Monday, November 26, 2012

I Want These: Signs of the Season

7YO Yellow has been busy again.  One of her "things" is to make and post signs to the front door or walls.  These were found on our living room wall.  Apparently she was clarifying, for herself and so helpfully for her sisters, just what they want for their WANT this Christmas (see The Four Gift Rule of Christmas).  An addendum to their wish lists, I suppose.
Yellow wants Heelys
5YO Pink wants the Crayola Light Designer

3YO Purple wants the SpongeBob Christmas movie

1YO Blue wants Mario Kart Wii
Somehow I doubt the authenticity of Blue's "want."  I'm not buying it, so I doubt Santa will, either.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Church of Jesus Christ Is on the Earth

For our Active Faith to accompany this LDS Primary lesson, The Church of Jesus Christ Is on the Earth as taught to 4-5 year olds, I used one activity described in the lesson, and one that I found in a web search.

The Church Is As It Was Matching Game

Materials Used:

  • Prints of applicable pictures
  • Sandwich bag (to store each child's cards)
  • Print of directions
This idea is directly from the lesson.  My spin on it was to create a set of these for each child to take home.  I printed mine at home using our laser printer and card stock   I didn't think of it at the time, but another option would be to have these printed at, say, Walmart Photo.  The result would be sturdier and quicker, and the price would likely be similar.

I bagged each set of prints and included the following instructions:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the same church that Jesus organized when he was on the earth.

Game: Match the pictures of the church as it was when Jesus was on the earth, to the church as it is in the latter days. 

At the beginning of the lesson, one by one I set out the prints of parts of the church as it was established during Jesus' mortal life in the Holy Land: organize, baptism, priesthood, sacrament.  Then one by one I set out the prints of the latter-day equivalents of those parts.  We then played the matching game, matching the "is" to the "was" pictures, twice during class.

At the end of class I handed out the sets of matching cards for each child to take home.  I explained that they would need to show their family the matches and then they could play the matching game at home, too.  The children liked this idea.

I Belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Model Church

Materials Used:
  • File folders
  • Prints of Jesus Christ
  • Prints of LDS church building sign
  • Card stock
  • Medium binder clips
  • Sandwich bag (to store binder clip figurines)
To emphasize that we are members of Christ's church, each child was given a model church and a set of card stock strips and binder clips for them to turn into figurines of their family.  I found the file folder church and instructions here.  I changed the door opening to make it easier for a 4YO to play with, and then glued to the file folder church, images of Jesus (positioned behind the door) and the traditional LDS church building plaque (I found this one in an online search).

Earlier this year I had snapped a photo of our class sitting in their chairs during a lesson.  I printed that picture on card stock, and then cut out each child's image and set it in a binder clip to fashion a figurine.  See the inspiration for this idea here.  When I handed out the file folder churches, I had attached each child's figurine to their own model church.  The kids seemed to like this.

Our lesson material ran out with 25 minutes left in our class time.  I was nervous.  But the model church kept all of the children occupied for the reminder of the time, either in coloring (with washable markers) or playing with their completed models.


Active Faith, Explained

This year I've had the opportunity and blessing of being an LDS Primary teacher to a group of 4 - 5 year olds.  I enjoy it, even when they run around the classroom seemingly oblivious to my presence and the time I've spent putting together a lesson.  To cut down on the time that these children want to spend running around the classroom, I try to incorporate a craft or game of some sort into each lesson - a bit of ACTIVE FAITH.

In addition to ideas provided in the Primary manual, I've searched the internet for inspiration.  I am grateful that others have posted their activities, and I decided I would pass it on.  I think many of the things that I've done can be used in several different settings - church classroom, Family Home Evening, preschool - and by people of different faiths.  Hopefully others will find this to be true, too.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

T Is for Turkey

Mom School, third week of November

T Tracing with Toothpicks and Turkey Playdough

Materials Used:

  • Toothpicks
  • Printed letter "T" in upper- and lowercase (I used a flash card)
  • Tan playdough
  • Googly eyes

We started our Turkey unit by learning to shape the letter T using toothpicks and playdough.  After just a few weeks of Mom School, Purple is becoming much quicker to try fashioning a letter, or a turkey, on her own.  Previously she might have asked me to make the turkey while she watched, but this time she created a turkey all by herself without any prompting other than my announcing "Here's some playdough and toothpicks that we can use to make a turkey."

She was so proud of her finished product that we plated it for safekeeping so that Daddy could check it out later.

Yellow later reworked the turkey into her own creation.  Looks a tad dry, but otherwise, I'd eat it.

