Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"There Is a Bird on Your Head!"

Gathering Activity:   Bird Seed Sensory Table

We filled the sand and water table with bird seed, feathers, scoops, and plastic birds.  The children had a great time scooping, pouring, and pretending.  And the birds in our yard happily helped clean up any that accidentally found its way out of the table.

Circle Time: There Is A Bird on Your Head! by Mo Willems 

I discovered Mo Willems' Piggie and Elephant series about a year ago.   My son was learning to read and these were perfect.  They were the perfect length, the perfect reading level, well written and illustrated, and each one had a simple lesson.  But most importantly, they are HILARIOUS!   I have been waiting all year for spring to arrive so that I could share There Is a Bird on Your Head! with my mommy and me friends.  In the book, two birds build a nest on Elephant's head and lays three little eggs.  Then chicks are born on his head.  In the end, Elephant simply asks the birds to move, and they do (onto Piggie's head).   It is a cute lesson on using our words to express our desires.  

After we read the book we sang two songs/fingerplays.

Two Little Blackbirds  
 Two Little Blackbirds, sitting on a wall,
One named Peter, the other named Paul.
Fly away Peter, Fly away Paul.
Come back Peter, Come back Paul.


Birds in the Tree
We will find a little nest (cup hands together)
In the branches of a tree (hold arms up rounded over head).
Let us count the eggs inside;
There are one, two, three (hold up one, two, and three fingers).
Mother bird sits on the nest (cup left hand, place right hand on top)
To hatch the eggs, all three (hold up three fingers).
Father bird flies round and round (move arms in a flying motion)
To guard his family.

We also enjoyed a fun Eggs in Nest counting game we adapted from Preschool Express.  We created 5 little nests from paper bags and filled them with shredded paper bags.  They were numbered 1-5.  The children took turns filling the nests with the corresponding number of eggs.

Art: Bird Nests and Eggs

This project was adapted from ideas found on Teach Preschool and Busy Bee Crafts.

Materials Needed: Shredded grocery bags, cardboard circle, glue, one plastic egg, two orange construction paper beaks, and 4 paper wings.

1-Spread glue on the cardboard circle.

2-Press shredded paper into the glue to create a nest.

3-Glue beak in between the two holes in the bottom of each egg half.  The holes are the eyes.  Add the wings.  (This part was pretty tricky and needed lots of Mommy help).

4-Glue the birdies into the nest.

We loved these adorable nests featured on Sun Scholars and just had to make them for Mommy and Me. Click the link for full directions.

Games:  Nest Building and "There's A Bird on Your Head" Relay

1-Nest Building
Using found materials in the backyard, the children worked together to create a large nest.  They loved playing birds and flew about the yard gathering sticks and twigs.  And of course it was a lot of fun to climb inside our nest.

2-"There's A Bird on Your Head" Relay
We used a coonskin hat with the tail tucked in as a nest.  Plastic bird toys were placed inside.  The children took turns wearing the nest and walking across the yard.  It was great balancing practice and a fun way to retell the story!

We will be participating in The Come Outside to Play Challenge in April.  I'd love for you to join us!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Can You Come Out To Play?

I am hosting a 30 Day Come Out and Play Challenge in the month of April for parents. Basically, we as parents or care providers promise to play outside at least 30 minutes with our little ones EVERY DAY.  Rain Or Shine!  I would love to have you join us!  I have set up a separate blog, so that this one about preschool books can remain about our book club.  But I would LOVE to have my followers check out the challenge and join us.  And invite your friends.  Details on how to join are found below.  But please click through and comment on the other blog to join the challenge.

*If you would like to accept the challenge to play outside EVERY DAY in the month of April, please comment on the Can You Come Outside to Play?  blog post and become a follower of that blog.   Also share your FAVORITE place to play outside as a child. At the end of April I will ask you to post again if you met the challenge.  There will be a drawing for an Amazon Gift Card. 

*We will share ideas throughout the month of April on how to reach this goal.  We will include books and blogs about the benefits of outdoor play. If you have a book or blog you think we should highlight, please message me at daniellescribner at 

*Each week I will also host a "Weekly Virtual Play Date."   Something that we all do in our separate locations.  On Sundays, I will add a link-up where you can share pictures and blog posts about your outdoor play that previous week, if you wish.  This isn't required.   

*For it to count, I think the playtime should be at least 30 minutes total that day.  (Although much more would be ideal). At the end of the month your child(ren) will have been outdoors at least 900 minutes! 
*We will be reading books about outside for our Book Clubs in April!  Hope you enjoy! 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hooray for St. Patrick's Day

Gathering Activity:   Rainbow Bottles

We made these adorable rainbow bottles from Little Wonders Days.

Materials Needed: Colorful pom poms of various sizes, rice, empty and dry water bottle, funnels

1-Put rainbow pom poms inside of the water bottle.  (This is great fine motor practice, especially as they try to place the large pom poms inside the small opening).

2-Funnel Rice into the bottle. We filled ours about half way.

3-Place the lid on the bottle and shake!

Circle Time : Hooray for St. Patrick's Day by Joan Holub

We read Hooray for St. Patrick's Day! This is a cute book with lift up flaps and a hidden Leprechaun on each page.  The children took turns searching for him.  It is a simple explanation about some of the traditions associated with St. Patrick's Day.

We sang I'm A Little Leprechaun. 

We also watched and sang along with Rachel Coleman  from Signing Time's "Rainbow Song" from My Favorite Things. 

