Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Easter/Spring- week1

Book Ideas:
Owen’s Marshmallow Chick by Kevin Henkes
"Oh what joy it is Easter morning and Owen's basket is full. He can't wait to start enjoying all of the goodies. Among his favorites are the jellybeans, which he promptly devours, then the gumdrops, next the butter cream eggs and another favorite, the chocolate bunny. There is only one item left, a yellow marshmallow chick that looks just like his fuzzy yellow blanket. Owen plays with his chick all day and when evening comes, he puts it on his shelf with a sweet kiss goodnight. After all, it really is his favorite Easter treat."

Five Little Chicks by Nancy Tafuri
This little chick went to the garden.
This little chick found a worm.
This little chick eyed a berry.
And this little chick gave a squirm!
With counting, fun, and vibrant illustrations, acclaimed storyteller Nancy Tafuri brings the farmyard to life.

The Surprise Visitor by Juli Kangas
One morning, Edgar Small discovers a blue, speckled "roundish thing"-an egg-on his front step. Who could it belong to? Edgar visits several animals, but the roundish thing does not fit in with any of them. All of the animals are willing to help, though, and they decorate the egg to make it more attractive. With a coat of fresh yellow paint, a smiling face, and a big bushy tail, the roundish thing is looking quite handsome-but when the egg finally reunites with its mother, will she recognize it as her own?

Arthur’s Jelly Beans by Marc Brown
Arthur wins the jelly bean hunt at Muffy's Spring Fling party in an unexpected way.

Last One in is a Rotten Egg! by Diane deGroat
Gilbert and Lola are excited that their cousin Wally is coming to help with the Easter egg hunt in the park. But when Lola finds the prized golden egg high up in a tree and asks tall Wally to help her retrieve it, Wally claims it for himself. But Gilbert finds a way to set things right.

The Grumpy Easter Bunny by Justine Korman
Hopper does not share the other rabbits' enthusiasm for their Easter rounds and instead of hiding his share of goodies, he eats much of them himself, before learning the real joy of Easter.

Activity Ideas:
Idea #1: Edible Nests

Read one of the book titles about chicks or birds ("Owen's Marshmallow Chick", or "Five Little Chicks", or "The Surprise Visitor") and then let your child build their own tasty bird nest.
You'll need some chocolate chips, La Choy crunchy ChowMein Noodles, gummy worms, jelly beans, and a marshmallow chick.
All you do is melt some chocolate chips in the microwave and then dump in some chowmein noodles and stir until their coated in the chocolate. Then spread the chocolate covered noodles out on a tinfoil or wax paper lined plate and stick it in the freezer for a few minutes. Then let your child press the noodles into a nest shape and decorate with the candies.

Idea #2: Crayon Resist Egg
Read one of the stories and then design your own Easter egg using heavy white paper, crayons, and watercolors.

Draw a large oval, using a crayon, on a piece of white cardstock or construction paper.

Have your child draw whatever designs they want, using crayons. Remind them to press hard so that the crayons will show well after they add the paint.

Next, let them paint with watercolors right over the top of their crayon designs.

When done, set aside and dry. Once dry cut out the egg. Here is an example of a two year-old's work and a five year-old's.

Idea #3: Toilet Paper Roll Rabbit

Read one of the stories and then make this fun little Easter Bunny.

Here are the items you'll need to have ready, as seen in the photo:
1 toilet paper roll
2 large back leg cut-outs
2 small front leg cut-outs
Bunny ears
Circle- for bunny head
Googly eyes
pink nose
1 cotton ball
(I just drew the body pieces onto cardstock paper)
Let your child assemble the head first. Glue the ears to the back of the circle. Then let them glue the eyes and nose to the face and draw on their own whiskers and mouth, however they want.

Next, squeeze glue around the rim of one of the toilet paper roll ends and place the head on top.

Then, glue on the front and back legs and the bunny tail. Set aside to dry.

Idea #4: Jelly Bean color sorting and counting

Read "Arthur's Jelly Beans" and then practice counting and sorting jelly beans by colors.
Ask your child to group all the greens together, and all the yellows together, and so forth... then count up how many are in each group. Make a guess which has the most before counting them. Count how many jelly beans their all total for practice counting in the double digits. These are all important skills to practice before going to school.
Idea #5: Egg Hunt
Read one of the books and then, using plastic eggs, send your child on an egg hunt. Hide some eggs around the house and have your child find them. This is a great activity to reinforce colors or counting. You could have your child find a specific color of egg or find only a specific number of eggs to see if they can keep track and count on their own.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Book Ideas: The Wind Blew by Pat Hutchins
The wind blew, and blew, and blew! It blew so hard, it took everything with it: Mr. White's umbrella, Priscilla's balloon, the twins' scarves, even the wig on the judge's head. But just when the wind was about to carry everything out to sea, it changed its mind!

