Friday, August 30, 2013

T is for Train

Little Bit is in a train phase. After lunch and before quiet time she watches one show and everyday she picks Thomas. So, instead of T is for Turtles like I planned we did T is for Trains. My little girl has been a tomboy since she was born, no princesses or dresses for her, it is Cars, dirt and blocks. I can't blame her though I would rather wear a t-shirt and flip-flops than high heels and lipstick. Like mother, like daughter. :) 
As we learned about trains we read lots of train books. Check out our list of train books, 14 Book About Trains.

I created a box train from a few boxes we had from our move. The idea for a big train came from {kidlist} activities for little kids. The train that she made is incredible! I did not make a train as large or colorful as hers but it was perfect for Little Bit.

My husband cut windows and a door out of the front box, I added a small box to the front, and a chimmey with white smoke. For the cars in the back I used two small boxes that we connected with a small strip of cardboard between get section. Black wheels and a yellow light was added to finish the train off. The train moves easily when pushed. Little Bit pushes it all over the house saying, "chugga-chugga, choo-choo!"

Now, how can you have a train with no track??? Well, a roll of masking tape created a perfect track. The track runs through our living room, dining room and playroom to create a complete circle. Little Bit LOVES the track! She rides her small scooter, pushes her train and with Daddy races the track on foot.

You can also added railroad signs to your track area. Check out these signs found online you can use.   Free Printable Railroad Crossing Signs -  Sign 1  Sign 2

Little Bit wanted to decorate her train right away. She added a face and then used markers and paint to color on it. This was her favorite activity this week, she loved making her train pretty. Please excuse the PJ's, they are Little Bits favorite and she decided to wear her PJ's on this day.

I found a fun idea for a train book at 1+1+1=1. The book she created was set up a bit differently. I decided to make ours like a real book and added a few extra pages that I found at TeacherPayTeachers as park of a train packet. Little Bit put the book together and was excited to play with each page.

Page 1 - Thomas and Friends book 
Page 2 - Thomas Shape Match Up. I drew the shapes on the page so that Little Bit could 
               match the shapes. 
Page 3 - Color Train coloring book. 
Page 4 - Thomas Number Book. 
Page 5 - Thomas Number Puzzle. 
Page 6 - Practice page for tracing. 

The following blogs have great train ideas. 

Simple Living Mama - Train Themed Preschool Unit
Tippytoe Crafts - Name Train

We enjoyed talking about and playing with trains. What are your favorite train activities?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Quiet Time Boxes

We have started to slowly get into our daily and weekly routine for this year. There have been lots of things that have interfered with our schedule the past few weeks but I think we are finally getting into a rhythm. Our daily routine includes is quiet time, nap time is for babies so we call it quiet time :) If you ask Little Bit she will say she does not nap, but there are days when she is so tired that she gives up and sleeps. For all the other days she plays quietly on the rug in her room or in her bed.

I have seen quiet boxes online for sometime now and love the idea of a box that provides Little Bit with new fresh toys to play with. After looking around on Pinterest I found a few blog post that helped get me started. This is a list of blogs help me.
I decided to use 6 boxes instead of 5 like most of the blogs that I read. With 6 boxes I can just rotate through all of them so that she gets something different every Monday. It will also give me more time before you is ready for items in the box to be switched out. I decided to add 4-5 activities in each box. Every book has a writing/coloring and or letter activity and two books from a set of Little Miss Spider books I had. Finding the toys for the boxes motivated me and I ended up organizing all of Little Bit's toys in her room. As I went through all her toys I looked for activities that are 1. quiet, 2. small, 3. not usually played with because they were buried under bigger, louder toys. It was actually easier than I thought and I think the boxes are a good mix of activities.

Box #1 - 2 Little Miss Spider books
             - 3 My Little Ponies, comb, hairdrier and mirror
             - Princess coloring pages with markers
             - Letter/Number Blocks, my mom made the letter blocks for Little Bit last Christmas. 
               They are great for counting, practicing the alphabet or just building. 

