Thursday, April 28, 2011

Because We Live in the Tundra - Revised

My friend who lives in the South was bragging how she already has vegetables in her garden.  Here is just about May and we have just started our seeds.  Just to give you and idea of my growing conditions, it was 39 degrees today.  The last possible frost is in late May.  Needless to say we have a lot of time before our seeds can even go in the ground...because we live in the tundra.

Last year I started my seeds inside and dutifully carried them from place to place.  It was daunting, so this year my husband bought an inexpensive indoor/outdoor greenhouse.  Now our seedlings have a home and can't be pruned by helping hands.  They will grow in this greenhouse until June when we transplant them to our garden.

Before we set up our greenhouse I talked a lot to Mister and Ladybug about our garden.  When we set up the greenhouse, it made everything real and so exciting.  They will be part of every step of the process and I hope get a better understanding of where our foods come from.  Sometimes I think kids believe they just come from the grocery store. 

I won't go into details about planting the seeds because it was one of those days when they had on their Mommy earmuffs.  You know the days when your children don't hear a word you say.  It was a total disaster on all levels.
How I like my instructions.

P.S.  I am not doing carrots this year!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sitting on Your Hands

I think one of the biggest mistakes teacher and parents make is not giving our children enough time to think.  We are quick to give hints, point, or flat out answer our own question.  The average wait-time is around a second.  For many children this isn't enough time to think through a question.

When I was teaching, I used ten seconds because my ELL needed the additional time.  I would literally count to ten in my head and clasp my hands behind my back.  Yes, I had students who were ready to respond in three seconds or five seconds, but I wanted all my learners to have an opportunity to find the answer. 

So, my challenge to you is after asking a question, give your child at least five to seven seconds to think it through. The silence is going to be painful.  It's going to feel like a lifetime and you will get twitch.  If you are like me, your palms will start to sweat - my palms are sweating just writing about this.  For those five to seven seconds don't offer additional help and sit on your hands if you just can't help yourself.  You may find your child doesn't need that long, but allow him or her to make the decision. 

I would love to hear back from anyone who increased wait-time to see if your child provided better answers.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Recreating Easter Eggs

This is another activity I have had planned since October.  It looks simple, but proved rather difficult.    I did have to provide a little more direction, but they were so pleased with their work.

I found wooden Easter eggs and the felt eggs at Michaels.  I cut out pieces of felt so Ladybug and Mister could recreate the wooden Easter eggs. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Forest of Eggs

I hit the mother load at the dollar store last month and these eggs were part of my loot.  Ladybug and Mister spied them in my bag in March and I have been itching to get them out.  The moment I saw the eggs, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them. 

Ladybug stuck the eggs in the floral foam so carefully.  Taking them out proved to be more challenging because she found when she pulled on the egg, it came off.  She had to use her thumb and index finger, like holding a pencil, to remove them.

Mister stacked them up to make a giant egg tree.  He explained that the roots were below the green floral foam.  I also love how different his is from Ladybug's work.  He bunched them on the sides and Ladybug made flower rows.

The Wee One had to get her hands on them too, so when the other two were finished I gave her the vase with the eggs.  I had to watch closely to make sure she didn't poke herself.  The exposed side is not a sharp edge, but she is my daughter and I am very clumsy.  The Wee One had a great time taking them out.  She even made a few attempts to put them back in the vase. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Surprise for the Easter Bunny

I put egg matching on the shelf a few weeks ago and Ladybug and Mister have taken it to a whole new level.  On their own they decided to put a surprise in each on for the Easter Bunny, which is a great extension to the activity They are so excited to leave the eggs for the Easter Bunny.  I am going to take the trinkets, replace them with jelly beans, and hide them along with our other eggs.

There are two sets of the same egg, so they have to match the correct sides together. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter Tree

Oh sweet Dollar Store you provide hours of entertainment for such little money and I thank you.  This activity cost roughly $3 and it has been worth every dollar. 

I picked up a tree, Easter eggs, and little figurines (Michaels - on sale) for Ladybug and Mister to decorate.  I provided just a few eggs the first time they decorated the tree and as they grew tired of the eggs, I included little figurines.  They have redecorated the tree almost everyday.  

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Rice Surprises

My parents have a little kitchen set at their house and little kitchen utensils.  I have been eyeing the slotted spoon since Christmas and when this month rolled around, I snagged it. 

