Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Just Ideas

Hope everyone had a fantastic holiday week, and that 2012 is starting off well for you! 
We spent most of the week after the holidays at home - I took advantage of this time to not rush the kids (to "get ready so we can go!"), to slow down and spend one-on-one time with them in child-led play, and to get back into thinking of games/activities that stimulate. I truly enjoyed and appreciated the time to regroup and get back into a bit of a routine. Neven, on the other hand, kept asking me "Whose house are we going to today?" 
Did you find something to entertain you and/or your kiddos today? 

1. QUICK ACTIVITIES, from Preschool Express's January Preschool Calendar
> Glue confetti on paper to make a colorful paper collage (Art)
> Have your child make up a story by looking at a picture from an old calendar (Language)
> Turn out the light and write on a wall with a flashlight (Beginning Writing)
> Make hot chocolate with your child (Cooking)
> Wash your hands (we brushed our teeth) while singing the ABC's (Health, Music, Letters)
> Pick up cotton balls with tweezers or kitchen tongs (Fine Motor Skills)
>Ask your child to sing his favorite song (Neven sang Hickory Dickory Dock) (Music, Making Choices)

2. BLOCK PLAY (more ideas from Preschool Express!)
> PATTERNS: Use blocks to make a simple pattern, such as; one red block, one blue block, one red blocks, etc. Ask your child to tell you what color of block would go next in your pattern. Then encourage your child to make a matching set of blocks under your set.  

> SORTING: Set out a pile of assorted blocks. Have your child sort them by color, shape, and/or size. 
> BLOCK MATCH-UPS: Increase your child’s observation skills with this simple matching game.  Choose four or five blocks with different shapes. Trace around the shape of the blocks onto a heavy piece of paper.  Remove the blocks from the paper and give the paper and the blocks to your child. Have your child match up the drawn shapes with the blocks.
> LOOK AND SEE: Place three blocks of different colors on a table between you and your child. Have her touch each block and name each blocks color (help if necessary). Next, have your child close her eyes while you remove one of the blocks. When you say, “Look and See”, have your child open her eyes and tell you which block is now missing. Continue with the game, increasing the number of blocks as your child’s skill increases. Take turns with your child. You close your eyes, while she removes a colored block.

Materials: white rice, vinegar, food coloring, ziploc baggies
How to: Mix 1/2 cup rice with 1 T. vinegar and food coloring (more or less depending on how bold you want the color to be); we put this in a ziploc baggie and squeezed to mix (which was very fun for Neven to help with!). Pour each color of rice onto a sheet of wax paper, and let dry. 
Ideas for Play: Fill baby food jars in different-colored layers. Use a spoon to transfer rice back and forth between containers. Mix different colors together. Run a car through the rice. Glue onto a piece of paper. 

4. Preschool PHOTOGRAPHY
Neven has recently started taking pictures with the digital camera. So today, we played a new game. I'd suggest a mission for him - "Can you take a picture of... a castle (a Christmas tree, something green, a foot, an elephant, a computer, a Santa, yellow boots, a fish, a frog)?" Some things I suggested were in the room, others weren't. I really enjoy seeing things from his perspective, a welcome change sometimes.  

You can easily make a play camera using an empty soap box, some fun colored paper, a few milk lids, and a sharpie. This was definitely a hit with Neven! He very carefully pushed every button necessary to take a picture -- power on, took the picture, then reviewed his taken pictures to see how it came out. 
Photo from: www.frugalfamilyfunblog.com/2010/09/toy-camera.html
For Neven's birthday party, Matt and I made a few dozen origami dragons and hung them from the ceiling. Although these are probably more a project for the parents, there are a lot of kid-level origami projects on the site, too. A lot of work, but so worth it in the end! We all had a great day. As Matt and I were putting Neven to bed that night, he said "Thanks for the party. It was so, so fun!"