Monday, December 14, 2009

Homemade Baby Food Jar Snow Globes and Christmas Goody Bag Ideas

I'm a Kindergarten room mom this year and I'm in charge of party planning. I have a small budget to work with and I was trying to think of some inexpensive but cool gifts to put in goody bags for the children. I was able to "go green" a bit by recycling some baby food jars that were given to me. The friend who gave me the jars also gave me the idea to make snow globes with them (thanks Carrie!). To prep the jars, I soaked them in hot soapy water and the labels came off quite easily. I dried each jar and lid and then got to work on my project.

I bought some small evergreen trees to stick in each jar. I had envisioned using snowmen but the craft store didn't have any on the day I went so I went with the trees as they were only $1.99 for 12 count packages. I used floral clay to stick the trees to the inside of each lid. The finished snow globes will sit lid side down. Next, I filled the jars with about two teaspoons of glitter. Then I filled the jars with cold tap water stopping about a 1/2 inch from the top. I used a hot glue gun to seal the lids. I put the glue around the inside rim of the lid and then twisted it back onto the jar. Once this is done, let the jars dry lid side up overnight. Resist the urge to shake them or turn them over before they are dry. I did not resist the urge (I'm very impatient sometimes!) and as a result I ended up having to redo the seals on about 75% of my jars due to leakage. Not fun and quite messy! The finished product turned out cute and I think the kids are really going to enjoy these. I will wrap them in newspaper (another "green" move) to help prevent breakage.

I will be putting the snow globes and Reindeer Food from my previous post in the goody bags along with a few dollar store finds (Christmas Pencils and Christmas Erasers), a candy cane and homemade cookie treats. I'm pleased with my budget friendly goody bags. The goody bags themselves are also going to be homemade. The kids will each decorate their own goody bags ahead of time using a plain paper lunch bag and some Christmas cut-outs, crayons, markers and glue.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Magic Reindeer Food!

I was busy last night assembling 21 reclosable bags of Magic Reindeer Food for a classroom full of Kindergartners. It's an easy and fun little project that I thought you might enjoy doing for your children or classroom too. It's perfect for preschoolers and early elementary children who have fun believing in Santa and the reindeer.

To make the Magic Reindeer Food I used about 4 tablespoons of dry oatmeal per reclosable bag and then mixed in about 2 teaspoons full of glitter. I mixed a few colors of the glitter together for extra color. I then attached a note to each bag telling the children to sprinkle the magic reindeer food on their lawn on Christmas Eve night. The smell of the food will help guide the reindeer to their house. Be sure to verbally explain to the children not to eat the food themselves as it does have glitter in it! Last year on Christmas Eve just before bedtime, my husband took our kids outside all bundled up in their PJ's and they sprinkled the mixture onto our snow covered lawn. We're looking forward to doing it again this year.

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Books for Preschoolers

I want to share with you a list of Christmas books that I enjoy reading to my kids year after year. For your convenience, I will make two lists. One list will be the traditional Christmas books and the other list will be Christian / Religious or have mention of religious material. Also be sure to check out our Christmas lesson plan (on sale now for only 99 cents) for some fun arts, crafts and activities and crafts.

Traditional Christmas Book List
(Hover your mouse over the title to see a preview from

Clifford's Christmas (Clifford, the Big Red Dog)
by Norman Bridwell

The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy'>The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy by Jane Thayer

Who's That Knocking on Christmas Eve?
by Jan Brett (*Note, this may not be appropriate for younger preschoolers as it is a Norwegian legend with trolls and a bear.)

