Friday, April 30, 2010

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

Little pigs, little pigs-LET ME COME IN!
We have had a lot of good times with some traditional stories and their not so traditional counterparts. We started with the MWF classes last week. We read 'The Gingerbread Cowboy' and 'The Gingerbread Girl'. We discussed how they were the same and different with the original story.

This week was 'The Three Little Pigs'. There are many non-traditional versions of this classic children's tale-'The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark', 'Piggie Pie', 'The True Story of the Three Little Pigs' and my personal favorite-'The Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig'. Note that several of the books have words we don't use in the classroom like 'dumb'. When I come across these words in children's literature, I skip over them or substitute an appropriate word for young children.

So we read the stories and had a chart labeled THE THREE LITTLE PIGS. The chart was divided by book and several questions. Three pigs? One big bad wolf? House of straw, sticks and bricks? Happy ending?

After we read the story, we answered each of the questions YES or NO and spelled YES and NO as I wrote on the chart. 'The True Story of the Three Little Pigs' created a little discussion about the wolf. Was he big and bad? Did it have a happy ending? Good discussion for you and your child.

Our highlight was a 'special snack' which always is very exciting! We ate straw, sticks and bricks and had a Three Little Pigs snack. Very yummy! Not so much you say? Well, if you pretend potato sticks are the straw, pretzel sticks are the sticks and chocolate chunks are the bricks, you get a super duper sweet and salty snack. Combine 1 can potato sticks, 1 bag pretzel sticks (we broke them into bite size pieces) and one bag chocolate chunks in a large bowl. Mix. Store in an airtight container.

We also have some fun dramatic play in the nursery with a house of straw, sticks and bricks for the children. There is a lot of huffing and puffing and blowing down of houses! They are very animated in the dramatization of this story.

What else can you do? See if you and your child can come up with your own version of the Three Little ??? and the Big Bad ??? Read the books at home. Talk about how they are the same and different. These books are available at most libraries or they can request them for you. Remember reading is more than just a recitation of words. It is also discussing what we have read together.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Your child will be bringing home their sculpture. They are quite excited to be taking them home. This is quite a project for our little artists. First, we glued the pieces together.
The children picked pieces and showed me where to place them and I hot glued them together. They had very definite ideas about where pieces went and what they were creating.
The next step was paint. It was really interesting to listen to them while they were painting. Many just painted but again many had very specific reasons for choosing colors for their sculpture.
Finally, we added bling! Lots of bling!
We glued poms, playing cards, bows, cotton balls, beads, fun foam, chenille stems, poms, feathers, Popsicle sticks and googly eyes. They also added stickers and used markers.

What can you do at home? Let your child continue to work on their sculpture. They say Leonardo de Vinci never finished the Mona Lisa! So let them continue to create! Give them paint, markers, stickers, glue and collage items to glue on their sculpture.
Many of the children have a story that goes with their sculpture. This is the one thing we do not have time to do in the classroom (15 kids and 15 stories-YIKES!) Have your child dictate to you the story of their sculpture. Type it up and use clip art for picture clues and put it with the rest of their stories.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Eric Carle

'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' by Erik Carle was published in 1969. Forty years later it remains a children's classic. 'The Grouchy Ladybug' was published in 1977 and still a children's best seller. Timeless message combined with vivid illustrations make them irresistible to children.

We have had a lot of fun with both books. The VHC is a wonderful counting book plus it leads to great discussions about all the fruits and different foods. The GL is all about time on the o'clock and a variety of animals that grow larger and larger as the lady bug travels looking for a fight.

We created two crafts this week-the caterpillar and the lady bug. We also read about butterflies, insects and ladybugs. During the VHC, the children helped with the storytelling telling by counting, naming the fruit and saying, 'but he was still hungry." For the GL, they said, 'hey you, want to fight?' We also graphed which story was our favorite. We counted and are introducting words like greater and less.

Want to do more? Get books from the library on insects. If you really want to do more-go to and seach 'butterfly pavilion'. You can raise your own butterflies!!! How fun would that be this summer? Very! Prices range from $15-$30 plus tax and s/h.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Is your child talking to you about their sculpture? Good! You can create sculptures with your child at home with Legos, blocks, wet sand, sticks, seashells and clay (maybe not all at the same time). Tap into your child's imagination. Here is a simple recipe for clay-

4 c. flour
1 c. salt
1 w/2 c. warm water
Mix in a bowl and knead for about ten minutes. Add color! Divide the clay and add food coloring and knead into the dough. Store in air tight container.

To harden-bake sculptures in a 325* oven for about 45 minutes or more. Paint with acrylic craft paints.

This is also a recipe you can use for cookie cutter Christmas ornaments.

Monday, April 26, 2010


I take love the fact that with all that is available for young children to do, they still take great delight in blowing bubbles. Don't you love it? I am getting ready to make a new batch of bubbles for school and wanted to share our recipe with you. You can make this in small or large batches and it is so much better than store bought bubbles.

3 cups water

1 cup Joy dish washing liquid (not ultra)

2 tablespoons glycerin (found in your Walmart, Target, Walgreen's, CVS, etc.) near the band-aids

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Your Summer Playbook

The Peoria Park District had an insert in the Peoria Journal Star There is so much for you and your family to do this summer. Many of the classes and camps are for six years old and up but if you look there are a lot of opportunities for summer fun. Here are just a few things going on this summer. Check out the Peoria Park District website for more information and online registration.

