Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Thank You and Thanks - End of the Year Teacher Gift

When you bring home that sweet newborn the days seem so long and if you're my kiddos, then they make sure the nights are long, too.  This is girl.  This Wee One, or Cheese as we call her at home, had a big year.  She became a big sister, started preschool, and moved.  That's a lot of stress for a three-year old, so it's no surprise she will act like a threeager  every so often.
Her teacher and teacher aid were so amazing and provided stability during all of those transitions, so I wanted to do a little something. 

This is literally a little something.  Thanks to the popularity of fairy gardens, my local greenhouse is stocked with miniature plants and miniature pots. 
To make my life even easier, the nursery put them in these adorable boxes.
Plant - $1.99
Pot - $2.99
Thank You Flag - Free made at home
This teacher gift isn't cutting edge, but the it's cute and inexpensive. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Discovering Great Artists - Book Review

Have you ever spent hours hours pouring through a website trying to decide which product would be the best bet?  No, then consider yourself lucky.   If you're like me, then I'm pretty sure I've spent a cumulative of months looking at products only to do the cart dance - in the cart, out of the cart, in the cart, and back out.  My most recent cart dance involved picking an art book.  I needed one that gave background, covered many styles, and had activities. 


Discovering Great Artists

The book is easy to use and comprehensive.  There are icons to help you plan your time and materials.

The activities are fun and my kiddos have loved every thing we've done.

The only downfall and it's a big one for an art book is that it's not in color.  My husband said, "An art book not in color? "  I knew the book wasn't in color, but I thought it wouldn't bother me.  It does.  I get it that it's an instruction book, but Ladybug reads it and wants to do every activity she sees. She would get more out of the book if it was in color or better yet a set of postcards of some of the art. 

This is not a pass, but rather makes a good part of a collection of art books for kids.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Best of the Best - Little People

When you have a lot of kids, or maybe it's just having a kid, you have a lot of toys.  Unfortunately so many of those toys are cheap junk.  They break, have limited entertainment value, and will end up in landfills in less than a year. The thought makes my eye twitch and so I try to be selective in what we own.  Looking at our playroom, I may have failed. 

Now for the good - Little People.  Yes, they are plastic and probably leach BPA or some para-something into my kids, but the toys are sturdy, interesting, and have open-ended play.  I introduced June to Little People recently.  I started out with the farm and showed her how to put the animals into the silo and then retrieve them. 

The set-up.  I showed her the animals, the silo, and how to put them in.  The basket lasted a few seconds and ended up across the room.

It goes in.

It took a few tries to get the animal in. 

It comes out.

June came back to this activity a few times and each time she was a little better at putting the animals in the silo.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Artist Study - Pablo Picasso

What art study would be complete without a week of Pablo Picasso?  This was an easy and quick introduction to colors, moods, and The Blue Period.

We discussed how colors make us feel.  Blue can make us feel sad or calm while yellow feels like summer.  We made a chart of colors and what they remind us of and the feelings they evoke.  I followed up with a few Pablo Picasso videos on YouTube. Thank you Interwebz for these awesome resources.

To end our day, each child chose a color and made a picture using just that color.  I would have liked if they chose colors for their moods, but true to kid form they picked their favorite colors.

Ladybug made some angry birds (purple makes her feel angry and wild) with a James Rizzi sun. 

Mister chose green and made things that grow.

The Wee One chose blue and her picture ended up with a water theme. 


 One of my favorite parts about these kind of things is when the kiddos take it to real life.  Halle was without her siblings for a few hours and she spent the entire time using the driveway as her canvas.  Each section of the driveway had a color period.  She was so excited and said, "Here is my green period. Here is my red period....and my pink period." 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Kidnoculars - A Review

Behind our house is a small pond that attracts a whole new world of wild life.  Mister has written to Sea World to ask for an orca, but in the mean time we have been bird hunting.  They spend a great deal of time looking out the window at all the birds that visit our pond.  To encourage their love for the pond, the Easter Bunny brought a pair of binoculars for each kiddo. 
 Before the bunny found the binoculars she spent a lot of time researching which pair to get.  I needed something:
  • durable because things get dropped all the time
  • auto focus
  • large enough to hold
  • preferably large eye holes

The only pair that came close were the Geosafari Jr. Kidnoculars.  They are durable and easy to see through with auto focus.  I think they are a great pair for a young preschooler to practice looking through binoculars.  Also, it creates a whole level of excitement that a pair of toilet paper rolls don't match.  If you are looking for something that really magnifies long distances, then these aren't for you.  

Monday, May 5, 2014

Artists Sensory Bin

Artist Study Sensory Bin
  • Pony beads
  • Chenille stems
  • Miniature paint pallet (Michaels)
  • Miniature still life bowl (Michaels)
  • Miniature chair
  • Sunflower
  • Paint bucket (Michaels)
  • Chalkboard
  • Chalk
  • Sample artist paintings with names
  • Artist names
  • Paintbrushes
  • Mirror for self portrait
  • Spoons
  • Small cup
  • Pom poms
  • Letters spelling artists names

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Arts and Crafts - Treasure Basket

We are an artsy crapsy kinda family.  I have a Honey Do List that keeps growing, a little gal who saves every scrap just in case she needs to craft, and another gal who asks every day what kind of art project we are going to do.  The boy, well, he's a little more like the only other male in this house, but he puts up a good face just as long as we play football or dinosaurs or space travel every so often.

This month June's basket if full of things we use to craft:

  • Fabric - Varying textures and colors
  • Ribbon - Varying lengths, textures, and colors
  • Pony beads in a bottle
  • Jewelry beads in a bottle
  • Broken crayons in a bottle
  • Styrofoam balls - We will see how long these last with a oral baby
  • Watercolors
  • Washi Tape
  • Glitter glue
  • Crepe paper
  • Popsicle stick