Apple Prints and Puppets !

Today’s post is written by Melodie from Breastfeeding Moms Unite

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I’m so excited to do a guest post for Allie at No Time For Flash Cards. While I run a Licensed Family Daycare and do lots of crafts, many of which I get from Allie’s blog, my own blog Breastfeeding Moms Unite! is mainly about breastfeeding so I have never posted a story or craft project before. This has been a really fun project for me and my daughters, so a big thank you to Allie for this opportunity.

I love using puppets to act out a story. And I love how mesmerized children become while listening to puppets. They are great tools for getting children to listen intently and interact.

I have adapted the following story from a story by Carolina Sherwin Bailey. You can change up the characters to suit the types of puppets you have. For instance, we have a number of animal puppets we like to use sometimes. Alternatively, if you don’t have any puppets you and your child can act out the story together. This also makes a great story on its own.

To do this story as a puppet play you will need the following: four puppets (a boy/girl, mother/father, neighbour/friend and a wise old woman), an apple, a knife (a dull one is safer and works fine for cutting the apple), and a tree branch. I also like using scarfs to make a landscape, and leaves since it is an Autumn story, but these are not necessary.

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The Story

The Little House with No Windows and No Doors and A Star Inside.

Once upon a time there was a boy who was tired of playing with his toys and wanted something new to do.

So he asked his mother, “What should I do?”

His mother thought and thought. Finally she told him, “Go and find me a little red and green house [use the same colours as your apple] with no windows or doors and a star inside.”

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This really made the boy wonder. His mother usually had good ideas but this one sounded very strange.

“Which way shall I go?” he asked. “I don’t know where to find a red and green house with no windows and no doors and a star inside.”

“Go down the lane, past the farmer’s house and over the hill,” she said. “And then hurry back and tell me all about your journey.”

So the boy put on his jacket and went outside. It was a lovely Fall day and the leaves were starting to change colour and float down to the ground [children may blow around the leaves if you have any].

He hadn’t gone very far up the lane when he saw his neighbour who was working in his yard.

“Hello neighbour!” called the boy. “Do you know where I could find a little red and green house with no windows and no doors and a star inside?”

Well, that’s a mighty strange thing to be looking for!” the neighbour chuckled.

“Why don’t you walk up the lane, past the farmer’s house and ask the old lady who lives at the top of the hill. She’s a very wise woman. I bet she would know.”

So the little boy set off up the road. Soon he came to the house and he knocked on the door. [Knock knoock knock!]

The wise woman answered the door and smiled sweetly at the boy.

“Hello,” she said.

“Hello,” answered the boy. “Do you know where I could find a red and green house with no windows and no doors and a star inside?” he asked. “My mother wants me to find her one and bring it to her.”

“Oh my!” said the wise woman, the lines in her face crinkling with joy. “I would like to find such a house myself. It would be so warm when the frosty nights came. You should go to the orchard and ask the wind. The wind listens at all the chimneys and knows many secrets. I think the wind could tell you. Now off you go!” she said shooing him out the door with a smile.

“Grown ups sure are strange sometimes,” thought the boy. But being a good listener and wanting to please his mother, he went to the orchard.

When he got there he stopped and sat underneath a tree. “Wind,” he called,”could you please tell me where I can find a red and green house with no windows and no doors and a star inside?” [Have children blow like the wind and rustle the tree branch]

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He listened for a reply but heard nothing. But then the wind started to blow.

It blew through his hair and through the leaves and suddenly an apple dropped from the tree and fell right into his lap! It was red and green and he could see a little worm inside it.

“Why, this apple is the worm’s house!” he thought. “And it is red and green and there are no doors and no windows!” He lept to his feet. “I think this is what my mother wanted me to find!”

He ran home as fas as he could.

When he got inside he cried, “Mother! I found a red and green house with no windows and no doors, but what about the star inside?”

His mother took the apple from him  and smiled. “Watch,” she told him, and she cut that apple in half width-ways and showed him.

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“There’s the star inside!” said the boy. “I think it is too pretty not to look at before we eat the apple, don’t you think mother?”

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“Yes, indeed,” replied his mother, and they sat down at the table and shared the apple.

It is a nice treat to sit down and eat your apple with your child, but you can also make apple prints with your apple halves.

Apple Print Craft

What you will need: red and green paint, white paper, a shallow dish, apple halves.

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Squirt some paint into the dish and press an apple half into each paint blob. Swirl it around a bit to cover the whole apple.

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Your apple should look like this:

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Press the painted apple onto the paper.

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It’s okay if the colours mix a little. It’s all about experimenting and having fun.

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The finished projects.