***Peoria Zoo*Peoria Zoo Camp K-8*Fine Arts Camp 7 y/o-12 y/o*Performing Arts Camp 6 y/o-13 y/o*Band Concerts all ages Glen Oak Amphitheater Sundays and Wednesdays FREE*Skating Stars 3 y/o-6 y/o Owen Center*India Fest*Louie Louie Fest BYOK (bring your own kazoo)*Erin Feis*Forest Part Nature Center lots of activities for all ages*Pioneer Days @ Sommer Park last Sunday of the month*Songs from the Woods @ Forest Park Nature Center FREE! Saturdays beginning May 8th at 7 p.m. Check the website for additional dates***

Friday, April 23, 2010


This week our MWF classes started our unit on sculpture. This is a massive project in our room. The concepts we work on are two dimensional and three dimensional (your child should be able to explain the difference). We talked about television, movies, paintings and pictures are two dimensional. They are 'flat'. We talked about 3-D movies (boy, timing is everything). What happens when you put on the glasses? It looks like things are popping out and you could touch them. Sculptures being three dimensional can be viewed from many different sides. You can see and feel a sculpture. Very very basic ideas.

We also looked at some photos in some books from the library. We learned sculptures can be made from just about anything-wood, rocks, mountains and even a telephone and a lobster! We looked at sculptures that were realistic and modern. We learned modern art sometimes requires a lot of imagination.

Each child is creating a sculpture. We are using abstract cardboard shapes and lots and lots of paper towel and toilet paper tubes.

Over the weekend, try to take some time and look at some local sculptures.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Carrot Seed

'The Carrot Seed' is such a classic children's book. The book has short and simple text plus simple illustrations. This combined with a timeless message of patience and perseverance has made this book a favorite with children for over sixty years.

We had many activities with our three year olds and 'The Carrot Seed' this week. We read the book of course and then we read it several more times. Each time the girls were the mom in the story and said, "I'm afraid it won't come up." The boys were the dad and then all the children were the big brother. I really like involving the children in the literature we are reading. This was super fun and the kids loved it.

We learned carrots are vegetables and carrots grow under the ground. We planted carrot seeds and talked about how tiny those carrot seeds are. We learned our seeds will need water and sunshine to grow.

We did some graphing. The graph was titled-Do You Like Carrots? The chart was labeled YES and NO. I held up a paper carrot and the children were to see if it was their name (name recognition activity) and then they glued it under YES or NO. We looked at the graph and very easily could see YES had more and NO had less (introducing those math concepts) and then we counted. Ten children liked carrots and three did not.

We looked at carrots with the green leafy tops. I cut off the leafy top and we placed them in some wet sand in a pie pan. The carrot tops are supposed to regrow. This is the first time I have done this activity so we will see. You can try this at home. Buy the carrots with the green leafy tops (I found them at Kroger). Cut off the top and leave about an inch of the carrot and place in a shallow dish (we used a pie pan) filled with sand. Keep the sand wet and in a sunny spot.

We also have a number matching game in the Discovery Center. You can see in the photo the children are to match the dots to the correct numeral.

What to do at home? Get 'The Carrot Seed' from the library. Have carrots and ranch dip for a snack. Make carrot cake. Have fun!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

'The Art of the Brick'

Lakeview Museum currently has an exhibit called 'The Art of the Brick'. Artist Nathan Sawaya creates his sculptures from Legos. The MWF classes will be doing a unit on sculpture in April so the timing is great. The exhibit will be at Lakeview through September 6th. Go to for museum hours, cost, workshops and special events.

Not sure if you can make the museum? Go to this website for some great preschool sized Lego activities for you and your child. Click on Family Time. Click on Building Instructions. Click on Monthly Building Instructions.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Let's Go Fly A Kite!

Looking for something to do with kids this weekend? Sommer Park is hosting their annual kite day this Saturday, April 17th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It's FREE!!! BYOK-bring your own kite and a picnic lunch. The address is 6329 N. Koerner Road in Edwards for your GPS, Mapquest or Google map.

Monday, April 12, 2010

ABC's and 123's

Here is an another idea for letter and number recognition and identifying color words. When I am out and about I am always picking up those free Internet CD's for school use. I covered the label with some old computer CD labels I had but you could also just write on the digital side of the CD (use a Sharpie). For letter recognition, I put the upper case on the CD and both upper and lower case on the clothespin (those clothespins are good small motor activities!)

For the number recognition, I wrote the numeral on the CD. On the clothespin, I wrote the numeral, the written word and corresponding dots.

The color CD I used office dots. Some I had to create by coloring with marker. Write the color word in colored marker on the clothespin. The children really love this simple homemade activity.

This activity could also be adapted for older children-contractions, antonyms, math facts, state capitals and much more. The possibilities are only limited to your imagination.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Eggs-ABCs & 123s

We practice letter and number recognition with a variety of materials at MCP. This is a fun and easy way to practice both in the spring.

You will need-
Plastic Easter eggs-if they are connected cut apart.
Sharpie marker
Easter Basket (No grass needed. That is just for a prettier picture!)

For the letters, write the upper case letter on the larger section of the egg and lower case on the bottom section. Separate all the eggs and have your child match upper case to lower case. If necessary, remove some of the eggs if it is too many pieces for your child and work up to all twenty six letters.

For the numbers, write the numeral on the top half with dots on the bottom.