Sunday, January 29, 2012

Color Matching

Today's blog entry is an "up-cycle" or a "re-purposing" of sorts.  It is a color matching and color word identification game.  Very simple, yet effective!

Although I am not the best photographer, you get the concept? This activity is going to be for your Pre-Kinders, Transitional Kinders and Kindergartner's.

This activity is made from the little viles of water that florist put on the ends of flower stems. 

Here is what you need:

Viles from your latest flower bouquet
Food coloring or liquid watercolors
Seran Wrap

Here is what you do:

Fill each vile of water and then add your drops of color...Then, take a tiny piece of seran wrap and seal the top and put the lid on.

 Cut your paper in to little strips and write each of the color words on them...using the color of the word that you are printing (use a green marker when writing "green"). 

Viola! You have a new easy "go-to" game!  As your children play this game and begin to really comprehend what each of the color words are...step it up.  Write each of the color words in a black marker and have them match this way.

Ms. Dina...this blog entry is dedicated to you...thanks for the game idea!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


So, I am determined to write a blog post to you all a few times a month.  I am new to the world of blogging and am so inspired by the different blogs that I follow.  There are a bunch of talented, creative and smart people out there!  For my fellow readers that blog as well, I would LOVE some tips and ideas.  Right now I feel that my blog is rather primitive and I look forward to making it more "fancy".  So with that said, today I bring you my thoughts on "Allowance" with your well as a new way of doing "Allowance"...
I have some personal beliefs when it comes to allowance and children:

1.  Allowance is important because children need the experience managing money.  It is something they will have to do their entire life.

2.  Allowance should be started at an age where money is "meaningful" to a child.  That age when they have the concept that things "cost" something.  You know that age when they start asking you for a quarter here and a dollar there..everywhere you go?  That age is typically 5 or 6...when they are old enough not to eat it...the money that is! HA!

3. The amount of allowance should be realistic.  Remember we want to set children up for real life experiences and giving them $100.00 a week for remembering to cover their mouth when they cough or take out the trash is hardly a real life experience.

4.  Allowance should be given to chores above and beyond self-care and home maintenance.  In other words, brushing your teeth, taking a shower, cleaning your room and making your bed are all part of the self-care and maintenance.  Children should not get paid for these types of things.  Allowance should be given for the above and beyond like: bringing in the trash cans on trash day, dusting, vacuuming, cleaning mirrors, taking bathroom trash out, starting a load of laundry, carrying in groceries, etc. 

5.  A fee schedule should be set up.  For example I like this one from:

Here, they give each chore a value such as $.25 a chore.  Makes live easy.  Also, they have morning chores (unpaid) and afternoon chores (unpaid) and earned chores.

6.  I believe in instituting the LIVE.GIVE.SAVE or SPEND.SAVE.GIVE or whatever you like to call it.  We haven't decided here yet.  But the point is the child takes their earnings each week and places a percentage of their allowance in each of these jars that will be labeled live give save or whatever words you decide.  So they learn to give a little to charity, save a little for a rainy day and spend a little to satisfy the instant gratification that children naturally have.
It is my hope that we raise a less entitled generation than those that have come before.  Getting paid to do things that are naturally expected of someone (like self-care and maintenance) takes away the intrinsic value children need to experience.  Otherwise, they will always look for extrinsic motivation to complete any task in life...from the simple and mundane to the complex and daunting...

Here is my LIVE.GIVE.SAVE Jars....

List of items needed:
3 Pint size or larger mason jars
Chalkboard paint
Paint brush (I used a sponge brush)

Simple enough, right?
 The Martha Stewart brand was all Michael's had
                                                        You only need to use a goes far!
Make sure to do two coats of paint

We have decided to go with LIVE.GIVE.SAVE....but alas....I have no chalk!
 Until next time................Keep calm and get your teach on!


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Picture Perfect

Happy New Year to all of you! It certainly has been a very busy one! I had a wonderful Christmas vacation full of baking and crafting and family and friends.  I was able to try out the many FABULOUS ideas that I have been pinning from the AHHH-mazing website  Have you checked it out yet? Do it! I feel creative just spending hours upon hours combing the website and pinning away.  I know...hours upon hours??? well, now that school/work is back in session I am lucky to get a few minutes a day on the site.  But nonetheless, still addicted!!

With Valentine's Day approaching, I wanted to share one of the crafts I did during the Christmas Season.  I kow you are thinking..why is this lady talking about a Christmas craft for Valentine's Day?  You'll see....This was our Holiday gift to the parents from their children.  Except we used plastic plates (more economically friendly).  The pictures below are from doing the activity with my friends children using glass plates.  It is absolutely adorable, affordable and really really really easy to do! Of course there is a little prep involved.  I love this activity mostly 1)because it is so child focused and 2) it has a photo.  Parents LOVE anything with their child's photo on it! 

Isn't this cute???

