Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Crafty Christmas Countdown

A couple years ago, we counted down the days to Christmas with a craft-a-day! 
It was really fun and LM loved it!


For more information on how I prepared this countdown, click HERE.


For more information on the crafts we made, click HERE.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas ABC's




Last year (2010) we did an ABC Christmas Countdown!
 As we counted down the days to Christmas we decorated a letter each day with something Christmas-y. 
And some days we also did an activity to go along with the letter.


After the countdown, I put all the letters into a small photo album that we are going to enjoy looking at THIS year!


For more information on how I prepared this countdown, click HERE.


For information on the activities we did with each letter, click HERE.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Corn Collage




LM made this at Library Storytime last week. 
All you need is a corn shape cut out of cardstock & pieces of any kind of paper you want/have on hand. (Ours was a mix of tissue-paper and other textures).
Just let the kids glue & stick!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mayflowers


We did a very simple craft to talk about how the pilgrims came to America on the Mayflower. 
I cut out the shapes of the water, boat, sail, & sun and let the boys glue them on. 
The top boat is done by LM(4), and the bottom by LB(2).

This would be a fun craft to do even when it's not Thanksgiving to talk about boats and ships!
Ahoy!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gratitude Turkey 2011 so far.....


Our Turkey is getting plump with gratitude!! HERE are the details of how we did this. :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Shape Turkeys




Turkey's come in all shapes and sizes.
For this activity, I drew several different turkeys in different shapes.
Then I had LM (4) draw feathers on to match the shape of the turkey.

The heart-shape was a bit hard for him, so I helped him out with that one. 
It was good practice for him to draw shapes and also fun to see the many kinds of turkeys we could create!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Popcorn Pilgrim Hat




This idea comes from daycareheadquarters.com
The hat pictured above was made by LM (4).
All you need is:
  • construction paper
  • glue
  • popcorn
  • yellow crayon, or construction paper
We popped some popcorn for a yummy snack. Then we took the leftovers and glued them onto black construction paper in the shape of a pilgrim hat! The hat below was made by LB (2).


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Turkey Number Game





For this game, I drew a big fat turkey with 6 rectangle feathers. 
Each feather was a graph for numbers 1-6.
The boys took turns rolling a dice and LM (4) would mark on the "graph" which number was rolled.
We played until one of the numbers reached the top of the graph.



LM really liked this game and wanted to play it over and over. 
Luckily the turkey-graph is pretty easy to draw, so I made several. :)
OR
Instead of marking an X in each box you could place a bean or something small so you can play again and again!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Leaf Collection Book


Since it's fall, there are leaves all over our backyard. We went out one day, each with a brown paper bag, and collected different kinds of leaves.

When we came back inside, I made simple books for the boys using white printer paper folded in half, with a piece of construction paper fold in half on top as the cover. I stapled them together on the edge and the boys decorated the covers with crayons. Then they glued their favorite leaves inside!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Our Chore Chart



I have been wanting to find an easy & organized way to have the boys help out with chores. 
Here is what I came up with:


Here's how I made it:
I took a black frame and put scrapbook paper inside the glass with each of our names on one of the rows of paper. 
I printed clipart from microsoft word so there was a visual image for the boys to see describing the chore.
I laminated the chores and used sticky-tack to stick them to the glass. 

Here's how it works:
The DAILY chores are done right after dinner
It's been really nice and fairly easy to clean up right away instead of letting everything sit overnight. LM has gotten in a pretty good routine now and actually looks forward to his chore each night!
I rotate Mommy/Daddy chores with each other & the boys' chores with each other everyday.
The DAILY chores are:
Mommy/Daddy: wash the dishes & wipe the counters
LM/LB: wipe the table & vacuum the floor

The WEEKLY chores are done Saturdays (mornings, afternoons, whenever it fits our schedule). 
Again, I rotate Mommy/Daddy and LM/LB chores each week.
The WEEKLY chores are:
Mommy/Daddy: mop & vacuum upstairs
LM/LB: dust & vacuum downstairs

So far....
...this has worked out very well. As I said before, the boys LOVE doing their chores and it's fun for us to all pitch in at the same time and work together as a family to create a clean and pleasant home.

