Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Crabshack

I love crafts that involve the children's little hands...so cute and precious.  You need red paint and a simple background on copy paper.  Talented folks could probably create a more scenic background.  The children are really used to have their hands painted  (the beginning of the year not so much).  I paint one hand at a time and have a roll of paper towels at the ready to wipe off the excess paint before they wash. 
After the paint dried, we added two white reinforcement stickers and colored the inside black, added a smile and done.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Over in the Ocean

Over in the Ocean by Marianne Berkes and illustrated by Jeannette Canyon would be a great addition to your home library.  Like the classic song "Over in the Meadow",  it is a counting book filled with mamas and their babies (plus one papa!)  Best of all are the illustrations.  The illustrations are created with polymer clay.  The color and attention to detail is amazing. 

Want to see more?  Check out Jeanette Canyon's website  http://www.jeanetteandchristophercanyon.com/OfficialWebsite/Welcome.html

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Catch a Wave!

Scuba Gear

This is a super week to be at MCP! Spring is just around the corner but we are going to turn up the heat and jump into summer!  Here are some things that are happening in our room---

Last week, we had our seashore set up in the dramatic play.  We have 'scuba gear' for the children for deep sea diving. This is an easy enough craft to create at home for fun or for a birthday party favor.  We use the scuba air tanks for our fire station as air tanks and in our space ship for rocket boosters.  I submitted and had this idea published in Family Fun magazine over twelve years ago (if you go to the page it says 'of Charleston, Illinois' and we haven't been there for awhile!)  I like this craft because of the multiple uses.

 How To---


Surf Boards

Surf boards are a must for any self respecting beach bum.  When we started this unit I couldn't find any 'play' surfboards that would withstand the day-to-day play of preschoolers (I have seen some in craft and party stores since but I think they are pricey).  The surfboards had to meet the qualifications of preschool crafting---cheap and easy but they also had to be easily stored.  AHA!!! Left over carpet in my basement and some acrylic paint.  These two surfboards are the hit of the beach.  The children LOVE them!!!  You could probably also use an old doormat or small area rug.  

'Feed the Shark' is one of the most popular activities in our discovery center.  I bought this shark at a garage sale and I think it was part of a board game.  I purchased fish at The School House in Peoria on Glen (great store).  More info---http://metamoracommunityprek.blogspot.com/2011/02/feed-shark.html

How to lace a lei---

I have bought dozens of those shell necklaces and taken them apart.  They are mixed with larger shells.  We have a magnifying glass and sorting trays with the shells for exploration, counting, sorting and patterns.  We also have shells in the playdough and of course in the dramatic play.  We also put small shells in the art center.

This is the BEFORE photo of our deep sea bulletin board.  It is just tissue paper and scrapbooking paper we had donated to the school.  It is getting quite filled with fish, mermaids and scuba divers.  I'll post an AFTER  photo soon.  If you want to see past bulletin boards, look under  our blog label---BULLETIN BOARDS.

These activities and others should keep us pretty busy this week.  Want to do more???  Sure you do!!! Plan a beach party at your house for next weekend.  Keep it simple.  Have the family dress up in summer clothes.  Have hamburgers or hotdogs for supper. Buy a pineapple. Get out umbrellas and beach towels and set up a little 'beach' in the house.  Put on beach music---Beach Boys, Hawaiian music.   Search YouTube and learn how to hula.  Get a broom or long stick and limbo. Did you honeymoon or vacation at great beach?  Show the kids your pictures. You get the idea.  Keep it simple and keep it fun! 

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Playdough Princess

The Playdough Princess was created today by one of the girls in our morning class.  We have lots of shells with our playdough.  Yes, the shells are getting sticky and green but they will wash when we are done!  Isn't it clever?

