Adventures of the Non-Creative Mom

September 28, 2012

What Are We Reading?

Filed under: Books — by dsuzuki @ 10:56 am
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One one of my online book club boards someone asked what are we all reading to our kiddos.  I realized we read so many awesome books that I never get to highlight since I tend to stick with the ones we have a related activity for.  Some of these other books are wonderful and favorites of my kids.  So here is what we have been reading and the kids are going crazy over.

My 5 year old is hooked on our Usborne Look Inside and See Insider series.  The Look Inside books are geared towards 3 yrs & up and the See Inside are supposed to be for 7 yrs & up but both series fascinate her.  Right now we are on the last couple pages of See Inside How Things Work.  I love these books as well because honestly a lot of it is new to me or a refresher of my long ago science and history classes.  We typically do 1-2 pages a day because there are so many lift the flaps on each page and so much information that my daughter likes to discuss.  One of the first topics was about pulleys which we spend a ton of time on because she wanted to read all the flaps, go through the pictures on each page and try and figure out for herself where the balls started and where they would end up as the pulleys and gears moved them along.

See Inside How Things Work

Up next is Look Inside Space which we had started before but my two year old had hid and we recently found it again.  My 5 yr old loves reading about the planets, solar system, rockets, etc. so we are excited to get back to this one.

Look Inside Space

My 2 year old is on a Dust Bunnies kick right now.  We started off with Rhyming Dust Bunnies which was a favorite of my daughter as well.  Since he loved it so much and we were reading it about 10 times a day I borrowed Here Comes the Big, Mean Dust Bunny! from the library to mix it up a little.  He has both books memorized and has to have it nearby at all times.  He was so upset and constantly walking around the house looking for “big, mean dust bunny” after I returned the library copy I finally bought him his own copy.

Rhyming Dust BunniesBig Mean Dust Bunny

So that’s what has been filling our reading time with the kiddos lately.

September 25, 2012

Leaves! Leaves! Leaves! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace

Leaves! Leaves! Leaves! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace

I don’t know about where you live but the leaves on our trees have started to change colors and that means my 5 year old is asking why.  This book is really neat as it takes you through the four seasons and you follow a boy and his mama as they go out on leaf hunts during each season. They talk about the leaves they find and what is happening as the buds change into leaves, what makes leaves green and eventually why do the leaves change color.

This had my daughter asking to do one of her favorite activities…going on a nature hunt.  This is our second time doing this and she loved it as much as she did the first time.  Instead of painting the egg carton this time my daughter colored each well a different color using crayons and then we headed out.  We were on the hunt to see what we could find in nature that fell into each of the colors and collect a sample to bring back home.

Nature Hunt

Our front yard yielded lots of the colors thanks to our rose bushes.  And our neighbor was doing yard work so we came across lots of leaves on our walk.

I just had to share a picture of the nature hunt dance my daughter also came up with on our walk.

Nature Hunt Dance

We finished up our hunt at the park.  For the second time we had no luck finding anything blue other than the sky. Never realized just how hard it could be to find blue in nature around here.

Once we had all our nature items of course she wanted to do an activity with them.  So the next day we decided to do a collage.

Collage

My two year old initially wanted to paint Kai-Lan but of course once he saw glue he had to glue leaves as well.

Gluing Leaves

And the final collage!

Nature Collage

We did a couple other leaf/nature activities with our collection that I will post in the future.  If you are looking for other leaf/nature books we also did a nature hunt back in January and read There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves.

September 19, 2012

Salt Dough Stones

Filed under: Arts and Crafts — by dsuzuki @ 10:24 pm
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I was flipping through the Summer issue of Disney’s Family Fun magazine and came across their Pebble Plaque activity.  It was a little too elaborate for my 5 and 2 yr old but I loved the idea of the kids making a decorative “stone”.

There are a bunch of different salt dough recipes but I basically followed the recipe from the Family Fun magazine but I halved it. Mix 1.5 cups flour, 1/2 cup salt and about 3/4 cup of water (I eyeballed the water to make sure it wasn’t too watery or to crumbly).  Knead it until smooth, divide it in half and then roll them out into circles.  I made one for each of my kids.

