Monday, July 30, 2012

Out Wit, Out Last, Out Play

Need some ideas to survive the rest of  summer vacation?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympic Fever!

Olympic Art-MCP 2012

The Olympic opening ceremonies are just hours away.  I am psyched! My house is decorated. Food is prepped and company is coming.  If you didn't see these posts, here are some gold medal ideas for you and your child to do the next seventeen days. GO TEAM USA!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

One Man Show

Color Cubes-Greg DePauw

Greg DePauw is a well known artist who lives locally.  I met Greg and his brother, Doug, while teaching at the Sun Foundation Art and Science in the Woods summer camp (more on ASIW another time.)  We took our campers, the Little Explorers, for an afternoon of creativity, drawing,  painting, and lots and lots of color.  I have enjoyed knowing them ever since and they have been a huge inspiration to me personally and professionally.

For the last several years, our preK students have had a sculpture unit (search 'sculpture' on this blog to see more). During this unit, I always encourage families to drive past Greg's house to see the pieces that are displayed outdoors (if you haven' should).

Recently the Peoria Journal Star had a feature on Greg's work which will be on display at the  Peoria Contemporary Art Center
through Friday, August 24th. What a great local family field trip!   After your visit, have your child use their imagination and write about the pieces (or dictate depending on their skill level).  At home, you and your child can create your own art and sculptures.  Look around your home for things you can reuse (like paper tubes and cardboard), cut pieces of cardboard into abstract shapes---Open up your imagination and gather materials for your sculpture and start gluing and painting!

If you are unfamiliar with Greg DePauw and his story, you can read about his "Can Do Attitude" and The Art Rod Foundation he established to share his story and  his art. and your child 'can do' anything when you do it together!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Wacky Olympics

Family Fun June/July 2012

Family Fun June/July 2012
In the June/July 2012 issue of Family Fun magazine, there were lots of gold medal ideas for an Olympic themed party!  The opening ceremony for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London is only a week away.  Have you started planning for some Olympic fun yet?  You still have time!  If you have started, you will need some fun wacky games.  You can have teams, individuals,  keep score or not...just have fun with it!

From Family Fun magazine---

*Remove the plastic film from opening of a tissue box. Cut slits on back of  box.  Thread a belt through the slits. Put some ping-pong balls in the box.  Wear the box/belt as shown in above photo.  Set time (30 seconds) and each player shake, shake, shakes to get the balls out of the box.  1 point each ball out

*I am definitely doing this one at the next  family reunion! This looks like so much fun. Two players per team each have a shower cap, shaving cream and cheese puff snacks.  One team member puts on the shower cap. Teammate  covers cap with shaving cream. Teammate without cap gets behind a predesignated line a couple feet away and tosses the cheese puffs onto the shaving creamed cap.  One point per puff.

Here is a list of classic games we have played at birthday parties, family reunions and holidays---
*Toss a hula hoop around a small chair
*Everyone put their shoes in a large pile.  Sit in circle.  At 'GO', everyone finds their shoes and put back on feet.
*Band-aid relay...Have band-aids at end of relay. Each team member runs, opens band-aid, put one on each knee and return.
*Unwrap stick of gum with mittens on hands.
*Folding chair relay...Have a folding chair at end of relay on ground folded.  Each team member runs, opens chair, sits on chair, fold up and return.
*The classic water balloon toss!
*Carry an egg on spoon.
*Dribble a basketball backwards.
*Check out past MCP summer blog posts (June, July, August) for some water relays.
*The Family Fun website has lots and lots of fun family game ideas for inside and out. 

Go for the gold with this Olympic garland (also from Family Fun). Family Fun suggests painting but here's one better---buy colored paper plates at your local party store!  How easy is that--Cut out the inside to create a ring. Cut open alternating plates and tape closed.  Use string or ribbon to hang.

Enjoy the Olympics with your friends and family!
Family Fun June/July 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Are We There Yet?

Are you heading out on a family vacation in the next few weeks?  Are you driving?  Bravo! My parents packed five kids in a station wagon every summer.  We drove to California (twice), South Dakota, Washington D.C., and northern Minnesota.  How did they do it?  I am not exactly sure but leaving at an ungodly hour in the morning so the kids would sleep helped. My siblings and I have many fond memories of our family vacations. I was a lucky girl.

Today it is a little easier to travel with children.  Watching movies and playing video games helps pass the time in the car but  it can be about family game time, too. Car games reinforce letter and number recognition, math skills, reading skills and more!

This article will get you started but  Family Fun magazine has lots of ideas help you on the road.

More websites and articles...

Lots of road trip books at your local bookstore, too.
Make some summer memories with your child in the car!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Here's the Scoop!

                                                                                Our preK students have a science unit on liquids and solids.  One concept we learn is temperature changes solids and liquids.  We do many activities and experiments but the  favorite---Making ice cream!