Christmas Stories and Poems'>Christmas Stories and Poems by Lisa McCue

Twelve Days Of Christmas - Pbk'>The Twelve Days of Christmas Illustrated by Susan Swan

Merry Christmas Mom and Dad (A Golden Look-Look Book)'>Merry Christmas Mom And Dad by Mercer Mayer

The Dog Who Found Christmas (Picture Puffins)'>The Dog Who Found Christmas by Linda Jennings

The Polar Express'>The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

Bear Stays Up for Christmas'>Bear Stays Up For Christmas by Karma Wilson

If You Take a Mouse to the Movies (A Special Christmas Edition) (If You Give...)'>If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Joffe Numeroff

Oliver All Alone'>Oliver All Alone by Christine Harris

Corduroy's Christmas (Lift-the-Flap)
by B.G. Hennessy

Frosty the Snowman'>Frosty the Snowman by Jack Rollin's

Christian / Religious Christmas Book List

amy and the special snowflakes'>Amy and the Special Snowflakes by Grandreams Books Limited

The Littlest Christmas Tree: A Tale of Growing and Becoming'>The Littlest Christmas Tree (A tale of growing and becoming) by Janie Jasin

The Tiny Star'>The Tiny Star by Arthur Ginolfi

The Christmas Story with Ruth J. Morehead's Holly Babes (Pictureback(R))
by Ruth J. Morehead


The Stable Where Jesus Was Born'>The Stable Where Jesus Was Born by Rhonda Gowler Greene

The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale'>The Tale of Three Trees (A Traditional Folktale) Retold by Angela Elwell Hunt

This Is the Star'>This is the Star by Joyce Dunbar

Legend of the Candy Cane, The'>The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg

Legend of the Christmas Tree, The'>The Legend of the Christmas Tree by Rick Osborne

The Parable Series: The Pine Tree Parable'>The Pine Tree Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Winter field trips and Christmas outings.

Continuing the Christmas theme I want to share with you some ideas for fun field trips and family outings. These are things that should be available in most regions without too much of a drive. Even if all of the ideas are not available in your area, I hope they will give you some inspiration to find something fun for you to do with your children. Most of our links are around the Midwestern United States but most areas will have similar attractions within a days drive. If you have any great Christmas or winter field trip ideas please comment below and share them with the rest of us.


Live Nativity Scene. These include live animals that the children may be able to pet afterwards. Many times churches and farms will offer this during the holiday season. It is often free or fairly inexpensive. Below is a link to one of these types of events.

Christmas Tree Farm. This is a fun field trip for students looking to get a tree for the classroom. We also enjoy doing this trip with our family. Some farms offer wagon rides and even meals or snacks (hot cider and doughnuts, etc.).

Botanical Garden. They may decorate for the holidays. The garden in the link below has an amazing display of "Christmas Traditions Around the World". They have many trees representing various countries. Frederik Meijer Gardens.

Ballet Production. Of course there is the large ballet that is offered in the bigger cities but often you can find ballet schools/organizations offering less expensive ballet performances designed for children and families. We attended "Twas the Night Before Christmas" last weekend and it was wonderful. My kids were even able to go on stage after the play to meet the cast and sit on Santa's lap!

Christmas Train. These trains go by many names but are almost always a magical experience that shouldn't be missed. They vary by price and length of ride so be sure to look around. If you are near the Midwest our favorite is Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad. It is amazing!

Carriage/Sleigh Ride. Whether in a city or out in the countryside these are fun for the whole family and create memories that last a lifetime.

School/Church/Theatre Productions. Opportunities abound to find inexpensive, child-friendly plays and musicals.

Bookstore / Library. In addition to the library, I know that large bookstores such as Barnes and Noble also offer storytime and crafts. I'll bet some smaller local bookstores do this too. They usually have holiday themes this time of the year. It's free and fun.

Malls. Take your children to walk through the mall. Malls, especially larger ones usually have many Christmas decorations up and it's fun to walk through and look at the displays. Bring a camera becasue if Santa is there, the kids can sit on his lap and you can take a picture.

Drive Through Light Displays. Look in your local newspaper to see if a ballpark, stadium or neighborhood is advertising drive through light displays. Sometimes you pay a fee per car load and sometimes you are asked to give a donation to help offset the expenses.

Bakery Tour. Check with your local bakery to see if they are offering holiday baked goods. I know that Krispy Kreme usually has holiday doughnuts. This is a fun fieldtrip year round but extra fun to watch holiday treats being made. Even more fun to sample them!

