Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hippity Hop

It is so nice outside! Let your children take some Easter baskets and plastic eggs out and play Easter Bunny! The MCP students have had a lot of fun 'hopping' around the play yard with baskets and hiding eggs. Happy Easter everyone and enjoy your break!

Monday, March 29, 2010

I've Lost My Marbles

A couple years ago on a popular reality show, a mom painted with pudding with her children. I was like whatever-been there/done that at preschool many times. I forget not everyone has files and files of preschool ideas! And so it is the with marble painting we did on the Easter bags! It may have never occurred to you to paint with marbles. It's a fun idea you can do at home and it's super duper easy.

You will need-
a large shoe box
tempera paints
(you could use craft acrylic paints, too)
5-8 glass marbles
paper bags
(we used gift bags but you could use white or brown lunch bags OR just plain paper)
removable paint tape
one energetic child

Place the bag inside the shoe box. It helps if you put the bag into a corner. This will help prevent the marbles from rolling under the bag. Tape just a couple sides. This also prevents the marbles from rolling under the bag. Have your child pick two or three colors (too many just looks muddy) and drizzle on the bag. Close the lid to the shoe box and have your child shake. Back and forth and up and down and all around!!! Open the box and ooooh and aaaah!

Now we used pastels for Easter but think of the color combinations and fun you could have making family gift bags or party goody bags with your child. Halloween-black and orange*Valentines-pink and red*Fourth of July-red and blue on white bags*Christmas-red and green, white on red bags or red on white bags. Lots and lots of possibilities!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Brown Bag Series

Found out the Brown Bag series downtown is on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. In May, the performers will be local grade schools and high schools. The rest of the summer will be local groups and musicians.
See you there!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Drum Line

Okay remember-no musical talent in your child's preschool teacher but we did have fun with our drums today. We decorated our drums and then played on our drums. First, we let the kids just play. Next, I have several large circles with directions-stop, go, fast, slow, loud, soft, girls and boys. We did the stop and go first and than added boys and girls. We also talked about the person who gives the directions to the musicians is the conductor. They were exposed to this concept during Peter and the Wolf. The last thing we did was listen/repeat. I hit a drum once. The children were to hit the drum once. We did this a lot with a different number of beats and different speeds (tempo??? rhythm??? I don't know). It was fun. Both of these activities are easily done at home with your child. They really have to watch, listen and pay attention. Have your child be the conductor, too.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Listen to the Music

I have many strengths but music is definitely not one of them. The objective in our music unit is exposure to instruments and music. I have illustrations of instruments on 3 x 5 cards and by now the children are able to identify most of the instruments, how they are played and use words like bow, strings and keys. Some may even know how many keys are on the piano.

I enjoy most types of music. One day we listened to little bits of classical, country, rock and jazz. We talked about how they were the same and different. Find these types of stations on the radio and listen to them in the car instead of "The Wheels on the Bus" again and again.

We also learned that music can tell a story. Thanks to Jerry Seinfeld and 'The Bee Movie' children are familiar with the classic- Flight of the Bumblebee. Music from Disney movies are great for this lesson. We listened to songs from Tarzan, Bambi and Lion King. We also listened to Peter and the Wolf with a storybook. YouTube has several versions of Peter and the Wolf if you are interested in watching it with your child.

We were also very fortunate to have several guest musicians come and play for the children. A big thank you to all!

Summertime is a great opportunity to continue to give your child the gift of music. The Brown Bag Series should be starting soon down by the Peoria courthouse. Lunch from one of the street vendors and listening to local schools would be such a picnic! Glen Oak Park has free concerts. There are free concerts on the Metamora square plus all the local city and county fairs have live music. A good source of who, what, where and when is probably the Peoria Journal Star at and click on entertainment, calendar and then Find Events search music.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Chicka Chicka BOOM BOOM!

Our TTH class has had a lot of fun with the classic children's book, Chicka Chicka BOOM BOOM! When I read this book to the children I tell them whenever I say "Chicka Chicka" they are to respond, "BOOM, BOOM!" Extremely loud and and extremely fun! So we read the book, do our crafts but it's the coconut that was fun and a first for me.

