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 28, 2010

Ooops... I Forgot One

I was going through my camera and realized I missed a post way back in March. It is actually an activity that I have included in the blog before, but if you're a new reader, you may not have seen it. It is also an activity that is a super-favorite of mine. The children really enjoy the finished product also.

Do I have you on the edge of your seat?

As you know in March we do the "lion and the lamb," with discussion of wind. A fun activity I do with them here is to make a pinwheel. Yes, we actually make one. It is pretty easy and they do really work.

For the project you will need:

a square of construction paper about 5x5
crayons
scissors
pencil with an eraser top
straight pin
I will just write the directions up here, but you can check a previous pinwheel post for much better directions and pictures.

On the square of construction paper I draw an X from corner to corner to split the square into 4 triangles. I then trace a nickle in the center to put a circle in the middle of the square.

Now, the children use different color crayons to color in the squares and make them bright. After all the triangles are colored, on both sides of the square, let the children cut on the lines and stop when they get to the circle--you don't want them to cut the square apart.




The next step is a teacher or adult step. Take every other corner and bend it in toward the center of the square. After all four corners are in, push a pin through the corners, through the circle, and into the eraser.


The final step is to pucker up and blow. Sometimes it takes a little while for the pinwheel to spin easily, but it will. Have fun.

Another fun thing we did on this day was to take the parachute outside. I thought it resembled a pinwheel and was lots of fun to play with.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Insights on Good Life Practices

A little while back a reader of mine, Patricia from Illinois, asked if she could share an article about a subject very dear to her. It is on the topic of Type 2 Diabetes. Patricia feels it is very important to get the word out about proper diet and exercise to help or maybe even prevent type 2 diabetes, and it is never too early to start. Thanks Patricia for sharing some insight.

Type 2 diabetes is among the most common form of diabetes. Millions of Americans have been told they have diabetes type 2, and many more don't even suspect that they are at high risk.

Some groups have a higher risk for developing diabetes type 2 than others. Type 2 diabetes is much more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians along with other Pacific Islanders, and older people.

With type 2 diabetes, either your body will not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is essential for your body to be able to use glucose for energy. After you eat food, the entire body breaks down the sugars and starches into glucose, which is the basic fuel for any cells in your body. Insulin takes the sugar from blood to the cells. When glucose generates in your blood rather then going into cells, it can lead to diabetic complications.

There is the capability to increase and protect one's quality of life. With proper nutrition, exercise and practicing good life choices (like not smoking), you can actually feel better, stronger, healthier, and decrease your risk of diseases including cancer, diabetes, coronary disease and stroke.

What exactly is Healthy Weight?

There's a good way to find if your current weight puts you in danger of developing serious diseases. Check out www.diabetes.org/bmi and take the Body Mass Index (BMI) test. The final results will help you decide if you need to give consideration to your weight.

The Better You Eat, Better Your Experience

Here are a few basic guidelines to help you and your family make healthier food decisions.

* Eat numerous fruit and veggies.
* Choose whole grain foods over processed grain products. (Try brown rice as a substitute for white. Substitute whole wheat bread for white.)
* Eat fish 2 about 3 times per week.
* Select leaner cuts of meat like the ones that end in "loin."
* Remove the skin from poultry and turkey.
* Eat low fat dairy
* Drink water and calorie-free non-carbonated drinks.
* Use liquid oils for cooking as an alternative to solid fats.
* Minimize junk food like chips, cookies, cakes, and regular frozen goodies.(Hunt for baked chips and reduced calorie snacks. Or have some fruit instead.)
* Be careful about your serving sizes. Even a lot of "healthy" food could potentially cause an increase in weight.

Tips:

* Compare labels of similar foods, and then choose the one with smaller amounts of saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.
* Adults should eat under 2400 mg. of sodium daily. For people with high blood pressure, you must aim for even less.
* Try adding spices and herbs as part of your cooking to take the place of salt for enhancing flavor.

A Bit of Exercise Goes a Long Way

Anything that gets you up and moving will work for you. Some advantages of exercise;

* Decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes
* Reduce your risk of coronary disease and stroke. Lower blood pressure and cholesterol
* Reduce blood glucose (sugar) levels in case you have diabetes, which could lessen your risk of developing diabetes-related complications
* Alleviate tension
* Allow you to slim down
* Provide you with more energy
* Allow you to sleep better
* Build stronger bones and muscle mass

It’s not necessary to go to a gym, play sports, or use fancy equipment; just taking a walk reaps many benefits. Certainly, you must consult your physician prior to starting any exercise routine, but especially when you have diabetes.

