It’s A Wrap!

Handmade
Wrapping Paper

If you have small children you probably end up going to a lot of birthday parties, this activity uses your child’s natural excitement for the party and reigns it in for a few moments anyway!

  1. Gather your materials. I am using old Christmas wrapping paper ( I swear this one roll has been around since the 90’s) , I find that using real wrapping paper makes it easier to actually wrap the gift, but any paper will work. Also I am using sponges for a more uniform look, but finger painting or another style is fine too! Of course you’ll need paint too, like usual I am mixing my own colors!
  2. Use a large piece of paper, larger than you think you will need and tape it face down to the table, or my favorite place a porch/ patio , the hose makes clean up easy!
  3. If you are sponge painting cut the sponge into small shapes.
  4. Pour some paint colors onto a dish and mix, this is one of my son’s favorite parts of art time!
  5. Start painting!
  6. Add more colors and keep going!Move your child around the paper for a more even pattern.
  7. Remember how I said use a large piece of paper? This is why, beware of toddlers who think ripping is fun! Luckily I saved enough of the paper for the gift!
  8. Let dry at least 24 hours, and wrap it in a place that is easy to clean as well, sometimes thick paint will flake off after wrapping. I suggest giving your box a good shake after wrapping.
Books!

” Babar’s Birthday Surprise” by Laurent de Brunhof is a story about friends trying to keep a special present a surprise from Babar, and all the trouble it takes to do so. I like Babar books, especially the vocabulary found in the older Babar books, words like stupefied , splendid and catastrophe ! This is a longer book, I would probably not try this with younger preschoolers and toddlers but this is a great book for 4-5 year olds !

” Moira’s Birthday” by Robert Munsch is a silly book, most of his books are, but silly is great! Moira is excited about having her birthday and doesn’t know how to say no to all the kids at school when they beg to come to her party. She ends up with the whole school at her house and her parents don’t know what to do! Luckily Moira does. This book at first look may seem like Moira is a spoiled brat who gets her way but really she is problem solving and when she gives away a present to each child who helps clean up, you can see she just wanted a good party, and isn’t a gift grabbing brat at all! Kids LOVE this book, I have never read it to a class that didn’t laugh hysterically.

“On the Night You Were Born” by Nancy Tillman is a beautiful book , maybe I am analyzing it too much but it’s really indulgent. Yes I think it’s message is right, everyone is special but what is wrong with just saying your mommy, daddy and family were excited that you were born, do we really need to tell kids that polar bears danced upon hearing the news? The pictures really are amazing I am just not a fan of the text.

Letter Of The Week! Bb!

Buzzzzzzy Bee!


As your child shows interest in letters it’s a great time to find activities that help foster that interest, and as you may expect my suggestions do not include flash cards!
  1. Gather your materials. You will need some white or yellow construction paper, some black paper, a pipe cleaner, some yellow paint , scissors and glue.
  2. Draw a large B on your yellow or white construction paper. Cut the outline out but do not cut the insides of the B out, unless you are doing this with an older child, it makes the B very fragile and will probably end up ripped.
  3. Have your child paint the B, I am using glitter paint because it’s my favorite but you can use whatever you like, or skip this step all together.
  4. While your child is painting using the black paper cut out some wings and stripes.
  5. Have your child glue the stripes on the B.
  6. Glue the wings on the underside of the B.
  7. Thread the pipe cleaner half way through the B, I made sure I did this at a spot where there was a black stripe to give it extra strength, bend the pipe cleaner into antennae.
  8. Let dry and cut out the insides of the B. If you want you can also glue the B onto a full size piece of construction paper for added stability.

Additional Activities


Discovery Boxes

A great way to introduce a letter of the week to your child is to fill a box with items starting with that letter. This morning after breakfast my son and I sat down and pulled lots of fun things out of our box. A Ball, Blocks, Books and Big Beads were all in there! The best part about this activity is that you use things around your house, and you can use it for letters, colors and shapes!

Letter of the week “Stories”

This is a fun activity for older preschoolers, I had fun doing this with my PreK class a few years ago! What you do is write a short story leaving blanks for your child to fill in with words starting with the letter of the week. The results will make both of you giggle, and your child will be learning too!

Here is an example :


Mr. _________ was a funny old man, he lived in a _________ house with a pet _______ ! When he went to the grocery store he bought lots of _________ , I think that was all he ever ate! He wore silly things too, he would wear ________ on his feet and _______ on his head!

Remember to keep it short so that your child stays interested, you want them to be challenged , not frustrated!

Mother’s Day : Part 1 !

~ Happy Mother’s Day ~
I hope you have a wonderful weekend and if you need a gift in a pinch , I am reposting our easy peasy craft as well as some great Mom and Grandma book suggestions!

