Friday, December 31, 2010

Best of 2010 & Happy New Year!

Here's my top ten list of 2010. they are numbered, but not exactly in order because I like them all for different reasons. I obviously like the memories and homemade things the best, but all of these activities have some value in them. For some activities, I enjoyed preparing them, the kids enjoyed them or I even learned something from them. I picked posts that mean something to me, but I also picked a couple with the most page views.

One of my favorite things this year was making homemade Christmas cards. It might have been the start of a new tradition.
The Making Snowmen Sensory Tub post was one of my most popular posts
Animals of Africa was one of my most popular posts and it was the start of my Animals From Seven Continents series.
The Fire Truck was one of my favorite memories of 2010.
Another of my favorite memories from 2010 was one day when I decided to Let Them Play. It was a lesson learned.
Pumpkin Patch Match is a matching Halloween activity. I had fun picking out the pictures for this one.
Sounds for 4 Seasons was one of my favorite sound activities of 2010.
The kids enjoyed this Guessing Smells activity.
The Homemade Ocean was another of my favorite creations that the kids enjoyed. They'd stop to look at it every time we walked down the hall.
Fall Lesson Plan is a plan I put together for fall. It includes books, art, math, recipes etc.
I’d like to wish everyone a happy new year! I hope good things come to all of you in 2011.

Ball dropping!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Weekly Favorites For December 26, 2010

Here are a few favorite posts from Christmas week. I know I'm posting them late which is why the date in the subject line is different than the posted date.

New and Improved Snow Ice Cream
Another recipe for snow ice cream.

Indoor No mess Snowballs
Snowballs for indoors!

Cupcake Liner Snowflakes
A simple way to make snowflake decorations.

Winter Craft Snow Dough Men
A fun snowman play-dough activity.

Homemade Marshmallows
Here's how to make homemade marshmallows!

Before You Throw Away Those packaging Materials...
Several activities to put packaging materials to use.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I’d like to wish everyone who reads my blog a merry Christmas! I hope you all enjoy spending time with family, friends, pets or however you will be spending your holidays!
I’d also like to thank you for taking the time to read my blog and for posting comments. I appreciate all the comments even if I don’t get to respond to each one. It’s been six months since I started my blog already and I’ve enjoyed posting as well as reading everyone’s posts and ideas. I will take a little break from blogging for the weekend and will post my usual weekly favorites on Monday instead. Have a happy and safe holiday!

Candy Cane

Christmas Tree

Snowman in a Snow Storm!

Homemade Christmas Cards

I usually don’t make cards for people, but a couple days ago, I came up with some ideas and I think they came out pretty good. I made them last night to give to people today. The only problem I’m having with them is they aren’t folding like they did before they were dry, but I think they still can make a nice decoration.

Since an eight by eleven sized sheet of paper wouldn’t be big enough, I taped two pieces of oak tag paper on top of each other to make them thicker. Then I took two more pieces and taped them together the same way. Finally, I taped the two pieces together side by side which made the surface bigger.

The first card has a snowflake, Christmas tree and wreath made of garland. There is puff paint snow all over the card as well. I mixed a half cup of glue, a half cup of shaving cream and a t-spoon of glitter to make the puff paint. It came out well and is still puffy textured, but it’s hard instead of regular puff paints that stay kind of soft.

For the snowflake, I took a cupcake liner and folded it into eights and then cut along the creases. I glued it onto the paper and then glued three cotton balls in the middle to make it more 3d. I added puff paint and glitter on top.

For the Christmas tree, I took part of a toilet paper tube, glued it to the paper and then glued garland over it to cover all the cardboard. Next, I glued cotton balls. The first row has four, then three, then two and then one for the top. For the topper, I added a glittery foam star sticker. For ornaments, I took mini pompoms and glued them to the cotton balls. After the tree was done, I added puff paint and glitter.

For the wreath, it was simple. I took a strip of garland and made a circle which I glued to the paper. For the top of the wreath, I glued some gold ribbon above the garland. I put a little puff paint and glitter over that as well to make it look like it had snowed.