The Playdough Princess

Sculptures---the finished pieces

After all the children have created their sculpture, we set aside a day to paint.  On Wednesday, the MWF classes painted their sculptures.  Today (Friday) we added additional craft pieces.  This is a one on one activity w/the teacher because of the hot glue.  We had playing cards, fun foam, straws, craft sticks, milk caps, small shells, feathers, pipe cleaners, poms, silk flowers and lots of random stuff for the children to choose. 

The sculptures are amazing.  At home, you and your child can continue to add to the sculpture. Write a story about the sculpture with your child.  For more ideas and to see sculptures from previous years, search 'sculpture' on this blog.

Start Your Engines!

This week our TTh classes talked about transportation.  On Tuesday, we listed lots of ways we get around and on Thursday we sorted the list into LAND, WATER and SKY. 

Our art activity is timely with the Dayotona 500 on Sunday!  Turn the race on and have some fun with this art project.  How to's---http://metamoracommunityprek.blogspot.com/2011/03/wheels-on-bus-and-more.html

Monday, February 20, 2012

Play with Your Food

I love it when the children play with their food at school.  It means they are reinforcing learned skills! 

When we have snack, I ask the children questions---"What shape is your snack?"   "How many crackers do you have?"  "Which pile has the greatest?"

The children sort, count and make patterns with their snack. Make math a part of your child's snack.  Think of all the foods you can count, sort and make patterns.  It will make learning yummy and  fun!

Teacher, these are equal!

Teacher, these are equal!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Music and Musical Theater

Free is such an awesome word when you are trying to find entertainment for the whole family.  'Cinderhood' is a musical being presented by the Chicago Opera Playhouse.  This is a wonderful opportunity to introduce your child to live theater.  There are several performances in the area.  Check out    http://www.lindenchrist.com/services/chicago-opera-play-house/ for times and dates.  

The second event is a jazz event which leads right into our music unit this spring for our MWF classes!  The United States Air Force Band is performaing at Five Points on Friday, March 9th. Seating is limited and is on first come, first serve basis.  Ticket reservations are required and limited to four. Go to  http://www.bandofmidamerica.af.mil/events/  to reserve your tickets.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Playdough Sculptures

There is some art that you never get see---our playdough art.  I seriously love playdough like I love glitter.  I enjoy watching the children work and create with playdough.  We have small pans, rolling pins and cookie cutters but we also have a bag of random items for creativity---large googly eyes, fun foam, pipe cleaners, Mardi Gras beads, birthday candles, popsicle sticks and more.  Add a bag of fun to your playdough and see what happnes!

Need recipes???

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sculpture Unit 2012

The arts are such an important part of your child's education. We all know that (I hope we do)---so I won't stand on my soapbox and discuss the value of art in education.  We have studied sculpture in our MWF program for several years. I continue to do this unit annually because the kids LOVE it.  They love it and they get it.  I also loved hearing that older siblings still have their sculptures in their rooms.  Awesome!  

The children have learned sculptures are three dimensional, sculptures can be made out of almost anything and we also looked at some pictures of sculptures.

We have been saving toilet paper and paper towel tubes since the beginning of the school year.  Twenty seven children used nine kitchen size garbage bags full of tubes. 

The base this year presented a problem.  In the past, I had used wallpaper book covers cut down for the base.  They were really solid and sturdy. Then I ran out.  We had some heavy duty cardboard donated and  I cut that down for the bases.  Then I ran out of cardboard.  I had to think of something to use for the base.  I was thinking of getting some cheap plywood when divine inspiration hit me.  Heavy duty paper plates!  Cheap and easy---always key words for preschool projects. These are not the Chinet brand so I glued two plates together for support.  Perfect and problem solved.

All the children have glued together their sculptures.  Our next step is painting our pieces. We will do that on Wednesday. After the pieces are painted, I will help the children glue on items from our collage box and we will send them home.