Then I left the kids go at it decorating.  We had some beads and ceramic tiles to use.  I wasn’t sure if the beads would melt or not but they made it through pretty well.

Beads

Ceramic Tiles

My 2 yr old did have a hard time grasping the concept of not squishing the tiles in so deep but he had a great time making his stone.

Proud 2 yr old

My daughter got quite elaborate with hers.

Pebble design

Once the kids were done we baked them at 275 degrees for about 2 hours.  I should have let them bake for longer because once they cooled and I lifted them off the foil I realized the bottom wasn’t as dry as I would have liked.  The beads survived but some needed to be glued down because they were loose but overall the kids loved them.

Final salt dough stone

September 17, 2012

We’re Off to Find the Witch’s House by Mr. Krieb

Filed under: Books,Holidays — by dsuzuki @ 1:04 pm
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We're Off to Find the Witch's House

It’s not quite that time of year yet and my daughter asks me every time we go into Target why are the Halloween decorations up already but she still picked this book off her shelf for reading time.  It gets pulled out each year and it never gets old.

A group of children are getting dressed up in their costumes and head out to find the witch’s house. Along the way they encounter a shirking, lurking Dracula, a ghastly ghost and a host of other frightening creatures.  Will they make it to the witch’s house or will their fears get the best of them?

The book ends with the kids reaching the witch’s house where a party is going on and the kids are playing my daughter’s favorite party game, hit the pinata!

The illustrations in this book are wonderful and we notice something new each time we read it like the first few times through I didn’t realize each child loses some part of their costume when they encounter one of the creatures.  Then in the end the “creatures” turn out to be other children in costume and they show up at the party with all the lost items.

This is the perfect book to get into the Halloween spirit with the little ones without it being too scary for them.

September 12, 2012

Kindergarten Interview

Filed under: Learning — by dsuzuki @ 12:03 pm
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Starting Kindergarten

I can’t believe my daughter is now 5 years old and started kindergarten.  Here she is on her first day.  She is one of the tiniest in her class but other than some rough patches at drop off she’s doing wonderfully.  Someone had mentioned how they do an “interview” with their child each year and compare how the answers change. This sounded like a fun idea and perfect for a school project they need to do putting together a book about themselves.  If you haven’t done one I highly recommend it. You may be surprised by some of their answers.

*I changed the names of her friends just for privacy purposes

2012 Interview

My favorite food is: chocolate!

My favorite game to play is: Hide and seek

My favorite TV show is: Upside Down Show

The coolest person on Earth is: Mommy and my cousin F. (This one made me feel so good!)

My favorite part of school is: P.E.

The thing I’m best at is: running

If I could go anywhere in the world it would be: the North Pole

My favorite color is: magenta

My favorite toy is: a yo-yo

My favorite book is: Max’s Easter Surprise

My best friend is: V and H 

If I had one wish it would be: to play with V and H 

My best memory is: playing tag with V in preschool

September 6, 2012

Sight Words Showdown

Filed under: Learning,Reading/Vocabulary — by dsuzuki @ 9:06 pm
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First off I have to apologize for the picture quality. I didn’t have my camera handy so I used my phone.  I came across this Showdown game on Pinterest which was pinned from Playdough to Plato’s blog.  We actually did the activity back in June but I’m bad about getting photos off my phone.  I wanted to make sure to mention this activity though because even now three months later my five year old still wants to play it.  She’s been picking up her sight words really quickly since we’ve started making a game of it rather than straight studying.

I made our two sets of the same sight words using two different color markers.

Sight Words Showdown

I picked out one card, told my daughter what it was and hid it against my chest (Playdough to Plato made a great suggestion to close your eyes to build anticipation and make it more fun for your child while they try to find the same word in their pile).

Sight Words

Then once she found it she also hid her card until I counted to three and then we both slapped our cards down and checked to see if they matched.

Sight Words Showdown

Showdown

Once she learned a set of sight words I would just make a new set and kept going.  It’s a great way to make learning sight words fun.