My second card has a present and a Christmas tree on it. For the present, I took a tiny gift box and cut off one of the sides so I still had a square piece of cardboard. I glued the cardboard to the card and then put puff paint over it. Since my gold ribbon wasn’t sticking to the gift box, I added garland. I tried to make two little loops so it looked like a bow was on top of the box, but it got a little scrunched up while I was gluing it. It still looks shiny and kind of pretty.

For this Christmas tree, I did everything almost the same except the tube was a little bigger so I used more garland. I started my tree with five cotton balls on the bottom and worked my way to one at the top. When it came time for the topper, I realized there wasn’t enough room for a foam star so I took a different shiny star and glued it to the top cotton ball. Next, I added a few mini pompoms and shiny circles for ornaments. Finally, I put puff paint and glitter on the tree. I also put puff paint and glitter over the rest of the card to make it look frosted.

I gave one to my boyfriend already and he loved it. We’ll see if my mom will like hers tonight when I visit her and the rest of my family for our Christmas Eve celebration. I think I’ll do this again next year. I had a lot of fun making them.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Making Snowmen Sensory Tub

Making Snowmen Sensory Tub

You could use this tub for just exploration and playing or for an art project.
What’s in it:
Cotton balls,
Colored stones,
Plastic mittens, boots, scarf and hats,
Shiny stars,
Shiny circles,
Christmas lights,
Shiny pipe cleaners,
Googley eyes,
Plush snowman
And snowman candle.

These are all things you could use to make a snowman. You can include paper, scissors and glue so that they can glue the snowmen to the flat surface. Cotton balls could be the main body. Stones could be the main body as well if you draw circles first on white paper and then fill them in with clear stones. It would make a frosted look. I included boots, mittens, hat and scarf as models or for tracing. They were decorations taken from my birthday cake this year. The second hat came from an old Bath and Body Works Bottle. I thought the colored stones, buttons, bells, lights, stars and shiny circles and tiny pompoms could be used as accessories. The lights are extra little bulbs that weren’t attached to a strand, some of the stars are foam stickers and the bells were from old cat collars. For the picture, the tiny bells, buttons and lights are sitting in a sea shell so they wouldn’t role around and get lost. The ribbon, garland or pipe cleaners can be used as the scarf. The pipe cleaners can be twisted to form a hat too. It’s obvious what the googley eyes are for although you can use any of the other circles for that. The plush snowman is there as a model snowman and the candle is there to make the tub smell good. You can add a little shovel or scoop with some cups too, but I forgot to put them in before I took the picture.

Some other ideas for things to add are felt, snowflakes, yarn, different colors and textures of ribbon, fake snow, white garland, large pompoms, coffee filters, cupcake liners, fabric etc.
I hope you enjoy this idea.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Making Presents for Play

I saw cute little presents that one of the teachers made today and thought I’d post how to make them. I wasn’t able to take pictures, but I’ll describe them the best I can. It’s not very difficult.

Styrofoam blocks or empty boxes,
Different fabric or wrapping paper,
Ribbon and or string.

This person took little blocks of Styrofoam. She cut up the type of foam you can find in the craft section that you can use to hold flowers. They were rectangles and squares about the size of smaller leggos, but you can make them any size you want.
After cutting the shapes you want, cut colored fabric or wrapping paper a little larger than the foam shape. Then wrap it like it’s a present and make sure all corners are tucked in. Next, take two pieces of ribbon or string. Tie one around the gift from bottom to top and then tie another string from one side of the gift to the other. This way, the fabric won’t come apart since the ribbon is on each side. Tie the pieces into a bow on the top of the gift. That’s all you have to do.

Some of the presents had gold wrapping paper and ribbon, others had solid red fabric and others had red and green striped fabric with red yarn. You can use any kind of fabric, felt, wrapping paper, and homemade wrapping paper. You can use basically any material that you can wrap with. For the gift part, I’ve seen people use wooden blocks, different types of foam and of course empty boxes. To add to the gift, you can put different things inside to change the weight and sound if you are using empty boxes. Today, these were in the sensory table with shells, sand and trucks so they seemed out of place, but they’d work well in a holiday themed sensory tub. The only thing that makes sense is that the trucks were delivering the packages. You could use these little gifts for sorting, patterning, counting, or larger gifts for dramatic play. If your kids are old enough, they could even help you make them.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter I-spy Jar

Here’s my version of an I-spy winter jar.
I saw this idea on The Activity Mom's blog.
What’s in it:

3 buttons,
5 shiny stars,
A plastic mitten,
Tiny bell,
Glitter letters, (W for winter, C for Christmas and S for snow)
Plastic candy cane,
Small spoon with winter sticker,
Three white pompoms,
A piece of gold ribbon,
A piece of garland
And popcorn kernels.

