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, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's time to take a little break to celebrate Thanksgiving and prepare for a fun month of Christmas lessons and Random Acts of Christmas Kindness!  We will be back on December 1st!  I hope everyone has a wonderful and blessed holiday!

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.  Give thanks to Him and praise His Name." Psalm 100:4

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Totally Technical Tuesday: Electronic Toy Review

Today I wanted to do an electronic toy review of the products my children enjoy playing with at home.  These are incredible learning tools that are innovative and fun!

* VTech V.Reader: A wonderful product with tons of games for reading, vocabulary, and spelling.  This is my boys' favorite!

* The LeapFrog Scribble and Write: The perfect electronic game for writing letters, numbers, and drawing shapes!

* LeapFrog Fridge Phonics and Fridge Word Builder: We started using these when Sawyer was 1 year old, and they have helped both of my boys learn the letters of the alphabet and their sounds.  Start with the Fridge Phonics and move on to the Word Builder when your child is ready!

* VTech MobiGo Touch Learning System: We do not have this product, but we have some friends that do.  They love this game system because it is entertaining and purposeful in learning!

* LeapFrog Leapster Explorer Learning Game System: My students used the leapsters in my Pre-K classroom and had a blast playing the math and reading games.  It also includes a stylus for writing!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mighty Math Monday: Marshmallow Shapes

* To review 2-dimensional shapes and their characteristics
* To begin learning about 3-dimensional shapes
* To create shapes with marshmallows and toothpicks

* Mini Marshmallows
* Toothpicks

* This is such a fun way to create shapes!  Begin by demonstrating how to make a 2-dimensional shape, making sure you point out that the toothpicks represent the sides of the shape and the marshmallows represent the corners.  For example, when making a square, say, "I need 4 toothpicks and 4 marshmallows because a square has 4 sides and 4 corners." Show your child how to connect them together, and then let them try.

* You can also create 3-dimensional shapes.  Show your child how to build upon an existing 2-D shape (square into a cube).  Talk about the names of the 3-D shapes and how they are different from 2-D shapes.

* Our collection of shapes!

* Of course, you have to enjoy a little snack along the way! :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fantastically Fun Friday: Game Day!

Well, basketball season has started, and my boys are super excited!  Today was Sawyer's first game of the year, and he was pumped to go cheer on his daddy's team! He even gets to go to the game on Sunday, too! Have fun enjoying a sporting event with your kiddos this week!  Happy Friday!

Can't wait for the game!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thoroughly Thoughtful Thursday: Fruits of the Spirit Cornucopia

* To learn what the Fruits of the Spirit are and what they mean
* To create a visual representation of the Fruits of the Spirit
* To memorize Galatians 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control."

* Bible - Galatians 5:22
* Brown Construction Paper
* Tissue Paper (Fall Color)
* 9 Popsicle Sticks
* Glue or Tape
* Scissors
* Fruits of the Spirit Song and Video
* Fruits of the Spirit Printable from me :)

* Read Galatians 5:22 from your Bible and explain what "fruit" means.  Talk about how God wants our hearts to be filled with these characteristics.  Pray together and ask the Father to help you have all of these fruits in your life!  You can also watch the video from the link above.  It is a great song that your kids can sing along to in order to help them memorize this verse.

* Explain to your child that you are going to make a cornucopia with all of the "fruits" of the Spirit.  Talk about how a cornucopia is commonly used around Thanksgiving, and it's "filled" with lots of foods to celebrate and give thanks to God.  Discuss how God wants us to be filled with the fruits of the Spirit just like a cornucopia is filled.

* Roll a piece of brown construction paper into a cone shape and tape or glue it to hold.

* Cut out each fruit and say the name of each one.  The alliteration of the fruit name and the fruit of the Spirit name will help them remember each one.

* Stuff a piece of tissue paper into the cone to make it more full and to hold the fruit.

* Glue each fruit to the top of a popsicle stick, and have your child place each one inside the tissue paper.

* A cute cornucopia of the Fruits of the Spirit!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wacky Word Wednesday: Letter Sound Plate from What Did You Do Today

* To review the sounds that each letter makes
* To search for things that start with each letter of the alphabet

* Paper Plate
* Marker
* Scissors

* I found this idea on Pinterest from What Did You Do Today? . The lesson calls for your child to search for letters; however, I changed it a little and had Sawyer search for things that started with each letter instead of just looking for the actual written letter.  Do what is appropriate for your child's age and level. This is a great way to review the sounds of the letters and have children use critical thinking skills to match letter sounds with different objects.

* Write the letters of the alphabet around the rim of a paper plate, and then make small cuts in between each letter.

