Parent’s Corner: Product Review

Crayola Beginnings
Triangular Markers

I am always on the look out for new art supplies that are geared towards the preschool crowd.
These markers have the suggested age of 24m + right on the box but I know many if not all of us usually subtract a few months off those suggestions because we all know how brilliant and advanced our kids are . So I thought I would buy them and test them out with my 17 month old.


Here are our findings.

  • What I liked: I love that there is no cap, as a teacher I would have killed for these. I hated chasing after the caps to all my markers. I also liked how vibrant the colors were and that the felt tip doesn’t stick out much from the plastic casing, this is great with my son who recently bit the tip off a regular crayola marker !
  • What I didn’t like : The markers are designed for children who are starting to use the proper writing grip, so obviously this is still a ways off for my son and really I have seen plenty of 3 year olds not ready for that yet either. So that was frustrating for him and that resulted in throwing them and they made a fun sound on the wood floor, another negative in my mind!
  • What my son liked: He liked the colors, he exclaimed ” Oooooohhhh when he saw how bright the Orange and yellow were! He liked how the markers didn’t roll away from him when he put them down . He also liked biting on the plastic casing, and the fun sound the marker made when it hit mommy’s floor!
  • What my son didn’t like : It was harder for him to draw and hold with little hands and the tip is too far up to bite off and give mommy a heart attack ( mommy disagrees that this is a bad thing) . Also I forgot to add that the ends look very similar so he would try to color with the wrong end and again get frustrated.

** Obviously my son was too young for these but overall I was pretty impressed, I will pop them in my cupboard and pull them out in the fall! If there is a product you are wondering about or have a review for please contact me and I would be happy to include it in the next Parent’s Corner !

Under the Sea !

Paper Bag Octopus!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a paper bag, a magazine or newspaper, some paint, a brush and some tape.
  2. Start by painting your bag, open it up to paint all the sides. I like to use a few different colors to make a fun multicolored octopus!
  3. Paint the bottom of the bag last and let dry.
  4. Rip some pages out of a magazine and crumple them into balls.
  5. Stuff your bag and put a piece of tape tightly around the gathered bag.
  6. Cut the remaining bag into 8 tentacles. Add eyes by using a marker with younger children or googly eyes with older ones who are less likely to try and eat the googly eyes!
Song!

Oscar the Octopus


Oscar the Octopus has 8 legs
Oscar the Octopus has 8 legs
Oscar the Octopus has 8 legs
so swim Oscar swim!
Boom! Boom! Boom!
*Continue to 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0 legs
and end it with ” Oscar is a fish!” after zero legs.


Books!

” Commotion in the Ocean” by Giles Andreae is a fun look at the different creatures in the ocean. The short rhymes for each creatures are all in all cute and somewhat informative as well! The illustrations by David Wojtowycz are bright , endearing and I think they steal the show!

“Super Submarines” by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker rhymes along as it explains to the reader how a sub works, and all the ways we use submarines to explore deep down in the ocean!

” What it’s like to be a Fish?” by Wendy Pfeffer is a fantastic non fiction look at fish and how they move, eat and breath underwater! The text is too lengthy for toddlers and young preschoolers but older preschoolers will love it!

Everything in its place , and a place for everything!

Pretty Paper Place Mats

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some construction paper or card stock, some glue, scissors, crayons and contact paper.
  2. Have your child color , write their name, draw a picture whatever they want on a light color paper.
  3. While they are doing that you can cut out some shapes using another piece of paper , or if your child is able you can have them do this step as well.
  4. Glue the shapes to the paper, for young toddlers I would suggest putting small drops of glue on the paper and having them put the shapes on them.
  5. Cut a large enough piece of contact paper to fold over the place mat.
  6. Place the drawing/ collage on another piece of paper to use as a backing.
  7. Place both pieces face down on the first half of the contact paper, then fold the rest over. You want to do it face down to avoid big bubbles on the front of the place mat.
  8. Trim and you are good to go!!


Books!

” The Princess and the Pizza” by Mary Jane and Herm Auch is a cute revamped fairytale about a Princess who discovers Pizza and independence all at once. There are some sassy parts to this story so you may want to keep this book for older children , but the message of independence is refreshing.

