Thursday, January 31, 2013

All About Money - Part 2

Here are the final activities for the month of January.  Overall I think it was successful and challenging for Mister and Ladybug.


This was done as a group activity because it involved mixing coins.  Often kids will count all the coins by 5s or 10s without looking at each coin.   We started off with easy, single type of coin counting before moving onto two harder coin counting.  

The next are activities are either independent work or one-on-one work depending on how Ladybug or Mister's knowledge.

3-part matching
File folder game matching sticks to the correct pocket.  
Money Mix-Up.  Each coin bag had a slip of paper with an amount and the correct coins had to be matched to each bag.


We put literacy on the back burner to focus on math.  While Ladybug hemmed and hawed all month, Mister was very excited.  The next two activities were done in order.  The first was matching words to pictures and it became increasingly harder from there.

Fill in the missing letters and stamp.
Stamp and write - two challenge words

Practical Life - Penny Cleaning
  • Dirty pennies
  • Salt
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Paper towels
Mister and Ladybug enjoyed sprinkling salt on the pennies after they were dipped in vinegar and rubbing to see the changes.  You could also mix 1 teaspoon of salt in 1/4 cup vinegar and drop the pennies in for about 10 seconds.

Art - Design your own money

I hope you found something you liked and can use this month!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

More More Money

The Wee One, who is only 2 years younger than Mister and Ladybug, feels frustrated that she can't do the same activities so I always try to give her some things along the same thing.  I am amazed at what she picks up from Mister and Ladybug's work, but I want her to feel successful at her work on her level.  Here are a few money related activities on her shelf.

Money transfer

Money imprints - First she used her hand to make the dough flat and then used a roller.  
Where does it go?  For some reason the Wee One loved this activity and she made me make more cards.  She had to match the coins to correct pattern.  As an extension we counted each type of coin.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Making A Piggy

What I am going to say you may not believe, but I promise the next activity is not a huge mess to clean.  I mean it's no bigger of a mess than most things we do and to tell you the truth I asked myself what I was thinking doing this with two 4-year-olds and a 2-year-old.  

Papier-Mache!  (DUN DUN DUN)

If you didn't immediately click out of this page then check out these cute piggy banks made from tea boxes.

Ingredients - Just in case you haven't papier-mached since elementary school

  • Equal parts flour and water
  • Torn paper - We used paper bags
  • Box or balloon to papier-mache
  • Big bowl

After we mixed our flour and water until we had a paste mixture, I showed Mister, Ladybug, and the Wee One how to put the strips in the mixture, remove the excess, and place on their box.  The Wee One was hesitant because she didn't exactly love the feeling of the flour and water, but she came around when she saw her siblings have a blast.

Was this a bad choice for pictures?  Again, don't be afraid of the mess because it wipes up easily.  I also stuck them in the shower for easy kid clean up.
These took at least 4 days to fully dry and harden, but they were amazed at how hard the boxes were.
After the boxes have fully dried I cut a slit in the top for coins and a flap on the bottom to remove the coins.  They painted them and let them dry for another day.

We added a nose, eyes, ears, and a tail for a finished papier-mache piggy bank.

And in case you were wondering about the girl's fashion we had chose your own clothing adventure.  She was very creative.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It's All About Money - Shelf Work

The month is just flying and I have yet to post the work we have been doing or not doing.  If it's not one thing, it's another and another this month has been Mister and Ladybug's birthday.  We have managed to fit school in here a there and here are some of our preschool activities.

Math  - We are working on coin identification and value and counting by 5s and 10s.

What can I buy with pennies?  
Penny Coloring - This was on the Wee One's shelf  too.  They put their colored sheets in their Money Book.
Nickel Coloring
Counting by 5s
What can I buy with nickels?  I attached values to each picture magnet so it could be matched with the correct number of nickels. - Nickel and penny sorting.  This is Wee One approved.

Literacy - Mister is mostly working on CVC and sight words and Ladybug is working on reading more complex sentences.

Stamp the correct picture to the word.  These stamps are no longer available from Lakeshore.
Match the magnetic picture to the correct sentence.
I found a cheap Hooked on Phonics set (on discount day) and the little stories are perfect for Ladybug.  Now if I can find a boombox (did I just date myself) with a cassette tape (if I didn't then I surely did not) she could listen to the tapes.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sneak Peak - Part Two

For Christmas the kids received two large scale DIY projects.  The fist was an art studio and the second a playhouse.  Here is a sneak peak at the playhouse and the empty space.

Like the art studio it's a nook in the corner of the basement that's only purpose was to collect junk.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Built-In Art Studio - Part 2

In my last post about the art studio it was all about heavier lifting and now it's time to put it all together or the fun part.

This space isn't particularly girly and if Ladybug would have been the team leader she would have picked lavender, pink, dark purple, and glitter.  I chose to use a few pieces we already owned, purchased from Spell It With Style, to help design the space.

I picked up 4 inexpensive framed cork boards, 1 white board, and 1 chalk board for art display and extra workspace.  On each cork board I did a light sand and painted one of the four colors from the ART.  Using my Cricut machine a number was added to the top to give it a little something extra.  My husband and I played around with multiple figuration, so could reach the cork boards and the extra drawing spaces.  It was a challenge because they aren't very tall.  When we found the only thing that worked they were nail gunned to the wall.  Those aren't going anywhere.