The jar is plastic and some candy came in it originally. I have three of these jars and think they work well for things like this. The candy cane, mitten and spoon were all cake decorations.

Picture of the items.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Weekly Favorites: December 19, 2010

Here are my favorites for the week!
Snowball Pompoms
Make homemade snowballs.

Snowman Pancakes
Snowman pancakes with different toppings.

Shaving Foam Play
Shaving cream play with food coloring and scents added.

Cupcake Ornaments
Cute homemade cupcake ornaments.

Christmas Ornament Craft Glittered Sea Shells
Make these pretty sea shell Christmas ornaments.

Puffy Snowflakes
A puffy snowflake craft.

M&M Wreath
A Christmas wreath using M&M's.

Fingerpainted, Peppermint, Snowflake Wrapping Paper
Homemade wrapping paper.

Yogurt Bottle Snowmen
A cute way to make snowmen.

Melted Bead Christmas Ornaments
Neat melted bead ornaments.

Christmas Ice Lanterns
Learn how to make these ice lanterns for a nice decoration.

Snowy Ice Cream
A recipe for snow ice cream.

Bubble Magnets
A simple and inexpensive way to make magnets using any kind of paper or pictures.

Goody, Goody Gumdrops!
A Christmas craft using gumdrops.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Special Snowman

This is a special snowman that was made by the older group of kids during my internship in 2009. I was going to post this to celebrate our first snowfall a few days ago, but that snow has already melted and we are waiting for more. I haven’t seen any other group of kids make a snowman like him since then. They had made him in the morning. It took the whole morning recess to make his huge snowballs. It was started by one kid and he did most of the work, but eventually others pitched in to help him. They realized he didn’t have a hat or mittens so they brought them out in the afternoon. They found things to use to give him a face and buttons. The kids were proud to show him off and we printed pictures to hang up and give to parents. Here he is, with all his accessories.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sweet Treats Sensory Tub

This sensory tub is full of sweet treats.

What’s in it:
Candy corn,
Scented cotton balls,
Measuring cups,
A lemon drop tin,
An M&M tin,
Mini spoon,
Wooden tongs,
Cupcake wrappers,
Blueberry cake candle,
And cupcake cups with little feet.

I first sprayed the cotton balls with different scents. Most of them were body mists that I have, but spices and using some actual foods might work better. I used apple, strawberry, vanilla, sugar cookie and cranberry. I left them in the bucket by themselves for a while to dry.

Then I put the rest of the stuff in.

The M&M tin was something I found at Christmas time a few years ago. It’s actually shaped like one. The cupcake cups with feet were a gift. I think they were found at Bed Bath and beyond. The blueberry cake candle was found on Ebay and it smells really good. The measuring cups and spoons are for scooping and pouring. The tongs are for transferring to the cupcake pan shown in the last picture. Including the cupcake pan is good for sorting or pretending to make sweet treats.

For other scents, you can use chocolate, cinnamon, lemon, orange, bubblegum, watermelon, etc. Basically any scent you can find in a spice or a spray. For other candy ideas, you can use small chocolates, skittles, M&M’s, gumdrops, jelly beans, mini candy canes, etc. I hope you enjoy this idea.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Winter Match

Here is the winter match which can be combined with the Christmas Match. You can also use it by itself or mix some from the two sets. I hope you enjoy them.


christmas candle



Hot chocolate with smiling marshmallow!

Hot Chocolate with Whipped Cream!






Penguin on ice

Polar bear

Polar bear

Snowball fight!

Making more snowballs!




Smaller Snowman

All images were found from Google Images and are clipart.

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