Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Preschool: Week 16

I've discovered that Trevor has definitely outgrown some of the parts of our current preschool plan, so I've been tweaking it and trying to morph it so it starts to look more like what we will do next year.  Like last week, we've been starting off each time with singing and reading the story with goes with our theme.  This is nice because Mackenzie can participate (well, not distract) in this part.  I want to get some musical instruments for next year and expand on this singing time, so doing it just a little now is nice practice for the fall.  One day I gave him some independent reading time.  This is something I should do more, but honestly don't think of it.  I'm hoping to make it a regular part of our days starting in the fall.  We are also reading though The World of Pooh.  It's the first chapter book we have tried and we are both enjoying it!  I like that it makes him sit still and pay attention for longer than the usual simple stories we read.

Here is what we did each day...

Day 1 - Theme: Butterflies

Day 2 - Letter: "P"
  • Ok, we just didn't do this one at all.  
  • Instead we just did a lot of  Scrabble spelling while laying on my bed.  I started off with the letters needed to spell "tan" "ten" tin" and "ton."  We had to review the short vowel sounds, but other than that he did a good job.  Then just for fun we swapped out more letters and he practiced sounding out those words (ex. "ten" into "pen.")

Day 3 - Number "16"
  • Count to the number "16"
  • Put sixteen stickers on the number "16" handout, counting as you put them on
  • Put 16 pegs in the pegboard, counting as you go
  •  Patterns 
    • Using our pegboard and pegs, I lined up four pegs in a simple pattern and had him put in what peg would come next.  For the first time he sort of got the concept.  He could do it if i was talking him through it, but when I set up a couple of rows for him to do and I left him to try it himself it wasn't even close =)
Day 4 - Color: Purple
  • This is another area that he has outgrown, so since he had already drew a face on the oval from last week, I just had him try to draw a butterfly with a purple marker.
  • Trace and Cut Pages

Day 5 - Review and Science Activity
  • Review concepts from this week while putting the pages into the school binder
  • Science Activity - Looking for Tracks (I hope to do a post on this one soon.)

Happy Learning!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Chatechism for Young Children

I ran across a Catechism for Young Children (An Introduction to the Shorter Catechism) online the other day and I'm just loving it!  Honestly, I haven't read through the whole thing to endorse it, but I love the first page so far!  These sort of short, simple questions are fantastic, because they don't have to be taught in a formal, rigorous setting, but can be taught interspersed throughout the day....ask a question while your child is getting dressed, introduce a new question during dinner, etc. 

Here are the first few question, so far Tim has taught Trevor the first three...

Q1 - Who made you?
A   - God.

Q2 - What else did God make?
A   - God made all things.

Q3 - Why did God make you and all things?
A   - For his own glory.

Q4 - How can you glorify God?
A   - By loving him and doing what he commands.

Q5 - Why ought you glorify God?
A   - Because he made me and takes care of me.

Q6 - Are there more gods than one?
A   - There is only one God.

Q7 - In how many persons does this one God exist?
A   - In three persons.

Q8 - What are they?
A   - The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

I love this because it is conversational and it's simple enough for a small child to remember and even understand some of it =)  I also want to start some Scripture memorization soon, but haven't thought too hard about it. Does anyone have anything they've done and enjoyed with their little kids?

Happy Learning!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Science Activity - Spring Blossoms

Last week the kids and I took a nature walk and looked for tree blossoms.  It's a beautiful time of year observing trees bursting with new life.  Trevor seemed to remember how the leaves fell off the trees in the fall (or maybe he just remembers the concept!), so I told him that we would go around our condo grounds and see what kind of new leaves and blossoms were growing.

My great plan was to to get samplings of all the blossoms, bring them home, and then have him match the blossoms to pictures I had printed out of the internet to see what kind of trees they were.  Well, I had a harder time finding pictures that I thought I would =)  Maybe it would have helped if I actually knew what kind of trees they were!  I guess I'm not much of a botanist.  I'll have to give it more fore site and research time before we do it again next year.  None the less, it was a great preschool activity and Trevor really enjoyed himself.  We put all the blossoms in a cup of water and Trevor was excited to show Daddy what he had collected.

Here are our findings!

Ready for our nature walk!

Baby pine cone "blossoms"

Some "mumble under my breath" blossoms.

Oh I know this one!
Dandelions, Michigan's finest springtime flower =)

Is this an apple blossom?  Whatever it is, it's beautiful.

A maple tree of some sort.  It has those helicopter things on it, which I thought Trevor would enjoy, but it was too tall for us to reach up to.

One of these trees.....

Trevor holding a branch with blossoms that he cut off from own of those trees over there...

And lastly, some of these pretty tree blossoms.

I was amazed at how many different kinds of trees are around out condo complex!  I guess I had never taken the time to notice before.  Now if only I knew what kind of trees they were.....

Happy Learning!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Welcome Back, Farmers Market!

The Mount Clemens Farmers Market opened again for the season last week.  I went with the kids last year a few times in the fall and really enjoyed it, so I have been excited for it to start this spring so we can take advantage of all the season's bounty.  I just love the idea of supporting our local economy in this way!

I took the kids there first thing this morning to see what would be available this early in the growing season.  The vendors mostly had plants for sale: flowers, vegetables, and herbs.  We don't have any land, and our balcony only has limited early morning sun, so I've come to terms with having to wait to grow anything until, Lord willing, we own a home one day. 

I was excited to see the honey lady!  I tried to guess at the end of last season how much I would need to buy to last us through the winter, but I underestimated =(

Pretty much the only food that is already being harvested is spinach, so I picked up a lovely bunch to use in our smoothies.

