When my daughter turned five in the year 2000 she loved Disney's Little Mermaid. Her whole toy inventory was of something Mermaid. When we had her party, we decided to focus on Mermaid/princesses.
The party included my daughter and 5 other little girls. For decorations I had purchased a paper tablecloth, cups, plates, and napkins with the Mermaid on them. I actually made her a cake--there was a wonderful cake in the magazine Family Fun that year of a treasure chest.
The children arrived, I let them play for 15/20 minutes then we did a craft. The craft was followed by a reading of the Little Mermaid. After the reading, a "pirate" showed up and we had a treasure hunt outside. Following the treasure hunt we sang and had cake and ice cream. We followed with present opening and then good byes. It went really well.
The craft we had for the party was jewel boxes. I had gone to Staples and purchased some boxes one would use to hold index cards, they were all black. The I got bags of plastic jewels and letter stickers from the local craft store. Each girl was given a box and the letters to spell her name. The children put their names on the boxes, then we decorated them with the jewels. I used hot glue from a glue gun to hold the jewels to the box. This is where it is great to have other parents around for help.
When finished we went to the other room to have the Mermaid story. Then our "pirate" showed up. I did not hire a pirate. My husband dressed in some Halloween costume material and had an eye patch and bandanna. He brought with him a special treasure map that everyone followed, under the pirate's lead, to find treasures.
Before the girls had arrived, I had gone outside and placed all the treasures. I had bought wands, crowns, necklaces, and rings from our local Dollar store. The wands were stuck in the ground under a tree, the crowns were in a bush, and the rings and necklaces were somewhere else in the yard--sorry I don't remember exactly where. The pirate took them to each place and they got their treasure. These items were their "party bag" items. The kids loved this!
Then we went back in, had our cake and ice cream, opened presents, and we were done. We had a wonderful party, and believe it or not my daughter questioned who the pirate was for a couple years after that.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I found a great new site for myself today that I thought I would share with you. It has tons of printable pictures, plans, fun facts, etc. I loved it. You had to sign up, but it was totally free. They asked for my name and email and that was it. I got tons of usable tools for my Dinosaur Camp next week. The new site is called LearningPage.com.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Nowadays it seems that children's birthday parties are getting more and more elaborate. I think it is a tendency of this nation to "try and keep up with the Jones'." One has to remember that with preschoolers, the simpler the occasion the more fun it is for them. Also, your 3/4 year old is not going to remember that you hired Cirque de Soleil for entertainment, Rachel Ray for food, and had a hot air balloon in your front yard for decoration. Sit back for one second, can you actually remember what your birthday was like at that age? If your family was anything like mine, it was probably a family party with cake, ice cream, and presents.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Last week at our summer camp,the theme for the week was; I Love Animals. The teacher that was running the camp was wonderful and I thank her very much. All of her crafts centered around certain books. This is a great way to create lessons. Books are wonderful inspirations for many things.
The one day I was there they were making a frog out of a paper plate. I honestly can't remember the book she based the craft on, although I have a good frog book at home that my youngest likes. The book is The Big Wide-Mouthed Frog, by Ana Martín Larrañaga. It's about a frog that travels to discover new animals and what they eat. His last encounter is with a crocodile that likes to eat big wide-mouthed frogs. It's cute.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Hi everyone. Occasionally I like to add some resources I love using as a teacher. Singing is a part of everyday at our school. Most children adore singing. I find that the songs that go over the best are ones that are to tunes they already know.(They're also the ones I find easiest to sing.)
Three books I use very often at school are called PIGGYBACK SONG BOOKS. I LOVE these books. We have three versions of the book at our school; Piggyback Songs(red, 1983), More Piggyback Songs(blue 1984), and Piggyback Songs for School(black, 1991). I will tell you my two favorite ones are the red and blue version. These books were already at the nursery school when I began and they were quickly added to my everyday repertoire. One even has the cover off I use it so much. The songs are fun, the children pick them up easily, and they are easy to learn.
The books are published by Totline Press, Warren Publishing House, Everett, WA 98203. I found them on Amazon.com too if you are interested.
Thanks for letting me share a favorite. Sing often, it's always great to have a song in your heart!
Friday, July 11, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Bugs are a very popular theme in the summer time. My son helped me put together a common bug we see during summer, the ladybug. It's a craft that is very easy to make.
Some variations for the project are to use a black ink pad and your child's thumbprint to add the dots, or you could use some pipe cleaners to attach antennae at the top.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Growing up in an Italian family, I was exposed to the game of Boccie Ball at a very young age. Every gathering from Little Johnny's christening to Sunday afternoon get togethers under the big shade tree, included a game of Boccie. But, no children could play. You could watch, follow along, but not say a word--not even make a sound--you sneezed, you were gone. Sometimes, Boccie could make or break the day. They took that game seriously.
Ever see the game? It consists of eight balls about the size of a softball, but a bit heavier, and one small white ball called a pallino--we always called it the "jack"--still do. The balls they used when I was kid were a kind of ceramic. The balls we have today are plastic balls with some water inside to give them some weight. The object of the game is to throw your balls as close to the jack as you can to get points. I think maybe they played to 21--we never quite get that far.
As I said there is the jack--which someone will throw--usually the youngest goes first. Then everyone has 2 bigger balls of the same color. We each take turns throwing our balls trying to get them as close to the jack as possible. The person with the closest ball gets the point, 2 points if both of your balls are the closest, and gets to throw the jack. We play up to 10 points. Sometimes the youngest don't quite make it that far.
This game can be very fun for preschoolers as long as you keep it light. It's a great form of exercise, throwing and walking(or running if your between the ages of 3-5). It's fun for the whole family and it's a great way to make those little guys feel just like everyone else. Remember, it's for fun. It's okay if they laugh when your about to through your ball, or keep running in circles as you try to concentrate, or even throw the jack 3 inches in front of you. In my eyes, if they're having fun, so am I.
(it really doesn't take this much effort)
So get out there and, "PLAY BALL!"
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
As a teacher, one of my most favorite resources is Scholastic. Our school has used Scholastic to bring books to the children there for years. Scholastic offers book clubs for children of ALL ages. It is great for the school too, as we gain points from parent's book orders and are able to use those points for resources for our room. We have gotten a refrigerator, microwave, toy bins, a puppet theatre, resource books, reading books, and the list goes on and on.
I can not stress how great it is. All of their products are just great too. Everything is extremely age appropriate and great quality. The customer service representatives have always been extremely helpful too. Any discrepancies are always handled quickly and with great professionalism. I LOVE SCHOLASTIC!
Scholastic.com is an invaluable resource to parents as well as teachers. When you go to Scholastic.com they have sections for teachers, parents, kids, and more. Each section is just a full of articles, games, ideas, crafts, books, games, etc.
I was in the parents section for quite a while. They have ideas for the time of the year, crafts, cooking, outside fun, books that are great for you child, articles with good information, printables, games, etc.
If you are a teacher looking for ideas, this is another great resource. They have lesson plans, teaching strategies, supplies etc. I found this site extremely helpful when I was renewing my teaching certificate. Pennsylvania recently made a law that teachers must take a certain amount of credits or have a certain amount of continuing education hours every five years to keep their certificates active. This came at a time when I had done nothing formal for more than ten years. Scholastic's site was very helpful with their lesson plans and teaching strategies.
Scholastic also has a store that offers many books, DVDs, toys and games, crafts, etc. I have bought many things for the nursery school from Scholastic and I feel that their prices are reasonable. I honestly feel that Scholastic is a most valuable resource for teachers and parents of children.