Saturday, November 13, 2010

stART: Cupcake

While browsing the library shelves after story time, the cutest book caught my eye. Maybe it was the bright colors, or maybe it was because it was past lunchtime and there was a giant cupcake on the cover. In either case, I flipped though it and brought it home.

The book tells the story of Vanilla Cupcake, a lil guy who is so happy when he first comes out of the oven, but is soon saddened and thinking less of himself when he is the last
cupcake left in the plate ; not chosen because he is so plain when compared to his colorful brothers and sisters. I thought the story had something to offer - teaching self love while also giving insight to the fact that there is no pleasing everyone.

Anyhow, the kids liked the story well enough but what they really seemed to enjoy was the craft and activity that followed. I cut out cupcake tops and bottoms using all kinds of materials and let the kids decide how to pair them up and decorate using the stash of "stuff" that has collected in my craft closet. They both really took their time and it was very rewarding for me to watch - I did spend a good amount of time preparing after all!

The follow-up activity was a trip to a small local bakery to buy us each a cupcake. Yeah, that was fun :) It smelled soOooOOO good in there and the choices were a bit overwhelming. The book has a recipe for baking vanilla cupcakes, but I thought a mini field trip was more up our alley for this week. Besides, the dishwasher was acting wonky and I didn't want to make a big baking mess ;)


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

stART: Fancy Nancy

Sydney has been asking me to teach her to read, so I started with some lessons from The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Reading. Today we learned the beginning verse of the vowel poem:

A is the first vowel we will say
/a/ is the short vowel sound of a.

I wanted to follow the lesson with a complete story, so what better than a Fancy Nancy book? Two short A's in her name after all :) Sydney chose Fancy Nancy: Every day is Earth Day. Afterwards she made a Fancy Nancy puppet, with a little help from mom. She chose to make the hair from red pipe cleaners and needed help poking it through the bag and curling them. She colored in a face, complete with eyelashes, and glued on a leftover-fabric "dress" and other fancy things. (the glue is still wet in the photo, that is the dark pink squiggles you see on the dress)


Pretend Passports:Our adventures around the globe

This week we started a Social Studies project that we will continue for the rest of the year and maybe even beyond - we made passports :) Every time we study a new place (any place, even ones we wouldn't need a passport to get to), the kids will be able to add a new "stamp" to their passport. I found the printable passport here and some cool printable stamps here. I even purchased some clearance stickers with city names on them at Hobby Lobby. Our first areas of study? Georgia and Africa.

I decided to start with Georgia and just go over some basics - the state flower, bird, Capitol city, etc. I integrated in some map skills with a couple of worksheets, new for Sydney and as a review for Nicholas. It was nice to see Sydney raise her working level to try and meet with Nic's, and to see him step up and help her when she needed direction. Both kids made a GA collage, pulling images from magazines that could be found in the state.

We spent some time on the couch for the Africa unit, watching Youtube videos about the cultures and animals in Egypt, Kenya, and South Africa. A new kid safe browser that I downloaded,Kidzui, helped us find safe videos quickly - and it's free to download! A printed traditional African fable made for a great story-time with us all piled on the couch. Later on they branched into separate directions, Nicholas playing some African puzzles and trivia online and Sydney making a safari picture and paper doll in traditional Kenyan clothing.

I'm really enjoying this project so far and hope that the kids are too. My time isn't split between the two of them when we study together, so I am looking for more ways to bring them both to the table at the same time :)