So here is what you need:
Clear glass or plastic plate (size doesn't really matter, got mine at the 99 cent store)
Wrapping paper/tissue paper
Modge Podge (I LOVE this stuff)
A photo of your child(ren)
Paint brush or sponge brush

Prep work: 

1. Print photos and cut out in the desired shape and size (they need to fit in the center circle of your plate. 

2.  Cut up wrapping paper in to 1.5 x 1.5 inch squares...does not need to be precise

3. Turn the plate over so it is Upside Down

Apply a thin layer of Modge Podge to the inner circle (area) of the plate and place the child's photo face down on the Modge Podge'd area.  Then apply another layer of Modge Podge over the picture sealing the edges.  Let will dry rather fast. Unfortunately I do not have a photo of this step... :0(

Let the children create....

My Helpers...Sophia, Scarlet and Sethe. A special thanks to their mom, Robbin, for letting me use their pictures in my blog.  Thanks Robbin!

Step 1:  Apply a generous layer of Modge Podge over the entire plate using a poster paint type brush or sponge brush.  Then add a layer of wrapping paper to the plate...attempting to cover the entire plate.

 Make sure that the wrapping paper is also placed "face down"..turning it over so you cannot see the pattern.   So when the project is completely dry, you will turn it over and see the picture and pattern.

Step 2: Then apply another generous layer of Modge Podge and add additional wrapping paper squares filling in any "holes".

Step 3: Then add one more layer of Modge Podge to seal it up.  Let dry.

Step 4: Once the plate dries, trim the excess wrapping paper around the plate and put in a plate stand or whatever tickles your fancy...

So, I learned a few things from this activity.  I have done it both on glass plates and plastic plates.  I like glass plates is just a better quality gift.  However, plastic plates turn out great.  When you use plastic plates you can attach some ribbon at the top and then it can be hung from the wall. Also, this can be done with tissue paper and has a very pretty transparent look when it dries.

Back to Valentine's Day....just change the colors to pinks, reds, white and maybe a little silver an you got yourself an ADORABLE valentine gift for Grandma & Grandpa, Aunts & Uncles....I am going to give it a try this month....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What a 4 Year Old Should Know

Hello friends! I have not posted in quiet sometime.  The beginning of the school year is always quite busy for me.  The first 8 weeks of school are spent assessing the children.  Then we have parent teacher conferences.  I have spent the last week preparing for just that! I love getting the opportunity to chat with families about their little ones.  As I have spent many hours writing my thoughts and goals down for each child, I have had time to reflect on how I will answer various interesting and thought provoking questions from families.  Questions that should not worry a parent of a young child.  Questions like "Why is my child not reading? My sisters son was reading when he was 3?" or "How come my child does not know all his letters and letter sounds?" or "What am I doing wrong? My child is not interested in 'learning'?".  It is very hard as an early educator to get parents to understand the significant value of PLAY.  So much learning happens during MUCH!  It is a vital part to the growth and development of a child.  Knowing your letters and numbers is just straight memorization.  No actual learning happens, it is just mechanical.  Learning begins with curiosity, excitement, passion and creativity.  In a world that is so consumed with competition, don't we owe it to our children to let them have a childhood.  Your children won't necessarily remember the things you bought them and the places you took them, but rather how you made them feel. Invest in the long term development and happiness of your child.  Drop out of the competition.....I came across a blog post that should help put parents concerns at ease..I could not have written it better myself...

I took this excerpt from

What a 4 year old should know.....

  1. She should know that she is loved wholly and unconditionally, all of the time.
  2. He should know that he is safe and he should know how to keep himself safe in public, with others, and in varied situations. He should know that he can trust his instincts about people and that he never has to do something that doesn’t feel right, no matter who is asking. He should know his personal rights and that his family will back them up.
  3. She should know how to laugh, act silly, be goofy and use her imagination. She should know that it is always okay to paint the sky orange and give cats 6 legs.
  4. He should know his own interests and be encouraged to follow them. If he could care less about learning his numbers, his parents should realize he’ll learn them accidentally soon enough and let him immerse himself instead in rocket ships, drawing, dinosaurs or playing in the mud.
  5. She should know that the world is magical and that so is she. She should know that she’s wonderful, brilliant, creative, compassionate and marvelous. She should know that it’s just as worthy to spend the day outside making daisy chains, mud pies and fairy houses as it is to practice phonics. Scratch that– way more worthy.
But more important, here’s what parents need to know.
  1. That every child learns to walk, talk, read and do algebra at his own pace and that it will have no bearing on how well he walks, talks, reads or does algebra.
  2. That the single biggest predictor of high academic achievement and high ACT scores is reading to children. Not flash cards, not workbooks, not fancy preschools, not blinking toys or computers, but mom or dad taking the time every day or night (or both!) to sit and read them wonderful books.
  3. That being the smartest or most accomplished kid in class has never had any bearing on being the happiest. We are so caught up in trying to give our children “advantages” that we’re giving them lives as multi-tasked and stressful as ours. One of the biggest advantages we can give our children is a simple, carefree childhood.
  4. That our children deserve to be surrounded by books, nature, art supplies and the freedom to explore them. Most of us could get rid of 90% of our children’s toys and they wouldn’t be missed, but some things are important– building toys like legos and blocks, creative toys like all types of art materials (good stuff), musical instruments (real ones and multicultural ones), dress up clothes and books, books, books. (Incidentally, much of this can be picked up quite cheaply at thrift shops.) They need to have the freedom to explore with these things too– to play with scoops of dried beans in the high chair (supervised, of course), to knead bread and make messes, to use paint and play dough and glitter at the kitchen table while we make supper even though it gets everywhere, to have a spot in the yard where it’s absolutely fine to dig up all the grass and make a mud pit.
  5. That our children need more of us. We have become so good at saying that we need to take care of ourselves that some of us have used it as an excuse to have the rest of the world take care of our kids. Yes, we all need undisturbed baths, time with friends, sanity breaks and an occasional life outside of parenthood. But we live in a time when parenting magazines recommend trying to commit to 10 minutes a day with each child and scheduling one Saturday a month as family day. That’s not okay! Our children don’t need Nintendos
**Feedback Please***