Foam Fridge Frames!
( say that 3x fast!)



Since most of my readers are moms I decided to gear today more for Grandmas, late
r in the week I will do a book review of just books that since becoming a mom make me cry ( what’s the deal with that?!) , be sure not to miss it!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 3-4 foam sheets, some glue , scissors, a magnet/magnetic tape and a picture of your dear child and either yourself or your spouse if you are giving it to your mom or mother in law.
  2. Trace the outside of the picture , onto one of the foam sheets. Try not to press too hard or it might be noticeable in the finished product.
  3. Fold the foam sheet with the tracing on it in half and cut slightly inside the line to create a frame.
  4. Keeping the sheet folded you can cut on the other side of the line in a squiggly pattern to make a cool scroll effect.
  5. Cut shapes out of one or two of the other foam sheet, the sky is the limit , one tip though if you want intricate shapes use very fine tipped scissors, regular ones just don’t cut it precisely.
  6. Glue your shapes on your frame piece. Make sure your tracing is on the backside.
  7. Glue your picture onto an uncut foam sheet.
  8. Glue around your picture and place the frame with shapes over it.
  9. Let dry, then on the back glue your magnetic tape , or magnet pieces. I just used one of the free magnets I got from my local library, cut it in 3 and glued them on.
  10. Send this to your mom or mother in law!

* You will probably notice my son is missing from these pictures. I chose to do this activity as a naptime one, because at 17 months he still puts foamy things in his mouth and this activity just begged for that. This should really be done only with children who unlike my son, are past the everything goes in to the mouth stage.

Books!

Like I said above, today I am focusing on our reader’s moms, but in a few days I will have a post dedicated to books about moms !

” Grandma and Me” by Karen Katz is presently the big hit at our house and the inspiration for today’s activity. I didn’t read it at all before handing it to my mom and saying ” How can you resist this book?” . She bought it and sat down to read it with my son, the book is bright and sweet with great flaps to lift, but just so moms of boys know it’s all about a girl and her grandma. I would have still bought it but I giggle every time I lift the flap where grandma has hidden a new ” Nightgown” for her granddaughter, at our house it’s a tee shirt! My son adores books where he can participate physically , and I can’t help but melt when he grabs it and says ” Gaga” as he grabs it from our book bin !

“Just Grandma and Me” by Mercer Mayer is a fun counter part to the previous book, in this book a grandma and her grandson hit the beach and enjoy an afternoon together. There is something so sweet and touching about this book and the special bonds between grandparents and their grandchildren. The last page is adorable with Little Critter being carried into his house asleep on his grandma’s shoulder.

Books About Mom


“Runaway Bunny” by Margaret Wise Brown I am trying to find the right way to say how much I dislike this book I know many love it but I just can’t get on board. A few years ago my assistant teacher and I used to call it “Run bunny run!” because this poor bunny is just trying to get some space from his mom. I know that some people adore this book and think that the sentiment of security is the one to focus on but I can’t write that I love it when I don’t.

“Stellaluna” by Janell Canon has long been a favorite when teaching about bats. I will warn you it’s a little long for fidgety toddlers but they will still enjoy it even if you skip a few pages. The story follows a little bat who looses her mother and is adopted into a family of birds. She never really feels like she belongs even though she is happy. and likes her bird family. That’s not the end though, there is a surprise reunion and Stellaluna saves the day before the end of this book!

” Does A Kangaroo Have A Mother Too?” by Eric Carle is a educational and fun story for toddlers and preschoolers. Much like many of his other books, the story is simple, the text is short but the over all reading experience is great. This was a favorite to read at circle time because the whole book is the same question over and over, which is the perfect foundation for gathering your student’s or children’s opinions!


“Is Your Mama a Llama? “ by Deborah Guarino is a classroom favorite, I don’t know many preschool teachers who can’t recite most of this book . Readers follow Lloyd the llama as he riddles his way through a bunch of animals until he find the one he calls mom. I like the mix of animals in this book, a little different than your average zoo or farm collection.


“Did I Tell You I Love You Today?” by Deloris Jordan is a very practical yet heartwarming look at all the ways parents show love to their children everyday, from feeding them healthy food to praying after they go to bed. My son loved all the big boy things in the book like, the school bus, basketball and the playground. I teared up reading the book, but I cry at American Idol so that may not be indicative of anything!

“I Love You With All My Heart!” by Noris Kern is the precursor to “Will you Still Love Me” the author is the illustrator in the other book. The characters are the same and the story is equally as sweet. It’s a slow but calming story about Polo’s quest to understand what mama bear means when she says she loves him with all her heart!