Maintaining a healthy diet and staying active are even more important if you have diabetes. Well-balanced meals may help keep your glucose (sugar) level stay as close to normal as possible. Being active also helps you reduce your blood glucose. If you increase your physical activity levels, you might be able to take less insulin or diabetes pills. If you're very inactive, have heart disease, or maybe a history of foot ulcers, talk to your doctor about safe exercise for you.

Check your blood glucose before exercising. If it's under 100 mg/dl, eat some fruit, crackers or drink a glass of milk or juice. Check it again after exercising to know how your blood glucose reacts to exercise. Bring a snack if you will be active for some hour.

Putting some of these ideas into practice today, may increase your probability of a longer, healthier, and happier life.

About the writer -Patricia Harris writes for the Diabetic Menu blog, which is her personal hobby web log centered on ways to eat healthy, and to avoid or manage diabetes.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Speaking of Graduation


Our Pre-K classes put on a great show this week during their graduation ceremony. These little ones spent the year with us learning all the essentials to head on to their next big adventure. We so enjoyed them and their families during the course of our year, or in some cases years, that they spent with us. Good luck little ones and we wish you a grand and sparkling future!

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Focus on the "Right"

Our oldest son graduated from college last week--imagine that. He recently wrote us a thank you note that got me thinking and I just wanted to share.

Many of us as parents look back on things we did and think, "Why did I do that?", "Why didn't I do this?", "I should have done this, or that," etc. So many times we focus on all things we forget to do, or should have done, or wish we had done, or did wrong. Or, we focus on the things we wish we hadn't done. We spend a lot of our time focusing on our regrets.

I will tell you that I even tend to do it with school--"Why didn't I do this with them, or that with them?" When in fact they are perfectly happy with what I actually did get to do with them.
My son's note reminded me that we did "okay." That he grew up well, and he is happy with us.

When in doubt, take a few moments and look at it "on the flip side." Instead of what thinking what could I have done, think what good did I actually do.

Have a good day!

Good luck J and we are very proud of you!

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Our "Season Finale"

Yesterday was our final day in the classroom for the three's. I had planned on this fun day outside, goofing off and enjoying ourselves. Well, Mother Nature had a different plan. Yes, it rained--actually poured a couple of times. Oh well, the children still had fun day.

I didn't have any formal plans, just some fun things out around the room. I did have one new activity which I thought they would really like, I actually set it up at two tables. I had a bag of "Bright Nuudles" from Discount School Supply. I have actually had them for quite a while. They are one of those things you have in your supply closet, but always forget are there? I pulled them out yesterday.

The nuudles are made so that if you get them damp, they stick together and you can build all types of creations. Be careful, don't get them too wet or they will dissolve. I had some bowls with damp sponges in them and I showed the children how they would stick together and what they could do with them. Surprisingly, the children didn't spend as much time there as I thought they would. The nuuddles worked just as they said they would. As soon as they were damp, they would stick together--and they held really well too. We did have our fair share of disintegrated nuudles, but nothing I didn't expect.


Most of the day, the children enjoyed the staples of the room: our fire trucks, blocks, the vet center, and dress up. We did have a very nice day. It was quiet and uneventful, a peaceful way to go out.



I also want to publicly thank my afternoon class for the wonderful gift. It will be put to GOOD use. And those roses, just gorgeous. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Oh yeah, I wanted to share with some moms out there if you were looking for a quick gift for friends, our crafty mom of the group--you know who you are--sent a great gift home with the children. She had bought a beach ball for each one and attached a note that said, "Over the summer I hope you have a ball. If you want to play please give me a call." Then she included the child's name and phone number. I thought it was a cute idea. (Thanks too for the great snack--it was wonderful at lunch.)

So to all the Cedarville Family I hope your summer is fun. I know I'll see most of you on Thursday at our picnic, but just in case I don't, I want you to know that I'm thinking of you!

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

An Interview With Me?

Hi everyone. I just wanted to drop a quick note that Carly over at Early Childhood Resources recently posted an interview she had with me. If you think it may be interesting, pop on over to take a read. Carly has a great site too. Lots of wonderful information from Australia. Thanks so much Carly for thinking me worthy!