I came home with 3lbs of raw honey and one exceptionally large bunch of spinach.

Doesn't that just look fantastic?!?

Happy Living!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Science Activity: Making Rain

The Kids' Nature Book: 365 Indoor/Outdoor Activities and Experiences (Williamson Kids Can! Series)

I ordered a science/nature book a few weeks ago from and it looks pretty neat! It's called The Kids' Nature Book.  It's designed for kids older than Trevor, but it gives lots of great simple ideas (and some more in depth ideas for a little bit older kids).  It has an activity of some sort for each day of the year, so that the activities go along with the seasons.  Now that the weather is so nice, I definitely want to make sure that we are getting outside and doing some learning!  I'm going to set a goal for myself of trying to do one science activity a week (I hope I'm shooting low here and that we actually do much more, but it's summer, so I'm going to give myself a break =)

This week's theme in preschool is rain, so I decided we would try to create rain on top of the stove (ok, so this one wasn't an outside activity, oh well).

What You Need:
  • Pan
  • Water
  • Cookie sheet cooled in the freezer or a pie tin filled with ice cubes

How It Works:
  • Fill your pan with water and bring it to a boil on top of the stove
  • Bring out your cookie sheet or pie tin
  • Hold the sheet/tin over the boiling water (not too close!)
  • You will notice condensation forming on the bottom of the sheet/tin and after a few minutes, drops of water should form and fall down

Why It Works:

As water heats, it turns into vapor and rises. This is true both on the earth and in our experiment.  Once the vapor rises so high, it cools back down and turns back into liquid.  In our experiment, we expedited this process by using a freezing sheet/tin.  The liquid is heavier than the gas, so it drops back down to earth (or the pan!) in the form of rain.

Trevor enjoyed this activity, but of course it's a little deep for him.  Though he did run to daddy after we did it and tried to explain to him what he learned..."Daddy!  And the water goes up, and it's cold, and the water comes down!"  Admittedly, the experiment didn't work as perfectly as it should have.  Trevor got impatient waiting for the drops to form (so I kept tipping the sheet to make the drops run off the end =) and I was just trying my hardest to not let anyone get burnt because Mackenzie was pulling at my pant legs and ended up in my arms half way through.  That's real life though!  Plans on paper look good, but real life, even with all it's hiccups, is better =)

 Would you like to have an activity sheet and printable instructions for this and 9 other science activities for preschoolers?

Get my Preschool Science (& Nature) printable pack for free!

 Looking for more preschool information?  Click on the picture below to find a list of all the preschool posts here at Living and Learning at Home, plus some of my favorite preschool resources!

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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Preschool: Week 15

Day 1 - Theme: Rain

  • Color the horse coloring page
  • Talk about vocabulary word "downpour"
  • Read Rain, Rain, Rivers
  • Sing It Rained a Mist
    • We've been starting school off with singing time now, since that's something I really want to incorporate more formally next year.  It also helps since Mackenzie is often up during school time now, so that is something easy for her to participate in (and not distract!)
  • Watch the rain and make a downpour in the bathtub
    • This was the perfect week to learn about rain.  It rained so much that it was easy to sit and watch it and talk about it.
    • We took watering cans into the bathtub and poured them out like the rain.  Trevor's favorite part was making it go really fast like a downpour.

Day 2 - Letter: "O"
  • Color letter "O" coloring page
  • Talk about the sound the letter "O" makes
  • Talk about words that start with the letter "O"
  • "O" Trace and Build Sheet (template)
  • Scrabble spelling: "an" "at" "am" and "ant"
    • I also arranged the cards in order for him to read the sentence "I am an ant." Once he gets more words under his belt, I plan on using these cards to make more sentences let him put together sentences himself.

Day 3 - Number "15"
  • Count to the number "15"
  • Put fifteen stickers on the number "15" handout, counting as you put them on
  • Put 15 pegs in the pegboard, counting as you go
    • Wow, this was a struggle on this day!  He can count up to 15 no problem, but for some reason, he just didn't have the focus to count in the right order as he was putting pegs in.  To my shame, I sometimes get frustrated with him when he chooses to not do something that I know he is capable of.  Finally, after a little punishment for not focusing, he got it perfectly.  I knew he could do it and he was really excited to see that he could do it too!
Day 4 - Shape: Oval
  • Trace around the Oval handout
    • After he traced around it, we talked about how the oval looks like the shape of a face, so I asked him to draw eyes, a nose, and a mouth. I don't know why, but I'd never asked him to do that before.  I was super impressed at how well he did!
  • Practice tracing lines and circles on our tracing pages (scroll down)

Day 5 - Review and Activity
  • Review concepts from this week while putting the pages into the school binder
  • Activity - Making Rain

Happy Learning!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Living in April: Bye Bye Baby

My baby girl is officially a baby no longer.  She is close to walking and is getting better at communicating.  Toddlerhood here we come!

We had a nice little party for Mackenzie the Sunday before her birthday.  We had the party in our garage.  We were a little worried about it just because the weatherman kept changing his mind on what the temperature was going to be, but it ended up working out fine.  It was cold, but we just shut the garage door and had a couple of space heaters running, so it felt plenty warm.

I put together a little egg hunt for the kids (two almost 1 year olds, a 2 1/2 year old, and two teenagers)....well, mostly it was just for Trevor, but all of them had at least one egg to find!

The little girls playing with their eggs.

Trevor in action finding his eggs.

Then of course we ate food, Mackenzie blew out the candle on her cupcake (well, I guess I did that part), opened gifts, and enjoyed time with the family.  It was a nice afternoon and boy was I tuckered out afterwards!

Here is Mackenzie on her birthday party day...

Happy Living!
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