On Tuesday, we had the coconut out for the children to look at and explore. We also put out magnifying glasses for them to use. We did a dictation activity which was sent home. I loved 'the coconut is furry' comment.

So Thursday, we opened the coconut. I have never opened a coconut before so of course I turned to YouTube for instruction. YouTube did not fail me. We first talked about how I should open it and then BAM! I opened the coconut. It was super super easy! At snack time, each student tasted the coconut. Really not too tasty. No one liked the taste and I am not a big fan of coconut anyway. The next time I teach this lesson, we will have bakers coconut to taste and compare.

So get your Chicka Chicka Boom Boom book out or head to the library and check it out. Make some macaroon cookies and look for a fun coconut recipe to make with your child and we will meet you at the top of the coconut tree.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jelly Beans

Our MWF classes are now using jelly beans to count ten items, sort and make patterns. Buy a bag of jelly beans and have some fun with math at home. Remember there is a big difference in reciting the numbers from one through ten and actually being able to count out ten items. What a sweet way to reinforce math skills!

Monday, March 8, 2010

E.T. Phone Home!

It is important that your child learns their address, phone number and date of birth. Most children when asked where they live respond with their city and state. In an emergency situation what they need to know is their street address.
Here are a few ideas for you to help your child learn this important information-
You are probably in your car a lot. Is this an understatement? When you are returning home from school, errands, practices or lessons you can ask your child, "Where are we going? We are going home to 123 Main Street." As you approach your home, ask your child, "Do you see 123 Main Street yet?" You get the general idea. Incorporate learning their home address into dialogue with your child.
Phone Number
(tune-Camptown Races)
Oh I know my phone number yes I do
Doo dah Doo dah
It's 555-3314
Oh dah doo dah day
That's how I call my home
On the telephone
It's five five five three three one four
Oh dah doo dah day
Your child should learn their landline phone number. If you do not have a landline, your child should at least know one parent's cell phone number.
Children love to talk about their birthday so talk about their birthday. If someone is having a birthday in your extended family, talk about your child's birthday.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sugar and Salt

This week all classes had experiences with sugar and salt. Many of these activities you can recreate at home.

We started off the MWF classes looking at salt and sugar. Each child had a small amount of sugar and salt on a paper plate and a magnifying glass. They were allowed to look, smell and touch. After some exploration, I asked them to put their finger in the one they thought was sugar and taste. Let's just say by facial expressions we could tell not everyone guessed correctly.

All classes classified foods as sweet or salty. Each child was given a 3x5 card with a picture and word. Some of the foods were ice cream, olive, bacon, candy, cookie, french fries or potato chips. Our chart was labeled "Is is it sweet or salty?" The child showed their card to the class and decided if the food was sweet or salty and I wrote their answers on the chart.

The next class we did a similar activity with 3x5 cards but the questions was "Would you put on sugar or salt?" Some of the foods were corn, strawberry, cereal, and eggs.

We also made a sweet and salty snack. We looked at all the ingredients and the chart was divided sweet and salty. I showed each ingredient to the class and the children decided if it was sweet or salty. Most of the children really loved the snack and ate yogurt covered raisins and sunflower seeds for the first time. We also had banana chips, Teddy Grahams, chocolate chips (none of those were left on their napkin), Goldfish and pretzel sticks. Your child may talk about breaking the pretzel sticks. We broke the pretzel sticks in half for our sweet and salty snack. It really makes the kids a part of the process and makes the snack a little easier to eat. Each child took a snack size bag of our sweet and salty snack home to share. This would be so easy to do at home. In the grocery store just pick several of your child's sweet and salty favorites.

Now with all of that you would think we would have had enough activity for one week. Oh no! Our MWF classes did an experiment. I LOVED it when one child said, "I love science." I had two clear drinking glasses filled with water. I put an egg in each glass. The egg sank to the bottom. Next, I told the children I was going to add salt to one glass and sugar to the other glass. We predicted what would happen and recorded our results on chart paper. Remember to incorporate the word 'predict' and 'observe' in your home experiments. We added about ten spoonfuls of sugar and salt to each glass and recorded our observation of what happened on our chart. There couldn't be an easier science experiment to do at home with your child.

The MWF classes final activity was to dictate a "Sugar and Salt" report about the weeks activities. It was a great week!