Turkey in the Bath

Materials Used:

I decided that if I am doing a theme bath to go with our weekly unit, I should do it early in the week so the kids can keep it going all week long.  

So the first night of our unit we had a turkey in the bath.  It seemed to do terrible things to the water.  Okay, that was just my attempt to make this a "full sensory bath" by adding our color of the week to the water.  It doesn't look very good, but it did smell great since I colored it using about a 1/4 cup of cocoa powder.  But I skipped this step on subsequent baths.

Even 1YO Blue got into making turkeys.

Turkey Pancakes

Materials Used:
  • Pancake batter (I recommend Fluffy Pancakes)
  • Chocolate chips (just a couple)

We usually have breakfast for dinner once a week, so it was easy to turn this into a Mom School moment.  I try to involve the kids in the cooking when I can (and have enough patience left in my tank).  Here Blue got to whisk - pure bliss!

Each child was given a few "feathers", a couple rounds, and two chocolate chips to fashion a turkey.  And then gobbled it up.

Color by Number, Letter & Shape Turkey Feathers

Materials Used:

M&Ms AND Mom School?  In 3YO Purple's eyes, it doesn't get any better than this.  After printing the turkey template, I wrote a number, letter or shape within each circle.  I then created a legend for Purple to follow to figure out which color M&Ms go where.  This was good practice for our "of the week" letter, number and shape, as well as for colors.  I think I'll rework this for our upcoming E Is for Evergreen unit.

I don't think Purple will mind.

Turkey Handprints in Paint

Materials Used:
  • Tempura paints
  • Paintbrush
  • Paper

This is pretty self-explanatory.  Another picture tells more of the story.

We finished it off by writing a few things that the girls are thankful for, on the turkey's feathers.  This one is Purple's.

Turkey Treats

Materials Used:
  • Golden Oreo
  • Nilla Wafer
  • Round candy, like M&Ms or Skittles
  • Candy corn

This treat was inspired by the treats created at Dixie Delights.  I adapted it to what we had on hand and that the girls could easily work with.

Here is what 7YO Yellow came up with, using the materials.

And then 3YO Purple's - so sweet!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

M Is for Moon

Mom School, fifth week of October

A new feature of Mom School is our weekly page, pictured to the left.  I post this on our large magnetic board in our kitchen, and review it with 3YO Purple at the beginning of a new theme.

Since this fifth week of the month included Halloween in the middle of it, I wanted to choose a theme that would go beyond that holiday.  I also noticed that there was a full moon on the 29th, so it seemed like a good choice.  

Of course a few days into October I discovered that October 4-11 is World Space Week, so my timing was off in that respect.  It worked out okay, though.  We read The Moon Seems to Change (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) several times, beginning at the end of September, and we talked about and watched for the different phases of the moon.

Here is Purple admiring the full moon on October 29.

Magnet Page

Materials Used:
I used this magnet page to introduce Purple to letter M.  I was thrilled to see that the first thing she did was to trace the letter with her finger, a good pre-writing activity.

Jetpack Rocket

Materials Used:
  • Empty two liter bottle
  • Silver duct tape
  • Yellow cellophane
  • Red curling ribbon
  • Glow sticks
  • Yarn for straps
Have you seen all those "pins" of cute jetpacks made by fabulous moms?  This is not one of those jetpacks.  This is more redneck style.  No offense to rednecks.  Really, it was quite awful, but I knew when I started it that I wanted to make something that resembled a jetpack, yet wouldn't take  longer to make than for how long my girls might play with it.  I'm not even going to bother detailing its construction.  And my girls still played with it for less time than it took me to make it.  The upside is that it provided a visual for our discussion about rockets and how those transport astronauts into space.

Walking on the Moon

Materials Used:
  • Couch cushions
  • Pillows
  • Blankets
  • White bed sheets
Purple and 1YO Blue LOVED this!  We spread cushions, pillows and blankets over our living room floor.  On top of that soft, uneven surface, I laid white bed sheets.  Instant moon surface.  For added effect I turned the television to the NASA channel.

After romping around, we took a break to read a couple moon-themed books, including Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me (by Eric Carle) and The Moon Seems to Change (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) .


Metal in Moon Sand

Materials Used:

  • Cloud dough (8 c flour, 1 c baby oil)
  • Aluminum foil, wadded into ball forms
  • Container for cloud dough
The purpose of this activity was to once again give Purple practice in shaping an M, and then to play in cloud dough for the first time.  Reality did not meet expectations in either respect.  

Purple did play in the moon sand for about ten minutes.