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What kinds of stories do you know about fruits or vegetables that you could do a print craft with afterwards?

Lying: One Mother’s Quest for the Truth

by Bridget Hine

On a recent morning, the day after an especially exhausting trip to the store with my daughters (Cooper, two and Piper, six months), I was enlisting the help of my husband in discussing the bad behavior of my two year old. The conversation went like this:

Mommy: “Cooper, please tell Daddy what you did in the store yesterday that made Mommy unhappy?”

Cooper: “I don’t know.”

Mommy: “Did you unbuckle your stroller straps and get out of the stroller without permission?”

Cooper: “No.”

Daddy: “Did you unbuckle your stroller Princess?”

Cooper: “No daddy.” (batting her eyes like “Baby” in Dirty Dancing)

Mommy: “If you did not unbuckle your stroller straps, who did?”

Cooper: “Piper did it!”

Right then and there, I knew I had an issue brewing. You should know this about me, I have studied and taught Communications Studies for my entire adult life. This communication with my daughter intrigued me. Why did she lie? How did she learn to lie? How do I teach her not to lie? Is this my fault? Where did I go wrong? The questions flooded into my brain. The first chance I had I went to the Internet and started searching for answers. I wanted to know everything there was to know about lying and children. Boy, did I get schooled.

Lying is as old as the human race itself. For reasons of self preservation, adaptation or deceit, human beings have been liars since the dawn of time. We have become accustomed to a certain amount of lying in our culture. Whether it is politician promises or an eager car sales person, we have come to expect to encounter a certain amount of truth bending. So, how, in our culture of shaded truth, do we raise children who have a firm understanding of honesty? Let’s get this out of the way…Lying is a normal phase children go through as part of their development. (Phew!)

Wait, we are not off the hook yet! Think about the reasons people lie…it is convenient, avoiding responsibility for a transgression (nobody wants to get in trouble) and wishful thinking (entertainment or excitement). These are some of the same reasons children lie. I know it is normal for my seven year old son, Mark, to activate his imagination on any given day and claim he is a Jedi fighting the Dark Force. It is also normal that his imaginary brother comes for a visit every once and awhile even though I do not remember inviting him. It is also normal that when I ask him if he has cleaned his room he will always say yes (our definitions of “clean room” are very different). It is also normal for my two year old to tell me exactly what she thinks I want to hear when I catch her in the bathroom painting with the soap.Not only is it normal, but lying is also a sign that your little one may be considerably intelligent. Lying is actually an advanced skill. To construct a lie, a child must understand how to develop that lie and how to convince you that it is in fact the truth. Lying actually means that your child has reached a developmental milestone. (break out the baby book!) All Lies are not the Same…

We actually encourage lying in some instances. Just the other day, my daughters and I were in a retail store when another child with a dark port wine stain skin condition, covering half his little face, came around the corner. My daughter Cooper blurted out, “What is wrong with his face?” Aside from being mortified at her reaction, I was mortified at mine. In a very hushed tone I said to her, “It is not nice to point things like that out Cooper.” I was actually encouraging her to muffle her thoughts on this child’s physical appearance. I could have easily used it as a teaching moment about how God makes everyone different and beautiful, but to my own horror I encouraged her to lie by suppressing her thoughts. (I also do the same thing when I ask my husband to tell me honestly how I look before we go out somewhere.)

We actually encourage our children to tell what are called pro-social lies. I like to think that the white lies I tell to my children are for a good cause. The Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, the fine art scribbles my children produce that I have framed and now hang in the family room, the fairies and gnomes we hunt for in the back yard and in our Irish house, the leprechaun who decorates for St. Patrick’s day. We tell ourselves that this encourages creativity and imagination and it does! However, it is still lying and our children will eventually come to realize that. (Ask my brother-in-law who is still angry about the deception propagated on him with the Santa Clause hoax. He will be 30 in November!) In all my research I have come to develop a list of five things I think will help me in my quest for the truth.

1. Start within…

Everyday your little sponges watch you and listen to you for cues on how they are expected to behave. If you want honest kids, be a honest person. Always telling your children the truth is important. We tend to tell white lies to spare our children from dealing with certain realities or because we just do not have the time at that moment to deal with it. I catch myself doing some transgression of this all the time. Whether it be promising a treat and not delivering or saying five more minutes and then I will take them outside, little lies add up. (I am not giving up the mythical characters just yet though.) Be consistent. If you say you will do something, do it. If you promise a punishment, follow through. Your children will learn that you mean what you say and can be trusted.

2. Frame job

This is the way this conversation is heard on any given morning in my house:

“Did you clean your room?”
“Yes.”
“Did you make your bed?”
“Yes”
“Can I go check?”
“Uh…no!”