On the opposite wall from the work space I covered an IKEA Spontan board with fabric using industrial hot glue.  Above the magnetic board I put my spin and first attempt at Subway art.  This project took longer than  any other thing in the entire kid's art studio.

Usually, I dislike and have a hard time with mismatched patterns, but my mom convinced me the space needed some whimsy.

On the pegboard IKEA baskets, buckets, and lights were affixed to the board along with movable hooks.  The lights are wired together and a switch is used to turn both on.  I am not going to try to explain the wiring because, well, I didn't do any of it.

Finally, my husband installed an IKEA Knappa light that ladybug chose, but had no idea why she was picking it out, in the old can light.  You can see a hole around the light because we have the only model of can light that was not on the can light adaptor list.  Not only was the light a pain to put up, but IKEA directions have to be the worst directions of all time.

There you have the completed kids art studio!  The whole project took a little over two weeks working 2-3 days a week for a few hours a day plus some evenings.

If you have a kid's art space I would love to see it since I am always looking for new ideas!  Feel free to leave a comment and a link to your space.

Monday, January 7, 2013

January Sensory Bin - It's All About Money

In our house we don't call coins money, but "lucky day(s)" and it makes me smile every time.  Mister and Ladybug are interested in "lucky days" and how we are able to buy things.  I am sure it stems from me asking them if they remembered to bring their money when they want to buy a new toy or candy.  This month we are going to revisit money.

What's Inside
  • Coins (real and pretend)
  • Piggy bank
  • Items to buy with price tags attached
  • "Credit cards"
  • Zipper coin purse
  • Paper money

Ladybug took the sensory bin and created a store on the table for our shopping pleasure.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Built-In Art Studio - Part 1

The Space

Our basement playroom has two little square spaces that seemed to always collect junk.  I tried to make one area a dramatic play center, but it took too much work to change it as much as I would have liked.  The other space, now the art center, was an unfinished dancing stage.  At one point Ladybug asked or a dancing stage and as soon as we finished making the stage she lost interest.  It sat untouched for over a year until Ladybug asked for an art studio.

  • 1x2 pine boards
  • Pegboard
  • Laminate shelving
  • Brackets
  • Screws 
  • Power Tools 
  • Paint
The How-To

I started of by painting the entire space Benjamin Moore White Wisp and the trim Benjamin Moore Super White.  I wanted the art work to be the focus and the walls a backdrop and I am having a love affair with gray.

The wall where we wanted the pegboard was measured and cut at the store.  I painted it Benjamin Moore Bahaman Sea Blue.  The color was chosen by Ladybug off the fabric from the art signs.

Next we decided on a height for the laminent shelving table and installed the brackets adding 4" for the stage height.  The brackets were held in place by toggle bolts.  You can read about which kind is right for your project at This Old House.  The laminent shelf was installed on top of the brackets by screwing screws on the underside of the brackets.

The brackets are 12" so if they decide to stand on them (I woudn't put it past Mister) the table won't fall.  
After the shelf was in place we decided how big of space there should be between the shelf and the pegboard.  One of the biggest challenges was making sure the table space wasn't covered by peg board and making sure the kiddos could read the pegboard.  This space was created for preschoolers, so everything has to be low.

A frame was made for the pegboard, so the pegboard could be removed, there wouldn't be a lot of holes in the wall from the permanate fixtures, and hooks could be rearranged and heightened as they grow.

We checked to make sure the boards would make a nice frame for the pegboard
The frame was created using a Kreg Jig.
To hold the pegboard in place white plastic screw buttons.

My dad testing the screw buttons to make sure they were in the correct place.  We used 12 of these screws.
The pegboard is now ready to be mounted on the wall.  For decorative framed look we added a pine corner guard molding painted in Super White.  The frame was only added attached to the peg board so we could remove the pegboard as needed.

The bars and baskets are from Ikea.

Now, you have the start to an awesome art studio!  Check back for the rest of the tutorial.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

It's A New Year's Thing

Among my other "things" I have a thing for starting traditions and New Year's Eve is the perfect time of year to create those family traditions.  Because we live the crazy life we have fondue and a dance party every year.  This fondue recipe is sure to be a hit with your kids and you.  Throw in some homemade party hats, homemade noisemakers, and party decorations and you can party in style - have kids who get up early style.

The Party Preparations!

The Set-Up

The big box is our glittering box.  
The Progress

I drew lines for Mister and Ladybug to cut so they would know where to stop, but I encouraged them to make additional cuts if they wanted more curls.  

The Results

The Fondue and Kiddie Cocktails! 
We ate the entire pot of fondue plus 12 pieces of sushi and 3 mini desserts!

Fondue Dippers

  • Steak
  • Shrimp
  • Broccoli
  • Bread
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Mushrooms
  • Tomatoes

The product of going to school is raising your hand at the table. 
She drank it all before the fondue started!

The Party

The noisemakers had lentils on the inside with pony beads attached to ribbons for an extra loud factor.  Stringing the pony beads was a good exercise in fine motor, too.

It's not a party without a lot of noise!  
America's Best Dance Crew, er, stop, collaborate and listen.
A Wishing Tree
This was one of our newest tradition this year.  I plan to keep it out all year (maybe paint the branches, get a new holder, you know pretty it up) so we can revisit our wishes.

I used my Cricut to cut the ovals.

We also did some goal setting and talked about resolutions, but not until breakfast.  I have a tendency to plan a little too much, but I consider it a bonus from my teaching days.