The past few years, we have made  Tin Can Ice Cream  It is really yummy but there are many obstacles.  First is finding large tin cans and second is the weather because we have to do this activity outdoors.   So am I very excited to find a new easy recipe that will achieve the same results (we get eat homemade ice cream...oh and learn how liquids can change into solids. Yea...that, too.)  I found this recipe in August 2012 issue of Woman's Day magazine.  It is just three ingredients.   It is a great recipe for children because it is so easy.  Cooking is always a great opportunity to reinforce reading and math skills.  I made this over the weekend and it is so so good.  I won't bother you with the nutritional information...come on it's ice cream.  Here' the scoop---

Vanilla Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Using an electric mixer, beat all ingredients in a large bowl. Beat about 3-5 minutes until mixture is thick and stiff.  Place into a a freezer safe container (I used the large rectangular plastic ware).  Cover and freeze until firm (about eight hours or overnight).  Eat within two weeks (that should not be a problem).

I hope you are having fun with National Ice Cream Month!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Visit From St. Nicholas

 Merry Christmas!  Today is Clement C. Moore's birthday---author of A Visit from St. Nicholas.  Of course, it is more commonly known as The Night Before Christmas or Twas the Night Before Christmas.  The poem,  A Visit from St. Nicholas, was first published in a New York newspaper on December 23, 1823.

Celebrate Christmas this week. Read A Visit from St. Nicholas.  Make some Christmas cookies with your kids.  Make some homemade Christmas ornaments or start on gifts for Grandma and Grandpa. I have some Christmas crafts I am determined to start this week.

These are my favorites illustrations of A Visit from St. Nicholas...not in order.  Favorite? Jan Brett!  I love the illustrations of the North Pole and Santa's Village.

Enjoy some Christmas fun this week!
Tomie De Paola

Jan Brett
Mary Engelbreit

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Things to Do

Finally, the heat has broke and it is tolerable to head outdoors.  What can you and your family do this week in the Peoria area? 

You can go to a concert.
***Wednesday, July 11th--Brown Bag Concert, Peoria Courthouse Plaza,  11:30-1 p.m.  FREE
***Thursday, July 12th--Thursday Night Jazz, CEFCU Stage at the Landing, Peoria Riverfront, 7-9 p.m. FREE
***Friday, July 13th--Metamora Summer Concerts,  Metamora Square, 7:30-9 p.m.   FREE

You can go to a ballgame.
Peoria Chiefs will be in town  Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday (July 11-14).  Go to the Peoria Chiefs website for times, ticket prices and promotions.

You can celebrate National Ice Cream Month.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Summer Olympics-London 2012

Olympic Art-MCP 2010

The summer Olympics begin this month in London. The opening ceremony is Friday, July 27th.  You have plenty of time to plan some fun activities or even a party for your child, your family, and even your friends.

I always look forward to the Olympics.  We always celebrate the Winter Olympics in our classroom so I thought I'd share some ideas for you to do at home this summer.

*Create some Team USA t-shirts w/fabric paints. Family Fun magazine has lots and lots of ideas for Team USA t-shirts and crafts.  Search 'Fourth of July' on their website.

*Make an Olympic torch-

*Record Medals for Team USA-

*Art Ideas-

*Celebrate your heritage and root for your home country!  Search for coloring pages for English tourist sites and flags of world countries.

*Buy medals at your local party store.

*Bake scones and have tea. I did a quick search at  and found many easy scone recipes.  Children love to cook and so much learning happens when you cook with your child.

*Watch some movies---Disney's Peter Pan, 101 Dalmatians, Sword and the Stone and Mary Poppins are good start! :-)

*Head to your local library, search online and explore, learn and discover countries around our world.

*Use Team USA colors or Olympic colors (blue, black, yellow, red and green).  Decorate with streamers and balloons.  Celebrate!

*Want to plan a party?  Invite four other families.  Assign each family an Olympic color and have them  wear t-shirts in that color.

*Bake cupcakes.  Search 'Olympic cupcake ideas' for more cupcake images than you would think possible.
Make it easy use white frosting and add five candy-coated chocolates. This idea came from the June/July issue of  Family Fun magazine.

June/July  2012 Family Fun Magazine
Celebrate the 2012 Summer Olympics and learn about our world with your child!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Birthday, Boys!

 Why God Made Little Boys 
By Betsey Clark

God made a world out of his dreams
Of majestic mountains, oceans and streams,
Prairies and plains, and wooded land,
Then paused and thought, "I need someone to stand
On top of the mountains, to conquer the seas,
Explore the plains, and climb the trees-- 
Someone to start out small and grow
Sturdy and strong like a tree." And so--
He created boys, full of spirit and fun,
To explore and conquer, to romp and run,
With dirty faces and bandaged shins,
With courageous hearts and boyish grins.
And when he completed the task He'd begun,
He surely said, "That's a job well done!"

Sunday, July 1, 2012

National Ice Cream Month

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan (who was known for his fondness of jelly beans) declared July National Ice Cream Month.  Cool idea!  He also proclaimed the third Sunday of July National Ice Cream Day (July 15th, 2012).  As a matter of civic duty and American pride, I will be celebrating and eating ice cream this month.

Here are some ideas from the summer of 2010---

Danielle Hatch, entertainment writer for the Peoria Journal Star, wrote a list of hot spots for cool treats last summer---

Stay cool!