Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Homeschool Theme of the Week: Valentine's Day!

As you can see, I am still running a bit behind on the posting - but better late than never, right?
Here's the fun Valentine snack my daughter enjoyed recently!

Snack details:
Nutella and strawberries in heart cookie cutters.
Red muffin cup 1:  vanilla yogurt with heart sprinkles.
Pink muffin cups 2 and 4: raspberries and dried cranberries mixed together.
Red muffin cup 3:  yogurt covered raisins and heart sprinkles.
Garnishes:  candied hearts and heart sprinkles.  

Our Valentine's Store was a sweet success!  My daughter thoroughly enjoyed selling and even purchasing Valentine packages for members of the household.  People would come to her and tell her what they wanted to send and dictate a message.  She would add up the cost on her little receipt form, give it to them, check the payment or help them come up with the correct amount, and then we would package it all up and set it on the shelf to await delivery for Valentine's Day.  Oh what bliss when the heart-filled event finally rolled around, and she delivered all of the packages!!!  It was fun for her as well as for the rest of us, AND it gave her practice with life skills, money, and writing (the dictated messages).  

To download your own deluxe store setup (there are two designs in the deluxe version as well as some fun extras not available in the free version) for only $1.50, head over here (I also have a smaller free version in my TPT store)!

Window clings are so much fun - but I wanted to do something extra with them so I glued some rhyming words to a few of the hearts and cut them apart.  My daughter then had to match the pairs that rhymed.

We were also working on compound words a bit this week, so I wrote some compound words on heart doilies, cut them apart, and let her match them up correctly.  Unfortunately I seem to have lost the photos of this activity.  :(

This was a fun matching symmetry lesson using mittens.  I saw this idea on Pinterest and decided it would make a cute winter or Valentine activity.   I drew a design on each of three mittens and then my daughter had to try to copy the design on another mitten to make a matching set.

For some handwriting practice, I had my daughter complete each "You are" sentence with the words from a candy message heart she randomly picked from a small bunch I had given her.  She would then write the words on the line to complete the sentences.

We graphed some candy hearts by color and.....

by message.  

And I leave you with a fun craft that is a great companion to the book "Guess How Much I Love You!"  I think these pictures show what we did better than I could tell in a bunch of words.
My daughter decorated this to look like herself.  We glued traced cutouts of her hands to the accordian fold sentence strip arms.  I wanted to make handprints and cut those out instead to attach, but it didn't happen.

She brainstormed her own way to say how much she loves mommy and daddy ("as fast as I can twirl"), and we wrote that inside the paper.  I loved her response  - it just sounds so much like her.  :)

BTW: I am participating in a blog contest for the top 25 creative mom blogs and would LOVE it if you would cast a vote for me!  :)  The button is on the sidebar and you don't have to be a member or sign up or anything to vote - just click the button which takes you to the site and cast your vote.  You can vote once a day so if you feel extra generous and want to cast a vote on another day - I would LOOOOVVVVEEEE it if you would!  Thanks so much!
(Note:  Since I posted this, I have been informed by some that they are unable to cast their votes for some reason - I contacted someone from that particular site, and they suggested trying a different browser which seemed to do the trick for at least one person that I am aware of.  Sooo, if you attempt to vote and it will not allow you to do so, it could be a browser issue.  Thanks so much to those who have tried and let me know!)

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Friday, February 10, 2012

A Friendly Friday: Missing Our Friends "SNOW" Much!

Remember these yummy guys from my earlier winter activities post here?

Well, I had something special in mind for them.  I wanted to let our church family know how much we would miss them so my daughter and I made bundles of these snowmen cookie faces and some hot chocolate mixes (see below), and using my daughter's crayon resist painting as a background, I set up a little area in the church for our gifts where I knew they would be found on Sunday morning.   The sign I posted above them stated: We will miss you "SNOW" much!  And we do...