“Mama’s Saris” by Pooja Makhijani is a simple yet rich story about a little girl and her desire to dress in her mama’s clothes. I think I would be hard pressed to find a woman who doesn’t remember watching in awe as her mom got dressed for a special event and wanting to dress just like mama. The narrator is Hindu and her mama wears a sari for special occasions and she is stubbornly trying to get her mom to let her wear one for her 7th birthday. The illustrations are beautiful, especially the jewel tones of the various saris. This book would be a great one to read before playing dress up or other pretend play. The story is touching and although it’s too long for toddlers, it’s a great book for preschoolers !




” I Love You, Stinky Face” by Lisa McCourt reminds me of “The Runaway Bunny” but less saccharine and creepy. Sorry if I have just called your favorite book creepy but I’ve never been a fan of “The Runaway Bunny”. Back to this book and why I like it, I love that the little boy in the book keeps trying to find ways to make him unlovable and the mom keeps finding ways to love unconditionally. There is a deeper meaning here and moms will see past the fun illustrations to the real heart of this book, which is no matter what we love our children. When I found this in a thrift store and read it quickly, I couldn’t look at my son in his stroller throwing puffs on the floor without tearing up!

” Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch is perhaps the classic tear jerking picture book. I read this for years and years to children and had no problem getting choked up, it never bothered me, then I gave birth and I can’t read it without sobbing. The premise is simple, a mom sings this simple song to her son as he grows ” I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as you’re living , my baby you’ll be.” until she can’t sing it anymore and it’s his turn. For days after I read this I tear up as I lay my son in his crib.


” The Mommy Book” by Todd Parr is a bright, funny and wonderfully random book. I love Todd Parr and his blunt and diverse books. In this one he once again reassures kids that mommies come in all different forms but all mommies want you to be who you are! Your kids will love the simple and vibrant pictures that are Todd Parr’s signature!

“The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn is a beautiful story about a little raccoon afraid to go to school and leave his mother, but his mom knows a special trick for Chester to be brave and remember that his mommy loves him. This book has helped a number of former students get over separation anxiety although sometimes I think it’s more for us moms than our brave little guys!


“Hair for Mama” by Kelly A. Tinkham is beautiful. The story is about a little boy who is desperate to find some hair for his mama who has lost hers to chemotherapy. Marcus wants mama to be in the family photo but she doesn’t want to be the way she looks. His mission comes to a climax when he shaves off all his own hair hoping to give it to his mama. When the barber sweeps it up with the other hair on the floor Marcus is heart broken and goes home in tears. I was sobbing reading this, I knew it was a story about a mom having cancer but the way the author wrote it , it was magical. The complex emotions this little boy felt for his mom and she for him, jumped off the page and you can’t help but cry. I wasn’t sad ,I was touched by the love and desire to fix his mom and make everything better, and his parents tenderness to his feelings. I can’t recommend this book more highly. I should note that this is not a book for toddlers, I would probably wait until a child is 4-5 before reading them this gem.


“My Mama Says There Aren’t Any Zombies, Ghosts, Vampires, Creatures, Demons, Monsters, Fiends, Goblins or Things.” by Judith Viorst is a lovely , touching but not saccharine book about how moms makes mistakes too. The litter boy narrating the book, continues to insist that there are monsters and such despite his mom saying there isn’t. He used the fact that he often catches his mom making little mistakes to prove that she must be wrong when she says those horrible creatures don’t exist. In the end though mama keeps him safe and is right after all.


” Piglet and Mama” by Margaret Wild is the only book in this list I would suggest for the under 3 crowd. My son loved it. Piglet is searching for his mom and even though all the other animal mommies offer for him to join them and their babies he wants his mom! The illustrations by Stephen Michael King capture the warmth between a mama and her baby beautifully . My son has the “Mama” scream perfected and quite enjoyed seeing the little piglet do the same thing for her mama. We had a nice chat after reading this about separation, something we have been struggling with for a while. Before nap today I reminded my son that just like piglet his mama will come get him when he wakes up. Even if separation anxiety isn’t something you are dealing with at your house this is a sweet book.

Feel and Learn

Texture Collage

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a piece of card stock or construction paper, some markers/ crayons, glue and then some smaller pieces of things like feathers, aluminum foil, sand paper- anything that can easily be glued on and have an obvious texture. I used some foam ( squishy), foil wrapping paper ( smooth) and feathers ( soft) .
  2. I had my son start out with markers, because writing / scribbling is an important skill so practicing it is fun and worthwhile, but you don’t need to do this step.
  3. Drizzle or have your child put some glue on the paper.
  4. Put the collage materials on one at a time, talk about how it feels when your child is handling it.
  5. With older children you can ask them to close their eyes , put the collage material into their hands and ask them what it feels like!