Blue joined her for a short time, too.

Purple wasn't interested in tracing "M" or playing too much with the cloud dough.  It may have been better with more baby oil to make it less powdery.  But the other issue was how smelly it was, based on the scented baby oil.  We may try this again, but with different baby oil, and more of it.

Phases of the Moon Cookies

Materials Used:

  • Oreos
  • Knife
This was an easy and fun treat to enjoy together.  After I fashioned the phases of the moon using the white, creamy center, we paused long enough to review the full moon, crescent, half moon, and new moon.  And then we promptly cleaned up.  Yum!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

J Is for Jack-o-lantern

Mom School, fourth week of October

Monthly Focus: Features of Halloween 
Weekly Theme: Jack-o-lantern
Letter: J
Number: 9
Shape: Triangle
Color: Orange

Playdough Jack-o-lanterns

Materials used:

Our first Jack-o-lantern activity was to create playdough jack-o-lanterns.  I salvaged some of our black playdough from our S is for Spider unit, offered up some untouched orange playdough, and set out several add-ins from our craft closet.   

Both 3YO Purple and 5YO Pink created these pumpkin heads.  Instead of using the ready-made eyes, mouths and hats from the Play-Doh set, they preferred the other items to decorate their jack-o-lanterns.  Though they did find the pom poms a bit unworkable - the pom poms refused to stick to the playdough.

Although our shape of the week is the triangle, this was a good activity to help Purple practice rolling the playdough into balls, something she just recently got the hang of.


Materials used:

  • foam pumpkin cut-outs (found at the Dollar Spot at Target)
  • yellow and orange foam sheets, cut into varying sizes of triangles
  • die
  • printout of die values and facial features
I found the Roll-a-Jack-o-Lantern activity on Oopsey Daisy, where she made a cute jack-o-lantern using a burner cover and some creativity with paper and magnets.  I simplified it for my purposes to use foam pumpkins and pieces, which I planned to use for another activity as well.  Since Mom School is geared to my 3YO who is a pre-reader, I also created our own picture-based game sheet.

My 3YO and 5YO quickly understood the game and began to play.  The foam pieces were a bit staticky and therefore tricky to place, but we solved that by spritzing them with water.    The girls played several rounds of the game, which consists of taking a turn rolling the die, and then adding on the facial feature matching the die until the jack-o-lantern face is complete.

Letter Tracing and Patterns:

Materials Used:
  • "J" letter print out
  • two kinds of candy (or other types of markers, if you prefer)
To give Purple a chance to work with the letter J, I created a print out that included a large J in both upper- and lower-case.  Under those I created a few patterns using a mix of the upper- and lower-case letters.  Purple used the candy corn to trace the uppercase J, and then to identify the uppercase J in the patterns below; alternately the candy pumpkins marked the lowercase j.

Jack-o-lantern Foam Faces (in the bath)

Materials Used:
  • foam pumpkin cut-outs (found at the Dollar Spot at Target)
  • various colors of foam sheets, cut into varying sizes of triangles (found at the Dollar Spot at Target)
I surprised the girls with a jack-o-lantern themed bath, similar to one that Growing a Jeweled Rose had done.  I added orange food coloring and gold glitter to the bath water, just for fun.  The girls enjoyed this activity for a long time that evening.  We ended up leaving the foam pieces in the bathtub to reuse up through Halloween night.

Jack-o-lantern Bags

Materials Used:
  • orange newspaper bag
  • permanent marker
  • gift bag stuffing (shredded paper)
  • pumpkin seeds
I found this use for newspaper bags on Crayon Freckles - genius!  I changed it up to fit our purposes.

The prior day we had carved and decorated pumpkins at a family get-together.  I could not entice any of my girls to touch, handle or pick out the pumpkin seeds.  Too slick and icky, perhaps?  So I decided to make this a sanitized version of carving jack-o-lanterns.

I carefully supervised as 3YO Purple and 5YO Pink colored a face on the blank side of the newspaper bag.  We discussed how triangle shapes are often used to create the jack-o-lantern's expression, but I didn't ask the girls to limit their drawings to triangles.

Once the faces were complete, we dropped a few seeds into each bag.  As we did, I explained how these seeds were the same ones that we had pulled out of the pumpkins the previous day, and that if these seeds were planted in the ground, they could themselves grow into a pumpkin.  

After the seeds were inside we added the stuffing to round out the jack-o-lantern's shape.  We tied it off with green pipe cleaner.  The girls did not want me to cut off the "extra" top portion of the bag; they used it to draw more pictures instead.