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Preschoolers Don't Eat Lunchables

So let me weigh in on packing lunches once again!  This is just my personal. opinion backed up by many years of classroom experience with young children.  I am not a huge fan of prepackaged items for preschoolers lunches and even up until 2nd grade I don't think they should have prepackaged food.  Even prepackaged food provides a serving that is too large for most small children and then they just throw away what they don't eat.  There are some great healthy prepackaged foods on the market, so I don't want to discount it 100%.  I know you can totally visualize this in your shopping with your children.  Every aisle you go down they want brand XYZ that has picture of a Disney princess or a Toy Story character or Sponge Bob (cringe!) on it.  "Please, Please, Please buy it for me!!"  Eventually you cave and buy brand XYZ with the cartoon character on it.  Let me tell you a little secret.  Your child does not want that particular item because it is so yummy (and it might be delicious) they want it because they have been "brainwashed" ( I use that term very lightly, so don't get all crazy upset).  Children's television programming has been saturated with commercials for this item or that item using cartoon characters or even candy to elude your child into asking you to buy it for them.  GENIUS! The only problem is the food they are marketing is not very healthy for your child's growth and brain development (if they would only slap Snow White on a package of apples or broccoli! Right? Here's to hoping....).   Instead the food is loaded in salt, nitrates, sugar (did you know sugar suppresses the immune system for 6 hours after consumption?), dyes and fat.   I am not saying eliminate these items from your household, just cut back.  You will also save a ton of money. 

So now what? I am not going to leave you hanging.....  I have a solution to giving your child healthy delicious food and also giving them fun food in character themed packaging. You ready for it???  Purchase character themed bags and containers instead.  I have a few pictures to show you what I am talking about...

I picked these up at the 99 cent store

And if you want to be more green, you can use containers.  You can buy the some like the ones below or you can just buy regular Glad reusable containers and put fun character stickers on them.  Your children will LOVE this and it makes for great lunch conversations.....

Please comment below and let me know what you think....

Monday, October 3, 2011

Classroom Fun!

We were so busy at school last month! I just wanted to share some of the fun things things that we did with the children this month.  First we made a yummie and COLORFUL snack...."Rainbow Toast".  This activity is really simple and so much fun for the chidren in your classroom or your little ones at home. 
Here is what you need:

Food Coloring
New watercolor brushes
White Bread
Cooking spray

This is how you do it:
Simply color the milk in the desired colors.  You need a very small amount for each color.  Then, paint the white bread.

Then, you put in the pan to grill with a little cooking spray or in your toaster oven to brown...then, enjoy!

Here is the other fun thing that we did last month-Color Mixing! 

This is what you need:
Mini ice cube trays
Food coloring
Eye droppers
Sturdy clear cups

Fill one cup with red, one with blue and one with yellow food coloring and add water to each of the cups.  Check out the picture below.....


Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things: Craft Supplies

So art and craft supplies for children are a bit of an obsession of mine.  Before I go any further, let me show you a pic of my favorite school supply magazine....they have great quality products that are affordable.  Oh and they have a website as well...maybe you have heard of them?

Discount School Supply.  Last time I checked, you do not need to be a school to order from them...also visit their website at 

Here are a few of my favorite products from them:

1.  Do you have a hard time getting your kids to put the caps on markers after the use them.  Do you eventually lose the caps and the markers dry out?  Check out this creative way to get the most use out of you markers without them drying out
2.  These are fabulous little stampers that make colorful pictures (they are basically a glorified bingo marker for children).

They also provide activity books.  I personally like to use them with coffee filters, tissue paper or plain white paper.  Let the child create their own artistic expression.

3. For your older 3's and up...I think beading is so much fun.  But this skill can still be very challenging for little one's.  I like to use pony beads and pipe cleaners (for stringing).

4. Stamp pads are great to have handy.

5.  Eye droppers