I know when I ask my son these questions that he will lie to me. I have been through it enough times to know that this is the way it will go. I set him up. I give him to opportunity to lie. My son does not lie to be devious or deceitful. He lies because all he wants to do at that moment is to please me. He knows what I want to hear, so he tells me that, taking the chance that he will be on the bus before I actually have a chance to notice that his room looks like a couple of UFC matches took place in there overnight. Do not set your kids up to lie. If you know your child has not cleaned their room,
remind them that cleaning their room will make it much easier to find the things that are important to them and ask if they would like some help.

3. Liar, Liar Pants on Fire
My daughter is going through a biting phase that I never experienced with my son. She will bite her brother and he will come running to me to tell on her. I will immediately ask her if she has bitten her brother to which I get a resounding NO! I will then say, “Cooper, I do not like liars.” In this situation, not only did I ask her a question I already knew the answer to, but I called her a name on top of it. A better reaction may be to say that biting can hurt people and I do not think she is telling me the truth. Instead of saying, “Do not lie to me” I have taken to saying “Mommy would really like if you would tell the truth.”


4. Choices

When my son was in Pre-K his teacher established that everything the children did was a choice. They made the choice to be good and they made the choice to be bad. She gave them warnings that reminded them of this. She would say something like, “Mark, are you making a good choice by not sitting still during story time? If you continue that choice then you will be choosing to sit away from the group” If Mark continued to make that choice she took him aside and told him that he chose to continue the behavior and he in turn chose to be punished. The same thing can be applied to lying. Explain to your children that lying or not telling the truth is a choice that they make. You would like very much if they made the choice to tell the truth all the time. Tell them that there will be times when they make the choice not to tell the truth and with this choice comes consequences they probably will not like. You are giving your child the opportunity to make up their own mind. It may take a few bad choices and not so great consequences, but after they connect the two, the choices they make will start to change.

5. Focus and Breathe
Sound like your Lamaze class? Same concepts different outcome. I have had many a mommy moment where I needed to step back and take a deep breath. Sometimes I did and sometimes I did not. Those times that I did were a lot less stressful for all those involved. When I reacted badly it became about my reaction, not about the fact that my child lied to me. I have been trying to get a handle on my reaction fuse. Instead of immediately jumping to the extreme I have started saying things like, “Mommy’s patience is very small right now. Please tell me the truth so that I do not lose my patience.” I have also begun to step back and breathe. If I feel myself about to go over the edge I walk outside or I say that I need a minute or two to collect my thoughts and remove myself from my children. My theory behind it is that to deal correctly with my children’s behavior I need to control my own behavior. This sometimes works and sometimes it does not. It is an on going process. As parents there are many things that we must teach our children before we send them out in to the world. Honesty is one characteristic that I would like my children to have a secure handle on. I want them to know that the truth is a powerful thing. I want them to always have the confidence to tell the truth. Teaching my children to tell the truth is as much about me as it is about them. I have to have to strength and the courage to react in a positive way. Now, when my children tell me the truth, I will say that I admire them for telling me the truth because that is a hard thing to do sometimes. With me setting a good example and encouraging honesty instead of punishing for it, I hope that my children will recognize that the truth is a valuable commodity and that it is ok to make mistakes as long as we work together to correct them.

Guest Post Week

I won a trip to Type A Mom Conference thanks to Whrrl.com, so I will be taking a week off ! But that doesn’t mean that No Time For Flash Cards won’t be updated daily, I have lined up 6 amazing guest posts from writers that will blow your socks off. There will be crafts like today’s adorable sewing project from Kimberly of You Can’t Diaper Their Faces, posts about books and literacy, and even an essay about parenting. Do not miss it.

Sewing with Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers.

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Every time I set up my sewing machine (and I do have to set it up each time I use it, oh, how I dream of a sewing room!,) EcoKid (my daughter) wants to sew with me.  She’s an almost-four year old whose fine motor skills are a little delayed; I’m just not willing to risk giving her a go on the machine just yet.  But I hate to say no to a genuine interest, so I developed the following craft for her as an introduction to sewing.  She loves it and I hope that you will too!

Here we go!

1.  Gather your materials.  You will need some fabric scraps (try for a variety of colours, patterns, and textures to make it really interesting for your child,) glitter glue (or plain white glue—my daughter never misses a chance to use glitter glue though!,) brightly coloured construction paper, a black marker, and scissors.

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2.  Ask your child what kind of clothes s/he would like to “sew.”  Draw outlines of the garments on the construction paper.  (My daughter is forgiving of my terrible drawing skills; I hope you will be too!)

