Do you have an idea that you would like to share with the readers? If you have a craft, project, or something preschool related that you would like to share, please email me at trish@preschoolplaybook.com. I love sharing fresh new ideas. Click here for full details.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Summer Prize Picnic

I am very excited to be participating in the Summer Prize Picnic from ABC and 123, only problem, I'm not sure if I have a picture of myself. I am usually the one taking the pictures. Unless it's one of those where the kids come up behind you and say, "Hey MOM!", and you turn around with your mouth wide open and one of those dumb looks on your face.

I love heading over to ABC and 123 to check out all the wonderful ideas from around the world. It is always so exciting when I find they deem one of my projects as something worthy of their site--thanks to the two Katie's!

I have been blogging here for a little over a year. I started in a round about way. I must admit I never even knew there was something called a blog until this time period. My husband's friend at work was starting one. Then my husband was starting one. I in turn said, "I can do that.", so I started mine. I had so many years of fun childhood crafts spinning around in my head, I thought it would be great to share them with the world. I must tell you that I was amazed at what was out there, I still am. Sometimes I feel like I'm in over my head, but I keep trudging along. For those that stick with me, thanks so much. It really means a lot!

I have been working with young children since right out of college. I have a degree in Early Childhood Education. I went from college to a day care center--not my genre. I then started at my present place of employment, Cedarville Nursery School, and have been there ever since. This coming year will be my 21st year at Cedarville. I started there as the three-year-old teacher. I am still the teacher, after breaks from having children, but am also the director. I LOVE teaching the children it's some of my best days.

As for my family I have been married to the most wonderful guy for 23 years. I am so happy that he decided to spend the rest of his life with me. I just couldn't ask for a better person. We met in college and have been together ever since. We have five children together with a wide range of ages. Our oldest is 21, then the others follow--17, 13, 10, and 5. They keep us very busy and are a good group. We have four boys and one girl--following in my childhood. I was the only girl of 6.

Here's the picture I promised. Out of about 20 pictures I found a couple I liked.


I thought this one turned out cute.

Here's the whole gang!

Here they are at Jockey's Ridge. NC. One of my favorite places.

Oldest and youngest together. (Love this picture)
Poor dog!

We live in Southeastern Pennsylvania, a bit northwest of Philadelphia. Our family loves to hike, bike, go orienteering, and the beach. Well, let's say everyone loves the beach but my husband. He tolerates those yearly trips there for us--Thank you Dear! Our picnics are the best when Dad's cooking hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill. I must admit though I have a real passion for those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for grill less picnics.

I don't think I could actually pick my favorite blog. There are SO MANY amazing blogs out there, and the ideas that come from them sometimes just leave me speechless. You can probably tell from my blog roll that I find many interesting.

I thank you for visiting and wish you and yours a fabulous summer of fun!

UPDATE: I've had a question about orienteering. This is a fun mapped out timed hike. We travel to local parks where the events are help. There are different courses set up for which you receive a map. You must use your compass and find ten points along the course and stamp your map. They time you and post the results. We have never done this as a competition, just as a fun family event. The white and yellow courses are the beginner courses. We usually do the yellow course. Stay out of the way of the real competitors though, they may run you over. You can check out more at the local site we use. It has lots of information: http://www.dvoa.org/.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Clay?

I have begun a new course entitled "Making Learning Fun." For the most part it is a repeat of my last two courses--very helpful with my brain! Anyway, I was just reading a segment on using clay with young children.

Both of the articles are very enthusiastic about including clay play with young children. They state how great it is for little ones to get down to "earth" and play in the clay. Clay has a whole different texture than play dough and let's the children experience a fun medium. They also give lots of examples of how to start clay play. But, I have some concerns.

One article is totally immersed in the aspect of exposing children to clay. The author has no apprehension and has so many great ideas. It sounds fun.

Then article two, the author again is positive about playing with clay, but she has lots of "stipulations." Here is where I became concerned. She states that clay dust could be harmful if inhaled too often, children should wash their hands in buckets before using the sink as the clay could clog pipes, watch for certain types of clay--make sure you always purchase talc-free moist clay as talc contains asbestos, watch for mold, never let the children touch their face or mouth when using the clay, etc.

I was wondering if there were any people out there who commonly use clay with their children? How is the experience? I'm just looking for some feedback. Thanks.

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The End is Near

Many teachers like to give their children something at the end of the year. A few years ago my son got the cutest gift from his kindergarten teacher. I have saved it all these years(the scroll)--he starts middle school next year. I contacted his teacher and asked if I could share it with everyone and she gave me her full support: Thanks Mrs. Bradbury.