Back into the kitchen I went to dye rice a pretty lavendar dark purple.  I put in a few Easter miniatures and now they have rice surprises!  Be aware that as careful as children are (not careful at all) rice will spill. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Basket of Shoes

The Wee One grew tired of her scarves or maybe she grew tired of Ladybug and Mister pulling the scarves, so I decided she needed something new.  She is the proud owner of a basket of shoes.  I made sure the shoes were clean(er) so she could taste them and there are a few matching pairs (not pictured).  I made sure to include different textures, colors, and materials.  The shoes are a great size for her to practice transferring from hand to hand.  Also, we practiced putting the shoes back in the basket after dumping. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Easter Cards

Everyday Ladybug and Mister ask me if it is time to get the mail.  The wait all day to run out to the mailbox and see what kind of mail we have.  It's an even better day when we get to put up the little red flag.  I wish those little things made me excited.

Easter has given us a reason to put up our red flag all week because we have been making Easter cards.  Ladybug and Mister aren't ready to write, but I have them dictate what they want to say.  It is important to write exactly what is said, even if it has you scratching your head.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Daily Walk

We are finally emerging from winter and despite the calendar claiming it is already spring, it hasn't been until this past week that we are finally feeling spring.  My neighbors crocuses are up and the irises are poking through the dirt. 

This means a whole new opportunity for learning.  Montessori from the Start: the child at home from birth to age three recommends a daily walk from the time your child starts walking.  "This walk should be a meandering one, one that follows the child's mission, not the adult's."  While I haven't loved this book, I love this idea. 

We started our daily walk yesterday and the Wee One even got a little practice walking while holding my hands. 

Not only was it great it get outside and feel the sunshine on our faces, but all the teachable moments.  Ladybug and Mister relearned now to look both ways, what a daffodil looks like, and how to politely say hi.  Now if only the snow and rain can stay away, so we can continue this new daily ritual. 

I hope that everyone takes time to put away the stoller, baby carrier, and wagon and let your children guide you.  I think you will be surprised at how much fun you will have.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Letter Trays

For every new letter, I put together a letter tray.  It is one of Mister and Ladybug's favorite activities.  For each object there is a matching picture and the name of the object below the picture.  The tray includes sandpaper letters from Etsy.  I purchased the mini sandpaper letters and numbers, which have been perfect for their small hands. 

Letter O
  • Olive
  • Omelette
  • Otter
  • Octopus
  • Octagon
  • Oval
  • Overalls

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Craters and Moon Dust

We have wrapped up our study of the moon.  Mister is still talking about the moon, but Ladybug is ready to move one.  I saw a version of this activity in a moon book and thought it would be fun.  This activity was a hit.

Here are your supplies.  The marbles are for "crashing" into the moon and making craters.  We let the mixture sit for 30 minutes before adding our marbles.

Once the marbles are in the moon, let it dry for about 48 hours.  The marbles will pop right out.

We made a moon dust mixture using flour, sand, and gray grated chalk.

Next, we added glue to our moon and sprinkled our moon dust. 

Here is the completed moon.  Since our moons were swimming in glue, they took a long time to fully dry.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Treasure Basket - Bathroom Edition

Ya-Ya's treasure basket is all about the bathroom this month.  When I introduce her treasure basket I put it in front of her and let her explore.  I don't say anything right away so she can take it all in.  After she has had some time to explore the basket I point to the object she is holding and say the name.  I will repeat the name a few times and give a detail about it.  Sometimes her treasure baskets contain small items and like any small object and a baby, I don't leave her unattended.

Monday, April 4, 2011

April Sensory Box

I can feel and see spring and it's a relief after a long, snowy winter.  To celebrate spring we need a new sensory box with a spring feeling. 

  • Pink and green rocks found on clearance
  • Eggs
  • Chenille chicks
  • Pom-poms
  • Spoons
  • Spring Box

When I introduce the sensory box I let them explore without interruptions for about 10 minutes.  They usually start a conversation about what is inside the box.  If they tell me something feels "good", I ask for a more descriptive word.  I will say, "What does good mean?"  Sometimes they can come up with an appropriate word, but if they are stuck, I will guide them or give them a new word.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Letter O

I am the queen of starting projects and never finishing them.  I have a dancing stage that isn't quite finished, felt projects in the works, part of closet cleaned out, half a load of laundry that always needs to be get the idea.   G and H known their letters and most of the sounds, but I can't let this go because then their letter books will be incomplete.  I feel compelled to finish this project God willing and the creek don't rise.

Here is the start of our letter Oo work.  We stamped orange octagons and made paper and real omelettes.