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3.  If your child can cut following lines, have her/him cut out the garments you’ve drawn.  My daughter is still struggling to use scissors, so I cut them out and then gave her the paper left behind along with her training scissors so she could practise cutting in a manner that’s not frustrating for her.

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4.  Cut up your fabric scraps.  Cut them into various sizes and shapes and talk to your child about the shapes you’re making.  Ask her/him if there are any shapes s/he’d like to have for the project.  My daughter always asks for triangles and trapezoids!  (She’s a bit of a geometry nut .)

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5.  Now let your child loose with the glitter glue, fabric scraps, and the garments you’ve cut from construction paper.  I like to keep it very free form, allowing my daughter to choose where and what to paste.  We talk a lot about the texture of the fabrics and the colours and shapes she’s choosing.  She especially likes it when I have some ribbon in the scraps; those are always chosen first!

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6.  Let the glue dry… and congratulate your child on some terrific sewing!

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And keeping in Allie’s fine tradition, here are some great books for kids that feature sewing:

Stitchin’ and Pullin’: A Gee’s Bend Quilt by Patricia McKissack

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Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gilman

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Nurse Lugton’s Curtain by Virginia Woolf  (yes, that Virginia Woolf!)

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My Forever Dress by Harriet Ziefert

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Good Families Don’t by Robert Munsch

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Kimberly Bewick is a mom of 2 and a  Canadian expat living in Turkey . Her blog You Can’t Diaper Their Faces : a guide to modern mothering is a must read for any mom, modern or not.

Alphabet Spin Game.

There is no Letter of the Week today . I am still on vacation so I have a treat for you. Today our special guest Amy from Teachmama has graciously allowed me to scour her blog for a post that I think would be perfect for my readers. She originally wrote this in the spring but I think so many of you could benefit not just from this game but from her whole awesome blog! Regular old me and my mini Picasso return tomorrow !

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We had rain, rain, rain once again, which will hopefully mean that the flowers will be more beautiful than ever here in Maryland. Maybe? I can hardly wait for some outside color-matching activities. . .
Anyway, today was a pretty good afternoon for indoor games.

Once Cora went down for her nap, I let Maddy and Owen choose which game they wanted to play before their rest times–Alphabet Egg Puzzles, Rhyme Bingo, Rhyme Sorts, or Alphabet Spin. Owen choose good ole Alphabet Spin. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here before, so here’s what it is:

  • Alphabet Spin: This is yet another resource from Bear’s Words Their Way . . . (2004), and we’ve played it several times now. I am convinced that little kids really love any game with a spinner, so Maddy and Owen both enjoy this one.
The concept is simple: match uppercase and lowercase letters A-I. (Alphabet Spin II has the second half of the alphabet.) Uppercase letters A-I are printed on the spinner board, and lowercase letters are on about two dozen tiny cards. A person spins, says the letter that the spinner points to, then searches for that lowercase letter. The first few times we played, we lined the cards up so that they were all facing the same way. Now, we just spread them around the spinner board. It’s funny for them if we stick some of them in the carpet so they stand up–hey, whatever works, right?

The tricky part is when you get to the end of the game, since most cards have been taken, since the winner is the person with the most cards in the end.

I love that this game includes only half of the alphabet, especially because little ones usually confuse b/d and p/q. I also love that i/j are separated and that Alphabet Spin I & II each have half of the alphabet.
With this game, we do a lot of comparing–when someone gets a B or a D, someone locates a lowercase b and d and holds them next to each other so the person can choose more easily, and we always help each other out if need be. It seems to be just enough of a challenge and not too, too overwhelming for them.

That’s it–that’s our little bit of learning for the day. Now, rain, rain, go away.

For more amazing learning activities check out
teachmama.com

Thank You Amy !

Great Books for Big Kids from…

Amy Kraft the brains and brawn behind Media Macaroni a blog full of amazing reviews, info and ideas when it comes to all sorts of media directed at our kids. In my dreams I live in NYC and meet Amy for coffee to chat about kids books, a girl can dream right ? I wasn’t dreaming when she offered to share some of her great chapter book reviews for older kids! Here are just two of the many ( including many picture books) you can find on her blog Media Macaroni.

Imagine if The Most Dangerous Game was a reality TV show watched by an entire nation. Then imagine all of the contestants are children. This is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, author of Gregor the Overlander and The Underland Chronicles. As much as I love those books, Suzanne Collins has outdone herself with this amazing new young adult novel. (Full review)

You may recall that I was one of the lucky few to score an advance reader’s copy of Suzanne Collin’s Catching Fire at Book Expo. I immediately took a picture of it, such was my disbelief at holding a copy.( Full Review)