She made up a little "End of Kindergarten Reminder Kit." First she wrote a little letter to all the children on half a sheet of paper, rolled the paper like a scroll, and added it in the gift.

The letter reads like this:

End of Kindergarten Reminder Kit

Here is something to remind you of Kindergarten

Seeds-
to remind you how much you have grown

A lollipop-
to remind you how sweet you are

A bookmark-
to remind you to always enjoy books

Money-
to remind you how much you are worth

All in a cup full of love and sealed with a kiss!

Love,

The teacher took a cup--a plastic Solo cup, about 9oz. She put a packet of seeds, a lollipop, a bookmark, a penny, a Hershey Kiss, and the scroll in the cup. Then she placed the cup inside a little plastic gift bag and tied it with ribbon. It was so adorable. I loved it.

I hope you can visualize this as I do not have a specific picture of it. Take care.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Fabulous Fireworks

I found this great craft that I thought looked like fireworks, so I thought I would share it with you. Sounds easy, right? Well, this one took some trial and error. When I saw it I thought--"Wow, I can use glitter paint and make the fireworks look like they are sparkling." Sounds plausible? So I get my black paper, paint, and supplies and was disappointed. Then I got my black paper and some tempera and thought well, "I'll forget the sparkle but it will still look neat." Again, no luck. My conclusion, black paper is not good to do this project on.

I then changed my paper color to dark blue and had more success, but didn't think of trying the glitter paint on the blue paper so I'm not sure how that would look.

For the project you will need:

doilie ( I used three)
tempera paint
12x18 dark blue construction paper
sponges (I used sea sponges)

The first part was to find a doilie that wasn't solid in the middle. You want to have one with lots of holes so the paint will go through. But, if you don't have one I think you could overlap them and the middle space would be covered.



Put some paint on a small paper plate. Then place one doilie in the center of the paper. Next, use the sponge to dab paint all over the doilie. (Mess will ensue, but isn't that more fun.) Now pick up the doilie and you have a beautiful firework. I added two more fireworks on mine.





I hope these pictures can give you a good idea. Of course, I did this at the school and my camera battery ran out. I also was thinking fluorescent paint would probably give some bright colors too. Have fun!

Just an FYI: you can wash glitter paint out of a sponge, but I don't think the sponge will ever be free of glitter again. I have trailed glitter all over the room from my clean sponges:).

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Prickly Porcupine

I'm not sure how many people actually make porcupines, or how popular they are, but I really thought this little guy was cute. It also involves using a fork for painting which I thought was a bit different.

For the project you will need:

9x12 construction paper
fork
marker
different color tempera paint

Pour small amounts of tempera paint into some dishes. I used small paper plates. I also used large plastic forks(not the small kind) to paint with. I had a different fork for each color.

On the piece of construction paper draw a large oval, this is the porcupine's body. Near the lower part on one side of the oval, draw a triangle for the porcupine's head. Add an eye and color the point in for the nose. Dip the fork into the desired color and press on the paper. This took me a little while to get right. If there is too much paint on the fork you just get a blob. Also, I found rocking the fork instead of just pressing gave a good impression. Keep adding colors until you have a prickly porcupine.





If you notice, I added my head last. This was a bit tricky with wet paint. You might want to wait until the paint dries. Or, you could add the head first, but I think you take the chance of that getting very prickly too.

Ironically, when I was writing this yesterday, I noticed that The Bookworm's Booklist had an adorable porcupine story showcased. How helpful! You might want to check it out.

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Gardening

Before I begin I need to tell you that this really isn't a post about a preschool project. It was just where my head was today. I have been reading lots of posts about people planting and working in their gardens, which by the way IS a great way to spend time with your preschooler. So, I decided I should work on my garden area.

Now, you must know that we have put together about an 8x8 boxed in area to grow a few vegetables. For years we never grew anything, but then along came number 5 who loved to work in the dirt and with plants so I caved and started a garden.

At this point I probably have many people amazed at the fact that someone would not want to plant a garden. Here is the story: If you remember I talked about being from an Italian family. My mother is German/Irish and my father is a full blood Italian, growing up with family right off the boat. So, to them not having a garden was sacrilegious. But, what constitutes a garden?

My family bought a piece of property with other family so that we could all live on the same piece of land, and grow vegetables, and have livestock. Well, think garden--now here was my grandparents garden. They owned a 4 acre area if the property--garden 3.5 acres--AHHHH!
Lettuce, carrots, asparagus, beans, peas, corn, tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes(you get the point), cucumbers, radishes, you name it, it was there.