Someone Bigger by Jonathan Emmett
Sam's dad says that he is too small to fly their new kite, but when Dad, the postman, a bank robber, and some zoo animals get pulled up into the sky, only Sam can save them.

One windy Wednesday by Phyllis Root
When the wind blows so hard that it blows the quack right out of the duck, the oink out of the pig and so on, Bonnie Bumble works hard to get each animal's sound back where it belongs.

Elmer Takes Off by David McKee
On a very, very windy day Elmer, the patchwork elephant, assures all the other animals and birds that nothing could ever blow him away.

Kite Flying by Grace Lin
A girl describes how her family makes and flies a kite.

The Kite Festival by Leyla Torres
One Sunday morning, Fernando Flórez, his parents, grandparents, and sister head to a random destination for an outing--San Vicente. When they arrive in the center of the town, they see many people preparing for a kite festival. The Flórez family waste no time joining in the fun. Unfortunately, all the stores are closed, so buying a kite's out. But by using their ingenuity--along with found objects--they successfully put one together.

Activity Ideas:
Idea #1: Blow Art
Read one of the stories and talk about how we can't see the wind, but we can see it move things. Then pretend to be the wind and paint a picture using your breath and a straw.

Water down some tempera paint until it is really runny. Then drop some of the watered down paint on a piece of paper.

Give your child a straw and let them make designs and mix the colors by blowing the paint with their breath. If you worried about them accidentally sucking up the paint, you can make a small hole in the side of the straw that will make it hard to suck up the paint, but will still allow them to blow the paint.

Idea #2: Cotton Ball Race
Read one of the stories and talk about how we can't actually see the wind, but we can see the effects of the wind move things. Pretend to be the wind and have a race to move a cotton ball with your breath, using a straw.
Build a maze with some blocks or legos. Create a start and finish line and have your child blow a cotton ball through the maze using their breath and a straw. Another variation of the game is to set the cotton ball on the floor and see who can blow the cotton ball the farthest with one breath, or see who can blow the cotton ball from one side of the kitchen table to the other first.

Idea #3: Kite Roll and Color Game
Read one of the stories and then play this dice and coloring game.

You will need to print-off the kite coloring sheet, first. Then roll the dice and color the corresponding number on your game sheet. Whoever gets their whole kite colored first wins.

Idea #4: Kite Math Matching
Read one of the stories and then play this number matching game.
First, you will need to print-off the kite matching cards. Then cut them out and have your child match the numerals at the top with the correct number of kite tail bows.

Idea #5: Fly a kite
Read one of the books and then go fly a kite together. If you don't have one and want to make one together, here is a good tutorial on how to make a simple home-made kite that your child can decorate.

Idea #6: Wind Observational Drawings
Read one of the books and discuss how you can't actually see the wind but that you can see it move things. Go outside with some paper and a pencil and observe signs of the wind moving things. Draw the objects you see moving in the wind. Make sure to help label your child's drawings.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

St. Patrick's Day- Green

Book Ideas: Jeremy Bean’s St. Patrick’s Day by Alice Schertle
"Shy Jeremy Bean forgets, much as to his humiliation, to wear green to school for St. Patrick's Day."

A Fine St. Patrick’s Day by Susan Wojciechowski
"Two towns, Tralee and Tralah, compete in an annual St. Patrick's Day decorating contest which Tralah boastfully always wins, but when their hearts are put to the test by a little man with pointed ears, Tralee wins with no effort at all."

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
"Sam-I-am won't give up! He keeps trying to get the grumpy grown-up in the story to taste green eggs and ham. No matter how Sam-I-am presents the green eggs and ham (in a box, with a fox, in the rain, on a train), the curmudgeon refuses to try them. Finally, Sam-I-am's pesky persistence pays off. A crowd of open-mouthed onlookers watch in suspense as the old grouch takes a bite. And?...SAY! The old sourpuss's face is wreathed in smiles as he gratefully acknowledges, 'I do so like green eggs and ham. Thank you, thank you, Sam-I-am!' ."

Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni
"Little blue and little yellow share wonderful adventures. One day, they can't find one another. When they finally meet, they are overjoyed. They hug until they become green. But where did little blue and little yellow go? Are they lost?"

Activity Ideas:
Idea #1: Emergent Reader Leprechaun Book

Read one of the books and then color and put together this emergent reader book. Read it together, pointing to the words as you read them. Then let your child try reading alone. The text is repetitive up till the last to pages. Teach them good reading strategies like looking at the pictures for clues as to what the words say. To print book click here.

Idea #2: Explore mixing Blue and Yellow to make Green

Read one of the books and then explore mixing colors to make green. Pour a little corn syrup into a small ziplock bag. Have your child drop a few drops of blue and yellow into the bag.