Zoo. You may not typically think of going to the zoo in the winter but it's actually a really fun time to go. The rates are usually reduced or even free. It's a gret chance to see how the animals react to the cooler weather and the zoo is less crowded. Some zoos even decorate for Christmas and offer special holiday hours.

Nature Centers. Learn about wildlife in winter, get a local history lesson and take part in fun activities such as candle dipping.

Craft Fairs. Craft Fairs can be a lot of fun for little ones. I give my kids each a couple of dollars to bring to the craft fair. They enjoy being responsible for their own money and I encourage them to look at the things at all of the booths before buying. They can "booth shop" without buying and then go back once they have seen everything and made a decision. This also gives me a chance to look around without hearing "mommy, I'm bored, can we go now".

If you live in the United States, I found another great resource for great winter field trips. You can find your state and then look for places to go in your area. They also offer recipes.

Happy Holidays! Enjoy!

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Making Easy Advent Calendars for Kids

I remember having fun with an Advent calendar when I was a little girl. I can't remember exactly what the calendar looked like but I do remember that each day we opened a little numbered door on our "calendar" and found a small surprise hiding in there. We received something little (like a sticker or piece of candy) each day until Christmas.

If you are looking for an advent calendar to do with your kids, I found a few that you could easily make or print. My favorite is the baby sock advent calendar because it's absolutely adorable.

Bubble Wrap Advent Calendar from Family Fun

Printable Advent Calendar from The Toymaker

Christmas Tree Advent Calendar from DLTK

Baby Sock Advent Calendar from Martha Stewart

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Kids Countdown to Christmas Activity

We put our Christmas tree up over the weekend and now each day my kids ask me "mom, how many more days until Christmas?" They are so excited! Does this sound familiar to you too? I've decided that we need a fun and easy way to count down to Christmas. I'm going to cut strips from red and green construction paper and have my kids help me make a festive paper chain. The chain will have one link for each day until Christmas. Each day they can remove a link and count down the days left until Christmas.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Favorite Thanksgiving Day Books for Preschoolers and Kindergarten Children

I've been reading lots of Thanksgiving books to my kids this week and I wanted to share some of our favorites with you. If you get the chance, see if your local library has any of them. Enjoy!

My First Thanksgiving ~ By Tomie dePaola

Thanksgiving Day ~ By Gail Gibbons

Thanksgiving Mice ~ By Bethany Roberts

The Story Of The Pilgrims ~ By Katharine Ross

The Best Thanksgiving Day (Pooh) ~ By Ann Braybrooks

It's Thanksgiving Day! ~ By Mary Packard

Clifford's Thanksgiving Visit ~ By Norman Bridwell

A Plump and Perky Turkey ~ By Teresa Bateman

Over the River and Through the Wood ~ A Thanksgiving Poem by Lydia Maria Child

I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie ~ By Alison Jackson

Three Little Pilgrims ~ By Janet Craig

Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks ~ By Margaret Sutherland

The First Thanksgiving ~ By Jean Craighead George (Note...this book is more appropriate for 5+ year olds due to the length and more in depth history lesson)

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Handprint and Fingerprint Turkey Craft

I love doing hand print turkey's with my kids each year (and of course I save them to look back on later). Most of you have probably seen or done hand print turkey's. Palm side facing up, the thumb is painted brown and the fingers painted in various colors. Press down on paper. When dry, have your child draw eyes (or glue on wiggly eyes) a beak and a gobble on the thumb and then draw legs onto the turkey. These are always a nice keepsake.

I recently found a cute fingerprint turkey craft that is also really easy so I wanted to share it with you. You can find the fingerprint turkey here on the DLTK site.

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Thanksgiving Mazes

My kids love doing mazes right now so I decided to look for a few Thanksgiving themed mazes. I found some to print off from which saves me the time of making them up myself. They have a decent selection from simple to more difficult mazes. Here is the link for more of the mazes.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Holiday Sale!