Box #2 - 2 Little Miss Spider books
             - Winnie the Pooh picture matching cards
             - Cars puzzle
             - Lace'n'Trace animals
             - Dora activity pages and crayons

Box #3 - 2 Little Miss Spider books
             - Mrs. Potato Head and Baby Potato Head (plus accessories)
             - 3 notepads, pen, stickers
             - mini flashlight (not pictured)

Box #4 - 2 Little Miss Spider books
            - Leapfrog letter trace pad
            - Minnie Mouse puzzle
            - Bendy, twisty rabbit (Little Bit loves the rabbits from our Easter bin)
            - Finger puppets

Box #5 - 2 Little Miss Spider books
            - Alphabet beads with string
            - Dora puzzle
            - Coloring book from our cruise ship and crayons

Box #6 - 2 Little Miss Spider books 
            - Magna Doodle 
            - Kaleidoscope
            - Things That Go Together puzzle  

Overtime I am sure I will switch things up in the boxes. Maybe add more seasonal items for fall, Christmas, winter, etc. What do you do with your little one during quiet/nap time? Have you used quiet boxes before? If so, what worked well for you? I would love to hear your thoughts. 

This post is featured on Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop

Thursday, August 22, 2013

F is for Frog

Letter F Tub

We put together a tub with various items that start with F. Little Bit and Friend explored the bucket and talked about each word listening for the F sound.

Items in the F tub:

  • frog
  • feather
  • flashlight
  • firetruck
  • flower
  • flip-flop
  • various size letter Fs
  • fish
  • fox
  • four and five

Frog Pond Play

We played with pretend frogs in 4 different ways. Check out my post about our frog ponds

Frog Books and Activities

Hop Jump by Ellen Stoll Walsh

This is a fun book about a frog that wants to dance not jump and hop. After read we practiced our frog hop and checked to see who could jump the farthest. 

I found this fun game at the Dollar Store (sweet!) that is all about jumping frogs. Little Bit and Friend loved making the frogs jump. 

999 Frogs Wake Up

This is a cute book about a sleepy frog. The books does not include counting but you could create your own counting game with this book.

Frog and Fly by Jeff Mack

Frog and Fly is like a comic book split into six parts. After reading the story Little Bit tried her hand at eating like a frog. We used small toy insects and sticky slap toys. The sticky slap toys I found were in the shape of a lizard, I think the sticky hands would of words better but the lizard did the trick this time.

Little Bit loved pretending to be a frog with a sticky tongue.

Five Green and Speckled Frogs

*the words in this video are not the exact words from the book*

We read the book and then played the song from YouTube that is listed above. As the song played Little Bit used the frogs and log I made to act out the song. 

I created 5 frogs and placed them on popcycle sticks, then used a paper towel roll as a log. The frog fit into the small holes I cut until they were ready to jump into the pool. This was an easy and simple way to act out the game and very cute. 

I hope you enjoyed reading about the fun we had as we learned and played with frogs. There are so many great ideas for playing with frogs, below are a few sites that have great ideas for playing with frogs. 

Coffee Cups and Crayons has a great post about jumping like a frog. 

Walking By the Way has a great resource for counting with frogs. 

Activity Village has a printable available for Five Green and Speckled Frogs. 

There is are many different Frog Boards for Preschoolers on Pinterest. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Frog Sensory Ponds


During our F is for Frog week we had Friend and Little Friend with us everyday to play. We played everyday with our frog pond. I decided to switch things up and present the pond in a different way each day. 

Day 1 - We played with the frog pond in a tub with water, rocks, foam lily pads and frogs. Friend said he was having fun several times. Since the bin was on the floor Little friend was able to play too.

Day 2 - The next day frog pond was in our water table. The rocks, lily pads and frogs were each in separate containers so that Little Bit and Friend could arrange them like they wanted. I only put water in to one section of the table. Little Bit and Friend used the dry area as land for the frogs to sit on.

Day 3 - On day three we talked about how frogs sometimes live in the mud. I set out a tub with dirt and water table with water. Friend and Little Bit quickly started adding the water to the dirt and making mud. Little Bit was the first one to touch the mud and not long after they were hiding the frogs in the mud then digging around trying to find them. The one word they used to describe the mud over, and over again was GROSS!! If they could of jumped in like the frogs they would have. :) The dirt came from our yard so it had leaves and sticks in it which added extra fun to the digging around.

I do believe this was their favorite frog pond :)

Day 4 - On the last day we played with our frogs in green goo (Obleck). Little Bit had never played with green goo so she enjoyed dipping, scooping and burying the frogs. We did not use the rocks for this bin, just the frogs and lily pads.

