Monday, November 25, 2013

Bringing the Classroom Home - Transportation Week

This week my daughter and her class (actually all of the 3 year old classes) studied about transportation. What a fun week! It culminated in a Transportation Day where they celebrated all things that move! I had the pleasure of helping out with Transportation Day where I got to be at the Train Station and help the kiddos on the train and read a train book to the kiddos who were waiting. We had such a great time! Other areas were the craft and snack stations and an area where they could get in the little Cozy Coops and go around a room and "wash" the cars and trucks. Plus there was a mini roller coaster! The kids looked like they were having so much fun!

Here are some pictures from Transportation Day:

Here are some of the craft projects she brought home this week:

It was pretty perfect timing that we would be going out of town at the same time that I needed to do something to "bring home" transportation week. I wanted it to be something extra special so I contacted the visitors center in Tallahassee which would be close to where we would be. There was going to be a lot going on but not much in the way of transportation. So I kept looking. Finally I found in the town of Thomasville, GA a small airport museum.

We left our camper as soon as we could on Saturday morning and headed north to Thomasville. We totally missed the small road to the local airport and had to do a U-turn to get back. It was totally different than our Orlando, FL airport! HA! The people there were so friendly and we got to sit literally feet away from the small planes that take off and land at that airport.

We found out that a plane was scheduled to take off in about 45 minutes so we headed across the parking lot to the museum and had fun looking at plane engines, propellers and riding on small airplane themed toys. Even Baby W got into it!

Then we headed back to the airport and sat and talked with a pilot as we waited for the small plane to take off. It was so cool. All of us got into it.

We continued to talk with the pilot and after a while a plane landed! It was so much more that I had planned for! On top of that, he suggested that we go get a closer look at the little plane (which I was thinking "he's crazy, can't we get arrested for going out there?") But he led the way, so we followed.

We politely asked the owner of this just-landed plane if we could walk around it to check it out and he was gracious enough to offer to let us SIT IN the plane. What?! My daughter jumped at that offer and climbed right in. My mother-in-law and I, a little in shock, climbed in next. It was an experience for all of us. Big Sister got to use a new kind of seat belt and see the cockpit up close. It was soooo cool!

We thanked them profusely and headed on our way.  It always amazes me when an experience turns out this cool. I had planned for us to see the little museum, and we got to do so much more!

I don't have any crafts or activities that go along with this transportation theme but let me encourage you to find an experience that you can do with the whole family. One of our other options was to go on a glass bottom boat ride at one of the local springs. I'm sure that would have turned out to be an amazing day as well.

Have you gone on any adventures in transportation? I'd love to hear your story!

Whole Hearted Holidays! Reading along with I Know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Pie

I know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson along with an Emergent Reader by Vanessa Levin at

We love this story and when I found the Old Lady Emergent Reader, I knew my daughter would love it. One of her favorite things to do is follow along in her own book while I read or we watch a movie.

The story follows a similar plot to the familiar poem There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly. When she eats the bread toward the end of this story you just know the next page will say "and now she's dead!" (since bread and dead rhyme, that is the logical next step). Find out what happens to this old woman :)

I liked the emergent reader, but knew I wanted to work on a few more things like reading the simple words and matching them in the book. So I created these reading words to make flash cards out of. The emergent reader will give you two copies, so we used one for the book and the other we cut up for a self-checking reading activity.

link to the printable book:here
link to the reading words: here

You could even print two copies of the word list and play a memory game with the words from the story.

If you need an academic type activity to do while your children are home from school, this one was quick to put together and she has quite a few things that she can do with it! Have fun reading along!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Bringing the Classroom Home - Week 7 - Nursery Rhyme Dinner

Nursery rhymes are funny little poems that cause parents to wonder "what in the world are we teaching our children!" It makes me laugh a little when I read the back stories behind the familiar verses and realize that they are quite disturbing. However, it didn't mess me up singing about babies falling out of trees or putting flowers in our pockets to cover the smell of death. And my guess is that they didn't mess you up either!

They do however help to build rhyming skills, the understanding of intonation, and allow for practicing natural pauses (like at a comma) when reading. They are also great for some pre-reading skills like phonological awareness which research shows makes for better readers! I'll read a nursery rhyme for that! You can talk about new vocabulary, counting concepts and proper (or improper) behavior. There is so much to talk about!

Here are some of the items that my daughter brought home this week: (after taking these pictures, I found like 3 more sheets of nursery rhyme poems. They covered a lot this week!)