We are running a special holiday sale at Lesson Plans Plus. Please check out our website for more details on this great offer.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Super Cute Turkey Craft

I just found an adorable and simple turkey craft that I want to share with you. I might stop by the craft store this weekend to pick up the supplies. I think that my kids would love to help make this for a Thanksgiving Day Centerpiece.

Turkey Day Craft


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Friday, November 6, 2009

Sharing a Giveaway

This really does not pertain to preschool but I know that a lot of mom's read this blog and giveaways are fun! A friend of mine is doing a giveaway on her blog this weekend and the prize is a beautiful mothers necklace. Make sure that you check it out and get in an entry before it's too late.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Scrumptious Spiders!

I wanted to share some easy spider treats with you that make a fun Halloween treat.

To make a scrumptious spider snack take two round crackers (such as Ritz) and spread peanut butter on one side of each cracker (don't put them together yet) Place four pretzel sticks (or you can snap two in half for four small legs) on each side of one cracker. Place the other cracker on top. Now you have a spider body and legs. To make eyes on the spider dot peanut butter and place two mini chocolate chips (or raisins..whatever your kids like) on the peanut butter. Enjoy!

Another yummy but not as healthy option would be to use cream sandwich cookies such as Oreos and then use string licorice for the legs.

You could also have fun making spider cupcakes using the same idea. Frost the cupcake and use black string licorice for the legs and M&M's or chocolate chips for the eyes.

I hope you get a chance to enjoy some spider snacks!

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Apple Time!

I brought my kids to an apple orchard this weekend. There is something about the apple orchard that helps me say goodbye to summer and embrace fall. I love the smell and taste of fresh crisp apples (especially Honey crisp!) and preservative free fresh apple cider. Whether or not you plan to visit an apple orchard with your children, I want to share a few of my favorite preschool apple books with you. I know you will enjoy reading them with your children. You may even be craving a juicy apple or a fresh baked apple treat when you are finished with the story so be prepared.

~Dinofours...It's Apple Picking Day! By Steve Metzger
~The Apple Pie Tree By Zoe Hall
~Up, Up, Up! It's Apple Picking Time By Jody Fickes Shapiro

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Back to School!

It's been a wonderful and busy summer here. Some of our highlights were camping, visiting the beach, parks and picnics, blueberry and cherry picking and vacationing at a cottage on a lake (both of my kids caught their first fish!). I hope that all of you enjoyed your summer too. It always goes by too fast. I can feel a chill in the evening air and some of the leaves on the trees are already starting to change colors. It's the time of year when children start going back to school. When I was a kid, one of my favorite first week of school assignments was to write and/or draw a picture of my favorite summer vacation memories. I would encourage you this week to talk with your children about their favorite summer memories and then have them draw pictures. After they have completed their pictures let them give you a picture description as you write a small caption on each page. This will make a treasured book to look back on during the year.

I hope everyone has a wonderful new school year!

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Celebrate America!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer! I love celebrating my wonderful country, especially on the Fourth of July. I wanted to point you in the direction of some of my previous Fourth of July posts so that you can enjoy some fun activities with your kids too.

Fun Fourth of July Books

Patriotic Weekly Challenge

Fourth of July Crafts and Activities

Fourth of July Coloring Pages

Enjoy! Have a wonderful Independence Day celebration!

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

May Day Celebration

May Day festivals are traditional in England and celebrated on May 1st. May Day is a fun springtime celebration. I thought that you might enjoy doing a few May Day activities with your children too.

~For a fun and easy craft, you can help transform your children into May Kings and Queens by making May crowns with them. To make a May crown, cut the middle out of a paper plate and paint the rim green. Onto the plate, glue pre-cut flowers from construction paper or tissue paper. You could also make a construction paper crown and attach pre-cut flowers to that.

~Take a nature walk and collect wild flowers on your walk or pick some flowers from your own yard. Your children can "go a-Maying" and surprise a friend or family member with the flowers.

~Another fun activity is to dance around a May pole. To create a May pole, attach ribbon, thick yarn or crepe paper streamers to a pole or tree. The children can wear their May crowns as they hold onto the ends of the streamers and dance around the "May pole" singing their favorite springtime songs.