” Mmmm, Cookies!” by Robert Munsch is a silly story about a boy who makes cookies out of playdough and tricks people into eating them, and their revenge. The story itself isn’t extraordinary but the way that the actions in the story are coupled with sounds keeps even the most uninterested reader turning the pages!

” If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Joffe Numeroff is a fun story about a demanding mouse and the consequences of giving into his whims! The illustrations by Felicia Bond have adorable details and compliment the simple but entertaining story perfectly. I like to use this book while teaching sequencing, and after reading it ask the children ” Well what happened next?” .

That Blows! Frustration , Feelings and Fun!

Blow Painting!

This is a great project for preschoolers on up but would probably prove to be incredibly frustrating for toddlers.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper, drinking straws, paint, a small container and a little bit of water.
  2. Thin out your paint with a little water in a small container. It should be thin enough to splatter but still thick enough to hold the pigment.
  3. Using your straw drip some paint on your paper.
  4. Keeping the end of your straw close to the drip of paint , blow through it and watch the paint spread! If it’s not spreading try thinning it out a bit more, or blow harder!
  5. Add another color and keep going! Spin the paper around to get the splatters in all directions.

Song!



Cooperation Song

The more we work together,
together,
together,
the more we work together,
the happier we’ll be,
cause I like to help you,
and you like to help me,

the more we work together,
the happier we’ll be.

Books!

I decided to focus my song and books about feelings because young children need a lot of reassurance about feelings in my experience. Toddlers and Preschoolers have always reminded me of teenagers, seeking independence from the baby stage but not sure about where the boundaries should be. All of these books have been useful to me while teaching and talking to young children about feelings.


“The way I feel” by Janan Cain is a useful book. It labels feelings with a short rhyming piece of text and fanciful illustrations. While I wouldn’t suggest this as a book for a nightly read it is useful while specifically learning and talking about emotions. I like to have children show me their faces in the same feelings as the book progresses. If you are reading this with a small group or your child stop and talk about times when you felt these emotions.

” The Grumpy Morning” by Pamela Duncan Edwards is a great book. I think I got it as a freebie with a scholastic order years ago, either way I am so glad I have it. The book follows all the animals on a farm as they wake up grumpy and hungry and needing attention from the farmer. As a teacher i love this book because I could talk about whining, and demanding and ask my students if there are better ways to get what you want. As a parent I love it because the text is musical and my son loves seeing all the animals and what sounds they make since he is still a little young to appreciate the lesson about feelings at 16 months.

” Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” by Judith Viorst is a modern classic. I have loved this book since grade 2 when Madame Griffin had us write our own versions of the story. I stole her idea many times over the years usually doing it as a circle time activity with each child adding one thing that makes them mad. This magic of this book is that the end isn’t happy , Alexander goes to bed still mad and that’s okay, sometimes days are bad.


Down by the station – A Family Field Trip

Family Field Trip to The Fire Station


Every community has a fire station and they all offer chances for your child to learn about fire safety and test out the equipment, all you have to do is call your local station and ask. We went to Frisco Safety Town in Frisco , Texas while on vacation.

Here is Daddy and the little man checking out the inside of the Fire Engine

There is something magical about a steering wheel to a toddler. We tried to show him the equipment the fire fighters wear but all he wanted to do was drive the fire engine!

That is until he figured out he could play with the radio!

Song!

Click here for ” Hurry Hurry Drive the Firetruck”

Books!

There are a lot of books about fire fighters and fire engines out there, these are just two of many!



“The Little Fire Engine” by Lois Lenski is a simple little book about a fire engine that goes to put out fires. Nothing special but every time my son sees it at the library he won’t let it go. In 6 months we’ve taken it out 4 times. I think the bright retro illustrations ( it was originally published in the early 60′s) and the simple text is what makes it so appealing.


” Even Firefighters Hug Their Moms” by Christine Kole MacLean was disappointing. The illustrations are adorable but it seemed like the author was writing the book more for moms to read than for kids . While some books successfully entertain both parents and children , this one wasn’t very entertaining for anyone. I really wanted to like it, and maybe you will but I won’t be adding it to any must read lists any time soon.

Additional Resources

Here are a few online resources for fire safety:

www.firesafety.gov

www.firesafetyforkids.org

www.sparky.org