And since we all clean together each night and each weekend, it lightens MY load during the week! 
And that is awesome.



Saturday, November 12, 2011

Burlap Growth Chart


We got this burlap growth chart in a Mommy group that I'm in. It's fun and would be fairly simple to make something like this yourself!

It's a long piece of burlap hung up with a ribbon.
We mark our heights using a large safety pin and a white name tag.

You could spice it up more with fabric or paint too!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Button Corn




We used some old buttons to create fall indian corn!
First, I drew the corn shapes on a piece of cardstock.
Then, we put glue on the corn part and the boys stuck on yellow, orange, & brown buttons.
Finally, we put glue on the leaves and the boys stuck on green buttons!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fall Circle Tree


Remember that post about the wallpaper books?
Well, this is our first craft using the wallpaper!

I saw this polka-dotted paper with fall colors in the book and thought it would be cute to cut out the circles and have the boys glue them on a tree for a fun fall craft.

If you don't have polka-dot paper, you could also just cut out circles using construction paper or scrapbook paper.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

FREE Wallpaper Books

I'm so grateful to Jackie @ Happy Hooligans for sharing this awesome idea with me!

FREE Wallpaper Sample Books!



Jackie said that you can go to your local paint/hardware store and ask if they have any expired wallpaper sample books they don't need. 
So, I went to a little paint shop here in town and tried it.
And it worked!! 
Out came 2 huge wallpaper books they were about to toss and they gave them to me for FREE!

So instead of buying expensive scrapbook paper for crafts and such, we can use these!
(Here's a cute way Jackie used them: Halloween Match Up)

I love it.
Thank you Jackie!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Craft Stick Scarecrows


I saw an idea similar to this over on apples4theteacher.com

Ours were made with:
  • craft sticks
  • felt
  • googly eyes
  • tacky glue
  • cardstock
  • marker
Here's how we made them:
  1. Before we began the craft, I had cut out the hat, hair (about 7 small rectangles), and nose from felt using different colors.
  2. We started by cutting out a square from cardstock and gluing the sticks onto it to keep them sturdy & together.
  3. The boys then took turns choosing which color hair and hat they wanted for their scarecrow. We glued the hair on first, then the hat.
  4. Next, we glued on the googly eyes & nose and drew a mouth with a black marker.
  5. Later, I glued a ribbon on the back so we could hang them up! (not pictured).
They're hanging up in our kitchen & the boys love them. Best of all: they were SO easy to make!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Gratitude Turkey - Thanksgiving Tradition




It's the first week of November, and we are starting our traditional "Gratitude Turkey" for this Thanksgiving season. 

Here's how we made him:
  • The turkey body & head is made from brown construction paper (about 6" tall).
  • The beak and legs are from an orange paint-chip sample (or just use construction paper) and glued on.
  • The feathers are cut out of pieces of scrapbook paper (about 4" long).
  • The eyes are drawn with a black marker.


Here's how it works:

We put the turkey on the inside of our front door with sticky tack. Each week during Family Home Evening, and everyday as the boys and I sit down to go through the Learning Binder, we will each choose a feather and write something on it that we are grateful for. Then we will add it to our Turkey with sticky tack and watch him grow!



 I love this tradition because it's a fun way to focus on all our blessings this holiday season. A simple way to teach our children how much we have to be grateful for while we watch the turkey grow bigger and bigger!

**Update: Here is a picture of our Turkey about halfway through November:

And click the picture below to see how we made our Gratitude Turkey a couple years ago (2009):


HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

ABC Banner


I found an ABC banner (pictured top of the wall) at the dollar store and thought it might be a good addition to our kitchen/learning area. Especially to accompany the Learning Binder

When I bought it, it had pictures along the top of it to go with each letter. I didn't like the pictures, so I just cut them off. Easy as pie.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Indian Feather Head-band


We actually got this craft on clearance last year, but it wouldn't be too hard to make one on your own! Everything is felt. Just cut out a few felt feathers and glue them onto a headband.
We also used some glitter paint to decorate it up a bit.