We had fun playing with the frogs in different ways. Very little changed with each of the bins but Little Bit and Friend enjoyed playing and exploring the different ponds.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

If you have not read Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs to your little one, you should! Little Bit had not read the book before and when I read it to her she loved it. As we read she just started at the pages like it was the crazies thing she had ever heard, sometimes she would say "that is SILLY!".

It's Raining Food!

After reading the book we practiced catching dinner as it "rained" food. As the food rained down I would ask what was for dinner. Little Bit loved catching the food and wanted to take turns making it rain. This was a great activity for practicing catching and throwing. I found this awesome idea on the blog Chicken Babies.

Food Umbrella

We made a umbrella with food falling all around. When I told her what we were making she was so excited to play with an umbrella inside the house. It is the little things that excite kids. Little Bit enjoyed running around as it rained food all around her.

Bread Houses

Little Bit came up with our last activity all by herself. At the end of the book the town's people use bread to build new houses. This was her favorite page, she went back and looked at this page many times. After catching food and making our food umbrella Little Bit asked me, "Mommy, can we make bread houses?" I love when her imagination is working! So we pulled out some bread and used peanut butter as glue. Most of the "glue" was eaten, but Little Bit built an awesome house!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Pretend Laundry Play


Pretend play has become a big part of Little Bit's world. Her imagination has opened up and she is always pretending. I came across a fun pretend laundry idea on the blog Sand and Water Tables.  First, I tied string to our back deck to create a clothesline, pulled out some clothes that Little Bit has out grown and setup the water table with soapy water.  

Once I explained what we were doing she quickly got to work, I mean play :) Little Bit is a BIG helper around the house and loved pretending to do laundry. The clothespins were a bit tricky but after a little practice she got it. This was a simple, easy and everyday play idea that we will use again soon. Now if Little Bit was tall enough to do the real laundry that would be awesome ;)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sidewalk Chalk Squirt Paint

We recently moved to a house that is in the country and has LOTS of yard and driveway space. Our last house did not have a yard that we could spend time in and overnight we have become an outside family. YAY! I spent so much time outside as a kid, it has been so relaxing and fun to watch Little Bit play in the yard during the day. After dinner she follows my husband outside to dig for worms, go on a treasure hunt or just play. I love that we are raising a child that loves to be outside. 

With a better yard we are trying out new outside play activities. This past week we tried sidewalk chalk paint in squirt bottles. We had painted with sidewalk chalk paint in the past and loved it! The idea came from Growing a Jeweled Rose for using squirt bottles.  

Little Bit loved squirting the paint, making shapes and spraying her feet. Once the paint dries it becomes chalk powder. Little Bit discovered that she could scratch it with a stick and make tiny chalk beads. She had just as much fun with the dry paint as when it was wet. Creating the sidewalk chalk paint was easy. 

Chalk Paint 

Ingredients - food color, water and cornstarch

Directions - mix equal parts water and cornstarch, then add food coloring. 

Check out the blogs listed below and the collection of chalk activities they have.

Other Chalk Activities

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Our Animal Wall

This summer we have learned all about different kinds of animals. Throughout the summer we have created different animals to add to our animal wall. Little Bit has loved making and adding animals. I had planned to make many more animals but we are moving this weekend and that has completely disrupted our daily routine. Because of the move we will need to take down our animal wall.

We have enjoyed our all and we may create a special wall at our new house to show off our art work. Each of the animals were made in different ways. Check out how we made each animal.

1. Bear - I used a print out of a bear and then gave Little Bit small pieces of brown fabric.

2. Snake - Little Bit and I used leaves we found to decorate our snake. Check out my Gail Gibbons - Virtual Book Club Linkup post.

3. Alligator - I cut a mother and baby alligator out of green paper. Then we colored with green and used small pieces of green construction paper to decorate each of the alligators.

4. Butterfly - First, Little Bit picked scrapbooking paper and cut it into small pieces. My Counting in the Garden post has more information about our butterfly.

5.Giraffe - After cutting the giraffe out of paper Little Bit used her finger prints to creat spots. 

6. Hedgehog - this was created at our zoo class, we traced Little Bits hand then cut it out and glued it on to add spikes. 

7. Frog - The frog life cycle was another activity we did in zoo class. Little Bit loved this one so much that she wanted to add it to her wall. 

8. Sheep - This was made at church but I love our simple this was. 

9. Cow - Little Bit found this picture and wanted to add it to the wall. She colored the cow and then asked for it to be cut out and added.

            It was fun to see how much ownership she has taken of the wall.