glue on (You can use hole punch circles to glue on as the chocolate chips)the right number of chocolate chips.

Idea #2: Chocolate Pudding Finger Paint

Read one of the books and then let your child finger paint with chocolate pudding.

Make the pudding just like the instructions detail on the box. Cover the table with newspaper and make sure to cover up your kids clothes (or even better, just strip them down to nothing:) ).

Then, you can either let your child create some artwork by painting on a piece of construction paper(as seen in the photo above), or .......
.....put a glob of pudding on a piece of wax paper and let them "draw" pictures in the pudding with their finger. You can have them practice writing their alphabet, by saying "can you draw me a 'B' or a 'G' " etc... This will give you a good idea of what letters your child knows and which letters you may need to work on.

This is what it will look like dry. The wax paper works a little better for the younger ones because they will end up just swirling the pudding around on their whole paper until it is soaking wet. This is a tactile experience for the kids so they may not really want to make a picture, but just enjoying feeling it squish between their fingers.
Idea #3: M&M Graphing

Read one of the book titles and then explore recording and graphing information, using chocolate M&Ms.

Make a graph paper, like the above photo before you start.

Then give your child a small bowl of M&M's.

Have them sort the colors into piles (sorting is a very good skill for preschoolers to practice). You may have to remind them to wait to eat them until the end of the activity.
Then have them count each of the piles and fill in the circles on their graph paper for each of the colors (one circle representing one m&m).
When they are done ask them which color had the most and the least and have them circle that group.

Idea #4: Chocolate Candy Patterns

Read one of the books and then practice making patterns using chocolate candies.

Idea #5: Chocolate Candy Collage

Read one of the book titles and then let your child make pictures using the chocolate candies. (We used the M&M's, but you could used a variety of chocolate candies).

You could glue the candies down if you wanted to, but I think that is sort of a waste of good chocolate:), so we just set them on a piece of paper and then started from scratch each time they made something new.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Chinese New Year

Book Ideas:Happy New Year Everywhere by Arlene Erlbach
Through interesting text and colorful, dynamic illustrations, this excellent offering briefly describes traditional New Year's celebrations and customs in 20 countries.

The Dancing Dragon by Marcia Vaughan
A rhyming story that describes a typical Chinese New Year celebration.

Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin
This exuberant story follows a Chinese American family as they prepare for the Lunar New Year. Each member of the family lends a hand as they sweep out the dust of the old year, hang decorations, and make dumplings. Then it’s time to put on new clothes and celebrate with family and friends. There will be fireworks and lion dancers, shining lanterns, and a great, long dragon parade to help bring in the Lunar New Year. And the dragon parade in our book is extra long–on a surprise fold-out page at the end of the story.

D is for Dragon Dance by Ying Chang Compestine
From firecrackers to noodles, from red envelopes to the zodiac, young readers are introduced to the exciting traditions of Chinese New Year in this accessible and visually stunning homage to the holiday.

Activity Idea:
Read one of the book titles and talk about how different places around the world celebrate the New Year in different ways and at different times. Make your own Chinese Lantern in honor of the holiday.

Click here for instructions on how to make your own lantern. (I didn't have the crepe paper so I just used a strip of tissue paper instead)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Animals in Winter- Hybernation/ Penguins/ Polar Bears

Book Ideas: Over in the Arctic by Marianne Berkes
“Over in the Arctic, the snow goose ‘honks’ and the wolf ‘howls.’ Children too will joyfully honk and howl while they count the baby animals and sing to the tune of ‘Over in the Meadow’.”

Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming
“When Bear notices that winter is nearly here he hurries to tell Snail, after which each animal tells another until finally the already sleeping Bear is awakened in his den with the news.”

When it starts to snow by Phillis Gershator
“What if it starts to snow. What do you do? Where do you go?" So begins this winter story, as each animal--from a mouse to a bear--tells us what it will do and where it will go when the snow starts to fall. Each takes cover in its own special home, except for one. Can you guess who?”

The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett
“A wintry spin on the Goldilocks tale set in the Artic. A polar bear family leaves its igloo for a walk to let Baby Bear's soup cool just as Aloo-ki, an Inuit girl, runs past, searching for her team of huskies, which have drifted away on an ice floe. Distracted by the aroma of the soup, Aloo-ki wanders into the igloo, and the rest is (not quite) history.”