You can just read them (or sing them) with your child and it will benefit their language skills, but if you want to take it one step further, join us and cook up some nursery rhymes with us!

My daughter recentlhy turned 4 and something has "clicked." She is so excited about helping out around the house especially with cooking. Last week she helped me peel shrimp. I thought there was no way she would be willing to do that, but there she was taking the little legs and shells off! So, based on what she is intersted in and the fact that cooking (and all the language that goes along with it) the nursery rhymes will keep us saying them multiple times in natural ways, I thought we could have a Nursery Rhyme Dinner!

We decided we would make it a fancy dinner. Here is the menu (click here) that we printed out and had at our table. We all ate on "real" plates and had special water glasses.

I used a variety of pinterest ideas (no real recipes, which is a shocker since I can barely boil water without following a recipe!) after I had decided on which nursery rhymes we'd be using. Here is how it turned out!

We made our menu then went shopping for all of the ingredients that we needed (which was everything except the apples!):

Then, we worked on the Twice Baked Potatoes to go along with One Potato, Two Potato. We talked a lot about counting as well as addition and subtraction (when we cut all of the potatoes in half we had 8+8=16, she thought that was pretty cool).

Between mashes she was parched and kept asking for some of our Jack and Jill water :)

While the Twice Baked Potatoes baked for the second time, we worked on the Buttered, Hot buns for Hot Cross Buns. You will not see a picture of the finished product as I forgot about them, caught them on fire and got to teach her a little fire safety lesson. Fun!

Then we cut the apples for our appetizer for An Apple a Day:

I heated up the gravy, laid out the roast beef from the deli and roasted some frozen corn. It was pretty easy and turned out delicious!  Some times I feel like I need to make everything from scratch for it to be meaningful to my family, but for this dinner, while it would have been tasty to have home made roast beef with gravy, my focus was not on made-from-scratch-cooking but rather on the experience my daughter and I were creating and LIVING at that moment. And it was so worth it!

The nursery rhyme for the corn was Little Boy Blue and for the roast beef was This Little Piggy. The gravy was there just to make it seem more like a meal than "hey mom slapped some lunch meat on a plate and is calling it dinner."

Finally, we had some wonderful pumpkin pie for desert to go along with Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater.

As we ate, we talked about each of the different nursery rhymes represented in our dinner. We said some of them over and over (like Jack and Jill) and others I read out of our book just once. We actually went over the nursery rhymes many times today - from picking the recipes/rhymes, writing out the menu, shopping for the ingredients and then cooking.

My favorite part - well, one of the best parts - was tonight when I laid her down for bed and she asked for water (like she always does), she said "can I have some Jack and Jill water, please" It melted my heart!

I hope that you can use this semi-elegant Nursery Rhyme Dinner to create a wonderful memory with your family!

Do you have a recipe that goes along with a favorite nursery rhyme? Share it with us! We had such a good time, I am quite sure this will not be our last Nursery Rhyme Dinner!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Whole Hearted Holidays - One is a Feast for Mouse Block Stacking Game

We should probably invest in some Thanksgiving books because I think most of the good ones were checked out from the library already. But we did find a treasure! It is called One is a Feast for Mouse by Judy Cox. It's a funny story about a mouse who raides the Thanksgiving table scraps taking one of many of the items on the table and stacking them on top of one another on his way back to his home. He does well balancing his feast until he bumps into the family cat! I highly recommend this story.

I used this book as a part of language therapy to work on the preposition "on." We read the story then as we reviewed it, we drew a picture of each of the things that the mouse carried. He then was able to recall the story to his mother using the picture he drew and using our target preposition: "on" multiple times. It was a great activity.

My daughter thought it was a very funny story and got nervous when the cat showed up. We decided to turn the story into our own little game. She pretended to be the mouse and ran all over the table cloth (aka: our library room rug) to collect the food items in the correct order and stack them up. 

At first we tried to have her hold the stack like Mouse did while she collected the other food items, but that proved more difficult than expected so we just stacked them up to make a tower.

Here is the print out that you can use to play our game :)

Color and cut out the picutres and tape them onto blocks. 

Scatter the "food" around the room.   While you go through the story, collect and stack the food items in the correct order. As a final task, use the tower to retell the story! 

She even enjoyed stacking them a "better way" which was in an order that made them less likely to fall down. After accomplishing the language activity, it didn't matter what she did with the blocks. I'm just glad she was having fun!

We had a great time creating and doing this activity. We hope that your family will enjoy the story and game as much as we did!
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