~A May Day song by Elizabeth McKinnon (sung to "The Mulberry Bush")
Let's dance around the Maypole today,
Maypole today, Maypole today.
Let's dance around the Maypole today.
We're the Kings and Queens of May.

~Here is a link to another May Day activity that I posted about last year. I hope that you enjoy these fun May Day Activities. Happy May Day!

*Note, many of these ideas were inspired from the book Small World Celebrations by Jean Warren and Elizabeth McKinnon.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day!

Today is a great day to talk to your kids about doing their part to help take care of our world. My preschool students always enjoyed participating in Earth Day clean-up. I gave every child a pair of gloves and we went on a clean-up walk around the playground. It was fun for them to help make the playground look nice and I'm sure the groundskeepers appreciated our little contribution as well.

Another fun thing that I enjoy doing with my kids on Earth Day is a craft that I call a "Junk Collage". I simply collect "junk" that I would toss out anyhow and the kids enjoy making art from it. If you are a classroom teacher or daycare provider, you could send a note home for parents to donate a few items so that their child can turn trash into treasure. I realize this post is coming in a bit late as today is already Earth Day but you don't need this specific day to have fun reusing and recycling.

A sample list of items for a cool junk collage:
~Mismatched buttons of all shapes and sizes
~Shredded paper scraps
~Milk carton rings
~Bottle caps
~Toilet tissue tubes
~Cut up cardboard from food boxes
~Pieces of material

Pretty much anything goes as long as it's safe and clean. It's so fun to see the creative creations. I like to provide a piece of cardboard or poster board for the children to glue their treasures onto but some children might also enjoy making free standing objects.

Have fun and remember to reuse, recycle, pick up litter and possibly even plant a tree or two.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Looking for some fresh Ideas?

Spring is in full swing where I live and before we know it, summer will be here. If you are interested in some easy and fun ideas, arts and crafts and other projects to keep your kids busy this spring and summer, check out my Lesson Plans Plus website for fun preschool lesson plans. The lessons are a great way to stimulate and keep kids busy. Thinking ahead...whether you are planning to home school for preschool next fall or just looking to supplement an existing program, my lesson plans would be a good and inexpensive resource for you. You are welcome to download one free lesson plan at any time to give you a taste of what I offer. Check out Lesson Plans Plus.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Christian Easter Ideas

As usual, I had hoped to update sooner but life has again kept me busy. We got hit with several rounds of early Spring sickness which was not at all fun. Thankfully, we are mostly healthy again. As Easter is just around the corner, I wanted to share a few ideas for those of you who enjoy teaching your children that there is much more to Easter than candy and the Easter bunny. Of course, candy and the Easter bunny are great fun and I've been buying Easter surprises but Jesus gave us a gift far better than any Easter basket could contain.

I've been reading a great book with my kids this week titled "Benjamin's Box" by Melody Carlson. The book is appropriate for children ages 4-8 years of age. This book is a wonderful compliment to the popular "Resurrection Eggs" by FamilyLife. I have been using the Resurrection Eggs with my children since they were 3 years old. This year I purchased the Benjamin's Box book to go along with the eggs and my kids are really enjoying reading a couple pages each night before bed. Rather than read the book all at once, I like to break it up over a few days so that we open two or three eggs with the story each night. It gives them something to look forward to the following evening. When we are finished, I will let my kids re-tell the resurrection story on their own using the eggs.

We also have a great Easter DVD called "Miss Patty Cakes Easter Eggstravaganza". It's perfect for toddlers and preschoolers and gets the message across in a fun way. There is also a Miss Patty Cake book that compliments the Resurrection Eggs titled "The Story of the Resurrection Eggs in Rhyme & Song".