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Homeschool Theme of the Week(s): Winter!

I have not been posting as much lately, but I hope to catch up and get back into a routine soon!  Here's some of what we've been up to over the past few weeks with winter being our main theme...

A fun winter themed snack!

Snowman face:  peanut butter and marshmallow creme sandwich with a carrot nose, raisin eyes, and chocolate chip smile.  The scarf was made of kiwi and mini tomato slices.
Muffin cups 1 and 3 (sides of plate):  yogurt covered raisin "snowballs".
Muffin cup 2 (top):  vanilla yogurt "snow" with a dried cranberry snowflake design.
Muffin cup 4 (bottom):  More kiwi slices and dried cranberries for decorating the snowman further as desired.
Garnish: gumdrops.

One of our activities consisted of playing roll a blizzard!  To do this with your own child, have him/her draw a snow scene (or any sort of outdoor scene).  Throw two dice and add the numbers together to see how many snowflakes you will add to the picture.  Keep going until the picture is covered in snowflakes!  For younger children learning to count or learning about numbers, you may just want to roll one die.
For our blizzard picture, we used snowflake stamps and silver ink but using foam snowflakes, snowflake stickers, etc. would be other great options as well.

We also enjoyed some hot chocolate math with real marshmallows - I saw this idea on Pinterest (here is a link)!  To play this game, simply roll a die or draw from a stack of numbers to determine how many marshmallows you may add to your cup.  Then do it again and write a number sentence to show the problem and the solution.  (Optional:  eat one of your marshmallows after you finish each problem).

You can't go wrong with a classic, right?  I think the same holds true for classic school activities like practicing one's spelling in shaving cream "snow". 

Speaking of snow, we explored real snow (saved in our deep freezer from the last big snow) and made a miniature snowman indoors.

We also attempted to make an igloo out of ice cubes and snow outdoors (attempted being a key word).

At least if one does not do so well in the igloo building department, one can always explore one's strengths in other areas such as baking and decorating cookies.  These little snowman cookie faces (more on what we did with those later on a Friendly Friday post) were "snow" fun to make!  ;)

Snowball fight anyone?  Too cold to go outdoors?  Wellllll, then why not have one inside instead!  Simply gather up all your white socks, roll into balls, aim, and fire!

Needing a little winding down activity?  Try a crayon resist painting!  My daughter drew her snow scene with a white crayon on white paper and then painted over it with blue watercolor.  It was neat seeing the white snow scene pop out suddenly on the paper when blue was added!

One of my daughter's favorite activities for this theme was to open her own hot chocolate shop!  Great for reviewing money, practicing interpersonal skills, dramatic play and more - a pretend and play store is a wonderful hands on learning experience.  Sandwich shops, beauty salons, pet stores, mechanic shops, etc. - the sky is the limit for the different kinds of stores your child can own and practice running.  :)  I know our  family members were very willing to visit my daughter's store and to participate, purchasing their hot chocolate drink of choice and enjoying each sip.

And speaking of shops, here is a sneak preview of one activity we have planned for Valentine's week - a Sweet Shop where family members can come and secretly order some sweets for someone else and/or send a message or purchase a coupon for helping someone in the family (doing dishes for one night, etc.).  My daughter will help keep track of the orders and will be in charge of delivery on Valentine's Day.  Judging from the success of her hot chocolate shop, I think she will really enjoy this new venture!

Love this idea and want to make a Sweet Shop of your own?  I have posted a very simple version for FREE on my Teachers Pay Teachers website here.  The free set includes a customizable wording sign and matching write-in price tags.  A deluxe version is available here for $1.50 which includes TWO designs (hearts and one with dots which is more general for everyday use) and items such as sale signs, frequent shopper cards, receipts, and coupons (heart design only for the coupons), etc.  I hope that one of these sets (free or deluxe) will provide hours of fun and learning for you and your child!

So what do YOU have planned for Valentine's?

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