The practically perfect pajamas by Erik Brooks
“Percy gives up his beloved footed pajamas after the other polar bears tease him about them, but then he realizes how useful they were.”

My Penguin Osbert by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
“When a boy finally gets exactly what he wants from Santa, he learns that owning a real penguin may not have been a good idea after all.”

Sergio Makes a Splash by Edel Rodriguez
“Sergio is a penguin. He loves fish, soccer, and water. He loves drinking water, bathing in water, spraying water, just about anything with water! But he has one big problem; he can't swim. So when his class takes a field trip to the ocean, Sergio must decide whether he should face his fear or avoid something he loves.”

A Penguin Story by Antoinette Portis
“Edna the penguin only knows the three colors that surround her: white ice, black night, and blue sea. She is convinced there is something more out there. So she sets out on a quest—a quest for color. When she finally finds what she's been looking for, it's everything she hoped for and more. But that doesn't mean she will ever stop looking.”

Songs and Rhymes:

Five little Penguins
5 little penguins sat on the shore
one went for a swim and then there were four

4 little penguins looked out to sea
one went swimming and the there were three

3 little penguins said “how do you do?”
One spied a fish, and then there were two

2 little penguins sat in the sun
One swam off and then there was one.

1 little penguin said “This is no fun”So he dived in the water and then there were none

Polar Bear
(Tune of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean")
The polar bear lives in the Arctic
He never gets cold in a storm
He swims in cold icy water
His heavy coat keeps him warm
Warm, warm, warm, warm
His heavy coat keeps him warm
Warm, warm, warm, warm
His heavy coat keeps him warm

The polar bear has a white fur coat,
Sometimes he walks quite slow.
It's hard to see just where he is...
He looks just like the snow!

Hibernation Song
(to tune of wheels on the bus)
The weather's getting cold so bundle up,
bundle up, bundle up
The weather's getting cold so bundle up,
winter's coming soon.
The bears in the cave sleep all the time............
The squirrels in the trees get lots of nuts...............
The frogs and toads go deep in mud.......
The ducks and the geese go flying south........
The people in the town wear hats and gloves..........

Hibernation –sung to “Alouette
Time for Hibernation.
Time to go to sleep.
In the winter where’s the bear?
Sleeping in its cave or lair.
Where’s the bear? cave or lair. Oh!

In the winter where’s the frog?
Sleeping by a pond or log.

In the winter where’s the snake?
In the mud beneath the lake.

In the winter where’s the bat?
In a cave is where its at.

Here is a Cave
Here is a cave. (make arch with one hand)
Inside is a bear. (using other hand, put one finger in cave)
Now he comes out. (pull finger out)
To get some fresh air.
He stays out all summer
In sunshine and heat. (fan face with hand)
He hunts in the forest (crawling motion with hands)
For berries to eat. (fingers to mouth)
When snow starts to fall (wiggle fingers like snow falling)
He hurries inside.
His warm little cave (make arch with hand again)
And there he will hide.(put your finger inside)
Snow covers the cave
Like a fluffy white rug.
Inside the bear sleeps (hands to side of head like sleeping)
All cozy and snug.

Winter animals
Winter is cold (hug yourself and shiver)
There is snow in the sky (flutter fingers above your head)
The squirrel gathers nuts (Pretend to gather nuts)
And the wild geese fly (flap arms)
The fluffy red fox (Cup hand over had to form ears)
Has his fur to keep warm (Stroke arms as if stroking fur)
The bear’s in her cave (form a arch with your arms)
Sleeping all through the storm (fold hand under cheek and pretend to sleep)

I’m a little Penguin
tune: I’m a little teapot
I’m a little penguin, look at me,
Fishing and swimming in the deep blue sea.
My wings are black and my tail is white.
And I like sliding down the snow so bright!

Little Penguin
(I’m a little teapot)

I’m a little penguin black and white
Short and wobbly, an adorable sight.
I can’t fly at all, but I love to swim
So I waddle to the water and dive right in!!!

Activity Ideas:

Idea #1: Animal Winter habitat poster

Read "When it starts to snow" or "Time to Sleep" and then discuss how various animals get ready for winter. Some animals migrate to warmer climates, some animals find a warm home and then hibernate and sleep all winter, others are active or awake all winter long and try hard to gather food. Then have your child sort and glue the animals in their winter habitats. You will need construction paper, crayons, markers, scissors, glue, and cotton balls.