The Beginners Bible by Karyn Henly includes a preschool appropriate version of the Easter story that is broken into sections. My children have enjoyed stories from the Beginners Bible since they were 2 years old. By now we have read through the Beginners Bible several times, so last year, I purchased another great children's Bible titled "The Jesus Storybook Bible Every Story Whispers His Name" Written by Sally Lloyd-Jones. I recommend either of these Bibles for your preschoolers.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Magical Leprechaun Powder

St. Patrick's Day is such a fun holiday to celebrate with kids. In addition to wearing green, I want to share a fun and easy project that you can do with your kids at home or school.

I like to cut out a bunch of little green footprints when my kids are asleep. They awaken to a trail of footprints that they instinctively follow. The trail leads to a Ziploc bag of "magic powder" with a note attached describing what to do with the magic powder. The note is also signed by our little green friend ;-) The magic powder is simply instant pistachio pudding mix but my kids have no idea and they are thrilled to whip up the magic treat. I hope that you give this a try with your kids too. Enjoy!

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Pot of Gold Jello (St. Patricks Day)

Check out this link at Family Fun for a cute recipe of Pot of Gold Jello.

Family Fun has many other cute St. Patrick's Day ideas here.

I'll be adding several of my ideas soon too but wanted to give you some resources to get you thinking about St. Patrick's Day fun.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Rainy Day Fun...Balloon Baseball

It's pouring buckets of rain today. It's finally feeling like Spring outside but we are stuck inside. Boredom was sneaking up on my kids and they were beginning to ask for the TV to be turned on. I said, "I have a better idea".

I happened to save a couple of cardboard paper towel tubes (for a rainy day activity) so that we could make telescopes. I gave my kids some markers and told them to decorate their telescopes. After spending awhile decorating, they were finished and ready for their next adventure. The telescopes were fun for a few minutes but quickly turned into swords and my couch pillows became shields. It was a creative use for the tubes but I wasn't sure that I really wanted to encourage that game for very long so I suggested an alternative that was an instant hit.

I blew up a balloon (I always seem to have a bag of balloons on hand) and showed my girls how to play balloon baseball in the living room. They loved it! I probably should mention that although they played very nicely and had a lot of fun, after awhile, they became weary of sharing one balloon (a natural and frequent occurrence with preschoolers ;-)) I blew up a second balloon so they could just hit it around with their "bat" on their own. I didn't have to worry about the "ball" breaking anything, knocking anything over or anyone getting hurt so that made me happy. It was an easy and fun way to pass about an hour of time.

The next time you finish off a roll of paper towel, save that tube. When you and/or your kids start feeling stir crazy or bored, give this easy project and game a try.

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Fun Field Trip Ideas

If you are in need of some fun field trip ideas (and who isn't during a long, cold winter), check out our newly updated Field Trip page on We have compiled a list of our favorite field trips for young children as well as links to some other great resources. Now go get rid of that cabin fever...Enjoy!

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Valentine's Day / Handprint Hearts

I want to share a very easy Valentine idea. To make a hand print heart: paint on your child's hand in his/her choice of color(s). Once the hand is painted, instruct them to close their fingers and then press their hand onto a piece of white construction paper at a sideways slant. Paint the other hand in the chosen paint color and press that hand onto the paper slightly overlapping the fingers of the print already on the page. This is a very easy project but rather difficult to explain so I'm going to add pictures of my own children's hand print hearts so that you can actually see the project. I think this will make it much easier for you to do the project at home or school.

Once the hand print hearts are dry, you could add a clever Valentine message and give the card to a parent, a grandparent or special friend as a gift. A couple of Valentine phrases that I have used in the past:

~You're the best Valentine, hand's down!

~I've got to hand it to you, you're the best!

You could also do this project with feet. You could make foot stamped hearts or trace the children's feet and help them glue their foot cut-outs into a heart shape.

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Valentine Mailbox / Love Box Craft

A fun and easy craft to do at home, school or daycare is a valentine mailbox or love box.

Collect enough empty tissue boxes for each child. I prefer the longer boxes (8.6 In X 8.4 IN) rather than the smaller boxes. A shoe box would also work fine.

You have a few options. I usually just let the kids paint the entire box using their choice of red, pink, white and purple tempera paint. They may also sprinkle glitter onto the wet paint. When the paint dries, they can add a variety of heart shaped cut-outs, etc.