* Go on a walk or take a drive and hunt for things that start with each letter.  When your child has found something, have them flip the letter over.

* We made it back home with finding something for all of the letters.  For an extension, ask your child to recall the objects they found for each letter.  This is a fun little memory check!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thinking Theme: Autumn #2

Lesson 1: Candy Corn Counting
* To identify numbers 1-5
* To use counting skills
* To match the correct number of candy corns to the corresponding written number

* Candy Corn Printable from me :)
* Candy Corns
* Scissors

* Print and cut out the candy corn numbers.  We just used the numbers 1-5 to start with, but feel free to use whatever numbers your child is ready for.  Spread them out on the table.

* Help your child recognize the numbers and count out the correct number of candy corns for each one.

Lesson 2: Autumn Name Tree from The Kid's Activities Blog
* To learn the letters in your name
* To put those letters in the correct order

* Large Piece of Paper (color of your choice)
* Construction Paper (Brown, Red, Yellow, Green, Orange)
* Scissors
* Glue
* Marker

* I saw this activity on The Kid's Activities Blog, but I changed it a little.

* Using the brown construction paper, cut out rectangles and glue them onto the larger piece of paper in the shape of a tree.  You should have the same number of branches on the tree as the number of letters in your child's name.

* Cut out leaves using the other fall colored construction paper and help your child write one letter from their name on each leaf.

* Mix up the leaves on the table, and have your child start gluing them on the tree in the right order.

* One thing I have done with both of my boys to help them learn to spell their names is to sing the letters in the tune of a song.  For example, for Tucker I sing the tune of Bingo. "There is a little boy I know, and Tucker is his name-o. T-U-C-K-E-R..."  There are lots of familiar songs that can be changed in this way.  Be creative!

Lesson 3: Pumpkin Pie Playdough
* To make pumpkin pie playdough using a specific recipe
* To follow the directions of the recipe
* To use measurement skills
* To use the fine motor skills involved with scooping, pouring, and kneading

* 5-1/2 cups of flour
* 2 cups of salt
* 8 teaspoons of cream of tartar
* 1 spice container of pumpkin pie spice

* 3/4 cup of vegetable oil
* red and yellow food coloring to make orange

* 4 cups of water
* large pot
* large spoon

* Measure out each of the ingredients and mix them all together.  Put 2 parts yellow to 1 part red of food coloring in last.

* Stir the mixture over medium heat until the dough starts to form.  This will take about 10 minutes.  The dough will start to pull away from the sides when it is done.

* Place the dough on a floured board and kneed it until it's completely a playdough texture.  It should not be sticky or wet.

* Get out some cookie cutters and let your kiddos play!  This playdough smells really good, but it is definitely not tasty, so don't let your children eat it!  (I had to stop Tucker many times!)

* Store the playdough in a closed container, and it will keep for a long time.  This recipe makes a ton of dough which we will be giving to friends for Thanksgiving, but feel free to cut it in half.

Lesson 4: Fruit Loop Pumpkin
* To recognize and sort colors
* To create a pumpkin craft using Fruit Loops
* To use the fine motor skills involved with picking up small objects and gluing

* Pumpkin Printable (I made it a little smaller)
* Fruit Loops
* Glue
* Scissors
* Construction Paper (any color)
* 3 sorting bowls (I just happened to have orange and green, but it's not necessary)

* Dump out a handle of Fruit Loops and have your child sort them into 3 categories, Orange, Green, and Others.

* Meanwhile print and cut out the pumpkin printable and glue it to a piece of construction paper.

* Let your child glue the orange fruit loops onto the body of the pumpkin and the green fruit loops onto the stem.

Tucker loved this, especially snacking on
the other colored fruit loops! :)

Lesson 5: Leaf Graph and Leaf Matching
* To sort and match corresponding leaves together
* To use counting skills to count the number of leaves in each group
* To learn what a bar graph is
* To graph the correct number of leaves for each category
* To analyze the data collected
* To learn what the terms most, least, greater than, and less than mean

* Leaf Printable from me :)
* Graph Printable from me :)
* Crayons
* Scissors

* Print out the leaves and cut them out.  Mix them up and have your child match the corresponding leaves together.  Then let your child count the number of leaves in each category.

* Print out the graph and help your child color in the correct number of squares in each column according to the number of leaves in each category.

* Show your child how to analyze the data of the graph by pointing out the leaves that had the most and the least.  Talk about which numbers are greater than the others.


* Acorn Craft from Kaboose
* Autumn Nature Walk and Hunt
* Fall Preschool Packs - Homeschool Creations, 3 Dinosaurs, 2 Teaching Mommies
* Autumn #1, Pumpkins, Apples, and Thanksgiving Themes from last year