Here is how the spring/summer went. Get the ground ready--pretty easy Pop had a good tractor. Now planting--here is where the kids start to come in. We got an apron with the seeds and you walked up and down the aisles--perfectly straight aisles--and put the seeds in--not too close, not too far apart--not too many in one spot. Now things start to grow. Here it is, the memory as fresh as yesterday, pulling the weeds--again AAAAHHH!

Each row 5,00o miles long(I know it's an exaggeration). Weed, after weed, after weed, plant, after plant, after plant, row, after row, after row. Finally we say, "Nan, please can we stop? Our backs are killing us." Nan's response, " You're too young to have a back!" So weeding continues. To this day if my brothers or I say our back hurts someone responds, "You're too young to have a back!"

Finally vegetables are here! You would think Yeah right? Pick, shuck, snap, blanch, freeze, can, bag....on and on it went. Do you know that my grandfather actually passed away with a basement full of tomato sauce? I kid you not. My grandfather has been gone about five years and we finished the last jar of sauce at Easter.

So, that's why it takes me so long to go to that garden. I actually enjoy getting the vegetables and working the dirt, but every time I bend over to pull that first weed I am back with Pop and Nan weeding the never ending garden.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Father's Day is on the Way!

We don't get a chance to do Father's Day celebrations at our school because are not in session, but I have a beautiful poem to share with you. Put the poem on a piece of construction paper, add the child's footprint with paint or ink, then let them sign it. This poem always bring tears to my eyes.


Father's Day Poem, with footprints:

"Walk a little slower daddy,"
said a child so small.
"I'm following in your footsteps
and I don't want to fall.

Sometimes your steps are very fast,
Sometimes they're hard to see;
So walk a little slower, Daddy,
For you are leading me.

Someday when I'm all grown up,
You're what I want to be;
Then I will have a little child,
Who'll want to follow me.

And I would want to lead just right,
And know that I was true;
So walk a little slower, Daddy,
For I must follow you."


I didn't have as many Father's Day books as I did Mother's Day, but I found a few:

"My Dad is Brilliant!," by Nick Butterworth tells all the wonderful fun a child has with dad.


"What Daddies do Best," by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger was first mentioned on my Mother's Day book site. This is a flip type style book. One side is what daddies do best, and the other side is what mommies do best. Both sides have the same text, but different pictures. Very enjoyable.
An adorable Father's Day book is "Me and My Dad!," by Alison Ritchie, illustrated by Alison Edgson. This book about a bear cub and his dad. The story follows the pair through all types of fun activities. The rhyming text is fun to listen too. Very cute.

"My Dad!," by Charles Fuge is also another really cute book. It doesn't have a lot of text, but the pictures and theme are just so enjoyable. Fun to read with little children.

Finally, you can't have a special day without a book by Mercer Mayer. "Just Me and My Dad," follows Little Critter and his Dad on a fun camping adventure. Lovely book.

Finally, I was lucky enough to find a couple of Father's Day songs in my Piggyback book.

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY
Sung to: "Oh Christmas Tree

Oh, Father's Day
Oh, Father's Day
What a grand day it is.

Oh, Father's Day
Oh, Father's Day
Honor Dad with love.

Give him hugs
Love him true
Honor him with special You.

Oh Father's Day
Oh, Father's Day
How we love you true!
We love you-yes we do!

Kristine Wagoner
Pacific, WA

WHERE IS DADDY?
Sung to: "Frere Jacques

Where is Daddy?
Where is Daddy?
He's at work.
He's at work.
Hurry up and come home.
Hurry up and come home.
We miss you.
We miss you.

Diane Alifano
Poway, CA


Happy Father's Day!

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Perky Pink Pig

Before I begin I just wanted to take a moment and apologize for my posts slacking off. I'm not quite sure what's going on here, but I can find NO time--NONE. I'm not even working now and I have less time than before. Actually, I think I'm really going crazy. My husband asked me what I was doing(he asked nicely), and as I recited the list I was thinking that doesn't sound like a lot. But anyway, I will keep trying.

Also, since I don't have specific themes going right now I am going to start posting a menagerie of items that happen to come my way. I have found some fun crafts which I made yesterday, hopefully it won't take me weeks to get them on the site. Anyway, thanks for your patience!

Off to perky pink pig. I was planning on making this at school, but ran out of time.

You will need:

1 small paper plate
1 large paper plate
paper fastener
pink paint
pink pipe cleaner
pink construction paper
wiggle eyes
glue

The first step is to paint the backs of each paper plate pink. We don't have pink paint on hand so my plan was to mix the red and the white with the children to add another element.


After the paint is dry, take a pink pipe cleaner and wrap it around a finger to make it curly. Then poke it through the large paper plate for the tail. I did tape the back part to make sure it stayed in place. I also had to poke a small hole using the scissors tip to feed the pipe cleaner through.