Zip the bag closed and then let your child squeeze and massage the bag till the colors mix and make green.

Idea #3: Green collage
Read one of the stories and then look through magazines and newspapers to find green things. Cut them out and glue them onto a large piece of construction paper to make a collage. If you don't have any large paper, cut open a large brown grocery bag and use that as your paper.

Idea #4: Green Jello Art

Read one of the stories and then make your own green pictures using green jello powder and glue.

Have your child draw a picture on a piece of paper and then trace over their drawing with glue.

Pour some jello powder in a small bowl and let your child sprinkle the powder over the glue using a spoon or their fingers. Dust off any loose powder and set aside to dry.

For toddlers, let them just create designs with their glue rather than drawing a picture. Then let them sprinkle the jello powder over the glue and then dust off any loose powder.

Idea #5: Play Red Light/Green Light
Read one of the books and then play the game red light/green light. Create a starting point and have your child stand at the start. Stand several feet away from the starting point with your back to your child. When you say green, your child runs towards you. When you say red you turn around and face your child, and your child has to stop and freeze. Ideally, you would play with more than two people; and the first person to tag you is the winner.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

St. Patrick's Day- Shamrocks/ Pot of Gold/ Leprechauns

Book Ideas: Lucky Tucker by Leslie McGuirk
"When Tucker the terrier wakes up on Saint Patrick’s Day, he gets off on the wrong paw. Nothing is going his way until he rolls in a bed of clover —- a bed of four-leaf clovers, that is, which just happens to belong to a leprechaun! Lucky Tucker! From snatching a falling scoop of ice cream to wrestling with his best friends to getting a whole box of new toys, Tucker is now the luckiest dog around!"

Hooray for St. Patrick’s Day! By Joan Holub
"It's Saint Patrick's Day, and time to join in the celebration. Children can lift the flaps for interactive fun as they see the children in this book make holiday crafts, taste traditional Irish food, perform a play about Saint Patrick, and even march in a Saint Patrick's Day parade. As an added bonus, they can search for the hidden leprechaun on each spread."

Clever Tom and the Leprechaun by Linda Shute
"Clever Tom Fitzpatrick thinks his fortune is made when he captures a leprechaun and forces him to reveal the hiding place of his gold, but the leprechaun is clever too."

Leprechaun’s Gold by Pamela Edwards
"Old Pat, a kindhearted harpist, and his ill-spirited companion, Young Tom, set off to compete in a contest for the title of the finest harpist in Ireland. When Young Tom recognizes that Pat is truly a better musician, he spitefully breaks one of the strings on Pat's harp. With the help of a leprechaun friend, Old Pat is able to compete in the contest. This classic Irish legend is a lesson about the power of kindness and good deeds."

That’s What Leprechauns Do by Eve Bunting
"The three leprechauns have a job to do. They must race to where they've buried the pot of gold and dig it up before the rainbow comes. The clouds are already gathering, so there'll be no time for mischief along the way. But, the three clever fellows can't resist having a little fun. For, in addition to putting a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, mischief is what leprechauns do!"

Activity Ideas:

Idea #1: Pots of Gold Math

Read one of the stories and then practice some basic math with this counting and number recognition activity.

Print off the pot outline and trace onto black construction paper. Cut out the pots and glue on half sheets of cardstock or construction paper. Write numerals on each pot using a white crayon (choose numbers that child needs practice on). If you would like to save these for future use, you may want to laminate the cards or cover them in clear contact paper.

Give your child some yellow playdoh, a rolling pin, and a small circle cookie cutter (our playdoh set came with a small sized circle, but you could use a soda bottle lid or film canister etc..) Give them the pot cards and have them put the right amount of "gold coins" in each pot (see top photo).

Idea #2: Leprechaun

Read one of the stories and then color, cut, and glue together a silly leprechaun. For older preschoolers, you can have this be an activity to practice their fine motor skills, using scissors. Click here to print the leprechaun coloring pages.

Idea #3: Shamrock Sorting

Read one of the books and then practice the concept of size using the words small, medium, and large. You will need to cut out shamrocks in three different sizes and let your child sort them under the right words. Here is a shamrock outline if you want to print it.

Idea #4: Lucky Charms Graphing

Read one of the stories and then practice counting, sorting, and recording information using Lucky Charms cereal.

First you will need to make a simple chart of all the marshmallows.

Give your child the chart and a small bowl of cereal. Have them sort and count the different marshmallow shapes and decide which had the least and the most.

Idea #5: Find the Four leaf Clover game
Read one of the stories and then play a little hide and seek game using shamrocks. You will need to print out a bunch of 3 leaf clovers and one 4 leaf clover. Send your child out of the room and hide them. Your child has to find the 4 leaf clover. To print a 4 leaf clover click here. To print a 3 leaf clover print here.