Snack: Shamrock Pretzels

We ate these adorable Shamrock Pretzels we found on Family Fun's website.  We also added yummy green grapes!

Art Activity: Shamrock Painting 

Materials Needed: Finger paint paper, yellow and blue paint 

Directions: Cut a large shamrock shape from finger-painting paper. Put a squirt of yellow and a squirt of blue paint on the shamrock. Have the children mix the colors together to create green.  
1- Search For the Leprechaun's Gold
Hide gold coins and gold wrapped candy for the children to find.  As they find the gold, have them return it to a pot.  
When all of the gold has been collected, have the children sort the candy and coins into two different piles.  We then divided the candy together as a group and let each child eat one piece.
2-Pass the Shamrock
We played music and passed a green shamrock around the circle.  When the music stopped, the child holding the shamrock ran around the circle.  

3-Leprechaun, Leprechaun, Where's Your Gold?
This is a game played like "Doggy, Doggy, Where's Your Bone?" A gold coin is hidden behind a child's back and another child sneaks up and takes the coin.  The Leprechaun then tries to guess which child has the coin.  We let the children guess until they find the coin.  

Follow-up:  My son and I do lots of fun activities without our Mommy and Friends as well.  This was a fun one that I wish I had thought of BEFORE class so we could have done it with all of our friends.

4-Rainbow Pom Pom Sort
We used our stackable balls and placed the halves upside down on our table.  Using a clothespin, my son sorted colorful pompoms into the holes of the corresponding colors.  So many great skills.  Fine motor development, sorting, counting, etc...

We also enjoyed this fun St. Patrick's Day sensory box. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bark, George by Jules Feiffer

Gathering Activity: Puppy Headbands

We helped our little ones become puppies for the day.  We painted their noses and helped them make these simple doggy headbands from Family Crafts.  Some of them chose to be traditional and went with black puppy noses.  Others (like my son) wanted their puppy noses to be orange or blue or purple.

Circle Time: Bark, George by Jules Feiffer

This is a silly, fun read aloud about a puppy who swallows a cat, duck, pig, and a cow.  He can't bark, he can only make the sounds of the animals inside of him.   The writing is simple, the text predictable.  The illustrations are clear and simple.   And together they created something magical.  The children giggled on each and every page. (and so did their mommies).       I borrowed it from a friend.  (Although I think one of my kids will be getting this for his birthday next month).  I loved it!

We used these great print outs from Making Learning Fun to help retell the story. 

We also sang "How Much is That Doggy in the Window?" , "B-I-N-G-O" and our own song  below.

"The Animals Inside George."
(Sung to the tune of The Wheels on the Bus)
The Cat inside George goes meow, meow,meow....all through the town.
The Duck....goes quack, quack, quack.....
The Pig....goes oink, oink, oink.....
The cow goes...moo, moo, moo
The person inside George goes "Hello, Hello........"

Art: Dog Biscuit and Animal Cookie Cutter Prints 

Materials Needed: Dog Biscuits, cookie cutters in the shapes of the animals in the story, paint, and large paper.

Directions: Allow the children to explore with the materials, creating prints, mixing colors.

Some of the children made very precise prints with the biscuits and cookie cutters.  Others used the dog biscuits as paint brushes.

Snack: Kibbles and Bits and Peanut Butter Doggy Toys

Kibbles and Bits: Cheerios and pretzel sticks

Allow the children to pretend to be puppies and eat them with NO PAWS!

Peanut Butter Doggy Toys: Cut the bottom off of a paper cup.  Spread peanut butter inside the entire cup and allow children to lick it out.  This is similar to the cylinder doggy toys that pet owners can fill with peanut butter.  (OBVIOUSLY DON"T USE IF YOU HAVE STUDENTS WITH PEANUT ALLERGIES).  This was a last minute idea one of the mommies thought up.  I loved it!  Thanks, Melissa!

Games: "Animal Sound Matching," "Doggy, Doggy Where's Your Bone?," and "Veterinarian Says"

1-Animal Sound Matching - Print these matching pairs of cards They are characters from the story.  Give each of the children one of the cards and keep the matching cards for yourself.  Hold up one of the cards.  The child with the matching card stands up and makes the sound of the animal. Play until all of the children have had a chance to make the sounds of their animals.  Then switch and play again as many times as the children wish.

2-Doggy, Doggy, Where's Your Bone? - One child stands up front and a small bone is placed behind him.  Another child is chosen to come and get the bone and hide it behind her back.  The children all say the poem, "Doggy, Doggy, Where's Your Bone?  Somebody took it from your home.  Guess who... it might be you."   We then allowed the "Doggy" to guess until he found the child with the bone.  This is easy to do with only 6 or 7 kids, and then you don't create winners or losers.  We try and keep everything cooperative.  The child with the bone is the next "Doggy. "  Play until everyone has a turn.

3-Veterinarian Says- Played like "Simon Says" but instead we had the children act out animal characters from the book.  We play so that every command begins with "Veterinarian Says."

4-Fetch It was raining too hard for us to go outside and play the day we did this theme, but we had planned to go outside and play "fetch" frisbees and balls with our "paws."

I am participating in the Read Along on Helping Hands.

Featured on Imagination Soup!

Our Mommy and Me Blog was featured on Imagination Soup.  If you aren't familiar with this website, I hope you will enjoy exploring all of Melissa's, the author's, thoughtful posts on education and parenting.  She is an involved and informed parent, as well as an award winning writer and educator. She is fabulous and inspiring to all of us who have young children in our lives.  I feel privileged that she highlighted our little group.