Archive for the preschool Category

Play Kitchen Reveal

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Yes the play kitchen is complete! It was even completed with enough time for me to consider building another piece. We need to build this Clara Table next. Sure it could use a few more finishing touches, a sink skirt, towel bar, maybe some hooks for utensils, but it will work great! Also those are things that can be added at any time.

 

First let me say that we built this play kitchen using the plans found on Ana White’s page here. Remember way back to June? You know when we started building this kitchen? It’s the first photo in the post, I’ll be right here while you refresh.

 

We have come a long way since then.

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Putting together the fridge.

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We started with the stove, and yet somehow it was the last piece to be completed. Just a side note in case you decide to build one of these; if we built one of these kitchens again we would start by building two sink boxes and move forward  from there.

 

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At the end of it all, this was a great project, and FUN! I had a great time building it and look forward to building more.

 

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Painting and filling holes with wood putty.

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Repairing pieces that didn’t go quite right the first time.

 

The stove plans are not without flaws, she said that she updated them in her book, but we worked from the website.

 

Also while I am on a tangent I had intended for us to spray on a clear coat over the paint so that it would last longer. However once the pieces got finished I was so excited to complete them that the idea of clear coat when out of the window and my head. As you look more closely at the finished photos you will notice, on the stove in particular, that they paint has already chipped. No one has even played with it yet! I can see that in a year or two I will be repainting these. At least I have about half a gallon of paint left over.

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Finishing pieces ….

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One by one.

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until the job was completely done.

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Fancy refrigerator, with magnet latches and everything.

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A stove, with rubber burners that won’t get scuffed and scratched.

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And a touch light inside so you can see what your baking.

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Knobs that really turn and spin.

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Sink complete with moving faucet, and a sink bowl that is not attached, just in case they put water in there. Easy clean up!

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This is how the kitchen hid the past several months. Taking up space in mommy and daddy’s room. We didn’t cover it with a blanket until we added paint. They never even noticed it was anything special.

 

Over all cost;

 

We spent less than $100 on wood materials, BUT the stove is made completely of Douglas Fir. While the sink is only partially Doug fir and the rest is all pine. We could have kept our costs down doing pine wood from the start. Originally we thought that we were going to do stain, not paint.

$5 on 1 gal of mis-mixed paint

$6 on real stove knobs

$6 on Fridge handles

$3 on stove handle

$7 on black rubber for stove burners

$1 touch light (Dollar Tree)

$5 on non working display faucet

$5 on mixing bowl for sink

$15 on random fasteners, hinges, mirror clips (to hold in plexi glass on the stove), magnet latch system for fridge

 

Our total was right at $150.

 

We already had plexiglass, glue, and sandpaper, so they were things that we did not have to purchase.

 

We could have spent $150 on a wood play kitchen, but it would have been much smaller than this one works out to be. I can’t wait to show you pictures of the kiddos playing with it!

 

Have you built any items for your kids? Did you enjoy it, do they love it?

Letter of the week B

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Amazon affiliate links are included in this post.

B is for Books, and this week we read a Bunch, of Books, with B’s. Too corny? I know. What if I told you we read a Big Bunch of B Books?

 

This week went a bit better for us than last week, but still not a complete program yet. Baby steps.

 

Since we had so many books that we could read this week, I didn’t focus on very many activities with the books and just read them. Looking back I think doing more activities and reading less books might be better. We only read two of these books each day, to leave room for other reading, Christmas stories, and bedtime reading.

 

This week we read;

The Baby Beebee Bird – We weren’t able to finish this whole story because some previous library member tore a bunch of pages out of it. For that I am glad because if we read this book more than once I am sure that I would have heard “beebee bobbi bobbi” all the day long.

The Lamb and the Butterfly 

Berlioz the Bear

Cowgirl Rosie and Her Five Baby Bison – At first I thought this book was for “C” week, but I hadn’t requested any C books yet. I was confused but read it any way. Definitely a B book. Each of the 5 baby bison, also have a “B” name.

Blueberries for Sal (Viking Kestrel picture books) – I know this book is a classic. I remember it from my childhood, well the cover of it at least.

The Big Balloon Race (I Can Read Books) (I Can Read Book 3) – This was one of the two books that K1 liked the best this week. It surprised me. It was a very long story to read all at once (there are clearly three chapters which make for great stopping points, we just didn’t stop). I felt that maybe she didn’t grasp it all. We read this on day one, and later in the week she asked to read it again.

B is for Books! (Step into Reading, Early, paper) 

DK Readers: The Little Ballerina – Naturally with my daughter in dance I knew she would love this book. It was great for more than just reading. She got to see dance in a way she never had before. We read this book several time this week. 

