Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to take a moment to say Happy Thanksgiving and express how grateful I am.  I appreciate everyone who takes the time to stop by the blog.  I am also incredibly grateful for the opportunities I've had to spend tot school time with my son.  It isn't always easy, but I would not trade that time with him for anything!  Thank you again for being great readers!  I hope to come back to posting regularly in another week or two when things calm down!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fall Theme

This was another light week for us (I'm worried they may all be light until the end of this semester.  It is kicking my butt!).  Since it is November and Thanksgiving is approaching, I decided to do a fall theme.  I found some great printables from 3 Dinosaurs, which made the week a lot easier!

Fall Themed Activities
First of all, we read a ton of books!  I'm not sure why we have so many more fall books than any other season, but we do.

Word families with leaves.  With as well as he reads, I thought he would breeze through this activity.  However, I was surprised that it was a little tough for him.  He kept wanting to sort by beginning sound rather than ending sound.  It is something we will have to work on!
Fall Sensory Bin
I just used split peas for a base and added a bunch of acrylic leaves and pumpkins.  He also loves his little tin watering can.

Tree Stamping
I printed the silhouette of a tree and had Xander use stampers to add leaves and acorns.
Robin Puzzle
Preschool Backpack
Here is what was in this week's Preschool Backpack:
Fall worksheets from 3Dinosaurs and Homeschool Creations
Fall Patterning Set
Fall Books
Digraph Puzzles
Other School Acitivies
For his birthday Xander received some cool life cycle toy sets.  We read Grub to Ladybug and Ladybugs.  Then we played with the ladybug life cycle set.
Magna-Tiles on the light table.  I LOVE his face in this picture.  He was so hesitant to have me get out the light box, but loved the effect!

He really enjoys his Brain Games: Kindergarten book.  I usually have to limit him to a few pages, or we would blow through the whole thing!
Wedgits with Grandpa

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Birthday Gift and Reader Thank You

I don't know about other early education moms, but I definitely spend a lot of time choosing birthday and Christmas gifts carefully!  On the one hand, I am an only parent living with my father so that I can finish graduate school... resources are limited.  On the other hand, I want toys that are educational and long lasting.  I HATE clutter and do not like the idea picking random gifts that will sit around collecting dust after a few weeks.

Well this year, I decided to get him the large set of Magna-Tiles.  I originally fell in love with them years ago when my step daughter had some.  They are colorful little tiles with magnets around the edges, which allow for some great building!  I am always trying to encourage him to build and create, so I thought they would be perfect!  I was nervous though; what if he did not like them.  They are definitely the most expensive gift I have ever purchased for him, but I took the risk and it paid off.  He LOVES them.  He has played with them every day since he received them, sometimes for hours.  He took them to daycare and everyone there loved them also.  

The magnets allow him to build much taller structures than he could with normal blocks.  He also likes building "houses" and then putting things inside, since the tiles are translucent.
Honestly, he loves them so much, I am considering getting him the add-on set for Christmas.

Anyway, in addition to sharing for anyone looking for birthday or Christmas gift ideas, I also wanted to say Thank You to my readers.  I've always been upfront about using affiliate links, and wanted to say thank you to those of you who have clicked one and ordered anything (even not the exact product clicked) in the past.  The commissions are small, but by saving all year and using a couple of gift cards I had received for Mother's Day, I was able to purchase his Magna-Tiles with relatively little out of pocket.  My first reason for blogging is not to make money (I don't even have any ads), but the little bit extra is so nice to use for purchasing educational toys and tools for Xander.  I am grateful.  :)

For more gift ideas, check out our Toys and Tools page!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Wizard of Oz Theme

As I have mentioned before, Xander LOVES the Wizard of Oz!  In order to nurture that interest, I decided to do a Wizard of Oz themed school week.  I was SO excited to find a printable pack from Homeschool Creations!  I was able to pick and choose our activities, without having to spend the time to make my own.  Here's what we did.

Wizard of Oz Sensory Bin
I used popcorn as a base and cut up some red flowers from the craft store for poppies.  Then I threw in the figurines from his cake and some McDonalds toys.  He loved it and got it out many times!
Our good friend got us a beginning chapter book of the Wizard of Oz.  I was not sure if Xander would sit through it, but he has done a great job listening.  He will listen longer than my voice holds out!  Can't wait for the day I can read him Harry Potter (yes, I know I have a couple of years).
Tinman Number Puzzle
Xander LOVED this activity.  We have never tried graphing before, but he thought it was so much fun.  I was incredibly please how quickly he grasped the concept.  After we were done, I was able to ask him questions and he could look at his graph and answer.  We will definitely be doing more graphing in the future!
 We borrowed Grandpa's iPad to listen to Somewhere Over the Rainbow and used the magnet cutouts to sing along.
 Word Matching
 I used the letter clipping cards as a worksheet.
 Putting the events from the story in order. 
 Fractions with Glinda
He did a great job matching the fraction pieces to the correct Glinda.  We will slowly build on these ideas.

Thank you again to Homeschool Creations!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wizard of Oz Birthday

My little guy is slightly obsessed with the Wizard of Oz.  It is one of three full length movies he has ever watched straight through, and the only one that he has watched multiple times.  His favorite character is the Wicked Witch and he often pretends to be one himself.  For Halloween I printed pictures of about 12 costumes and he chose the Tin Man without hesitation (although a scarecrow was also an option).  Therefore, it was no surprise that he asked for a Wizard of Oz cake for his birthday.  Honestly, I had been hoping for something a little bit more mainstream and simple, but it was his choice.

This is what I came up with.  I ordered the figurines online.  The cake is two layer rainbow cake.  The yellow brick road is marshmallow fondant.  The emerald city is rock candy (store bought, my homemade attempt was a disaster).  All in all, I think it was pretty cute.  Xander loved it, which is all that matters.
 Birthday Treats
We did not have a big party, only three other kids came.  I did, however, still do party favors for them and then the same little bags for daycare treats.  Here is what was inside.

Heart - slinky heart
Brains - Jello gummy recipe in a mold
Lollipop Guild Lollipop
Courage - Juice box with courage label
Tin Man Hat - Hershey's Kiss
Glinda's Bubbles and Wand
Yellow Bricks - Starburts
Ruby Slipper - Soap
Balloon to Kansas - Punching balloon

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