As a former Pre-Kindergarten teacher and now stay-at-home mommy of 2 boys and a sweet baby girl, many people ask me how they can be implementing educational concepts in the lives of their young children at home before they enter school. Instead of trying to come up with a quick list of ideas off the top of my head to answer these questions, I have decided to put all of my lessons into this blog. I, along with so many other parents, want to be purposeful at home with my children and make the most of the time I have with them.
I hope that this blog can help, encourage, and inspire you to work with your kiddos and
get involved in the learning process! The benefits will be endless,
and the moments you share together will be priceless! As Dr. Seuss once said,
"The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you'll go!"

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thinking Theme: Be My Valentine!

Love is in the air!  We are getting close to Valentine's Day, and I thought it would be fun to do 14 days worth of special Valentine lessons!  I have also put together 14 little treats for my boys!  These are very simple, inexpensive, and easy to put together.  Of course, most of the ideas came from Pinterest! :) I will be putting one treat into a treasure chest each day for Sawyer and Tucker.  (I've seen some posts about getting a little mailbox for the kids, so you can do that, too - I just already had a chest!)  After treat time, Sawyer and I will do the lesson based on this fun holiday!  Join us as we celebrate family and friendship, and ultimately, give thanks to our Heavenly Father for the incredible love He pours out to us each and every day!

Memory Verses:

* "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13

* "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God." 1 John 4:7

14 Valentine Treats

* Some of these ideas came from Mud Pie Studio!  I just created my own tags.  There are many more cute Valentine's on this site, as well.

1. I love you, Sweetart! - Sweetarts

2. You blow me away! - Bubbles

3. Valentine, you make my heart bounce! - Bouncy Ball (from The Crafting Chicks)

4. I wheelie like you! - Car and/or Truck

5. I dig you! - Shovel and Candy (from Fry Family)

6. Will you o "fish" ally be my Valentine? - Goldfish and/or Swedish Fish (from Tammy Mitchell)

7. Kisses just for you! - Hershey's Kisses

8. You are the apple of my eye! - Apple Juice and/or Apple Slices

9. I'm over the rainbow for you! - Crayons and/or Skittles

10. Life would be un "bear" able without you! - Gummy Bears and/or Teddy Grahams

11. Our life may be a circus sometimes, but I'm glad we're in it together!  - Animal Crackers

12. Thanks for putting some snap, krackle, and pop into my life! - Rice Krispie Treat

13. Have a super Valentine's Day! - Sucker with Cape and Mask (from Zakka Life)

14. I'm stuck on you! - Magnets (This is their bigger gift for Valentine's Day!)

Valentine's Day Lessons

* I will post pictures and directions for each lesson as we go along!

1. Upper/Lowercase Heart Match and ABC Order - PreKinders
* Download and print the upper and lowercase letter alphabet heart mats at PreKinders.  Cut out the lowercase hearts and have your child match them to the correct uppercase letters.  Then let your child put the hearts in alphabetic order.

Yes, that is a huge puzzle mess that Tucker made while we were finishing the lesson! :)

2. Which One is Different? and What Comes Next? - Over the Big Moon Valentine Pack
* Download the 3 pages of "Which One is Different?" from Over the Big Moon and print them out.  First, cover up the majoriity of the page and show your child only the top row. Have them circle the picture that is different in the line and ask them to explain why it is different.  Continue with each row.  Then download the "What Comes Next" page and print it out.  Let your child cut out the bottom row of pictures and fill in the patterns on the page, choosing the correct picture for each pattern and gluing it in the square.

3.  Heart Patterns - 2 Teaching Mommies Valentine Pack
* Download and print out the candy heart patterns from 2 Teaching Mommies. Cut out each heart and have your child create different patterns with them.  Be sure to do multiple types of patterns. (Ex: ABAB, AABAAB, ABCABC, etc.)

4. Candy Estimation Jar
* Place any kind of candy into a glass or jar.  Talk about what estimation is and the process of making a good guess.  Have your child guess how many pieces of candy they think are in the jar.  Ask them if the number of pieces is more than 1, more than 100, etc. Have them think about it and look very closely before guessing.  Then let them count each piece to see if they were right.  Figure out if their guess was less or more than the actual number.  (Sawyer guessed 10 Hershey's Kisses.  There were 22 in the jar.  A good guess! At the end of the lesson, there were only 21!)