First, you will need to tape one and a half pieces of construction paper together (on the back) to use as the habitat poster background. Then flip back to the front side and draw a scene similar to this photo.

Then, copy and paste the cave, log, and tree images into a word document and re size to fit the dimensions of the poster paper scene. I printed them out on colored paper to save time, but you could use white paper and color them in. You will also need to cut, or draw, a bare tree with no leaves out of brown paper (see next photo).

Once you've cut out the trees, cave, and log glue them down to the background scene (I didn't put glue along the side of the tree, log and cave where the animal will be tucked in, but still put enough on the other edges of the cut-outs to keep it glued down to the paper). The last thing you should do is write in the title and labels for the poster.

Now you can copy and paste each animal clip art from the list below into a word document and re size the images to make them smaller. You should be able to get them all on one page and then print (double check the size of the animals in ratio to their habitat so you know they'll fit in each spot before you print).

Animal Clip Art
Have your child color the animals and discuss as they're coloring if they think that animal is active in the winter, migrates or hibernates. Cut out the animals together and then glue them in the right spots on the poster.

Pull apart some cotton balls and add them to the poster to look like snow.

Idea#2: Traced-shoe Paper Penguin
Read one of the penguin books and then make a cute paper penguin. You'll need colored paper, googly eyes, scissors, glue and a pen.(this project is a little more "cookie-cutter" than I like, but can be purposeful by allowing your child to practice their fine motor skills of cutting and tracing)

First have your child trace around one of their shoes, on black paper. Then have them cut the shoe print out. Tracing and cutting are good fine motor skills for your child to develop. It doesn't matter if the cutting isn't perfect.

Next have them draw(if they can) and cut out three small triangles out of orange paper. While they are doing the orange triangles and the black foot print, you can cut out a small white oval for the belly(I traced the shoe on the white paper and then cut it a little smaller than the traced lines) and two long and skinny black triangles for the wings.

Now, let your child glue the pieces together, starting with the black body, then the white belly and so forth.

Idea #3: Mini Cardboard Bear Caves

Read "When it starts to snow" or "Time to Sleep" and discuss what hibernation means. Then make your own mini cardboard bear cave.

Re size the snoozing bear image by copying and pasting it to a word document and then dragging the image inward. Print off the image and let your child color their sleeping bear.

Next you will need a small cardboard box. We used an instant oatmeal packets box and a microwave popcorn box. A small tissue box would work great----what ever you can find around the house. Cut off the top flaps and then cut an arch in the front side.

Next, you will need to trace 4 sides of your box (back, two sides, and the top) on a brown paper grocery bag. Cut out the pieces and glue to the box, covering all the outer sides of the box, except the front arch side (the photo shows my daughter gluing the paper on to the sides).

For the front, you will need to cut lots of small scrap peices of the grocery bag, in various sizes, to look like stones or rocks. Spread a bunch of glue on the front side of the box and then randomly add on the scrap pieces.

Lastly, cut out your sleeping bear and glue him to the inside cave wall.

Idea #4: Polar Bear Habitat/Camoflauge

Read one of the polar bear books and the poem titled "camoflauge". Talk about how some animals live in winter weather, all year long. Then have your child do the following activity and figure out which habitat is best for the polar bear and why.

Print off the habitat scenes from the list below and have your child color them(all except the arctic scene). You may need to discuss with them what colors you would find in each of these habitats as they are coloring. You will also need to re-size and print a polar bear image and cut it out.

When your child is done coloring have them place their polar bear cutout on each scene and talk about why this would not be a good home for a polar bear (heat with heavy fur coat, sticks out like a sore thumb).

The polar bear blends right in to the wintery back ground. Talk about why camouflage is helpful to an animal.

Idea #5: Textured Polar Bear

Read one of the Polar Bear books and then do this simple art activity. Print off the polar bear image and then give him some textured "fur". Spread some glue on the polar bear, using a q-tip, and then sprinkle either coconut flakes or rice (which is what I used) over the glue and let dry.

Idea #6: Dance Hybernation Game

Read "Time to Sleep" and then play this musical dancing game. Play some music and when the music stops your child needs to "go to sleep". When the music plays, they dance around again. You can even have a pillow or layout a blanket for your child to lay on each time the music stops.