Beginning a Science Journal with a Preschooler (Part One, of many)

I want to encourage my kids to question and explore the world around them everyday.  I think that that kind of thinking will help them in so many ways down the road.  So, I want to start a science journal for my 3 year old.  I tend to way over think things and this science journal is turning out to be no exception.  Should I use an actual notebook? What should the format be? What should go into the journal?-ARGH!  I had so many questions that I felt like it was never going to get done, because I didn’t know how to start!

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Random Awesomely Fun Night

While my husband was out for the night, my kids and I were left to our own devices to entertain ourselves.  After waking from their naps, we found our gigantic packages of paper products that we just bought from a warehouse store.  We had an idea, we could build towers with them! What came from this thought was hours of entertainment that night and the next morning….

I had no idea that we were going to extend this activity to the level that we did, so I didn’t start taking pictures until later.  First we built castles and towers, of course.  We also set up the paper towels and bowled and put all of the products together and swam in them.  We also built a fort…

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Post Office Themed Books

postal theme 3

Tomorrow we are having a class revolving around the Post Office!  I am, of course, going to have several books to read and have available for parents and children to check out.

The book that I am going to read, for the most part, is entitled “What’s it like to be a Postal Worker” by Morgan Matthews.

Our class is filled with very young kids, so I do not think that I am going to be able to get through the entire book.  It is a very detailed account to what happens to a letter when you mail it.  Throughout the book, there are several labeled illustrations that exposes kids to new vocabulary.  For example, in the illustration of the counter, at the post office, the postal meter, rubber stamp, tape dispenser, and computer postal scale are all labeled.  The book teaches you who the people are that help your letter arrive at the right location.  It also teaches the different details that you need to include on your letter in order to mail something such as a stamp, all of the components of your address, and your return address.  The book gets into details of “first-class” and special deliveries and the different modes of transportation to send your letter wherever in the world you want it to go.  I recommend this book to preschoolers and lower elementary age children to teach them how the United Postal Service works!

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Here are a few more books that I am going to have on hand….

Post Office Themed Books

“Letter Carriers” By Alice K. Flanagan

“Mail Carriers” By Dee Ready

“The U.S. Mail” By Elaine A. Kule (This is a great book for learning about the history of postal service, with photographs)

“Out and About at the Post Office” By Kitty Shea

“To the Post Office with Mama” By Sue Farrell

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Books On Writing Letters

“Sincerely Yours” Writing Your Own Letter By Nancy Loewen

“Messages In The Mailbox” How to Write a Letter By Loreen Leedy

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Homemade Bookends

In one of my grad classes, my professor told us about how she feels it is important to have a set of hardcover books or special books that are kept in a special place that kids are not able to reach.  I thought that it was a bit weird at the time, because I thought that it was important to have all books where kids can grab and explore them at any time.  However, after having kids, I agree with my professor.

Here are my reasons for wanting to keep a set of books away from the reach of my kids:

  • I am devastated every time I find a ripped or misplaced book cover.  Kids at my kids age, two and three, have a hard time truly treating hard cover books the way that they deserve to be treated
  • It adds a sense of mystery to the books.  It makes them more special and adds a sense of respect to them.
  • It helps kids to judge books.  It helps them to know some are worth more than others

With all this being said, I decided on a spot in my daughter room where the “special books can be stored where she won’t be able to reach them, but she will be able to see them.  I was going to put them on the top of her dresser.  The only thing that I needed was book-ends to help them stand up.  We got right to work….

I found several different book-ends that were more expensive than what I wanted to pay.  I also want my daughter to have a sense of ownership in what she has in her room.  So we headed over to Jo-Ann Fabrics.  I found these little wooden birdhouses that were one buck each!!

I bought two of them.  I knew that the birdhouses were not going to be heavy enough, so I found some small rocks that would fit in the hole of the birdhouse at the dollar store. Here is what we did…

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“I Love You Through and Through” By Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak

through and through

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought that I would share a popular book around our house about love.  It is entitled “I Love You Through and Through” by Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak.  It is not exactly a board book, but close.  The pages are thicker than usual and the cover is puffy.  The background of all of the pages remind me of tissue paper with specks of color.  All of these details add to the charm of this book.  We bought this book originally for my daughter and it was her absolute favorite book, and after my son was born it quickly became his favorite as well.