Next, take the paper fastener and push it through the small paper plate, then push it through the large paper plate on the opposite side of the tail. Here again I poked a small hole with the scissors as the fastener had trouble pushing through.



The last step is to add piggy's face. I used wiggle eyes and cut some ears and a snout out of pink paper. I drew two nostrils with a black marker. Glue everything to the small paper plate. He's ready for the pen!




I didn't add any legs or feet, but I think he would look just as cute if you wanted to add these.

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Graduation

Last night we had our Pre-K graduation ceremony. These types of celebrations are always so adorable and the parents just love them. It went extremely well and I am so proud of the boys and girls. The teachers did a wonderful job too putting everything together. All of our children are moving on to kindergarten next year, we will miss them all, but wish them great success.

I spent the day reading my speech, repeating all the names to make sure I said them correctly, and fretting; public speaking was never one of my strong points. So I have everything together, all written down, placed in order, checked with parents to make sure I was okay with unfamiliar names, good to go right? Of course I mispronounce one of the children's last names. AAHHH! I always feel so badly when I do something like this. After the program I apologized profusely. Mom said I didn't butcher the name as badly as some people do and she was fine. If you're reading this, again I am sorry.










It really was a beautiful evening though and is such a great way to finish off the year!

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Monday, May 11, 2009

The Art Center

In an earlier post, I explained that I was taking a course on learning centers. I have learned that there are five primary centers that all facilities should have. I posted about the block center, and today I would like to talk about the art center. Ms. Maxine Cornwell, the author of the course, states that the art center is the second most important center.

The very first point she really wants to stress is that the art center should not be confused with the craft center. The two centers are different and have different purposes. The art center is about the process. The craft center is about the product.

The first thing one would need for the art center is room to work in. I must interject here: as I read these courses I think room/space would be a big stumbling block for many centers. I have now finished two courses, each fabulous, wonderful, inspiring me to no end. But, I must admit that I don't know if I would have the room for all the materials needed to set up the areas the way they should be. My room is huge compared to many, but I still don't know where I would put everything.

So, room to work in. Children need plenty of space to be able to move around, able to explore, and most importantly, able to make a mess. The area will need tables, easels, and easy access to a sink. The tables should have a smooth surface. There should be cleaning materials available; spray bottles, pans of soapy water, cleaning rags, and even, are you ready, mops. Ms. Cornwell suggests cutting the handles down and letting the children enjoy some "big muscle pushing and pulling." Large trays are great for finger painting, and kitchen spatulas will help children to scrape tables.

Next, you will need a place for all the art materials. The area should be self-help and easy for the children to use. Making the area self-help will give the "children a sense of responsibility and self-confidence."

What kind of materials? Playdough, clay, tempera, paintbrushes,cutting and pasting materials, , and paper. First, playdough and clay are two different mediums and children should be allowed to experience both types. Secondly tempera paint. I know this sounds scary, but according to Ms. Cornwell this should always be available. Ms. Cornwell says with continued use, the children learn how to manage tempera more easily, making the mess become less. She also states dry tempera is great to have around.

Cutting and pasting, a task that should always be free form for the children. The objective here is to help the children become efficient with the scissors. She states, which is something I never thought of, the first scissor experience should be with playdough. It's stiff and easy to cut. When children are comfortable with the scissors you can add paper--lots of different types of paper, then other materials, coffee filters, she says grass is fun, bread, or even sandwiches.

Finally add all types of fun materials. You will need plenty of glue or paste. The author suggests paste, as it's a great multi-sensory material. Once you have everything together, you have a wonderful art center for the children to enjoy endless experiences.

UPDATE: Sandra at Preschool to Pre-K has a GREAT post about setting up an art center. It is very clear and concise. Thanks Sandra: http://preschool2prek.blogspot.com/2009/02/making-art-center-things-to-keep-on.html

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Our weekends around here have been getting very busy with lots of sporting outings and that fun yard work--I actually enjoy the yard work. Anyway, I wanted to drop a quick note to all those wonderful moms out there. May you have a beautiful tomorrow with your beautiful families. Relax and enjoy. At least try. I'm doing my best to get all the laundry done today so that I don't have to do any tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed. It's 10:36 and I still have one load to do.

This prayer was in our church bulletin and I would like to share it with you:

A Mother's Prayer

The special bond between
mothers and children comes
through a special blessing
from God.

He gives mothers strength,
wisdom, patience, and an
abundance of love to share.

May God continue to bless
you today and shower his
blessings on you each and
every day as you share your
love so freely and selflessly.

God Bless You.

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