Another way I have helped the kids decorate the boxes is to cover the box with paper (usually red or pink), as if I am wrapping a present. Be sure to cut out the opening at the top. The children then decorate the paper covered box by coloring on it, adding stickers, glue designs or even stamp art.

This is a great craft to use in a school or daycare setting where the children exchange valentine cards with several other children. They usually get a lot of cards and need a place to store them. Make sure each child's name is clearly visible on their mailbox so that others can easily drop cards in the appropriate boxes.

This is also a fun project to do at home whether you have several children or even a single child but I have a slightly different idea for the use of the box. Instead of using it just for a Valentines Day box, use it as a love box. The week leading up to Valentines Day (or however far in advance you would like to do this) you can leave your child special love notes and messages, maybe even a small piece of candy or a trinket inside the Love Box. You could even make a small "flag" out of card stock paper and when your child sees the flag raised, he/she will know that she has mail waiting. The flag is really not necessary as I'm sure your children will be checking the box all day anyhow but it's a fun option. The love boxes are fun for all family members and it would be extra fun if the parents had one too. I know that my kids love writing me notes, drawing pictures and even leaving things inside my shoes as a surprise.

I'm sure that your children will enjoy making the valentine / love boxes and will especially love getting surprises inside!

If you are interested in a Valentine Lesson Plan unit, I do have them for sale on my Lesson Plans Plus Website. You can inexpensively purchase my set of 28 themed lessons or you can purchase the lessons individually for only $1.99 each.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

An Indoor Winter Picnic

If your weather is anything like mine, being outside is no picnic ;-) The arctic breeze is blowing through the mounds of snow. My kids love to have picnics and in the Summer, we eat outside all the time. About a week ago we packed up a picnic lunch, spread a blanket out on the living room floor and we enjoyed an indoor picnic. Part of the fun of a picnic is letting the kids help make and/or pack up the lunch. Having an indoor picnic is always a special treat for my kids because it's not something that we do very often. As we were having our picnic lunch, I had an idea, or as my kids would say, "a GREAT idea". For our next indoor picnic we are going to create Spring. We'll spend the day before making flowers and butterflies and other typical Spring crafts. We will decorate the room with our artwork, spread out our blanket and enjoy eating our picnic lunch inside our little Springtime retreat (as we watch the snow fall outside). It will be fun and something different and my kids can hardly wait. The great thing about our inside picnic is that the paper bugs won't try to eat our lunch! I love how preschoolers find such great joy in the simple things.

Weekly Challenge: Enjoy an indoor picnic with your children and make it extra fun by decorating the area with some fun artwork ahead of time.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Indoor Winter Activities

It's freezing cold here so my kids have not been able to play outside in the snow for several days now. I've been trying to bring some of the outdoor fun inside. I thought you might like to try some of these ideas with your kids too.

~ Ice Skating: Use waxed paper and rubber bands or masking tape. Tape or attach a piece of waxed paper around each foot (preferably with a sock on the foot). Put on some music and watch your children skate.

~Fill your sensory tub (I just use a big plastic bin) with snow. Put mittens on the kids, give them a few gadgets and toys to play with in the snow and they will be happy for awhile. You can also provide magnifying glasses for the children to observe the snowflakes.

~Make Snow Play dough: It's actually just regular homemade play dough with some silver glitter but we like to pretend that it's snow play dough because it sparkles like the snow. You can find a play dough recipe on the Lesson Plans Plus website.

~Simple winter science experiment: Bring a container of snow indoors. Once the snow melts, add food coloring to the water. Place the container back outside until the water freezes into a colored block of ice. Bring the container back inside. The children can observe the changes as the ice melts.

~Bird Feeders: Another fun activity for kids is making bird feeders. Roll a pine cone in peanut butter and then roll (or sprinkle) the peanut butter covered pine cone with bird seed. Tie a string around the pine cone and hang it outside for the birds and squirrels to enjoy. Be sure to hang the feeder in a location where your children can easily see it by looking out a window.

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