5. Handprint and Footprint Hearts
* Place a few drops of red paint onto a paper plate.  Let your child place his/her hand into the paint and then onto a piece of white paper.  Repeat with the other hand, placing this handprint next to the other in order to make a "heart" shape.  You can do this with footprints, too.  Tucker wanted to play in the paint, so we made one for him, as well.  Guide your child's hand and draw a heart shape around the handprints.  You can add writing to the top, and give it to someone special! (It was hard to take a lot of pictures of this process with paint all over us!)

6.  Letter and Number Match with Clips - Over the Big Moon Valentine Pack 
* Download, print, and cut out the letter and number clip cards from Over the Big Moon.  Have your child look at each letter card and clip the letter that the picture starts with.  Then, let them count the pictures on the number cards and clip the correct number.

7. Secret Message Hearts - Better Homes and Gardens 
* Cut heart shapes out of white construction paper and write secret Valentine messages on them with a white crayon.  Have your child paint over the hearts with watercolors to find the message.  Sawyer LOVED this!

8. Colorful Carnations Experiment - PreK Fun
* Fill up 3-4 clear glasses with water and put different colors of food coloring in each one.  Place a white carnation in each glass and watch what happens over the next 2 days. Ask your child to make a hypothesis about what they think will happen to the flowers.  Review the process of how a flower gets nurishment from water.  (I will post a pic of the end results soon!)

9. Read the Valentine Mystery Storybook - Billy Bear 4 Kids
* Download and personalize this Valentine's Mystery storybook.  Have your child type in their name and the names of the friends they want in the story.  As you read each page, click on the different pictures to see little surprises.  Ask your child to guess who is sending the Valentine's cards to try and solve the mystery.  Sawyer really liked seeing himself in the story! :)

10. Candy Heart Sort/Graph - PreKinders
* Get a small box of sweetheart candy, and have your child sort the hearts by color.  Download and print out the graph from PreKinders, and let your child place the hearts in the correct columns on the graph.  We had to change white to blue.  Then count each column and write down the number of hearts for each color.  Your child can color in the hearts if they wish.  Talk about the results of the graph when you are finished. (Which color had the most, least, etc.)

11. Make a Gift for Daddy (If you are Michael Hillman, STOP reading!)
* I have seen this idea all over Pinterest, so we decided to make our own.  We got a deck of cards and came up with 52 reasons why we love Michael/Daddy.  Sawyer was so good at adding his input of why he loves his dad!  We typed them out and printed them on labels, then stuck a label to each card in the deck.  We punched a hole in the top left corner of each card and put a ribbon through to bind the deck together.  I hope Daddy loves his gift!

12. Heart Colors and Pre-Writing - Over the Big Moon Valentine Pack
* Download and print out the heart coloring page and the 3 pre-writing pages from Over the Big Moon.  Have your child color each heart the correct color.  I had Sawyer sound out the color words in order to figure out the correct one.  Then let your child practice writing by using a pencil to draw as closely as they can on the dotted lines.  Make sure they are holding the pencil correctly.

13. Make Valentines for Classmates (One-to-One Correspondence)
* Sawyer loves outer space, astronauts, and rocket ships, so we decided to do "You're a Blast" valentine cards for his friends at school.  I used a picture of Sawyer from Halloween in his astronaut costume and added text boxes to it.  Then we made rocket ships out of sweetart rolls, hershey kisses, and construction paper.  In order to incorporate math into this activity, let your child know the number of students in their class, and have them count each card to make sure each child will get one card.  Then, have your child place the candy on the cards, making sure each card has the same amount of candy (depending on what kind of valentines you are doing)  This is the one-to-one correspondence skill.  The cards turned out really cute, and hopefully his classmates will enjoy them!

14. Bake Valentine Blondie Blasts - Baked Perfection
* Whenever we go to Barnes and Noble, Sawyer loves to get an M&M Blondie Blast (as they call them), so we decided to make the Valentine version of them.  Just follow the recipe from the link at Baked Perfection.  Although ours are not as pretty as the ones on the site, they are still delicious!


Happy Valentine's Day!!!  May you be filled with Christ's love today and everyday!