Thursday, March 31, 2011

Here Comes Peter Cottontail!

We have had lots of empty baby food jars donated to the school and came up with a fun craft for the Easter holiday. This would be a cute favor for the kid's table for your holiday dinner. Fill this with jelly beans or wrapped chocolates and the nieces and nephews will love you!

This is the same technique we used for the jack-o-lantern jars and vases.  This jar is just a sample for the kids and I drew the face.  We decided to cut black and pink paper so the kids can glue their own faces.  The ears were cut out of fun foam and hot glued with a low temp glue gun.  If you are feeling super creative you could use googly eyes and a small pink pom for the nose.

Directions-Cut white gift tissue in small squares.  Dilute glue in a small bow. Paint glue on jar in small sections and cover with tissue paper squares. Paint a coat of glue over tissue and let dry completely.  Add facial features and fill with candy.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

To Infinity and Beyond!

It is amazing to see what happens when you combine a cardboard box, some empty juice bottles, a few additional props and add some preschoolers.  Our rocket ship center has been a blast (sorry I couldn't resist).  The items you see in the photo are used in most of our dramatic play. The rocket boosters have been airpacks for the firestation and scuba gear on the beach.  All these items fit in a laundry basket and provide lots of entertainment for our preschoolers. If your child likes to play 'dress up',  gather up some old cameras, cell phones, a few suitcases or backpacks, a keyboard, old maps and some small notebooks and pencils. Your child will fill in the blanks with their imagination.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hundreds and Hundreds of Easter Eggs

 Our preschoolers are having fun filling eggs for the upcoming CUC Easter Egg Hunt!  We have a little 'center' set up and when the children fill a tub with eggs, we count!  They are getting pretty good at counting to one hundred.  We hope by Easter they are
                                                                           really good!

After we count out one hundred eggs, we write the number on our chart. Ask your child how many eggs have been filled.  Children love trying to count to one hundred. Want to see if your child can count to one hundred?  Use Cheerios, coins, beads, buttons, anything to count.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Very Vibrant Vases

Our MWF classes worked on letter V this week.  We created some very vibrant spring vases.  These vases are super easy.  One mom commented it would be a cute gift for grandmas for Mother's Day.  Absolutely!  Another cheap and easy project for Sunday school, Girl Scouts or family reunions. Our vases are made out of Starbucks Frappacinno bottles because I have a fondness for a Frappacinno when I am running errands. Plus reusing is better for our school budget.  You can use any glass bottle or use an old clear glass vase. The directions are the same as when we made the jack-o-lantern jars

You will need-

*an old vase or glass bottle

*colored tissue paper cut into 1 or 2 inch squares ( I am always saving tissue from birthdays and parties for craft projects)

*white glue diluted with a small amount of water

*a small paint brush

Paint a small section of the bottle or vase and cover with tissue.  Use the glue to smooth  down edges.  Let dry completely.  After the vase is completely dry, you can add another coat of diluted glue if you want.

We couldn't send home an empty vase so today we created spring flowers.  You will need-
*coffee filters
*dot markers, water paints or markers
*pipe cleaner or bamboo skewer

Place newspaper over your surface and have your child completely color the coffee filter.  If you are using markers, use a spray bottle on the coffee filter to blend the colors.  Let the coffee filter dry completely.  Wrap the coffee  filter to form a flower (I don't have a photo but it's not hard). Wrap the pipe cleaner around the coffee filter or tape the coffee filter to the bamboo skewer. 

Snow is in the forecast but my crocuses are fighting for spring!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Have You Seen My Ducklings?

Happy Spring!  Our TTh class welcomed spring with the book Have You Seen My Ducklings?
by Nancy Tafuri.  A mother duck starts off with eight ducklings and one independent duckling goes off on her own to hide. The duckling hides in the reeds as mama duck asks the pond residents if they have seen her duckling.

Our craft required straight line scissor cutting for the grass.  Overall the children did a great job.  We try to incorporate a lot of scissor use in our crafts. They glued the grass on the 'pond' and added two ducklings.

We also did a dictation activity today.  We have been talking about the arrival of spring for several weeks. The children told me what happens in the spring or things we can do in the spring.  You will notice on the sheet that comes home in the spring is in bold and underlined for some beginning reading for you and your child.  Add this to your child's story book.  There will be a lot more stories coming home this year and next year.

Happy Spring (although the extended forecast says snow showers)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Just Jazz and Cute Crafts

Is your child 'jazzed' about our music unit?  I hope so!  If your schedule permits, there are two FREE concerts at ICC this week.  The concerts are held at the ICC Performing Arts Center.  The first is Tuesday, March 22nd at 7:30 and the second is Sunday, March 27th at 3 p.m.  For additional information go to 

Locally, Snyder Village is having a craft show in the SV Center on Saturday, March 26th from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m.

Have a great week!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Jelly Beans

We are using jelly beans with our MWF classes for sorting, patterns and counting.  We use food a lot for math and the kids know not to eat the jelly beans.  They also know that after they are done they might get a jelly bean! 

A bag of jelly beans is about a dollar. This is an easy activity to do at the kitchen table.  Give your child some jelly beans and sort the jelly beans by color.  Your child can put the jelly beans in piles or line them up like a bar graph.  Use words like greatest, most, least, fewest and equal.  Count the jelly beans.

