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.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

"A Midsummer's Dream"

(Photo courtesy of Microsoft Clipart)

Now that we are hitting the middle of summer, some of you may be looking for something to explore with your little one. Karen Schweitzer is a guest post writer that has written some articles for me before. She just completed one listing 15 sites to explore with your preschooler.

15 Sites to Explore with Your Preschooler Over the Summer

Keeping kids busy throughout the summer can be a challenge. If you run out of things to do, consider exploring some of these free sites with your preschooler. All of them are fun, and many of them offer learning opportunities that can help your child succeed in the next school year.

PBS Kids - This PBS site is one of the most popular online destinations for kids. The site offers games, streaming TV shows, standards-based lessons and activities, online reading materials, and much more.

Seussville - Seussville is a fun site based on the Dr. Seuss books. Site visitors can play in the Dr. Seuss playground, read about Dr. Seuss, listen to music, learn about upcoming reading events, and participate in other online activities.

MeeGenius - This online library is perfect for young children who are just learning to read. All of the books on MeeGenius are free and come with audio playback and word highlighting.

International Children's Digital Library - The goal of the International Children's Digital Library Foundation (ICDL Foundation) is to make no-cost, quality literature available online. The Foundation offers more than 4,000 free books in over 50 different languages.

Storynory - Storynory is a good place to find free audio books for children. Books include a mix of classics and original stories. A new audio book is added to the site each week.

Magic Keys - Magic Keys is a unique site that offers illustrated stories for children of all ages. Other site features include free coloring books, rhymes, riddles, and links to phonics resources.

San Diego Zoo Tour - Children who can't make it to the world-famous San Diego Zoo in person can tour the zoo through videos and live web cams. Some of the animals that can be seen up close include apes, pandas, polar bears, and elephants.

Smithsonian National Zoo - The Smithsonian National Zoo also offers a virtual tour of their facility online. Web cams capture many of the zoo's animals, including big cats, otters, fish, ferrets, flamingos, gorillas, pandas, and sloth bears. Site visitors can also view the zoo's extensive animal photo gallery.

KinderArt Littles - Created specifically for preschool-age children, KinderArt Littles offers lessons and activity ideas that are both fun and educational. Other site features include a free newsletter, tips for parents, and links to additional resources.

Kaleidoscope Painter - The Kaleidoscope Painter is a free Java applet that can be used to easily create a kaleidoscope-like image on an online canvas. Finished images are printable and can be saved to your computer.

Tutpup - Tutpup is a fun site that allows visitors to compete in educational games with other children around the world. Many of the games on Tutpup are designed for elementary students, but the site does have several word and spelling games that would be appropriate for preschoolers.

Illuminations - Designed to help parents and educators teach math, the Illuminations site offers activities, lesson plans, games, and information about education standards for students in grades pre-K through 12.

Free Songs for Kids - This site offers high-quality children's music, streaming videos, printables, and more for free. All of the songs are original. Many were created specifically for teaching.

Preschool Activity Box - This EarTwiggles site provides free activities, craft ideas, worksheets, and other materials that are perfect for daycare centers or an afternoon at home. All of the materials are age appropriate and come with easy-to-follow instructions.

KidsSoup - Unlike the other sites on this list, KidsSoup isn't free. However, it does offer more than 5,000 preschool appropriate resources for less than $3 per month. Resources include lesson plans, games, activities, crafts, books, and printables.

Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the About.com Guide to Business School. 

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Blooming Cactus

(photo courtesy of Microsoft Clip Art)

The creative juices were flowing the other night. (Yeah, I'm not sure how that happened either:). But wait, here is what they came up with--a cactus. I know! I'm not sure why, but I thought I should try to make a cactus. I'm thinking it was because I had cleaned my son's room, in which he has a cactus plant--he loves them. Then for some reason or other, one thing led to another and here we are.

I actually came up with two different cactus ideas. The first idea is very simple and non-complex.

For the project you will need:

construction paper:
one for background, and green for the cactus
glue
sand
paint
plastic fork

As you know cacti can come in many shapes. My sons are more of those oblong type shapes, so that's the way I went. You may make any shape you like.

Cut a cactus shape out of the green paper and glue it to the background.



Since most cacti grow in hot places with sandy earth, I decided to add some sand at the bottom. Spread some glue all over, sprinkle the glue with sand, then shake off the excess.



The final part is the pricklies--yes, I am a nursery school teacher. But, being the good teacher I am I did look up the real word for the pricklies which are called spines. To make the spines you will need some paint and a fork.

I used green paint because it is what I had readily available, but feel free to use any color you would like. Pour the paint onto a flat surface, like a small paper plate. Dip the fork into the paint and then press on the cactus. Cover the whole cactus with the spines.





You have created a wonderful arid plant.

Cactus 2

The second cactus I created is a bit more involved and has more dimension.

For the project you will need:

a piece of cardboard (I used a cereal box)
construction paper
glue/tacky
toothpicks


I made this cactus a little more like a plant you showcase in your home. First I cut out the shape of a pot and cactus from the cardboard. I then covered the cardboard with construction paper. If you would like you can always paint these too, and add decorative touches to the pot.



After the pieces were covered, I used the tacky to glue the cactus to the back of the pot.


I then put lines of tacky around the cactus. On these lines I laid toothpicks for the spines.



For added affect, I made an Old Man Cactus. I saw this at a local nursery a few years ago, and it struck my fancy. This cactus looks just like a regular cactus, but is covered with a substance that looks like white hair. For this I stretched out a piece of cotton and hooked it to the the toothpick spines.


Have fun, but watch those fingers.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Music and Cooperation

(photo courtesy of Microsoft Clipart)

Well, look who decided to drop in. Yes, it's me. My husband and I survived the big graduation party weekend. I honestly don't know how he went to work yesterday. We spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, setting everything up. Then Monday was the day to put everything back. It's a full time job. The day was wonderful though. Everything turned out great and everyone seemed to have a good time.

While I was "away," I had a couple of people write me with some ideas they wished me to share with you. As I haven't had time to put together something on my own yet, I thought I would share these with you.

The first article I want to share with you is again about music. Music education seems very popular this summer. The article was sent to me by Janice Sinclair. Ms. Sinclair works for Miller-McCune. There was a publication about the wonder of music and how it can promote cooperation in young children.

I myself enjoy music so much in the classroom--I actually enjoy it everywhere. I thought I would share this with you. Anything that promotes cooperation involving young children is a plus.

You can find the article at
http://www.miller-mccune.com/culture/do-re-mi-promotes-a-feeling-of-we-19058.

I hope your summer is going along great.

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