A fun and easy Thanksgiving craft!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Leaf Toss & Pick-up


I got several packages of these colorful silk leaves at Target last year. We pulled them out and the boys would throw them all up in the air and watch them come down. Then they picked them up and put them in a little bucket. Sometimes I'd say a color and they'd pick up just that color of leaves. But mostly they just played. :)

Now if I could only make picking up toys so much fun.......

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Flower Cards




The boys and I made some homemade cards together. I cut the flowers out of a large sheet of scrapbook paper (pictured in the back) and had the boys scrunch up the flowers to give them some dimension and texture. We used double stick tape to put them all together. 
The boys loved scrunching the flowers for me, and in the end we created some pretty easy and cute cards!

We're going to send these to a few special people this Thanksgiving Season to let them know how grateful we are to have them in our lives. :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Learning Binder



I've been wanting to create a Learning Board to learn and review basic things with the boys, but realized that in our small and humble home, I didn't have a good place to put it! So, I came up with a more sleek but similar idea:
A Learning Binder!



It is a simple 1/2 inch binder with sheet protectors to hold all of the things I want to review with the boys for that week. After looking on the internet at different board ideas, I made a list of the things I thought were most important and fun for my boys right now. And here they are (also refer to the pictures below):

1. Gospel Learning -- I took pages out of The Friend magazines we have accumulated. (a magazine for children published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) You can also print things from the magazines. Click here. Each week we have a story or 2 that we will read and talk about each day. Teaching my children to have faith in Jesus Christ and His Restored Gospel is important to me, and this is a simple and fun way to do it each day! 

2. Letter of the Week -- LM has been very interested in writing letters lately, so with the letter of the week he gets to practice writing that letter in upper and lower case. LB has some Leap Frog fridge magnets of the alphabet that sing and say what letters they are. So he gets to play with that while we review the week's letter!

3. Shape of the Week -- We have a shape that I put in a sheet protector and then the boys look at the page of shapes I made (by cutting up flashcards) to find that shape!

4. Color of the Week -- Similar to the shape, I put a piece of construction paper of the color of the week in a sheet protector and the boys look at the page of colors (made from construction paper) to find that color.

5. Animal of the Week -- This is a fun way to help LB learn to copy sounds. We pretend to be the animal by acting it out and making the sound it makes. 

6. Sight Words -- This is a fun way to get LM started with reading. I choose 5 sight words for the week and each day LM learns a new one. He then uses the word page I created to find the word of the day. At the end of the week, I made word searches for him to search for the 5 words he learned that week.

7. Worksheets -- I have several preschool workbooks that I bought at the dollar store that cover different concepts. So each week, I tear out a few pages and put them in sheet protectors. We review the worksheets together using a dry-erase marker.

8. Weather -- I made a chart for the week (Mon-Fri) for us to post what the weather is like for the week. The weather pictures I found in the Microsoft Word clip-art folder. I printed them off, laminated them, and put them in a pencil pouch.

9. Calendar -- LM is very interested in knowing what day it is and how many days until something, so I put a calendar in the binder to review with him each day. It was just a calendar I got free somewhere. :)


Here are the pictures of all the things I described above:


Not pictured:

  • We start our Learning Time by singing a song from the Primary Children's Songbook.
  • We end our Learning Time with a special activity -- a craft, learning activity, etc. (which I post on the blog)
And that is all there is!

Here are a few reasons I've loved it so far:
  • It's easy to create. Like I described above, I mostly used things I already had -- Church magazines, flashcards, construction paper, workbooks. The binder is simply a place to put all these things together.
  • It's quick to change things out. On Monday mornings, I take the old stuff out of the binder and put in the new week's stuff. This only takes about 5 minutes. 
  • I'm trying to do it in the morning before the day gets to hectic and I get too tired. It usually takes about 30 minutes or less for us to sit down and go through the binder.
  • And best of all, the boys LOVE it!! LM starts kindergarten next year, and has several friends that are in school. He calls this his school and gets so excited when I say it's time for school! (I love that enthusiasm!)