We also create patterns with the jelly beans.  We work on the AB, AAB, ABB and ABC pattern but you can get really creative with your child.  The jelly beans make fun colorful patterns. One of the children created a pink, white, black pattern with the jelly beans that was really pretty.  Have fun with it!

See if your child can count out ten jelly beans.  Challenge them to count out twelve or twenty.

We still have a lot of wet rainy weather ahead so this would provide some yummy indoor fun!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Top of the Mornin'

Be happy with what you have and you will have plenty to be happy about.  Irish Proverb

Monday, March 14, 2011

We are coloring the letter U but where?  Under what?  Ask your child!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Everything but the Kitchen Sink

Today we painted with kitchen items! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


A whole lot of paintin' goin' on today!  Lower left painting shows how to paint with various size Lego bricks!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Painting, Paint Brushes and More

We paint in our room almost everyday (unless we have a special project going like the sculptures). Our easel is used by most but not all the children.  This week we are going to have lots and lots of painting experiences with our TTh class.

Don't be afraid to paint with children at home!  Cover the surface with newspaper or a cheap tablecloth from your dollar store and cover your child with an old t-shirt.  Let the creative juices flow!

We paint with all sorts of things.  The blog with dollar store monster truck and an old map is just one idea you can use at home, Sunday school, or with any group of children. Here are a few more-

We save corks, marker lids and large lids from laundry detergent and aerosol cans. I still have some 35 mm film canisters (and would take more if you have 'em) that we will use for painting. I  was cleaning out this weekend and found plastic Easter eggs from when my boys were little. We are going to use them for painting this week. Get out your cookie cutters and paint. 

We use Styrofoam egg cartons to hold the paint.  Reusing is recycling and best of all it makes clean up super easy.  At the end of the day, we store the cartons in plastic grocery bags to prevent them from drying out.  At the end of the week, we throw it all away.

When we pour the paint, we alternate the egg cups to keep the colors separate.  We coordinate the marker lids with the paint color.  The egg lids hold paint for larger lids.

Because we are on a budget, we paint on a wide variety of paper. All of our white art paper has been donated and is old perforated computer paper. We also have lots of wallpaper and wallpaper borders that we paint.  You can paint on newspaper, old maps, old calendars.  The possibilities are only limited to your imagination.

Want to do more?  I checked at the local super store and they carry canvas for painting.  They are located in the arts and crafts section.  A three pack size 8 x 10 was about five dollars.  A three pack size 16 x 20 was about ten dollars. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Piccadilly Place

Everyone knows Metamora Fields has opened but you may not have noticed a new store on the square.  Piccadilly Place opened mid-December.  From the street, it appears to be antique and vintage items. PPlace carries a wide variety of gift items and jewelry plus some SUPER cute hair bows and headbands for little girls.  Check it out. Dine and shop locally!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sculpture Unit 2011

What do you get when you combine five garbage bags full of toilet paper and paper towel tubes, hot glue, a piece of a cardboard and a preschooler's imagination?  A one of a kind artistic adventure!

Our MWF classes have started a sculpture unit.  This is either the third or fourth year we have introduced the children to the art of sculpting.  We learn sculpture is an art.  Sculptures can be made out many things.  Some sculptures look realistic and sculptures look just plain ol' weird.  :-)  We talk about two dimensional and three dimensional.  Yea! for 3D movies because the kids really are understanding this concept.

The children will each create a sculpture. They place the pieces and I glue. The next step is painting and finally we will hot glue lots of collage items. You can see some photos in the April 2010 blog.

This is a great opportunity to explore local art.  Start in our town square with the Lincoln statue.  Go by Greg DePauw's house (right by the fire station).   Want more?  Head over to ICC and see some HUGE sculptures or go downtown Peoria, walk along the riverfront or head over to Bradley's campus.  It's a great opportunity to discover art with your child.

The one thing we don't have time to do in this unit is story writing.  Most of the children as they create their sculpture are telling me a story.  Have your child dictate a story about their sculpture to you, add picture clues and add it to their story book. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Wheels on the Bus and More!

Our TTh class started a unit on Wheels/Transportation today.  We asked the children to name something with wheels.  Well, after we covered the basics (car, bus, truck, train) the children's wheels really started spinning! It was a GREAT list-Legos, backpacks, chair, a gurney, wheelchair, strollers, snow blower, lawn mower and more. We listed all their ideas on chart paper. I'll type up the list to send home so you can add it to your story book.

Our art project today had some folks asking me at drop off if I stay up late nights thinking of new projects for the kids. No, I just have been teaching preschool so long (on and off for decades which is scary) I have lots and lots and lots of fun ideas!

This art project is a super easy one to do at home on a rainy day, for a play date, a Sunday School or VBS project or an afternoon at Grandma's.  You will need old maps or an atlas (we used an atlas and just tore the pages out), some cool monster trucks from your local dollar store, some black paint and a pie tin, Styrofoam plate or I used a Chinese take out container to hold the paint. HINT-do not pour a lot of paint in your container.  Roll the truck back and forth over the paint and on the map.  Too much paint and you better have mud flaps on  your truck cause it will be flyin' all over!

Keep your eyes open for things with wheels!