Olympic Iliad
Alexander Liberman 1984

Last summer, my husband and I spent a week in Seattle. Looking down onto the city from the top of  the Space Needle, I see this sculpture in the park!  I was so excited (I may have embarrassed my husband with my enthusiasm) and was anxious to see who the artist was and learn more. The sculptor is Alexander Liberman (1912-1999).  Search 'Alexander Liberman' or 'Alexander Liberman sculptures' and then go to IMAGES.  It will be a great opportunity for you and your child to explore his work and discuss sculptures. 

Want to explore some sculptures with your child???  There are so many local opportunities. It is going to be a beautiful weekend here in central Illinois.  Take a walk on the riverfront to see some of Preston Jackson's  work. Head over to ICC or Bradley and park the car and walk around campus.  No time to head over to Peoria?  Head over to our square to see the Lincoln statue or drive over to Greg DePauw's house (near the fire station).

Get the playdough out or make some playdough for sculpting.  Search our blog for lots of playdough recipes.

Want to know more?  Search "Scultpures" on our blog.

Want to do more?  Need tubes?  Let me know!  Have a great weekend!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Here is My Heart

Easy paint project:  we  set out pre-cut hearts and the children stamped pink and red. Our stamps are old film canisters and lids from hairspray, laundry detergent...anything that the children can easily grasp. Best part...easy clean up.  We just pitch in the garbage.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Land of the Lost

 This bulletin board is awesome!  I love to see our bulletin boards go from blah to awesome.  The children take such great pride in creating these scenes.  Tracing the stencils and cutting the shapes help those small motor skills.  These dinosaur stencils are pretty detailed and cutting around those stegosaurus bumps is not easy.  This is an optional activity in our art center.  If your child created a dinosaur, they can probably locate it on the board.  Have them show you!  This board is coming down and a new one will be up for lots more creativity this week. 

Want to do more?  Get a bulletin board for your home and create scenes for your child.  No stencils?  I created my stencils from either coloring book pages or search 'dinosaur printables'. I traced and cut them on gift boxes. Our background is old wallpaper rolls (it fits our budget).  You could also cover the bulletin board with tissue paper, the white side of wrapping paper, recycle white office or school papers.  Need more ideas?  Look under Bulletin Boards on our MCP blog. 

Have a great week!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pajama Party Part Two

"This is the best pajama party ever!"   "These are the best pancakes ever."  "You make the best pancakes."

It was the best pajama party ever.   I love my job but I really love my job when we have our annual Pajama Party.  Who wouldn't want to come to work in their pajamas?  It's also good for my ego when the kids are telling me how wonderful the pancakes taste.  It is a day that is packed with fun and high energy and I love it. 

On Wednesday, our MWF classes looked at the cereal box fort and listed how the boxes are the same and how they are different.  See if your child can tell you some similarities and differences. Look at the blog photo and see if your child can remember how the boxes are the same and different--  http://metamoracommunityprek.blogspot.com/2012/01/my-impenetrable-cereal-box-fort-version.html

Making pancakes?  We have to sing the 'Pancake Song'   The tune and words-

The MWF classes also played Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed and Roll Over.  Your child can show you how we played these fun games. Good times had by all.

'No Jumping on the Bed' and 'No More Water in the Tub'  are two great books to add to your home library.  Each has great illustrations and fun surprise ending.  When I read a story, I tell the children the author and the illustrator.  The children are starting to remember the author writes the words and the illustrator draws the pictures.  You might want to include this vocabulary in your bedtime routine.

Our first  annual Pajama Party Project was a huge success.  Thanks to all who donated children and adult pajamas.  We collected 26 children's pajamas and 14 adult pajamas and 3 adult robes.  The children's pajamas will be taken to our local shelter and the adult pajamas will be taking over to the nursing home.  Thank you so much for your support!  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pajama Party Part One

Our TTh class had lots and lots and lots fun today (we have fun every day but today was extra extra fun!)  It's our annual Pajama Party!!!   