A young boy and his teddy bear are the characters of this book and the reader/narrator is telling the child what they love about them.  The illustrations, by Caroline Jayne Church, are adorable.  The little boy really reminds me of my son.  For example, on the cover, the boy is holding his bear high in the air and his belly is hanging out of his shirt (I love big baby bellies!).

The narrator loves the child inside and out.  They love the child no matter what they are feeling or what they are doing.

A favorite part for my kids is when I read about the different body parts that I love.  The book reads “I love your fingers, and toes, your ears and nose.”  I always tickle each body part as I read it and my kids crack up!

The final line of this book is the best and just pretty much sums it up “I love you through and through..yesterday, today, and tomorrow too.”  Ahhh..how perfect?!?!

If you are looking for an adorable book to tell your children (probably about 5 and under) just how much you love them, I highly recommend picking up “I Love You Through and Through” By Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak.  Enjoy!

A Few Notes:

  • There is a simialar book, in format and illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church, entitled “How Do I Love You?” that features a little girl
  • The price listed on the book is $8.95, but at the time of writing this post, I found it online for about $5-well worth it.
  • The book would make a great gift for Valentine’s Day, birthdays, and for new parents.
  • There is an app based on this book by Scholastic.  Here is an overview (looks cute!):

Book Recommendation: “I Like Myself!” Written By: Karen Beaumont and Illustrated By David Catrow

i like myself

“I like myself! I’m glad I’m me.  There’s no one else I’d rather be.”  This is the opening to “I Like Myself!” a wonderful self-esteem boosting book for young children.  The little girl in the book shares just what it is that she likes about herself-which is everything!

The witty, rhyming text may seem simple, but it really hits on so many complex life issues.

“Beauty is only skin deep”

  • On one page, the little girl wakes up with hair that just about hits the ceiling.  The text on this page reads “even when I look a mess, I still don’t like me any less, ‘cause nothing in this world, you know can change what’s deep inside, and so…”

Dealing with people trying to bring you down

  • “And I don’t care in any way what someone else may think or say”

Loving yourself, both the positives and negatives

  • “I’d still like me with fleas or warts, or with a silly snout that snorts, or knobby knees or hippo hips or purple polka-dotted lips.”

The illustrations in this book are very engaging and fun.  David Catrow also illustrated another great self-esteem book, Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon (see my review here).

I highly recommend reading self-esteem boosting books to your kids!  They send such a great message and will hopefully have a positive impact on them in the future.  If you decide to search for books with this theme, I recommend picking up “I Like Myself!” By Karen Beaumont.

Literacy Fun with an UNHAPPY ending!

We decided that it was time to help our feathered friends make it through the cold winter.  So we bought some birdseed and got to work making bird feeders!  I jumped on the chance to incorporate some literacy into our fun and here is what we did….

I found several recipes for bird feeders on Pinterest, here is the one that we used.  The blog is called Saltwater-Kids and her bird feeders came out perfect and beautiful.  Our feeders were a bit crumbly probably because I am not meticulous with anything so I probably miss-measured or some over-stirring could have occurred.

First we gathered our ingredients, including our molds.  This is where the literacy came into play.  For our first time doing this project we took out our letter cookie cutters and spelled out my daughters name.  However, next time, we may do some sight words or things that she is interested in such as dolls or bananas.  We could do anything as long as we are talking about the different sounds of the letters and we are exposing her to what different words look like.

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“Rachel,” Cookie Monster, Dog Bone, and a Moose-Perfect!

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Next we had to mix our ingredients.  This was my daughter’s favorite part.  She loves cooking and this was a chance for her to go nuts stirring in a giant bowl.

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Once we had our ingredients mixed, we started filling the molds.  I didn’t have straws, so we used paintbrushes because we were going to just use string to hang the feeders in our backyard.

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See that dog to the left, we will be getting to him. He may look sweet and innocent..

We finished filling our molds and set them out to dry.  Aren’t they pretty!?!?  We were so excited to hang them the next morning.  We were looking around our yard trying to pick out which tree was going to be the “Rachel” tree.  Oh the anticipation!

