Sunday, November 30, 2014

Easy Flower Pop-Up Cards

Although this week officially marks the rush into the holiday season, for us last weekend was a rush of birthdays. We had quite a handful or friends, big and small, who were celebrating their birthdays. One of our favorite types of cards to make for friends are pop-up cards.

Easy Flower Pop-Up Cards
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This method makes it easy enough to make more than one at a time, so while Big Brother created one for his friend's birthday present, I made one for a friend too. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Maple Pumpkin Pancakes

A few weeks ago we shared on Facebook how much we've been enjoying pumpkin pancakes. A quirky thing about me is I don't really enjoy pumpkin pie. But I do LOVE all other pumpkin baked goods, and that love definitely extends to pumpkin pancakes.

Maple Pumpkin Pancakes

We shared a recipe we've always enjoyed from allrecipes for pumpkin pancakes. Over the last few weeks we've tweaked the recipe to be our own version with a special ingredient within the batter: maple syrup.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

5 Books to Read While You're Waiting for Winter

Winter is on our doorstep, the warning of snow has been in the forecast for several days. And although we've already had a little dusting it will be any day now that we get our first major storm. The coming of winter is a mixed blessing. Everyone is excited to play in the snow, and of course snow now might mean a white Christmas next month. But of course snow also means slippery roads, damp snow gear, and lots of shoveling. No matter how you're feeling, winter is coming. Here's our recommendation of 5 books you can read while you're waiting for winter.

5 Books to Read While You're Waiting for Winter

Some these books I've enjoyed reading in my classroom over the years, and others are books we've recently been exploring. Of course, there are many more that get you in mood for winter, but these books look at either preparing for the winter, or the first snow fall.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Indian Corn Mosaics and More

This week we've been sharing different activity ideas we had for exploring "indian corn." Our final activity put to use the kernels we'd taken off the cobs the other day by combining them with salt dough to make mosaic decorations.

Indian Corn Mosaics (with 15+ Indian Corn Activities and Crafts)
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We've used basic salt dough before, we find it an easy material for even the littlest of hands to create with. For these creations we tried something we had not tried before, pressing and baking something into the salt dough. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Indian Corn Sensory Play

Last week we explored Indian Corn. This material has proven to be great for exploring different types of sensory play. The textures and colors have been just one way we've been able to get into our explorations.

First we painted with the corn cobs, which gave us colorful, textured prints. Later, after the cobs had dried, we created a different type of exploration: Indian Corn Sensory Play.

In getting ready for this play experience, I started reading a little about indian corn, also called flint corn. There is a great article over at the History Channel which gives a little more information about the story behind the corn. 

To set up for our play experience we put the ears of corn into a our large, plastic tub. With it the ears we added a miniature muffin tin, large tweezers, and a magnifying glass. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Toddler Painting with Indian Corn

As we've headed further into November we can see signs of the end of fall everywhere. One of my favorite symbols of fall is indian corn, also called flint corn, and as we get closer to Thanksgiving we see it in decorations everywhere. It's amazing how varied the different colors can be.

I picked up several different ears last week at a local farm stand and got excited about sharing some different activities with the boys. Over the past week we've been enjoying exploring indian corn in many ways. The first activity was one designed for Little Brother: Toddler Painting with Indian Corn.

Toddler Painting with Indian Corn

It's always fun to explore different painting strategies with toddlers. A few of our favorites include splatter painting, comb painting, and feather painting. It allows toddlers the opportunity to paint, create art, and have a sensory experience all at the same time. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Buttons Come and Buttons Go (A Pete the Cat Game)

We were excited when we discovered that this month's Virtual Book Club for Kids author was Eric Litwin as it meant focusing on his Pete the Cat books. We discovered Pete the Cat a few years ago and love Litwin's easygoing, rhythmic style. (Scroll down to the bottom of the post for links to a few of our favorites.) The boys love his stories and I love the messages they convey about not sweating the small stuff.

Buttons Come and Buttons Go Math Game

For this month's activity we decided to focus on the book Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons. Not only does it convey a great message about not getting upset over the loss of some buttons and finding positives in the outcome, it also builds early math skills right into the storyline. We extended the book into our "Buttons Come and Buttons Go" math game.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Family Made Thanksgiving Wreath

With Thanksgiving approaching there is no way you can celebrate the holidays without at least one hand traced turkey. This traditional craft remains a classic, except this time we put a new spin on it.

Family Made Thanksgiving Wreath

We decided why stop at one turkey when we can have a whole family of turkeys? And why not display them in a fun way, like a wreath?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thanksgiving Table Activity Bag

With the beginning of November it's officially time to start thinking about Thanksgiving. Our Owl Paper Bag Puppet post the other day reminded me of these fun and cute Thanksgiving Table Activity Bags I put together last year.

Thanksgiving Table Activity Bag

Although we don't usually have a very formal Thanksgiving meal, I still wanted something to entertain the kids at the table after they finished eating and the grownups were still talking. I love having little activity sets for kids no matter where we are, so I put together these activity bags for the boys and their cousins. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Look Whoo's Counting Paper Tube Owls

We've continued enjoying reading and learning about owls this week. A coworker made some adorable, cardboard paper tube owls at the beginning of the year to decorate a classroom space in the school. This combined with a favorite owl book inspired an owl themed math activity.

Look Who's Counting Paper Tube Owls

Owl crafts are all over the web and Pinterest these days. I'm not sure exactly where those at school found their inspiration, but it looked something like these

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Owl Paper Bag Puppets

Over the last year we've been excited to hear owls close to our house in the woods behind us. So with the days now shorter it seemed like the perfect time to start learning about our owl neighbors. We've been reading several books, both fiction and nonfiction, as well as talking about owls and their sounds.
Our first owl craft was a quick and easy one, Owl Paper Bag Puppets. 

Owl Paper Bag Puppets

We've made paper bag puppets before when we created our "Puff Dragon" paper bag puppets. It's such a fun and fast way to create a puppet, and can be made as a variety of animals.