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's Getting Close!

Well, we are coming down to the wire. (Whatever that means? Where did that saying come from anyway? I have to admit knowing the origins of common phrases fascinates me.) Now that I'm off track, back to the present.

As of Tuesday, I only had three more days of classes left. It's time to make sure we get all the "important" stuff done, and make sure everything goes home with the right person. I took yesterday to try and finish up the Me Books.

The book is almost complete, except for a couple of pages. First, if you remember, in September we weighed and measured all the children for the "Who Am I" theme. In May we always weigh and measure the children again so they can see how big they have gotten during the course of the school year. I myself am always amazed that each child averages between 1 1/2 - 2 inches of growth. Not to mention their intellectual growth:).





Next is to allow the children to write their name the final time on the "Here is My Name" page. I just let the children write their name to the best of their ability--no coaching on my part. I was amazed at how well they did. And here I thought I had laxed off in this area this year.



Finally, the last page to add is a picture page. We take photographs during the course of the year and keep photo albums to share with families. At the end of the year I separate all the photographs and tape them into the children's Me Books. I always think this is such a wonderful keepsake for them.



I just have to finish the cover and staple them together and off they go!

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Take Your Child to Work Day

A couple of Thursdays back, it was "Take Your Child to Work Day." (That's how far behind I am). Well, my two middle school aged children wanted to come along with me. My thoughts? "Wow, I can do something extra messy and fun." Boy will I rethink that next time.

It's not that they were in the way, they wanted to help, but didn't really know how to help. I would give them something to do and have to go over and explain the process. It was almost like having a couple of trainees on my hands. They seemed to enjoy themselves, but boy was I tuckered out.



We were in the midst of our pet unit, so I had planned a pet activity, plus I thought it would be fun to do some shaving cream play. If you read, you know I have some very active children in the class. Our shaving cream fun was quite extensive.





Did they enjoy it? I would have to say without a doubt. Even though they wore smocks, some had shaving cream head, body, and all the way up the arms. I guess, for all intent and purposes, that's what it's all about, but it did take quite a while to clean up between each set of children.



I do have one question for all the magnificent teachers out there. How do you add color to your shaving cream? I have used a couple of different ways, but the children usually leave the class quite colorful.

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Honoring Mom

Today is the day. That wonderful day when all Moms are honored for the great job they do all year. I would like to extend a very Happy Mother's Day to the Moms out there.

I never did get to post about what we did for our Mother's Day activities. If you read last year, you may remember that the children give their moms the zinnia plants we planted. All the children take their plants and put them into a pretty paper bag.



I then have them all make a card too. The card is a little tea cup. They write their names on the card, color it, and cut it out. The final piece to the card is to add an herbal tea bag inside the cup for mom to have that special "relaxation" time. This year I had apple cinnamon tea bags and orange spice--the apple tea bag was a favorite.



The Pre-K class did a "play" on the tea cup card that I thought was super cute. Mrs. A. cut out the children's hands, glued them like a tea cup, and placed a tea bag in it. There was one little catch. Some of the children's hands were tiny and she had to finagle a way to get the tea bag inside. She had placed the tea cup handprint next to a beautiful poem, but I forgot to write it down. Sorry.

I put together a little sample, just what I was thinking.

You will need:

construction paper
glue
scissors
tea bag (probably one you can fold to put into the hand)
small paper plate
hot glue gun
markers

Trace a child's hand on a folded piece of paper, then let them cut it out if they are able, or you can cut it for them. You are cutting on a folded piece so that you can get two handprints.

At this time I would probably let the children decorate the hands with markers, to make the teacup fancy. They only have to decorate one, but they can have a ball with both.

The next part you may need to do. Cut an straight edge off of the paper plate. Put a strip of hot glue on the paper, and glue the piece of plate down like the saucer to the teacup. If you wish, you can cut the plate and let the children decorate it before it gets glued to the paper. (I recommend using a glue gun as I tried glue and tacky first and it didn't hold as well).



Finally, let the children put glue all over one of the hands and glue it to the paper. Now put glue around the edge of the hand on the paper and lay the other hand on top. DO NOT put glue on the upper part of the hand because you need an opening for the tea bag. After everything is glued together, slide a tea bag inside.



I wrote, "To a "tearrific" Mom. Happy Mother's Day!" ( I know it's corny:). Then they can sign it.



I know this is late for this year, but maybe next year. Again--HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

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