Everyone arrived in their pajamas. The children had fun checking out Buzz Lightyear PJs, Tinkerbell PJs, princess PJs and lots more.  We played Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed and Roll Over   on a big pile of pillows.  Lots of  smiles and laughter.

Snack???   Piles and piles and piles of pancakes---with the  Pancake Song.   I made up the Pancake Song  many years ago when my boys were little.  I still sing the Pancake Song  when we make pancakes at home (they just don't think it's as fun like they did when they were little.  I sing it anyway.)

More tomorrow plus the final count on our Pajama Party Project.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

We Love to Craft

We love arts and crafts at MCP.  When the children create crafts it is totally their own experience and creation.  We just provide materials, supervise and clean up :-) 

I often have friends call and say, "Would you like???"  and I usually say "YES!" to free stuff for our program. We had about thirty wooden hearts donated a few weeks ago.  The heart shaped jewels were given to us several years ago and we have thousands of them.  I am not kidding---thousands. Our MWF classes painted the hearts pink.  After they dried, the children glued on the jeweled hearts (you can still see the glue on some hearts).  What I love about these hearts is that they are all different.  The children talked about creating patterns on their heart, who they were going to give it to, the colors and sizes of the jewels and lots more.

It was quick, easy, cheap and fun which is perfect for preschool!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pudding Picassos

"This is fun!"   "This is good, isn't it?"   "Look at my face!"

These are just a few of the fun comments from the kids today.  We had a lot of fun with paint this week in our TTh class.  Today we painted with a wide variety of  'brushes' and paint.  We use Styrofoam egg cartons and lids for painting at MCP.  Easy clean up---just pitch! 

We had kitchen utensils in the lids for painting and stamping.  The egg cartons had cork and short stands of Mardi Gras beads. 

Painting w/kitchen utensils, corks and beads

We cleaned all that up and then we painted with pudding.  We used finger paint paper and chocolate pudding for some yummy good painting fun.  You can do this activity at home.  It's a fun way for your child to practice writing his/her name, numbers or letters. Older children can get in on the fun and practice their spelling words.  No finger paint paper?  Use a cookie sheet  (and cover your child w/an old t-shirt or paint smock).

Want more paint ideas?  Search 'paint' on our blog. 

Paint or stamp with---
*an old toothbrush*blow paint on paper w/a straw*use old baby shoes*stamp w/apples and carrots*print w/the bottom of celery (will look like a rose)*stamp w/Lego bricks*marshmallows*

Use your imagination and look around your kitchen and toy room for some new 'paintbrushes'. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"Do You Like Green Eggs & Ham?"

This week we introduced and practiced rhyming words with our MWF classes.  We had fun with The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs & Ham.   Dr. Seuss books are great for young readers.  The sight words and rhyming words are perfect for emergent reading skills.  The colorful and imaginative illustrations always engage young readers. 

When we read books at school, we also talk about author and illustrator.  I tell the children the author's name and ask, "Does the author write the words or draw the pictures?" and do the same for the illustrator.  When you read to your child, tell them who the author and illustrator are for the book.  It's building their vocabulary!

For The Cat in the Hat,  the children cut out the five pieces and then followed teacher directions to glue on the paper.  The children did a great job cutting out the pieces and following directions.

Actual Student Work

The classic tale of Green Eggs and Ham  provided an interesting snack for us today.  Many of the children did not want green eggs and ham but I did put a small amount on their plate and just asked them to taste it.  It was priceless.  Some them sounded like they just jumped out of the book---"Hey, I like it!"  You can see from our charts that most of the children liked green eggs and ham. 

These charts give us lots of opportunity to talk about beginning sounds and spell words like 'yes' and 'no'.  Ask your child where they put their tally mark.
Morning Class

Afternoon Class
Want to do more? 

The App Store has Green Eggs and Ham

Dr. Seuss website-

and check out YouTube for lots of readings of Dr. Seuss books.  Preview first because some are better than others!