Dr. Seuss’s ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book! – I’m loving that the last two weeks it has worked out that we have one board book from the library. It means that there is at least one book that K2 to can get his little hands on safely.

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We also worked on writing the letter B on more than just paper. We tried on a Magna doodle, which was very unsuccessful, and on a chalk board. She did great on paper and on the chalk board. She is having a hard time with the letter b, and B. She often writes them backwards. She has the correct shape, so we will just have to keep working at it.

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I also made up an activity. As you can see I wrote several colors in their color. I then read through them with K1 and asked her to stand up each time I made the “b” sound. She really enjoyed this.

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Then I asked her to come up to the marker board and point out each color that started with the letter b.

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I then wrote each color that she named onto their own piece of paper. I asked both of the kids to collect 3 items that were the color named on the paper. Now this part is not entirely an origional idea. I have seen the color collecting idea everywhere, but we had not done it until now.

 

I really expected K1 to go tearing around the house collecting item, but that was not the case.

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It was more of a challenge for her than I had expected. She knows colors, and can tell you when things match.

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Maybe she doesn’t work well under pressure, or had a hard time because lots of things have more than one color.

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I was also suprised that K2 just wanted to sit and watch. Maybe K1’s lack of excitement effected him. No I never thought he would collect items of the correct color, I just figured he would add some random stuff.

 

In the end it was a great activity to do. Especially if it was a challenge, and it was. Oh and I know your wondering, the hooves on the cow are brown.

 

Letter of the Week

FYI affiliate links are included in this post.

The last few weeks have been crazy.

 

Friends deploying overseas for 13 months, little girls who dance having their first recital, little boys who turn two and have parties, mommies who go to college having final presentations, that same mommy hosting coffee house parties, Thanksgiving, and Christmas gift crafting. Lets just say there has been a lot going on.

 

Even with all of that I decided it was time for me to really get to this whole, home pre-schooling business.

 

So I did some research. I found a lot of information and bookmarked a few sites. I found that I liked Letter of the Week the best. Katrina, the author of the website, made it really easy. I am currently following the “Steps to Reading for ages 2-7”. Like basically down to the books and all. I like that there is already someone who has taken the time to write out a schedule and everything. I have felt pretty lazy lately, but I can follow along. I also figure that somewhere around the letter “K” or so I might have my own agenda, maybe.

 

While I did set out with the plan to follow her schedule and all, last week I failed miserably. Last week we did the letter “A”, and practiced with the short “A” sound as suggested. I did do some math, with K1, which was a first for us. We used apples and avocados to learn with. I learned that when we get to 5, she can no longer do math. That is okay, it was our first time and we are learning together. I love how excited she was for each new thing that we did.

 

I also cheated because we previously worked on writing the letter A, so I did none of that at all. See lazy mom.

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These are the related books that we read last week. (we read different books at bedtime) I requested all the books from our local library, so that I didn’t have to make any purchases. I requested books for the intro week, letter “A”, and letter “B”, all at the same time. We used the ones that came in.

 

When we read Ten Apples Up On Top! I worked with her on counting, encouraging her to count for herself and see if the story was right.

 

We read The Apple Pie Tree a few times. The second time I read it I asked her to jump up each time she heard the word “apple”. By the middle of the book she understood and got the hang of it, but when we didn’t say “apple” for a few pages she forgot. It was a fun idea.

 

I used Eating the Alphabet when we were making dinner having  K1 tell me what letter each food we were making started with.

 

Other than that I was kind of lame. I wanted to have a week of A word snacks, but we only did 3 days. I didn’t do a craft but, we were crafting for K2’s birthday and with everything else going on my mind couldn’t handle any more. 

 

This week we are already off to a better start.

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I refreshed writing capital A, and taught how to do lower case A, and capital B. We also already read a few “B” books this morning.

 

I tried to go over sight words with her a little bit using some flash cards, and have her sound out words. I like the show Super Why, and from watching that she already knows a lot of the sounds letters make. Either way flash cards were a super huge bust. Mommy got frustrated and decided it was time to stop. I also got frustrated with teaching her to write the letter B and had stopped that too. What’s funny is, just when I thought she was getting nothing from me, she did this;

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all by herself. Apparently it is working, I just need to do less each time. You know stick to the suggested hour.

 

It seems like this will be a fun plan for us to follow. I just don’t know how to make it work on days where we have morning plans. Oh, or when I will ever go to the gym again!

 

Got any good letter “B” craft ideas?