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Unfortunately, while we were resting our heads after a long day of learning, our precious dog was up to NO GOOD!  When we came downstairs in the morning, we were greeted with a huge birdseed mess!!! During the night, he got on the counter and ATE our beautiful birdfeeders! Ugh!  I wish I had a picture of the devastation, but I think that I was too heart-broken to take one.

I’m sure that we will try this project again soon(I will keep you updated).  Maybe next time we will do all words that start with the same letter or rhyming words.  One thing is for sure, next time we will store them WAY too high for our four-legged friend to find them!

 

“Harold and the Purple Crayon” By Crockett Johnson

harold

I have to admit that I read this book for the first time only a few weeks ago! I see it everywhere and finally grabbed it from the library.  After reading it, I can understand why it is still so popular (it was written in 1955!).  Harold and the Purple Crayon’s author Crockett Johnson is the illustrator of another classic, “The Carrot Seed,” which is written by his wife, Ruth Krauss.  If you are familiar with “The Carrot Seed”, than you know the style and feeling of “Harold and The Purple Crayon.”

If you are like me, and haven’t read the book before, it is about a boy named Harold and his purple crayon-as you can tell from the title.  Harold decides to go for a walk in the moonlight.

The scenery throughout the entire book is created by Harold’s purple crayon.  He wants a moon, he draws a moon, he wants a path, he draws a path, and so on.  Although the text and setting is very simple, the book is very powerful.  It shows kids the power of their imagination.  It encourages kids to draw and write their own worlds.

So, if you are looking for a fun, creative read, I recommend picking up “Harold and the Purple Crayon!”

Other Books by Crockett Johnson

  • Harold’s Fairy Tale (1956)
  • Harold’s Trip to the Sky (1957)
  • Harold at the North Pole (1958)
  • Harold’s Circus (1959)
  • We Wonder What Will Walter Be? When He Grow Up (1964)
  • Harold’s ABC (1963)

If you are interested, here is a reading of the book:

Preschool Theme: Winter Clothing

My class this week focused  on the clothing that we need to wear in the winter in order to stay warm in cold temperatures.  If you would like to see my guidelines for planning my class check out my link here.  Enjoy!

Greeting/Beginning Carpet Time:

one mitten

  • Book: One Mitten By Kristine O’ Connell George
    • The book is a simple tale of a little girl who has one of her mittens and needs to find the other one.
    • She shows the readers different activities that you can do with one mitten and then what you can do with two.
    • “One mitten can wave a mitten hello.”
    • The book was very cute and the kids could make little mittens out of their hands and act it out.
  • Poem: 5 Little Snowman
    • I have five snowmen that I cut out and laminated.  I am going to have five students stand up and be the snowmen in the poem.  We start the poem with five snowmen, then four, then three, etc.  Here is the poem…

Five Little Snowmen

standing in a row.

Each had a hat

and a big red bow.

Out came the sun

and it shone all day.

One little snowman melted away.

Centers:

  • Listening Center
    • I have Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing By Judi Barrett available for the kids to listen to.

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Snowman Class Update with Pictures

Our Snowman Snack

Our Snowman Snack

I had a so much fun meeting my new little toddlers and parents!  It turned out to be an all-girl class, except for my son.  At times, it was so quiet until my son would come crashing down the slide!

Our Book Table

Our Book Table

Our "S" I-Spy Bottle

Our “S” I-Spy Bottle and key

Our Sorting "S" words pocket chart

Our Sorting “S” words pocket chart

I added this ABC puzzle.  I put magnets on the back of the pieces to create a self contained activity.  I also added a microphone, from the dollar store.  When the kids were finished, they could read the ABC's into the microphone!  It was sooo cute!!

I added this ABC puzzle. I put magnets on the back of the pieces to create a self contained activity. I also added a microphone, from the dollar store. When the kids were finished, they could read the ABC’s into the microphone! It was sooo cute!!

The Craft turned out even cuter then expected! The kids were able to do a lot more on their own than I had anticipated.

The Craft turned out even cuter then expected! The kids were able to do a lot more on their own than I had anticipated.

Hard at work!

Hard at work!

The "Snow" playdough turned out great!

The “Snow” playdough turned out great!  You can’t quite see all of the glitter in the picture, but it’s there.

My son enjoying his snack.

My son enjoying his snack.

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