Monday, June 27, 2011

Engaging a Preschooler During a Sermon

We believe that worshiping together as a family is important, so it is something that we work hard at.  In all honesty, I don't think that I'm very good at teaching the children how to do this well, but I promise that I'm giving it all I've got!  I enjoyed reading the book Parenting in the Pew and think it does a good job at explaining the why of worshiping as a family, but I read it in hopes of finding some tips on the how and didn't really get many (for little ones at least).  A few weeks ago, I found a post on a blog I have recently been enjoying that gave some ideas on keeping young children in church and I was excited to see an idea I hadn't thought of!  I didn't follow exactly what she does what her children, but I got an idea from it.

Trevor now has a notebook that we bring for him into the service and each week I prep a page with words that I hope will be in that week's sermon.  I generally include the name of the book the text will be out of and then some key words from the verses that come after the ones from that past weeks sermon (and just cross my fingers that I've picked words that our pastor is actually going to use =). 

Instead of writing the words out completely, I make them with dashed lines, so Trevor can practice tracing letters.  If applicable, I put a picture of the word next to it so he can guess what word it is.  Before the sermon we talk about what words to be listening for and during the sermon we point to the word or picture when we hear it.  It doesn't keep him listening intently for the entire sermon, but it definitely helps!  It always melts my heart when he says a word after our pastor says it.  I just love to know that he actually is listening even though he doesn't understand everything.

This is what a finished sheet looks like....

If you don't keep your children in the service with you, I encourage you to prayerfully consider it!  If you do keep your children with you, do you have any ideas that you have used to engage your children?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Science Activity - Planting a Tree

A while back, Recycle Bank offered a tree sapling for a couple hundred points.  (If you are unfamiliar with Recycle Bank, it is a website where you can earn points various ways...from simply taking a little quiz, all the way to recycling (depending on if your area participates)...and can redeem your point for different kinds of things like coupons and gift cards.  I only do the simple types of ways to earn points and I've definitely saved a few dollars on groceries (free produce, etc.)!  It's a great little program to check out if you haven't already.)

I thought that the tree sapling would make a great little project for Trevor and I to do.  Within a week or so, our tree had arrived from Recycle Bank.  We don't have any actual land to plan a tree on, so we grabbed a little pot, a toy shovel, and went out to plan our tree!

We borrowed some dirt from under a nearby tree. (Probably not the expert gardener thing to do, but I couldn't find soil at any of the stores we happened to be at that morning.)

Mackenzie enjoyed getting into the dirt too =)

Filled up the bucket.

Put the sapling in and topped it off with more dirt.

Proud owner of a tree!

Trevor had a great time doing this activity.  It provided (and continues to provide) an opportunity to talk about how things grow and the work that it takes to make things grow.  He gets to fill up a bucket from time to time and go water his tree.  Of course each time he expects it to be fully grown already, "It is already BIIIIIG???"  I guess it also provides an opportunity to talk about patience =)

Happy Learning!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Garage Sale Finds

Last Friday, the kids and I ventured out to a sub-wide garage sale.  Trevor was excited because he had saved up 10 cents of spending money from doing his chores so he could look for something to buy that had a 10 cent sticker on it.  Unfortunately we only found one thing that was marked 10 cents and it wasn't something that would interest him, so he came home empty handed.  Luckily for him he recently got a 500% raise and now makes a nickle for each extra chore he does, so he should be up to 25 cents of spending money in no time =)

I have been hard at work planning out the details of what we are going to do next year for his 3 year old preschool, so I had in my mind to keep a look out for math related games that we could play together next year as part of our, well, math times.  So, I was excited to find one house that had some great learning related things.  I snagged these two items that will be perfect!

We've never talked about inches before, so the measuring game is too much for him right now, but he is already loving the Shape Shuffle game.  If you have any favorite math related games you have played with your preschooler, please let me know.  I'm on the look out for some good ones!

Then we stopped at a house that had a bunch of girl clothes.  Too bad Mackenzie is a couple of years away from fitting into them (they're size 3-4T), but for 50 cents an item I had to get a few things!  They are in perfect condition and are good brands, so I'll just put them in a bin and save them for later! (Or if you have a a little girl that's this size or will be in the fall, and would like to borrow them, just let me know.  We'd be more than happy to share =)

The trip was not as smooth as it should have been (one too many trips back to the car for Trevor to go to the bathroom and one extremely poopy diaper that ended up not completely in the diaper...thanks for nothing stupid disposable...for Mackenzie), but all in all it was worth it and I am very happy with our finds!

Happy Garage!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Science Activity - Looking for Tracks

A week or so ago we ventured out as a family to do another "nature walk" (Trevor can't get enough of these now and asks to go on them all the time!)  This time our goal was to look for tracks left by animals.  In the book we are getting ideas from, The Kids' Nature Book, it suggested trying to find out some information from the tracks (like how fast the animal was going, follow the tracks to see where the animal was going, etc.), but we just focused on the concept of what a track is and trying to find some!

We found some dog tracks!  Not exactly the sort of animal I was hoping for, but it was a start =)

Trevor was very excited to find these bike tracks, and I was excited that he was getting the idea of what tracks are.

Finally!  Some actual wild animal tracks.

So we didn't find too many different sort of tracks, but we had fun walking around trying to find them.  There were so many mosquitoes that we were not brave enough to venture too far into the wooded area for very long! 

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

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 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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Friday, June 3, 2011

Living in May: Memorial Day Parade

This month we have been taking full advantage of the beautiful weather by getting outside and playing at parks as much as possible!  So far this summer has been nice because Trevor is skilled (and trustworthy) enough to climb on most play equipment unassisted.  That leaves me able to keep an eye on Mackenzie and make sure she doesn't eat too many rocks =)   This summer is different because I actually have a little bit of energy!  The past three summers I was either pregnant or functioning on sleepless nights from tending to a newborn, so I am thankful for each day that passes that I am not exhausted from being pregnant.  Don't get me wrong, we absolutely desire more children, but I am grateful for exactly where we are today.  Praise God, we are so blessed!

We went to the Dodge Park Parade on Memorial Day this year.  It is the first time we have been to a parade as a family.  Other than being a very HOT day, we had a great time!

Got our spot!

Enjoying the parade!

A butterfly Tim and Trevor saw while playing at the park after the parade.

Trevor's recap of the day.  He's not quite at the top of his game for this interview =)

Happy Living!

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