Caterpillar Craft



On Monday I had a friend over to craft with the kids and I. We had planned a pool day at her house, but the kids and I have something brewing in our sinuses and I decided that was a bad idea. Instead she came to our place and we had a crafty time. (corny I know)




A long time ago, probably a year ago like yesterdays post, I saw this caterpillar craft on Pinterest. I never actually pinned it because it didn’t seem like the thing that I needed a pin to remind me of. I loosely followed their craft for this project. By loosely I mean, I looked at the completed project picture, and how they cut the eggcrate, and then we got to it.



For this craft we used markers instead of the ever popular paint. Paint requires a lot more set up, clean up, and supervision than markers. I was looking for a more relaxed crafting time and something that K2 could participate in as well. While he did participate all he did, the whole time, was click the markers together and separate them. I was okay with that tho because he was entertained, and quiet. Then he discovered how to uncap one, just one, the black one I might add, so his hands were still covered in marker.

Just a tip If your going to do this craft, cut the egg crate ahead of time. Like before you set everything up ahead of time. It is more difficult than it seems. This was also my first egg crate craft, so maybe you have already learned that lesson.

I cut two of the caterpillars. You’ll see in the next photo that the one that got used it looks like it’s floating. Clearly I need egg crate cutting practice.



I watered down white glue on a paper plate for the gluing of the pompoms. I did this thinking that it would help the glue to dry faster. It may have, but keep in mind that white glue is not a sticker and it will need some time to dry, so place it our of reach after the pom poms are attached. And do all of your gluing last.

The pipe cleaner antenna are just poked through and bent under to stay in place. The one with the pink antenna is K1’s. She even curled them herself.

Yes it had to be pink. She HAD to have pink.




As soon as we were done K1 asked to do another craft. She really enjoys them. I need to fit them into our schedule more regularly.



This craft is really great because you can make it work with whatever you have on hand. I have seen some with “legs,” they use pipe cleaner, googly eyes, and foam shapes on their backs instead of pom poms. 



We will be doing this craft again, but next time we will use paint. 



Have you done this craft before? What did you do differently? 

What have you crafted lately?



Gwen

Preparing to Home School

When you are a stay at home mom or dad, everyone believes you have nothing but free time to get things done. Sometimes even I think I have a lot of time to complete random tasks, until I look back at the end of the day and see how much didn’t get completed. There is a reason why people make money for taking care of kids all day, it is a job, and can be demanding.

Yesterdays “work” those clouds below the helicopter are
all dots for kids to trace. K1 can’t. 


Quite a few months ago I planned to do some research online about home schooling. I have heard about a few hybrid programs where kiddos go to a school two days a week and are home schooled three days. That sounds like a good idea to me, and I wanted to learn more except I never seem to find time to look it up. Here I am several months later, and I finally STARTED looking at information about home schooling.

By started I mean, now I know that I want to attend a curriculum fair. I have never heard of such a thing. I want to do this before I need to, just to be sure that this is something that I can handle. It’s possible I might not be able to, ya know? I have been wondering if it is too much to consider with two kids.

When I told myself that I was going to start looking into homeschooling I also said that I was going to print out activity sheets for K1. I was thinking better to start now, then later. I finally did that on Sunday. Daddy was funny telling K1 that mommy decided she was starting school today.

Some of things that I printed out I am aware other homes with kids K1’s age already do. I just didn’t realize that some of the things in activity books we have were actually age appropriate. I just bought them because they were one dollar, not because of their content. They just always seemed to hard for her and I didn’t even try them. Like mazes. Just going and printing out pages was eye opening for me.

I learned a bit. I didn’t know that dot-to-dots and mazes lead up to writing letters. It helps with fine motor skills, in case you didn’t know too. I found a few free sites to print from. It was nice because for things like the dot-to-dot’s I had choices I never even considered. Such as numbers, capital letters, or lower case letters. Then beyond that, how many, 1-10, 1-20, A-G, A-M, a-h, or a-z, that kind of thing. The pages for handwriting also had different A is for _ choices. I tried to select three letter words so that she could learn about reading and site words at the same time. Not that I really know what I am talking about when I say that, but the idea sounded good in my head and that is what I went on. There really is a lot to think about and learn for both of us.

K1 is really good with letters, and okay with numbers. We have been doing dot-to-dot’s with her the past few days and boy is she a stubborn one. She randomly forgets what, let’s say a 5 looks like. Really? Mommy and daddy both get frustrated and at that point we decide she is done learning for the day and switch her over to coloring. She always freaks out until we suggest coloring. She is enjoying this right now, I just don’t want to make it a chore for everyone. At least not yet.

She is also having a hard time with connecting dot’s that aren’t numbered. I thought that would be easier!

Here are the sites that I used for free printable’s Handwriting, and connect the dot’s.

What were your kids preschool challenges? Got any great printable site suggestions?

Gwen

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