September Monthly Calendar

For a  printable version, please make sure to click the picture below:

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Homemade Monday: Puzzle of Opposites

Here’s a new way to look at any of those wooden/board puzzles you might have in your toy chest, closet, or playroom floor your children are tired of putting together.

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Instead of putting the puzzles together based on the actual picture on the front of each piece, write and/or draw opposite pairs on each piece and the board onto which they fit. Turn the pieces so they are face side down. Then your children can match the opposites.

Tall Blocks, Small Animals

Books become more meaningful when you can expand the story to a hands-on activity. Here is one extension activity you can do with very little supplies.

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You’ll need to read the book Tall by Jez Alborough. (Hint: Stop by your local library and pick up a copy if you don’t own it.) Tall is about a few jungle animals who help a little monkey feel taller than he really is. This is a great book with very few words. You can use the illustrations to talk about what is happening on each page.

Next, get out the blocks or the LEGOs. You will also need a couple small animals or action figures. Now let your child’s imagination go wild. Let he/she build towers as tall as can be (just make sure no one is on the other side in case it falls!). When he/she is done building, place the small animal on top of the tower. Just how tall can the tower be before it falls over? Experiment with different shapes.

This is a great opportunity to talk with your child about the tower he/she is building. Ask questions like how tall do you think it can go before it will fall? What kind of tower is it? Why is the animal or action figure climbing so high? What is it the animal is trying to see?

Try to avoid yes/no questions as they require no other answer. To help expand your child’s vocabulary and comprehension of the story, you want to ask open ended questions.

Credit for activity idea: Teach Preschool.

Float or Sink?

The key to teaching your child throughout the summer months is to sneak in learning experiences while they are having fun. For instance, whether you are swimming at the pool, splashing in a water table, or simply getting ready for bath time, why not play a game of sink or float?

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First, you’ll need to gather together a few items. Make sure you have a mix of light and heavy objects. Also, try using two of the same materials in different forms. In my example, I used a ball of foil and compared it to a flat piece of foil. (In my example, we just used a bucket with water tinted a light shade of blue just to see it better.)

Once you have your objects, let your child guess what will happen with each object. Will it sink or float? Don’t forget to ask why! This is a key component as you expand their vocabulary. You can just sort the items in piles.

Now for the fun. Let your child start dropping the objects in the water. Talk about what he or she thought might happen versus what actually happened. Talk about why the objects sunk to the bottom or floated on the top.

By sneaking in a few fun activities while your child is enjoying his/her summer, you are helping to shorten that summer slide and get him/her back on track faster when school rolls around again.

Don’t forget to comment below with the objects you tested!

 

Out of this World Summer Fun

This summer you can go on an outer space adventure without ever leaving the comfort of your house and yard!cartoon girl in spaceship

Before we begin, you will want to pick up a few books about outer space and astronauts from the Library. Click the subject links below for some fun books to read.

Now the fun begins! Take a little time a read through one or two of the books you have chosen. Talk about the illustrations (don’t be afraid to use the word illustration). Ask your child what it would be like to fly to the moon. Or what he/she thinks space is like.

Next get two giant sponges (the kind used for washing cars). Rubber band them to your child’s shoes. Let them walk around the house. Ask them what it feels like. This is to simulate walking on the moon or on another planet!

Pick up some astronaut ice cream. You can usually find this at a local museum or toy store. Let your child try a couple bites. Explain it is freeze dried. Try other freeze dried fruits from the grocery store.

Pour flour in a large Tupperware container or baking sheet. Drop a rock on to the flour. When you pick it up, explain that you have just made a crater. Talk about what it looks like. Let your child drive little cars or rocks through the flour for fun.

Or make your own moon sand! Materials Needed: 6 cups play sand (you can purchased colored play sand as well!); 3 cups cornstarch; 1 1/2 cups of cold water.

Don’t forget to comment below with some of your favorite out of this world activities!

Homemade Monday: Boxes Revisited

It’s the season of boxes and wrapping paper. And the toys that are inside the boxes and wrapping paper–although, let’s be honest…the boxes are often more attractive and exciting for your children.

Don’t throw away the boxes just yet! We’ve talked about boxes over the last few years. Just click here for a few ideas.

Here is one more idea for you:

Just take an oversized box, poke holes in the top carefully, place white or colored Christmas lights in the holes, and add some pillows, books, and a blanket or two for a cozy reading nook.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Raise your hand if you have more than five stuffed animals in your house. Raise both hands if you have more than 10 stuffed animals in your house. Raise both hands and both feet if you are reading this while buried under a pile of teddy bears and other stuffed animals. Don’t worry; you are not alone. Today, we are going to share some ways to use those teddy bears and bring them to life!

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One of my favorite stories is We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury and Michael Rosen. There are so many options for telling this story. You could read it directly from the book, but here are some more exciting ways to tell this story:

  • Add hand motions to the story.
    • If you are waiting for a meal to finish cooking or you have a few minutes and need to occupy the attention of your child, act out the story using the motions as presented by Michael Rosen.
  • Hide your child’s teddy bears in one spot in the house. Tell them you are going on a bear hunt. Bring the story to life as you make  your way through your house or backyard chanting the rhymes of the story. Let your child make up things that he or she “sees” along the way.
  • Let your child retell the story in his or her own way.

After you read a selection of books about bears, have a teddy bear tea party picnic. Set out a blanket on the floor in your house. Let your child set out dishes and cups. Serve small cookies like Teddy Grams and juice. Make sure the serve the teddy bears something.

Lastly, here is another of my favorite teddy bear story is Cordoruy by Don Freeman. As a preschool teacher, this was one of my favorite books to read with my class. Normally, I don’t promote watching movies on this blog, but in the 1980s they made this book into a movie. After you read the book to your child, it’s worth watching. Cordoruy actually comes to life in the movie–make sure you are watching your child’s face at this point.